This page aims to chart the major events of Hearthstone, from its initial conception to the introduction of the latest feature.
For a timeline of Hearthstone's meta history, see Meta#History.
June or earlier
- Team 5 is created, and development of Hearthstone begins. Ben Brode states that his first records are from June 2008, but that "full-on development didn't start for a while after that".
Deadlines for StarCraft II cause all of Team 5 except Eric Dodds and Ben Brode to be reassigned to that game for around a year. Dodds and Brode begin prototyping, rapidly iterating through myriad designs.
Dodds and Brode produce the first working version of Hearthstone, using Flash. The rest of Team 5 return from working on StarCraft II to begin developing Hearthstone from this basic prototype into the full game.
Following mixed responses from within the company to Hearthstone's initial announcement, in December 2012 the game achieves "broad exposure" across Blizzard, with a substantial portion of employees playing Hearthstone, and beginning to get "really excited" for the game.
- Hearthstone is first announced to the world at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX)
- A playable alpha is presented at the expo
- Planned release date of late 2013
June 22nd - Patch 220.127.116.1188
- The quest system is added
- The game's closed beta begins in the Americas region
- The game's closed beta test begins in the Europe region
- Full-size Hearthstone game boards are added to World of Warcraft, with NPCs appearing to play the game
October 2nd - Patch 18.104.22.16890
- All player accounts are wiped as part of the pre-announced beta reset
- Maximum level increased to 60
- Gold earned for winning games increased from 5 gold for 5 wins (1 gold per win) to 10 gold for 3 wins (3.33 gold per win)
- Toasts are introduced for friends lists
November - BlizzCon 2013
- The first Innkeeper's Invitational is held, featuring 8 well-known Hearthstone streamers
- Adventures are announced
- Elite Tauren Chieftain is introduced
December 10th - Patch 22.214.171.12417
- The new Ranked system is implemented, replacing medals with minion-based named ranks
- All golden cards are now animated
- The amount of games playable in Arena is increased from 9 to 12
- The ability to abandon quests is introduced. Prior to this, quests had to be completed or would remain indefinitely, preventing players from gaining new quests.
- The Players Near Me and Recently Played Opponent features are added
- The game enters its open beta phase, available in all regions by January 23rd
- For the first time, the game is fully available for all players
- Hearthstone is released!
- Immediately preceded by Patch 126.96.36.19944
- Golden heroes and card backs added to the game
- The Ranked system now features only a soft-reset at the start of each season
- The reconnection feature is added. Prior to this there was no way to reconnect to a game in progress when disconnected mid-game. However, the feature is quickly disabled due to reconnection issues.
- Global Play is enabled, allowing players to switch regions
- Secrets can no longer be activated during the controlling player's turn. Prior to this players could in some cases intentionally trigger their own secrets (mainly paladins).
- Initially available on Windows and OS X operating systems
- The World of Warcraft Hearthsteed mount is introduced as a reward for winning 3 games in Hearthstone, marking the first significant and rewarding cross-over between the two games
- Immediately preceded by Patch 188.8.131.5244
- The remaining duration of the current Ranked season is now shown in-game. Prior to this players had to search outside the game to find out when the season would end.
- The first full Ranked Play season begins.
- Hearthstone is released for iPad in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
- The first Hearthstone World Championship is announced.
- The first Fireside Gatherings are announced.
- The first Fireside Gatherings take place, with around 40 events featured in official listings.
- With recently unveiled planned class cards for Curse of Naxxramas showing a tendency not to state when certain effects are random, Ben Brode releases a blog sharing the team's approach to the word 'random', explaining that by not explicitly stating the randomness of effects in 'hidden' game areas, groundwork can be laid for future shortening of text. Despite this explanation, continued feedback from players finding the new cards' descriptions confusing and ambiguous eventually lead the team to alter their stance, with an announcement a few days later that the word 'random' will be added to the cards' text.
- Several claimed screenshots of Curse of Naxxramas are leaked, showing numerous game details and three unannounced legendary cards. Blizzard neither confirm nor deny the details revealed in the screenshots. However, the adventure's official release nearly a month later confirms the screenshots as genuine.
- Blizzard announces that more than 20 million players have now played Hearthstone.
- For the first time, player distribution across Ranked play rankings is released, in an announcement blog titled You're Better Than You Think! The title refers to widespread underestimation of player ranking in Ranked mode, due to the pattern of player distribution, with the top 50% of ranks held by around the top 5% of players.
- The first Hearthstone infographic is released, revealing statistics including that the game has so far been played for 2 billion hours in total; that 69 million Hounds have been unleashed; and that the longest ever Play mode win streak was 24 games.
- Blizzard announce the temporary banning of several thousand accounts that were associated with the use of third-party botting software. Furthermore, it is announced that any accounts found using botting software from this point on will be permanently banned without warning. It would later be stated that over 10,000 accounts were banned from the game for botting.
- Just over a week ahead of BlizzCon, press and members of the Hearthstone community begin receiving special "blueprints" for various mechanical minions in the game, sparking speculation among players. The blueprints are accompanied by a note which reads "Making plans for BlizzCon - I hope you like my invention!", the latter line referencing the summoning quote of the Novice Engineer, reinforcing the mechanical theme. Designs include the Harvest Golem, Demolisher, Poultryizer and Repair Bot.
- Blizzard announce that they have recently banned a number of accounts found to be engaging in win-trading. Following the recent mass-ban of botting accounts, the announcement is used to further emphases Blizzard's commitment to "fair play" in Hearthstone, and encourage players to abide by the rules.
- The first Hearthstone expansion Goblins vs Gnomes is announced at BlizzCon 2014.
- The Goblins vs Gnomes DeviantART challenge is announced. The challenge is to create an original artwork based on Goblins vs Gnomes, and features a total prize pool of $8,500, as well as various other rewards.
- Hearthstone's first expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes, is released in the US region. The expansion is released in the other regions over the course of the next 2 days.
- Patch 184.108.40.20628 sees a minor adjustment to the China, Korea and Taiwan clients which cause the player 'Hello' emotes to instead say 'Happy New Year'. While trivial, this mark's the game's first seasonal customisation.
- Information gathered by fan sites from an upcoming patch leads to speculation regarding the game's next adventure. With data referring to Molten Core, Ragnaros and 'brm', Blackrock Mountain is speculated to be the theme. The patch comes roughly a week before PAX East, where the new game's content is widely expected to be announced.
- An animated elemental is added to the official site, just above the site navigation bar (see right). In addition, the sample cards on display are changed to Leeroy Jenkins, Twilight Drake, Core Hound, Dark Iron Dwarf and the ever-popular Magma Rager, all characters taken from Blackrock Mountain, apparently confirming the speculation regarding the theme of the adventure.
- Screenshots of several claimed cards from the new content are released through third-party forums.
- The official PlayHearthstone Twitter account tweets an image of a Hogger plushie holding a Hearthstone plushie, with the caption "Adventure Awaits!" (see right). The background also appears to depict Redridge Mountains, a zone immediately to the south of the Burning Steppes, the zone in which Blackrock Mountain is located.
- Hearthstone's second adventure, Blackrock Mountain is officially announced at PAX East.
- The first wing of Blackrock Mountain is released.
- Hearthstone is released for iOS and Android phones.
- All EU accounts more than a week old are awarded two free Classic card packs in compensation for extensive server outages the previous week.
- A new Innkeeper's Journal blog hints at the arrival of a mysterious new patron at the inn.
- The alternate hero feature is announced, and the first alternate hero, Magni Bronzebeard is revealed.
June 15 - Patch 220.127.116.1166
- The alternate hero feature is activated, with Magni, Alleria and Medivh available for purchase.
- In anticipation for the coming Tavern Brawl mode, the as yet blank fourth button on the game box begins to sparkle each time the player enters the main menu.
- The Collection is upgraded, allowing players to assign a specific card back (and soon a specific hero) to each custom deck.
- The first Tavern Brawl, Showdown at Blackrock Mountain, is released.
- Blizzard begins sending special packages to the press, which when opened play the fanfare from the Argent Tournament theme. Inside is a scroll which reads:
- Champions are gathering from around the world to witness the next exciting thing Hearthstone has in store. News travels far and wide in search of brave new faces ready to answer the call to arms — Are you one of them? Muster for battle and mark July 22 on your calendar. The next bit of news won’t come by carrier pigeon — thankfully, we have much better ways of communication now. Victory awaits.
- The latest The Innkeeper's Tale blog is released, apparently a teaser for the coming expansion. The blog specifically describes a large gathering, with everyone wearing plate - even the magic users and murlocs - as well as a unicorn. The blog ends by teasing that all will be revealed soon.
- The official PlayHearthstone Twitter account begins a series of tweets with a theme of "champions".
- The official's site menu is changed to tease the coming announcement. Opening loading the main page, a sword falls from above the window down into a pile of snow, becoming thoroughly embedded in the menu bar. The sword remains there, with occasional golden sparks appearing from the blade.
- Hearthstone's second expansion, The Grand Tournament is announced by Eric Dodds at a special event at The Foundry, Los Angeles.
- The Grand Tournament is released.
- Added with Patch 18.104.22.16804, Hearthstone launches in Japan, with a fully localised client. This is the first major new territory since China's addition during the game's beta. Players in Japan are granted immediate access to the current version of Hearthstone, including all card sets, making this the first territory to join the game in a relatively advanced stage.
- Hearthstone's first cooperative Tavern Brawl, Unite Against Mechazod!, is released, marking the first cooperative two-player experience within the game.
- Hearthstone's third adventure, The League of Explorers is announced at BlizzCon 2015.
- The first wing of The League of Explorers is released.
- With disconnections and downtime in the Europe region coinciding with the release of the latest Tavern Brawl becoming a regular occurrence, Blizzard announce that they will be adding additional testing measures to help prevent this in the future.
- Hearthstone's first seasonal event is added, in the form of Winter Veil. The event brings snow-laden versions of the Stormwind and Orgrimmar battlefields, festive Greetings emotes, a sale on Classic card packs, and a themed Tavern Brawl - Gift Exchange - awarding the special "Winter Veil Wreath" card back.
- As part of efforts to reduce downtime following the release of new Tavern Brawls, the release schedule is changed to have new Brawls debut in the Americas region instead of the Europe region, better suiting the development team's working hours.
- Plans to introduce game formats are announced, providing a solution to the problem of the game's ever-increasing card pool. Scheduled for spring 2016, it is stated that the arrival of Standard format will also see balance changes to numerous Basic and Classic cards, as well an increase in the pace of the release cycle, with two new expansions and one new adventure each year.
- A blog on the official site announces that Hearthstone will become available in Thailand, as part of the Americas region, later in the month. Senior Game Producer Yong Woo explains, "It's took a little while for the Innkeeper to learn Thai, but he's super excited to try it out!"
- A blog announces that the upcoming expansion will be revealed in a live stream on March 11. The blog begins with the text "Something inside the Tavern stirs . . . what could it be? Don’t worry – you won’t be alone!", inviting readers to "Tune in March 11 at 10:00 a.m. PST to see what has been lurking unfold live on Twitch!"
- The card carousel on the official site is updated to feature a new selection of cards: Faceless Manipulator, Mind Blast, Cult Master, Void Terror and Dark Wispers. Echoing a similar change prior to the announcement of Blackrock Mountain, the change is speculated to foreshadow the theme of the coming expansion.
- Invitations are sent to select gaming press, inviting them to join the revealing of the upcoming expansion on March 11. The invite reads "There are whispers around the Tavern…"
- Pictures surface of half-painted murals boldly proclaiming the new expansion and its title, and depicting what are clearly faceless ones and other Old God-related creatures.
- Hearthstone's third expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, is announced live on the Americas Winter Championship stream, on the second anniversary of the game's full release.
- Lady Liadrin is announced as the paladin alternate hero, available for free through the game's first Hearthstone to World of Warcraft cross-promotion.
- Patch 22.214.171.12451 brings 9 new deck slots, as well as substantial upgrades to the Collection Manager's search function. The patch also implements the previously announced Deck Recipes and support for the Thai language.
- A few days after being revealed, a special poll is opened on the official forums allowing players to vote on which text will become C'Thun's official flavor text, as seen in-game in the Collection. The poll, titled The Old God C’Thun DEMANDS flavor text, mortal!, runs from March 16 to March 20, and is presented with the introduction "The bane of contact lenses everywhere, the ancient many-eyed Old God C’Thun is great at winking, but not particularly good at describing itself. That’s where you come in! Cast your vote on what flavor text makes it into Hearthstone for the Legendary card, C’Thun!" While voting on card reveals has become common practice for new releases, this is the first time players have been able to determine actual in-game content, albeit only flavor text.
April 24 - Patch 126.96.36.19974
- 'Sorry' emote is replaced by the new 'Wow' emote
- The largest set of card changes since the game's release is made, nerfing Basic and Classic cards in preparation for game formats
- The special quests that originally awarded the Reward cards are removed, with the cards now craftable
- The addition of card data for Fandral Staghelm marks the first time a set had added new cards to another set, with Whispers of the Old Gods serving to add three new minions to the Classic, Blackrock Mountain and The Grand Tournament sets
- Whispers of the Old Gods is released in the Americas region
- Game formats are added to the game, and the first Standard year - the Year of the Kraken - begins
- The official Chinese Hearthstone site announces the first ever seasonal rewards for Arena play. Each month the players with the highest number of 12 win-runs are eligible for special prizes, including tickets to BlizzCon 2016.
- Hearthstone's official Brazilian Facebook account posts an image depicting an "Old Gods Travel Agency". The image features leaflets for three destinations: Icecrown Citadel, the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and the Dark Portal, with the image of each destination featuring the Old Gods' distinctive tentacles invading the area. Some speculated that this could be a teaser for an upcoming adventure, or another feature.
July 12 - Patch 188.8.131.5219
- The Recruit A Friend system is added, bringing with it Morgl the Oracle.
- The "Play a Friend!" quest is added, marking the first in-game reward specifically for playing with friends.
- Players at a Fireside Gathering on the UCI campus in California receive a special golden invite. The invite reads,
- "You are cordially invited to a most majestic, marvelous, magical event, the likes of which have never been seen before! It is our most sincere hope that you'll be able to join us!"
- The invite is widely taken as referring to the upcoming revealing of the game's next adventure.
- The Friendly Feud event is revealed, allowing players to complete quests by competing in Friendly Challenges.
- Evidence begins to surface of an upcoming Public Test Realm.
- Emails are sent from the developers to the fansites and other game press containing a special invite, reading,
- "Greetings, my dear friend! Your valiant effort and masterful display of strategy in channeling the power of the Old Gods has won you the admiration of people across Azeroth.
- We would would be honored if you would join us for a once-in-a-lifetime event that will be full of magic and celebration. We also have something very special in store for you!
- Please be prompt, as we have an unforgettable adventure planned!
- [Stream date and link]
- An old friend!"
- Both the invite's text and graphic details are widely taken as confirming Karazhan as the upcoming adventure, with the visual style and celebratory tone making many think of a "magical dinner party" at the tower, and the feathers seen at the top and bottom of the invite widely assumed to represent Medivh.
- Paper versions of the email invites previously sent out are sent to members of the Chinese community, coming in decorated envelopes complete a ribbon and Hearthstone swirl wax seal. The text of the invites is largely the same, but also includes a footnote translated as "Please open at night". When opened in the dark, the invite was revealed to feature glow in the dark properties, with the embossed sections illuminated in similar colours to the email invite, but with one notable difference: the star in the top-left corner is replaced by a glowing eye, precisely matching the design shown on Arcane Intellect.
- The official Hearthstone Twitter account begins tweeting images of preexisting card art, modified to fit a "party" theme.
- An official announcement confirms that the upcoming adventure will be revealed in a special presentation stream from China, making it the first Hearthstone content to be revealed from somewhere other than the US.
- One Night in Karazhan is revealed as Hearthstone's fourth adventure, in a special stream from ChinaJoy in Shanghai.
- One Night in Karazhan is released.
- An official blog announces the removal of 45 cards from the Arena, marking the first large-scale effort to balance the format separately to constructed play.
- The Welcome Bundle is announced, a limited-availability card pack bundle offering cards from the Classic set at a deeply discounted price.
- Patch 184.108.40.20630 brings changes to seven cards, moderating the dominant aggro/midrange shaman decks, weakening Yogg-Saron, Hope's End and tempering the "evergreen" Standard format sets.
- Patch 220.127.116.1181 brings unexpected card changes to five cards, moderating Ethereal Peddler's effect and removing most of the board-wide synergy previously seen in the Murloc minion type.
- The official Twitter account releases what appears to be a teaser for the upcoming expansion, titled "Greetings from Gadgetzan". The image contains a lengthy hidden text in exceedingly small letters, providing comprehensive disclaimers for any and all eventualities that may result due to visiting the city or receiving the goblin-made postcard.
- Apparently as part of the same teaser campaign, the official Twitter account posts the first of several pages of the "The Gadgetzan Gazette" ("The city's BEST newspaper. The city's ONLY newspaper.").
- The official Instagram account posts an image of the Gadgetzan postcard, along with a handful of pirate coins bearing the text "Absolutum Dominium".
- Blizzard quietly change the title of the game from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to simply Hearthstone. Logos on the official site are changed, and the developers ask the moderator's on the game's subreddit to update their logo to match the new title, but no press release or statement is made. The change is widely considered to mark (if somewhat belatedly) the game's shedding of its initial identity as a "spin-off" from the Warcraft games. Yong Woo would later confirm the change was not intended to mean "anything special".
- The official Twitter account shares a link to a Hearthstone Murloc Yule Log video, featuring a variety of carols sung by murlocs.
- Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is released in the Americas region, followed by the other regions on December 2.
- A Hearthstone commercial for The Murloc Winter Veil Album is released. A telephone number provided to order the album leads to an encounter with murloc line operators.
- The first ever official Arena rankings are posted, listing the top 100 players in the Americas and Europe regions.
- The name of the second standard year is announced: Year of the Mammoth. The same announcement also introduces the new Hall of Fame card set, and a switch from the old cycle of alternating between releasing new cards in the form of Adventures or Expansions to a cycle consisting of full expansions only, albeit with optional single-player content in the form of Missions beginning with the second expansion of 2017. The announcement also includes a teaser image showcasing hints for the content planned to be released during the year.
- The first ever official Wild format Ranked play standings are released, for the January season.
- Journey to Un'Goro is released in the Americas region, followed by the other regions on April 7.
- The first Standard year (the Year of the Kraken) ends, and the second Standard year (the Year of the Mammoth) begins.
- The first episode of Hearthstone: Mulligans, a comedy mini web-series consisting of four episodes, is released on the official Hearthstone YouTube channel.
- The Midsummer Fire Festival event begins. The Ragnaros-themed event features festive Greetings and Wow emotes, a themed Tavern Brawl - Ragnaros' Fire Festival - and double gold rewards for all Quests completed during the event.
- Knights of the Frozen Throne, Hearthstone's sixth expansion, is announced during the Hearthstone World Championship in Shanghai.
- The Midsummer Fire Festival ends and is replaced by the Ahune-themed Frost Festival, featuring festive Wow emotes and a themed Tavern Brawl in the form of Ahune's Superior Brawl. The event also includes weekly free Arena runs, and each run started during the festival automatically starts with 1 free win.
- The first official Hearthstone web comic, Undeath Conquers All, is released to celebrate San Diego Comic-Con and prepare for the upcoming expansion. The comic is followed by two more issues, Forest for the Weary and Freedom, on July 22 and July 23, respectively.
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