Deceptively simple in design but epically engaging, Hearthstone will be instantly accessible to players regardless of their familiarity with Warcraft or collectible card games. Whether players prefer to wield magic or arms in battle, strike from the shadows or head on—or have never given any of that much thought—they’ll be able to jump right in, create a deck, and get in on the card-slinging action.
In addition to honing their skills in practice matches against the computer and taking on their buddies via their Battle.net friends list, players can challenge each other in two competitive game modes. “Play Mode” features traditional head-to-head battles, with players facing off for a chance to increase their medal ranking and earn card packs along the way. And for a different type of challenge, players can enter “The Forge,” where they start each match by building a deck from a new set of cards, and then use that deck to duel other Forge participants. Aside from winning new cards, players will be able to round out their collections by purchasing new card packs or disenchanting some of their existing cards to craft the ones they’re missing.
With hundreds of cards to choose from, featuring a wide range of colorful Warcraft spells, weapons, and characters, players will have limitless possibilities for developing and fine-tuning their deck-building strategies.
Blizzard has got a lot of great things on the horizon for Hearthstone in 2017, including new content launches, innovative ways to get together and play with friends, improvements to keep Hearthstone fresh and exciting, and more! Read on to get the full scoop on what’s happening this year.
2017 marks the end of the Year of the Kraken and the beginning of a new Hearthstone Year: The Year of the Mammoth. Each new Hearthstone Year brings a fresh start in the form of a new Standard format. Once the Year of the Mammoth officially begins with the first major expansion of 2017, Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers cards will become exclusive to Wild.
Last year, we introduced a New Way to Play, which introduced the Standard and Wild game formats to Hearthstone.
In order to keep Hearthstone exciting and accessible as more cards are added, Standard allows players to use the most recently released cards, as well as a core of Basic and Classic cards. Our overall intention with Standard is to keep the game feeling fresh for all of our players, and to allow newer players to jump into Hearthstone quickly, without collecting lots of cards to build a competitive deck. Standard also gives our developers more freedom when designing new cards for the future.
However, over the course of the Year of the Kraken, certain cards in the Classic set have contradicted these goals. When cards show up too frequently in decks and are considered auto-includes, deck-building becomes more limited. Deck variety stagnates, potentially interesting build-around cards fall by the wayside, and the gameplay experience begins to feel less dynamic. Most cards should feel like situational additions to a deck, depending on the deck archetype the player is trying to build.
To help meet our goals, certain cards from the Classic set will become exclusive to the Wild format. These cards will be added to the new Hall of Fame set, which will also include cards that are currently in the Reward set.
The first three of the six Classic cards that will be added to the Hall of Fame set are powerful Neutral cards that show up in many decks and reduce the chance of new cards having an impact. This is truer for cards in the 5+ mana cost range because players tend to use fewer of these cards in a deck.
Cards moving to the Hall of Fame set include:
- Neutral Cards:
- Azure Drake
- Sylvanas Windrunner
- Ragnaros the Firelord
- Class Cards:
- Power Overwhelming
- Ice Lance
Adventuring in Expansions
For the Year of the Mammoth, our release cycle will include a ~130 card expansion at the start of the year, a ~130 card expansion in the middle of the year, and another ~130 card expansion at the end of the year.
In the Year of the Mammoth, cards will be acquired via packs—just like other expansions in the past. Additionally, each release will include optional single-player missions that will help develop the expansions’ thematic narratives and offer fun challenges.
The second expansion of 2017 will be our first step in this new design direction, and we plan on building on this concept over time. Additional details about the new release model will come later.
Supporting Wild in 2017
Sometime after the release of our next expansion, we plan to run a Heroic Tavern Brawl using the Wild format. We will also be collaborating with third-party tournament organizers to promote additional Hearthstone tournaments using the Wild format.
Celebrate the Year of the Mammoth
Before the release of our next expansion, there will be daily login rewards available for a limited time, offering dust, gold, and expansion packs, along with a few other surprises. Login rewards aren’t the only things we’re offering, though; the new Rogue Hero, Maiev Shadowsong, will also become available with the Year of the Mammoth. Once the next expansion launches, you just need to win 10 games of Hearthstone in Standard Ranked or Casual mode to acquire her.
A lot of exciting changes are coming to Hearthstone in 2017.
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