Blizzard announced some big changes coming to massively popular digital trading card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which will affect both competitive and casual players.

The changes include the introduction of game formats, tweaks in rankings, upcoming adjustments to Basic and Classic cards, and additional deck slots.

Standard Format

The first significant change coming to Hearthstone is the introduction of the Standard format for Play mode. For the format, gamers face off using only cards released in the most recent expansions.

For Standard, gamers will only be able to use cards released in the current and previous calendar year, along with the Basic and Classic cards that serve as the game's core foundation and will always be legal for Standard.

Blizzard believes that the introduction of the Standard format will lead to a more balanced and dynamic metagame, while giving cards the ability to impact the game more. Developers will also not be limited in thinking of how powerful a new card could be when combined with older cards.

Lastly, Standard will allow newer players to participate in the game without having to collect as many cards as previously needed, as they would only have to focus on the newer cards.

Standard will only be available in Friendly Challenges, Ranked and Casual games.

Year Of The Kraken

The inaugural Standard year, which will be arriving this spring, will be named Year of the Kraken.

For the first Standard format, gamers will be able to use cards from the Basic and Classic sets and the expansions Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, The League of Explorers and the upcoming spring 2016 expansion.

Cards from the Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion will not be given the chance to be a part of the Standard format.

Blizzard noted that as the first new expansion is released each year, all sets that were not released in the same or previous year will automatically cycle out of Standard.

Wild Format

The game as it is being played right now will now be known as the Wild format, where all cards in the game are legal to be used. No aspects of gameplay will be changing for Wild, including the completion of quests, the earning of gold, the climbing up the ladder, and so forth.

Rankings

Once Standard is introduced, gamers will be able to choose between the Standard and Wild formats for Ranked games. There will be separate rankings for each format, which opens up the challenge for veterans to hit the Legend rank in both of them.

Gamers will be able to collect the ranked rewards given at the end of every season based on the higher rank attained between the two formats, so gamers could choose to focus on one format entirely.

Card Re-evaluation

With the release of Standard and Wild, Blizzard said that it will be re-evaluating cards in the Basic and Classic sets, as these cards will always be legal in Standard.

The exact changes will be revealed as the introduction of the Standard format draws nearer.

Deck Slots

With Standard and Wild, gamers will also be given an extra nine deck slots to create decks for both formats. This raises the maximum number of decks that gamers can have available to them to 18.

Going Wild

The adventures and expansions that will be dropped from the Standard format and relegated into Wild will no longer be available to be purchased from the Shop, which means Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes will receive that treatment this year. Cards included in such adventures and expansions can still be crafted using Arcane Dust though, including cards that could only previously be obtained through playing-out adventures.

Gamers that were able to purchase at least the first wing of adventures before they go Wild will still be able to finish acquiring and playing the remaining wings.

Hearthstone's Future

Standard will become the official format for the Hearthstone Championship Tour, and Blizzard believes that the format would lead to a more exciting competitive scene for the game. 

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