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PC Gamer Interview With Ben Brode About Hearthstone's New Standard Format

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As we reported previously, Blizzard have announced that they are introducing a rotational format into Hearthstone called Standard, where cards only from the last two years expansions, basic, and core cards will be legal. PC Gamer conducted an interview with senior game designer Ben Brode about the changes, and the reasons behind them.


The interview starts off talking about the reasons for the changes. The are two main reasons. Firstly, the introduction of Standard will enable new players to catch up without a dramatic investment in the game. Secondly, a lot of design space will be freed up, which will in turn help to prevent power creep. If Dr. Boom and Piloted Shredder continued to be in Standard, then for other cards to be playable, the design team would need to create even more powerful cards. With the reset that Standard provides, they can create equally powerful cards that are different to the ones we are used to.

The first set of the year is going to be a big set. Importantly, Blizzard are going to nerf a number of cards from the Basic and Core sets at the time that the new set is released. Brode is cagey about the number of cards to be changed, saying simply that the number is "Certainly less than 20 but definitely more than 2". He also hints that Druid cards are going to be among those nerfed. My own guess is that Savage Roar and Innervate will be high on the hit list due to the obnoxious nature of Druid wins. It will be interesting to see if Animal Companion is nerfed, not because of its power level, but because it often feels that too much swings on the result. I would also not be surprised to see Big Game Hunter altered in some way.

There is a lot more detail in the interview, but the final thing I'd like to highlight is his quote on balancing Standard versus balancing Wild:

Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

"Wild is eventually going to become a format where there’s so many cards... it’s going to be a little bit wild there! So a little bit of difference of tolerance I think. (source)


There seems little doubt that Standard will be the format that gets looked after the most. Our previous article on the announcement explained that Standard will be the format for Hearthstone Championship Tour points for 2016. I think that shows what Blizzard are thinking regarding the relative importance of the formats in the future.
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