Blizzard is gearing up to reveal what’s coming alongside Hearthstone at its BlizzConline event. This year promises to be bigger than most, as the company will not only debut its new expansion and annual change, but will also make some major changes to how the card pool works in Hearthstone.
New expansion advance
We haven’t received much information about the upcoming Hearthstone expansion, but Blizzard has started releasing trailers for what’s next. A short teaser trailer titled “Quill You Be Ready” shows a lone adventurer in the middle of a dry landscape, who is then surrounded by the Horde logo.
Those clues have led many in the fan community to conclude that the next expansion will take place in The Barrens, a savanna-like setting in Kalimdor, under the control of the horde. The “Quill” in the title also seems to be a clue, as the early Quillboar race is from the Barrens.
New year, new season
As usual, the spring expansion to Hearthstone will usher in a new year of content. For example, the current year is called the Year of the Phoenix, the umbrella term for the three expansions that appeared throughout the 2020-2021 content calendar: Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy, and Madness in the Darkmoon Faire.
Each year of Hearthstone content includes three major expansions, along with additional updates such as the addition of the new Duel mode with Darkmoon Faire. The annual cut also shifts certain sets to the wild format, leaving room for new expansions that will be playable in standard mode. Blizzard has suggested that their expansion plans from now on will also include mini-expansions mid-season, so we can probably expect three of them as well.
But this year will be an even more radical change because, as already announced, Blizzard is retiring the Classic and Basic sets to Wild in favor of a new approach: the Basic Set.
The basic set
As long as Hearthstone has been around, the main components have been the Classic and Basic sets. The base set was a free, Hearthstone-earned set that would be unlocked by leveling up each class, while the classic set gave eager card collectors something to hunt down when opening the classic packs. These are the cards that defined class identity and mechanics, and throughout the game’s history, Blizzard has built expansions around these characteristics.
That will change this year. Instead of classic, basic static sets that never change, Blizzard introduces the new basic set. This will incorporate hand-picked cards from the Basic and Classic sets and bring in some Wild cards, and even introduce a new card pack. Unlike the basic and classic sets, the basic set will change each year, allowing Blizzard more flexibility in rebuilding the foundations of Hearthstone for new expansions, providing a more dynamic experience. So this first set will be Core 2021, followed by Core 2022, and so on.
Also, unlike the classic set, the basic set will be absolutely free, just like the basic one. All cards in the core set will be awarded automatically if you’ve leveled up your characters the required amount, and each year when the core set rotates, all new core cards will automatically be awarded to you. That should make it easier for new and expired players to get on board.
The basic and classic cards will be merged into a single “inherited set”. But we don’t know much about which cards will be included in Core 2021. We do know that it will consist of various Demon Hunter cards, as that class was added after launch, and the Shadowform Priest card will return from the Hall of Fame. . Other than that, Blizzard has not revealed what is included in the Core 2021 card set. The company plans to tell us more about the core set at BlizzConline.
However, another big change has already been announced coming to the game. Hearthstone is adding a classic mode. This will allow you to play with the original pack of cards, exactly as they appeared in 2014, before the balance changes. Many of the cards from this era have changed significantly since their debut, so this mode will be a welcome nostalgia trip. It also has its own ladder and matchmaking group, so you can compete, unlock achievements, and even reach full legend rank in classic mode if you feel like it.
Classic mode should offer a nostalgic experience for veteran players.
A new tavern pass
The new season will also bring a new Tavern Pass. The battle pass-like system grants experience to unlock achievements and complete daily, weekly, and occasional event-based missions. Those experience points go towards unlocking rewards like gold, card packs, alternate hero portraits, and even a special seasonal version of The Coin. And like all battle passes, you can unlock certain rewards just by purchasing the pass.
The system was surprisingly controversial when it debuted last year because fans calculated that it was actually awarding less gold than the previous mission-based reward system. Blizzard explained that it had planned to offer XP boosts through special events that would make it award more rewards. But based on fan feedback, the company concluded that it should rebalance its rewards track to be more generous without the need to participate in special events.
For the next Tavern Pass, we can probably expect Blizzard to keep something similar to the changes to the bounty track it already made, with a more generous structure. The new Tavern Pass is also likely to offer a new set of cosmetic rewards or other seasonal currency. For example, reaching the end of the previous Tavern Rewards track allowed you to select one of 10 exclusive hero portraits. Blizzard may simply bring back the same pick, allowing you to pick another from the pool over several seasons until you get all 10.
The release time of the new Hearthstone expansion is unknown, but we can make a guess. Blizzard has tended to short announcement-to-launch cycles recently, generally no more than a month. That would see a release for the next expansion arrive in March.
For the past six consecutive years, the first expansion of the year was launched in April. However, the Year of the Phoenix winter expansion occurred in November, rather than December, as previous expansions used to, so Blizzard may be intentionally changing plans to adjust the schedule for new expansions in early 2000. anus. A March release would also mean that Darkmoon Races, the mini-set released in January, would have hit the middle of the expansion season between November and March.
Yet often when Blizzard introduces a new year, it is much more than the next expansion. It has often left clues for the entire year of expansions, and last year it even included an expansive content roadmap that featured additions like the new Duels mode. So we may get a lot more details at BlizzConline.
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