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.
- Dean will not be answering Mercenaries questions until post-launch.
- There are no planned large overhauls of Hearthstone's UI.
- Improvements to the Shop, Battlegrounds Menu, and Collection are being planned.
- The Battlegrounds Menu will receive some sort of Mailbox, like Mercenaries has.
- The Mercenaries Mailbox is direct access to the latest in-game announcements for Mercenaries.
- Blizzard has not yet commented on specifics yet. Patch notes?
- The team has been working on balance changes, there will be a bunch of them.
- The team is working on a timeline to push the balance changes live.
- They want to add Naxxramas, they are unsure of when to do it.
- They've considered adding a new type of cosmetic for card frames. Players want it.
- "Imagine if we released the Boomsday Project and made a special holographic mechanical frame for all the legendaries you had a low % chance to open."
- Their data lags behind by a day or so, so they wanted to wait and get a better feeling about what they were dealing with.
- A fix would have gone out instantly if it was a high win-rate and high consistency deck that they felt would overtake the entire meta.
- The deck being as bad as it was though let them take a bit more time putting a fix together.
- Luckily, the team was able to get it out a bit faster than expected.
- There are very few things that they would consider actioning (bans, suspensions) players over in terms of bugs.
- There are still plans to make changes to Duels.
- On top of small balance changes coming in a patch soon, we can expect a much larger update during the Stormwind expansion cycle.
- Dean is excited for players to get their hands on the larger update.
- No plans for a rotation right now. They are however exploring slowly creating a Duels meta using the entire Hearthstone collection.
- With some treasures and heroes built around sets, it makes a rotation harder to do.
Single Player Content
- They will continue to create more single player content after Book of Mercenaries finishes. No announcements to make yet though. (Source)
- They are still figuring out what the best way to support Hearthstone with a narrative for the future.
- No longer directly works on card design or balance anymore.
- Dean likes the Druid Questline a lot. He enjoys the fantasy of Bear Form with Attack & Armor.
- Work from home has "killed a lot of my desire to play PC games because I'm at that desk all day already".
Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #29
Hearthstone AMA #29 5:00PM - 6:00PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) Some minor details for Mercs questions below 👇 https://t.co/tk6SWBBgpY (Source)
Due to having minimal involvement in the development of mercenaries myself, I won't be able to help answer questions on behalf of that team until post-launch. Once we release, I'll make sure to get educated enough to share information in these AMAs when appropriate. (Source)
@IksarHS MTG Arena has included Historic as a competitive eternal format, ranked system, qualifiers, official events, and even specific new products for it. Is there a world where that happens to Wild? Or will it continue to be just a casual environment.
@AlonsoArrietaC1 If you are looking for answers regarding eSports events and systems, give @Abar_HS a follow. I don't interact with out-of-game systems enough to be able to give you any of these answers, unfortunately. (Source)
@IksarHS Will we be getting “new” Diamond cards for older sets any time soon? Are there any chards in particular you think would be cool Diamond ones?
@NateWolfeTCG We'll get there, just taking some time. Mercenaries has been a heavy lift for the team so most features beyond current content upkeep have been on hold while we gear up for release. (Source)
@IksarHS @NateWolfeTCG I wish you guys wouldn't have allocated all the resources to cloning Raid: Shadow Legends, a game no one likes nor asked for. If those resources were instead allocated towards making the client better, we'd be in a better spot. I hope Mercs dies quickly. Gacha games are immoral
@RickSco37109277 @NateWolfeTCG You seem to know a lot more about mercenaries than I do…. (Source)
@IksarHS Did you watch the PlayStation showcase and if so, which upcoming games are you looking forward to playing?
@NateWolfeTCG I did! Probably the KOTOR remake. It might have been the first RPG I ever loved. It was so long ago I don't even remember most of it so looking forward to experiencing it again. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there any plan to redesign the whole UI of the game in the near future? How likely is it to happen?
@KatakSumur No plans to redesign the whole UI. We have improvements to things like shop, bg menu, and collection. Nothing that I'd consider a major overhaul. (Source)
@IksarHS Would you ever add a new card rarity? For example "Mythical" rarity with a green emblem, not sure how these cards would be different and what their crafting cost would be, but I had this idea that you could open them in packs (legendary odds) or craft them with achievement points
@imik_plays Yeah, been considering it. Not for new cards, but just a new cosmetic rarity. Imagine if we released the Boomsday Project and made a special holographic mechanical frame for all the legendaries you had a low % chance to open. (Source)
@IksarHS @imik_plays Hmm diamond wasn’t enough? Seems strange to do this.
@CrunchTime4L @imik_plays There is proven to be an appetite for more cosmetic variety. Anytime we can move more monetization to optional cosmetics and away from core gameplay it's a win for everyone. (Source)
@IksarHS The Tamsin book of Mercs was really good. Can we expect more narrative solo adventures after the book of Mercenaries is completed? I love the storytelling
@BroccoliReef @themattlondon (Source)
@IksarHS What was your favourite Stormwind card prior to release, and is it still your favourite now?
@blisterguy I hesitate to answer these questions because there tends to be a narrative around 'designer favors x card so it'll never get nerfed and anyone who doesn't like this is screwed!'. (Source)
@blisterguy I like the Druid quest a lot, though. I tend to like the Bear form fantasy of Druid so the attacking/armor based archetypes are always fun to me. Still my favorite now. (Source)
@blisterguy And FWIW, I don't work directly on card design or card balance anymore. (Source)
@IksarHS All good, I wasn’t fishing, but I can see how someone could take your answer out of context!
@blisterguy oh I know, you are one of the good ones :) (Source)
@IksarHS What does the plan for future Duels seasons look like? The original idea was to rotate the sets and rotate the theme but the Scholomance theme has been here to stay and it seems to be only getting new sets - did the plans to "reset" it like this change?
@howiieb I was just talking to the lead on our live content team (mercs, tb, duels, etc) about future update plans for duels. Still have plans to make changes, nothing to reveal myself. If you have duels questions @Tabayrak is a great guy to ask. (Source)
@IksarHS @howiieb A little while ago we announced that another small balance change will be happening in an upcoming patch. On top of that there will be a much larger update later in this expansion cycle. I am so excited for people to get their hands on it. https://t.co/yz9Tz0GGxj (Source)
@Tabayrak I'm particularly interested to see if a full rotation is on the cards? The set is starting to get really, really large and while this has changed the game in interesting ways I'd like to see a pared down start again at one point
@howiieb I think rotating sets is really interesting and exciting, but currently we are exploring the prospect of slowly creating a meta built around the entire collection of Hearthstone. One day we might try a rotation of sorts but currently it is a bit messy. 1/2 (Source)
@howiieb Where it gets awkward is what does rotation imply for our heroes and signature treasures. Some of the treasures are built around core mechanics of sets and that holds within it complexities. 2/2 (Source)
@Tabayrak Nice to hear the direction. I have some concerns about building a "wild 2.0" but you are the designers and you do have the vision. Must ask one more if I can though - is it always going to be Scholomance or can we get the Dragon Duels we deserve?
@howiieb Nothing to say here about that… yet. (Source)
@IksarHS How’s your little one going? Have you taught them to press space bar to open packs yet?
@smileykrisHS lol, he's great. Happy, healthy baby. Feel very lucky. (Source)
@IksarHS 1/2 It would be cool if there was a format where you could play a deck from a time of standard against other decks from other times of standard. So cubelock could go up against dr boom control warrior or ashes aggro dh. It also feels like that is what was envisioned for wild.
@IksarHS 2/2 do you ever envision a format like that ?
@JaredPullet I am quoted a lot saying something along the lines of 'wild is a place you can play your old decks'. The spirit of that quote is that we try not to redesign or rebalance cards in a way that delete a playstyle from existence. (Source)
@JaredPullet It's not meant to say that you can play all your old decks from the past at a very high win rate. The power of wild will only get higher. Decks faster, more synergistic. Nature of a format with an ever-increasing pool of cards. (Source)
@JaredPullet That said, have been thinking about the idea of what another format could look like. I think the audience for a format where you have to own a bunch of very old cards to enjoy it would be fairly niche, but the upkeep of such a format is fairly low on our end. (Source)
@JaredPullet Always looking for ways to make the game better without signing ourselves up for a content treadmill that keeps us from innovating new things. Maybe this idea is that, I'd still want to try and come up with something more friendly to players that haven't been around for long. (Source)
@IksarHS can you divulge any info on any bgs changes/nerfs coming soonTM, as much as i love the gamemode beasts are just out of control and way too oppressive, specifically macaw+leapfrogger+baron any game with beasts the game turbos into "which player can get the broken combo first"
@Unownknight7 Only that there will be a bunch of changes, @GW_Alec and team rallied around quite a few BG/Constructed changes now we're just working on a timeline to push them live. (Source)
@IksarHS Thoughts on "To your eternity"?
@ArreadorOficial 6-7 episodes in, looking forward to the rest just been busy. (Source)
@IksarHS When it comes to Quest Mage and Warlock this expansion, I find myself feeling bad about playing any minions against them, as they seem to need my board to further their plan a lot of the time What are your thoughts on design that turns one player's assets into liabilities?
@J_Alexander_HS I felt this a lot in the mage quest mirror early in the expansion but not much outside of that. Most decks just can't win if they don't play minions so the thought of holding back isn't really an option. (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS In the mirror, though, I suppose I never felt awful not wanting to play my minion I generated. If anything it felt like a smart play to hold back. (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS I don't think this is a big pain in the case of the mage and warlock quest, but it has been in the past. Spreading Plague is a good example of a card that punishes you for doing normal Hearthstone things. (Source)
@J_Alexander_HS I'd look back on that design as something we definitely shouldn't have made as powerful as we did. Mostly for the reason you stated above. You get punished just for playing in an extreme way. (Source)
@IksarHS My colleague is an amazing graphic magician & I'm sure he would like to work at Blizzard one day. What do you think about his idea of 3D card frames?https://t.co/kY4nWSzWHP
@imik_plays I think they are awesome. He should apply someday if he hasn't already. (Source)
@IksarHS I've been enjoying Classic a lot lately. Are there any plans to advance the card pool at some point by adding Naxx for example? I know it's no longer Classic at that point, and I actually don't know if I really want that. Thoughts?
@claus_maack We were just arguing internally about what constitutes the 'end' of classic Hearthstone. We want to add Naxx, though, just a question of when. (Source)
@IksarHS How has the pandemic changed the design process? What are some of the advantages?
@coolboypai Advantage is that it's a new skill for our toolbelt. In the distant future when we are mostly back in an office, the idea of someone working from home will be a normal thing and not something we raise our eyebrows at. (Source)
@coolboypai It also opens the door to new talent that may not have wanted to move to southern california. (Source)
@coolboypai Disadvantages is that you miss all the casual conversations. Difficult to develop relationships with disciplines outside your own, especially on big teams. Communication comes through meetings and you can't just walk over to someone's desk. More time consuming. (Source)
@coolboypai Also harder to separate work and home. Your office is always one-step away. Also for me personally, it's killed a lot of my desire to play PC games because I'm at that desk all day already and want to get away from it. (Source)
@IksarHS Will the balance team address the role of warlock, and to a lesser extent mage, in wild? Every expansion we seem to get a new uninteractive warlock OTK that makes the game unenjoyable until a balance patch happens Its class identity in wild seems to be "better than the others"
@Oakijak_HS At any point in a card game, there will be some classes more powerful than others. In Standard, this shifts more often because the card pool is smaller and sets have a bigger impact. It also happens because of set rotation. (Source)
@Oakijak_HS In Wild, individual expansions have a smaller impact because the card pool is bigger and the cards in the format never rotate out. (Source)
@Oakijak_HS This is the long way of saying I don't think it's that all Mage and Warlock cards are busted, power just shifts very slowly in Wild due to the nature of the format. (Source)
@IksarHS If you could go back in time and change one thing about Hearthstone, what would you change? And more importantly, do you like Jojo's Bizarre Adventure? 👀
@SuperiorDavidHS I watched Jojo to the point where he killed the dog then I literally never watched it again. (Source)
@SuperiorDavidHS And going back in time? Probably more social elements or more avenues for self-expression. It's hard to feel like you are part of a group in Hearthstone and social features always end up getting punted so we can develop more content or game modes. (Source)
@IksarHS I was thinking more along the lines of a big sweeping change to the game that the playerbase would riot over now, hence the time travel. But those would be some nice changes though!
@SuperiorDavidHS Oh, I'd like to have figured out an economy design that didn't include dust or disenchanting. The idea of destroying your cards for any % value under 100 is not a fun experience. I'd rather you just not be able to destroy your stuff a find a different way to get individual cards. (Source)
@IksarHS Does the practice Innkeeper AI have an overall positive win rate all time? I know I've conceded to him a lot testing things.
@MarkMcKz You have contributed to a higher win rate for the entire Hearthstone population, we appreciate it. (Source)
@IksarHS Would you ever consider for example buffing 1-3 cards each week/month to shake up the meta?
@imik_plays Buffs don't do a very good job of shaking up the meta, nerfs are much better for that. (Source)
@imik_plays If you think about what cards we nerf and why, we're usually taking archetypes that are between 10%-25% play rate and tuning them down. Defining success for these changes is pretty broad. We might take a 25% deck down to 9% and call that a success. (Source)
@imik_plays That means that pocket of 16% is filled with different decks, which is a pretty big shake-up. (Source)
@imik_plays The window of success for a buff is much smaller. We might look at a deck that is 2% play rate and success means it lands somewhere between 6-8%. If it's much higher, it probably means we buffed a card so much that now that deck is dependent on drawing it. (Source)
@imik_plays Much lower and we didn't actually make much of an impact. Doesn't mean we shouldn't do buffs, but just that they are less effective as a balancing tool. (Source)
@IksarHS I’m still curious as to why control isn’t favored, I understand control v control is slow but control v aggro goes really fast in my experience, potentially faster than aggro v aggro, I could be wrong but it seems like it gets mostly fast games while also allowing for grindy ones
@Robins_compass I know there is a narrative out there that Hearthstone designers hate control decks, but all I can say is that that's not true. I expect many competitive control decks will exist in the future, just as they have in the past. (Source)
@IksarHS where is teh best place as a user to report bugs and see a list of known issues?
@TeamAmericaHS @IksarHS Look if this is about Quel'delar I am sorry. (Source)
@Tabayrak @IksarHS I mean that, and alot of small things, like flightmaster dungar not summoning adventurers, royal great sword wont recruit Primes from the deck, the shaman starting treasure doesnt benefit from spell damage when the bolt shoots. avenging armanant buffing cards shuffled into deck
@Tabayrak @IksarHS I could provide steps to reproduce and screen shots for these bugs and more when they happen, but i dont see a great way/place to send them
@TeamAmericaHS @IksarHS @fusrohdaniel is my QA Oracle so drop him a line with bugs and he will get em. :) (Source)
@IksarHS Kargal's Battlecry says it summons a 5/5 for every watchpost you've summoned, however summoning through Rally! Doesn't count. Bug? Seems to only work with played Watchposts. Also any chance of a buff to Auctioneer Jaxon? Thanks for always interacting with us!
@Tacticalian Team just tested and seems to not be an issue in our latest build so I suspect it's fixed soon. (Source)
@IksarHS A lot of people were mad about you supposedly playing the cthun hunter deck in wild ladder, what do you think of the whole thing and the relationship between games and their bugs and exploits
@yggdreigon_hs Story is basically this: We found out about the bug and had a few options. Fix right this second (large dev cost), fix at the next hotfix timing (medium dev cost), or put the fix into the next client patch (low dev cost). (Source)
@yggdreigon_hs Our data lags behind a day or so, so wanted to get a feeling for what we were dealing with. If we were to fix right this second, it would have had to be a high-win-rate and high consistency deck we felt would overtake the meta in a very short period. (Source)
@yggdreigon_hs It's a pretty bad bug, but the resulting deck was bad enough we didn't feel it warranting rushing out a fix at the cost of other fixes. We ended up being okay with waiting another week for the fix, but luckily the team made it happen faster. (Source)
@IksarHS That's exactly what I thought had Happened Glad that you guys fixed although it was funny while it lasted, in a way I'm glad nobody got banned for it in the meantime
@yggdreigon_hs There are very few things we'd even consider actioning players for in terms of bugs we let slip through. If this was an issue that resulted in an 80% win rate deck we'd have just prioritized it and gotten the fix out right away. (Source)
@yggdreigon_hs Ultimately I think it's more likely people will look back on this Maxima/C'Thun thing as a funny bug that happened for a little while rather than something that had some extreme negative impact on their play experience. (Source)
@yggdreigon_hs Alec linked me the reddit thread that I hadn't seen, which made me laugh. I hadn't been to reddit in a week or so and was greeted with this inbox, which was a reminder of why I spend less time there 🙃 https://t.co/doTIEInF58 (Source)
@IksarHS Same question as last time 👏🏼 Mailboxes 👏🏼 in 👏🏼 all 👏🏼 modes 👏🏼 when 👏🏼
@Slysssa Currently still brainstorming for a BG hub screen revamp so mailbox on the list! (Source)