Hearthstone to add four new Classic cards, but in-game tournaments 'on hold'

The first "In the Works" update for Blizzard's big CCG Hearthstone has provided some insight into what's coming over the next few months, including improvements for new players, some fairly nebulous thoughts about future changes to Wild, and the addition of four new Class cards to the Classic set. Less cheeringly, it's also brought news that in-game tournaments, which has been announced previously, are now on hold for the foreseeable future. 

First things first, the new cards: Blizzard explained that the yearly refresh that sees cards rotated out of the Standard format has also seen several class cards, (which otherwise remain playable in perpetuity), sent to the Hall of Fame, meaning they're only useable in the badlands of Wild. That has left some classes a little short of their allotted number of cards. The addition of four new ones, which will become available to craft or open from Classic packs next month, is intended to "fill the gap".

"Looking forward, we expect more cards to join the Hall of Fame," Blizzard wrote. "There are also still some gaps in Classic where neutral Legendary cards joined the Hall of Fame, so we’re considering adding some new cards to the Classic set in the future."

The plan to add in-game tournament support, announced earlier this year, has been shelved because it was having the opposite of its intended effect: Rather than improving the experience for everyone, "the implementation we’d arrived at catered to a very specific audience of players," Blizzard explained.

"Ultimately, we were forced to conclude that we needed to think about how and where we want to improve Hearthstone’s overall social experience before we can tackle adding a satisfying and robust implementation of In-game Tournaments that all players can enjoy. As developers, sometimes we have to make the difficult decision to step away from a design that isn’t working. We no longer felt that the end result would deliver on everyone’s expectations or the high standards we have for Hearthstone."

It's not necessarily a permanent end to the idea—Blizzard said it wants to take another look at in-game tournament support sometime down the road—but for now, "the feature is on hold for the foreseeable future." It may become more of a priority once Artifact is out, however, as Valve has already lined up a $1 million tournament for 2019 that's attracting a lot of interest from pro players.

The "new player experience" will also be extended, from rank 25 to rank 50, and accordingly once a player hits rank 25 they cannot drop below it. "We hope this gives players who are new to Hearthstone a little more time to get used to the Tavern, and we’ll also be giving them a few free gifts along the way to help them get up to speed," Blizzard said. Existing players who are starting new accounts will have the option to skip all that, but will also miss out on the loot that comes with it if they do.

Despite the tweaks and tuning, Blizzard is quite happy with the current state of Hearthstone. The post-Boomsday Project meta is shaking out nicely—"Overall we're happy with the excellent diversity of decks we're seeing at all levels of Ranked Play," Blizzard said—and while it's monitoring the status of Giggling Inventor, there are no immediate plans to nerf it. It sounds like the Wild format could be in for some changes, however: Blizzard invited players to share their thoughts on Wild as it stands, and what they'd like to see done with it in the future.

Blizzard also confirmed that the Halloween-themed Hallow's End event will return on October 17, with a Dual Class Arena, a Tavern Brawl against the Headless Horseman, seasonally appropriate décor, and some new treats, including a new Paladin Hero. Details will be announced as the event draws closer.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.