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

  • They are happy that Tradeable has received positive reception before the launch of the set.
  • There is no rush on evaluating if Tradeable could become a core set keyword. They need to see live gameplay.

Game Design

  • They don't really consider evolve and devolve mechanics when making cards. Never a primary focus.
  • There are plans to add new archetypes, some of which will "definitely be non-aggro".
  • Its just a matter of time before we see a permanent slot in addition to the 7 minions we can play on board. They just need to figure out the UI/UX/Design.

Future Content

  • They are brainstorming new single player content but we aren't likely to see anything new until late next year.
  • All the sets happening in 2022 have already been decided. The next set to brainstorm is the first of 2023.
  • Elemental Planes expansion is something that has been pitched before. Not happening any time soon.
  • Dean would love to create an expansion around a major character and do a biography of their story.
    • Garrosh is the character he would most like to do this with since he goes on a journey to tons of places. 
    • "Siege of Orgrimmar sounds like a cool mini-set". (With Gamon)

Friends List Bugs

  • The friends list bugs are being actively worked on and trying to solve them ASAP.
  • They have been hard to reproduce since they involve hundreds of online friends.
  • Some bugs have been fixed which also makes it hard to find the remaining cases.
  • A potential workaround is to wait for your list to fully load in.
  • Another "crappy" workaround is to "clean house" if you really need it fixed. Lower numbers of friends fixes things.


  • Not likely to see a Tavern Pass get added to a Mega Bundle.
  • If the big bundle didn't have enough value, they'd likely just add more packs to it.
  • Card pack bundles and the Tavern Pass (cosmetic product) both have different goals.


  • A Hearthstone manga was written but Dean only saw "about one anime episode worth". It never released.


  • They have been and continue to work towards reducing the install size of Hearthstone on mobile.
  • The size of the mobile version of Hearthstone affects the player experience and business side of the game.


  • His favourite card of United in Stormwind is "probably Maestra of the Masquerade". The design was cut out of at least 2 other sets.
  • Dean would love to make a "big, traditional, RPG". 
    • Being on the ground floor of something like Elder Scrolls 6 and seeing it through all the way to the end would be a dream.
  • The original design of the Dean Ayala card featured Greatfather Winter.
  • Dean designed a card that would gain and lose double the ranked stars if it started in your deck.

Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #23

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #23 Early Time! Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) 2:30PM - 3:30PM PST https://t.co/RLLF4kw9PP (Source)

@IksarHS Favourite card of the new set also, what was the version of demon hunter hero power you almost shipped but weren't too happy with? I remember seeing an interview around when ashes of outland was released

@DhruvitShah6 probably maestra, just because it's so weird We've had this design for 5+ years? It's been cut out of at least 2 sets. It's more of an on-read novelty than a long-term player, but sometimes it's ok to spend engineering points on novelty. (Source)

@DhruvitShah6 and we had a few, none I would say we were happy with it used to just be 2 mana, but attacking generated a resource called fury you could spend with cards that noted fury then it was 2 mana but reuseable was at least 2-3 other ones I can't remember right now, none were fun (Source)

@IksarHS What is the release date for mercenaries

@Slysssa isn't it out? I've been playing it for months now…. (Source)

@IksarHS What type of gamer do you imagine diving into mercenaries?

@Slysssa hero collector, strategy gamer, people that likes games where numbers go up (Source)

@IksarHS @Slysssa Golfers in shambles

@BobHughes13 @Slysssa i lol'd (Source)

@IksarHS What mercenaries hero do you identify with the most

@Slysssa I am too lazy to go through what heroes have been announced vs the ones that haven't, so no spoilerino. My defining qualities are 'cranky' and 'old' so probably a character in that space. (Source)

@IksarHS When you do a deadlines miniset, please tell me the Rogue portrait that comes with it will be Edwin and NOT Captain Cookie https://t.co/LUW8DOoz7r

@J_Alexander_HS ratio (i said ratio am i gen z?) (Source)

@J_Alexander_HS i honestly don't even really know what ratio means this is probably a really bad use case god i'm old (Source)

@IksarHS @J_Alexander_HS You wrote “ratio” to give a tweet more comments than likes which is twitters version of a downvote

@Slysssa @J_Alexander_HS wait almost all my amas have more comments than likes does this mean i am being downvoted (Source)

@IksarHS @J_Alexander_HS The hs community is actively downvoting you weekly yes 🤓

@Slysssa @J_Alexander_HS https://t.co/AUixJTBkRG (Source)

@J_Alexander_HS not lookin good @J_Alexander_HS (Source)

@IksarHS One Piece 🏴‍☠️ or nah

@VinoSpumoni not yet, gonna do mob psycho s2, kaguya sama s2, then possibly vinland saga first (Source)

@IksarHS How much time in your "day job" do you get to spend trying to gauge player sentiment towards the game? E.g. going through content on Twitter/Twitch/YT. Or does that stuff just happen ad hoc out of hours? Was watch some card reviews, and wondered how much devs pay attn to that.

@mjgreen145 We have teams that send sentiment reports for various regions. It depends on the person, though. Designers are usually highly active Hearthstone users and we engage with the community after-hours. (Source)

@mjgreen145 Anecdotal evidence can be pretty flawed, though. If you look at the successes and failures of the game through the lens of your carefully curated social media channels you are probably getting a very small slice of the story. (Source)

@mjgreen145 Most developers know the difference between making a game for themselves and making the game for a community of players. Something that most developers could get better at is understanding the community of players isn't comprised of only what they see on their own channels. (Source)

@IksarHS Did the team consider adding the tradeable keyword to core set cards? And in general, is that a keyword you want to limit to the Stormwind set or will you use that in the future again?

@SwissGuy_ Time will tell. There isn't a rush on making that decision and it'll be much better to see how the gameplay plays out on live then make a decision then. We're glad that reception has mostly been positive pre-release tho (Source)

@IksarHS Is there any effort to reduce the install size of the mobile game? Optionally removing audio maybe? It feels like it is getting too large.

@Big_AT Yep, it's a complicated problem unfortunately. We've worked on it and will continue to do so. It's one of those things that affects player experience and also affects the business of the game. (Source)

@IksarHS One thing that I've been curious about is when making certain cards, lets say a big 9 or 10 drop, do you ever factor in the evolution/devolution pool when making it? Basically has a card ever been made with the purpose of diluting evolution or created by pools?

@ZeddyHS No, it might be a very small note of upside/downside after a card has been designed but never as a primary focus. (Source)

@IksarHS Any chance to talk with NetEase(?) and release a global version of HearthstoneBox? Or whatever their extension is called (features like tournaments, game history, etc. would be nice)

@Moluk13 We had discussed it and had our engineering team look what aspects of the extension might be worth including. The piece of it I liked the most was the in-client deck sharing. (Source)

@Moluk13 Unfortunately to officially support this on the team wasn't something we had close to enough bandwidth for. If we were to support of of the features in the extension we'd just do it via client and not via an app layered on top. (Source)

@IksarHS Which Stormwind cards underwent the most changes between their initial design phase and their final forms?

@DatMageDoe I don't work much with card design anymore these days, @Songbird_HS @MyntyPhresh @JohnEvMcIntyre are all close to it tho (Source)

@IksarHS Would you ever consider adding the tavern pass to the mega bundle? It just feels really bad that I have to spend money for which I could buy 3 AAA games for just to get the expansion + reward pass (and I also have to spend all that gold on the packs as well).

@imik_plays Probably not. If we felt like there wasn't enough value in the mega-bundle we'd probably put more packs in it vs adding a large cosmetic product to it. They are products with different core goals. (Source)

@IksarHS When will Battlegrounds be out of beta? 🙄

@NakraroxsHS i wish i knew (Source)

@IksarHS Ooo I remembered my real question. I drove by an “Ayala” exit somewhere on the 210 last week. What does your last name mean, and are you somehow interconnected with that street?

@JaredPullet I'm not sure. I think Ayala is a common spanish and filipino name. I don't know almost any of my family tree so maybe i'm from those places! (Source)

@IksarHS If blizz gave every team 5 member a sabbatical to just play ladder for the month, and the highest finishing player gets a large $ bonus, who would be the betting favorite?

@J_Stowell Well, there are only three people it could be. @Chakki_HS @GallonHS or @BoarControl Depends on the money. If it was an amount large enough for @Chakki_HS to choose it over a comfortable lifestyle doing whatever he wanted then I'd probably choose him. Otherwise toss-up. (Source)

@IksarHS @J_Stowell @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl okay cmon where is the @RealzDev pick

@RidiculousHat @J_Stowell @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl @RealzDev https://t.co/2eSVBnjjRG (Source)

@RidiculousHat @J_Stowell @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl @RealzDev https://t.co/CdkczipfI2 (Source)

@RidiculousHat @J_Stowell @Chakki_HS @GallonHS @BoarControl @RealzDev https://t.co/ZeiENfzl9y (Source)

@IksarHS is there any plans to slow down the meta to implement strong deck types other than aggro? imo aggro does make for faster games but also faster burnout

@mena_mena_mena_ We have plans to introduce new archetypes, some of which will definitely be non-aggro. I think aggro gets a bad rep because it does the best job of punishing decks that aren't any good vs anything. There are lots of these decks out there. (Source)

@IksarHS Hey. first thanks for hearthstone and all the work. Here's the question : Is it planned to create less auto win (or near) cards like octobot/incantor flow/gibblering/death speaker blackthorn etc… Game sometimes looks like war "battle" card game. Thanks

@meinnhart It's an interesting topic. I think the fact that some cards are very good if drawn or played at the exact right time is unavoidable. It's just a matter of what crosses the line and what doesn't. (Source)

@IksarHS Nice to see an “early” AMA! Hearthstone spin-off! What would be your dream genre and why? 😃 (You can’t say MMO cause, you know..) Have a great day, and stay strong with everything that’s going on 🙏

@TheMordeus I'd love to make a big, traditional, RPG. Being on the ground floor of something like Elder Scrolls 6 and seeing it through all the way to the end would be a dream. Most devs like small teams but I'm a big team person. I like juggling a huge amount of scope and executing on it. (Source)

@IksarHS @TheMordeus Same. Gimmie big teams (OK maybe not TOO bug) all day long. (Source)

@IksarHS How does the United in Stormwind set not have a new Hogger when he's so iconic to the low-level Alliance experience?!

@bmkibler @IksarHS Are we thinking Stockades mini-set with Hogger??

@bmkibler @IksarHS (I actually think we're going to Scarlet Monastery to better fit the expected levels of our Mercenaries but I'd be cool with both)

@RegisKillbin @IksarHS Scarlet Monastery and Deadmines are the two most iconic instances in that area. Flightmaster does say “have fun in the Deadmines” when you take the west fall path, too. Neither would really make the most sense to have Hogger.

@bmkibler @RegisKillbin @IksarHS That's not where Scarlet Monastery is!

@NotThatSeanPaul @RegisKillbin @IksarHS I mean more on the Eastern Kingdoms continent than the actual stormwind area

@bmkibler @RegisKillbin @IksarHS I figured, would never question your WoW knowledge, you are in the game after all

@NotThatSeanPaul @bmkibler @RegisKillbin https://t.co/hU7wkwDe93 (Source)

@bmkibler I don't decide on the characters but we wanted to mostly go with the city-vibe and Hogger definitely isn't that. Fun fact our lead live content designer created hogger. Mr Pat Nagle himself! (Source)

@IksarHS As a big fan of Expansion-based Solo Adventures, I really miss those kind of stories. I feel the gap for Scholomance and Darkmoon, with so much potential for story-telling… Will "Book of …." be the way to tell stories now? Will you ever go back to expansion-based adventures?

@roman_jdlht Book is more of a big project we're not done with than the only future for single-player. We're brainstorming some single player ideas for the future but it's unlikely you'll see anything robust until late next year. (Source)

@IksarHS Will we ever see a "freeform mode" where we can choose a hero power and build decks with cards from any class?

@kombo_karl I think the answer to this is yes, but nothing in dev. More of a UI question than an engineering one. There are already a bunch of buttons that fan out when challenging someone. Would have to find a UI flow that works, create UI for special options, etc. (Source)

@IksarHS Any plans to add a sandbox mode? (Atleast for friendly games) would be awesome to make only some sets available or starting at 10 mana for example

@FroggyHSxD I do like this. It's always a question of bang for buck. I can pretty clearly see the UI and Engineering cost of a feature like this but find it hard to see the audience that is big enough to enjoy it. (Source)

@FroggyHSxD I still like doing it, lots of youtube videos, discussion, fun moments. User-generated-content in general is an area we've explored 0, so clearly opportunity for growth. (Source)

@IksarHS Will there be any potential focus on making room for a card permanent on board that wouldn't interfere with the 7 minion board rule and have a game impact similar to MtG's planeswalers?

@EatMoarCrow We've tried mechanics like this in testing and just haven't gotten the right mixture of UI/UX/Design. It'll happen at some point, we get closer every time. (Source)

@IksarHS Does Hearthstone have a pity curve like Genshin or is there a flat rate to pull a legendary until the 40th pack?

@Hockeyboyz3_hs curve (Source)

@IksarHS So I asked a while ago about a deep sea expansion and people got excited about it. This time, how about an expansion with all four elemental lords duking it out for supremacy over the other! Crazy to me how we have yet to see Therazane or a reprint of Alakir or Neptulon.

@jdeg86126366 wow we've actually pitched this elemental planes expansion, focus on different types of elementals and huge, natural disaster themes could be awesome, but it's not happening anytime soon we already know every set through 2022, first set of 2023 next to be brainstormed (Source)

@IksarHS credits cards are fun and hilarious. does each designer make their own? where does the art come from? do you still like yours or would you redesign it? https://t.co/oiAgh6IDRa

@RidiculousHat I originally chose greatfather winter as the art but someone rejected me saying they wanted to keep it for future use I chose a darkmoon faire npc because the art was cool and it was the first feature I ever worked on at blizzard (darkmoon faire in wow on the QA events team) (Source)

@RidiculousHat Most people designed their own, some with help. I still like my design! I once designed a card I wanted to put in a set that read 'you gain and lose double stars if this started in your deck'. (Source)

@IksarHS What are our chances of getting a Hearthstone anime? 🤡 (or really a Warcraft lore based TV Series - animated/live action doesn't matter to me would be cool to see anything 😃) https://t.co/1lGmykcqUx

@huhubellsHS We commissioned a hearthstone manga to be written, I got my heads on about one anime episode worth of manga but never saw the rest. Obviously it never released. (Source)

@huhubellsHS got my hands* on (Source)

@huhubellsHS but maybe, hearthstone is a warcraft IP game so i imagine if we did do an animated series it's more likely that it would be warcraft based rather than hearthstone's version of warcraft. (Source)

@IksarHS @huhubellsHS Wait, that manga never got released?! o.O I had no idea! (Source)

@IksarHS When you open up Twitter on release day, what is the most satisfying sort of comment you can see?

@JaredPullet "I took your advice and started watching some anime for the first time, I love it!" (Source)

@JaredPullet Real answer is probably just clips of individual player stories or fun game moments players didn't anticipate. Our job is to create an interesting toolkit that crafts a huge variety of player stories. Seeing that come to fruition is rewarding. (Source)

@IksarHS Are you planning to fix the friend list bugs? - Flickering names - Ranks swapping on clicking names - Unable to challenge friends even after repeated restarts Has been getting slowly worse for over a year, and is now so bad that players are choosing not to play in tournaments

@MeatiHS Not my area but I'll check in with team. I don't check social media much outside of AMA and even then I've seen this come up a couple times. (Source)

@IksarHS @MeatiHS It is being very actively worked on.

@Abar_HS @IksarHS @MeatiHS I checked in on this today, it's a very high priority bug for us. Unfortunately, it's also extremely hard to reproduce (related to having hundreds of online friends). It's also actually several different bugs over time, many of which have been fixed, but some cases remain. (Source)

@Abar_HS @IksarHS @MeatiHS I 100% recognize that these are not steps we want people do need to do especially when these won't even guaranteed fix it, but here are some possible workarounds: - Wait longer for the friends list to load. If you see the friend count at the top still climbing, it's not done. (Source)

@Abar_HS @IksarHS @MeatiHS - Since it's related to having a very large number of friends in the list, having fewer friends will *probably* solve it. I hate suggesting that you unfriend anyone, but if you absolutely have to find a fix (such as for an esports tournament), cleaning house may help. (Source)

@Abar_HS @IksarHS @MeatiHS Again, I totally realize these are crappy workarounds, and we're working hard to try to solve this asap. (Source)

@IksarHS A few weeks ago, you said on the State of the Wild podcast that wild was your favourite mode currently (Me too BTW). I find it interesting that someone that’s a part of the design team, enjoys the un-curated mode, where all of the “mistakes” of the past live. Any thoughts?

@baney64 I like the change of pace more than anything. Fun to dive into a totally different meta and learn about all the archetypes people play while mastering a new archetype that never existed in standard. (Source)

@IksarHS Was Gamon ever considered to get a card (Hero or legendary) ? I always thought it would be amazing getting a card for him :3

@Kamijokkujin I would love that, if we did something orgrimmar themed maybe. Siege of Orgrimmar sounds like a cool mini-set. An expansion idea I've been really excited about it to take a major character and do an expansion biography of their story. (Source)

@Kamijokkujin The character I'm most excited about for this is Garrosh, he has a really wild journey that takes him tons of places. Siege of Orgrimmar mini set with Gamon…. that is my bold prediction. (Source)