The cat is out of the bag: The Boomsday Project will be Hearthstone’s next expansion! The new storyline features Dr. Boom and his scientific adventures around the area of Netherstorm.
For many, this location may not come as a surprise. Back when the Year of the Raven got announced, the visualization of the year’s second expansion showed very distinct art of an Ethereal portal, something that has been in World of Warcraft all over Outland and Netherstorm in particular. But where and what exactly is that place, and why did everyone’s favorite doctor choose to build his laboratory there?
The Border to the Void
Netherstorm has been introduced as one of the six zones of Outland, an interdimensional realm that set the stage for World of Warcraft’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade. Outland once was called Draenor, homeland of the orcs and the last refugees of the Draenei. Dreanor you say? Wasn’t that the setting of Warlords of Draenor, the second-to-last WoW expansion? Well, not exactly. Outland was once the real-world Draenor, whereas the intact Draenor of WoD took place in an alternate universe.
But how did the original Draenor get destroyed? To keep it simple, Ner’zhul, a particular orc shaman who was meant to become the first Lich King eventually, decided to open several time-twisting portals to save his brethren from the final Alliance counterattack after the Horde unsuccessfully attacked Azeroth through the Dark Portal. However, the presence of so many portals tore the fabric of time and space around Draenor, and the remains of the orc’s homeland got hurled towards the Twisting Nether.
But back to Netherstorm: Bordering the literal entry to the Void itself, eternal energies caused the zone to degrade more and more over time. Never ending arcane storms devastated the landscape as the Nether tried to devour the gap to the physical realms. Due to its incredible source of unknown power, Netherstorm has always been in the focus of many different factions of Azeroth.
On the one side there were the blood elves and their leader Kael’thas who erected massive forges to gather mana as a source of power for their evil plans surrounding the Tempest Keep.
The Goblins and Area 52
The goblins didn’t have the most noble goals either and tried to use the unique ecosystem of Netherstorm to their advantage. With their advanced technology they built bridges to reach even the furthest floating bits of the devastated island border. They also built Area 52, known as the main goblin town in Netherstorm, where they gathered data to improve their engineering sciences, most notably the nether rocket technology.
One of the most experienced goblin engineers named Rocket-Chief Fuselage led the experiments in and around Area 52. He also was the head commander of B.O.O.M., the Braintrust of Orbital Operations and Mechanics, that was in charge to build the greatest rocket ever seen to ride through the Twisting Nether, the X-52 Nether-Rocket. Moving such a massive rocket through time and space made the goblins explore new and risky ways to find an adequate substance as fuel. Nether energy itself seemed like the right fit in this case, but working with this volatile power source caused massive radiation.
The Rise of Dr. Boom
One day, one of Fuselage’s co-workers called Sparky Uberthruster forgot to put on his helmet while sapping the undersurface and never came back. Turned mad by the weird energies of the Twisting Nether, Uberthruster eventually transformed into none other than Dr. Boom. He stole the goblin’s sapping equipment with the plan to destroy Area 52 as a whole; that is why Blastfizzle, B.O.O.M.’s lead sapper, wants you to kill him right outside of town.
As you can see, Dr. Boom and his Boom Bots have not played the most important role in Warcraft history. However, he gained massive popularity due to a bug back during the Burning Crusade: Weapon skill was still a thing in the game back then, and you needed to have a certain skill level in any weapon you wanted to use. Leveling this skill mostly happened naturally as you progressed through the game; however, if you wanted to skill a weapon type from 0 you had to start with very low monsters first, because you dealt no damage, and leveling took very long that way.
And that is where Dr. Boom came in: He was an attackable Level 68 mob (max level was 70 back then), and his special ability was to throw his Boom Bots at you. Sadly for him he didn’t have a ranged attack, and the fact that he always had to stand still at the same time made him a perfect target to level ranged weapon skills like wands or bows, because all you had to do was evade his Boom Bots!
As we all can see in the released expansion trailer for The Boomsday Project, Hearthstone’s Dr. Boom is still alive and even more evil than ever before. Looking at the past history of Netherstorm, the combination of Boom’s void-driven ideas and the world’s unique surroundings surely will result in some crazy SCIENCE projects. Be sure to check out our regularly updated The Boomsday Project Guide, containing all released cards so far!