Blizzard has announced Hearthstone, Year of the Hydra, which will kick off alongside the Voyage to the Sunken City expansion on April 12th.
Hearthstone’s Year of the Hydra will focus on improvements and additions to the current systems as opposed to introducing new game modes. It will also include updates to Mercenaries and Battlegrounds.
Hearthstone Mercenaries Champions Endgame Content in Year of the Hydra
The Mercenaries game mode will be focused on expanding the endgame experience for players. This will include a new system with fresh challenges and events. New content for zones, bounties and mercenaries will be featured through regular updates as well.
There will also be a shift in terms of content schedule according to the announcement. The next bunch of mercenaries, bounties, and tasks will arrive in a few months.
As for later in 2022, players will be able to spend their Mercenary Coins to add power and specialized traits to max the level of mercenaries.
In addition to new minions and heroes, Battlegrounds seasons will also include a bunch of big changes to the core gameplay experience.Hearthstone Lead Game Designer Dean Ayala
Hearthstone Battlegrounds Gets Seasons and Progression Systems
Lead Game Designer Dean Ayala shared additional details about Hearthstone Battlegrounds. This year, the biggest Battlegrounds changes will become seasons.
“These will regularly come out just like Standard expansions,” Ayala explained. “In addition to new minions and heroes, Battlegrounds seasons will also include a bunch of big changes to the core gameplay experience.”
These gameplay updates may take the form of a new minion type or a new system change such as Buddies. The first Hearthstone Battlegrounds season will include a new keyword, new heroes, a bunch of minions, plus the Naga minion type.
“Looking further ahead, we’re also looking to bring progression systems into Battlegrounds,” Ayala added. “Our goal is to build a way for your progress and time spent in Battlegrounds games to translate into great Battlegrounds rewards.”
The Hearthstone team is aiming to make these all live and in-game by the middle of this year. More information will be available closer to release, according to Ayala.
As for Battlegrounds cosmetics, emote and combat boards will get updates. Meanwhile, there will be plans to revamp the Battlegrounds hub screen alongside the expansion of competitive features.
In-Game Reporting Feature, Refreshed Core Set, and More
With Voyage to the Sunken City, players will be able to favorite multiple card backs. Later in 2022, players will be able to equip a random hero portrait that will work like the random card back feature as well, said Hearthstone Executive Producer Nathan Lyons-Smith, in a tweet accompanying the announcement.
The achievement system will be improved via surfacing a “recently completed” section in the Hearthstone UI. Additionally, in-game reporting will arrive shortly after the Voyage to the Sunken City launch.
“This includes the ability to report a specific BattleTag or a message received through the in-game chat,” Lyons-Smith explained.
This year, 57 cards are rotating out of core and 72 cards are coming in—that means the Core Set will have 250 total cards, 15 more cards this year than it had last year!Year of the Hydra announcement
Meanwhile, Lead Game Designer Live Breeden went into the Colossal keyword from the Voyage to the Sunken City expansion and detailed which cards will be part of the refreshed Core Set.