Hello, everyone, and welcome
to the Year of the Gryphon deep dive
here at BlizzCon Live.
I'm Brian Kibler, and joining me today to talk all things Gryphon
is Hearthstone Game Director Ben Lee.
Ben, how are you doing? Are you as excited as I am about this?
I'm super excited to show and talk about
all the new things that we're working on.
It's going to be a big year for us
and we hope you're going to enjoy it.
There's already been a lot revealed so far.
The Year of the Gryphon, which is going to usher in
the newest phase of Hearthstone.
We're looking at a new core set,
a classic format,
a new expansion that brings us back to the Barrens,
kicking off a year-long celebration
into the roots of Warcraft.
And on top of all of that,
another new game mode in Mercenaries,
which I know I can't wait to hear more about.
That's right, this year's story is about going back
to the roots of Warcraft.
It's a bit different in terms of how we deliver the story.
Rather than a specific year-long narrative,
we're telling small stories
about individual characters that make up a bigger whole.
So there's ten brand new characters
and they will feature across all of our game modes.
We'll tell their story through single-player,
which we'll be telling more about later in the show also.
All right, so the obvious next question is
who are these ten characters
and how do they play a part in all this?
We're not ready to reveal too much about who they are,
but we will be showing you one of them in our deep dive video
for the Forged In The Barrens expansion,
which I'll throw over to the game designers,
Liv Breeden and Joe Killion, to tell you more about.
Remember to keep your tusks
and hands inside the tower at all times
and absolutely no spells of any class.
I'm your fearless, battle-ready tour guide, Joe Killion.
And I'm your trainee guide, Liv Breeden.
Er, it's my first day, so cut me some slack, okay?
(LAUGHS) She's kidding!
We don't cut slack out here.
Which reminds me... (CLEARS THROAT)
By attending this tour, you agree not to hold us responsible
for any injuries sustained, including but not limited to
kobold impalements, raptor bites,
centaur-rating parties, harpy eye-pecking,
or just falling off this tower.
Has that ever happened?
Just ask my last tour.
Well, before we begin our tour,
please direct your attention to this brief orientation video.
NARRATOR: For a hero of the Horde...
...all roads lead to the crossroads.
You have come for adventure.
But the Barrens wants to break you.
...must be sharp.
...must be keen.
And your heart...
...must be mighty.
This is who we are.
WOMAN: For the Horde!
Forged In The Barrens is Hearthstone's latest expansion.
This vast, sun-scorched land brings discovery and danger
beyond your imagination's grasp!
The Barrens is the anvil upon which the Horde as we know it
It's a place where eager-eyed mercenaries
can begin their journey to greatness,
embarking on treacherous paths
to sharpen their skills and weapons
as they forge ahead.
Speaking of which, I think I see
one of Hearthstone's newest mercenaries
out on the crossroads.
LIV: Bru'kan is a Shaman legendary minion
that gives your nature spells +3 damage.
But what's a nature spell, you ask?
New to Hearthstone are spell schools.
Just like minion types,
spells that fall into one of seven schools
will get a new classification.
Spell schools include arcane, fell, fire, frost,
nature, holy and shadow!
Some classes, like Mage,
have access to multiple spell schools.
Let's try it out!
JOE: Chain Lightning is a Shaman nature spell.
It deals 2 damage to a minion and a random adjacent one.
But there's more!
It's also a rank spell,
meaning it upgrades when you have 5 mana
and again at 10 mana.
Rank spells grow in power as the match progresses,
so they remain useful in the early, mid and late game.
JOE: Sometimes it's worth holding out a little bit longer
to use one of these spells.
The results can be quite... shocking.
Sounds like those quilboar didn't learn their lesson.
Hey, Liv, aren't you a warlock?
Well, I don't want to brag or anything, but...
LIV: Rank spells can be rather impressive, like Imp Swarm.
It's a fell warlock spell that summons a 3/2 Demon.
Since it's also a rank spell,
it continues to improve at 5 and 10 mana.
The more mana in play,
the more impact you'll have.
Now is the part of the tour
where I like to point out some of my favorite sites.
All I see are a bunch of rock formations.
Yeah, but most people take them for granted.
Look! Someone needs our help!
She's surrounded! We've got to do something!
Do what? She's a goner.
Nothing left to do but let out a Desperate Prayer.
This holy priest spell restores 5 health to each hero.
It might be just what you need
to get out of a prickly situation.
I don't think I'm cut out for this, Joe.
Do you think she's going to be okay?
When the Barrens gets the best of you,
you can always pay a visit to the Spirit Healer!
Spirit Healer is a neutral minion
that benefits from a specific spell school.
After you cast a holy spell,
give a random friendly minion 2 health.
LIV: Yeah, but I don't think that's going to help
that poor troll.
Joe, do you hear somebody weeping?
Like the longing cry of a heartbroken lover,
desperate and alone?
In the Barrens, always.
Hey, buddy, cheer up! We'll find her!
Mankrik is a legendary neutral minion
who got separated from his wife during a quilboar attack
and he can't find her.
Rumor has it she was last seen somewhere in your deck.
What did she look like?
She's about yay big,
greenish, looks kind of like a pin cushion full of quills.
You can't miss her.
I think I found her!
Yeah, we might want to give them some space.
That's the Barrens, though. It's tough.
Will you get attacked out here? Probably.
-Will it be painful? -Will it?
But every battle you survive is a lesson learned.
Just take it from Blademaster Samuro!
LIV: He's a legendary neutral minion with rush.
But there's more!
JOE: The Barrens have hardened him.
He laughs in the face of danger
with Hearthstone's newest keyword, frenzy!
LIV: The first time one of these minions survives damage,
they go into a frenzy!
In Samuro's case,
he deals his attack damage
to all enemy minions.
When you pick a fight in the Barrens,
you better be ready to finish it,
otherwise you could wind up
with an even bigger problem on your hands.
It's plain to see with Druid of the Plains!
LIV: The Druid of the Plains is a Druid minion with frenzy
that transforms into a 6/7 Kodo with taunt.
-Crikey! -You can say that again!
But please don't.
There's plenty of wildlife in the Barrens
that would be pleased to eat you,
like this Sunscale Raptor!
It's a hunter minion with frenzy
that will shuffle another Sunscale Raptor into your deck
with a permanent +1/+1.
Folks, hold onto your hats! I can't believe this!
I heard he was in the Barrens.
I didn't think the rumors were true!
This minion was prepared for Illidan.
I heard Ragnaros looks under his bed for this minion.
Annoy-o-Tron doesn't bother him.
A minion that needs no introduction,
the myth, the legend...
BOTH: The Peon!
PEON: What do you want?
LIV: Zug-zug, something does need doing!
Don't underestimate the backbone of the Horde.
He's got frenzy.
If he survives damage,
he'll add a random spell from your class into your hand.
Well, can he help us get out of here? This place isn't safe!
Look down there. We're surrounded by Razormane Raiders!
Now you've got it!
The Razormane Raider is a neutral minion
who will attack a random enemy when he goes into a frenzy.
Well, folks, that's just about it for our tour.
Oh, thank Yogg!
No lie, you're the best tour group I've ever had.
Everyone give yourselves a hand!
-Where did you get that? -It's a souvenir!
And we have a special souvenir
for anyone who thinks they can brave the Barrens.
players that log in will receive a free legendary card,
Shadow Hunter Vol'jin!
When you play Vol'jin,
you can swap a minion from your board with one in your hand,
or make your opponent swap one of theirs.
Thanks for joining us.
Please use the handrail as you descend the tower,
exit through the gift shop...
And put yourself to the test.
Do you have what it takes to be
Forged In The Barrens?
I don't think I'm cut out for this, Joe.
What? You're doing great!
Most trainees are eaten on their first day.
Forged In The Barrens.
I've got to say, I love this take on classic Warcraft.
As someone who played not only a lot of Hearthstone,
but a lot of World Of Warcraft,
having things like Mankrik and his wife in there,
that's a call-back I love.
We're huge fans of the Warcraft license, obviously.
Hearthstone has its own characters and its own identity,
but it's very rooted and grounded in Warcraft,
and we want to make sure we're delivering on that
over this next year.
So we're really excited to see how players react to it
and I think this trailer specifically, it's super epic,
and I think it's my favorite of all time.
It's definitely cool to have all the lore and everything,
but I like to play the game, too,
and I'm really excited to see the cards
and also see how those cards interact with the new core set.
Because as someone who has been
a very vocal advocate
of the idea of a core set for a long time...
- Really? - (LAUGHS)
I don't think I've heard Brian talk about that. Have you guys?
-I don't believe you. -No.
But, no, it's going to be really cool
to see what that means and how all these cards interact.
So what can you tell me about that,
as well as the upcoming classic format?
The core set is super interesting.
It's a big revolution for standard
and we're really excited to see the effect it has on the game.
Some things you know and love are still there,
but some things that have become staples
are going to go out, too.
Variety, I think,
is one of the biggest and strongest parts of Hearthstone,
making for different experiences,
and the classic set and the basic set,
they have done awesome work for the game, they really have,
but it's time for something new.
And to give you more information about that now,
we're going to hand over to game designers
Ryan Masterson and Alec Dawson.
Thanks, Ben. Hi, everyone.
I'm Ryan Masterson,
a game designer on the Hearthstone team.
And I'm Alec Dawson, senior game designer on Hearthstone.
We're here to give you a closer look
at the new core set in classic format.
Ryan, give us the rundown. What's the core set?
Well, we'll be replacing our basic and classic card sets
with a single set of 235 cards known as the core set.
This new core set is a revamped take on well-known cards
from basic, classic and wild
that are buffed, revived and revolutionized,
plus the addition of 29 completely new cards.
We're looking to better match the set with modern gameplay.
We also want to provide newer players
with a strong starting point for their collection.
And we want to create a structure that can change
and shake things up from year to year.
One way that we're modernizing the set
is by not carrying forward
some of the weaker and more redundant cards,
like Frostwolf Grunt and Goldshire Footman.
Many of these cards don't serve
a significant purpose for the set.
We also want to make the game more approachable
for returning players
or players stepping into the tavern for the first time.
And this is something we're going to be updating yearly,
so it gives us a lot of flexibility
and tools to work with
when building out new archetypes for our classes.
Access to the core set is completely free, correct?
All earned completely free.
Just like the basic set of cards,
you'll gain access to the core set
as you level up each class in game.
We want to make this easy, even for newer players.
Much like the basic cards,
you'll earn access to all of the cards for each class
by the time you reach level 10 within.
Neutrals will unlock alongside these class levels,
with all of those being unlocked
before even needing to unlock all the class ones.
If you've played Hearthstone before
and already hit these milestones, great!
Your collection will be automatically updated
to include the new core set cards when it launches.
New players will be able to earn the cards
for each class quite easily.
If you're looking for all the details,
please check out the core set blog.
And no matter how you look at it,
there's never been a better time to play Hearthstone.
I think it's time we start looking at
what exactly the core set entails.
A lot of fan favorites are sticking around.
Let's talk about those first.
Fireball and Tirion Fordring.
So, when you're choosing which cards to keep in the core set,
why Fireball, why Tirion Fordring, why something else?
Yeah, there's a lot of favorites
and familiar staples that are sticking around.
We do want to mix things up
and we also want to make sure that each class
is still recognizable and well-defined.
With all that in mind, Fireball and Tirion are examples of cards
that fit well and they're still around.
In total, a little more than half of the reworked core set
are returning basic and classic cards.
And we'll also have some iconic wild favorites
moving into the core set.
For this year, Tomb Pillager and Annoy-o-Tron
are going to be in the core set.
Ryan, when you're looking at which cards to bring
back into standard,
what are you thinking?
There's a lot of reasons that we would want
some of these wild cards to come into the core set.
For starters, we get to see these cards
used in a new context,
something different than when they were originally released.
It's a known card
but in an unknown format and that's a cool dynamic.
Tomb Pillager is a great fit with that in mind
and can potentially mesh with and enable strategies
that will be available in the new standard environment.
We also get to introduce newer players
to some favorites of old.
Maybe a card has great class effects.
Or maybe an older card can help enable new archetypes.
Or in some cases,
maybe they're just timeless pieces of Hearthstone,
and now we get to see it in more Hearthstone games.
I'm so excited for Annoy-o-Tron to come back.
It's one of my favorite cards.
"Hello, hello" as much as we can.
Okay, so as mentioned earlier,
some of the core set also includes familiar faces
with some big updates.
We saw serious value in keeping
some of these cards in standard rotation,
but recognized the need to bus some underperforming cards,
and this new core set was the perfect opportunity for that.
Assassinate, one of rogue's basic cards,
is getting an update.
As well as Menagerie Warden,
a Druid card in wild that's gone into the core set.
it's one of the many simple cards that does a great job
communicating class fantasy and identity.
But it's more than just a little bit weak.
Even as an unconditional baseline effect,
it's never really seen play.
These are the type of buff opportunities
that we've looked for.
We think this will raise the floor of power for new players
and start their collection off on a good footing,
without invalidating cards and strategies from expansion sets.
There are also some wild cards that did something
we wanted to include in the core set,
but in some cases didn't do it well enough
to fit with the modern game.
Menagerie Warden is one of them
and it's been adjusted to be cheaper, slightly smaller
and overall more powerful and fluid.
All these well-known cards will do a great job
of creating building blocks
for the future standard gameplay.
But there's a few big things left to talk about,
including lots of changes in Shaman,
brand new cards, and the revamp of the legendary Dragons.
And let's start with Shaman.
So you told me that Shamans gain a new totem
in their hero power pool,
as well as some changes to cards with Overload.
Shaman is seeing more changes in the core set
than many of the other classes,
including that change to their hero power.
Cards that fit well will remain,
and in some cases have been adjusted
to be more consistent role-players
in Shaman's toolkit.
Among those are the Overload cards Feral Spirit,
Lightning Storm and Earth Elemental,
which have each been buffed.
Shaman's hero power is also seeing a minor change.
It will still summon 1 of 4 random totems,
but Wrath of Air totem will be removed and replaced.
It will be replaced by the new Strength totem,
which can buff your other minions,
including the other basic totems,
and turn them into combat threats to battle enemy ones,
or even threaten the enemy hero
in a way that makes them much less ignorable
as a group than they used to be.
It's so exciting, so many changes coming to Shaman.
I'm especially excited for buffed Lightning Storm.
That sounds great.
I think it's something that players have been asking for
for quite a long time.
But enough about Shaman.
Let's talk about brand new cards
that are coming to core for the first time.
So out with the old and in with the new.
Let's kick it off with the legendary Rogue minion,
RYAN: Vanessa VanCleef is the daughter of Edwin VanCleef
and is taking his place in the core set,
just like she took his place
as the leader of the Defias Brotherhood.
Unlike Edwin, she's not much of a brawler.
She is much more tactical in her approach
and skilled at making poisons,
especially those that attack the mind.
In Hearthstone terms, all of this combines
to create a very powerful
and skill-testing new legendary card,
capable of turning your opponent's power against them.
Now let's take a look at the new Shaman minion, Novice Zapper.
ALEC: An early game spell-damage minion for Shaman.
Novice Zapper plays well with damage spells
when you're going for a lethal
or casting that buffed Lightning Storm.
One of our early goals for the core set
was to give each class a one-drop
that tells you what our classes are about.
So Novice Zapper hits on both
the Overload and spell damage seams going on in Shaman,
making it a really great addition overall for the class.
Kicking it over to Warlock,
we have a new discard inclusion, Felsoul Jailer.
RYAN: The Felsoul Jailer is a new 5 mana Warlock minion
that can lock up an opponent's card
until they can get rid of the Jailer itself.
With the right timing or with clever play,
it can deny an opponent's play long enough to secure a victory.
The last completely new card we have to show today
is the neutral legendary minion, Overlord Runthak.
ALEC: Overlord Runthak is here to rally your minions,
bringing handbuffings energies into the core set.
Handbuffs are something we talk about all the time on the team
as being a very standard part of Hearthstone now.
It's kind of core to the Hearthstone gameplay.
So we wanted to provide a solid card in the core set
for future handbuff decks to use.
This makes it easier for us to design into these strategies
without having to craft new handbuffing cards
every time we want to explore the archetype.
So while all these cards are seriously awesome,
Ben introduced something earlier
that might just take your breath away
and replace it with fire.
We're excited to introduce a completely refreshed look
at the legendary Dragons.
The legendary Dragon cards from the classic set
are an iconic cycle
and some of our favorite Hearthstone cards.
They're big and powerful, but for many of these cards,
they haven't seen play for a long time
and we wanted to breathe some new life into them.
Ysera fits this category
and the new version will give players the opportunity
to more consistently take advantage
of her powerful Dream cards.
In some other cases, the Dragon may have seen more recent play,
but only in very niche deck styles or OTK style decks.
And for Malygos especially,
that's been his entire identity for a long time.
Malygos's new version is more different than the original
but leaves no doubt that he is indeed the very aspect of magic.
Ultimately, we've created new versions
of these legendary Dragon cards
because we think they're awesome.
We hope existing and new players alike
will have all new reasons
to fall in love with these characters
the same way that we have.
Brand new cards, changes to the legendary Dragons,
there's so much coming into the core set, I'm really excited.
But a lot of you are probably thinking,
"What's happening to all my basic and classic cards?"
Okay, so as mentioned earlier,
some of these iconic cards are staying in core,
while others will be rotating into wild.
But there's actually one new place
you'll be able to play them,
our classic format.
While we're looking at Hearthstone's future,
we're also recognizing Hearthstone's past,
and the classic format is our take on that.
With the new classic format,
you'll be able to relive the early Hearthstone experience
with iconic cards and combos from launch.
This mode brings back cards in their original forms,
reverting any alterations so the cards appear
in their original state.
Leeroy Jenkins, back to 4 mana.
Blade Flurry, 2 mana and a hit space.
RYAN: It will be introduced to the game
as part of an overall adjustment to playable formats.
Classic, standard, wild and casual
will be the four main formats available to players.
Classic's reward systems, rank systems and seasons
function the same as standard and wild,
and classic cards will appear in their own section
within the collection manager.
RYAN: With the new classic format,
players will have the opportunity
to travel back in time
and revisit some of Hearthstone's brightest stars
in their earliest incarnations.
And with the new core set, players will earn a card set
curated specifically for today's gameplay experiences.
There's never been a better time to play Hearthstone.
Thank you for hanging out with us today
on our deep dive all about Hearthstone's new core set.
We can't wait to welcome you into the classic format,
and get your hands on the new core set
when the Year of the Gryphon begins.
Wow! There's a lot to talk about coming out of that.
Obviously, some cards going away,
some cards coming in from other sets.
Annoy-o-Tron can say hello once more!
Or twice more, as the case may be.
But obviously I'm someone
who's been super passionate about the idea of a core set
for a very long time, and this kind of hits all the boxes
of keeping the game fresh every year.
This isn't just,
"Okay, we're revamping the classic and basic sets,"
this is, "We are changing
the way that the core experience of Hearthstone works
such that every year it's going to be updated by itself."
One of the things we want to do, as well,
is make sure that we're providing building blocks
throughout the year.
When we think about expansions,
different archetypes for different classes,
there's not always the base cards
for you to have to put into those,
which means we might need to dedicate an entire class's cards
to just one archetype, which isn't the most exciting thing.
Having variety is one of the big strengths of Hearthstone.
Having a core set that we can edit every year,
make new, make fresh,
it gives us extra building blocks.
One of the examples of that
is we have a card which does handbuff for you,
which is a legendary neutral minion.
And that means that you can support other cards
that are playing into the mechanic
without needing to have tons of them in your class set.
Not only that, but this is also something that is free
every single year for every player.
There's obviously been some discussion
regarding the cost
and the difficulty of collecting things in Hearthstone,
and this is a complete refresh of every player's collection
with a bunch of new stuff that they can use every single year.
We've made some big steps over the last couple of years
in terms of approachability of the game.
We made some changes last year in terms of no duplicates.
I think it really makes card packs feel more rewarding
and more generous.
We would encounter these problems where
there are unlucky people out there.
The scale of Hearthstone is so big
that there was some guy out there
who would get ten epics of the same one,
and we wanted to make sure that that person
has a good experience.
We also gave returning players
free decks and those were meta-competitive decks.
So this year, we thought about it,
"What can we do that's more?"
And the core set hits a whole bunch of boxes, like you said.
It makes the game more approachable,
but I think it just makes it more fun
and more engaging for existing players also.
You don't just have the same cards you've been up against
every single year.
There's still some of them, of course.
There's no reason to get rid of Tirion or Fireball,
these are cool cards that
satisfy the fantasy of being a Mage
or this major character in Hearthstone.
But maybe someday they won't be in the core set for a year,
but they can come back, and that's one of the things
that's great about this idea.
Can we take a step back for a second
from the core set specifically
and sort of talk a little bit more
about the collection system at Hearthstone,
because there's obviously been a lot of discussion
in the community,
especially with respect to the Tavern Pass, this past year.
I was wondering if you could share the team's thoughts
on how that has been going and your plans for the future.
So, we've been listening to a lot of player feedback
and we've already made changes to the system.
We've made it give more gold, more rewards in general.
We've also made it easier to complete, as well.
These are really important things.
We want the Tavern Pass to feel great
and for players to really engage with it
and feel rewarded for their time.
So when you look at the end of the pass, post level 50,
it actually requires a lot less experience
per amount of gold that you get.
That's something we're looking at transitioning to
for the majority of the track.
We want players to feel their progression,
get those rewards more quickly.
And also, on top of that, there are these situations
where players just need 10 gold or 20 gold,
and we've been very mindful of that.
That's really great feedback
and we look for that kind of feedback
when we're looking at different forums
and different reactions from our players.
And we want to make sure that those players
that are just missing that little bit of gold
for that extra arena ticket or for that extra pack,
that there's some way for them to get that, too.
So once we've done these changes, as well,
we're really open to your feedback
and we want to hear more from you as our players, as well.
All right, well, obviously tons of changes coming
that I'm super excited about.
And I feel pretty happy to be involved
in announcing this core set
after everything I've done to proselytize for it
over the years.
But there's a bunch of new cards coming from that, as well.
And I expect we'll be seeing them soon?
I mean, we revealed a few of the cards today,
three during the opening ceremony,
some of our legendary Dragons.
Excited for those. A personal favorite of mine.
I love Deathwing. His original classic version is super cool.
And the new version,
it kind of keeps the spirit of the card.
It does something similar but
it's more up-to-date and competitive
for what Hearthstone is today.
So we're really excited to see them,
and we can't wait to show you more,
which is going to be coming very soon, in fact, later this week.
All right, well, I love me some big dragons,
but I also love formats that are not standard, as well.
We have this whole revamp to the core set
and, of course, the classic format coming out.
But there's also the game modes.
Hearthstone has a ton of ways to play now,
so can you talk a little bit about
what's coming to Battlegrounds and Duels in the future?
We've spent a huge amount of effort
investing in our new game modes.
We've really been making them as delivery systems for content.
So we've done that groundwork, and for the Year of the Gryphon,
we're going to be concentrating
on making new content for them.
So to give you more information for one of those game modes now,
we're going throw things over to Alec Dawson
to give you more info about Battlegrounds.
Hey, everyone. I'm back with an update on Battlegrounds.
Looking back, the Year of the Phoenix
was our first full year with Battlegrounds
and it proved to be a wild ride.
From dastardly dragons, to perilous pirates,
to electrifying elementals,
we kept the mode fresh with new heroes,
minions and minion types.
Most recently, we've seen Bob visit the Darkmoon Faire
for a new spell system, the Darkmoon Prizes.
The Year of the Gryphon promises even more shenanigans
as we swing by to visit bartender Bob.
We're committing more than ever
to keeping Battlegrounds a fun and thriving mode
for our players.
There are significant balance updates just around the corner
as we kick off the Year of the Gryphon,
and we can expect to see some of our new mercenaries
make an appearance as playable Battlegrounds heroes.
We've also got plenty of plans for new minion types
It's going to be an absolutely packed year.
So, how about a quick look at our next minion type now?
In 20.2, we'll be introducing
our first Battlegrounds exclusive minion type,
From the magical thorn collars of Bristleback
to the Scouts of Razormane,
this fearless minion type knows how to dish out some hurt.
Oh, yeah, and then there's that guy.
He's just soaking up some rays.
Currently, we're still in development
and finalizing a lot of the details,
but their gameplay will revolve around
generating and taking advantage of their own resource.
They're feeling really unique so far
and we can't wait for you to get your hands on this prickly group
in a few months.
Expect to hear more from us on the updates
coming to Battlegrounds soon.
Well, I'm sure like so many of you at home,
I've been enjoying Battlegrounds a ton
over the past year and a half or so,
and I'm even more excited to see
where it goes in the future with stuff like quilboar.
BEN: I love the quilboars. Their art is awesome.
It's some of the best we've made.
But it isn't the only game mode
that we're putting focus on throughout the year.
Take Duels as an example.
It's getting some major content updates
in the Year of the Gryphon.
We'll be adding more heroes to Duels.
But don't worry, you won't lose any of the progress
or the unlocks you have on your existing characters.
These are just going to be additional characters
like you might be familiar with from Battlegrounds.
Then, of course, there's Book of Heroes,
the single player adventures that players have gone on,
learning the stories of characters like Jaina,
Rexxar, Garrosh, or my boy Uther.
BEN: We're going to continue telling the stories
and finish up the Book of Heroes
with all ten of the main classes of Hearthstone.
And up next is Valeera Sanguinar.
But beyond that, we also have the Book of Mercenaries coming,
which will be telling the story
of those ten characters that we keep mentioning.
They're really grounded in Warcraft lore
and we want to make sure that
they get their own unique moments.
And they'll also be supported by
additional content throughout the game
for the various game modes.
We're really excited to tell their stories
and we hope you're going to love those characters.
BRIAN: We talked a lot about mercenaries,
and we talked about
there being a new game mode called Mercenaries.
So they're obviously going to be involved in that.
-Yep. -What can you tell me about it?
Mercenaries is a big addition coming to Hearthstone.
We kind of have this term internally,
we think about premier gamers.
Battlegrounds, it's a huge part of Hearthstone.
Obviously traditional, standard and wild Hearthstone,
that's the other one.
But that's been there since the start.
Mercenaries is our new kind of premier edition to the game.
We've really put a huge amount of effort into it
and we want to make sure it's an awesome, fun experience.
In terms of what it specifically is,
it takes a lot of different elements from different games.
We're really inspired by our peers
and by all the other games out there.
We love Hearthstone and, as a team,
we play a huge amount of it.
But we also play other games, too.
And we're really inspired by tactical RPGs and by roguelikes.
And Mercenaries takes elements
from both of these kind of categories.
So in terms of the combat and the way it plays out,
you have these characters and these heroes,
and in terms of how you compare it to Hearthstone,
it's almost like having three heroes
instead of your one hero where you play cards.
Your heroes have abilities
and you then decide which abilities to use
against your opponent,
obviously trying to create powerful combos and synergies.
And the way you encounter that combat
is you progress through a map.
And those of you familiar with roguelikes out there,
it's kind of a traditional map
where you progress through different encounters.
Some of them might be combat,
some of them might be other things,
interesting things to do along the way.
The really cool thing about Mercenaries, though,
is that the progression is permanent.
So when you're going through a mission,
you get to keep the experience you've earned
or the items that you've earned.
It's really awesome in the fact that you're playing through,
you might have these really cool characters,
like Ragnaros, Jaina and Illidan in the same team.
It's a pretty crazy combination.
And there's even more wild things than that in there.
But at the end of it,
you get to take all the rewards they earn home with them
and improve them.
So if you struggle and don't complete a level,
then maybe the next time you will
because your characters have improved.
So you talk about how you're going through these missions,
you're leveling up, gaining these rewards,
is this something that uses your collection at all,
or is it completely separate?
It's completely separate.
So you're going to have these characters
and they're kind of outside of
the normal Hearthstone collection,
much like Battlegrounds is outside
of the normal Hearthstone
and it's kind of its own thing.
We really think about Hearthstone
as kind of a platform for card games.
That's where we've been evolving more towards.
And, honestly, going back to even before I joined the team,
Hearthstone's always been that way a little bit.
When you think about arena, wild and standard,
and then single player additions to that, as well,
they're really almost...
there is some interconnectivity.
And I think a good way to look at that right now
is the reward track.
So when you're thinking about Mercenaries in the future,
it's going to link into the reward track.
So we want to make sure that,
however you want to play the game,
that is something we're very committed to,
however you want to play the game,
you're rewarded for what you want to play.
And we made big changes to the reward track
to adhere to that for Battlegrounds players.
You talk about different multiplayer game modes,
the single player game modes.
Is this a single player or a multiplayer game mode?
It's a bit of both.
There's a lot of single player
in terms of when you think about the ratio
of how much you're going to do.
The majority of leveling up
you're going to do with your characters
and the progression is going to be single player.
But we do want there to be multiplayer in it also.
So we hope it will turn out to be
highly skill-based battles between players.
There's a lot of decision-making.
There's definitely less randomness
than in traditional Hearthstone.
There's still going to be some random outcomes.
Like you can imagine a character like Ragnaros,
his iconic deal 8 damage to a random target,
that's something we're going to lean into
with a character like that.
But somebody like Illidan is probably very precise,
has a skill which you know the outcome of it
and how it's going to work out.
We have characters like Jaina and Illidan
and all these in addition to the ten mercenaries,
so there's characters new and old across Warcraft.
So in terms of the old characters,
we've mentioned a few of those already,
but another one that's coming is Tirion Fordring.
He's got a really storied history
and he's wielder of one of the most iconic weapons in the game,
But we also have the mercenaries themselves.
And if you look at the Forged in the Barrens trailer,
the star of the show is Rikara.
She's awesome. She's this powerful orc warrior.
And, of course, she has the best thing, a cute pet dog.
All right. I'm sold. I'm sold. All right.
Well, Mercenaries, it sounds awesome.
When can we learn more? When can we get our hands on this?
So, we're not quite ready to talk about the dates yet,
but we do want to make sure
we release Mercenaries later this year.
And, of course, we're going to be keeping you all up to date
with as much information as we can.
Well, that is the final piece of news
we have to share with you today.
-But it's been a lot. -Yeah.
We have the Year of the Gryphon coming
with Forged in the Barrens.
We have the all new core set, the classic format.
We have updates coming to Duels
and Battlegrounds and Book of Heroes,
the all new Book of Mercenaries,
and then this new Mercenaries format.
There's just a lot going on at Hearthstone this year.
It's a huge amount of stuff.
We've been putting a huge amount of effort into making sure
there's always new things for you to come and do
whenever you want to play Hearthstone.
Speaking of which, make sure to log in today
to claim your free legendary for Forged in the Barrens,
Shadow Hunter Vol'jin.
And visit the shop to claim your 30 years of Blizzard card back.
That card back is really unique.
It's pretty different than anything we've done,
so please let us know if you like it.
Man, this has been seriously awesome.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And thank you to the rest of the Hearthstone team
for making this all possible.
Really appreciate it.
And thank you so much to you, all of our players.
We're really happy to be able to share
all of the exciting news coming for Hearthstone.
Make sure to stay tuned
for our card reveals coming later in the season,
and later this week, for all of our core set cards.
Well, my favorite, card reveals.
Anyway, I'm sure you can't wait for that at home.
Thank you all so much for watching this deep dive
and we'll see you all in the Year of the Gryphon.