Another new year, another substantial change in Hearthstone – Blizzard’s (still) wildly successful World of Warcraft-themed digital collectible card game. While Blizzard is retiring 2017’s Year of the Mammoth, they are bursting out of the gates with 2018’s Year of the Raven making substantial changes to the four-year old title that will undoubtedly change everyone’s style of play.
First and foremost, Hearthstone gamers will have access to a new hero – Lunara, a Druid (seen in the featured image). Unlocking her won’t be a chore by any means, as players will need to win ten standard games.
Similar to previous years, Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven will have three different expansions adding a total of 130 cards. Beyond the news, there isn’t much more to go on other than a teaser image that Blizzard is highlighting (hoping that the community will work out theories for what may come):
Some of the bigger changes announced were cards that are being retired to the Hall of Fame. As a quick primer, Hearthstone’s main modes are not entirely cumulative, instead consisting of the core set of cards and the past couple seasons. This, of course, is a way to maintain balance within the competitive scene and put stops on invincible card combinations.
Occasionally, cards from the core set (that usually don’t shift out) require retirement to open up new playstyles. And this means a few classic cards will be moved over to Wild mode – the non-standard version. These cards (seen in the gallery below) include:
Of note, Molten Giant will be getting un-nerfed in his move, so players can continue with their original playstyle.
Outside of the Hall of Fame, other changes include changes to the ranking system for competitive play. To standardize ranks, Blizzard has changed each rank to a five-star system. But before you start moaning and groaning about the grind (if you are a high-tier player), Blizzard has a solution for that. The newest reset will only set players back four ranks, keeping the grind light for dedicated players and the low-tier ranks fun for those coming in fresh.
In line with that, Hearthstone is shifting its reward systems ever so slightly. Instead of three daily quests worth 40 gold, Year of the Raven will shift to three (easier) daily quests worth 50 gold. In a comment to DualShockers, this shift was made so daily players can spend less dedicated time-per-day on maintenance missions versus standard gameplay.
Last but not least, Hearthstone’s last substantial Year of the Raven announcement is a new in-game tournament mode that will enter beta in the next few months in mid-2018. Little is known about it, but the addition will undoubtedly be a boon to everyone interested in broader PvP support:
Hearthstone is currently available for Android, iOS, and PC; official Year of the Raven support will kick off soon when the new expansion is unveiled. Until then, check out the trailer for the new season, below: