The Whispers of the Old Gods Beckon In Hearthstone's Latest Expansion
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's long build-up towards a new expansion has begun. Revealed during the Hearthstone 2016 America Winter Championship livestream was Whispers of the Old Gods, an upcoming 134-card expansion for Blizzard's immensely popular online collectable card game based in the Warcraft Universe.
The central theme of Whispers of the Old Gods is the influence and subversive worship of these nefarious beings, who have been a corrupting influence on Azeroth for millennia. Familiar cards from Hearthstone's past have been corrupted - some subtly, others not so much - whilst shadowy cultists are seeking to empower each of their dark deities. Four apex legendary cards sit astride the rest: 10-mana Old Gods, whose impact when played them will depend on how much influence they spread over the course of a game.
Take C'Thun, the first Old God revealed and antagonist within the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj World of Warcraft raid. Their cohort of cultists grow its power according to their own triggers, starting at 10-mana for a 6/6 and increasing over time. When played C'Thun spits out eye-ball missiles, dealing random damage to relatively minor, devastating or even game-ending effect. The more cultists you successfully play, the more impactful C'Thun will be.
Also debuting on or before Whispers will be the new Standard, a game format that will form the basis for competitive tournament play going forward. In Standard 30-card decks will still be the norm, but the selection pool for cards will be limited to sets (expansions and small adventures) released in the current and previous calender year (with the exception of always usable Classic cards). It's hoped that this rotation of available cards will keep the game fresh over time, and reduce 'power creep' in card design.
The current format where every card is legal will be renamed 'Wild', and cards that are only legal in this format will no longer be available for purchase (they can however still be crafted). Your seasonal rank will be your top Wild or Standard rank (whichever is better), with commensurate rewards based on that rank. When the change takes effect Curse of Naxxramas and Goblin's Vs Gnomes cards will only be legal in this play mode.
Unfortunately Whispers of the Old Gods is still some way off release - Lead Designer Ben Brode provided a late-April, early-May window for the expansion. In the mean time cards will be spoiled through the official website and social media channels, with some top streamers and community members themselves influencing the order and timing for each spoiler.
Fifty-pack Whispers of the Old Gods pre-orders go on sale this Monday through the in-game store, which have the added bonus of granting an exclusive card back. Everyone who logs in during the Whispers of the Old Gods launch will also be granted three free packs and the C'Thun Old God legendary card.
For more information and to get a sneak peek at some of the cards already spoiled visit http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/expansions-adventures/whispers-of-the-old-gods/.