Hearthstone: Year of the Raven Details

A brief look at what the next year of Hearthstone content will offer.

Hearthstone‘s Year of the Mammoth is drawing to a close, and Blizzard has dropped some of the first details regarding what we can expect from the upcoming Year of the Raven. 

The Year of the Raven will begin whenever the next Hearthstone expansion releases. At that time, all cards released as part of the Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Kharazan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan will rotate out of the Standard format and into the game’s Wild mode. They will be joined by the recently revealed Hall of Fame cards. Just as before, you’ll still be able to purchase card packs and adventures related to sets that are rotating out of Standard. 

Because the first expansion released each year also removes a significant amount of cards from the game, some players feel that it has an advantage over subsequent expansions in terms of the way that it impacts the game. In a recent interview, Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode addressed this potential issue. 

“I’m not even sure that they [the other expansions] suffer from that,” said Brode. “We saw more engagement with our last two sets released last year than ever before, so I don’t know if they’re less exciting sets. The other major option is to rotate with each set. Set rotation is very impactful because it forces people to reconfigure all of their decks, and that’s something that we’re not necessarily prepared to force people to do three times a year. That’s where we’re at right now, but I don’t know if that’s where we’ll always be.”

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We don’t know when we’ll see the next Hearthstone expansion, but we can share this promotional image that teases the release of the three expansions we’ll see in 2018 as part of the Year of the Raven:

Brode fully expects people to try to figure out what the theme of each expansion will be based solely on these images but cited the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion as an example of players being in the ballpark with their guesses while not quite anticipating what is coming. As for the Year of the Raven name, he said that he’s not ready to share the full reason that Blizzard decided on the Raven name, but did say that after the Year of the Kraken (water) and the Year of the Mammoth (land) the team felt that an air animal was appropriate. 

The Year of the Raven will also bring with it the first new Druid hero skin. After winning 10 Standard games in the Year of the Raven, players will unlock Lunara; a famous dryad and the first daughter of Cenarius. Here’s a look at her in-game hero portrait:

In response to a question regarding whether or not Lunara was made easier to obtain due to the blowback over how difficult it was to unlock the latest Hearthstone alternate hero, Nemsy Necrofizzle, Brode stated that Lunara’s unlock method was designed to be similar to Maiev Shadowsong – who was made available near the start of the Year of the Mammoth – and that the team plans on utilizing a variety of unlock methods for future alternate heroes.

The Year of the Raven will also eventually feature the debut of Hearthstone‘s first in-game tournament mode, but Blizzard has not revealed when they intend to open that beta.