Blizzard announced a few days ago that HearthStone’s Year of the Kraken was coming to an end. It will be replaced by Year of the Mammoth, but what does this mean for Classic and Wild cards and single-player adventures?
What’s Happening to Adventures?
In the past, Blizzard has released expansions alongside separate single-player adventures. This changes in Year of the Mammoth. Instead of releasing expansions and Adventures, Blizzard will release three, 130 card expansions.
Beginning with the second expansion, optional single-player content is included. These missions will expand the theme of the new cards and offer some narrative context as well of offering unique challenges.
This new approach is one Blizzard has adopted for HearthStone going forward. More will be revealed as the year rolls on. Interestingly, Blizzard revealed that the single-player content will be free, which marks a change in HearthStone’s monetisation.
What Does Free Content Mean?
HearthStone itself is free, but it earned $394.6 million USD in 2016 as reported by research firm SuperData. This has been earned through players purchasing card packs, Adventures and entry into The Arena.
HearthStone doesn’t force players to pay real world money. Players can earn in-game gold and use that to pay for everything that real money can be spent on. This is unlikely to change, but without Adventures tempting players to spend money, Blizzard needs to offer something else.
A simple solution would be to charge more for each card pack, but that’s a move that wouldn’t be popular with fans. Another option is to offer additional expansions throughout the year. It may be difficult to appropriately plan the releases and ensure the game remains balanced, but more cards, more often creates potential for additional revenue generation.
What’s Happening to Classic?
The Year of the Mammoth marks the first time that cards from the Classic set will be moved to Wild. Blizzard will add these cards to a special Hall of Fame set which will also feature cards currently available through rewards.
Both Neutral and Class cards will be moved to Hall of Fame, but so far only six cards have been announced. The cards are;
- Azure Drake
- Sylvanas Windrunner
- Ragnaros the Firelord
- Power Overwhelming
- Ice Lance
These cards will look familiar to HearthStone players as they’re included in just about every deck you come up against. These are cards that are incredibly powerful, so powerful in fact that in the current meta, playing without them is inadvisable.
Moving them into Wild means that the Standard meta can evolve and players will have new experiences with different decks and cards. Players who own any of the cards being moved into the Hall of Fame will be given a full Arcane Dust refund while retaining the card for use in Wild.
What About New Cards?
The Year of the Mammoth will have over 390 new cards added by the end of 2017. Three expansions will be released throughout the year with roughly 130 cards in each.
They’ll be released at the beginning of 2017 (hopefully sometime soon), the middle and at the end. Cards from the expansions will be acquired through card packs as normal.
In addition to the 390 new cards, HearthStone will offer players daily login bonuses in the lead up to the release of the first expansion. These include Arcane Dust, Gold and card packs. Players will also be able to unlock the new Rogue Hero Maiev Shadowsong by simply winning 10 matches in Standard Ranked or Casual.
What’s Happening to Wild?
Aside from the Hall of Fame set being moved from Standard to Wild in 2017, Blizzard has big plans to support the format throughout the year.
Following the release of the first expansion this year, a Heroic Tavern Brawl will be launched using Wild. Additionally, Blizzard will work with third-party tournament organisers to promote and host HearthStone tournaments using the Wild format.
HearthStone Championship Tournament
HearthStone’s Championship Tournament (HCT) Winter Playoffs have commenced. Players from Americas and Asia-Pacific will be doing battle over the next weeks to secure their place at the Winter Championships.
Being held in The Bahamas in March, Australia and New Zealand will be represented, once the qualifiers are completed. Fans can tune in on Twitch. The schedule of matches is included below.
|Saturday, 25 February||HCT Asia-Pacific Winter Playoff||2:00pm AEDT / 4:00pm NZDT|
|Sunday, 26 February||HCT Asia-Pacific Winter Playoff||2:00pm AEDT / 4:00pm NZDT|
|Friday, 24 March||HCT Winter Championship||1:00am AEDT / 3:00am NZDT|
|Saturday, 25 March||HCT Winter Championship||1:00am AEDT / 3:00am NZDT|
|Sunday, 26 March||HCT Winter Championship||1:00am AEDT / 3:00am NZDT|
|Monday, 27 March||HCT Winter Championship||3:00am AEDT / 5:00am NZDT|
With the Year of the Kraken coming to an end and a new Year commencing there’s never been a better time to play HearthStone. Starting out as a new player in HearthStone is daunting and the new player experience is brutal. However, the removal of last year’s expansions from Standard to Wild puts everyone back on a level playing field.
Blizzard seems to have acknowledged the difficulties faced by new players and look to be remedying it this year. Hopefully it leads to a fairer and more fun game for everyone.
HearthStone is available free on Android, iOS and PC.