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The Year of the Mammoth: massive changes coming to Hearthstone

Posted by Tom "Matthieist" Matthiesen at 16 February 2017 20:15

Blizzard's latest blog post offers a buffet worth of treats, including the announcement of six cards moving to Wild and a new release cycle.

When the Standard rotation was announced a year ago, it got many Hearthstone players excited. The Year of the Kraken introduced Set Rotation, which meant we said goodbye to Naxxramas and GvG - and welcomed the Whispers of the Old Gods. This year, however, Team 5 will be giving us an ever bigger surprise than last year, with The Year of the Mammoth.

But without further ado, this is what's happening with this year's rotation:

A farewell to some veterans

With Standard rotation announced, some people frowned upon the fact that the Classic set would stick around forever. Our own editor Sumadin has written many pieces on the topic (find the latest one here), and many pros have addressed the cards they'd like to see moving to Wild. Their prayers have been heard, as six Classic cards will be moving to the Wild format as soon as the new Set Rotation happens, and a full dust refund will be given to anyone who owns the cards. You don't even have to disenchant them!



More cards? More cards! And rewards!

Not only will some staples be sent to Wild, but to keep the meta fresh more cards will be released in 2017 too. Initially Blizzard's card release schedule alternated between Adventure's (around 40 cards and a single-player mode) and expansions (around 130 cards). The Year of the Mammoth, however, will only see full expansions. And not just one or two, but three 130 cards expansions, meaning 390 cards this year alone. To make players experience the theme of an Adventure, the expansions will include a single-player mode.

Leading up to the new Standard Rotation Hearthstone will be experimenting with daily rewards, obtained when launching the game. The blog speaks about in-game gold, dust, expansion packs and even some surprises, all to generate more excitement over the new expansion.

Supporting the entire community

Though the majority of Hearthstone players play in Standard, there is a fair share who love to have the entire Hearthstone card base available to them. Upon the reveal of Standard Mode Blizzard said that they'd be supporting Wild, but throughout the year they hadn't shown that support actively, to the frustration of some Hearthstone players. Noticing the mammoth in the room, Blizzard stated in the blog:

With the cards from Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, and League of Explorers becoming exclusive to Wild, the Wild format is going to be more exciting than ever before! For our players that enjoy playing in Wild, we’ll be supporting it in more ways in 2017.

Sometime after the release of our next expansion, we plan to run a Heroic Tavern Brawl utilizing the Wild format. With so many cards at your disposal, our most passionate and hardcore Hearthstone players and deck-builders will be put to the test.

We will also be collaborating with third-party tournament organizers to promote additional Hearthstone tournaments using the Wild format. Whether players are dueling in competitive Standard or Wild, we want our community to be excited about all of the various ways to play Hearthstone, and we hope additional official support for both formats will help to accomplish this.

We’re super excited about the ever-growing Wild ecosystem, and we’re looking for new and interesting ways to continue supporting it in the future.

Additionally, the developers are acknowledging the large Fireside Gathering community:

Fireside Gatherings mean a lot to us, and we’re planning on beefing up this program and adding additional in-client features to support Fireside Gatherings during the Year of the Mammoth. Keep an eye out for more information about Fireside Gatherings closer to the release of our first expansion this year—it’s never too late to become an Innkeeper!

A rogue steps out of the shadows

Leaked a long time ago, Maiev Shadowsong will finally be coming to Hearthstone. The bravely backstabbing, neck-breaking Night Elf can be obtained by playing 10 Standard Ranked or Casual games as soon as the next expansion is released.

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