It's almost time for Castle Nathria's gates to open wide enough for us to sneak in, with the imminent new expansion release set to happen on August 2. And we're not only looking towards a new month in the tavern, but also a new week (which will get here sooner or later, depending on your region).

For Hearthstone, that means some ranked ladder rewards, but more importantly - a fresh batch of Weekly Quests, with a couple more Dailies to follow. And you migh wish to hold onto any and all of the quests that you can, depending on your game goals. 

Swimming Away From Sunken City 

As long as you've managed to reach level 100 on the (still) current Rewards Track for Voyage to the Sunken City, there isn't much left for it to offer. Beyond 50 gold for every 1500 XP gained, that is - but it's a perk which is pretty much always available, unless you belong to a very small group of players who tend to maximize all 400 levels per expansion. 

You might've noticed our Rewards Track representation doesn't look as nice and clean in the game at the moment, which is all due to an ongoing issue with a missing background - and hopefully something that won't carry over into the upcoming edition for Murder at Castle Nathria.

Quote From Blizzard
The team is aware that the background is missing from the Rewards Track in Patch 24.0.

There is one instance where this "old" Rewards Track might still be of greater value to you: should you happen to own Sunken City's Tavern Pass for 20% bonus XP, and have already decided that you're absolutely not going to get another once Castle Nathria rolls in. Then it's likely better to clean up any of the remaining quests in your journal before the expansion launches, accumulating that little bit of extra gold. 

As usual, at least you won't have to worry about missing out on or forgetting anything: 

Quote From Blizzard
When the Rewards Track refreshes with the Murder at Castle Nathria launch, all players will automatically be granted any unclaimed rewards on both the free Rewards Track and the Tavern Pass track (if purchased), and a completely new Murder at Castle Nathria Rewards Track of unlockable treasure will take its place.

Your Castle Nathria Invitation Awaits

And so the upcoming free Rewards Track is eerily similar to the previous versions; something it didn't take us long to establish once we've been presented with a detailed sneak peek nearly a week ago. It's familiar in its initial generosity of showering players with numerous valuable rewards. As you can see, even that (somewhat repetitive) background goes with the theme. 

Initially, even a single daily quest can be worth several levels, full of gold and other goodies. So the more of them you save up in advance, the faster you can find yourself grabbing perks such as Random Epic/Legendary cards (at level 10 and 20, respectively), not to mention a handful of Castle Nathria/Standard packs and Tavern Tickets which can be turned into an even greater haul via Arena or Duels.

The closer you get to the halfway point, the more it starts slowing down. Especially when it comes to reaching that 2nd Random Legendary card at level 50, or Golden Uncraftable Epic copies of Demolition Renovator at levels 65 and 75. Chances are you'll have already opened at least (disenchantable) one of them from your packs by then, unless you plan to sit on them for several weeks or so. And it probably won't repeat the story of a nerfed School Teacher.

For anyone who decides to purchase the new Tavern Pass, the expected path becomes at least slightly different. Bonus XP aside - the usual 10% Boost to begin with, quickly upgraded to 15% at level 20, then taking a small eternity to turn into 20% all the way up at level 70 - for the first time ever we can expect another set of two Golden Uncraftable Epic copies in the form of Insatiable Devourer. With any of the saved Quests in advance, you could get there pretty much in an instant. 

That is, unless you've already been opening Murder at Castle Nathria packs early via private Fireside Gatherings and happened to pull regular disechantable copies, in which case it's probably a missed opportunity. Team 5's ongoing insistence on offering us uncraftable cards that don't adhere to the rules of duplicate protection and can still be found in packs is indeed a very strange one. 

One last aspect worth mentioning: you could also hold on with collecting your free regular Uncraftable Legendary Sire Denathrius (and Diamond Murloc Holmes for Tavern Pass owners), and try your luck opening expansion packs during these initial days. If you by any chance land a Golden Sire Denathrius or either a Regular or Golden copy of Murloc Holmes, you are in for some potential free dust that could then be freely exchanged into crafting anything of your choice at your leisure.

Quote From Blizzard
Regular and Golden copies of Murloc Holmes and Golden copies of Sire Denathrius will be eligible for a full dust refund until August 5, at 10 a.m. PT.

Of course, that cannot happen if you collect the Rewards Track versions outright and only then get to your pack opening - duplicate protection will be fully in effect by then, preventing you from finding any other versions of Sire Denathrius and Murloc Holmes as long as you don't own all Legendary cards from Murder at Castle Nathria

Preparing for the New Expansion

This part has always been pretty much self-explanatory. Saving up Weekly Quests is fairly simple, as we also get two chances to reroll them on Monday and Tuesday (luckily, you should be able to avoid stumbling upon any Infuse tasks). If you wish, you can even advance their progress just so you are one Ranked ladder win or a successful Arena/Duels run away from collecting all of the XP for the new Rewards Track. 

Daily Quests aren't much different, although they are often easier to complete 'accidentally'. Ideally you would've already been carrying over one quest from Sunday or before, with another two filling up your journal by Monday and Tuesday. Once the expansion goes online on August 2 - usually between 10-11 AM Pacific (however that translates to your respective timezones), you can get to completing all quests for that handy XP boost. 

More or less an ideal outcome for the expansion launch.

We've actually even heard of players saving up their latest Nozdormu Day quest at 2/3 progress, just for that guaranteed extra 500 XP. Talk about dedication and planning ahead! 

To cover all bases, this time around there also exists an 'extreme version' of this advice. It involves *not logging at all* during the new week until such a time that the Castle Nathria expansion has fully launched. Why? As you might've guessed, the reason being the Ranked Season chest rewards for July (with a fancy number 100 milestone). Anyone who has reached Diamond 5 is going to receive a free Standard Epic card upon their first login in August (as well as a number of Rares for previous ranks), and there are players trying to make sure these cards will belong to the Murder at Castle Nathria set. 

The above plan isn't exactly foolproof, of course. There are 4 other sets in the mix at this point, and anyone missing dozens of Epics from them has as good a chance to land one of them as are their odds of highrolling a new expansion specimen. As for Rares, getting them all is usually not a concern as long as you tend to open enough packs from one set. Although yes, new cards are more likely to fall under the 'future dust refund' category. Still, this is a prime example of a literal "min-maxing".


And yes, technically there are also new XP achievements one could already try to complete and hold for the expansion launch. Except this time, only one of them is really on the easy side (Totems), for a measly sum of 200 XP; while the rest would require playing a ton of Duels and getting pretty damn lucky with the available new cards and interactions. 

Having said all that, there might also be very good reasons for not bothering with any of this. Perhaps you simply wish to play Hearthstone as you please before the expansion arrives, which likely means completing a number of quests in the process. There could be somebody who actually enjoys climbing the Ranked ladder at the start of the month, with familiar decks they currently have all the cards for. And maybe you still have your Arena runs to wrap up and leave at 2 losses, for the rewards and a free Tavern Ticket - which can actually be worth more than a saved quest or two. The choice is there.

The Journey Thus Far

We haven't had a chance to talk about this in a longer while, but we hope your Rewards Track journeys have been fruitful across all of the recent Hearthstone expansions. Some of our community members have actually kept diligent notes about their experiences during every relevant set so far, and it always makes for a very interesting read. There is still time to share your story with us, either here in the comments or over on the Out of Cards forums! 

For me personally, Voyage to the Sunken City might mark the lowest Rewards Track progression ever. I expect to finish at level 170 on Europe server, and perhaps around level 145 in Americas region. The interest to play more might've been there, but the spare time certainly wasn't. And I haven't felt particularly compelled to semi-afk Mercenaries bounties either for the extra 'free XP'. That's all without the Tavern Pass as well, a purchase I didn't make since United in Stormwind. Somehow the following Diamond cards and most of the cosmetics (for a non-Battlegrounds main) seemed pretty underwhelming. 

Let's just say it would feel good with a little bit more gold saved up for the upcoming expansion. Hopefully you've all been faring better!

What's your current plan for Castle Nathria's opening day? Saving up all quests you possibly can or not bothering with any of that? Does the Tavern Pass look tempting this time around? We are curious about your thoughts on both the old and new Rewards Track aspects!