Blizzard has made a big announcement regarding the Fireside Gatherings, the community-driven events that were quite popular back in the day. Ever since the pandemic hit, public Fireside Gatherings have been closed, and even though all of the mass-gathering restrictions have been gone for quite some time, Blizzard still kept them closed. Players have wondered why, and I think that we finally have an answer.
Fireside Gatherings have been discontinued. You will no longer be able to host them, and Pre-Release Fireside Gathering weekends will also be gone going forward. However, since the main “selling point” of the pre-release weekend was opening your packs early so you don’t have to spend who knows how long doing it on the launch day, Blizzard is introducing a long-sought fuction of Mass Pack Openings. If you own more than 5 packs of a given set, you will now be able to open them together – up to 40 of them in fact. Which means that if you have tens or even hundreds of packs on the launch day, they can be opened in a fraction of time it would normally take to do so. A new UI will then give you a few “highlights”, so the best cards you opened (probably prioritizing Signature Cards and Golden Legendaries, then going down the stack) and pack summary.
Blizzard also answered some questions you might have, including those regarding Nemsy Necrofizzle Warlock skin (which has been hard to get for quite some time now) and Fireside Gathering Card Back. Players will be able to obtain those two some other way, but we don’t have any details yet.
They have also teased that they have something “particularly fun” to share at BlizzCon – maybe an early expansion release? That’s just my guess, but the releases this expansions have been going faster than usual. So a BlizzCon announcement followed by a quick card reveal season and mid-November release makes sense to me.
If you have any other questions or concerns, you will probably find your answers in the blog post below:
We’re making some changes to the current expansion Pre-Release Weekend and Fireside Gatherings system ahead of our next expansion announcement, reveal period, and launch.
A Found Farewell to Fireside Gatherings
First, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue the Fireside Gatherings program as we re-align our focus towards features and programs that can serve more of our players throughout the world.
As part of this shift, the Fireside Gatherings website, servers, and in-game buttons will be shut down and removed before the next expansion. Some of these changes have already gone into effect; others are scheduled over the next few patches. As of today, the public Fireside Gatherings website has been shut down. This means you will no longer be able to create public or private Fireside Gatherings, and there are no Fireside Gathering Pre-Release Weekend plans for future expansions.
A Happy Hello to Mass Pack Opening!
For many years, we’ve noticed that the most common Fireside Gathering functionality was creating private events to open packs early during Pre-Release Weekend. Players primarily wanted to get their pack opening done early so they could jump right in and start playing the new expansion as soon as it unlocked. We’re happy to share we’ll be adding a new feature that will let everyone get into the action faster and with less friction than ever before: Mass Pack Opening!
If you have 5 or more of the same type of pack, you’ll be able to open up to 40 of them at once! That means it’ll take just a few clicks to crack open all the packs you get from pre-purchase or any other large bundles.
To access Mass Pack Opening, grab a pack from your stack and hold the pack over the stack. It will charge up with energy and start adding packs to your opening. Once you’ve gathered all the packs you want, move over to the pack-opening area and release your stack of packs.
Voila! The interface will then show you some highlights from your packs, which you can reveal one by one or all at the same time, and then it will give you a full summary of all the cards opened in that pack stack. All the cards will be in your Collection, like normal, for browsing and deckbuilding once your packs are all open.
Mass Pack Opening has been a much-requested feature for a while now, and we’re happy we’ll be able to deliver it to our players before the next expansion. Players who just want to open all their Pre-Purchase packs right away will be able to do so in a fraction of the time! And players who like opening each pack individually and savoring their loot can still do that, too.
What About Community Events?
We know that for some players Fireside Gatherings were more about engaging with Hearthstone community than they were about opening packs. We’re very excited to be returning to BlizzCon this year, as the ultimate in-person celebration of Blizzard games and community! Hearthstone is cooking up some particularly fun stuff for BlizzCon that you won’t want to miss.
We are also exploring options for new community-building events that are more digital-focused, like our recent Community Day activation. Additionally, we’re continuing to expand our Creator Program and using that program to support those creators who are growing the community. Our digital communities are passionate and extend much further than our ability to meet up in person—we’re always looking for better ways to serve those global audiences.
What About Fireside Brawls?
The special Fireside Gathering Tavern Brawls will no longer be accessible through Fireside Gatherings, but may be folded into our regular Tavern Brawl schedule—for example, we’ve recently been doing the Deck Recipe Brawl around each expansion launch. We’re still exploring what we want to do in this space and we’re interested in hearing from you.
What About Playing with Friends?
You can always challenge a friend through the Friends List. You will also still be able to find “Nearby Players” when you and other players are on the same network (and the network and your devices have that capability), and you’ve all turned on “Enable nearby friends” in the in-game Privacy Settings. These tools will remain the best bet for people interested in putting on their own events and playing with other people.
And What About Nemsy and the Fireside Card Back?
Ah, yes, Nemsy. The original Nemsy Necrofizzle is one of the more iconic and sought-after skins in the game. She was originally earned by participating in a Fireside Brawl at a qualifying Fireside Gathering. For years, we’ve heard concerns from players who were unable to obtain Nemsy because of the physical requirements involved in earning her.
As part of this change, we’re planning on adding a way for players to get the Nemsy Necrofizzle hero portrait and the Fireside Gatherings card back in-game. We’ll share more details once they’re ready.
To all our Innkeepers, fans, friends and family who ever hosted or attended a Fireside Gathering, we thank you! You will always be an important part of Heathstone’s history and community. We look forward to seeing you all in the Tavern.