Blizzard is changing things around in Hearthstone by introducing two new formats: Standard and Wild Play.
In Standard, cards featured in older expansions can no longer be used in deckbuilding. Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes, for example, will not be part of Standard. PC Gamer has a list of 20 popular cards which will no longer be available in Standard Play.
Sets usable in Standard Play are the basic and classic sets along with Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, The League of Explorers and a new expansion coming this spring.
The deck will be built solely from a pool of cards from the expansions and decks noted above. Standard format will match players against other players who are also using Standard decks.
Blizzard promised the new Standard format "will help keep Hearthstone fresh, exciting, and accessible," along with the following:
- 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.
- Standard is only available as a format in Friendly Challenges, Ranked, and Casual play, so it won’t affect Arena, Solo play, or Adventures.
When the first new Expansion is released each year, every set that wasn’t released in the same year or the year prior "will cycle out" and no longer be part of the Standard format.
A Wild format will also be introduced which will preserve all packs for players. It's basically "anything can happen" play, so when folks queue up for Ranked or Casualand get in on a match, nothing will seem any different. Players can still finish quests, earn gold, climb the ladder, get card backs, earn Legend rank, and use all the cards already collected.
When both formats are introduced, players can choose between Standard and Wild for Ranked play and maintain a separate rank for each format. Players will only collect ranked rewards at the end of the season based on highest rank attained in one format or the other - but not both.
Wild Play also introduces crafting. Since Adventures and Expansions are not part of the upcoming Standard format, the cards will no longer be available for purchase from the Shop this year. This includes Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes.
So, if players have missed out on any of these cards. they will have to craft them to use in Wild Play. The cards can be crafted using Arcane Dust, even cards from Adventures that were previously un-craftable. Those who have purchased at least the first wing of an Adventure before it cycled out will still be able to finish acquiring and playing the remaining wings.
Along with the new play modes, Blizzard will also re-evaluate a number of cards in the Basic and Classic card sets, including class cards, and plan to make some "long-considered adjustments."
More information on which cards are changing and why will be available closer to the arrival of Standard format this spring.
Finally, more deck slots are on the way and will arrive prior to the release of Standard. The extra slots will open up in the Collection Manager once a player unlocks all nine heroes.
Once unlocked, nine more deck slots will appear making the slot total eighteen.
There's more information available on the Standard and Wild Play formats coming to Hearthstone over on Battle.net.