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With the Year of the Mammoth giving away to the Year of the Raven, changes are in store for Hearthstone. In addition to a set rotation that has Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan moving from the Standard to the Wild format, Blizzard Entertainment’s hit digital card game is moving problem cards like Ice Block and Coldlight Oracle into Wild (and “unnerfing” Molten Giant), reducing the requirements for quests, and adding in-game tournaments.

But when the Year of the Raven kicks off later this year, nothing’s changing in the Arena. Hearthstone game director Ben Brode confirmed Monday that Blizzard didn’t have any plans to make Arena changes when the next Standard year begins (other than sets rotating out and a new set coming in). This comes on the heels of the special Wildfest promotion, in which for a week, the Arena draft pool included Standard and Wild cards.

Arena is a mode that stands out from Standard and Wild. You pay either 150 gold or $2 U.S. to enter, and you draft a deck of 30 cards, choosing one from a choice of three. But Brode did hint that the Hearthstone team is working on adjustments to Arena that would be coming during the Year of the Raven.

“Internally, we have a lot of focus going on Arena right now, playtesting several significant changes to the Arena, as far as it feels to go through the drafting process,” Brode said. “We do have some changes coming in the Raven timeframe that we’ll be announcing in a couple of weeks.”


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The last two weeks show both the positives and negatives Arena players view with Hearthstone. The ArenaHS subreddit is afire with posts about Wild Arena, and it sure looks like a number of players are digging it. People are asking about drafting strategies, player experiences in Wild Arena, and so on.

About two weeks ago, one passionate, well-known Arena player, Tarot, went on a rant about how they feel that Blizzard doesn’t communicate enough with players of its draft mode. This includes not mentioning offering specific rates for cards. I asked about the rate we’d see Wild cards offered in the draft during Wild Arena, and Blizzard said “it’s on par with standard Arena and Brawls,” but did not divulge a specific rate when I followed up. Blizzard also doesn’t notify players when it makes a microadjustment in Arena. Recently, the Hearthstone team had given a boost to Hunter in draft, but that changed without notice. So unless you’re a daily Arena player, follow community comments and listen to podcasts and watch playthroughs on Twitch or YouTube, it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on in Arena.

I’m not a top-tier Arena player — my record for wins is 9 (out of a possible 12), and I get anywhere from 2 to 5 wins off an average run. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes Blizzard has in store for Arena. It’s the only mode where I know I won’t see netdeck after netdeck, and even if players use tier lists and other tools to help draft decks, I’ll still be in for a new experience each time I queue into a new opponent.

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