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Hearthstone: Deconstructing the Year of the Mammoth


The Year of the Kraken has been pretty exciting for Hearthstone. At its inception, we saw the popular card-game concept of rotations find its way in, but still kept all the cards in a separate mode for players who just want them all. We’ve seen two expansions and an adventure shake up the metagame in the ten months since Whispers of the Old Gods launched, and we’re already looking into Hearthstone’s next calendar year: Year of the Mammoth.

“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.”

These are expected changes, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord, Azure Drake, Conceal, Power Overwhelming, and Ice Lance are moving out of the Classic set of cards into Wild-only. These are deemed “deck-defining” cards by Blizzard, and are frequently in classes or archetypes without a second thought. In the past, Blizzard has opted to let you dust cards for their full value, but with these cards, it’s going one step further.

Up to the maximum number of cards you could put in a deck, we will give you the full dust value of any cards you have that are being added to the Hall of Fame set. The dust will be automatically awarded upon log-in once the Year of the Mammoth begins.

In addition to changing what cards will reside in Standard, Blizzard’s changing up how they release new cards. Previously, we saw an adventure, then an expansion, repeated over and over for the last few years. From now on, we’ll see three expansions per year, with the adventure style of storytelling sprinkled throughout the expansion’s duration. This compromise means we’ll see more shake-ups and more cards fill up the Standard lists on a yearly basis.

Blizzard is also flirting with the idea of daily log in rewards, a staple of mobile gaming to keep people coming back every day. Daily quests are one thing, but getting a little something just for logging in will keep more people coming back. Some of these rewards will come in the form of hero portraits

In-client support of Hearthstone’s social experience, the Fireside Gathering, is also coming. Previously, these events were relegated to third-party websites and groups looking to start something up. If a fraction of that support gets put into the Hearthstone client, that will do wonders to the social aspect of Hearthstone, which can currently be seen as more of a loner experience due to the fact that it’s a digital card game that can be played anywhere. Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Yugioh, while these have online clients, the real bulk of the game is in-person, face to face.

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