Blizzard’s free-to-play card battler Hearthstone is poised to get a little bit spookier on 17th November when its latest expansion, Madness at Darkmoon Faire, arrives; plus, there’s a free new PvP-focussed mode, Hearthstone Duels, launching a week earlier.
Starting with the expansions, Darkmoon Faire whisks players away to the creepy old carnival of the title, where something considerably more sinister than questionable ride safety protocols awaits. It is, you see, the location The Old Gods – timeless beings of fearsome power introduced in the 2016 expansion Whispers of the Old Gods – have chosen for their return to Azeroth.
In practical terms, Darkmoon Faire introduces 135 new cards, bearing “the taint of [The Old Gods’] corruption”. That relates to the new Corrupt keyword, which changes its host card into a substantially more powerful version after higher-cost card is played.
Additionally, Legendary minions, including C’Thun and Yogg-Saron, will return “in surprising new forms”, and players can deploy Old Gods Artifacts, described as “powerful spells inspired by the designs of the most dreaded Legendary minions from Whispers of the Old Gods”.
Madness at the Darkmoon Faire can be pre-ordered from today in two bundle forms. Firstly, there’s the £69.99 Mega Bundle, featuring 85 card packs from the expansion (five of which are Golden Card Packs), one random Golden Legendary card, the N’Zoth Warlock Hero, the N’Zoth card back, plus Hearthstone Battlegrounds perks. Alternatively, a £34.99 is available, featuring 45 packs, one random Legendary Card, and the N’Zoth card back.
Arriving ahead of Darkmoon Faire on 12th November, however, is the new Hearthstone Duels mode, said to blend the thrills of PvP Arena mode with the “over-the-top deck-building” of Solo Adventures. Playing against other human opponents, the goal here is to score 12 wins before accruing three loses using a custom-built deck. Additional cards and “game-changing Treasures” can be drafted after each match, says Blizzard.
Hearthstone Duels also has a Heroic mode variant, which awards the likes of in-game gold, cards, card packs, and Arcane Dust. However, participation here requires players to spend either 150 gold or a Tavern ticket, which can be purchased for £1.99.
Those that pre-order Darkmoon Faire will be able to try out the new Hearthstone Duels mode ahead of its official release, starting 22nd October.
Lastly, Blizzard has detailed Hearthstone’s overhauled progression system, which also launches on 12th November. This introduces a new battle-pass-style 50-level reward system, offering the likes of in-game gold, card packs, and cosmetics. Experience can be earned through general play, by completing Quests, or by securing achievements, and the reward track will be refreshed with each new expansion.
There’s also a new achievements system that tracks player statistics and accomplishments, with new achievements set to be added alongside significant future content updates, plus a revamped Quest system that introduces more lucrative Weekly Quests as an accompaniment to Daily and Legendary Quests. More details can be found in Blizzard’s announcement post.