As Blizzard’s digital card game Hearthstone heads into its fourth year, the experience is set to get a bit more social. Today, Blizzard revealed an upcoming feature for the game that will allow Hearthstone players to create their own in-game tournaments for competing with friends. The developer expects a beta version of the feature to launch within the next few months.
Hearthstone already has a robust competitive scene, with the Hearthstone Championship Tour representing the top tier for professional players. The new tournament feature is set to address a different audience. Blizzard says it’s aimed at more casual players and smaller communities who want to set up tournaments to play together. “There wasn’t really a feature in-game that supported this [before],” the developer explains. The new feature is being designed so that it’s simple to use; organizers simply input parameters, like the number of players or acceptable cards, and the game does the rest.
The new tournaments are part of a broader strategy for 2018 that Blizzard has dubbed the “Year of Raven.” It will include three new expansions for the game, the first of which will be teased “real soon,” and each one will introduce new single-player content to the game as well. There are also more technical changes coming, including a new druid hero and a change to the way ranked progression works. Meanwhile, the championship tour is being expanded, according to Blizzard, and will now make stops in more countries.
Hearthstone will celebrate its fourth anniversary on March 11th. Last year, Blizzard revealed that the game now had reached 70 million total players.