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.

Forged in the Barrens

  • Paladin will be a part of the balance changes.
  • Buffs are meant to help bring cards up to where they wanted them to be. Not to bring up a class multiple percent in winrate.
  • The meta looks healthy overall, they just want to make a few small changes to give new decks room to grow.
  • The mini-set is also quickly approaching which should impact the meta.
  • No, you cannot dust your extra Mankriks.
  • After the balance patch, Dean thinks Demon Hunter will improve.
  • Dean is looking forward to seeing where Shaman is at once the balance patch goes live.

Mystery Puzzle

  • The recent Hearthstone mystery happened because Celestalon loves to do that kind of stuff.
  • Celestalon first started doing community-centric mystery stuff with World of Warcraft.

Battlegrounds

  • Dean thinks they can probably add two more tribes into Battlegrounds before they could become problematic.
  • Having too many tribes in Battlegrounds is asking players to store a lot of information in their heads.
  • Yes, they have thought about customizable boards in Battlegrounds.

Future Potential

  • They have been experimenting with a start of game screen revamp which would let them display cool stuff from each player, such as their card back.
  • Dean thinks there is room to do a Best of 3 format in Hearthstone, though probably via a limited-time thing like Tavern Brawl or Tournaments.

Full Transcript of Q&A #17

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #17 Ask me a question about Hearthstone! 3:30PM - 4:00PM https://t.co/cdYcg9zgyl (Source)

@IksarHS Was 'Sun Bacon Relaxer' originally the placeholder name but it just ended up being used for the game?

@Hyyyyl I honestly don't know. The original designers on battlegrounds were @mike_donais and @conorkou who basically just make meme names for everything so we kept that tradition. (Source)


@IksarHS Same question lol. How are you feeling about paladin? Its still the clear winner but I think people are getting bored, like with highlander hunter. I see a lot less on ladder despite the continued high winrate

@writes_jo @GW_Alec Mentioned we'll be looking at some balance changes soon and Paladin will be a part of that. FWIW the meta looks pretty healthy overall, just looking to make a few small changes to give new decks some room to grow. Miniset also quickly approaching. (Source)


@IksarHS what do you think is the most important/impactful recent trend in game design?

@RidiculousHat It's not really recent, but successful games and game companies are still learning how to continue to be successful in the F2P space. (Source)

@RidiculousHat When business models become more complex, you can't just slap any ol' thing onto your game and expect it to work. Monetization and design are so closely tied together in the F2P space it's a very difficult transition to make for the people involved. (Source)

@RidiculousHat People don't just morph into new people overnight, so if you are a team that is used to having complete creative control but has no experience in F2P models I think you are destined for either failure of frustration unless everyone on your team is learning the new world. (Source)

@IksarHS has this proven to be a challenge for bgs?

@RidiculousHat Absolutely, I imagine it's been a challenge for all autobattlers out there. (Source)


@IksarHS The mystery puzzles that were just solved were amazing. Was this something that was done because it was a cool idea or is there something you hope to learn from the data gathered by players AI?

@StevenSenseiHS It was done because @Celestalon has a passion for things like this and he made it happen. (Source)


@IksarHS What genre of music do you most want to include in a Hearthstone cinematic that hasn’t been done yet?

@GallonHS @IksarHS Hamilton meets Hearthstone (Source)

@GallonHS Rap (EX: Alexander Hamilton) Pop (EX: KDA, Ariana, Gaga) Spanish Guitar (EX: Gypsy Kings) (Source)

@IksarHS @GallonHS PLEASE DEAN I NEED A KPOP EXPANSION????? ūü•ļūü•ļūü•ļ

@hypopyh @GallonHS hey, I'm in we just have to convince Ben that KPOP IS COOL (Source)


@IksarHS when can i dust one of my mankriks? (I have 2 ūüôā)

@Madvillain_1 never (Source)


@IksarHS How many tribes will make BGs too complex for new players?

@_Riccielle_ not many more, honestly It's an issue we'll have to figure out how to solve. If we have 12 tribes, even if they aren't in every game, it's a lot of information to ask a player to store in their head. I think we can make probably 2 more before I'd want to have a solution. (Source)


@IksarHS I want to ask a question but I can’t think of anything brilliant so can I just say hello? Thanks for all you do and have a good evening!

@NateWolfeTCG hi nate what's up I like your profile picture and you have a good evening too (Source)


@IksarHS Is this unexpected? (Ignore my misspell plz) https://t.co/ziO8wCF20o

@CN_Soda @Celestalon I would guess this isn't an intended solution, noūüėÖ (Source)

@IksarHS @CN_Soda Nope! ūüėä Thankfully, those cheeses were found after the intended solutions… and they’re just harder anyway. :) (Source)


@IksarHS Who on the team wants an awesome tshirt?

@J_Alexander_HS Giving you my address is a really dicey proposition. Right now it's a t-shirt but I'm one pirate valeera skin away from getting a bag of coal. (Source)

@IksarHS @J_Alexander_HS that bag of coal goes well with a bbq party though. time to work on a 2nd pirate valeera (or furry valeera works too) and get that coal in time for bbq season. :)

@CircusVoid @J_Alexander_HS furry valeera… https://t.co/mULFbHqo1P (Source)

@IksarHS @CircusVoid I will personally hunt, skin, and cook a furry Valeera for the bbq if this comes to pass

@J_Alexander_HS @CircusVoid for someone who loves valeera as so much you really need to learn to just accept her for who she is okay jalex (Source)


@IksarHS When assigning magic schools to all the old cards, were there any examples of cards that it wasn’t so obvious which one to choose due to game balance or something else?

@MichaelLoda Not really, we did go back and forth on whether or not we wanted to make a 'physical' school so things like Shield Block would also get a tag. Ultimately decided not to. (Source)


oh, I'll do this til 430 as well don't know why I typo'd (Source)

@IksarHS Any Chance the card back to lay flat so that we can enjoy the card back art?

@mostlybummedout Hmm, like where your deck of cards is? Not crazy, though we have a lot of VFX that plays off of drawing a card from that location. We've been exploring some start-of-game screen revamps where we show off cool stuff from each player. Card back would be part of that for sure. (Source)


@IksarHS How much of a madman is Celestalon for that card back mystery? Did you have any hand in it and could you have solved it?

@ben_heathstone He started to explain it to me and I honestly got a little lost. I knew it would be a successful community thing, though. @Celestalon has a lot of experience with this from doing it in WoW when he worked there, always enjoyed watching the secret community work those ones out (Source)


@IksarHS Any chance we can ever see a VR hearthstone? I know it was played around with in the past but I think it'd be dope

@b0bby01 Unlikely. I honestly have a hard time imaging remaking the insane amount of assets or animations in a new visual format. VR would have to get significantly more popular for it to be a consideration, though I agree it would be sweet (Source)


@IksarHS Ooh I'm finally up late so I can ask a question! For the first time in a while Demon Hunter has felt pretty underpowered. Only OTK DH is really playable (to some extent). Do you intend on buffing the classes' other playstyles, or will the mini-set maybe shake things up?

@claus_maack DH isn't that far off, they have some pretty cheap tempo decks that are very close in win-rate to some of the tier 2 decks. After balance patch I'd expect DH to be right up there. (Source)


@IksarHS In a hypothetical Muppets/Hearthstone crossover expansion, which class legendary Muppets would be most OP?

@BeefsquatchHS hunter kermit deck maybe token beaker druid warrior big miss piggy warlock control fozzie bears (Source)

@IksarHS Those all sound awesome. But do we call is Fozzielock or WakaWakaWarLocka?

@BeefsquatchHS lul wakawakalocka is a winner (Source)


@IksarHS Ever thought about customizable boards in BGs??

@Binkstur …. yes yes I have (Source)


@IksarHS Since the patch notes prob arent out until next weekend and I love speculating Which class is recieving the "riskiest" buff (in terms of this could break the game/be very good) if any. And which class are you looking forward to most to see how they come out after the buffs?

@HS_Orange Not going to speculate because I've been almost completely a Wild gamer the last month and @GW_Alec and team have been in charge of making great standard decisions. (Source)

@HS_Orange @GW_Alec But looking forward to? Probably Shaman. Buffs are hard. They are generally targeted at getting a couple pieces more in-line with how they were intended and not to bring up a classes multiple % points in win-rate. (Source)

@HS_Orange @GW_Alec The expectation from buffs should be to help a class over time and grant a few more interesting options while the expectation from nerfs is better class diversity and class balance fluctuation. (Source)


@IksarHS Now that there are just so many portraits in the game, what's your favorite emote? Mine has to be "*sigh*.. such skill!" Makes me hesitant to upgrade my Xyrella portrait :P

@LTTUltimate can't beat WELL MET (Source)


@IksarHS With a potential look at the Collection Manager, off the top of your head are there any QoL changes you'd like to make? A wishlist to expedite crafting would be super cool.

@Sad_Cart Having a better sense of what you own or not, having a more robust features for your cosmetic collection, finding better ways to sort core set / goldens if you don't want to see them. (Source)

@Sad_Cart One of the issues we need to solve is that with an increasing variety of cosmetics we are literally just running out of space to put buttons. Need a better solution that just adding another button every time we get a new cosmetic. (Source)


@IksarHS It's been a while since you last told us, and I promise I won't bully, how many achievement points are you at these days?

@ZeddyHS Like 19k, I had to cut back significantly on gaming time these days for work and another undisclosed but positive reason. I've been playing arena and duels a bunch still, though. (Source)

@ZeddyHS My theory is that most individual achievements are doable pretty quickly but the arena and duels ones are a huge investment. Choosing to do the huge investment first and zoom through the easier ones later. TL:DR I'm still coming for you (Source)


@IksarHS Hi my dear Iksar, I'd like to know your opinions about "cheating". As far as I know, quite a few people cheated on the ladder to get higher rank, and some of them even continued for a very long time. Including counterqueue, snip streamers, wintrade and boosting.

@CN_Soda We ban cheating players frequently. For obvious reasons, I won't go into detail how or how often but I can assure you there are incredibly talented and experienced individuals catching and banning cheaters in very creative ways. (Source)

@IksarHS Thanks! I suggest you can take a look at this after this Q&A is over. Shanita cheated in EU/NA wild mode for a very long time. https://t.co/k081q9Xqcn

@CN_Soda I am aware of the thread. Can't speculate on player-made evidence like this but we have more than enough data on the backend to make accurate decisions. (Source)


@IksarHS I've always wanted to see different hero powers for every class that we can choose, to feel like the specs in WoW. Was that an idea at some point?

@oidella_ I agree it's a cool idea but incredibly hard to make work. Even making one alternate hero power is tough. When we made DH the hero power was probably the single most iterated on piece and we almost shipped something we didn't like. (Source)


@IksarHS What do you think about the “game mode” ladder? Specifically, any thoughts about a format that could be more replayble, like a Bo3 format, or with a different concept. Ladder is awesome but it seems so repetitive after all (not for the cards in it) but for the structure

@__Raffa98 I'd like to do Bo3 but not as a feature of ladder. Part of the identity of ladder is you can pick up and play a game pretty quickly. There is space for a Bo3 format I just think it's a different mode, and probably a temporary one like Heroic Tavern Brawl or tournament. (Source)


@IksarHS hello. I really enjoy duels and I love golden cards. Is it possible to make the treasures and the cards, you can choose, golden, if your starter deck is full golden? I know, itňčs not that important, but I would love it. Thanks and stay healthy

@Florian_HS I'll look into it with @Celestalon, should be able to use golden cards in duels for sure. (Source)

@IksarHS @Florian_HS Question for players about this: if we did this, would you be disappointed if some treasures had the golden card frame, but didn’t have a golden animation? (We usually only create golden animations for collectible cards and their tokens.) (Source)


@IksarHS Hi Dean! Do you plan to come to Italy one day? Rome is a beautiful city!

@SilentNickHS I've been to Rome and Florence. Florence was the most beautiful place I've ever been. Got two full day tours (one Vatican, one Rome) and they might be the two most memorable days of my life thus far. TL:DR Italy rules @ItsMeMollyO (Source)

@IksarHS @ItsMeMollyO Come back with Molly!!

@SilentNickHS @ItsMeMollyO if there is one place I know I'll go back to someday, it'll be Italy :) (Source)

@IksarHS @SilentNickHS Random side note, deans profile picture is taken in the middle of the ponte vecchio from our one night in Florence!

@ItsMeMollyO @SilentNickHS wow excellent fun fact I didn't even know this (Source)


@IksarHS Any updates on adding the "upgrade to golden" feature? It's personally one of the improvements I'd like to see most. ūüė¨

@jorr1313 still plan to add, no timetable on release yet (Source)


@IksarHS Nooo I've missed it… Dangit. ūüė• https://t.co/1EZdIibSkm

@imik_plays For you, one question (Source)

@IksarHS Let me open my top 100 questions for Iksar book… … Here we go: Not sure if this is client or UI-related, have you ever thought of adding google/any other emoji into the in-game chat?

@imik_plays Would love to do this, definitely has been discussed. In-game chat has so little use atm I think we'll wait for chat improvements until there is more chatting. We have some social features in mind (but not in dev) that I think will make us revisit chat improvements like this. (Source)


@IksarHS So i might be looking to deep into this. But was the choice to keep spider tank around due to player language. if a new player were to watch a stream its very common for players to say for example. mankirk is spider tank with upside. was it to help new players understand terms?

@TaggermcBagger I think looking a little too deep :) Just meant to be a decent baseline 3-drop for players with limited access to cards. Something you can upgrade from but not be completely hamstrung in power level like you would be if having to include cards like ironforge riflemen. (Source)


@IksarHS Back in the day, when you saw your rank on the statistics page, you could see you were in the top X% of the players, I remember that was a neat statistic, but they took that out long ago and I always wondered why? would you add it back somehow?

@Wiibomb If I remember right it was just a static number than eventually became outdated and inaccurate so we removed it. Likely to stay removed unless we have a way to pull your % within playerbase value live and display it. (Source)


@IksarHS Top 3 favourite cards atm you enjoy playing in standard? Top 3 worst cards you dont enjoy playing in standard atm? I could ask so much more coz i'm actually awake for this but i'll settle for those two this week :)

@Banez_86 Kazakus, Rokara, Conditioning Haven't enjoyed standard paladin much, any of the secret or libram stuff. Maybe just because I got burnt out on it. (Source)


@IksarHS Store question: Why not just offer all skins/card backs for sale all the time? I understand they probably can't all be listed in game, however couldn't they be listed on the game launcher/website to purchase?

@BIGYKN Store isn't meant to be a location for all products we've ever sold. Not really a sustainable solution for a game that's been around 7 years+ and plans to be around for another decade+. We've been working on some ways in the collection manager to just craft things with gold, tho. (Source)


@IksarHS Please please please tell me you won't nerf Tickatus, a mediocre card in a bad deck!!! My question: do you take into account community outcry in nerfs, and if so, how much, remembering of course that the squeaky wheel gets the grease?

@TadeuszMrozek2 Community perception is a factor, though it can be dangerous to look at very specific places like twitter/reddit because it's just a very biased sampling of players. (Source)

@TadeuszMrozek2 We have some information on how more casual users approach the game and take into account what they might be thinking as well. (Source)


@IksarHS I love the buyable deck that were just added. Would you ever consider selling decks used by grandmasters? Could be a good way to promote the grandmasters from in the client and giving players more access to good decks.

@heatfireash Yeah, we considered doing something like this but opted for V1 that was curated by us. Could see doing something like this in the future. One of the biggest barriers is if players trust these decks are any good. (Source)

@heatfireash Putting a GM stamp of approval on them helps that trust, even if it doesn't actually mean the decks are better. (Source)


@IksarHS Can I expect all 5 Caravan cards be buffed in upcoming patch?

@ven0m_symbi0te no (Source)