Blue Roundup Feb 23 - Arena Change Clarifications, Card Discussion, Deck Exports

Blue Roundup Feb 23 - Arena Change Clarifications, Card Discussion, Deck Exports

Members of Team 5 have been all over the interwebs talking up a storm of interest. We've recapped their thoughts below, including all the source material, which is definitely worth the read!

  • If changing Arena over to Standard isn't enjoyable, they're happy to revert it. "Try it and let us know"
  • They are likely to experiment with other, crazier formats in the future for Arena. "Naxx cards only? Only Legendaries and spells?"
  • Ben thinks the team needs to take a more active role in the Arena experience.
  • Golden cards will now appear in Arena provided that you own them in your collection.  (Details)
  • Flamestrike and Abyssal Enforcer, from Blizzard's end, felt like players were bored losing to them. They'll deal with future issues if the time comes.
  • New Arena drafts were tested by manually drafting hundreds of decks and automated drafting of 100k runs for each class and analyzing results.
  • Ben Brode reminded a Twitter user that not all cards need to be tournament ready - some people just like silly stuff.
  • Fiery War Axe is "very powerful" and is not likely to be moved out of Basic. If needed, it could be nerfed but they aren't considering it atm.
  • Reno Jackson will not be switching to Classic. It would make it harder to keep Standard fresh each year.
  • No current plans to nerf Naxx or GvG cards, but they will change stuff if they feel the Wild format needs it.
  • Yong Woo is still trying to make Importing and Exporting of deck lists a thing.

Blizzard Says

Quote from Blizzard

This thread is just to discuss the move to the Standard format in Arena. Personally, I am quite sad we can't choose from all the cards in the game. I am hoping if enough people care Blizzard might reconsider this change, however unlikely that is.

Changing Arena to Standard is a big experiment. If players play it for a while and don't enjoy it, we're happy to revert it. We're also likely to experiment with other, crazier formats in the future. Naxx cards only? Only Legendaries and spells?

I think we just need to take a more active role in the Arena experience.

Internally, I don't think we expected much out of the Standard Arena change. But after playtesting, we felt it was pretty fun. I think players will enjoy it, but like I said, try it and let us know. (Ben Brode)

Update 7.1 Arena Changes

An addition has been made to the original post on the forums:

Golden Cards Show Up In Arena

If you own golden cards in your collection, copies of that card that appear in your Arena run will show up as golden. If you own a single golden card, the first copy of it you choose will be golden. If you own two copies of a golden card, every copy of that card you choose in the Arena will be golden. If you own one golden Legendary, every copy of that Legendary you choose in Arena will be golden. (Zeriyah)

You said Blizzard didn't want to change the rarity of Abyssal Enforcer - why is that? Couldn't they have just made it a rare and solved the problem of decks having 2 or 3 or 4 of them?

For what it's worth, the rarity distribution changes make cards of different rarities fairly similar in terms of individual cards. Common cards as a whole show up more often that rare cards, but the difference of appearance rates between a common card like Kabal Talonpriest and a rare card like Drakonid Operative is quite small. (Dean Ayala)

My issue with this is that it ends up being counter productive to the standard goal of it being more worth it to play around cards again. As in past, you mostly focused playing around premium commons and very rarely on other higher rarity cards. But now when specific rares and epics are about just as often seen as commons, this dilutes back down the first point. So ok you nerf Flamestrike odds aye, but when next week for example average priest deck has more Dragonfire Potions than mage has Flamestrikes, it seems kind of weird you went down that nerf route for just two cards in middle of such massive overall changes that change so much anyways.

Part of it is perception. From our end it feels like players are fairly bored with losing to Flamestrike and Abyssal. Mage and Warlock are both relatively strong classes right now so it felt safe to make changes to those two cards. You are right that there will probably be new cards that crop up as the new Flamestrikes/Abyssals, but we'll cross that bridge when it happens. (Dean Ayala)

Why not have every areana run randomly generate 3 or four sets (also with classic/basic cards) so that each run has consistency but the arena itself has diversity. At the beginig of the run it might tell you that you rolled WOG GVG Naxx and MSG, you know what sets will appear and can plan your choices accordingly. The way this Change is I fell that arena will lose its fun identity and people will attempt to draft the same sort of decks that are being played in standard. I understand wanting consistency but I feel there are better ways to do that then taking away so many fun and memorable cards that have already been taken away in many formats.

I think this is a cool idea and one we've talked about in the past. I think it's a pretty reasonable solution but we decided to go with the simplest form of this for now and see how it plays out in practice. From doing a few hundred standard arena drafts myself, I think it's a pretty fun and different draft experience. Constructed and Arena decks on average are still a good distance apart even if they are using the same cards. I mentioned this above, but unless standard only arena gets overwhelmingly positive feedback post-release, I would expect there to be continued changes over time to the format. (Dean Ayala)

Hi Iksar. I'd love to hear more about how Blizzard playtests Hearthstone. When testing Standard Arena how did you get your "few hundred" drafts in? Were the first hundred within Team 5? Were the last hundred within all of Blizzard?

Any thoughts you'd like to share on how y'all playtest would be awesome. I just want to know from a sheer curiosity perspective. I've never worked on a game that required a months worth of testing to see how the meta evolves and settles. That's pretty mind blowing to me. It's a whole other world.

I specifically am referring to drafting a deck and having it seem interesting and fun. When I say a few hundred drafts, I literally mean I drafted hundreds of decks myself over the course of the last few weeks/months to see how various iterations would feel. We used this anecdotal data in combination with automation tests of each class doing 100k runs and analyzing the card output results. (Dean Ayala)

Changes are good, but it's just odd to me that such a change was implemented expecting to change it that easily, we don't get that with other aspects of the game, but the opposite. I personally don't play Arena for making syngergies but to have a whole pool of cards, make a random deck and make the most of it playing it well, I hope that idea survives cause I think we aren't changing a mode but removing one and adding another.

I hope that is not the case. The idea isn't that arena decks will turn into constructed decks overnight, but to create a pool of cards that work together enough to give some synergistic excitement slightly more often. (Dean Ayala)

do you find it a good idea to do 3 expansions a year when we've seen a lot of dead cards with 2 >.>?

dead cards for who? There are other types of players besides tournament contenders. Some players build silly decks for fun. (Ben Brode)

what are your thoughts on fiery war axe in standard right now ?would it be moved to wild in the future ?

it's very powerful. Unlikely we'd move Basic cards. Could nerf it, but not something we're considering right now. (Ben Brode)

Hey I have a question from the recent live stream you posted on youtube. Will Reno Jackson switch to classic?

No, it's very powerful, and would make it harder for Standard to rotate and be fresh each year. (Ben Brode)

are you planning to nerf some old cards from Nax and GvG to develop wild format?

no current plans to nerf any cards but we would if we felt the format needed it. (Ben Brode)

at Blizzcon, @ywoo_dev briefly mentioned making import/export of lists easier. Any updates?

I am trying to make it happen!!!! (Yong Woo)


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