Hearthstone splitting into 'Standard' and 'Wild' formats, adding more deck slots

Blizzard has announced some big changes coming to Hearthstone formats later this spring, in an effort to make the game less intimidating to new players.

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Blizzard has announced some big new changes to Hearthstone, by splitting play into two distinct formats.

As detailed on the Hearthstone Blog, play will now be split into "Standard" and "Wild" formats. Standard will be the play mode for recently released expansions, allowing Blizzard to create a more tightly balanced experience with limited formats. Wild is the new name for the play mode we already know, where all previous expansions are in play allowing for more crazy card combinations.

Both formats will have both Ranked and Casual play, and your Rank will be tracked separately in each format and matched against other players using the same format. You can even reach Legend in both formats. Standard will become the new official format for the Hearthstone Championship Tour as well. However, Arena, Solo, and Adventures aren't available in Standard format. Plus, Adventures and Expansions that aren't part of Standard format will be cycled out of sale in the Shop, so you'll have to either buy those before the deadline or craft the cards individually.

Standard will consist of the Basic and Classic card sets, along with any expansions released within the current or previous calendar year. For the initial roll-out this spring, that will mean no curse of Naxxramas or Goblins vs Gnomes cards. Moving forward, new card sets will be added to Standard while others cycle out of play. Each Standard play year will be named after an Azeroth constellation, so this first one will be called the Year of the Kraken. Blizzard says the move is intended to make it easier to balance new expansions, and to allow new players to jump in without needing to collect such a wide array of cards. 

The announcement also includes word of more deck slots. The long-requested feature will be added sometime before Standard format comes into play, letting anyone who has unlocked all nine heroes access 18 slots instead of the usual nine.

Finally, though the announcement doesn't share more details, it does note the Standard format will include a "Spring 2016 Expansion," confirming suspicions that another one is on the way soon.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 2, 2016 10:21 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Hearthstone splitting into 'Standard' and 'Wild' formats, adding more deck slots

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      February 2, 2016 10:28 AM

      I really don't like this change

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      February 2, 2016 10:30 AM

      That... seems even more confusing for newcomers?

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        February 2, 2016 10:36 AM

        there's a minor up front cost for massively reduced in game complexity

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        February 2, 2016 10:48 AM

        Since non-standard packs and adventures will no longer be purchasable it seems like it will be very easy on newcomers. Get gold, buy the latest pack, and play standard. Wild is obviously wild so new people shouldn't play it.

        Whether or not completely removing all the old stuff from the store being a good idea is totally not clear. Especially removing Naxx is odd just from a single player perspective.

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      February 2, 2016 10:35 AM

      has been inevitable from day 1

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      February 2, 2016 10:47 AM

      No naxx cards is huge for a meta shift in standard. So vanilla cards will never be phased out of standard?

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        February 2, 2016 10:49 AM

        apparently, seems a little strange

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        February 2, 2016 10:50 AM

        Basic and classic are to always be there. The blog does say they will do a complete balance pass on those sets though. Just that balance pass alone would be a massive shift.

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      February 2, 2016 10:50 AM

      I think this is great. Inevitable, really. It was becoming a real problem for newer players to catch up without dropping tons of cash.

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      February 2, 2016 10:51 AM

      Going the way of MtG I guess.

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        February 2, 2016 11:17 AM

        Doesn't MtG have sets which come back though? Seems weird to just wipe out Nax cards completely, or any other set for that matter.

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          February 2, 2016 11:20 AM

          Magic used to have a yearly core set that was all reprints but not 100% the same reprints each year. This is roughly analogous to HS's classic set except it still changed over time and wasn't entirely the same every year. Magic eventually began also printing new cards in the core sets along with it being many reprints. In the past year they have abolished core sets entirely, and normal expansions will just include reprints of old cards sometimes. Often new sets will just have functional reprints of old classics that have the same cost/effect but new name/art to match the flavor of the new set (generally this only happens at lower rarities so the cost to players is near $0).

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      February 2, 2016 10:57 AM

      Why would they need to copy MtG formats for a game that has nowhere near the depth of MtG?

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        February 2, 2016 11:07 AM

        Because as it is now a lot of decks are hamstrung unless they include certain cards at each drop, limiting variety among other things. We will probably see a shift from tempo to more value oriented play in the Standard format with a lot of those key cards no longer available to use.

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        February 2, 2016 11:15 AM

        Because without rotating they can't balance the game properly without destroying power levels and making the classic cards worthless. Piloted Shredder was always going to be the best neutral 4 drop, Dr Boom the best 7, and so on.

        Hearthstone is less complex then MtG but power creep and balance are still major issues, especially since there are only 30 cards per deck and every slot counts

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          February 2, 2016 11:17 AM

          you know better than to respond to Haxim trolls :p

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      February 2, 2016 11:11 AM

      Necessary change that I didn't think they were going to do. Good for them

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        February 2, 2016 11:12 AM

        why did you think they wouldn't do it? There was no way it could maintain the accessibility that made it so popular without this change, they surely knew that and have been using the MTG playbook pretty closely from the start.

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          February 2, 2016 11:18 AM

          I didn't think they'd rotate cards out completely within the current structure. Adding a second format (like Modern) seemed to add complexity that I didn't think they'd go for. Its not that complex but they've kept the game so lean and straightforward up until now.

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            February 2, 2016 11:21 AM

            I just didn't see any possible way for them to keep the game lean and straightforward without rotation. Like I said above, you add a small amount of complexity up front (now someone asks 'I just started HS what mode do I play?' and they're told 'Standard, don't worry about the rest for now'), but you maintain that lean gameplay instead. Not having any rotation would be far more complicated long term.

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      February 2, 2016 11:48 AM

      This is obviously not super useful, but it's interesting - here is how the current 'top' meta decks will be affected by this change: ttps://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/43veck/adding_formats_to_hearthstone/czl8xeb

      Secret paladin and midrange paladin get pretty dismantled (amongst other decks); most of the strong paladin early game came from those sets

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        February 2, 2016 12:04 PM

        Tier Shaman

        :'(

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        February 2, 2016 12:13 PM

        yeah paladin just went from first to worst

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          February 2, 2016 12:33 PM

          Don't worry - they'll add some new cards to make sure Thrall maintains his own tier.

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          February 2, 2016 12:39 PM

          The heck he is. My Murloc-adin is not affected by this change.

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            February 2, 2016 2:03 PM

            Problem is there's only so high you can climb with that deck. I top out at 12 with that while I can easily hit 7 or 8 with the other popular ones.