Hearthstone was originally launched with nine classes. Building a card pool for every class and managing their balance relative to each other is a big task, so it was uncertain whether any new classes would be introduced for a long time. That changed in April 2020, when Demon Hunter was added to the game in Ashes of Outland. It has been more than two years since the introduction of Demon Hunter, but if they did it once, they might as well do it again. Whether Hearthstone will get a new class has been a popular question ever since.
In the theme of Murder at Castle Nathria, it is time to engage in some sleuthing to uncover all clues we can find about new classes!
First of all, Iksar has been answering questions about new classes in his Q&A sessions on Twitter for a long time. For example, here is what he had to say in January 2021:
[O]verall, our team is positive on it [new classes] and will probably do it again. It’s just not something you want to be doing every year. We’ve talked about Death Knight, Monk, or even the idea of inventing something new.
There is no new-class in development today and we work about a year ahead of schedule, so I wouldn’t look out for it anytime soon. We set up a lot of the infrastructure for adding a new class the first time around, though, so the turnaround would be a little easier.
So, more than a year and a half ago, Iksar confirmed a couple of things. First, they are interested in adding new classes and added Demon Hunter in a way that makes it easier to add new ones. Second, no new class was in their development window for the following year. The following year. And that was a year and a half ago.
Let’s move forward in time to October 2021. Now we are just a year away from the present, and Iksar had this to say in one of his Twitter sessions:
A bigger than normal expansion slated for late next year.
Now, what does a bigger than normal expansion mean? Is it Locations? I mean, it could be. Locations are a new card type, so that’s kind of big. On the other hand, now that we have had a chance to play with them, Locations do not feel like a big thing. They are nowhere near the level of Hero cards. They also do not look like a huge development effort. They still might be, we cannot see under the hood to the realm of spaghetti that manifests as Hearthstone.
Late next year could also refer to the final expansion of the year. Bigger could mean more cards. What do you need more cards for? A new class, of course!
Then there’s the latest patch. Multiple people datamine new patches to find out all the details that are added and hints of things that are coming to the game. vGhost found this on July 26, 2022:
— vGhost (@V_G50) July 26, 2022
That right there is a template for a Death Knight Location card. Why would a Death Knight have a Location card? We have had Death Knight cards in the past in solo adventures, but those have long since gone to the realm of the Wild and there was no Location card amongst them. The most obvious reason to add a Death Knight Location card is the planned addition of Death Knight as a new class. There could be other reasons. For example, Wrath of the Lich King Classic is coming to World of Warcraft later this year. Maybe they have a Tavern Brawl planned to celebrate? Or maybe, just maybe, they plan to really celebrate and launch Death Knight as a new class!
Sadly, a Monk Location card was not found. I’d love that Monk class. Mists of Pandaria was such a great World of Warcraft expansion. But I guess Monk is not coming just yet. Maybe in 2025.
Finally, there is this recent rumor from Jez Corden:
What if #Hearthstone had the Death Knight as a class? ????
And what if it was launching this year? pic.twitter.com/3T0GK8tZre
— jez (@JezCorden) August 16, 2022
That is such an odd tweet to make. Jez is an editor at Windows Central. He is not really connected to Hearthstone. He has a verified Twitter account with tens of thousands of followers. One could take a look at all the previous hints and bits of information from the past two years and make up a story about Death Knight coming this year. But I don’t see why he would have such insight into discussions within the Hearthstone community. On the other hand, with Wrath of the Lich King Classic coming this year, one could also just make up a story about Death Knights coming to Hearthstone based on what is happening in World of Warcraft.
Jez also claims to have seen the Death Knight class for Hearthstone. But he could have also seen something Hearthstone is doing to celebrate Wrath of the Lich King Classic and misinterpreted it. We’ll never know. Unless the Death Knight class arrives at Hearthstone in December.
One point that has been raised in online discussions is that it would make no sense to add a new class in the last expansion of a year. This is the time when the Standard card pool is at its largest. Can a new class with limited resources compete? Looking back at the Demon Hunter launch, which admittedly happened in the first expansion of the year, the answer is clear. A new class can easily compete. Most of the cards in the game are not used. Give the new class one or two great packages of cards, and it will wipe the floor with the old classes. A new class can be added in any expansion.
From a marketing perspective, adding the Death Knight class makes a lot of sense. Knights of the Frozen Throne was one of the most popular Hearthstone expansions. The story of The Lich King is one of the pinnacles of Warcraft lore. Wrath of the Lich King was the most popular World of Warcraft expansion, and it is coming back in Classic format this year. It would be a huge wasted marketing opportunity to not launch the Death Knight class for Hearthstone right after Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
We are probably still months away from any official confirmation on what the last expansion of the year includes (given the usual early December release, it should be announced in November). But I must admit, I am a little bit excited. We know they want to add classes eventually. They don’t want to do that every year, but it has been more than two years since Demon Hunter was added to the game. A Death Knight Location card template suddenly appears in the game files. Wrath of the Lich King Classic is coming to World of Warcraft. I think Christmas just might come early for Hearthstone players this year. What do you think?