Hearthstone just keeps getting bigger. Today Blizzard announced a big addition to its digital card game, in the form of a brand new expansion called "The Grand Tournament." The expansion takes place during the Argent Tournament of Warcraft lore, though director Eric Dodds says it will be a much sillier take on the event compared to what series fans are used to.
"The Grand Tournament" adds a new board to play on, as well as some powerful new cards to add to your deck — including a pirate riding a parrot. According to Dodds, one of the big changes in the expansion is a focus on cards that change the abilities of your hero character. All told the expansion will include 132 new cards (you can see a few examples below). Players will be able to pre-purchase a bundle of 50 new card packs starting next week for $49.99, while "The Grand Tournament" itself will launch next month.
Hearthstone first launched in beta last January, and since then the game has grown significantly. Initially available only on PC, it's since expanded to tablets and smartphones, with regular content updates adding new cards, features, and even a single-player mode. The first full expansion, "Goblins vs. Gnomes," launched in December and added 120 new cards to the game. Most recently, Blizzard updated the game with a fourth game mode, called "tavern brawl", while also adding customizable character skins and card backs.
Blizzard's focus on keeping Hearthstone fresh shouldn't be too surprising; at last count the free-to-play game had more than 30 million players. In June, the developer followed up Hearthstone with the release of another free game, Heroes of the Storm, a strategy title that goes up against some of the biggest, most lucrative games in the world, including League of Legends and Dota 2.