It has been a while since Blizzard announced Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft‘s most recent expansion, Journey to Un’Goro, to a lot of fanfare. That expansion has been widely received as a breath of fresh air into a game that had previously struggled to please its playerbase, with most prior criticisms stemming from the fact that Blizzard had based too much of the online card game on random effects. Journey to Un’Goro embraced card design that let players make choices rather than rely on chance, and that change has seen Hearthstone rebound significantly as a result.
Now, four months after the reveal and rollout of Un’Goro, Blizzard has announced the newest Hearthstone expansion, and it is a set that fans have been clamoring for ever since the game’s very first adventure featured the icy Naxxramas quite heavily. Hearthstone‘s newest expansion will be called Knights of the Frozen Throne, and as the name implies, it will revolve almost entirely around the Lich King and his army of Death Knights.
For those unfamiliar with Warcraft lore, the Lich King is the demonic combination of Prince Arthas and the spirit of a shaman named Ner’zhul. The Lich King is a beloved villain in the lore that Hearthstone is based on, and fans have been asking for Death Knights ever since the game made it out of beta years ago. Now that Hearthstone has hit over 70 million players, it seems Blizzard has finally decided it’s time to revisit one of the most iconic characters in Warcraft history.
Interestingly, however, it appears Blizzard will not be using the new expansion as a chance to introduce a new hero class into the game. Rather, Blizzard has announced that every existing hero will get a corresponding card that is a Death Knight version of themselves, and that each Death Knight card will replace the player’s current hero and introduce a new power as a mechanic as well.
The announcement also revealed that Blizzard has taken fan complaints over pricing to heart – the new adventure, which is comprised of eight missions, will be entirely free to play and reward player with free packs and a random new Death Knight legendary just for completing them. That’s a dramatic change from the cost of Hearthstone in recent expansions, and it could bring even more players back to experience the changes that the Lich King and Death Knights will bring to the immensely popular online card game.
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne will be out in early August, and will be available on PC, Mac, and iOS and Android mobile devices.