Blizzard has now shared some details that specifically impact Arena mode for Hearthstone after announcing some changes that impacted the entire game.
The most significant is the shift from Wild format to Standard, which decreases the potential pool of cards you will have access to. Blizzard explains on its forums, “As more cards are added to the Arena pool, having each game feel meaningfully different actually becomes harder to accomplish.”
“Many of the cool synergies between cards, such as Jade Golems or Mechs, live within each individual set release. 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. Arena runs then becomes less about card synergies and smart deck choices and more about being fortunate enough to be presented with the best card from each set. This change should put the focus back on the player for good, synergistic Arena choices and make Arena decks feel more cohesive.”
However, this is not necessarily the last change to Arena’s format, as Blizzard states, “[W]e may add additional changes or formats in the future if it doesn’t meet our goals of having Arena feel interesting and different with each set release.”
The Switch to Standard is not the only tweak to what cards you will see in Arena. Blizzard is also adjusting the frequency of specific card types showing up. Previously, Common cards made up roughly 78% of Arena cards, which has now been deemed, “too high considering that many of the cards that focus around individual class identity and power level rely on the common cards of any given class.”
After this update, these types of cards will show up less often in Arena, while two specific ones– Abyssal Enforcer and Flamestrike–will appear 50% less often. Classic neutral cards are also becoming more rare to see in Arena.
Additionally, the distribution of spell cards versus minion cards is being narrowed so that spells show up more. This change “allows for more room to have an Arena game that is more strategic and facilitates more plays and counter-plays to occur.”
Golden cards in your collection will give you golden versions in Arena. “If you own a single golden card, the first copy of it you choose will be golden,” Blizzard explained. “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.”
All of these changes will be implemented in an update that launches “near the end of February.”