Who would have guessed that summoning great eldritch horrors required 50 million souls?
Whispers of the Old Gods, the third expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is now live. Borne upon its writhing tentacles are 134 new collectible cards and a new game board. More significantly, it also heralds the start of both Standard and Wild formats.
As with all things Warcraft, Old Gods is based upon previously established lore, itself inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu Mythos. We will get to own the four Elders themselves – C’Thun, N’Zoth, Yogg-Saron, and Y’Shaarj – alongside new minions and corrupted versions of past cards.
All 134 of those cards may be purchased through card packs or crafted with in-game Arcane Dust. Simply logging in rewards us with three card packs, the first of which guarantees two copies of Beckoner of Evil, a common minion, and C’Thun, a legendary.
To welcome these otherworldly guests, a redecorated Stormwind has found its way into the game board rotation. At the risk of sounding highly inappropriate, it features copious amounts of slime and wriggling tentacles.
What’s more, a further ten card packs may be won via unique quests. The first set of five requires two victories in Standard Mode, while the subsequent set needs seven. Basically, we’re looking at a total of 65 Old Gods cards just for playing the game.
Rather than it being Blizzard’s generosity, those free cards are mostly a means of making up for older ones cycling out.
Standard format does not allow the use of cards older than two years, aside from Basic and Classic sets. This change is meant to allow for a more dynamic and balanced metagame, while also giving the designers more freedom with future cards.
As of writing, cards from both Goblins vs Gnomes and Curse of Naxxramas are affected. However, it doesn’t mean those collections are forever lost to the void.
Wild is Hearthstone’s legacy format, available in both Ranked and Casual modes – in other words, Hearthstone just the way it was. We still can obtain seasonal rewards in this format, although the game only chooses the highest rank from either one.
Alternatively, legacy collections can also be used in Solo play and Adventures, or drafted up during Arena.
Interestingly, Blizzard accompanied the announcement by stating that there are now over 50 million registered Hearthstone players. A notable achievement? Certainly. Too much of a coincidence with Azeroth’s latest invasion? You be the judge.