Freshening up the game for Spring, they will be updating the nearly two year-old game with an entirely new way to play called Standard mode, while the current gameplay model will be renamed to Wild mode.
I know what you are thinking…wait…isn’t the way we are currently playing the game the ‘standard’ way?
Here ‘standard’ means standardize…more about that in a sec.
For those of you who love Hearthstone just the way it is, you’ll still be able to play, just as you always have, this is just now going to be available under the Wild play mode nomenclature. You’ll have access to “any and all 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.” So if you don’t find the idea of playing with every card ever released daunting, then feel free to continue to play in Wild mode.
The new Standard play mode aims to not only be more welcoming to new players, but also set some guidelines and restrictions more suitable for organized tournament play, by standardizing the card pool and forcing players to build their decks from a limited, consistent set of cards which were released in the current and previous calendar year (basically just some classic cards and stuff released within the past two years). This means everyone will have access to the same cards and be on an equal playing field. This new format makes it easier for new players or those who may have drifted away for a little while, to join in at any time thanks to the smaller subset of cards. The metagame will constantly be changing due to the influx of new cards and removal of older ones, so long-time players wont have an immediate, overwhelming and distinct advantage over those just starting out.
Standard is the new Play mode format, available in Friendly Challenges, Ranked, and Casual play. It won’t affect Arena, Solo play, or Adventures. This year, which we’ve dubbed the Year of the Kraken, you’ll play Standard using a deck built solely from a pool of cards that were released in the current and previous calendar year, which includes Blackrock Mountain, The Grant Tournament, The League of Explorers, and the upcoming spring 2016 expansion, plus all Basic and Classic cards. Standard will feature a dynamic and balanced metagame, where future card releases will have more impact. Standard will make the competitive scene even more exciting and will become the official format of the Hearthstone Championship Tour.
I think this is a great thing for the game, and with help keep the Hearthstone community fresh, excited and vibrant.
Finally, Blizzard has announced “a huge buff to the Collection Manager”.
Any players who have unlocked all nine heroes, will automatically get nine more deck slots, meaning you’ll now have double the number of deck slots to play and experiment with.
For even more information regarding this new way to play, check out the video below with designer Ben Brode.