Scholomance Academy reminds me there’s no place like Hearthstone

Excepting the odd Arena run, it’s been a fair while since I dipped my toe into Hearthstone, having tired of the predictable plays made by the likes of Dr Boom and Galakrond. I’m not a competitive player, but Hearthstone brings out a rotten side of me that makes me feel truly cheated whenever a Shaman waves his Murloc cards, or a Mage plays a succession of freeze spells. But with its latest expansion, I’m once again in the thrall of Hearthstone’s warm art, adorable animations, and comforting familiarity. It’s good to be back.

There’s a particular sense of homeliness to Scholomance Academy, which invokes the dual nostalgia not only of school or college days, but of a location that’ll be familiar to veteran Warcraft fans. As mentioned in our Hearthstone Scholomance gameplay interview, the Academy is a school of magic that is overturned by the infamous Kel’Thuzad into a school of necromancy, and the setting of a World of Warcraft dungeon. Excitingly, we get to experience the magic school before its descent into depravity at the hands of the mage-turned-lich.

The expansion cards do a great job of creating a mystical atmosphere, with pithy and dynamic dialogue to accompany them as they’re played. It does feel like we’re huddled on the cold stone floor of a classroom in the dusty wings of a crumbling university, flinging cards at each other in a rushed lunchtime game.


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