Back in the mid-2000s, there was no video game as big as World of Warcraft. Blizzard’s famous MMO became infamous for its incredibly addicting gameplay and endless content. There was always something to do in World of Warcraft and this resulted in some people putting an unhealthy amount of hours into the game. This level of addiction became a regular pop culture reference, especially as stories started to come out about college students dropping out, or people spending thousands of dollars, just because they played so much WoW.
When something in pop culture reaches the status of WoW then everyone knows there is going to be a South Park episode about it. The satirical and foul-mouthed cartoon is no stranger to poking fun at real-life celebrities, brands, and in this case a video game. They did an entire episode about how the four kids of South Park played nothing but WoW for months on end so they could save the game from someone that had played so much of it he could break the rules of the game. However, to become so powerful they had to train in secret by grinding against low-level boars. 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.
Well everything has come full circle because now those boars and that sword are being referenced in a Blizzard property. It was revealed that Hearthstone, a card game based on the lore of the Warcraft franchise is going to include the “Elwynn Boar” from the South Park episode. If enough of those boars are eliminated from play then the player will gain access to the Sword of a Thousand Truths card. A perfect reference to the episode.
Referencing a TV show in a game can be difficult sometimes, because if it’s not done properly then it could lead to fan backlash, or be seen as a weird attempt to connect with the youths. However, this is really well done and it helps that “Make Love, Not Warcraft” is one of South Park‘s most popular episodes. Although, including a reference to your own game feels like a level of meta-commentary that will make your head hurt if you think about it too much.
The real fun will now begin with how the cards are played. Games like Hearthstone are all about putting together a deck that will reach the player’s win condition the fastest. The strategy here definitely seems to be getting those boars eliminated as fast as possible so the player can summon their sword, but that’s if it gets popular play. Sometimes cards like this are more so about getting one as a trophy than actually using it in play, but it will be the Hearthstone community that decides what the ultimate fate of these cards are.