Blizzard made the official announcement for Hearthstone‘s Year of the Raven yesterday and fans are already getting charged up at news of new Hall of Fame entrants, an in-game Tournament mode and a brand new Druid hero. One last seemingly inconspicuous teaser upon which Hearthstone fans are speculating with greater fervor than anything else, though?
The three new Hearthstone expansions hitting in 2018 (and glimpsed in the screenshot above); according to some discerning eyes and minds in the fandom, the artwork/design surrounding each placeholder are rife with clues towards likely themes and focal points.
Although more definitive answers surrounding the cryptic card-backs and new expansions will be revealed during the official Hearthstone Twitch.tv stream on March 2nd with Game Director Ben Brode and Lead Producer Yong Woo — let’s take a look at some of the best fan hypotheses anyways because that’s where the fun is:
The first expansion will be Druid-based,” according to Reddit user Kaellian. “Emerald Dream/Moonglade, [specifically]. The vines are a give away that this set will be based on Druid’s lore, and Lunara [the new Druid hero] is the perfect gift to introduce us to the “nature/wild” setting.”
The Emerald Dreamway.
“The green gem at the center make me think of the Emerald Dream, but it could also take place in Moonglade, in Hyjal near the World tree (Well of Eternity), or something similar. We might also get to see Furbolg, who are generally involved in those areas. There is most likely going to be some corruption involved, since those vines aren’t particularly friendly looking, but the druid-theme will be very present no matter what.”
Update: According to this Reddit thread, the domain name CenarionCircle.com has been registered by Blizzard and was updated on November 26th, strongly suggesting that the next expansion will be Cenarion Circle/Moonglade based.
Expansion #1’s foresty turquoise-greens could also symbolize another well-known forest from World of Warcraft lore. “The first one reminds me more of Terokkar Forest,” says Reddit user Adernain. “I would love an Outland expansion.”
Redditor NoveauRoman agrees. “My money is on Terokkar Forest for the first expansion as well. It has the best connection to Ravens and the Arakkoa as well as being a forest with a color scheme similar to the first graphic.”
One final, more “out there” guess for Expansion #1? Darkmoon Faire.
“Magister[‘s] Terrace was merely a set back, and Kael’thas is back in Tempest Keep,” Kaellian says. “The purple energy (Twisting Nether) scream “Outland”, but more particularly the region around the Tempest Keep.”
“This would be a new set based on a famous raid tier with an infamous boss. It’s not the only place where you can see the Twisting Nether, but it’s by far the most popular one.”
Reddit user captain_dark has an equally interesting hypothesis. “Expansion 2 is definitely Ethereals, just look at their portals. It has the same rings around the inside.”
Another look at the Ethereal’s portal, whose color scheme definitely matches the second cover.
“Troll-themed expansion,” says Kaellian. “Like people pointed out under, the war paint, and aesthetics are most likely troll-related. You can actually see Troll’s tusks, fangs and teeth on the bottom half of the cover. The actual gem in the center is a mystery to me, but in the context it could involve the shadow land vs living world (teal is often linked to death in WoW, and red is the color of life).”
The mysterious gem in the center confusing Kaellian represents something else to Redditor mkl122788. “Vashj’ir/Naga – This one is the hardest to discern, but the image reminds me of a home of magical water embedded in rock, the other outcome of the well. Azshara, the Naga, and various other creatures in the areas as well as the second part of the raiding tiers in outland, created by Medivh’s portal.”
Ruins of Vashj’ir.
An underwater theme? Ruins of Vashj’ir? Or maybe something similar to Neptulon the Tidehunter Elemental Sundering concept set?
Year of the Raven significance?
The zodiacal constellation sign of the Raven bears importance as well — a connection to the face of Hearthstone‘s One Night in Karazhan expansion (and 8-mana legendary card), alternate Mage hero Medivh.
“Medivh is considered highly related to ravens,” explains Redditor mkl122788. “He was the one who opened the portal to Outland. That could be the reason this is called the year of the raven…the outcomes caused by Medivh’s actions. One thing to consider is Medivh, the raven, was corrupted before birth by possession by Sargeras, who is responsible for the War of the Ancients.”
Will the Year of the Raven further the powerful mage’s narrative or is too soon after Medivh’s One Night in Karazhan spotlight to have another expansion center around him?
What do you think the three new Hearthstone expansions will be based on the teaser art? Which cards would you most look forward to in an Emerald Dream set? An Etheral-based one? How about a troll-centric expansion? Sound off in the comments.