On February 2nd, Blizzard has announced that some big changes are coming to the Hearthstone. They’ve announced Formats. Right now only two, but it is pretty likely that more will come in future. Then later, on March 11th they’ve announced the new expansion – Whispers of the Old Gods. I want to make a summary of everything’s announced so far – all the information we have about the upcoming changes and the new expansion. I’ll only list verified information from the official Blizzard sources, so you don’t have to worry about gossip, guessing or fake leaks right here.
This article is mainly aimed at the new or returning player that have missed what’s coming; or the ones that didn’t really care about the changes . But if you are up to date with what’s Blizzard planning, you might still read it in case you have missed something!
Just updated article with all the thing we’ve learned recently – I think it should contain everything now!
I’ll start with the most important thing – release date. New patch is going to come out on April 26th in Americas region and on April 27th in other regions. It most likely doesn’t mean non-Americas release will be postponed, it’s just about the time zones. If expansion gets released late in the evening in Americas region, it will be 27th in the other regions already.
Whispers of the Old Gods
- 134 new cards. You can see the full list of cards here.
- For a limited period of time, everyone who logs in will get 3 WoG Card Packs. Opening your first WoG Card Pack will give you two free copies of Beckoner of Evil and one copy of C’Thun. On top of that, players will be getting two quests: win 2 games in Standard format and win 7 games in Standard format. Both reward with 5 more WoG Card Packs. The total rewards we’re getting for free are: 13 WoG Card Packs, C’Thun and 2x Beckoner of Evil.
- C’Thun and Beckoner of Evil WON’T be available in the Card Packs. The only ways to get them is the initial promotion or crafting.
- Just like in TGT, bundle of 50 Card Packs is available for pre-purchase with a discount. It costs 49.99$ and it’s one-time deal. A very cool card back is awarded for pre-purchasing the bundle. If you want to grab it, be sure to do that before expansion release – it won’t be available later!
- If you want to read all the Whispers of the Old Gods-related articles on our site, including card/nerfs analysis, discussion about post-expansion meta and deck brews – be sure to check out our WoG category!
Changes to Classic Cards
We’ve learned all the changes to Basic/Classic set just two days ago. It’s 12 changes in total, with Druid getting a biggest hit. If you want to read about all the changes with explanations from Blizzard, check out this news article.
However, if you want some more info, analysis from experienced players or just another perspective, I invite you to read those articles posted on our site:
- “The Nerfs are Coming!” by Nuba
- “Stone Reviews Old Gods: Basic/Classic Nerfs” by Stonekeep
- “Stuck Down: A Look at how the Nerfs will Impact Standard” by Joseph
Hearthstone will feature two formats – Wild and Standard.
Wild is basically what we play right now. When building Wild decks, you’ll have access to ALL the cards in the game. Cards from any expansion and adventure ever released + promo cards. So if you intend to play Wild, you don’t have to worry about anything. Your deck building process won’t be restricted. Wild card pool will get bigger and bigger each year, allowing for some really crazy synergies and combos to happen.
Standard is more interesting one. In this format, you’ll be allowed to use only the Classic cards AND the cards from the latest expansions. Blizzard has decided to go with the 2 year blocks. When the first expansion in a given year is released, the expansions from 2 years back will be cycled out. Given the fact that Blizzard aims to release 3 expansions/adventures per year, at any given time we’ll be playing with Classic and between 4 and 6 expansions. For comparison, right now we’re playing with Classic + 5 expansions. So that’s the average card pool we’ll have access to in Standard, it will never get much bigger.
To give you an example based on the current state of the game. We’re closing on the release of the first expansion of 2016 (Whispers of the Old Gods). Once it gets released, everything from 2014 is going to cycle out. Curse of Naxxramas adventure and Goblins versus Gnomes expansion were released in 2014. It means that both of them will cycle out once the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion is released. In this year’s Standard, we’ll be left with the Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, The League of Explorers, Whispers of the Old Gods and 2 more expansions that are going to be released in 2016. And after that, with the first expansion of 2017 being released, the 2015 content will cycle out. So about a year from now, the BRM, TGT and LoE will be gone from Standard.
The Standard will cycle yearly and each year will be called after one of the Warcraft universe’s Zodiac constellations. First cycle we’ll be getting very soon is called Year of the Kraken.
Promo and Reward cards will NOT be the part of Standard. Promo cards are: Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftain. Reward cards are Old Murk-Eye and Captain’s Parrot. You will be able to play those only in Wild format.
Ladder & Tournaments
Wild and Standard will have separate ladders. When queueing with a Wild deck, you’ll face other Wild decks and rank up in the Wild ladder. Same goes for the Standard – you won’t face Wild decks while playing with a Standard one and vice-versa.
The moment ladder splits, you’ll maintain your rank in both ladders. So for example, if you were rank 5 at the moment of the split – you’ll end up with rank 5 on both Wild and Standard ladders. But after the split, ladders are separate. When you win the game in Standard, you only rank up in Standard. You aren’t limited to playing only one format – you can rank up and hit Legend in both at the same time.
You won’t get separate end of the season rewards. You’ll only be rewarded once based on your highest rank, no matter if it’s in Wild or Standard. So for example, if you’re rank 3 in Wild and rank 15 in Standard, you’ll get rewards based on your Wild rank. If you’re Legend in both formats, you’ll only get one Legend reward chest.
Friend list will only show the highest rank player has. You won’t be able to see both Wild and Standard ranks of your friends – if someone is rank 3 in Wild and rank 7 in Standard, you’ll see him as rank 3.
Standard will be the main Constructed format and it’s going to be featured in all Blizzard esports events. Standard will also be the only format where you’ll be eligible to earn Hearthstone Championship Tour points for getting Legend and finishing in top 100. Non-official tournaments can be hosted in any format, so while Standard will likely be the most popular format, we’re probably going to see some Wild tournaments too.
Shop & Crafting
Pretty big changes are coming to the shop. With the introduction of Standard, you’ll only be able to purchase Expansions and Adventures that are eligible for Standard. You won’t be able to purchase card packs from Expansions or Adventures that have cycled out and are now Wild-only.
When it comes to the Adventures, if you buy at least one wing before it cycles out, you’ll still be able to buy the rest later, play through it and get the cards that you’ll be able to use in Wild. So if you’re interested in playing through the Naxx in the future, or you want the cards from the Naxx (to play them in the Wild), it’s best to buy the first wing now, so you’ll be able to finish it later. If you won’t buy it right now and still want to get the cards in the future, the only option will be to craft them with Arcane Dust. But if you want a lot of them, it’s a much more costly way. What’s new is that you’ll also be able to disenchant cards from the already-cycled Adventures. So if you already own the Naxxramas (or any Adventure that will cycle out in the future) and you aren’t interested in playing Wild, you can disenchant all the cards to gain quite a lot of dust. Disenchanting the whole Naxxramas Adventure will yield a total of 3140 Arcane Dust. Be sure that you don’t want to play Wild before doing that, though, because crafting the cards back will be much more expensive!
When it comes to Expansions, you won’t be able to acquire the packs from cycled out Expansions anymore. Shop will only offer card packs from the Expansions in the current Standard cycle. So when the patch hits, you will no longer be able to purchase GvG packs. Cards from that expansion will still be craftable. If you intend to play in the Wild format and you’re still missing a lot of GvG Common/Rare cards, it would be a good idea to buy some packs right now – getting all the Commons + most of the Rares from the packs is pretty easy, after 60 packs you should have all the Commons and about 70-80% of the Rares. Crafting all of them, however, costs much, much more. You can also hunt for the infamous Dr. Boom – even though it’s cycling out of the Standard, the card will still be played A LOT in Wild.
Since Reward cards will no longer be the part of the Standard, you will no longer be able to get them usual way. They will become craftable. And while cost of crafting Captain’s Parrot itself (400 Dust per copy = 800 Dust for 2 copies) is much lower than crafting all the Pirates (2220 Dust), if you want to get the Old Murk-Eye to play it in the Wild, it would be a good idea to craft the missing Murlocs before formats go live. After the changes, you’ll be able to craft it for 1600 Arcane Dust. However, right now you can get it for just 700 Dust – you just need to craft one copy of the Coldlight Oracle, Coldlight Seer, Murloc Tidecaller and Murloc Warleader. If you already have some of them, the dust cost gets reduced even further! Same goes for Captain’s Parrot, if you already own most of the Pirates and you miss only one or two, if you aim at full collection, you might want to craft the rest to get Parrot for free.
You won’t get the full Arcane Dust value from disenchanting Naxx/GvG cards after they cycle out of the Standard! You’ll get the normal value of the 5 per Common, 20 per Rare, 100 per Epic and 400 per Legendary.
Arena, Tavern Brawl & Adventures
The format changes won’t have a big impact on Arena. In Arena, you’ll still be able to draft card from ANY expansion. So even if an expansion cycles out, cards from that given expansion will still be offered in Arena. However, it will affect the Arena rewards. Since card packs from the non-Standard expansion won’t be available, you won’t be able to get them from Arena too. You’ll only be able to get packs from the expansions valid in Standard.
The standard format for Tavern Brawls is going to be Wild. Blizzard will however be able to decide the new Tavern Brawls format and make them Standard too. So while the majority of Tavern Brawls will remain without restrictions (Wild), some of them might fit the Standard format more.
All Adventures will be played in Wild format. This means that you can use any card ever released to beat the bosses in both Normal and Heroic mode.
Edit: This feature was already released, but I’ll leave it here for returning players that want to learn more about it!
Hearthstone had a deck building helper all along. But let’s be honest, it was pretty bad one. While it could be helpful for players who have just started, the card choices were very weird and it couldn’t really build a good deck.
Blizzard has introduced the new feature – Deck Recipes. It’s going to help both new players who don’t know how deck building works and intermediate players who want to quickly jump into the matches with some cool, synergistic decks. Each class has access to 3 recipes – 1 Classic and 2 Themed. That makes 27 recipes in total.
Classic recipes contain only Basic & Classic cards. They are a good baseline or budget options for the new players who don’t have access to a lot of cards yet. They are more general decks, without a lot of synergies or combos. It makes them both more accessible and easier to play.
Then, the Themed recipes are the “cool” ones. They are the decks built around some card, they include a lot of fun combos and synergies. They are harder to play and require much more cards, so they’re aimed at more experienced players.
Examples of the recipes:
- Rogue’s Empowered Spells recipe – This deck focuses mostly on card draw and spell damage, anchored by the mighty essence of magic himself, Malygos.
- Hunter’s Deathtrap recipe – A control-based deck that focuses on board control and the use of Trap spells.
- Shaman’s Murlocs Unleashed recipe – An aggressive deck that focuses on buffing synergies, and our favorite fishy friends.
In case you’re missing some cards from the recipe and you don’t know what to replace it with, the game gives you an option to pick one of the “suggested cards” to quickly finish the deck. The suggested cards should be the best possible replacements (from your card collection) in the vacuum. It means that they don’t take the synergies into account. So if you play one of the Themed recipes, you might want to finish the deck yourself! It’s still a good option aimed at the beginner players and the Classic recipes.
All the recipes should be Standard-friendly. They only include the cards available in Standard, so you’ll be able to play in that format with all of the recipe decks. It most likely means that the recipes will be updated or changed as the expansions rotate out of Standard.
- In Standard, when you play a card that summons other cards or Discovers other cards, you’ll only be getting the valid options. It means that, for example, Museum Curator won’t be able to Discover Sneed’s Old Shredder in Standard and the Ram Wrangler won’t be able to summon Gahz’rilla.
- Classic cards (besides Basic set, obviously) that are changed will be disenchantable for full Arcane Dust value for limited time (until May 10th). For example, if an Epic card gets changed, you’ll be able to disenchant it for 400 Dust instead of 100 Dust. It means that you can disenchant EVERY card that got changed on sight, because even if you’ll want to play any of them in the future – you can just craft them for the same price.
- C’thun and his Cultists won’t be available in Arena. That’s because they’re heavy synergy cards and it’s incredibly hard to build a synergistic deck in Arena. It means that there would be a huge influx of vanilla minions into Arena and Blizzard doesn’t want to do that.
- “Sorry” emote is going away from the game – it’s going to be replaced with “Wow” emote. Blizzard isn’t happy with the way “Sorry” emote was often used (in a sarcastic manner).
- New UI for “Challenge a Friend” feature – you click a button near friend’s name and then pick whatever mode you want to challenge him in. How it looks in the game.
Expansion is only 4 days away. With all the news we’ve got recently + the latest Blizzard stream I think I’ve gathered all the necessary info. If you see that I’m missing something or I made a mistake somewhere, please let me know in the comment section below.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the read and some of you have learned a thing or two about how the game will look like very soon. See you in the Tavern!