Madness at the Darkmoon Faire - The Old Gods Return to Hearthstone
World of Warcraft fans across the globe celebrate the long-awaited release of Shadowland’s Pre-Patch 9.0.1 which introduced tons of fresh content and a plethora of gameplay changes. As a result, “Visions of N’Zoth”, better known as Patch 8.3, has finally been laid to rest after ten months full of corruption and epic expansion storylines.
But Blizzard decided that N’Zoth and the other Old Gods still had a franchise left to infiltrate with their dark whispers.
With today’s “Fall Reveal”, the Hearthstone team revealed the third expansion of 2020
, and it's going to be a doozy not only for the fans of our twisted overlords but for every World of Warcraft player!
Madness at the Darkmoon Faire
is going to be the last expansion of Hearthstone’s Standard Year of the Phoenix. After Outland and Scholomance, players will continue to visit yet another iconic landmark in Warcraft history: The Darkmoon Faire!
I'm Tharid, a writer for Wowhead's sister site Hearthstone Top Decks, and I'll be covering the new content around Hearthstone's upcoming expansion called Madness at the Darkmoon Faire. If you want to check out the most recent news about the expansion and Hearthstone in general, head over to
What many members of the community have always suspected seems to become reality - at least in the Hearthstone universe: Somehow, someway, and most likely thanks to the help of shady Silas Darkmoon, the founder of the Darkmoon Faire, the Old Gods have found their way into the world once again, only to spoil the fun of Azeroth’s citizens and Hearthstone players alike!
With the first main set of 135 new cards and another 35-cards “mini expansion” in the middle of the expansion cycle, a total of 170 cards will be released in the next few months, starting on Madness at the Darkmoon Faire’s main release on November 17th. Besides the expansion itself, Hearthstone receives a ton of new updates, such as a
completely new Achievement and Progression System
as well as
a new game mode called Duels
, where players can battle each with decks drafted in the Dungeon Run style with a unique ruleset.
Back to the Roots of Corruption
But back to the Old Gods now. After Whispers of the Old Gods, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire is Hearthstone’s second expansion with a heavy OG vibe, and, looking at the first cards revealed during today’s event, Team 5 definitely wants to pay tribute to one of the most iconic Hearthstone expansions that brought Old Gods lore to the broader Hearthstone audience.
The observing Warcraft expert instantly notices the new card art of
N’Zoth, God of the Deep
, which depicts its World of Warcraft version from Ny’alotha. You may look at N’Zoth’s new card art and think that Hearthstone followed WoW’s canonical lore, but what many fans don’t know is that it was Blizzard’s card game that introduced
the very first complete artwork of the Old God N’Zoth in 2016
. Back then, Tyson Murphy, Lead Character Artist for World of Warcraft and now Principal Artist at Riot Games, created N’Zoth’s image as we know it today from 8.3’s raid dungeon.
But not only N’Zoth receives special treatment with the new expansion:
C’Thun splits itself into four cards
and obliterates the opponent with a massive 30 damage if you’ve played all four parts during a game, while
Yogg-Saron spins its Wheel of Yogg-Saron
to decide the fate of the game. Last but not least, Y’Shaarj, probably the most twisted of the four, rewards players who want to worship their one true god by playing a ton of Corrupted cards by putting those cards back into the hand with a hefty discount.
Corrupted Mechanic and Balance Druid Class Fantasy
The general topic of corruption has been a factor in Whispers of the Old Gods as well, although it was limited to its visual direction only. Similar to 8.3’s corruption approach in the form of corrupted gear as a mid-expansion game system, Hearthstone’s new expansion also doubles down on the fantasy of the Olds Gods infiltrating the minds of Azeroth’s creatures and Hearthstone’s players alike by introducing the Corrupted keyword.
The mechanic behind Corrupted is pretty clear: Corrupted cards have two effects, a “normal” and a “corrupted” one. The normal effect seems to be quite mediocre, but if you corrupt your card, the effect will be upgraded thanks to your loyal service to the Old Gods. The only thing you have to do is to play a card with a higher cost than the Corrupted card you’re holding in your hand. As soon as you play the higher cost card, your card will be transformed and only show the upgraded effect.
Luckily enough, you don’t need to sacrifice cards or resources to the Old Gods to activate corrupted cards. However, the nature of the Corrupted keyword also dictates that you can’t play a corrupted card “on curve”, which makes insane swing turns due to the newly introduced mechanic much less likely.
Besides the overwhelming theme of corruption and mind-twisting, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire also seems to reinforce iconic Warcraft class fantasy. This effort has been noted ever since the release of Ashes of Outland and the introduction of the Demon Hunter class at the start of the year, where classes like
received enough design support to form Warcraft-fantasy-heavy archetypes like Self-Harm Zoo Warlock or Pure Paladin.
Another Hearthstone class that will receive this form of “lore treatment” with the upcoming expansion is
, the class that so far couldn't come up with a lot of what we would call "Warcraft class fantasy". As shown during today’s reveal stream, moonkin fans across the globe will rejoice as three cards related to the Balance Druid specialization will be released.
perfectly transport the current Moonkin fantasy of World of Warcraft, while Kiri, Chosen of Elune, serves as a legendary minion card that will definitely enable some sort of spell-heavy Eclipse Druid playstyle. And maybe we get to know about this interesting Balance Druid called Kiri, who could turn out to be
, a named night elf warden from Warcraft III that maybe decided to serve Elune?
The Old Gods Storyline Continues - In Hearthstone
So far, we haven’t seen too much from Hearthstone’s Madness at the Darkmoon Faire yet. What we can say already, though, is that we, the Blizzard fanbase, can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to the Old Gods, regardless of faction or franchise.
And that is a good thing! While many see 8.3 as a disappointing end to the current Old Gods storyline in World of Warcraft, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire will definitely give fans of the eldritch entities more tasty lore and gameplay bits to chew on until we meet N’Zoth and his partners in crime in the original Warcraft universe again.
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