Sizable Hearthstone changes are coming. Blizzard has announced a format change that will be akin to Magic the Gathering’s format types. The ‘Standard’ format will include current as well as the past years adventures and expansions, rotating once the first expansion of the new year releases. This years first expansion was also mentioned to be released spring of this year, inaugurating the beginning of the standard format changes. The release of this expansion will see the exodus of the Naxxaramas Adventure and Goblin vs Gnomes expansion as standard legal. As a player whose always hungry for new hearthstone information, unfortunately no other details in regards to the new expansion was announced, however there was a two part teaser video released on Hearthstone’s Twitter which can be found here, and here
Although some of the current games most effective cards will no longer be legal in the standard format (Doctor Boom, Sludge Belcher, Haunted Creeper, Shielded Minibot etc…) fret not as the ‘Wild’ format will allow any card from any expansion to be played. Blizzard has also stated that the ladder experience for ‘Wild’ and ‘Standard’ will be separate.
Classic cards and basic cards will be “evergreen”, not rotating but will always be standard legal providing a base set to help build decks around. Card selection for other popular game types, such as Arena, will be left untouched providing a vast number of card options to select from when crafting a deck.
In addition to a new format type Blizzard is also giving players much needed additional deck slots. Once all classes are unlocked, typically one of the first things accomplished, players will receive an additional 9 deck slots for a total of 18 deck slots. As a veteran player this is a welcome addition but still feels like an arbitrary limitation, especially considering this is a digital game.
The Standard format is sure to bring significant change to the landscape of Hearthstone. Some of the obvious benefits to these changes are a lower barrier of entry for new players, constant deck innovation and an easier to balance meta. There are sure to be some downsides as well. For example the Wild format will become more and more difficult to be competitive in, especially for new players. It will, much like Magic the Gathering’s Modern or Legacy formats, require much older, much more expensive cards in order to not be crushed outright by players who will often have access to those cards. Normally for a digital game this wouldn’t be as difficult to deal with as cards effectively never go “out of print”. However Blizzard has made the baffling decision to make expansions and adventures that have rotated out of standard also rotate out of the in the game shop. Meaning adventures and expansions who have rotated out of standard can no longer be purchased. The only way to get non-standard cards is to craft them with arcane dust, which if you haven’t played or crafted anything in Hearthstone yet means you’ll have to buy and disenchant a LOT of standard packs. The conversion rate of cards to dust isn’t great so you’ll need to spend a pretty penny in order to complete older sets.
All in all this means change is coming, and hopefully it’ll be good change. We’ll see how the meta for standard shakes out after spring. You can check out the links below to get the info from Blizzard’s mouth!