Hearthstone update includes Sylvannas hero portrait, Echo mechanic rework, shop overhaul

                                                                                                                                  Photos: Blizzard Entertainment
▲ Sylvanas Windrunner is coming to Hearthstone as a hero portrait.


With all eyes in the Hearthstone community focused on the Descent of Dragons expansion launching on Tuesday, December 10, the development team shared a blog post Thursday afternoon detailing additional content coming next week as well.


For all announced information relating to the auto-chess game mode, Battlegrounds, which includes a trio of baddies coming as selectable heroes, a rework to existing ones, balance changes to a powerful card and more, check out our story here.


A small bit of news is the announcement of the final Year of the Dragon solo adventure, Galakrond's Awakening, which is coming out in January and will allow players to collect 35 new cards. According to Blizzard, more information will be coming in the near future.


Now to the juicy stuff.


In-game shop overhaul


In the blog post, the Hearthstone development team announced that the in-game shop where players can purchase hero portraits, card packs and expansions is being redesigned to "improve navigation and accessibility." The changes, going live on December 9, will allow players to find the above content in a more organized manner. Additionally, Adventures and Wild Card Packs are being added with the option to be purchased using gold. 


▲ The High Priestess of Elune has returned.

Ever since Tyrande Whisperwind arrived and left, the community has been awaiting her return. The development team has announced she would be returning at some point on social media platforms but has never provided a specific date or timeframe other than "soon." Well, soon is now. On December 10, Tyrande, the Priest hero portrait, will be free for everyone in the shop. All players have to do is log in and claim her along with a special Card Back.


As if that's not enough, in addition to Dame Hazelbark (the new Druid hero portrait) coming with the launch of the expansion in a Winter Veil bundle, Sylvanas Windrunner will be making her presence felt as well. For the price of $9.99, players will be able to purchase the Banshee Queen as a playable Hunter portrait and unique Card Back.



To make room for the two ladies joining the shop, Magni, Medivh and Alleria will be rotating out for the time being. Currently, the three alternative hero portraits are on sale and they may return at a later date if players can't scoop them up now.


Echo mechanic rework


Ever since he was introduced into the game, SN1P-SN4P has been causing Wild players immense frustration and a feeling of helplessness. Due to the ramped-up power level of that game mode, players were able to abuse SN1P-SN4P's Magnetic and Echo mechanics to easily one-shot opponents with the help of older cards. After months and months and months of outcry from the Blizzard community, the development team is reworking the Echo mechanic to improve the overall health of the game.

▲ SN1P-SN4P will now be less frustrating to play against.


According to the development team, copies of cards with the Echo keyword can no longer cost less than one. As a result, full Arcane Dust refunds will be available for the following cards until December 19: SN1P-SN4P, Glinda Crowskin and Sound the Bells.


A statement was issued as well to go along with the changes:


This change is targeted at a very popular deck in Wild that utilizes SN1P-SN4P along with the Echo mechanic to generate extremely large minions or near infinite damage. This change should put a stop to that interaction while having very limited impact on the average use case for Echo cards. Glinda, SN1P-SN4P, and Sound the Bells were the three cards that took advantage of generating 0-cost copies through Echo, so we've opted to refund all three of those cards as a result.


That small "hooray!" you heard in the distance was the sound of thousands of Wild players around the world simultaneously yelling out at once after reading the news.


Only a few days remain until Descent of Dragons is live and the Hearthstone team is looking to make the content release as big as possible for everyone involved.

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