Everyone's favourite Hearthstone Dad, Dean "Iksar" Ayala has brought us another 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.
United in Stormwind
- No hints!
Design & Future
- The biggest missed opportunity with Hearthstone was launching without social systems.
- Dean would love to see more user-generated-content in the game.
- If they were to start with UGC, Dean thinks they would start with cards.
- There are new minion types in development in the next 2 years of sets. No guarantees when they will arrive.
- We have new minion types in the sets we have in test, which are about 4-5 sets currently.
- No guarantees on which will have a minion type and which won't though sorry! (Source)
- They have talked about removing Legendary cards from Discover and other random effects.
- Dean thinks the real answer is to make less random generation and discover cards.
- We could see a new adventure next year - they are considering it as a part of what the live-content team will be working on.
- There has been some discussion about "deep sea" themes for an expansion. Maybe one day.
- If showcasing matchmaking ratings for constructed would give people more enjoyment, they'd consider adding it.
- They have talked about the possibility of doing additional sets in Classic mode.
- Dean could see adding more sets to Classic with the new yearly rotation or the last expansion of a year - no promises though.
- Celestalon says they don't want to add achievements for casual but could see a small quote one, like 10 or 25.
- Doing a small quota achievement for casual would let players see their total games played in the mode.
- Doing achievements for old expansions would likely happen if they came back into the game via Classic mode.
- The team knows claiming achievements is a pain point. Dean suspects the answer is to have completed achieves at the top.
- Purchasable game boards is currently being investigated only for Battlegrounds.
- Dean could see doing purchasable game boards for constructed as well, but there are complications involved.
- There are loose plans for cosmetics in Mercenaries. They are focused on gameplay and out-of-game systems now though.
- Heroes from duels and solo adventures could become rewards for related achievements. Downside is those heroes lack full voiceovers and frames.
Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #21
Hearthstone AMA #21 Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) 6:00PM - 7:00PM PST https://t.co/ReqE9XeCR7 (Source)
@IksarHS Biggest missed opportunity?
@ChaosOS_59 Not launching with social systems (Source)
@IksarHS Favorite anime?
@CodedVortex fullmetal real answer naruto for nostalgia answer also psychopass / death note (Source)
@IksarHS I’ve always been curious as to what it takes to get the 11 star bonus, whether it’s based on MMR or your highest achieved rank. Got an answer?
@RowninAdam It is an MMR watermark. That watermark changes set to set because we normalize all MMR every season. I'd like it to represent the top X players but the tech for that was difficult. Someday it'll be that, tho. (Source)
@IksarHS Do you have access to Trigun (anime)? Would you consider watching it?
@_kampa I have not, its on the list tho (Source)
@IksarHS Have you watched Odd Taxi yet?
@HemlockBrews no give me the pitch (Source)
@IksarHS It's an amazing mystery, drama that truly has no other show to compare with. Absolutely phenomenal work and true love and care when into it. It's a show that sent the anime community abuzz and if you watch it you'll come back and tell me thanks. Truly a masterpiece 13 eps
@HemlockBrews only 13 eps!?! I love to devour short anime I'll check this out thanks for the rec it sounds like my jam (Source)
@IksarHS So when's that Goblin expansion coming. I assume you were a big fan of my suggestion, so you wrote it down and forgot to reply last time 100%
@Undershrimp yes… that is what happened https://t.co/1tsyfFqyon (Source)
@Undershrimp pitch me, goblins is pretty broad (Source)
@IksarHS I was thinking "Goblins vs. Gnomes II: The Mech-Attack", which would feature more about the Mecha-Gnomes as a race and some old concepts returning like Mirion's Head. I'd also like to see Gazlowe and Gallywix returning since they're iconic and maybe Noggenfogger as a Rogue skin?
@Undershrimp ooh I like noggenfogger skin I think we'd probably do something different than re-tread the GvG space. Boomsday wasn't a goblin expansion but it was goblin-led with some goblin-y culture (bombs mostly). I wonder if there is something in that space that would satiate you. (Source)
@IksarHS Has there been any talks about updating Classic mode for the upcoming expansion with maybe the first balance patch or an addition of Naxx? It would be exciting to live other old metas but can understand why you may want to leave it just as the base experience.
@ZeddyHS We talked about it as a possibility on launch of classic but this is a good reminder. I could see doing it as a classic shakeup on rotation day or perhaps the last expansion of the year. Will discuss with team. (Source)
@WildCardHearth I shall tag in @Celestalon to see if he has any thoughts here. He runs the systems design show of late. (Source)
@IksarHS @WildCardHearth The way we've been going in this sort of thing is to have achievements for them that show progress past the cap. However, that's a little congruent with the fact that we don't really do achievements for casual mode (nor do we want to drive hardcore achievement hunters there). (Source)
@IksarHS @WildCardHearth One solution that we could consider would be to add achievements for playing casual mode, but at extremely low quotas (like 10 or 25 or something), so it's trivial to complete for people who want the achievement points, but dedicated casual players can see the statistic. (Source)
@IksarHS What are your favorite golden cards of all time?! Any hints of cool gold animations from the new set?
@jdeg86126366 huge toad…. and hmm no hints because I haven't reviewed goldens for new sets. Talented artist folk are in charge of such things luckily for you. (Source)
@IksarHS I was really interested when you talked about adjusted drawn winrate and how the team uses that as its main stat, could you talk a little more about it and how the team discovered it? It was a eureka moment for me when I realized that the amount of cards a deck draws effects it.
@jdeg86126366 The complicated bit of card balance metrics is comparing cards across classes/archetypes or battlegrounds minion balance. (Source)
@IksarHS thoughts on purchasable gameboards/playing fields and an "editor" for existing ones, so we can create our own board with the 4 corners being clickable stuff that we can change? Is that even possible without breaking the game
@solemhs Purchasable gameboards is currently being investigated, but currently only for BG. Early stages. I could see doing constructed boards, but there are some complications that make that difficult. (Source)
@solemhs The second part of your question we refer to as a UGC feature, which stands for user-generated-content. The answer is we'd love to do it, it's just an enormous feature that requires an incredible amount of effort. I think the place we'd start with UGC is cards. (Source)
@solemhs Could we go full dota and have people upload assets they can use, or sell to other players for profit? That sounds amazing but also breaks my brain. (Source)
@IksarHS I understand if you can't answer this; To reduce some power in priest, some in the community felt you guys were dodging nerfing shadow spells like raise dead and palm reading to support the upcoming shadow priest. Was that part of the nerf decision process?
@Raktoner I am very loosely involved with balance live-balance decisions these days. Detailed info like this is best for @GW_Alec (Source)
@Raktoner @IksarHS No dodges for shadow priest, believed change to Renew would have the biggest effect on their overall generation count from game to game. Wanted to make sure we lessened that. (Source)
@IksarHS Will there be a new type of minion in the expansion to come? Gnolls for example
@r_vs13 We have new minion types in the sets we have in test, which are about 4-5 sets currently. No guarantees on which will have a minion type and which won't though sorry! (Source)
@IksarHS Is there going to be an option to reset BG stats? My most wins with hero's makes zero sense now.
@yycjustin why does it make zero sense? (Source)
@IksarHS Have you seen Wonder Egg Priority?
@MusicalRhea that sounds fake, but no (Source)
@IksarHS @MusicalRhea It's real! It's on my list, so I haven't seen it yet. It's my understanding it has quite a deep story. https://t.co/YqXpewMjVB
@Raktoner @IksarHS @MusicalRhea It had such amazing potential but the ending was so botched 😭
@Lime_kalko @Raktoner @MusicalRhea I thought this was going to be a response to one of my tweets and I was nodding in agreement (Source)
@IksarHS Has Hearthstone decided to abandon Control and Combo as viable strategies instead preferring that matches be some form of mid-range vs. mid-range matchup?
@Jazzfan27 No, but combo/control decks tend to have harsher negative reactions when they are the most powerful decks in the game. We try to be cognizant of not nerfing all the decks players complain about because if we did we'd eventually end up in mid-range vs mid-range forever. (Source)
@IksarHS do the team already have plans for skins/cosmetics for mercenaries? or is it too early to think about it?
@allansoty loose plans, we're focused on gameplay and out-of-game systems right now we'll have more details on that stuff around release (Source)
@IksarHS Can you tease us some cool new features we should be excited about for the future? (The last one being craftable skins/card backs I think)
@imik_plays I try not to tease stuff with the intention of getting people hyped. Plans change. Outside of normal new content like sets the team is heads down trying to make mercenaries as cool as it can be. When we feel good about that we'll have more of a chance to plan other features. (Source)
@IksarHS this is not a question per se but i need to know if you would watch one piece since you tackled naruto
@cynthpark I have considered it…. My best anime decision in the last 2-3 years was just watching Hunter X Hunter even though there were a ton of episodes. One Piece is like the more extreme version of that decision…. so maybe I should? (Source)
@IksarHS Is a future removal of legendary cards from the reveal card options possible? Because you lose the special by getting multiple copies of a legendary card. In my humble opinion.
@r_vs13 I think this means should legenaries be excluded from random card generation like discover, etc. We talked about it but I think the real answer is just to make less random generation / discover cards. (Source)
@IksarHS Is it hard dealing with general complaining/unhappy sentiment? I realize it's hard to please everyone (but that's never stopped me from trying). I'm not new to the internet, but I still feel for staff when I see negative youtube comments (and some negative twitter comments)
@contigwrites It can be. You just have to go in with the right mindset. If you worked really hard on something and are emotional about the negative response, that is totally appropriate, it's probably just not the best time to go responding to tweets and reddit threads. (Source)
@contigwrites I don't subscribe to the idea that rude players are just passionate and we should be thankful they care at all. I mute people pretty aggressively that are threatening or rude for the sake of rudeness. (Source)
@contigwrites That is a lot different than people complaining or not liking a thing, though. Sometimes players aren't going to like your thing, it happens. I find that if you are out there talking and communicating regularly people are more accepting of the mistakes because they see the effort (Source)
@IksarHS Why did the Horde expansion have cards related to the alliance?
@BebuMoon1 We wanted to introduce all 10 characters in every expansion. We thought about staggering it but liked the idea of following both sides from the beginning. (Source)
@IksarHS If you had to make a buddy cop film with another designer, who would you choose as your partner and why is it me? (Source)
@Tabayrak @Chakki_HS, he would just be angry and annoyed he had to be my partner or act in a film and it would be ironically funny (Source)
@Tabayrak @IksarHS Excuse me. I thought *we* were doing a game designer buddy cop movie? Better question, why would it be the best movie ever?
@Tabayrak @IksarHS https://t.co/NWWUyYTk6s
@Tabayrak @IksarHS Title card slams in, then is promptly fired full of bullet holes. Reads: GAME DESIGN COPS
@Azereki @Tabayrak @IksarHS I thought design cops were producers 🤔
@_DonAdams @Azereki @IksarHS Truuuuuuuuuuuuu (Source)
@IksarHS Do you play BG during your free time, also which BG hero would you want to be best friends with
@DrLazyEyesHS Yes, more in the past than now, though I am getting back into it. I would be best friends with Guff because he seems very sweet. (Source)
@IksarHS Will you ever release more "wing-based adventures"? (BRM, LOE, etc) Btw will we see any new solo player content this year except Book of…?
@imik_plays Not anytime soon, are considering it for next year as we plan what the live-content team will be working on. (Source)
@IksarHS “Choose one” is amazing text that could open so many doors design wise in the game. With all the flexibility it could provide in ways that discover cannot (as three options are much different than two), do you feel it’s still worth it to restrict it just one class?
@J_Alexander_HS I think any mechanic we like creates temptation to include in every class. The downside is no one has anything unique that makes that class feel different when that is taken to the extreme. (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS As a Rogue player I'm sure you have some affinity for combo, do you think other classes should have access to that mechanic as well? (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS I've actually tried to put ramp in warlock a couple times but never felt like the end result archetype was cool enough to justify taking a unique thing from Druid. (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS I'm talking as if I think there is a right answer, but really I don't. You could be right, and maybe combo, choose one, ramp, all of them should be more widespread. I'll let players you have them to thank for the overload expansion. (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS i can't tweet…. they have YOU to thank for the overload expansion. thanks jalex (Source)
@IksarHS Not a problem. When it comes to Combo, I could see that in other classes to an extent, but combo is a Rogue flavor that people associate with Rogue. Rogue tends to play lots of combo cards and plenty of cards are designed around the text, like cheap spells…
@IksarHS By contrast, I don't see a ton of Druids playing lots of choose one cards, and somes cards associated with Choose one end up choosing both (Fandral, the Quest). There don't seem to be lots of cards designed around choosing options in Druid
@IksarHS Further, with the addition of discover, the choosing one aspect has become quite a bit less unique to Druid. That flexibility is now being found everywhere instead of just Druid…
@IksarHS Now I do want classes to have unique stuff, and ramp is one of those things I think Druid really should do. When it comes to "Choose one" I'm not sure the juice is worth the squeeze because the identity of "flexible" is just too broad a thing to stick in one place…
@IksarHS Not sure what I'd put in Choose one's place for Druid. That's a sticky matter I can leave for brighter minds. I just get excited thinking about all the possible "choose one" cards that could exist in other classes. Tradeable is a mechanic like it, but we get the same choice…
@IksarHS "Replace card or play card". I think that's pretty cool. I just think it could be cooler if choices like that could be expanded to more cards and experiments with more in terms of variety
@J_Alexander_HS Reasonable points, choose one is a play on the fantasy of WoW Druids, which choose one of many forms. I'm not sure that comes through very well in our game, though. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there a reason why the hero skins from duels and solo adventures like dalaran heist never were added to standard, the skins are super cool and it always seemed like a good idea to port them over in a bundle or something
@Sternhawk We are considering having them as rewards for adventure achievements when we eventually get those in. Those skins don't all have the work we normally do, though. Full voicelines, hero frames, etc. Would have to consider doing that work or shipping less 'full' heroes. (Source)
@IksarHS Regarding anime, what's your favorite genre? I love cyberpunk and mecha.
@maparrsdesign I gravitate towards really sad or really dark anime. Your Lie in April, Psychopass, Promised Neverland also a sucker for a good shonen but isn't everyone? (Source)
@IksarHS any plans to add achievements to older sets ? or more classic ones ? or more core ones ??
@EliteLeafHater old adventures, probably not gameplay achievements for old sets, maybe if we released naxx in classic we'd do gameplay for it, too (Source)
@IksarHS How come you guys removed the feature where you could hover over your rank and it'd tell you what percentage of the playerbase you were in? Always thought it was kinda neat
@rattleclaws It was a text line and not a number that updated based on real data. Over time it became inaccurate and we didn't implement a way to track that calculation in real-time. (Source)
@IksarHS Have you thought about buffing some older Wild cards? I think it would be cool if some sweet build-around cards like Kalimos, To My Side or Arcanosaur with underwhelming power levels could get a chance to see some competitive action (and maybe spice up the Wild meta)
@MartianBuu No, I think the upside would be pretty minimal. We want to keep tabs on the Wild meta to make sure nothing is ruining the experience for everyone but the goal for Wild isn't to inject change just for the sake of it. (Source)
@IksarHS What are the considerations around adding a button in achievements that takes you to the next achievement? On mobile, more often than not I am unable to scroll to a bg achievement without the achievement journal freezing. (I have an iphone6 maybe that’s why?)
@JaredPullet You shouldn't freeze or lock up at all, but that is a different issue. We're pretty heads down on mercenaries right now but as people are coming off that we'll look to address achievement claiming. I suspect the answer at the minimum is completed achievements at the top (Source)
@IksarHS Last week, I asked a question about the quality of Japanese advertising. In the Japanese community, it is often talked about because of its low quality, such as quoted advertisements. I feel that the goodness of Hearthstone is not well communicated. https://t.co/3ZmqSlzXnh
@jojothe6251 Interesting, I've never seen this! I'd be lying if I said I was an authority on what makes for a great advertisement in every region. I will share with the JP team. (Source)
@IksarHS Ok my last question for today, I'm not a WOW player but has the team ever considered a deep sea expansion?! Murlocs, pirates, naga, mech submarines, sea monsters! Maybe even some corrupted N'zoth stuff 👀. It's always been what I've wanted from an hs set for quite a while.
@jdeg86126366 yes, underwater sounds refreshing will make waves overflow with excitement but yes we've done some exploration on deep sea stuff, maybe you'll see it someday! (Source)
@IksarHS Hi Dean I have two questions; first being as a massive blizzard fan and Spotify user, is it possible for the Hearthstone team to add songs from Hearthstone (i.e. the saviours of uldum trailer song) to Blizzard's Spotify account? As me and my husband love that song.
@IksarHS 🥺🥺 an answer would be immensely appreciated ❤️
@ultimatecheeseb I'll look into it, I played the Saviors of Uldum song at my wedding! (Source)
@IksarHS Awww that's lovely! Congrats! We might too 😂 thanks for the idea Dean.
@ultimatecheeseb After the ceremony, the song that signified that it was over and it was time to go up to the reception and party. Did Karazhan song first then Uldum song, was perfect haha (Source)
@IksarHS Question 2: will shadowform ever be upgradeable just like it used to be?
@ultimatecheeseb a better question for @GW_Alec (Source)
@IksarHS Hi, any plans to add visible MMR to the standard leader-boards (not necessarily in-game)? It would be nice to know how far away you are from the next rank.
@JambreHS @IksarHS Think I asked this a while ago and they said probs no
@DeadDrawHS @JambreHS We'd have to make some adjustment first, I think. We normalize MMR from time to time to curb inflation so it would be really strange to see your MMR go from 4 to 3 without playing any games. (Source)
@DeadDrawHS @JambreHS Not crazy, though. We do it already for BG/Duels. I think it's worth considering if it would actually give people more enjoyment. More clarity definitely doesn't always equal more happiness. (Source)
@IksarHS You probably don't know this offhand but I was thinking about something and was wondering what percentage of hearthstone games matched by rank would be mismatched mmr wise? Also wondering what percentage of games are matched by rank, though that fluctuates within a season.
@IksarHS Another thing I was wondering, depending on whether the previous two had a significant population, is if there are any noticeable changes to deck winrates when mmr mismatched games are ignored.
@D0nkeyHS You are right that I don't know this off-hand, but it would depend on your definition of mismatched MMR. The only real sampling of massively mismatched MMR games we have is in Arena. I was always surprised and how incredible the advantage of skill was in Arena. (Source)
@D0nkeyHS 90th percentile had some insane win rate vs 50th percentile, 75-80%+. (Source)
@D0nkeyHS Those types of matches just don't exist to any large degree in constructed, though. Hearthstone is a high population 1v1 game where the matches are relatively fast. Not very many poor matches get made, at least not in a mathematical sense. (Source)
@D0nkeyHS The only loose examples of this are sometimes extremely high level players (like best in the world level) can pilot a deck significantly better than everyone else. @ostkaka playing control warrior back in the day would be 4-5%+ better than 2nd place regularly. (Source)
@D0nkeyHS @ostkaka And logically speaking, I would guess decks like ramp druid that play their highest cost card every turn would have less variance in high MMR disparity matchups than a deck like handlock that has much room for error. That is just theory, though, no stats. (Source)
@IksarHS Favorite frog emoji
@hypopyh https://t.co/9sQHd7SB1G (Source)