Update: Patch 19.2 contained a bunch of important changes to the progression system, so this guide got updated accordingly!
New Hearthstone’s progression system was released in November 2020, and players no longer gain Gold directly. Instead, they earn XP through various activities, which then lets them level up on the rewards track. Rewards track still mostly focuses on Gold, but it also contains other rewards, such as Card Packs from different expansions, random Legendary/Epic cards or cosmetics.
On top of the free rewards track, players can also pay $19.99 for Tavern Pass. While it doesn’t give any rewards affecting gameplay directly (Gold, packs etc.) and focuses on cosmetics, it also gives players XP boosts, which then let them level up higher and ultimately get more rewards.
Each expansion will come with its own rewards track with different rewards. It’s hard to say whether Blizzard will try to keep the total number of rewards similar or try to experiment with them, but we’ll keep this guide updated when future expansions arrive.
Below, we take a closer look at the entire new progression system. How can you earn XP, how much you need to level up and how the new rewards look like and where (roughly) will you land on the rewards track at the end of expansion. We also try to answer whether Tavern Pass is worth it. Let’s start!
How To Earn XP & How Much You Get
In the new system, there are a few ways to earn experience points:
First one is finishing Quests – Daily and Weekly. Daily Quests give players 900 XP, 1000 XP or 1500 XP (900 & 1000 are most common, 1500 are rare), while the three Weekly Quests always give a fixed 2500 XP + 2x 1750 XP. Finishing all Weeklies will always give you 6000 XP, while Dailies will vary. For the sake of simplicity, we can say that 1000 XP / Quest is the average (if you diligently re-roll 900 XP Quests the average might be a bit higher, but there are too many variables to give you an exact number), that gives us 7000 XP from Dailies, or 13000 XP per week in total. You can learn more about the Quests in this guide.
Another way is to simply play the game. Each of the game modes has a certain XP / hour gain attached to it. Ranked Standard / Wild is the best one, as it gives players 400 XP / hour. Casual and other games modes (Battlegrounds, Arena, Duels, Tavern Brawl) give 300 XP / hour. PvE content also gives XP, but at an even lower rate (around 150 XP / hour). So, for example, for your average 10 minutes Standard Ranked game, both players will earn roughly 67 XP, while for a 30 minutes Battlegrounds game you will get 150 XP. Rewards are no longer attached to winning, which means that even if you play a deck with very low win rate, you will still be able to progress. Similarly, the old system benefited fast decks (because the more games you played, the more games you won and the more gold you got), while the new one is roughly equal no matter what kind of deck you’re using.
Last method to get some extra XP is through achievements. Right now, only achievements tied to the Darkmoon Faire expansion and Duels give you any extra rewards – but as new expansions and game modes are released, those should also give players XP. The total amount of XP you can get from achievements right now is 14,800 from Darkmoon and 12,500 from Duels. But realistically players will earn only a portion of that. Achievements are tied to different classes that people might not play, some of them require certain Legendaries to progress, others are also very difficult (like a 12-0 run in Duels). All in all, I think that an average player will earn somewhere around 10-15k extra XP from achievements.
According to the developers, for casual players, majority of their XP will come from the Quests. After all, even finishing a single 900 XP Quest equals 3 hours of play time in a non-Ranked format, which is way more than most of casual players play the game for daily. However, more hardcore players, who play the game a lot, will find that a big portion of their XP comes from gameplay itself.
Progression Track Leveling Up & Rewards
While you can go through the early levels very, very quickly, it gets more difficult later down to road. Luckily, Patch 19.2 has flattened the XP requirement curve, which now peaks at 5000 XP – which is still a lot, but not as much as previous 9300. There are a total of 50 normal levels with custom, increasing rewards. But it doesn’t stop there. For every level earned after 50, players will still get 50 Gold – all the way until Level 350.
This table will only cover the first 80 levels – all 270 levels after that are flat 50 Gold per 1500 XP, so they’re easy to calculate (and the table displaying all of them would be unreasonably long).
|Level||XP Required||XP Total||Normal Rewards||Tavern Pass|
|1||100||100||Random Legendary Card||10% XP Boost, Golden Silas Darkmoon|
|2||150||250||Darkmoon Faire Card Pack|
|3||200||450||Darkmoon Faire Card Pack|
|4||300||750||Darkmoon Faire Card Pack|
|5||450||1200||Random Epic Card||Apprentice Jaina Skin|
|8||900||3450||Scholomance Academy Card Pack|
|10||1250||5750||Sideshow Glow Card Back||15% XP Boost|
|12||1750||9000||Ashes of Outland Card Pack|
|15||2400||15,600||Tavern Ticket||Thrall, Son of Durotan Skin|
|17||2600||20,700||Year of the Dragon Card Pack|
|20||2900||29,100||Darkmoon Faire Card Pack||Archmage Jaina Skin|
|23||3200||38,400||Scholomance Academy Card Pack|
|25||3400||45,100||Random Legendary Card||Annhylde Skin & Card Back|
|27||3600||52,200||Outland Pack + 50 Gold|
|30||3900||63,600||Darkmoon Pack + 50 Gold||Alterac Thrall Skin|
|35||4750||85,200||Tavern Ticket||20% XP Boost|
|40||5000||110,200||200 Gold||Kul Tiran Jaina Skin|
|45||5000||135,200||300 Gold||Wolfrider Thrall Skin|
|50||1350||156,525||Hero Skin Choice||Darkmoon Coin|
And here’s the total number of rewards you get for leveling up all the way to 50 on the progress track:
- 5650 Gold
- 10x Card Pack (5x Darkmoon, 2x Scholomance, 2x Outland, 1x Year of the Dragon)
- 2x Tavern Ticket
- 2x Random Legendary Card
- 1x Random Epic Card
- Cosmetics (Card Back, Hero Skin Choice)
On top of that, you get 50 Gold for every Level up all the way until Level 350. Which, in theory, would mean that the maximum number of Gold you can get is capped at 20,650 (5650 + 15,000). But, of course, it’s nigh impossible to get that much, as it would require you to spend half of the time between expansions in-game.
How Far Will I Get On Rewards Track?
From this table and the XP numbers I’ve listed in the last section, you should roughly be able to calculate how far can you get into the rewards track each expansion. While I will provide some examples below, you need to adjust the calculations to your own play style. I can’t tell how much you play, whether you re-roll all the Quests and try to find better ones, if you will finish all of your Daily & Weekly Quests and so on.
Let’s assume that you’re a player who does all their Dailies (and now Weeklies too – they should be relatively easy to finish together). Quests alone should give you roughly 13k XP per week (or ~1850 XP per day), that’s give or take 220k XP between expansions. That’s enough to level up all the way to 94.
Now, achievements. Again, here your numbers will vary heavily. If you play 1-2 classes and aren’t interested in Duels – you will earn a few thousands XP at best. But if you play all classes and will be good at Duels, you can earn 15-20k or maybe even more. I assume that an average player will get around 10k from achievements. That would bump you up to ~230k XP, which is enough for Level 101.
And finally, the more you play – the more XP you get. Assuming you play Ranked Standard or Wild (which is 400 XP per hour) for around an hour per day and then Battlegrounds for half an hour (which is 300 XP per hour), that’s 550 XP extra per day, ~66k XP between expansions, or a total of ~296k XP per expansion after adding everything up. Which would be enough to get up to Level 145 on rewards track. For Level 145, you would earn a total of 10,400 Gold (5650 from Level 50, then 50 per level * 95 levels = 4750 extra).
But like I’ve said, you need to do the calculations yourself and adjust them for your own play style. You don’t finish all the Quests or don’t consistently re-roll your 900 XP ones? Remove some XP from that part. You play the game less / more on average? Change that part of calculations. But I think that an average player, who’s neither casual, nor hardcore, will land somewhere between level 130 (9650 Gold) and 160 (11,150 Gold) + all the other non-Gold rewards. You don’t play the game every day and miss some Quests? You’re looking at more like 7000 Gold. You are a more hardcore player, plan to finish most of the achievements and play for a few hours every day? You might end up with let’s say 14k Gold instead. Keep in mind that those are only estimates. The truth is that you will need to play through an entire expansion yourself to get your precise, individual number.
As for how this system compares to the old one – it’s better now. The initial version of rewards track was pretty bad. While some players had numbers comparable to the old system, many would get less Gold than they previously did. However, after two major changes (first one was switching 6x card pack for 1350 Gold and the second one was reducing the number of XP necessary to get to Level 50 by almost 40k), the new system is clearly better than the old one in terms of rewards. I’m not saying that there aren’t any outliers (it would take days to calculate everything for different kinds of players under both systems), but an average player should get roughly 2-3k more gold with the rewards track (plus some extras like 10x pack). There’s also the “issue” of mini-sets, which will increase the cost of the game, but without more information about things like rarity distribution, it’s really hard to estimate how much they will really cost (we’ll have an article about that as soon as we learn more).
Tavern Pass – Is It Worth It?
Of course, on top of the regular progression system also comes a paid one. You can buy a Tavern Pass for $19.99, which will unlock a separate progress bar.
Technically, this progress bar doesn’t offer any Gold, Card Packs etc. It contains multiple Cosmetics, but also an XP boosts. You start with 10% extra XP, then upgrade it to 15% at Rank 10 and 20% at Rank 35. So while it doesn’t give you rewards directly, getting more XP means getting more in-game rewards in the long run.
Let’s take the the ~300k XP per expansion example I’ve counted above. I think that should be a good average for someone who might consider getting the Tavern Pass. You will earn 10% extra XP until Level 10 (which is super easy to get at 5750 XP total required) and then 15% extra XP until level 35 (which is more difficult, at 85k XP in total). If my math is right, all the XP boosts would bump you by a roughly 55k XP in total, up to ~355k XP. That would land you around Level 184, which is roughly 2k gold more than someone without Tavern Pass (give or take a couple hundred). But of course, how much you get heavily scales with how much you play. The more you play, the more you will get from the XP boost.
Then, there are cosmetics. Tavern Pass has a sort of “upgradable” Hero skins for Mage & Shaman – the skin gets “better” as you level up, with 3 stages (so 6 hero skins in total). Then there’s Annhylde Hero skin for Warrior & related card back. You also get a golden version of Silas Darkmoon Legendary, but whether you can show it off really depends on what decks you play. And finally, you also get a new version of Coin, which is actually a really cool cosmetic reward and the first time we can adjust the artwork on our cards (hopefully more similar things will come in the future).
Is it worth it? If you only care about Gold and ignore all the cosmetics – then it really depends on how much you’re playing and how much you would be willing to pay for Gold. If you’re a more casual player, you won’t earn that much from it – maybe 1k-1.5k Gold, which definitely isn’t worth the price. And if you’re a hardcore player who runs Hearthstone for hours every day, the total Gold gain will be massive – 3k, maybe more. Is that enough? That’s up to you. But, if we also take cosmetics into account, things start to get much more interesting. Let’s compare Tavern Pass to the usual Hearthstone bundle with a Hero skin.
In bundles with Hero skins, packs are usually valued at $1 per pack (for example, a $25 bundle will usually contain 25 packs + Hero skin). 100 Gold is theoretically an equivalent of a card pack, but it’s actually better, because you can choose what to spend it on or you can just save it. Tavern Pass costs $19.99 and it gives you roughly 2000 Gold in the example I’ve counted above (but like I’ve said, you need to adjust the number depending on how much you play the game). That would put it at 100 Gold per $1 – similar to those bundles with Hero skins (but again, better because it’s Gold and not packs). However, instead of a single Hero skin + card back, you’re getting seven Hero skins (four of which are worse lookin “progression” versions, but some players might actually like th em more) + card back + new version of Coin + Golden Silas Darkmoon. The only major downside is that instead of getting it all immediately, it will be spread over an entire expansion. And in extreme scenarios, if for some reason you won’t be able to play the game during expansion, you won’t get the rewards at all (or at least not all of them).
To sum everything up. If you’re someone interested in cosmetics, someone who commonly purchases those bundles, and you don’t mind the downsides I’ve listed, then yes – Tavern Pass should absolutely be worth it for you. You’ll pay about as much as for a regular bundle, but get way more for your money. And if you aren’t interested in cosmetics, it heavily depends on a) whether you play the game a lot and b) if you value Gold high enough to spend $19.99 on it.
P.S. Keep in mind that calculations were done for Tavern Pass bought at launch. The longer you wait to buy it, the total value of XP boosts get reduced. At the time I’m updating this guide, we’re already a month into the expansion, making the XP boost worth only around 3/4 of what it originally was (but frankly Tavern Pass is still a solid deal if you mostly care about the cosmetics).