Karazhan is a scary place, but it’s full of rich Warcraft lore. If you haven’t played World of Warcraft—or at least, haven’t in a long time—we’ve got a quick catch-up before the next Hearthstone expansion drops on August 11th.
Karazhan, tower of the magus Medivh, first appeared in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, the first game in the Warcraft series. It next appeared in the Burning Crusade expansion to World of Warcraft, the Warcraft movie, and is rumored to make an appearance in WoW’s upcoming Legion expansion. Inhabited by ghosts of the damned, aberrant monstrosities, and demon princes, Karazhan was widely regarded as one of World of Warcraft’s best raids—rivaled only by Yogg-Saron’s eternal prison, Ulduar.
How can Hearthstone improve on Karazhan’s epic legacy? By throwing a huge party, of course!
Now this is a pretty funky twist—though depending on who you are, it might be funky in the Bee Gees sort of way, or in the “what’s that smell” sort of way. Hearthstone has always taken a lighthearted approach to Warcraft lore, especially in its single-player adventures; just listen to Kel’Thuzad’s taunting in Curse of Naxxramas (“I’m Kel’Thu-Freaking-Zad”) or Nefarian and Ragnaros’s banter in Blackrock Mountain (fun fact, that’s Matt Mercer playing both Nefarian and Ragnaros). Some people might think One Night in Karazhan is a bit too silly, some just silly enough… we’re not taking sides.
As we get prepare for Karazhan’s Hearthstone debut, let’s take a look at the ways the mystical tower has changed, and how it’s stayed the same. If you’re looking for card analysis, there are tons of other commentators who have done it better than we could. We recommend Brian Kibler’s review.
As with all Hearthstone adventures, each wing of the adventure is unlocked week-by-week. This time though, the very first mission “The Prologue,” is free! The WoW Karazhan raid didn’t have a prologue, so it’s safe to assume that this is almost entirely original content. Interestingly, the boss of this wing is Prince Malchezaar, an Eredar demon that was the final boss of the original raid. As if it weren’t already clear, this Hearthstone adventure is playing fast-and-loose with the source material.
Beyond the prologue, there are four other wings inspired by the famous Karazhan raid: the Parlor, the Opera, the Menagerie, and the Spire. In WoW, the Parlor involved slaying tons of ghostly partiers until your team reached Moroes, Medivh’s (now-undead) butler. With Moroes already revealed as a Legendary minion from this set, it’s a safe guess that we’ll see something kinda similar to that.
The Opera remains one of the most-beloved boss encounters in all of Warcraft. Barnes, the opera house’s stage manager and Legendary minion from this set, leads the raid onstage into a deadly play. In WoW, there were three different randomly selected plays you could encounter, inspired by Romeo and Juliet, the Wizard of Oz, and Little Red Riding Hood. Will the Opera wing of the adventure simply be all three plays in succession? Or will there be a more unified Barnes boss fight where all three shows chaotically burst in and out?
The Menagerie is something of a museum. As your raiding party ascends this high in the tower, you start to see that reality is unraveling a bit here. Bits of debris hang in the air “as though frozen in time as it fell apart.” There aren’t any animals left alive here, but it’s filled with arcane golems, such as the Legendary minion The Curator. Presumably in One Night in Karazhan, the tower will still be brimming with strange creatures and we can pummel Beasts, Dragons, Murlocs, and golems to our hearts’ content.
Finally, the Spire. The top of Karazhan. Medivh’s bedroom. Yes, the Spire is where reality really starts to fray. The tormented, insane ghost of Medivh’s father hangs out here, twisted by the Guardian’s magic. We should probably try not to make him angry, and the same goes for Netherspite, a dragon we are told is Medivh’s “laboratory assistant and portal master” in this bizarre Hearthstone world. It’s also safe to assume that we fight the main man Medivh at the very end, too. For all the hospitality he’s shown us, we’re just going to murder him and take his sweet, sweet loot? Okay, that is a pretty great staff…
Are you excited for One Night in Karazhan? Let us know in the comments or tweet to @GeekandSundry!
Featured Image and Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment