Hearthstone is an online collectible card game produced by Blizzard Entertainment and released on March 11, 2014. The games focus is on collecting cards through card packs or expansions, which can be purchased via real money filtered through a Blizzard account, or with in-game currency known as coins. The business model met with massive success, and as of November 2015, the game has over 40 million registered users and constantly dominates video-game streaming sites such as Twitch and now even Youtube.
In January 2015, Blizzard announced that they would be introducing a new format for playing the game in the “Standard” way, and divide the game into 2 separate modes – Wild and Standard. Wild is for playing with all cards, as is the current only style of game. Standard is a format that is copied directly from Magic: The Gathering Collectible Card Game, which means that the only cards that can see tournament play are cards contained in expansions that have been released only in the past two years. As such, as the announcement came that the game would be divided, there was also an announcement that 2 of the games expansions – “Curse of Naxxramas” and “Goblins Vs. Gnomes” – will immediately be placed out of the running for Standard tournaments and modes.
This has split the player-base, in more ways than one. On one front, players arguing whether it is fair that cards they have purchased become obsolete in game modes that they want to play. On the other hand, new players will miss out on many old cards that will no longer be available for purchase on the Hearthstone in-game shop. This issue can not be easily remedied, and Blizzard will have to listen to player feedback to decide whether they should move forward or alter their current plans. To some, this seems like a blatant cash-grab, to others, a new way of keeping a 2-year old game fresh. Whichever one it ends up being is yet to be decided.