A huge wave of changes will be coming to Hearthstone this year with Blizzard’s new overhaul of the standard play mode, inclusive of both casual and ranked play. The changes, expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2016 will see two new formats introduced; ‘Wild’ will be a sort of ‘anything goes’ affair with all cards ever printed available to players. This new format will continue on with casual and ranked play modes as standard 25-1 and the legend ranks. The second format, known as ‘Standard’ will only include cards released in the last two years as well as cards from the Classic and Basic sets excluding Naxxramus and Goblin Versus Gnomes card sets. This also means that Naxxramus and Goblin Versus Gnomes will no longer be available for purchase and will instead have to be crafted using Arcane dust.
Blizzard will only feature the top 100 legend players in the ‘Standard’ ranked play mode, since they aim to encourage people to shift to the new mode to make a more even playing field. This means the new ‘Wild’ mode will only be there as a format in which you can still use your favourite cards from the excluded card sets, helping placate older players who already put in time effort and money to collect the soon to be excluded cards. I think the main reason Blizzard introduced this mode is not so people will play the new mode and aim high, because there is not much of a reward, but instead it’s because Blizzard doesn’t want old players to feels it was a waste of time getting the cards from GvG and Naxx and being forced to dust them all since they are, competitively speaking, completely useless .
Blizzard introduced this big move so new players can play on an more even field, when against veterans with the older and more powerful cards. By Blizzard making this call, they aim to remove the “must add ins” in decks, like “Dr.Boom”, “piloted shredder” and “slidge belcher” that are included in almost every high tier deck. Since GvG and Naxx were definitely one of the most powerful stages, this means Blizzard won’t be forced to deal with cards that overpowered, and won’t have to make cards equally as strong to match those stages which further weakens the newer players.
Blizzard has also announced that the remaining cards still available in Standard mode that are found to be too strong, will be removed or reworked to set even more level playing field in the new mode.
With these new changes, it will force players to learn a whole heap of new decks, while older players may or may not still be playing around cards that are removed on the new standard play mode, which is unfortunate.
Personally as a veteran Hearthstone player I do not support the changes since I have spent so much time attaining the various GvG and Nax cards, so it’s a real disappointment to see those cards being useless in the new standard modes. As a player, I also think I will be playing around cards and combos which won’t even exist in the new mode, which isn’t too convenient since I have also spent time memorising the various cards.
However, if Blizzard thinks this will help and expand the game, then I will hang in there.