Future Hearthstone Expansions – What Can We Expect?

World of Warcraft (and I’m not talking about the game here) is really extensive. It’s being developed for over 20 years now. Sure, there are some inconsistencies and some parts of the lore are commonly changed, but it’s still one of the biggest and most interesting fantasy universes. Hearthstone team has a lot of material […]

Introduction

World of Warcraft (and I’m not talking about the game here) is really extensive. It’s being developed for over 20 years now. Sure, there are some inconsistencies and some parts of the lore are commonly changed, but it’s still one of the biggest and most interesting fantasy universes. Hearthstone team has a lot of material to draw the inspiration from. We’ve already seen a few iconic places (Naxxramas, Blackrock Mountain), not always the way they were in the previous games or books, often with Hearthstone’s own twists and humor (for example a new, disco version of Karazhan or “alternative universe” of WotG), but it’s still obvious that we will see more places and themes from the source material.

Newest expansion will most likely be announced on upcoming Blizzcon. But what can we exactly expect? It’s hard to say at this point. With so many options to choose from, it’s nearly impossible to predict what theme they will pick now. But there are some things I, probably like many other players, would definitely love to see.

And so I want to talk a bit about potential future expansions. What are the interesting themes or places Blizzard still hasn’t covered? Would it fit an adventure or a larger expansion? And what potential cards or mechanics could we see in those? Of course, this is all just a theorycrafting and guessing, but I still hope that I’ve got you interested.

P.S. If you’ll like this one, I can also write part two, as there is still much more to talk about!

Pirates/Sailors

So far, Pirates are a very unexplored theme in Hearthstone. There are some Pirates – we’re getting a Pirate or two every now and then, after all. But they don’t feel very thematic and don’t form a good deck. Two biggest Pirate classes are Rogue and Warrior. And I’d say that Rogue is the only class which people have managed to make a semi-viable Pirate deck with, but now out-of-Standard Ship’s Cannon was a big reason why the deck was even remotely successful.

But hey, Pirate Warrior exists! Yes, Aggro Warrior is sometimes called Pirate Warrior, because it runs some Pirates. But that’s not a Pirate deck. It’s an Aggro deck that happens to run Pirates because they are strong and synergize with their main damage source – weapons. The deck isn’t built around Pirate synergies or anything like that. For example, we don’t call Aggro Hunter a “Beast Hunter”, even though he runs a lot of good Beasts. That’s exactly how Pirates work right now – if the card is strong individually (e.g. Swashburlgar or N’Zoth’s First Mate) it might be played, but it has nothing to do with the Pirate tribe. And so I’d like to see more Pirate synergies – definitely more Midrange Pirates and ways to combo them with each other.

Of course, Pirate decks will always be the weapon decks. So what about non-weapon classes? Only a part of the expansion should be Pirate-themed, the rest might be based around sailors, ships, seas, islands, water, treasure chests… I think this would work better as the expansion. There is a lot to explore, because we have A LOT of famous Pirate Captains or Admirals in Warcraft lore.

I’d also love to see more Discover cards – maybe some kind of treasure chests I’ve already mentioned? It’s one of the best mechanics in the game and it would fit flavor-wise too. I have a card similar to Elise Starseeker in my mind. Something that’s good for Control, grindy games. A minion with decent on curve stats, but nothing special. And he shuffles a Treasure Map to your deck. Treasure map shuffles a Treasure itself. And the Treasure is “Discover a powerful artifact” – you get three choices, each of them would have some very strong effect. That would give extra value in Control matchups (Elise will soon be gone after all), without hurting the Aggro/Midrange matchups that much. If that’s too similar to what we have already, maybe think of something different, but I think that Elise’s mechanic is really interesting and I’d like to see more stuff like that in the future (losing the tempo for more value in the future).

Pirate is the only tribe in the game that didn’t get too much love so far – every other tribe had a competitively viable deck at some point (even Murlocs). And I’d love to see that changed.

Zul’Gurub/Jungle

Zul’Gurub is the capital of Jungle trolls and one of the raids in WoW. Flavor-wise, whole Stranglethorn Vale was one of my favorite places. Dense jungle, ancient ruins, hunting exotic animals (and some Piloted Shredders too, but we want to forget about those). But I think that Zul’Gurub would make for an amazing Adventure.

Yes, there are other Troll tribes (quite a lot of them, actually) and interesting Troll dungeons/raids- Zul’Aman (Forest Trolls) and Zul’Farrak (Desert Trolls). Not to mention all the corrupted/undead tribes. It would be very possible to base the whole expansion around Trolls, their tribes and their cities (or well, ruins), but I like the jungle setting most.

The raid was easily big enough to make a 4 wings Adventure in Hearthstone. Cards from the adventure could be centered around trolls, jungle monsters (tiger, panther, raptor, hydra), voodoo magic/Shadow Hunters (they’re a big part of troll culture). In the raid itself, there were 5 High Priests and each one of them was an Avatar of a certain animal – snake, spider etc. That could make for an interesting boss fights during the adventure and maybe even great idea for a card mechanic – something like Druid’s choose one (well, it actually COULD be Druid’s Choose One card). They could come in their troll form or animal form, each would have different stats and effects. And let’s not forget the ultimate card from the expansion. Troll God, Hakkar the Soulflayer, could be an epic 10 mana Legendary.

Besides cards themed around the instance, they could add a few Stranglethorn Vale-themed cards. For example King Bangalash, the great white tiger roaming hills of Stranglethorn that you’re sent to kill by Hemet Nesingwary (or well, his son, since the papa is hunting elsewhere).

It would also be a great opportunity to develop the Shadow Priest theme of Anduin. Since Vol’jin was the Priest card, even though he’s not technically a Priest, adding more Shadow/voodoo cards like that to Priest would be possible. With more shadowy, aggressive cards Priest might build a proactive Midrange deck that would be really fun experience and maybe even a saving grace for the weakest class in the game.

Burning Legion

Another theme that fits the Expansion much more than the Adventure. Burning Legion is the motif of the latest WoW expansion, but we haven’t gotten much of it yet in Hearthstone. For those not familiar with the name, Burning Legion = basically all kinds of Demons and corrupted things that want to destroy the world(s). Okay, I know that it was a pretty shallow explanation lore-wise, but I hope that you get the point – they’re the ultimate baddies.

Burning Legion expansion would have a gloomy feeling, something similar to the Old Gods, but unlike the “madness” and “darkness” of the Old Gods, this one could be described by the “destruction” and “fire”. A lot of Demons, Infernals, Fel magic (including minions corrupted by Fel energy). And most importantly – Demons that aren’t Warlock-restricted. For the very long time we only had Illidan Stormrage, more recently Prince Malchezaar has joined The Betrayer, but it’s still only two of them. Don’t get me wrong, Demons should remain as the Warlock’s domain and he should get even more of those, but some of them just don’t fit into the Warlock class.

When it comes to cards, I’d love to see notable Burning Legion leaders like Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, Mannoroth or Tichondrius. Anyone familiar with Warcraft games should know those, as they were important characters in the lore (they were all present in W3 as far as I remember). Maybe even Sargeras himself. I mean, in terms of power level he’s far, FAR above anything we have in the game right now, but game isn’t really canonical anyway, so I don’t think that tuning him down is a big deal (like you know, Variann Wrynn is on a similar power level to the Old Gods and stronger than Ragnaros the Firelord). Those all would make for a great high cost Legendaries, similar to the Old Gods. And as we’ve learned from those – it’s possible to make a strong late game Legendary without it being too slow, too situational or just straight up useless.

I’m not really familiar with what’s going in the WoW lore right now, but I bet there would be a lot more ideas to take straight from the other Blizzard’s game. So Burning Legion could be an awesome, big expansion back for Hearthstone.

Caverns of Time

When I’ve first visited Caverns of Time in WoW, I was amazed by the idea. From what I remember the instances turned out to be pretty boring, but the fact that you were traveling back in time to revisit certain key events (and fight with those who try to disrupt them) was really cool. And so I’d like to see a similar thing in Hearthstone.

That would make an interesting adventure. Each wing would be one important episode from the past. You’d fight against someone who tries to change the outcome of those events, chasing him through time and space. In the end, you’d face him as a final boss of the whole adventure, similarly to Arch-Thief Rafaam in League of Explorers.

When it comes to the cards, I’d love to see a new mechanic that has something to do with time. Maybe rewinding the time? It’s cool, but it might be too complicated. Or have some cards that are similar to MTG’s Suspend mechanic. When you cast them, instead of immediately being played (just like normal cards), you have to wait X turns instead to get the minion or the effect in play. The card couldn’t be interacted with until the timer is over and it gets onto the board. The minions/effects would be stronger or cheaper than normal, but you’d have to wait X turns before they come into play + the enemy would know what’s going to happen. So while strong, it would be immediate tempo loss to gain tempo in the future + your enemy would know what and when comes into the play, so he could prepare and play around it. If balanced well, that would be an awesome mechanic in HS too.

We could see some Dragons from Bronze and Infinite Dragonflights – the first one watches over time (Nozdormu is their leader, actually) and the second one tries to disrupt the flow of time. It would also be a great opportunity to add Chromie to Hearthstone – she’s one of my favorite Warcraft characters and she was added to HotS quite recently too. Maybe a remade Nozdormu too? Like they did with the Deathwing, Dragonlord. Or the “corrupted”, future version of Nozdormu – Murozond (yeah… that’s serious). Besides Dragons, we could get some characters from the past, the ones you’ve encountered in the instances in WoW, for example – Meathook from Culling of Stratholme or Helcular from Escape from Durnholde Keep (you didn’t fight against him, but he was there). Not important characters, but we have a lot of those in Hearthstone as let’s say “fillers”.

Time travel is always interesting if done right. And I think that there is a huge opportunity to do it right in Hearthstone, especially since Team 5 doesn’t even have to keep things canonical and can easily create alternate time lines.

Closing

There are definitely more places and themes I’d like to see as Hearthstone Expansions or Adventures. There is so much to explore, especially since Hearthstone Team might even create original HS content like they did with The Grand Tournament or League of Explorers (both are only loosely based on the lore). One thing we can be sure about is that they won’t run out of ideas any time soon.

What would YOU like to see as a future Hearthstone expansion? Do you have any ideas or predictions? If yes, share them in the comments!

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