After being incredibly hesitant to touch Arena over the past three years, Blizzard has finally decided to jump in and stir things up. Once the next update arrives you can expect to see more high-rarity cards in your draft, a lot more spells, as well as less old and boring neutral cards. And before you start worrying about Mage dominance, I should also mention that both Flamestrike and Abyssal Enforcer are going to be showing up 50% less!
While those changes are all straight up great, there is one that has me slightly worried: "Arena will change from Wild format to Standard". In my eyes Arena has always been a game mode where you're supposed to achieve something amazing with a complete mishmash of cards. You simply cannot rely on synergies or overpowered combos, you have to create your own fortune. With the transition to Standard and Blizzard's recent focus on wide themes over unique cards, all of this might just go away in favor of a watered down Ranked experience. Thankfully, Ben Brode himself has already confirmed that this is simply an experiment, so if it doesn't work out we can expect to see Arena go back into the Wild once more.
If you're interested in all of the explanations and details head on over to the Hearthstone blog. On the other hand, if you're interested in developer commentary you can find plenty of it in the Reddit announcement post. As for the release date, I'm afraid its still unknown, but the patch is supposed to come at the end of February... so any time now!
And finally, for those among you that enjoy collecting golden cards, I am very happy to say that they will soon begin showing up in Arena as well. Or in other words, your probably massive collection of crappy golden commons will finally have a purpose. Tremble before the might of the golden Magma Ragers!