Hearthstone’s next expansion pack is coming Nov. 17, and a new one-on-one mode called Duels is available now, Blizzard announced Thursday morning in a lengthy fall reveal livestream. The company also showed off a lot of new quality-of-life additions coming to the digital card game, like better in-game rewards and evolving hero portraits that players can unlock and level up.
The next Hearthstone expansion is a creepy, scary adventure to the Darkmoon Faire called, appropriately, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire. The Faire has been a mainstay in World of Warcraft for some time; it’s a place where players can collect cosmetics, get their fortune told, and win prizes via little games. It’s also a source of much mystery in the game, with NPCs hinting that they’ve been around since the ancient days.
In Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, it looks like things will be a lot less subtle. The new keyword is Corrupt. As an example, if you hold a 5 mana Fleethoof Pearltusk in your hand, and you play a card that is 6 mana or above, the Fleethoof Pearltusk will Corrupt and gain +4/+4. Also, everyone’s infested with Old God eyeballs and tentacles, and a whole lot of this card art has people screaming and gnashing their teeth.
All four Old Gods from World of Warcraft show up in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, which is nice for fans of their particular brand of Cthulhu-esque creepiness, since the heroes of Azeroth wiped them out in the MMORPG.
Achievements and progression
Hearthstone players will soon have access to achievements in categories like Collection, Progression, and Adventures. Killing your opponent with a particular card, or wiping a board full of minions with one clever spell, can earn players achievements and advance their overall progress. As an example, if a player is able to collect 135 cards from a particular expansion, they can unlock a special Coin cosmetic.
Players can also check their Rewards Track throughout an expansion, picking up nice benefits like gold, cosmetic card backs, random legendary cards, or new portraits for the game’s classic heroes.
Wizard duels are in Hearthstone now, and they look like a big improvement over the game’s existing one-on-one format. Duels is a player-versus-player dungeon run that builds off the format of the solo adventures. Players start with a small deck and face off against various teachers at the in-universe Scholomance Academy. With each win, players can pick up new cards and powerful in-game tools to use in successive encounters.
Unlike in the single-player adventures, Duels players can build their deck out of their own cards after they select a hero and signature treasure. The mode will launch with access to the Scholomance Academy, Curse of Naxxramas, One Night in Karazhan, and Classic sets. When Madness at the Darkmoon Faire is released, it’ll be added to the list along with Whispers of the Old Gods. Early access on Duels is now live.
From here on out, every expansion will have a “mini-set” that arrives halfway through the expansion’s cycle, with an additional set of new cards that help balance and round out the original roster. These mini-sets can be bought or crafted.
Madness at the Darkmoon Faire launches on Nov. 17, along with the first update to Duels.