Hearthstone director Ben Brode has unveiled the Year of the Raven, a new year of content for Blizzard's massively popular card game. Three new expansions, three cards sent to the Hall of Fame, and a brand new in-game tournament creation tool entering beta sometime this year.
Brode took front-and-center of a new developer update video to announce the Year of the Raven. No release dates or proper details about what the first expansion might be, but based on previous release calendars we can expect teases and hints leading up to a probable spring release for the first expansion.
Three cards will be entering the Hall of Fame, Ice Block (a personal favorite), Coldlight Oracle, and the Molten Giant which will be reverted to its original mana cost for the Wild format.
To celebrate the new year, Hearthstone is releasing the dryad Lunara, a new druid hero in Hearthstone. What's better is that players who win 10 standard games will earn the hero automatically, making her one of the easier new heroes to unlock in Hearthstone.
The biggest addition for the Year of the Raven detailed was in regards to the in-game tournaments. With the upcoming in-game tournament beta, players will be able to invite friends to participate in custom tournaments and utilize tools offered by Blizzard for the more technical aspects of running a tournament like matchmaking and checking decks. Since this is a beta, Brode was quick to emphasize that the Hearthstone team will be paying close attention to feedback and adding new features as it develops.
Tournament "Mode" had been a widely requested feature for some time, but the new in-game tournament mode might not be exactly what some players have been asking for. Rather this is a mode with an emphasis on the social aspects of the game. "We are working on additional support for our esports, but [in-game tournaments] are not for that audience," said Brode in a Q&A with journalists.
Rather, in-game tournaments should be seen as way to set up a fun competition between players and friends, or maybe even websites and their communities? With the challenging aspects of setting up a tournament in Hearthstone's official client taken away, all people need are some friends to create their own local league. There will be an invite system that includes inviting your friends through the client, or sending out invite codes to participants.
For even more info, check out our complete Year of the Raven guide for everything we know about the coming year. Ben Brode and Yong Woo will also be hosting a Q&A with fans over at the official Hearthstone Twitch channel on March 2 at 11 am PT.