Everyone's favourite Hearthstone Dad, Dean "Iksar" Ayala, finished off the week with a Q&A! As usual, here's our recap of all the important points and a full transcript of the event.

  • All previous Q&As from Dean can be found under our "Iksar's Community Q&A" topic.
  • Anything covered in the previous Q&As will not be covered in the recap but will appear in the transcript below.

Arena

  • They are not done with Arena as a mode. Improvements are just a matter of resources.
  • Goals to solve with Arena:
    • Ranked: How can we showcase your skill level and how you are improving in-client.
    • Medium to Long-Term Progression: How can we give you seasonal goals and things to achieve within arena?
    • Accessibility: How can we change matchmaking in a way that won't make the heads of top arena players explode.
  • The long-term success of the mode will require no more winning 70% of your games; Skill-based matchmaking will need to be a thing.

Battlegrounds

  • Other tribes for Battlegrounds are only in idea phases, nothing concrete.
  • Other things are being tested for the next update that aren't tribe-focused.
  • We should expect more systems-level improvements like the Darkmoon Prizes.

Collections

  • There isn't much space to add more customization for stuff in the collection manager. They are investigating re-thinking the design.
  • The new tier 2 hero skins were originally going to be a reward for hitting level 200 on a rewards track. They made them easier to get instead.
  • Dean doesn't think adjusting the crafting system to increase your desire of dusting cards to create others would be good.
    • He'd rather solve the issue of being able to craft decks and cards more easily that don't require breaking down your current cards.
    • Making the reward track more rewarding or giving away more cards are two ways they could accomplish this. Nothing confirmed.

Wild

  • Darkglare Warlock and Mage are on the edge of balance changes.
  • If more people were playing the above decks, that could be a reason to force changes.
  • Another criteria that would see balance is if there were no contenders to push the decks out of the meta.
  • Dean doesn't think the power level for Mage due to Refreshing Spring Water's addition is cause for alarm yet.
  • They are open to doing pre-constructed, purchasable decks for Wild. They want to see how much actual desire there is with data before committing to it.

Story

  • The Lich King is too big of a character to be around just one time.
  • Death Knights being brought back wouldn't likely be the same "all heroes corrupted" story.

Dean

  • Loves to play MTG Arena, Legends of Runeterra, and GWENT.
  • Slay the Spire and Dreamquest are also favourites but slightly different genres.

Full Transcript of Q&A #16

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #16 Ask me a question about Hearthstone! 7:15PM - 8:15PM https://t.co/94u8oeyEyy (Source)


@IksarHS How do you feel Arena is currently? It’s my main mode and you probably play it more than I do.

@GluchLucky Probably true, @Songbird_HS is also a big arena gamer. Have some system pitches to improve arena, just a matter of resources. We're definitely not done with it as a mode, though. (Source)

@GluchLucky @Songbird_HS Three things I'd like to solve. Ranked - How can we showcase your skill level and how you are improving in-client. (Source)

@GluchLucky @Songbird_HS Medium to Long-Term Progression: How can we give you seasonal goals and things to achieve within arena? (Source)

@GluchLucky @Songbird_HS Accessibility: How can we change matchmaking in a way that won't make the heads of top arena players explode. Right now, in a no skill-based matchmaking system it's destined to be a mode that is inaccessible for new players. (Source)

@GluchLucky @Songbird_HS We'd have to change the rewards structure in some way so you aren't punished for getting better, but the days of good players winning 70+% of their games is going to have to end if we want the mode to have long-term success. That will be hard to swallow. (Source)


@IksarHS I really like the new preconstructed decks coming to the next patch. Are there plans in the future to implement Wild Preconstructed decks like the Standard Battle-Ready decks?

@DraegarnHS First time we've ever sold products like this, definitely a wait and see moment depending on how successful they are. There is a fair bit of design upkeep to continually make these but if people like them we are up for it. (Source)


@IksarHS I would really appreciate a new/redesigned collection manager to help people navigate better through their collection. I think I'm not alone and It really bothers me when I want to select a specific keyword combination and I just can't. Any info on that?

@imik_plays Especially as we are creating new cosmetics it's causing us to re-think the collection manager. There isn't much space to add customization for new things. Nothing to report now but we are actively investigating. (Source)


@IksarHS Whats your favorite Quilboar in Hearthstone?

@MyntyPhresh how is this even a question? It's easily SUNBACONRELAXER @F2K_Victor (Source)


@IksarHS Are there any ideas in the team to make more events? For example each week something simple but refreshing? Not talking about quest, talking about for example: Week 1 - You get 10% more xp, W2 - You get 10 gold for 3 wins, W3 - You get dust as well as gold, W4 - Golden common…

@imik_plays omg imik pls, how about pick 2 of your top questions and I will answer them I can't see anyone else's questions with this flood :o (Source)

@IksarHS @imik_plays ūüėā

@BornToBeWildHS @IksarHS Hahaha ūüėā

@imik_plays @BornToBeWildHS nah, twitter just isn't great for organizing questions and replies and every time i swap tabs I was going through 20 of your questions to get to someone new :o (Source)


@IksarHS Asked this last week and you answered but I think you misunderstood. Are there any plans to buff the new, old gods released in Darkmoon Faire, it’s a bit sad that these big legendaries aren’t being played. (Also I crafted Yogg and C’Thun in golden sooo..)

@BionicDoor Not very likely, unless we were to bring them into the core set at some point and wanted them to be role players for decks in that year. All four cards have seen some play in some decks and we're pretty happy with that, despite none of them being meta dominant. (Source)


@IksarHS With the masters tour going on right now, I was curious to hear what have been some of your favorite competitive hearthstone moments to watch?

@IksarHS Watching @Surrender_hs masterfully navigate some tough turns with his rogue this past weekend was awesome. Made me think back to @Eddie__HS obliterating all comers with turtle mage last Fall!

@OftenJustinTime @Surrender_hs @Eddie__HS @G2Thijs vs @ostkaka freeze mage mirror was pretty epic. Watching @lxm1996 win worlds was probably the best (Source)

@OftenJustinTime @Surrender_hs @Eddie__HS @G2Thijs @ostkaka @lxm1996 my favorite tournaments were the old seatstory cups in the house party environments, so fun to watch. (Source)

@OftenJustinTime @Surrender_hs @Eddie__HS @G2Thijs @ostkaka @lxm1996 but yes, @Surrender_hs is insane. @Surrender_hs my favorite player, @jiadee_ favorite caster (Source)


@IksarHS Any tribes in development for battlegrounds?

@IksarHS Unknown tribes*

@Mikkel_Hoyer In idea phases only, not in test. Have some other things in test for the next BG update that aren't tribe focused. (Source)


@IksarHS How complex is "too complex" for Hearthstone? Why is simplicity so important to the team?

@Sad_Cart There are rarely circumstances where something is 'too complex' for Hearthstone. There are many circumstances where adding complexity just isn't worth it. (Source)

@Sad_Cart We think of complexity holistically across our entire game and not in each individual scenario. If we added every doodad, design, or button that wasn't too complex on it's own we'd soon end up with a game that wasn't approachable. (Source)

@Sad_Cart This is often the source of disagreement between us and players. Players will see a thing and will note that it isn't complex on it's own, so it shouldn't be blocked due to complexity. (Source)

@Sad_Cart In a game we plan on being around for decades, we have to take every small bit of complexity very seriously so that when we do have something really important, we can add it without being concerned about going past the tipping point of approachability. (Source)


@IksarHS @Sad_Cart That's really interesting! Would you mind giving an example of that?

@cdaro753 @Sad_Cart For example, we would never add a keyword and put it on a single card. It wouldn't be too complex to understand on it's own, but the bang (excitement of adding a new keyword) isn't really worth the buck (adding the requirement to keep another keyword ability in your brainspace). (Source)


@IksarHS You have been playing a lot of wild ladder lately, climbing to the top ranks even. How was your experience with the format? Is the powerlever where you expect it to be? Are you happy with the direction the meta is taking?

@yggdreigon_hs I had a ton of fun, been trying to go hardcore in every mode one by one to get a true grasp of the highest level. (Source)

@yggdreigon_hs Meta is pretty diverse at the highest levels in my experience. Lots of reno decks from various classes, handbuff paladin, darkglare warlock, flamewaker mage, and some other offshoot decks here and there. (Source)

@yggdreigon_hs I'd say diversity is doing just fine, my only concerns being the early-game highroll potential of mage and darkglare warlock. (Source)

@yggdreigon_hs Darkglare warlock is the less extreme of the two, but it's also more consistent and powerful. Mage just kills you on turn 4-8 pretty consistently if you don't have any disruption and that is pretty extreme. (Source)

@yggdreigon_hs No balance changes directly on the horizon but I would say that those two decks are both on the edge. (Source)

@IksarHS @yggdreigon_hs What would it take to push them over in your opinion?

@cdaro753 @yggdreigon_hs Population size or a clear sense that there were no legitimate contenders to push them out of the meta if players didn't enjoy playing against them. Mage is fun, but it's not overly powerful for now. Generally speaking, things like that dwindle in popularity over time. (Source)

@cdaro753 @yggdreigon_hs Spring water helped that deck become more populous, but the power level is still not in a place that I would consider it likely to grow in popularity. (Source)


@IksarHS Can you talk a bit about the “Tavern Regular” Reward Track Heroes? I was not expecting these at all, but think it’s great! Why now and not when Reward Track was first released? How long has it been in the works? I love the reward for dedicated players! https://t.co/UmjtO9t8fa

@ben_heathstone The art was finished by the frames/crops were not when we released. We wanted something for the players that finish their reward track rather easily and were looking for a stretch goal. (Source)

@ben_heathstone Originally they were an achievement for getting level 200 on the track, but we thought it would be better to not completely restrict them and instead just make them easier to get for players that are engaging with the game a bunch. (Source)


@IksarHS Will the Lich King and the Death Knights ever return?

@Ozz_Mejia Lich King is too big of a character in the Warcraft universe to be a one-expansion guy. The Death Knights? I don't think we'd bring back the same storyline as all the heroes have been corrupted but maybe in some other fashion. Will need to brainstorm what story is worth telling (Source)


@IksarHS Is the Tenwu/Alex combo something that the team is concerned about? It seems like those kinds of play patterns are something that's been problematic in the past.

@WickedGood I would say that that specific combo hasn't gained significant enough traction for us to show a ton of concern yet, but @GW_Alec and team are looking at game balance again pretty soon. (Source)


@IksarHS Will the crafting/dust system ever change? I,e. Will it ever become not 4:1 ratio in disenchanting to crafting a legendary, etc.

@crossfire_hs I'm not enthused about making adjustments to the dust system that increase your desire to dust your cards. If the core goal is that you want to be able to craft decks and cards more easily, I'd rather solve that issue in ways that don't require you to break down cards you have (Source)

@IksarHS Could that/would that be done by lowering the crafting price and keeping what you get for dusting cards? That way people aren’t necessarily incentivized to dust, but not so expensive to craft.

@crossfire_hs Regardless of lowering craft or increasing disenchant, keeping them closer makes the value of disenchanting go up. We could accomplish the same goal by giving away more cards or making things like the reward track more rewarding. (Source)


@IksarHS What goes into freezing the battlegrounds leaderboards? I know it took different amounts of time before a new season was added after 1 and 2, causing some players to disappear from the finalized leaderboards, but as far as I'm aware this has never happened with standard or wild.

@Jkirek_ I haven't been involved at all with this, but I am curious now so will check in with Tian and team on how it works. Sorry for no answer. (Source)


@IksarHS Reducing the Spreading Plague animation was a huge improvement for me, but now it's back to it's old ūüėīanimation. Is it bugged now or was it bugged when it was changed the first time?

@IksarHS Also, pretty please from the bottom of my Martian heart pleeeeeeease speed it up again whether it's bugged or not bugged now ūüėā

@MartianBuu I will look into it with @GW_Alec and @Celestalon. Unaware of any changes to the animation, generally we'd prefer to adjust any animations that are dragging along and aren't big celebration moments (Yogg, etc). (Source)


@IksarHS With the introduction of pre-built decks coming to standard, which is awesome btw thank you for doing it, has there been discussion for doing this for Wild as well? Would really help with the barrier to entry in the format.

@ZeddyHS We've talked about it briefly, but because it's new product we want to see how much actual desire there is for it through data before committing to doing design/business upkeep on creating curated products in the shop. (Source)

@ZeddyHS But we're very open to it, obviously a win for all parties if we can release a product players are excited to buy. (Source)


@IksarHS We've seen a lot of Big Demon Hunter cards, but a lot of them haven't see any play at all, do you think that you've failed to deliver the optimal powerlevel of these cards or It's just missing a key card to become viable?

@imik_plays Control decks are hard work. We wanted to make a DH control deck that doesn't have one big "I-win" piece and instead runs multiple big cards and wins through an onslaught of big threats. (Source)

@imik_plays It's just very difficult to do that when other classes only need to run their one win condition and have a huge variety of board removals and lifegain. (Source)

@imik_plays I still think it's worth chasing that goal rather than giving in and making single win-condition cards, we'll get there. (Source)


@IksarHS Sooo Barrens miniset should come out in the next month or two… in that miniset, presumably, are cards. Which class gets your favorite card from the miniset? Which class gets the scariest (balance) card in the miniset? Thanks for the QA Dean ūüĎŹūü§ó

@ToastieNL Our team was under heavy workload during the time of the next minisets development, so I actually did the first sketch of all 35 cards myself and have a lot of favorites :o (Source)

@ToastieNL Fortunately for players of Hearthstone, the team went in and changed almost every card to make them actually fun. When we announce the set and reveal the cards, maybe i'll share my excel sheet of the first pass of designs. (Source)

@IksarHS @ToastieNL I'd love to see more "Here's something we tried but didn't work for XYZ reason" style content, I think those are the most interesting dev insights.

@ChaosOS_59 @IksarHS TES Legends at the time had a Keyword "Pilfer". Pilfer would trigger if the card did damage to the enemy hero. You could guarantee triggers on this with other cards. Allegedly, they experimented with a card that read "Pilfer: Deal 1 damage to the enemy hero."

@ChaosOS_59 @IksarHS Stuff like that is always so fum to read to me :)

@ToastieNL @ChaosOS_59 If I'm reading that mechanic and card correctly, that seems like it would be… pretty good :) (Source)

@ToastieNL @ChaosOS_59 I thought the mechanics in TES where you would draw a card as your opponent got you lower and lower was pretty interesting (at least I think I'm remembering this correctly). They had a mechanic (prophecy) around it I liked slightly less. (Source)

@IksarHS @ToastieNL @ChaosOS_59 Prophecy was to punish the hyper aggro decks. Some games if you knew they mostly play prophecy cards you would just hild board from both lanes and then try to OTK them in 1 turn while hoping they dont hit lightning bolt for 4 damage in your face if you are low on life.

@IksarHS @ToastieNL @ChaosOS_59 Hild means hold btw.

@Banez_86 @ToastieNL @ChaosOS_59 Yeah, the goal I think is clear, it's just when you are playing a normal game and someone hits a prophecy effect they would always feel like a highroll moment in a way I thought was negative. (Source)


@IksarHS @ToastieNL my favorite is Dean going "haha what that was a temp name" and us saying yes we are shipping it (Source)

@GW_Alec @IksarHS @ToastieNL I wasn’t sure what card this was referring to… then it hit me. Oh, yup. Now I know exactly what card this is. ūüėā (Source)


@IksarHS Does the team have a preference for top down or bottom up card design? Can you speak on a couple of sets that have been designed one way or the other and what that process was like? Curious what mechanics might have been the core of a bottom up set. I tend to use top down a lot

@SwagoiEdelweiss We are generally top-down. I think part of the reason is that Warcraft is such a rich and expansive IP it's hard not to be inspired by the settings and characters. (Source)

@SwagoiEdelweiss Most expansions are top-down, TGT was probably the most bottom up in that we really wanted to do something with hero powers. (Source)


@IksarHS Can we expect more BGs events like the spells in the semi-near future that adjust the mechanics of the game?

@pocky_plays We're deep in planning the future of BG every day. Ramping up team-size and thinking about ways to support in and out of game. Tribes are something we'll keep doing from time to time but I would expect more system level things like prizes as well. (Source)


@IksarHS Its well known allot of the hearthstone dev team have experience with magic the gathering. im just curious if many of you guys have any experience with yugioh. https://t.co/CQeaUT5w1B

@TaggermcBagger A little, I was recently doing some research on Yugioh myself. I think Hearthstone players would be surprised just how absurdly successful Yugioh - Duel Links is. They have a huge, huge playerbase and have been successful for many years now. (Source)

@TaggermcBagger But yes, many of us try different card games. I personally love playing MTG Arena, Runeterra, and GWENT. Big Slay the Spire and Dreamquest fan as well but they are slightly different genres. (Source)


@IksarHS Hi Dean! About “game modes”: are you already working on the next one after “Mercenaries” or will you stop after it? Can you share some little info about Mercenaries release date or just something for the impatient/curious ones?

@SilentNickHS Not already working on more game modes. Will spend time refining the ones we already have (arena, mercs, duels, constructed, bg, etc) before moving on to the next. No info on mercs release date, you'll hear more when it's ready :) (Source)