[Updated on January 5, 2023]
After the initial tease, full early announcement, and the brief in-game countdown, the expected Winter Veil Hearthstone event went online at the designated time on December 21 to cap off the year of 2022 in a somewhat generous fashion. Just exactly how generous might depend on the definition of how much of a Battlegrounds player any given person considers themselves to be; but hey, there be even more free packs for everyone from Greatfather Lich King the Tinker Town gnomes!
In any case, anyone logging into the game should've had no trouble noticing and locating both the special quest chain and its associated rewards. Unless they go out of their way not to click on the Journal icon, for this little promotion really wants to be seen. As the third consecutive special event since the November's entire system revamp, "The Siege of Iceforge" is fairly similar - yet also different in certain aspects - to what came before. For one, it's definitely the easiest and the fastest option we've had to date. Talk about the generous holiday spirit.
The Siege of Iceforge - Winter Veil Hearthstone-Style
It turns out there is a little extra backstory to take note of here, and it's something Hearthstone's Team 5 was actually eager to have players be able to see:
Quote From BlizzardFrom December 21 to January 5, celebrate Winter Veil with a special event using the new Event System! The Scourge has conscripted the inventors of Ironforge to make munitions for Greatfather Lich King. Drive them out to save Ironforge, and let them get back to making Winter Veil toys for all the good girls and boys! It’s up to you to complete daily event quests to earn Event XP and progress on the special event reward track. Complete the event reward track to purge the evil and earn two Standard Packs, a March of the Lich King Pack, and the Tinker Town Toki and Ini Snowmaster Battlegrounds skins!
The most fanciful icon yet? Exact gnomish identity unknown.
The evil Scourge does not stop in its continued march.
Think of the poor gnomes! And maybe dwarves. As for some of the "behind the scenes" technicalities:
Quote From Waltwe had an unfortunate bug in 25.0 that caused the “invitation” letter […] to not show up (on DK event start) for any players who had viewed this “coming soon” screen. we were able to get a fix in the first DOP so everyone should get that cool tinker town backstory!
mostly sharing because it was a fun example of realizing the logic would require a client patch but managing to fix the issue in the short term (i.e. just for winter veil) with a creative data-only fix that we could push in the meantime
The tiny little cogs moving in the background that we never get to hear much about. The Tinker Town denizens would be proud of the ingenuity on display.
And this is what gets displayed upon the event's completion:
Well, that wasn't very hard.
Long Live the Tinker Town!
The New Quest Chain and Free Packs
We've been given plenty of time to complete the entire thing, especially seeing as this time around there really isn't anything special or particularly annoying to deal with. In fact, we could say it's all looking rather repetitive compared to the previous two events; down to the quests themselves and their recycled names. It's not even 'win', just 'play' (as long as you invest a few turns per each individual game, it will count as progress). No special guides or decks should be necessary for that!
Gnomes clearly know how to construct even fancy snowmen.
At first glance, the requirements might seem slightly higher than before - 1200 total Event XP for the final reward, as opposed to 1000 eXP from the preceding events. But it's worth noting that the Daily Quests themselves tend to offer a lot more, while not being too difficult to complete. It's always 100 XP as opposed to 50-60 XP (or 30 when rerolled) from before. Even if you attempt to change the quest received, the result is just another 100 XP variant - besides the "Play 10 Undead", we have also seen "Play 10 Manathirst cards" (the text itself states "minions", but spells are confirmed to count as well), "Play 10 Reborn minions", "Play 10 Battlecry cards", and "Play 10 Mechs" (rather thematic). It's all as straightforward as it gets.
As noted above, the "legendary" quest-chain follows suit:
Happy Winter Veil! You know, in case you missed the sentiment the first five times.
That's already 1000 Event XP handed out through the featured special Quests alone! Talk about easy and generous. Add just two daily quests on top of that, and all done. Not to mention that you can also earn eXP simply by playing Hearthstone as desired (the received amount might vary based on game length and the mode of choice). Tinker Town's Winter Veil does not want anyone to even break a sweat while trying to collect these rewards.
The only real limitation for the time being is the usual 'cooldown' attached to the listed Quests. They aren't available all at once and only unlock on a daily basis - making it so it's not possible to rush through the whole event in an instant. (Update: it is now!)
Tinker Town & Battlegrounds Hero Skins
If this whole "Tinker Town" talk sounds rather alien to you, know that's just another part of the larger Warcraft lore at play - and by extension something Hearthstone tends to use largely as its inspirational foundation. The so called gnomish district of the proud dwarven city of Ironforge was established by a number of refugees - some of which had actually appeared in the game before in the form of playable cards such as Tinkertown Technician or Gelbin Mekkatorque. All immortalized through the old tales of Goblins & Gnomes: the very first large-scale expansion set that wasn't just a self-contained Solo Adventure.
This is quite a direct callback after all these years, even as inventive and sneaky gnomes have been making in-game appearances over the years. We not only got a whole special Battlegrounds Battle Bash themed around the Tinker Town and its denizens, but the additional fitting set of hero skins to match.
Alas, it is Battlegrounds only, so they probably won't be seen in action nearly as often. Especially for players not sporting the seasonal pass for the expanded start of game character selection - now and forever (?) paywalled.
Curiously, the Ini Snowmaster seems to be rather special (dare we say, 'Legendary') in its own right - if you go into that game mode's collection and locate this particular hero skin, clicking on it will result in a special voice over effect, stating as follows: "Tinker Town is in trouble? Say no more!". Which actually puts this version of Ini in a very small elite club, along with the likes of Enchanting Edwin or Greatfather Lich King. Their status can be generally distinguished by the golden border around the characters; with said tier of cosmetics also including additional visual effects.
The era of non-silent Battlegrounds Heroes continues.
And yes, as expected not everyone has been happy with this outcome; which even resulted in the developers stepping in to share their own perspective on these things:
Quote From CelestalonEvents are not Standard-specific. Events are for everybody.
Quote From CelestalonBGs just gets way more skins total by count, but a BG skin is way smaller of a thing than a constructed skin.
At least it shouldn't be too hard to queue up a handful of Battlegrounds games and walk away while they resolve themselves, for anyone unwilling to commit more time and effort. You might as well take this opportunity, as the current season of the game mode is not going to be active for much longer.
Where do you personally stand, is more free Battlegrounds Hero Skins something to celebrate or frown upon? Would you rather see another cosmetic or a special reward in this slot? Also, happy Winter Veil!
I am not a fan of BG except when I was completing the free section of the battle pass. It is fun for me to complete a pass. So in January I will be interested again. For now I did two BGs and not likely to do the last quest for more BG.
Even though the event daily reads, "Play 10 minions with Manathirst," the spell Arcane Bolt still gave me credit (definitely the fastest deck to complete this one).
That's a fine point worth reiterating. I wrote "cards" for that very reason, but didn't really elaborate on the quest text potentially misleading people (maybe the devs fixed it in time through their data-only patch?). Definitely the best tip with Arcane Bolts!
Huh, are events going to be a bi-weekly thing?
I'm guessing it's just a coincidence of two major events lining up this way, with the Death Knight releasing so close to Christmas/Winter Veil.
I don't play Battlegrounds anymore, but it's free, so I don't see any reason to complain about them showing up as event rewards. You still get three packs for Standard. It's not as if they would instead be Hero portraits for Standard/Wild - this event just might not happen in that case.
I don't play Battlegrounds either, and I object to being forced to play it to earn these rewards. Yesterday, I literally just cued up 2 games in a row and did something else while waiting to die. Waste of time I could have been playing a game mode I actually enjoy.
I mean, you're not forced to play Battlegrounds at all: since you don't care for the 1200 eXP reward, you really only need to complete a week's worth of the dailies for the three packs. The dailies can all be done in Constructed just fine.
Yeah, I suppose. I just wasn't sure how many gems I'd gather that way. And to be honest, I always feel driven to complete things like quest chains. It's a compulsion, and I'm sure that's what they're counting on.