Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Hearthstone's New Formats: Bye Bye Boom...and Paladin?

If anyone hasn't caught up on Hearthstone news recently, a really big change is going to happen. 150+ cards will be retired from Standard "ranked" play.
These cards include the first two expansion packs: Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes. Don't fret though, these cards won't disappear entirely - they'll still be available in a separate format, called "Wild".
This is what is called rotation. It's common amongst card games such as Hearthstone, which have new cards released on a regular basis. People think that if there are too many cards, it decreases enjoyment - it makes it more about memory, and halts innovation in terms of deck building, not to mention possibly wasting the effort of hard-working designers who's cards may not be used due to older, better alternatives.
Magic: The Gathering has a similar thing for example. It's more complicated, but it also has Standard Constructed, which uses cards from the last two sets and the core set, and Eternal, which uses all published sets. Likewise, Hearthstone, in "Standard Format" will only be using cards from the last two years, including the Classic set, whereas in "Wild", it will be as it is now - "everything is permitted", as a completely irrelevant franchise from this one said.

By removing older cards, there becomes a steady number available. A smaller size means that it becomes easier to get into the game, to be more accessible, as the players who have played the longest won't have as big of an advantage any more.
Rotation also enables the game’s designers to explore new avenues for the game, which may interact badly with the previous cardpool, and perform soft-patches, releasing new cards that differ slightly from old ones for balance reasons without needing to rewrite the text. It's something called Power Creep, and has been somewhat seen in Hearthstone with the Magma and Ice Ragers, and the Evil Heckler and Booty Bay Bodyguard, who've either had reduced mana costs than their older counterparts or boosted stats.
Obviously, this presents a big downside - ALL the cards we've bought, all the cards we've crafted and earned through time and effort and now rendered useless, unless you plan to mainly play "Wild". I'm one of those people - I've bought Naxxramas and crafted a considerable amount of GvG (Goblins Vs Gnomes) cards, and I think that we should at least be able to disenchant all cards at higher dust amounts. It would be a waste otherwise.
Some notable cards leaving regular play include Death's Bite, Darkbomb, Implosion, Mad Scientist, Goblin Blastmage, almost all the Mech cards, and most notably, Dr.Boom. The latter has been a staple in almost every deck since its release due to its overwhelming power, but there are specific decks - and classes in general - that have taken larger hits.
Take for example the Mech deck. It's dead. No more Mechs, no more Mech decks. Even more hurtful is the damage done to the Paladin class as a whole. They remove multiple cards that were really powerful, such as Shielded Minibot and Avenge, but the ones that are the most sad to see leave our decks are Quartermaster and Muster for Battle. These and Shielded Minibot were a staple in every Paladin deck due to their efficiency and potential for huge value. But now they're gone, and Paladins are left with barely anything. While this may shift the game to a slower pace, many Paladin players, including myself can't help but mourn the loss of the cards.
The classes are still in the game however, and I know that the community will get their creative juices flowing and reinvent Paladin as a class, with the help of some new cards. Speaking of that, this format will be likely introduced during the Spring 2016 expansion, and will also see adjustments being made to the current card pool, i.e. the Classic set which will always remain in play. We'll have to wait and see how Hearthstone following the example set by card games before it will turn out both for it as a game and its community.
What do you think? What cards will you miss? Let us know!

1 comment:

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