Hearthstone Introduces New Play Format, Standard, Coming Spring 2016


Well! Everyone, get in here! The tavern is getting some new refurbishments! It appears that Hearthstone is going full-blown Yu-Gi-Oh! on us. The development team from Blizzard Entertainment announced, earlier today, the beginning of a new game play format for their popular free-to-play trading card game. Starting in the spring, players will be able to participate in an entirely new means of play, called the Standard format, which restricts cards to rotations from the current calendar year. Other cards would end up being removed from rotation in this mode. But fear not, players that love the chaos and the whimsy of the game can still enjoy it as such, with the format being branded as the Wild format. Nothing will change, and all cards will be accessible.

Blizzard did create a strange problem with their announcement, though, by announcing that starting in the spring, expansion packs would be cycled out. For instance, in the spring, the expansion Curse of Naxxramas and its booster pack expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, would be removed from rotation and all cards obtainable from the story could be crafted or disenchanted at players’ discretion. It’s definitely a bit of a shame, as the story expansions were actually quite a joy, even if they could be easily devastated with newer cards from League of Explorers or Blackrock Mountain. Players are in a bit of a tizzy because it causes a hindrance to the free-to-play audiences, who would have to save even more crafting dust for some of the most crucial cards in the play set.

Hearthstone is definitely one of my guiltier pleasures; it’s playable anywhere, from on the go to on the chamber pot. Seeing how this new format could change the face of the game makes it move from a lesser luck oriented one to a more skill-infused challenge, which I definitely welcome. Who doesn’t like Mal’Ganis from an Unstable Portal? The new announcement makes it go closer to the Yu-Gi-Oh Advanced game play format, which is considered tournament standard. Speaking of which, Standard play for Hearthstone will be the new tournament format going forward. But either way, this is a great change, and one that will hopefully get the high-profile streamers back into the game with eagerness rather than distaste.