IRVINE, Calif.—February 19, 2021—Hearthstone® will soar into a new era in the coming weeks with the start of the Year of the Gryphon, which is set to introduce large-scale changes, hundreds of new cards, and bring thrilling new ways to play. The Year of the Gryphon will lift off with its first new expansion Forged in the Barrens™, inspired by the iconic World of Warcraft® locale where millions of brave Horde adventurers cut their teeth (or tusks) and began forging their legends.
Coinciding with the start of the Year of the Gryphon is the launch of the new Hearthstone Core Set, which replaces the existing Basic and Classic sets with a curated selection of 235 cards (including new and previously released cards), reinvigorating the game for both existing players and newcomers. Launching alongside the Core set is the new Classic format, which will allow players to craft decks and compete using Hearthstone’s original sets of cards, as they were in 2014.
Coming later this year is Hearthstone Mercenaries, an all-new single-player and competitive game mode that invites players to assemble and upgrade teams from among Azeroth’s mightiest heroes and villains and put them to the test in an everchanging series of engaging tactical battles.
Players will see their mercenaries gain experience, equipment, new abilities, and evolve into more powerful versions of themselves while battling through highly replayable, randomly generated roguelike missions.
“The Year of the Gryphon will be yet another exciting and eventful year filled with new content and new experiences in Hearthstone,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “Forged in the Barrens will take us to a place straight out of World of Warcraft that’s dear to us and to many of our players, the new Core set will continue to shake up the game on an annual basis, and Hearthstone Mercenaries and the new Classic mode will introduce even more awesome ways to play.”
Forged in the Barrens Expansion Set
Forged in the Barrens hearkens back to World of Warcraft’s roots, introducing 135 all-new cards inspired by the characters and stories that define this beloved, hardscrabble setting. In addition to new keywords and game mechanics, Forged in the Barrens will introduce 10 Legendary Mercenary minions, each representing a different Hearthstone class, whose stories will play out across the Year of the Gryphon—including in the upcoming new game mode Hearthstone Mercenaries.
Starting today, players can prepurchase the Forged in the Barrens Mega Bundle (USD $79.99), which comes with 85 card packs from the expansion (five of which are Golden Card Packs, which contain all Golden cards), and two random Golden Legendary cards; the Hamuul Runetotem card back and alternate Hero; and perks for Hearthstone Battlegrounds that last until the next expansion. Also available is the Forged in the Barrens Pre-Purchase Bundle (USD $49.99), which includes 60 packs from the expansion, two random Legendary Cards, and the Hamuul Runetotem card back.
Hearthstone Mercenaries is an upcoming all-new single-player and competitive game mode in which players collect mighty characters new and old from across the Warcraft® universe and level them up in exciting tactical battles. Mercenaries is scheduled for release later this year, with more information on the mode to be shared closer to launch.
Hearthstone Core Set & Classic Format
The Hearthstone Core Set will arrive alongside the launch of the Year of the Gryphon. Free to all players to unlock as they level up and updated every year, the Core Set replaces the existing Basic and Classic cards with a curated collection of 235 new and existing cards meant to keep Hearthstone fresh and provide an approachable on-ramp for new players. The Core set will consist of 160 class cards and 75 neutral cards, among them reimagined Legendary minion versions of Warcraft’s most fearsome dragons, including Deathwing, Malygos, and Ysera.
Also coming with the Year of the Gryphon is the Hearthstone Classic format, which invites players to experience the game as it was when it launched in 2014. Sitting alongside Standard and Wild, the Classic format will be fully supported, with its own rewards and rankings, and will include all of Hearthstone’s original cards as they were in the game’s early days.
Visit www.playhearthstone.com for more details on Forged in the Barrens, Hearthstone Mercenaries, and the upcoming Core Set.
With more than 100 million players worldwide, Hearthstone is Blizzard Entertainment’s internationally acclaimed, free-to-play digital card game designed for novice and veteran card-slingers alike. Players can choose from 10 powerful hero classes and customize their decks with minions, spells, and weapons based on the unique fantasy of the Warcraft® universe. Featuring a variety of game modes ranging from epic head-to-head duels to story-driven Solo Adventures, Hearthstone offers a vibrant and rewarding experience stacked with strategy, personality, and fun. Hearthstone is available globally for Windows and Mac PCs; Windows, iOS, and Android tablets; and iOS, and Android mobile phones.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone, Overwatch®, the Warcraft, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multifranchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-three #1 games* and numerous Game of the Year awards. The company's online gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
*Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distributors.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements:
Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the availability, pricing, features, and functionality of Hearthstone®, the Forged in the Barrens™ expansion, Hearthstone Mercenaries™, and the Year of the Gryphon, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.