Being a Hearthstone fan is quite a turbulent experience. You land up going between highs and lows almost every month and when you expect Blizzard to do one thing, they somehow end up doing another. While most Hearthstone players thought they knew what to expect from the incoming year of standard, it seems like Blizzard has decided to change things up in bigger ways than we could have expected.
In the coming weeks we’ll see the Year of the Kraken, Hearthstone’s first year of Standard play, come to an end after which the Year of the Mammoth will trample its way in. The Standard format might be losing Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament and League of Explorers but Hearthstone as a whole will be gaining so much more. There are quite a few big changes coming so let’s jump straight into them.
With the rotating of sets Blizzard will also rotate certain powerful cards out of the Classic set in order to allow for more varied decks in the coming Standard year. The following card will be added to the new Hall of Fame set, which will include these Classic cards that will be rotated out of Standard as well as the cards from the Reward set.
- Neutral Cards:
- Azure Drake
- Sylvanas Windrunner
- Ragnaros the Firelord
- Class Cards:
- Power Overwhelming
- Ice Lance
These are all staples for most deck types and while they will be sorely missed, it’ll be interesting to see how the classes will change after the rotation. Now while the move out of Standard might make players want to dust these cards, Blizzard will rather give you the full dust value of these cards up to the maximum number of cards you can put in a deck. This is a rather generous gesture on Blizzard’s part and definitely comes quite welcomed. It may suck that we’ll lose our beloved Rag and Sylvanas in Standard, but at the same time, we’ll be given the dust to craft two chase legendaries from the upcoming expansion which is a pretty sweet deal.
I personally really like this change and feel that this could see Hearthstone implement a Core set that will be made up of Wild cards that will be legal in Standard. The ideal situation for Hearthstone would be the game’s Standard format following a similar structure as Magic the Gathering used to follow. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects the game but I do believe this is a far more preferable outcome to just straight nerfing Classic cards each year.
Next up is a huge change to how releases will be handled this year. Instead of alternating between expansions and adventures, we will now be seeing ~130 card expansions in the beginning, middle and end of the year. These expansions will also include single-player missions that will build upon the lore of each expansion. This change makes a lot of sense considering how inconsistent the number of cards released each year would be if they followed the current release schedule. There aren’t any more details available for these single-player missions but hopefully they stay as entertaining as previous adventures.
On top of all the changes, we’ll also Blizzard beef up the Fireside Gathering program as well as giving players daily login rewards for a limited time at the start of the Year of the Mammoth. It’s almost as if Blizzard is being a bit too generous but it doesn’t stop there, Maiev Shadowsong (i.e. the best character in the Warcraft universe) will also be added as a free hero portrait for the Rogue class that can be earned by winning 10 Standard Ranked or Casual games in the Year of the Mammoth.
There is a lot to digest from this update on the future of Hearthstone, but it does make the future look quite a bit brighter for the game than some expected. Hearthstone currently feels quite stale and while we know we’re getting a patch soon that should make the game’s top decks feel a little less oppressive, the changes detailed for the next Standard year feel like we might be able to avoid the stale metas that we’ve seen after each release. These changes are exciting and I just can’t wait for Blizzard to offer up more details in due time.