Blizzard announces massive changes for Hearthstone's Arena mode

If you're a big Hearthstone player, you're almost certainly acquainted with the game's Arena mode. While Hearthstone in general has undergone many changes since it first launched, the Arena mode has been largely left untouched, save for a few minor changes here and there. That's all about to change, as Blizzard today announced a big revamp that it'll be making to Arena with Hearthstone's 7.1 update.

For starters, Blizzard has decided that a change of format is in order for Arena. Arena, for those unfamiliar, uses the Wild format, which means that all cards ever released for Hearthstone can appear within the 30-card decks that players draft. With the arrival of version 7.1, however, Arena will switch formats to Standard, meaning that only cards from sets released within the last year and the always present classic set will be available in Arena.

"As more cards are added to the Arena pool, having each game feel meaningfully different actually becomes harder to accomplish," Blizzard's announcement reads. "Attempting to create decks that utilize these meaningful synergies in a wide and diluted card pool will become more and more difficult as the Wild card pool grows larger."

Blizzard hopes that this change will "put the focus back on the player for good, synergistic Arena choices," but notes that it will be monitoring Arena's new standard format. If this change doesn't work as well as Blizzard hopes, then it may make additional changes to Arena's format.

That's likely the biggest change Blizzard announced today, but the train doesn't stop there. Blizzard also said that it will be decreasing the frequency of common cards in Arena drafts. While common cards currently appear around 78% of the time, Blizzard wants to see that percentage drop so rare, epic, and legendary cards show up more frequently. Just as well, you should see more spells show up in your drafts, as Blizzard looks to bring the distribution of spells and minions closer together.

While these changes will make certain cards show up more than others, Blizzard is specifically decreasing the frequency in which some cards appear. For instance, you'll start to see fewer minions from the classic set that don't have any card text, while Flamestrike and Abyssal Enforcer specifically will appear 50% less often in the Arena.

So there you have it, a list of rather sweeping changes coming to Hearthstone's Arena mode. When coupled with the changes for the Year of the Mammoth, it sounds like Hearthstone is going to undergo a big transformation in 2017.

SOURCE: Blizzard