Based on the adventures of intrepid explorer Elise Starseeker and friends, the new expansion is inspired by one of World of Warcraft's oldest, and most entertaining original vanilla zones, Un'Goro crater. With a focus on dinosaurs, beasts, and elementals, the 135-card set will also introduce a pair of all-new mechanics: Quest, and Adapt.
The former is very interesting indeed, and will very likely give rise to new deck archetypes. A Quest is basically a legendary card that you'll always have in your opening hand, and when played sits on your character's portrait like a secret – except that your opponent can see it too. It has specific parameters that you need to meet in order to earn its reward, which, in the case of Awaken the Makers, is summoning seven Deathrattle minions. Manage to do that during your game, and you'll be awarded Amara, Warden of Hope – a legendary minion that not only restores all your health, but also increases it to 40. Reno Jackson, eat your heart out! It's not clear whether a Quest reward card is automatically added to your hand when you earn it, or whether it's shuffled into your deck (I'm assuming the latter), but either way, Quests sound like a really fun mechanic.
Adapt is a Discover-like effect that gives players a choice of one of three elemental upgrades from a potential list of ten that they can infuse into their Adapt minions. These include basic infusions such as Taunt, and Windfury, as well as Deathrattle effects, such as summoning two 1/1 plants. These choices should make for some entertaining tactical and strategic decisions. The first card shown with this mechanic is Verdant Longbeast, a 5/4 beast.
Another card that was revealed today is the legendary mage minion, Pyros. This 2/2 elemental starts out small, but its Deathrattle effect returns it to your hand as a 6/6 elemental that you can then summon for six mana. And if that isn't enough, that has a Deathrattle effect that once again returns it to your hand, where it becomes a 10/10, ten-casting-cost elemental. That should help mages garner a nice card advantage as their opponents attempt to deal with the repeated threat.
The final card showcased today is Volcano, an exceptionally devastating shaman spell. Costing just five mana (and with an overload of two), it showers the board randomly with 15 gobbets of 1-damage magma, potentially hitting any minion on it – including your own. Played right, that could clear the board – and if your opponent is over-extending with their minions while you've held back, that could really ruin their game.
Journey to Un'Goro certainly sounds like an intriguing prospect so far. It's set for release in April; expect plenty more news in the run-up to its launch.