Major Hearthstone Changes Announced, Detailed

"A new way to play."

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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
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Significant changes are coming to Blizzard Entertainment's free-to-play card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The developer today announced that two new play modes--Standard and Wild--will launch for the game this spring, with the aim of keeping the game "fresh, exciting, and accessible."

Designer Ben Brode explains in the video above that in Standard, which will be available for Friendly Challenges, Ranked, and Casual play, you can play with a deck that pulls from a pool of cards released in the current and previous calendar year.

This includes Blackrock Mountain, the Grand Tournament, the League of Explorers, and an upcoming expansion to launch this spring, but not Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes. Additionally, some of the game's basic and classic cards are also available for play in the new Standard mode.

Blizzard also points out that Standard does not affect Hearthstone's existing Arena, Solo, and Adventures modes. However, Standard will become the official format for Hearthstone Championship Tour events.

Overall, as published on Hearthstone's website, these are Blizzard's goals for Standard:

  • Standard will help make for a more dynamic and balanced metagame.
  • A select set of cards makes each new card have more impact!
  • The developers will have more freedom to design exciting new cards.
  • It lets newer players jump in faster without having to collect as many cards.

Going forward, every new Standard year will be given a name pulled from a zodiac constellation in the fictional skies over Azeroth. This inaugural year is called Year of the Kraken.

The other new Hearthstone mode of play is called Wild, which is basically the existing game.

"It'll be the format where anything can happen," Blizzard said. "When you queue up for Wild, you'll be cozying up with the crazy fun of Hearthstone you're already familiar with. You'll use any of the cards you've already collected to build a Wild deck and be able to finish quests, earn gold, rank up on the ladder, get card backs, and earn Legend rank, just like you can in Standard."

On top of this, Blizzard has announced that players who have unlocked all nine Hearthstone heroes will receive nine additional deck slots. This will bring their deck slot total to eighteen.

For lots more on today's Hearthstone news, check out the video above and this in-depth FAQ. By Blizzard's latest count, Hearthstone had 40 million players across mobile and PC.

What do you make of these changes? Let us know in the comments below!

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