'Hearthstone' news: Latest update brings big changes to Ranked Play and Arena; April 2017 expansion to introduce 135 new cards

Promotional image for Blizzard's free-to-play online collectible card video game "Hearthstone" | Facebook/Hearthstone

Prior to the expansion coming this spring, a new update for "Hearthstone" has been released by Blizzard.

Big changes are introduced in the patch, including those to Arena and Ranked Play. Gamespot notes that once a player has reached specific milestones for the season while in Ranked mode 20, 15, 10, 5 and Legend, ranks can no longer be lost past that point. Potential cards that can show up have now been limited due to the shift from Arena to Standard format.

For players who already own gold versions of cards, they can now be brought into Arena matches. Spell cards will appear more often, while the update makes neutral Basic and Classic cards less common. As for the balance, the price for Spirit Claws has been increased to two mana instead of one. Small-Time Buccaneer also has a decreased health from two down to one. Full patch notes can be viewed here.

On Monday, Blizzard confirmed that a new expansion titled "Journey to Un'Goro" will be launching in April. The expansion adds a total of 135 cards, and some of them reveal never-before-seen mechanics in the game. According to reports, one of the biggest addition from the expansion is a legendary card called Quest cards. Players who have it in their deck will always have it appear in their opening hand. Putting it into play opens up a quest that has to be finished. After completing the task, the player is rewarded with another card.

Fans should also look forward to a new tribe called "Elemental." The game has not added a new minion type (commonly dubbed as "tribes") since 2014, making this addition an important part of the expansion. Aside from the Elemental tribe, a new mage legendary minion named Pyros will also be introduced.

Blizzard has yet to announce an exact release date for "Hearthstone: Journey to Un'Goro."