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 is not commenting on any of the leaked content.


  • Quests are successful in Hearthstone from a design point of view which is why they keep doing them.
  • Quests are good because they give players a goal to reach and provide deck build arounds that can be very different than what was previously meta.
  • Un'Goro was about quests that when completed would win you the game.
  • Uldum quests aimed to let you complete them more often with less powerful rewards. Dean thinks this is more successful than Un'Goro.
  • Stormwind quests had a goal to be like Uldum quests but also to give you power throughout a game.
  • Getting power throughout a game can be satisfying, even if you don't win.
  • A big downside to quests is they need to be deck build arounds and if they don't win the game for you, there isn't much of a point in making it.


  • There is some protection in place for newer players in matchmaking, but for the most part, its purely based on your deck's run record.


  • There are still bigger plans for Battlegrounds cosmetics.
  • They'd like to give out some cosmetics for free, have them unlocked through perks, or possibly even crafted through an earned currency.
  • "[We're] still in the infancy of BG cosmetics."

Battle Ready Decks

  • The Battle Ready Decks that you could purchase in the shop are going to make a return.

New Set Rotation Mode

  • Enough players have been requesting an additional rotation of sets in its own mode that Dean thinks its worth real consideration.
  • Implementation of another rotating mode is not difficult so even with moderate interest it might be worth doing.
  • Downside is that it requires players to own lots of cards to participate.
  • Dean's personal opinion was that the idea wouldn't stick. Team is coming around to the idea, but there are no updates to share.

Legend Card Back

  • They have a new legend card back created that Dean would like to reserve for players that achieve rank 1 at any moment.
  • Tech to distribute a card back based on your rank doesn't exist though and would have to be built.

Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #30

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #30 5:30PM - 6:30PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/kkTUEgbnQ9 (Source)

@IksarHS my only anime i've ever watched was a sportsball anime, do you have any recommendations

@Restodroodopz My recommendation to first time anime people is always Death Note and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. If you don't like either of them you probably just won't like anime. The all-time greats. (Source)

@IksarHS Wow I’m early, hows iksar world?

@ZoggHS Good! Have a 3-month old baby so I'm pretty tired all the time but could be worse. We have a nice place to live, everyone is healthy, and I get to make games for a living. Can't complain. (Source)

@IksarHS Just a “simple” one. What has been your favorite OTK and why is it Mecha’thun?

@washinthewind Either the weird shadowboxer OTK in wild that we fixed or the molten giant charge otk from way back in the day. (Source)

@IksarHS Can we have less do "x" play a 1 Mana 6/6 cards in future?

@Changetipbitme Weird question to answer. We are always going to make cards that require you to jump through some special hoop and reward you if you jump through the hoop with something more powerful than normal. If we didn't, every deck would be full of generically powerful cards. (Source)

@Changetipbitme If the question is, can you please try to release cards that you think are balanced, then yes we will try 😭 (Source)

@IksarHS Valeera didn’t get a new skin in the latest list. Could she get a cool Halloween skin with a fall/orange theme where she has a dagger held resting on her shoulder and her other hand is holding her own severed head? That’d be pretty slick

@J_Alexander_HS If we did a Valeera halloween costume it would probably be in a more appropriate costume. Like a pirate outfit! (Source)

@IksarHS @J_Alexander_HS She already has a portrait as a pirate

@Elocvent1 @IksarHS https://t.co/cmU28APH3x

@J_Alexander_HS @Elocvent1 Honestly, though. Rogue players tend to be pretty edgy so we should probably offer more edgy skins. I, too, am edgy boy. https://t.co/K3W6Zbkrsi (Source)

@IksarHS ever thought of making a legendary so crazy, as in “Bring you and Your opponent into a Battlegrounds Match, Whoever lasts longer, Wins!!”, I’d imagine Bartender Bob being the legendary, but just crazy legendaries with crazy twists, Like Silas, or Dungar, I love those cards.

@coolbeansjorge We had a card at one point that was like, restart the game into another game, if you win, do X thing. A little too crazy for constructed Hearthstone I think. Always looking for the next card that is going to do something you didn't think Hearthstone could do, though. (Source)

@IksarHS So far we've had four versions of quests: The originals in Un'goro, the hero power quests in Uldum, sidequests in Dragon's Descent and Questlines in Stormwind. What design philosophy did you take from one to the next in how you tackled satisfying quests?

@ThatBuddySola There is a really, really, long answer here but I can try to summarize. For one, quests are successful from our design team's POV, this is why we keep doing them. This doesn't mean they come without downsides. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola Quests help with two primary things. A: They give players a powerful goal to look forward to and do a good job of explaining how to get it. B: They are usually very buildaround and create deck styles that are much different from the previous expansions, making the meta feel new. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola In Un'goro we tried making the rewards so powerful that if you completed the quest you generally won that game. There are some downsides to that because if you complete your opponent knows their death is imminent and if you don't you didn't get to feel any fun moments. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola In Uldum we tried making the quests easier to complete so it felt like you got to do a powerful thing more often, but make the rewards not so powerful that you won on the spot. I think this was more successful. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola We also had a sub-goal of your deck still had to do something to win the game after you completed the quest. The Druid quest for example was very powerful, it didn't win the game on it's own. You still needed lots of choose one cards. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola This is different than cards like Deathstalker Rexxar that can just win games on their own without any interaction from the rest of your deck. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola In stormwind we generally followed the path we made for ourselves in uldum, but with more moments of power along the way. In theory, the quest player could still have a satisfying game this way even if they didn't complete their quest completely. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola The big downside of quests as a whole is that we ask you to build your deck a very specific way to get this big piece of power. The reward has to feel epic to motivate you to build a sub-optimal deck. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola That reward has to be powerful enough to win the game in most cases, otherwise why build an entirely new deck in order to get it? (Source)

@ThatBuddySola If the reward is that powerful, then it can sometimes feel helpless for the player watching it happen. Decks that depend on stripping their opponent of resources are less likely to win in formats with quests because quests aren't designed to be easily outvalued. (Source)

@ThatBuddySola So, all in all, I think quest formats have value. They are polarizing for sure, but not every meta is supposed to be the same. We'll be sitting in the same timeline next expansion talking about another style of deck and how some people love it and others hate it. (Source)

@IksarHS Hi Dean, have you seen mushishi and if so how did you like it? It is my favorite anime ☺️

@ggahSoO I haven't, what is it about? (Source)

@IksarHS What should Bea be for Halloween this year? (Source)

@Songbird_HS @IksarHS Target has butterfly costumes that would fit her. Source: I just bought one for Mams. (Source)

@Songbird_HS she reminds me of the little doofus among us characters that run around all fast running into shit https://t.co/V1wOZNsoFa (Source)

@IksarHS Yeah that checks out (Source)

@IksarHS For a time, there was a really neat UI feature that displayed XP gained at the bottom of the screen in green text after each match. Why was it removed, and how much cool anime swag must I send you in order to have it back?

@WardrumHS I would have to check, but I think this is just a bug. (Source)

@IksarHS Would be awesome to have it back for certain.

@WardrumHS @IksarHS It caused a bug with blocking clicks in the middle of your screen during your next game. We disabled it temporarily until we can fix it in the next(?) patch. (Source)

@IksarHS at this point in your career, would you consider yourself a designer who manages or a manager who designs? if you were to move to another project, team, or company, would you have your eyes on design roles or management ones? how much of lead design is secretly management anyway?

@RidiculousHat Subjective, but I think designer who manages. If you are ultimately responsible for design decisions you should be a designer. If I were to go to another team (scoff), I'd probably be looking for a director level role. In my opinion that role is still designer-first. (Source)

@IksarHS Are there any factors beyond Rank/MMR that are taken into account for matchmaking? E.g. Player Proximity, whether they're using a tracker, device they're using? Thanks as always Dean!

@Tacticalian Not for ranked, that's it. For arena we have some very light protection for new players but it's mostly all current-run record based. (Source)

@IksarHS Are there plans to bring back the Battle Ready decks? They seemed like a good way to help new players get into the game

@SuperiorDavidHS yes! (Source)

@IksarHS Has parenting changed your view on how game design works at all? And do you think your experience in game design is helping you as a dad?

@blisterguy I think it's been helpful in setting healthy boundaries with work. Before having a kid it's easy to just keep working. After having a kid it's the only time in my life where there is something very clearly and obviously more important than whatever task I could be working on. (Source)

@blisterguy I think I will be influenced more as a parent/designer over time but honestly I'm so new to parenting that I still have no idea wtf is going on (Source)

@IksarHS Now that BG cosmetics are more and more, do you have any update about them coming back later for gold like constructed cosmetics ? With the exclusivity period in mind.

@Arkentass We have some larger scale plans for bg cosmetics. We'd like for you to earn some limited amount for free and be able to unlock more through things like perks or even be able to craft cosmetics through earned currency. We'll still in the infancy of BG cosmetics. (Source)

@IksarHS Have there ever been considerations to introduce a set-rotation-mode to traditional Hearthstone, similar to what we currently have in Arena/Duels?

@PautzPlays Enough people mention it that I think it's worth real consideration. Our thoughts previously were that the audience for something like this would be very small. You'd have to own lots of old cards, or get excited about the idea of crafting old cards that could then rotate again. (Source)

@PautzPlays It shouldn't be an extremely heavy-cost thing to implement, though. So even if the interest was moderate it might be worth it. (Source)

@PautzPlays My personal opinion was that the idea wouldn't stick, I remember @joemag_games pitched this way back in the day but we were mostly skeptical. Coming around… Still, no update. Just reconsidering. (Source)

@IksarHS Sure this might have been answered previously, but still: THE DISCOVER BONUS (!) - Is this something the team might ever bring back or change (even if it's not the full 4x multiplier bonus)?

@IksarHS Understand the potential balance concerns around it with small discover pools and changing power levels as these pools rotate, but feel like a lot of the discover cards (particularly neutrals) are so bad without it and makes them feel less unique to each class.

@corbettgames I haven't gone back to think about this as a success or failure yet. @GW_Alec or @Chakki_HS might have thoughts, though. I don't know if Keaton even uses twitter anymore we should get him back out here… (Source)

@IksarHS Hope you are having a nice Friday Iksar! Which non-main character from HS is your favourite?


@IksarHS Why is HxH the best anime ever? And mercenary leaks don't have the final card designs correct? https://t.co/nROzZiq9qy

@Tesdey It is top 5 for me, and no comment on secondary, you'll see soon enough. (Source)

@IksarHS Have you ever seen any of Makoto Shinkai Anime movies? If so which one is your favorite? If not, I highly recommend watching them! https://t.co/qr9cxEhNPt

@lamri247 Your Name one of the best movies ever (Source)

@IksarHS Have you (or your team) consider more bonus for high legend player? For example, top 200 finisher can get limited skin or cardback, more packages and cards at the end of month. I'd like to know your opinions on this one. Thanks a lot!

@CN_Soda We have another legend card-back style I think I'd like to reserve only for players that achieve rank 1 at any moment. We just need to build tech to trigger an achievement based on what rank you are, don't currently have it. (Source)

@IksarHS What should I have for dinner?

@MyntyPhresh hmm chicken maison if you want some chicken pizza 900 if you want some pizza el pollo loco if you want something fast n cheap (Source)

@IksarHS Since we're quite close to the next Standard year, has the team already though which cards will rotate out of the Core set? Either for being quite powerful and/or polarizing in deckbuilding, or the opposite, as quite weak a don't make the cut for modern times

@VillalobosChamp Not fully decided but on our way to deciding. Have some ideas on what buildarounds to add. (Source)

@IksarHS What are your current personnal thoughts on Classic ? Also has there been satisfying population across less prevalent modes since barrens's big changes ?

@TruGeno Was a cool moment that became less popular fairly quickly. We expected that. Want to add Naxxramas but we're still settling on when is the right time to do that. (Source)