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.
First Though, Congratulations, Dean!
Dean hit the 10-year mark at Blizzard last week! Congratulations on the milestone, we can't wait to see your shield!
For those not in the know, Blizzard has "Service Awards" that are presented to its employees at certain milestones. 2 Years is a Stein, 5 Years is Sword, 10 is a Shield, 15 is Rings, and 20 is a Helm. It should be noted that some folks have received a medallion recently for 5 year awards. Not sure if the sword is gone for good.
My 10-year anniversary @Blizzard_Ent was last week.
@Warcraft defined a lot of my teenage years and @PlayHearthstone changed my life. Thanks for the memories, looking forward to the next 10 years!
- They will be revisiting balance next week on Tuesday to review data and discuss the meta.
- Rokara's Quest originally blew up your hand and turned it into a pirate ship that had buttons to press instead of drawing cards.
- The UI cost was too high.
- One day there will be a customizable emote wheel.
- The team currently records extra voicelines for heroes, which explains why new heroes still get Sorry emotes.
- The goal in recording these extra voicelines is not for easter eggs but flexibility in the future.
Bring Back a Friend
- This is not a confirmed feature.
- They are in very early discussion on whether or not they want to take on a big social project.
- They'd like to use existing players as tools to bring back older players or new ones.
- Incentives to bring people to the game is a goal of the system.
- This sounds like a Recruit-a-Friend feature but better than simply rewarding a classic pack and eventually a hero skin (Morgl!)
- Power creep will always be a decision, though in some ways it will be inevitable.
- They have discussed doing a mass card nerf that could be done at the start of a rotation.
- Goals would be to lower the power of the core set and the three sets from the previous year.
- Dean doesn't think doing one would be unreasonable nor is it a crazy idea..
- Dean also thinks that as the next year approaches, they will consider it very closely.
New Constructed Formats
- New formats is something Dean sees since Hearthstone will b e around for a "long, long time".
- There are not current plans for one on the horizon though.
- "Something between Wild and Standard might be nice."
- When they add new rewards, they try to add new things instead of more of the old.
- Dean expects any rewards track additions in the future to be something we may not have seen before.
- They are "not too far from" releasing more Diamond cards for current Standard sets that didn't get any.
- After the next Diamond cards come out for Standard sets, they'll move on to Wild. No timeline.
- Broken decks are never intentionally shipped.
- A broken deck is "something in the 25+ population 54-55%+ win rate range. Launch DH, Galakrond Shaman come to mind"
- For new expansions, they try to give every class something they can use at a competitive level.
- A competitive level does not mean a Tier 1 deck but a deck at 47-48+% winrate.
- Once you master that deck, you should be able to push to a 50% winrate.
- The Shrine cards in Rastakhan's Rumble did well internally but were too low of a power level to be effective when live.
- The team spent too much time playtesting low power decks to look for fun with the shrines.
- Dean expects most of the nerfed cards to get unnerfed when they rotate to Wild next year.
- Cards that rotate to Wild that would be a target for an unnerf may not receive it if it would make an already "mega-powerful" deck more powerful.
- Neutral cards that grant class-specific effects should come at a cost to the player.
- Card text is written in the same way if you were to try and describe what a card does to a friend. They try to avoid it reading like a rules book, but clarity is important.
- They still have more ideas for new card tribes. [We will see new minion types next year]
- The Stealer of Souls ban was, possibly, an afterthought. Dean was surprised when the team proposed it.
- They are trying to get better at coordinating between card design and visual effects.
- Important for them to share knowledge about potential problems when players are playing cards that might trigger 10+ effects in a small window.
- The meta can't be predicted when they initially develop a mini-set so they will do a rebalance of the cards if needed.
- Cards do not get redesigned though as it is too late at that stage.
- The core set is now the solution to reworking classes that need it.
- They will continue to find times where they can launch other content alongside new releases in World of Warcraft.
- There have been ideas for some Diablo content, but there are no promises.
- Battlegrounds Heroes is a spot where Dean could see them using cross-IP characters, at least to start.
- The team is still hard at work on the new mode. It is the main focus.
- The options for the next new class are Monk, Death Knight, and a class that is Hearthstone-specific (not from WoW).
- Dean thinks Monk is second or third on the new class list.
News in Client
- The team wants to integrate content into the Hearthstone client.
- Dean cites Supercell's awesome job at integrating video and news content into their games.
- With that said, there are no current plans on the pipeline to add this.
Hearthstone's Internal Tool
- The developers have an external tool that connects to Hearthstone that lets them spawn anything they want into the game.
- Releasing that to help players test has never been a consideration.
- Apparently, the tool can crash you out through mis-use.
- For patches, the process is expensive in terms of how many people it takes to do it. Better solutions could let them patch more often.
Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #24
Hearthstone AMA #24 2:00PM - 3:00PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) I'll go through each question and answer all I can in a few hours. See you then! https://t.co/PR1GibJLQf (Source)
@IksarHS You started this AMA 30 minutes ago and haven’t answered any questions. Did you have to go attend to the cute baby? 👶🏼😀
@ben_heathstone @IksarHS 2 pm pst is 2 hours from now :) (Source)
@IksarHS If you were trapped on a deserted island and could bring 1 Battlegrounds hero with you, who would you choose? (Source)
@Songbird_HS Nozdormu. We'd go back in time and I'd convince Blizzard to make a Battle Royale game and Among Us. I'd then use my newfound political capital at the company to convince them to license Naruto and allow me to make an open world single player RPG set in the Hidden Leaf village. (Source)
@IksarHS Would you ever consider adding more golden cards to the reward track or adding more events that would grant you some free golden cards for their completion? (Of course you couldn't disenchant them)
@imik_plays When we add rewards we try to add things that are new and different vs more of the old. I'd expect reward track additions in the future to be things you might not have seen before. (Source)
@IksarHS How can I get ahold of one of those holiday sweaters!? Can I purchase one anywhere?
@JaredPullet I feel like I already asked this but what holiday sweaters? (Source)
@IksarHS ALSO did you get around to playing Tears of Themis? what were your thoughts
@hypopyh Only a little, it's pretty narrative driven and unfortunately I was looking for more halfway pay attention style gameplay. Mostly because narrative driven stuff is hard to pay attention to with a baby around. I'll get around to it more when he's sleeping. (Source)
@IksarHS What's a card/subset/mechanic that did really well internally during testing but flopped once it was in the hands of the general public?
@adam_noodelman Probably the shrines in Rastakhan's. Gameplay was interesting but power level was too low. We spent too much time playtesting low power decks vs each other trying to find the fun and not enough time jamming competitive decks to fine-tune the balance. (Source)
@IksarHS Do you think High Abbess Alura can be unnerfed once she rotates to Wild? I would like to have her on Even Pally. PD: Expecting Arthas Legendary Paladin Minion on the mini set 💛😅
@HolyKnight077 I'd expect most of our nerfs to standard cards to become unnerfed for Wild. Unless there is a specific Wild deck that is already mega-powerful that we'd push further by unnerfing. (Source)
@IksarHS Two questions actually, feel free to answer either one or both. 1) Which card in current expansion released is your favourite? 2) Has any dev ever discovered a meta breaking deck and shared it with rest of you while hoping no one of general HS players will discover it?
@Banez_86 Druid Questline. Not really, we discover busted decks in playtesting all the time but always change that stuff before it hits live. (Source)
@IksarHS Blizzard Cross-IP content was mentioned earlier this year for Battlegrounds and Mercenaries. Any news on that ? (Shadowlands Skins was a first step, but I'm probably not the only one expecting some Heroes).
@Arkentass Hearthstone is a Warcraft IP game, so I'd consider Shadowlands stuff to be fair game for us. But yes, we'll continue to find times where we can sim-launch content with other warcraft games or even dip our toes in the water with other IPs. Have some Diablo ideas but no promises. (Source)
@IksarHS Battlegrounds Battlemaster seems like a ballsy card to print given the mana discounting/minion buffing. Similarly, Cornelius Roame with the combo stuff. A combo deck's best friend is card draw and we have a ton of that too (drawing cards with mana discounts, no less) thoughts?
@Herodreamer79 Cards that grant class specific effects in neutral should come at a cost. Playing a 5/5 for 5 that can brick much of the time you draw it is a cost, but maybe not big enough. We'll revisit balance next week and see. (Source)
@Herodreamer79 Similar answer for Roame. Neutral card draw is coveted, possible the cost of getting something you wouldn't normally get isn't high enough. We're reviewing data and we'll see next week. (Source)
@IksarHS When will we have some info about Mercenaries gameplay??
@SilentNickHS not today :) team is still hard at work, it's our main focus (Source)
@IksarHS i have a question :) Is there any chance that we get other game characters as part of special tavern brawls, or game mode temporary events, like duels? like, in duel a portal to dimension has been opened and some of the starcraft units and heroes joined as heroes or treassures?
@Joshosss we have some ideas for cross-blizzard IP heroes, no details to share yet. Have also explored non-Blizzard IP stuff, but we'd have to find the right place for it. BG Heroes probably a better place than an expansion set in a non-Warcraft setting. At least to start. (Source)
@IksarHS About the speed of any given meta, how does design try to influence this? If metas are too fast, the card pool shrinks dramatically. If metas are too slow, some people stop playing. How does design tackle this? What prompts them to intervene/strive for a change?
@WhiteVanVR1 Hard question to answer, there are so many factors in trying to influence a fun metagame. Important to understand our goal isn't to have an even split of aggro/combo/control/midrange at all times. It's ok if some metas are fast, some are slow, some are combo heavy. (Source)
@WhiteVanVR1 Same is true for class balance. Perfect class balance is often interpreted as equal representation of all classes at all times. It's ok if these things ebb and flow over time, metagames should feel different than one another. (Source)
@WhiteVanVR1 An entire meta being too fast or too slow usually still boils down to 1-3 powerful decks that warp all other decks played around them. We can usually address a game that feels too fast by changing just a few cards, same is true for any meta. (Source)
@IksarHS As a more specific version of this: how heavily is the power level of 0-2 mana cards scrutinized compared to 8-10 mana cards? Quests aside, we've seen a score of 0-1 mana powerhouse cards in the past year or so. Many wild decks are curving out at 3 now. 3!!!
@WhiteVanVR1 8-10 mana cards are so difficult to design these days because unless they win the game most of the time you play them, usually not good enough to include. This is especially true in non-healing/armor classes. (Source)
@WhiteVanVR1 Power of 0-2 cost cards is harder for a different reason, usually just because there are so few numbers to work with and any small change can destroy or immortalize a card. (Source)
@WhiteVanVR1 1-2 cost cards also just appear more often, they are more memorable and are the cards you think about when reflecting on what it feels like to play or play against a deck. For that reason, power and feeling tend to be more important to get right. (Source)
@IksarHS Hey! :D I was curious about the writing process for card effects. Are there particular ways you phrase certain effects, such as referring to players as "each player" rather than "you and your opponent;" the most recent example of this being Cornelius Roame. https://t.co/CIr2HhARpQ
@Angus5h We like to write card text in the same way you might explain something to a friend. If we can avoid text that feels like you are reading out of a games rules book we try to. Still important there is clarity around what the card does, but it's a balance. (Source)
@IksarHS Arcane Flakmage was added in the next expansion when you were wild and enjoyed secret mage. If you enjoyed handbuff paladin in the Wild, the next expansion added Alliance Bannerman. Does the deck you play in Wild give you any hints about the cards in the next expansion?
@otyka2828 I don't design or do card balance much at all anymore, so no. I'm playing Quest Druid now, though. So if you want to test your theory, there you go :). (Source)
@IksarHS pretty sure you cant say much about "any plan to get a monk class?" so i ask something else are there some plan to get some tribe themed expansions? (like each class get a legendary beast for example)
@Kamijokkujin The options are DK, Monk, or 'new hearthstone specific class'. I think Monk is probably second or third on that list. (Source)
@Kamijokkujin As for the second, yeah! We have lots of tribe ideas, you'll definitely see more in the future. (Source)
@IksarHS if you were the main character of an anime, what color hair would you have
@hypopyh whatever hair color itachi has (Source)
@IksarHS Out of curiosity, has the team ever experimented with potentially having a ‘hand testing’ mode of sorts? I think it’d be really neat to not only help learn combos, but also test and learn interactions between cards that might not necessarily be obvious.
@usetriangledive We have something called a client remote that is basically an app that runs alongside hearthstone that allows you to spawn whatever you want into the game. Have never considered releasing a public version, though. (Source)
@usetriangledive Always a question of bang for buck on implementation cost, but also some design questions around how to stop players from crashing themselves over and over through mis-use of the tool lol (Source)
@IksarHS I’m not sure about the most recent character skins, but I know in the past, post emote change, most skins had a hidden “Sorry” emote that could only be triggered through Mayor Noggenfogger. Liadrin, for example. Was this done intentionally as an easter egg?
@JDpwner18 We record tons of unused lines whenever we do a new hero for future flexibility. It's not on a schedule currently, but someday we'll allow for emote wheel customization and make use of all these extra lines :D. (Source)
@IksarHS I made this "Shitty Art" that depicts the GLORIOUS "The Demon Seed" (MS Paint). What do you think of my masterpiece? https://t.co/dFzN87axrr
@machadogps this looks like it belongs in a meme format of some kind, which is the highest rating of art i can give (Source)
@IksarHS Was the Ban of Stealer of Souls a known option before release, or did the team come up with it after they saw what was going on in Wild? Do you think more Bans will be necessary for Wild along the way, given how daring design is for Standard purposes?
@RavenSunHS To my knowledge, I think we came up with it afterward. I was actually quite surprised when the team proposed just outright banning the card, but it seemed like a reasonable solution after giving it thought. (Source)
@IksarHS In Bg why dont you show the heroes you missed the icon will be locked but it still shows what you missed. It might make people buy the pass if not.
@YNY_IllIlIIlIlI We considered it, I think it's a very minor negative experience with a very minor upside. The upside is minor because most players that care about the pass already buy it easily with gold. In the case of minor negative gameplay for minor positive revenue we skew for gameplay. (Source)
@IksarHS Have you considered increasing the starting health of all heroes to 35 or even 40. If I am not mistaken it's been a long time since any control was playable (at least in wild) and this could even help against some of the more OTK-like questlines.
@i_l0ve_turtles Control decks are unlikely to be a power player in wild, even less so over time. Aggressive synergistic decks rule and will continue to get faster and more synergistic over time, nature of a format with a huge, ever increasing card pool. (Source)
@IksarHS A few years back you were talking about how OTK decks shouldn't be as widely spread as they were and here we now have a meta that ends on turn 4-8 every single time and believe me, It's not about the board control. What has changed?
@imik_plays We're higher on from-hand-only gameplay than we'd like to be. Some of that will be addressed naturally over time, people are playing some pretty bad decks at a pretty high rate, which never lasts. Part of it will be addressed via balance patches. (Source)
@IksarHS Any plans to have a "weekly card" temporarily added to rotation, either a new card or a Wild one? The meta still feels too stale for too long after expansions. The early unlock of neutral legendaries and mini-sets helped a lot but it's still slow.
@TexPine I've been recently thinking about this a lot, just our release cadence in general. Minisets were a change, though having smaller card releases even more frequently could be really interesting. (Source)
@TexPine The complicated piece to figure out is that releasing patching is very expensive in terms of the people it takes to do it. We'd have to create better technical solutions that would allow us to patch more often in less taxing ways. (Source)
@IksarHS 1: Now that it's live, how do you feel about tradeable? What do you think about Auctioneer Jaxon particularly? 2: Some thoughts on the meta of last expansion and your changes to it (with balance changes and mini set injection)? Would you have done anything differently there?
@NiiiNaaRL I like tradeable gameplay a lot. There is some UX weirdness to having it perform different functions based on where you drop it. Also you can't just learn what the mechanic does by playing it. So some downsides, some upsides. Overall great. (Source)
@NiiiNaaRL As for the second, as someone who doesn't work directly on the sets anymore I'm unqualified to answer. If you ever have specific meta questions @GW_Alec is a great person to follow and hit up. (Source)
@IksarHS When can we expect diamond cards for old sets? For example naxx? Is this year the plan or not too big focus on that currently?
@FroggyHSxD We'll do them all at some point, that is the plan. Not too far from releasing a diamond card from some of the other standard sets, after that we'll dip into Wild. (Source)
@IksarHS What is the team working on to help players who haven't played in a while get more incentivized to pick it up again, I've missed the last few expansions and now feel unable to get back into the main game mode, collecting the new cards without spending money seems insurmountable.
@glodtheimpaler The problem is mostly information, I think there are more than enough resources available through play that allow for creation of at least one fun new deck. Getting that info isn't easy, though. (Source)
@glodtheimpaler I think social can eventually help us here, if we can use a group of friends or a group of people you can join to share information, decks, or cards, it will be a great way to get back into the swing of things. (Source)
@glodtheimpaler We're still in very early discussion on when or if to take on a big social project, but a tentpole goal would be to use existing players as the tools to help new or returning players and incentivize them through rewards to do so. (Source)
@IksarHS Any feelings towards the balance of wild in its current shape? I know you guys want the meta to settle but we've had Darkglare as the number 1 deck for over a year now and the deck got EVEN better with the last expansion it feels like.
@DanielTheBigBu1 It's a subjective topic, but we're likely to address Wild decks that are extreme win-rate outliers or have some strategy that has little to no room to counter. Because a deck is good for a long time is not a reason we'd address it, where as we might in Standard. (Source)
@IksarHS Best naruto fight?
@cyaaato so so so hard to answer naruto v pain is a classic sasuke v itachi for the feels cho'ji vs jirobo is special to me personally because it was the fight where I fell in love with the anime also anything with deidara, rock lee, or might guy (Source)
@IksarHS Can you talk a bit about animation design? Questline animations take really long and auctioneer+quest+stealer+fragments makes that kind of turn unplayable. Even in quest druid it's a bit annoying when roping to think cause the questline covers the minions so can't target them
@PascoaHS We could do a better job coordinating between card design and VFX in cases where we think there are decks that might trigger an effect 10+ times in a short window. Not having that knowledge share is something we understand and are trying to be better at. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there a timeline for cosmetics becoming purchasable with gold? i.e. when will Rag come back for gold? Will book of heroes, preorder, or tavern pass skins ever be available for gold? Will battlegrounds skins be purchasable individually/for gold?
@Cake50172587 I think all non-bg skins will become available for gold at some point, we just like to have a window where those that made the purchase are rewarded with some exclusivity. For BG, unsure of our plan. BG has such light monetization asking for $ investment feels warranted. (Source)
@IksarHS I'm still a bit confused about the N'Zoth "buff" to 9 mana… I read about why the Old Gods are 10 mana flavor wise and it is a lot of sense. Then that happened and it felt inconsistent. Was that considered atm?
@AlonsoArrietaC1 It's a small consideration. Feels nice for all Old Gods to have that 10-mana consistency, but if the cost is no playability then that cost is too high to pay. Would rather the characters show up in gameplay than stick to the 10 mana fantasy no matter what. (Source)
@IksarHS What are your thoughts on the state of the meta so far? Are you monitoring any cards? Control decks in particular seem like they can't find a footing so is that a concern for you guys? Thank for your insights and for doing these Q&As 🙂
@Tacticalian We always meet to discuss balance in the few days following expansion release. We meet again on Tuesday next week to finalize decisions. (Source)
@IksarHS Anime: Did you also grow up watching Naruto, Dragon Ball or Yu-Gi-Oh!? HS: What is your favorite archetype ever? Any plans to make a real HS board game?
@okydoky111 I didn't, I grew up thinking anime was just cartoons for young japanese kids (having never watched). My first anime was Attack on Titan and my initial reaction was like holy shit they put this on a little kid's network? (Source)
@okydoky111 I grew up in a small cowboy town, so anime wasn't really a thing to me or anyone I knew. After a realize anime was actually super broad in it's appeal, I started to devour everything I could find. (Source)
@okydoky111 Archetype, so many I've loved. Maybe Freeze Mage with Giants or Wild Buff Paladin. (Source)
@okydoky111 Board game, I'm afraid not, never been down that path. (Source)
@IksarHS Are there any plans to put a news section in the mobile client? I want to know what's going on without having to wade through endless tweets and 3rd party websites. Love the game overall, keep up the good work.
@gvistica42 Discussed this, but no plans currently. Supercell does an awesome job integrating news and video into their client and I'd love to do the same. We'd need the content first, but it's something we actually want to do. (Source)
@IksarHS Why when I play aggro and play only versus aggro and lose and I switch to a control deck and then I play against a counter pick? Like if I choose control warrior to beat aggro I reach control priest?
@Elocvent1 you are neverlucky, if you are looking for other players who experience a similar phenomenon just watch any @Kripparrian stream (Source)
@IksarHS When launching a new expansion do you make sure every class has at least one meta deck? It seems like day one I see many different classes, but metas rarely have seem to have equal class representation once the meta settles.
@yolkions We try to make sure each class has something they can do at a competitive level. Competitive to some people means T1, but I think for us it's probably something in the 47-48+% window. Enough that if you gain mastery of it you can push to at least 50% win rate. (Source)
@IksarHS Multiples deck early in united in stormwind have shown some uninterractive gameplay, what do you think about it ? Specially about mage, who seems to be the center of the meta. And obviously, do you intend to adress it ?
@Kaillens Because those strategies exist isn't an issue, many different strategies should exist. Part of the population issue should subside over time because decks that aren't powerful rarely stay populous. I do agree that the density of from-hand-only stuff is too high right now, though. (Source)
@Kaillens Team is looking to finalize balance decisions on Tuesday and patch afterward. Can say for certain we're looking to change at least 1 card. (Source)
@IksarHS How many of the broken decks from new expansions that get early nerfs did the team expect to be tier 1, but were just a bit to strong, and how many of them caught you by surprise and you hadn't seen or didn't think would be strong?
@MackeyD3_ Any deck that is broken is a surprise, we don't intentionally ship broken decks. Broken is just a word players tend to use for decks that seem good. Broken to us is something in the 25+ population 54-55%+ win rate range. Launch DH, Galakrond Shaman come to mind. Not much else. (Source)
@IksarHS do you like Attack on Titan or Demonslayer?? if so have you ever put any anime references into Hearth that we haven’t noticed…?
@coolbeansjorge I like them both, Demon Slayer moreso. They both do the screaming boy character bit I can't stand, but the universe of Demon Slayer is just really appealing to me. The Demons are <3 (Source)
@coolbeansjorge And no, I haven't. I'll put some anime style skins in this game if it's the last thing I do, though. (Source)
@IksarHS Did you start whatcing HxX??
@SilentNickHS what is HxX (Source)
@IksarHS What is the hardest decision you've ever had to make regarding design philosophy vs cool mechanics?
@100bladeegecs I think class-pie conversations are always the hardest. What should classes do vs what shouldn't they do. It's hard because what you get from restriction is hard to feel, by not allowing hunter to heal or taunt they have a clearer identify, but is that worth the cost? (Source)
@100bladeegecs Same is true for the conversation of any class. If everyone gets everything, the thought is that no class will stand out as having a special thing. But what if you have an awesome idea for a control hunter deck or rogue healing deck? (Source)
@100bladeegecs It's hard to give up something you can see (rogue healing deck) for something that is less tangible (class diversity and uniqueness). (Source)
@IksarHS What's your favourite card effect or design that just didn't make it through? If you can answer with one overall, throughout all the years of Hearthstone, and one for United in Stormwind.
@friky_00 For Stormwind, the Rokara pirate ship originally blew up your hand and turned it into a literal pirate ship that fired cannons and had buttons on it to press instead of drawing cards and playing them. UI cost was too high. (Source)
@friky_00 For all-time, we've had some weird card concepts. A card that caused you to gain and lose double stars if it started in your deck. A card that increased all numbers on other cards this game by 1. I liked both of those a lot. (Source)
@IksarHS @ahirunHS Has there been any consideration to make hero portraits for classes to be randomized each match, like we already have with card backs?
@TwistedMRivera @ahirunHS Yeah, it's a backlogged task that is unfortunately not as easy as it sounds. Would love to do it, though. (Source)
@IksarHS When designing cards for the miniset what is the teams priority? Are you aiming to strengthen archetypes you feel need it or is it just something that was designed for flavour before any consideration for power level? Or maybe something else?
@MagikMilk25 Both, but it can be difficult. When designing the miniset we don't know what will be meta when it releases. So prior to release we'll rebalance based on current meta environment but we can't fully redesign because it's much too late for new art/fx etc. (Source)
@IksarHS Is power creep real? Is it inevitable? Desirable? What do you think about a mass nerf (or even an annual mass nerf) to tone it down?
@pond_hollow Power creep is a decision, we can do anything we want in terms of balance. We could release an expansion that has cards no one plays because they aren't powerful enough (remember Rastakhan's….). (Source)
@pond_hollow Power creep isn't intentional, but if our goal is to match current power level than in some ways yes, it's inevitable. (Source)
@pond_hollow If your goal is to match, then there will be some cards and strategies that miss on low side, and some that miss on high side. For the ones that miss on high side, that becomes the new power point to match. This goes on and on. (Source)
@pond_hollow We've discussed a mass nerf, I don't think it's unreasonable. We could do it at a standard rotation set, lower the power of the core set, release a lower power set, and do a bunch of nerfs to the three sets from the previous year. (Source)
@pond_hollow Not a crazy idea, as next year approaches I think we'll consider it very closely. (Source)
@IksarHS @IksarHS what do u think about mtga’s extra queues (like the recently announced historic brawl)? Do u see space for different format ladders in HS? (Not necessarily 100card commander, just different formats).
@GamingPatzer Hearthstone will be around for a long, long time. In that time I definitely see more constructed formats, just no current plans on a one immediately on the horizon. Something between Wild and Standard might be nice, or something with different rules altogether like you mention. (Source)
@IksarHS Hi! So glad to be finally able to make it in time to one of your AMAs! My question is: the game has moved mostly away from charge as a mechanic on low to medium cost minions. 1/2
@IksarHS The same hasn't happened for weapons, which to me represent the same problem, if not sometimes more aggravating. How so? Thanks a lot for doing these AMAs and congrats on 10 years. 2/2
@fancybhudda Thank you! Charge is usually only a problem in combination with other things. It's not usually the arcane golem that is the problem, it's the power overwhelmings or the inner-rage windfurying or some other combo on top of the charge effect. (Source)
@fancybhudda Weapons have less interaction with them than minions do, so generally the damage is controlled outside of some very specific combos in Shaman or in Kingsbane decks. (Source)
@IksarHS I just would like to say, I'm enjoying this meta a lot, it feels actually fresh for the first time in quite a while, at least for me. That said, have you ever watched Katanagatari?
@kurgan_ no i have not, what is it about (Source)
@IksarHS How do you feel about the current dusting/ crafting ratio? Now that there are much more cards and expansions in the game since launch has there been any discussion among devs for a change?
@itsmeliamo I don't believe in that solution, personally. If the problem is access to cards, I'd rather solve that through easier access to cards. Motivating people to destroy their stuff is less cool, at least to me. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there any possibility about getting alternate art for certain cards? For example, a card returning in Core could have different card art, but if you own the original copy you can still use that one's art.
@DatMageDoe We have to be wary of understandability of the cards, but the answer is yes we'd like to do it. In a collection based game it's fun to have alternate or special versions of your favorite stuff. (Source)
@DatMageDoe I don't think that will ever mean 5 different versions of art for every card, but somewhere in between that and the 0 we have now. Also some customization of frames or text boxes that could work without needing the art to swap. (Source)
@IksarHS Since Priest got reworked earlier, I'm wondering if there's any other classes you're looking at possibly reworking?
@vannsprutarn Core set is our solution to this. Every year we can change or add cards to the core set now as opposed to being stuck with the same cards year over year. (Source)
@IksarHS Has there ever been a thought to change wild mode up monthly? So each month it alternates between true wild and a "select wild" in which certain sets, archetypes or cards are banned? For example: Jan: Wild Feb: Wild minus Hero Cards Mar: Wild Apr: Wild minus FT and GT sets Ect..
@yycjustin If anything, we'd just make a new format. Ideally a format that doesn't break a player's deck when the rules change. Hard enough to find a deck to build/craft without the game rules telling you that the deck is no longer valid. (Source)
@yycjustin This is already a huge pain point of standard (but a necessary one). If we made a new format, I'd want to find ways to keep it energized without invalidating decks. (Source)
@IksarHS What is the most innovative deck made by the community and that you guys did not anticipate? Answer must be a great deck! ;)
@tienneBlais5 We didn't really play the stonetusk boar copying OTK priest deck until it launched to live. Was very powerful in the hands of specifically @dogdog but fortunately was awful for mere mortals. (Source)
@IksarHS Is your nickname in anyway related to shadow lord iskar from WoW (one of my favorite bosses) ? did WoW team named him after you or its totally a coincidence ?
@balanira_ My friend Don made shadow lord iskar and told me that it was, in fact, a reference to my handle. They didn't want to copy the name outright because Iksar actually comes from Everquest (where I got the name from). (Source)
@IksarHS Dear Dean, My daughter (10) started playing Hearthstone this year. She loves it, but asked me if there could be more female hero portraits easily available. For new accounts 8/10 start as male, and for most of those there is no easy to attain female version.
@Mandatar5 Changing many hero portraits to be purchasable with gold should help this quite a bit. We don't have any plans to change the core 10 heroes, but when we create hero skins now we have a big focus on choosing a diverse set of heroes. (Source)
@Mandatar5 We sometimes have promotions for free or very easily accessible hero skins. Your daughter makes a good point and when we do this I think it's a great idea to push for those skins to be non-male, non Rogue/Mage to increase accessibility. (Source)
@IksarHS Any tips to getting an AMA questions answered? 😅 (side concern: am I muted?) 😬
@ben_heathstone I usually just answer them in order, at least I try to. I didn't see you asked one! There are usually 200+ questions and I can get to 20-40 in an hour max, math doesn't work out so well for an individual's odds. If you comment that I keep missing your question I usually get to it (Source)
@IksarHS What are we supposed to do now when Oddtaxi is over, and also, what do you think happened in that last scene?
@Hyyyyl UGH odd taxi was so good, I just sat there thinking about how special it was at the end. I am not a big fan of open to interpretation endings so I hope there is a wild season 2 ! (Source)
@IksarHS Congratulations on ten years! What are some of the biggest design challenges for Hearthstone as the game evolves and how are you prepared to meet them?
@laxmere We're an old game. It's hard to get new people excited about a game that hasn't been new for a long time. Live-service games all have this problem, and there isn't a long history of great answers. The challenge is making features that make an old game feel new… (Source)
@laxmere or at least appealing to someone that may not have ever tried before. Battlegrounds is one way to do that, but figuring out system level ways is a big challenge. Battlegrounds is content focused and requires a content treadmill post-release. (Source)
@laxmere The more stuff we make with a content treadmill afterwards, the harder it is to focus on the next new thing. Making content light features that are exciting long-term is a challenge in itself. (Source)
@laxmere The answer is probably finding new ways to leverage the content we're already creating (expansions, bg updates, mercs, etc). Just not an easy to task to create something fresh and brand new feeling utilizing content originally crafted for a different experience. (Source)
@IksarHS Since I havent seen anyone ask this yet, how is first time fatherhood treating you???? Do you still remember what sleep is?
@bananafreak2u there is less sleep, but honestly @ItsMeMollyO is an amazing mom and my task is mostly to be the head chef and head housekeeper :) being a dad is amazing :) (Source)
@IksarHS You've said before you want control to be a viable strategy but with the introduction of infinite non fatigue damage in both Ignite for Mage, the Warlock questline, or all the turn 6/7 OTKs, the Priest questline etc, how are control strategies realistically supposed to work?
@ZeddyHS I think the style of deck that is less fun than any other style is a deck that slowly grinds away all your resources as a win condition with no way of actually dealing damage to you. Control decks should have ways to close games outside of relying on decks to empty. (Source)
@ZeddyHS So in terms of having decks like mage and warlock that are unphased by deck depletion, I don't see that as a blocker for control decks existing. (Source)
@ZeddyHS The thing that blocks control decks in an unappealing way are combo decks that complete their combo so early and consistently that a control deck is unlikely to ever close out a game with threats before the combo deck closes out their own strategy. (Source)
@ZeddyHS We're probably in that space now, mostly as a population thing. There are a wide variety of combo decks that can close early right now. Part of it is player's playing bad decks at a high rate because combo decks are fun to play. Part of it is balance. (Source)
@ZeddyHS Both should resolve themselves. Player's never play poor decks at a high rate for extended periods (except big priest…lol). And we're meeting to discuss any balance tuning on Tuesday. (Source)