So long, Year of the Mammoth! Blizzard are flipping the Hearthstone calendar over to a new year, and this time we’re going goth for the Year of the Raven. Blizzard laid out their free-to-play card game’s plans for the next year on their DeadJournal, which include launching another three expansions while rotating others out of the Standard format, freshening Standard up further by shifting several powerful Classic cards (including Ice Block) to the Wild Format, making Quests quicker, and adding in-game support for running your own tournaments.
Blizzard are keeping shtum about the expansions for now, but perhaps you might like to speculate on this teaser image which gives little hints of themes. Let’s say they represent Poe goth, cybergoth, and power metal. That’s almost certainly correct.
When the first expansion does arrive, it will shunt Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan out of the Standard rotation to make room. They’ll still be playable in the Wild format.
Also leaving Standard are the cards Ice Block, Coldlight Oracle, and Molten Giant. They’re graduating to the ‘Hall of Fame’ set, which means they are powerful and common enough that Blizzard feel they have too much presence in the format and they’re not quite sure how to fix that. Molten Giant will also revert to its pre-nerf casting cost of 20. All these remain playable in Wild, and Blizzard will refund players their Arcane Dust value too.
Most Quests will become quicker in the Year of the Raven, reducing the number of times you need to do specific things while increasing the rewards on some Quests.
As for in-game tournaments, they are due to enter public beta testing “around the middle of this year.” They’ll let players organise and run tournaments mediated by the game, rather than having to arrange and juggle everything externally should be handy.
Oh, and a new Druid hero is coming, the dryad Lunara.
Blizzard don’t say quite when the Year of the Raven will begin, but the fact that they’re promoting a livestream with game director Ben Brode to discuss it on March 2nd would suggest, y’know, not tomorrow.
Speaking of, Brode scrubbed off his corpse paint and slicked back his mohawk for this video introducing the Year of the Raven: