There was no video game as popular as World of Warcraft in the mid-2000s. Blizzard’s well-known MMO became famed for its addictive gameplay and never-ending content. There was always something to do in World of Warcraft, which led to some players putting in an unsustainable number of hours. This kind of addiction became a common topic of conversation, especially as reports emerged of college students dropping out or people spending thousands of dollars simply because they played too much World of Warcraft.
Everyone knows that when something in mainstream culture reaches the level of WoW, there will be a South Park episode about it. The caustic and foul-mouthed animated series isn’t afraid to mock real-life celebrities, corporations, and, in this case, a video game. They made a full episode on how the four kids from South Park spent months playing nothing but World of Warcraft in order to preserve the game from someone who had played it so much that he could break the rules. However, they had to train in secret against low-level boars in order to become so powerful. However, this wasn’t enough to defeat the threat and it wasn’t until they acquired the “Sword of a Thousand Truths” that they were able to defeat the threat and save World of Warcraft.
Everything has now come full circle, because those boars and swords are now mentioned in a Blizzard property. The “Elwynn Boar” from the South Park episode will be included in Hearthstone, a card game based on the lore of the Warcraft franchise. The player will gain access to the Sword of a Thousand Truths card if enough of those boars are removed from play. It’s a fantastic nod to the episode.
Referencing a TV show in a game can be challenging at times, because if done incorrectly, it might result in fan resentment or be perceived as a strange attempt to connect with teenagers. This is, however, quite nicely done, and the fact that “Make Love, Not Warcraft” is one of South Park’s most popular episodes certainly helps. Although, if you think about it too much, making a reference to your own game feels like a level of meta-commentary that will make your brain hurt.
Now comes the fun part: figuring out how to play the cards. Hearthstone is all about putting together a deck that will get the player to his or her win condition the quickest. The aim here appears to be to slay those boars as quickly as possible so the player can summon their sword, but that is only if it becomes popular. Sometimes cards like this are more about collecting them as trophies than really playing with them, but the Hearthstone community will ultimately determine what happens to them.