Hearthstone is all set to become a card collector’s delight with refreshing changes to the existing metagame. The proposed standard game format will surely make the game interesting, refreshing and more importantly accessible for experienced players and as well as for debutants. Players not only experience the fun filled standard formats but they get to enjoy the wild formats with unpredictable twists while maintaining the familiarity of the hearthstone game.
The new Hearthstone game formats in 2016
Hearthstone will have two game formats- a standard format and a wild format. The standard game format will bring some novelty to the game while the players can experience the familiar comfort of the hearthstone but with a pinch of uncertainty in the wild format!
The new game format facts:
- Players can clash in standard format only when they use recently launched hearthstone cards.
- The standard format involves decks that are carefully built from the most recently released card pool. The cards will ideally be released in the previous calendar year or they will be from the most recent launch (current calendar year).
- Basic and classic card sets will be an important and valid part of the standard format as they help the debutant players to find their way into the game easily.
- Players in standard format will clash with the other players who are playing the standard format.
- Players get to enjoy standard format only in Ranked, Friendly Challenges or Casual play.
- Solo play, Arena and Adventures would remain unaffected from standard format.
- There will be changes in the standard format each year when the first new expansion will be released.
- The first year of standard format is named after a mythical creature-Kraken. Every new expansion released each year will mark the beginning of a new hearthstone cycle, updated standard format and a thematic, mythical name for that year.
Decks in standard format
Standard decks will consist of:
- Basic and classic sets
- Blackrock Mountain
- The Grand Tournament
- The League of Explorers
- The Spring 2016 Expansion
- GvG (Goblins Vs Gnomes) and the Curse of Naxxrams are not included in the standard format.
- Those sets that weren’t part of the current calendar year release or the previous calendar year will phase out and are not considered standard format decks.
- Any existing deck with wild format cards will automatically become a wild deck.
- Such wild decks can also be converted into standard deck with a mouse click on the deck’s title bar to choose standard format.
- Collection manager will have a filter to show standard format cards and the visual cues in the collection manager will indicate the label of cards (standard/wild).
- Players can play a standard deck in wild format as long as all the cards that are usable in standard format are in the deck.
- Players who have unlocked the nine heroes will be offered nine extra deck slots that can be used in one of the format (standard/wild).
- Standard format-Adventures and Expansions can be bought for real money or gold.
- Those card sets that are unusable in the standard format cannot be bought from in-game shop.
- Such cards are eligible to be crafted with the help of Arcane Dust.
- Standard format Adventures can be bought but those (Adventures card sets) that are not part of standard format cannot be bought.
- Existing Adventures will help players unlock the rest of the part for in game-gold.
- Except basic card sets, all other sets can be crafted or disenchanted.
- Standard format Adventures cards can be crafted or disenchanted when they are earned by finishing a challenge successfully.
- Wild format includes the normal format that is already familiar for hearthstone players but with some unpredictable twists.
- Over a period the wild format will keep getting interesting as and when new cards are included.
- The wild format works like the normal format wherein the players continue to win gold, complete quests, gain card backs/legend ranks/ranks etc.
- Wild deck players in Ranked/Casual will challenge the other set of players using wild decks.
- Arena, Adventures, Solo play and many other hearthstone- play modes fall under wild format.
- The wild lineup will have people from both wild and standard format decks.
- Tavern brawl is highly unpredictable with rules changing every week; sometimes it is in wild format and other time it follows a standard format.
Game play for standard and wild formats:
- In standard format, game effects like sending for cards/minions, transformations etc will do so for those cards that are used in standard format. However, in wild format every card is legit and game effects will function accordingly.
- Players can use standard format in play mode to play in Ranked and Casual play only. The rest of the play modes are wild by default (except Tavern brawl).
Rewards and ranks
- Players can either chose standard or wild format for Ranked play.
- Each of the format will be rated separately
- However, the highest rank collected by the end of the season will fetch ranked reward for any one of the format and not in both.
- In any either of the formats, players will win end of season bonus, i.e., usable card sets in the standard format.
- In Casual play, standard and wild format will have a shared one match making rating.
- net pals can see players’ standard format ranks and not wild format rankings.
- Top tier-100 players from standard format will be featured
- Hearthstone Championship Tour points for 2016 can only be earned by using standard format as it is the official format of the championship.
Game format changes and e-sports (2016 Championship Tour)
The impending game format changes in hearthstone is planned to bring in some freshness to the game, cards and decks. By trying to introduce standard game formats, hearthstone is trying to phase out the dominating and powerful decks like secret paladin, midrange druid etc.
The new game format also helps hearthstone to keep it simple as players need not gather cards from huge card pools. The new change is like a reboot to the serious players. Moreover, hearthstone is trying to keep the new players happy by keeping the normal play in wild format. Basic and classic sets in standard format help the new players or old players returning to the game after a long gap to understand and familiarize the decks.
It may look like hearthstone is limiting gaming experience for players (f2w) by introducing standard play which is also considered as the official format for Hearthstone Championship Tour 2016. But in fact, hearthstone has not taken off the old way of playing but it has brought in a new way of playing with loads of fun elements. If the players are not happy with standard format, they have so many exciting and unpredictable elements in wild format.
Wild formats offer fun play without the pressure of winning. In wild format the focus is on being competitive while having fun. New players get good opportunities to learn and play hearthstone which offers more diversity than ever. In terms of competitiveness in e-sports, hearthstone’s standard format is designed to offer great satisfaction of professional quality to its players.
The standard format is great for beginners and serious players but few others may feel unhappy about vanishing/phasing out old decks. Hearthstone is phasing out old cards in standard formats that were not from current/previous calendar year. Such phasing out is necessary to add some freshness to the game and to keep it clear and simple. Old decks are no doubt precious, but moving ahead with simple and easy to understand format by slashing game size is equally valuable for hearthstone.
Another factor for bringing in the standard format into hearthstone is also to stay competitive. Many of the collectible card games have brought in formats to make the game exciting and competitive. By updating standard formats each year the metagame will transform into a versatile and challenging play. This season’s standard format includes amazing features like crafting the un-craftables by using Arcane Dust. The standard format change will be implemented this spring. More information will certainly emerge but hearthstone game enthusiasts need to wait.
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About the Author: Amna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.