Year of the Mammoth
Featured image via Blizzard.

Year of the Mammoth: New Ladder, Hero Portrait, and Rewards

Feb 18, 2017
Featured image via Blizzard.

The launch of Hearthstone’s Year of the Mammoth promises many new features: a reworked ranked ladder system, a new hero portrait, and login rewards await. Read on to learn about the exciting new changes coming to Hearthstone in 2017!

Ranked Ladder Changes

Hearthstone’s ranked ladder has been a point of contention for a long time. Between harsh resets, long climbing times, and a general sense that the system rewards time more than skill, there are lots of issues. With the Year of Mammoth, Blizzard have addressed one longstanding issue, and their fix will be coming into effect next patch, along with the nerfs. There is still a lot of work to be done, but for now, Hearthstone has made a big step forward with the introduction of Ranked Play floors.

The addition of these “floors” to the Hearthstone ladder will stop people from dropping past certain ranks once they’ve achieved them. It’s a similar design to the system currently in place at Legend and rank 20–at those two spots, no matter how many times you lose, you can’t fall down in rank. Now they are adding several other floors, at ranks 15, 10, and 5. Now, once you’ve achieved any of those ranks, you will not be able to fall past them, barring season reset.

Ranked Play floors provide a very appreciated bonus to those of us who often hit ranked slumps. Go on a ten win streak to hit ranked 5, then go on a ten loss streak? Too bad, you’re still rank 5. Without a personal skill indicator, you will not be affected at all by losses prior to hitting legend. There’s still a long way to go, but cutting down on the hopelessness of Hearthstone’s grinding is a good first step for Blizzard.

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Maiev Shadowsong: New Hero Portrait

Along with the Year of the Mammoth comes a new Maiev Shadowsongalternate hero portrait for the Rogue class: Maiev Shadowsong. Maiev is a hero from Warcraft’s Burning Legion story arc, who wound up being the jailor of Illidan Stormrage, and later became leader of the Watchers. After Illidan escaped, the nefarious Illidan jailed her. (It was a revenge thing, I guess.) Now, Ms. Shadowsong has escaped and come to Hearthstone.

To unlock Maiev Shadowsong, simply win ten games in Standard Ranked or Casual after the patch launches. That’s right, just win ten games in Standard and Maiev is yours! Giving Maiev to players for free is a pleasant way to kick off the Year of the Mamoth, and it’s definitely something that Rogue players will be happy about. If we get a new Druid and Warlock, then we’ll finally have an alternate hero for every class! (And two alternate heroes for Mage. Just saying.)

New Daily Rewards: More Free Stuff

One of the smallest sections in the new announcement was about Hearthstone’s daily login rewards. According to Blizzard, before the expansion launches, you’ll get daily login rewards of dust, gold, and expansion packs. We’re only speculating, but it’s likely that the packs will be locked until the expansion launches, similar to pre-ordered packs.

It’s safe to say that we’ll be getting a lot more information about the Year of the Mamoth in the coming weeks. There’s a Hearthstone developer FAQ on the 21st, and hopefully the team will be touching on a couple of the things we’ve covered in this article. Personally, I’m all about the free stuff and I’d like to know how much of each resource we’re getting. Until we know more, let’s just be happy we’re getting something, and stay tuned for more information.

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Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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