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.

Next week is Dean's last week of work for the rest of the year. He will continue to do AMAs while out of office every 2-3 weeks. He is taking time off to spend time with the family.

Quote From Dean Ayala

That's it for AMA!

Next week is my last week at work for the rest of the year. I'll continue to do AMAs every 2-3 weeks while I'm out. Taking two months off to spend time with my 4-month old before he starts daycare!

See you next week!


  • Gallon says we aren't getting any spoilers for potential balance.
  • Gallon also says that they can take another look at Pursuit of Justice next week.


  • Being aware of how different types of players consume content is one of the ways to avoid players exploiting systems.
  • Designing a rewards system is a good example. How does one not give the game away for free while both rewarding players who play for 8 hours a day and 10 minutes a week?


  • "Reality of our industry, in a live-service game I think you just have to embrace it rather than fight it."


  • They haven't felt it necessary to have a pool of rotating content yet.
  • Dean thinks they'll rotate tribes at some point.


  • Dean was surprised by the positive response from very hardcore players.
    • "I knew there was potential for fun competitive gameplay but thought it would take more time to get that across."
  • The team is still digesting the initial reception of the mode before making their future plans.
  • Once a more concrete plan is set in place for Mercenaries, they'll share that with the community.
  • The change to Mysterious Stranger today is so players don't feel forced to run low-level content.
    • They will be looking at feedback around the change over the weekend.
  • Its still too early to be talking about balance and the meta is changing drastically still. If it gets stale, they'll make changes.
  • The team will continue to improve Mercenaries over time, they aren't going to abandon the mode.

Pandaren Ninjas

  • The lack of Ninjas over Pirates is due to them being less prevalent in the Warcraft universe.
  • Eric Dodds, Hearthstone's original game director, always talked about wanting to do a Ninjas vs Pirates expansion.
  • The Shado-Pan fit into the Ninja role and Dean could see them being a major part of a Ninja theme if/when they go to Pandaria.

Tavern Brawls

  • No concrete plans are in place yet for new brawls. The live content team is "really free-form" so content they work on is "open-ended".


  • They ban man, many accounts but it will never be a completely solved problem. Bot authors get better and better.


  • There must always be a worst class.
    • "We aren't that far removed from two very powerful (barrens control, shadow aggro) priest archetypes."
    • "Priest will be back, but as a wise designer Mike Donais once said, there must always be a worst class."


  • Had a sub for lunch.
  • Thinks Hammond/Wrecking Ball from Overwatch would make a great Hearthstone card.
  • His current favourite non-Blizzard game is Valorant.

Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #34

Quote From Dean Ayala

Hearthstone AMA #34 7:30PM - 8:30PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/B7tyq6pD0i (Source)

@IksarHS how do you design systems knowing that your users will constantly look for edges to exploit, at many times completely subverting your intentions?

@RidiculousHat Carefully?! Just have to be aware there are players that consume content in vastly different ways and to try to create systems that are appealing to both extremes of users. We often think in terms of different player stories when spot checking a system for fun. (Source)

@RidiculousHat Rewards systems are usually pretty good examples of this. How do you design something that doesn't give your whole game away for free, is rewarding for someone that plays 8 hours a day, and is rewarding for someone that plays 10 minutes a week? (Source)

@IksarHS Have you considered giving the players the power to ban cards/class that they dont want to face in ladder? I think it will make the world a better place.

@DaddyOni_HS I'd like to trial a limited period where players can ban a class of their choice. Would have strange meta implications but I think there is a good chance it makes Hearthstone more fun. Not in development, just on a wishlist as we catch up on content work post mercenaries. (Source)

@IksarHS What do you think about Datamining?

@RaneTDF reality of our industry, in a live-service game I think you just have to embrace it rather than fight it (Source)

@IksarHS why multiplayer games, in general, do not celebre "player's account anniversary". I think the day a player started playing a game is very relevant, but it is rarely ever used and even remembered. Some companies (riot, for example), goes one step further and doesn't allow me+

@IksarHS celebrate*

@Shmilia There are some light versions of this like the monthly card back reward, but I agree we could generally do better at conveying a players history in a game where the intention is you collect and play over many (10+!?) years. (Source)

@IksarHS Has there been any discussion of having Battlegrounds have rotating content, or stick with the status quo of regular updates? We've seen some heroes rotate, but would be interesting if certain tribes or cards did, with the intent of them returning, not necessarily for balance.

@pocky_plays We've rotated out cards and will rotate out tribes at some point, just haven't felt it necessary yet. (Source)

@IksarHS What surprised you most from the first (almost) two weeks of Mercenaries?

@WickedGood I actually wasn't expecting such a positive response from very hardcore competitive players. I knew there was potential for fun competitive gameplay but thought it would take more time to get that across. (Source)

@IksarHS Naoki Urusawa's monster? Ever seen it?

@Alex_Marcy no what do you rate it out of 10? (Source)

@IksarHS What was for lunch today?

@InziHS subway (Source)

@IksarHS do you think it would be possible for a kind of mercenaries AMA to happen about the future of the mode? Im sure many, as I do, have many questions about how the team will handle content, updates, mercs and balance.

@Wiibomb I think the mercs team is digesting the initial reception of mercs before setting all the future plans in stone. Once they have a clearer picture on the future of the mode with current feedback in mind we'll share that with the community. (Source)

@IksarHS Are we gonna have 100% chance to find "Mysterious Stranger" now that we have to fight in a more difficult bounty?

@Yank_07 Intention of the change was to stop players from feeling like they have to farm the same low-level content over and over again to play optimally. Paul (lead design) and Ben (game director) will be mulling the feedback of the recent change over the weekend. (Source)

@IksarHS @Yank_07 Dear Iksar, in CN community there are totally bad feedbacks. Please really re-consider about this. I have reported this to Mr. Ding early this morning by Twitter. Farming low level content isn't a bad feeling way. We need to pay more time, even more than now. This is really…

@Romencasa @Yank_07 I've heard some feedback already from Chinese community. Have some close friends there that have been translating the feedback. Thanks for sharing, we'll consider over the weekend. (Source)

@IksarHS Happy Friday Lord @IksarHS … hope you are doing well. Since you added DH in HS, my question for today is: Have the team discussed the idea to add DK and/or Monk any time soon (any time soon = within the next 2-3 years)? Have you considered other "classes" outside WoW?

@HolyKnight077 Yes… We've considered all three of those things rather carefully…. Not ready to talk about which one of them is most likely 👀 (Source)

@HolyKnight077 No timeline yet, but we'll do another class at some point 😃 (Source)

@IksarHS @HolyKnight077 Iksars edgy it's always death knights :)

@BenMorrow1 @HolyKnight077 a good guess but I don't decide that sort of thing these days :) (Source)

@IksarHS Boxers or briefs

@ottersHS pfft briefs man, who wears boxers?! (Source)

@IksarHS Whats one non-Warcraft Blizzard character that you think would make a sweet Hearthstone card?

@MyntyPhresh https://t.co/OjHy9aevK1 (Source)

@IksarHS Good choice, here's my take https://t.co/eZnAKicjxe

@MyntyPhresh that's just a good body (Source)

@IksarHS Asked this one a few times 😛 Are we ever likely to see a buff to Auctioneer Jaxon and Pursuit of justice? Pursuit feels bad at 2 but could be great at 1, similar to Wildfire. Jaxon feels too situational even in decks with lots of tradeable cards. Thanks Dean!

@Tacticalian a better question for @Chakki_HS @GallonHS or @BoarControl (Source)

@IksarHS @Tacticalian @Chakki_HS @BoarControl No spoilers for any balance change considerations! But I think we can take another look at Pursuit of Justice next week 🙂

@GallonHS @Tacticalian @Chakki_HS @BoarControl that sort of sounds like a spoiler https://t.co/QUWtJaMkgn (Source)

@IksarHS @Tacticalian @Chakki_HS @BoarControl No spoilers for what does and what doesn’t constitute a spoiler (Source)

@IksarHS Is it likely that we'll see some Ninja representation in the future? I think Team Pirate has overtaken the spoils a bit

@VillalobosChamp Ninjas are slightly less prevalent in the warcraft universe :). Our original game director Eric Dodds used to talk about doing a Pirates vs Ninjas set but I wasn't sure if he was actually serious or just liked saying Pirates vs Ninjas. (Source)

@VillalobosChamp Shado-Pan from Pandaria are probably the closest representation of ninja I can think of in Warcraft. If/when we ever go to that continent for expansion content we'll probably make a fair bit of ninja stuff (Source)

@IksarHS About Mercs… when can we expect some balance changes? The tier list and the guides show a clear sland between high end heroes like Cairne and Diablo, and bottom of the barrel garbage like Millhouse. There are only 2, blink fox and Tyrande to support, but Mllhose is fragile

@cinco5cuatro4 @IksarHS ¿Team 5 balance? Hahahaha

@Rullopo @cinco5cuatro4 https://t.co/e3yRQPv4cC (Source)

@cinco5cuatro4 Still pretty early. Meta decks shared in the community and played on pvp ladder have been drastically different over the first few days of play. We'll see if the same meta still persists for longer than another couple days before swooping in to make changes. (Source)

@IksarHS What're some of your favorite non-blizzard games?

@Hyperin7 right now my favorite is valorant props to @Max_Grossman and team it's such an excellent game (Source)

@IksarHS We are getting a New Tavern Brawl November 3rd! 👏🏼 With Team 5 having hired a Live Content Designer and Mercenaries being out what are the plans for new Tavern Brawls going forward? https://t.co/678EQGxatf

@ben_heathstone That team is really free-form, so the content the new designers will be making is really open-ended. No details quite yet! (Source)

@IksarHS @ben_heathstone Like water. (Source)

@IksarHS What did you think of the ending of squid game?

@GamblerStream I didn't mind it but it was my least favorite of the beginning/middle/end (Source)

@IksarHS I'm a CN hearthstone player. Too many robots in Standard or Wild, even worse in Mercs. You do have ways to identify the robots and why not try your best to ban them? And what can we expect for priests in the future, because the redesign of priests didn't save them.

@h0COAa2eEIF039W we ban many, many robots turns out, robot makers are very smart and make new robots that are harder to track we'll keep fighting the good fight but it's unlikely this will ever be a completely solved problem (Source)

@IksarHS Should users/players report bugs? If so, what is the best way to report bugs? (For example, I heard posting on forums is one way)

@contigwrites bug report forum is good (Source)

@IksarHS Do you see a re-write for Priest in general coming up? Possibly to a mid-range style of play? Just feels like Priest is just subpar at everything lately. Quest is far too slow, combo destroys control and aggro is outclassed by other aggro classes.

@ScottyH_0823 We aren't that far removed from two very powerful (barrens control, shadow aggro) priest archetypes. Priest will be back, but as a wise designer @mike_donais once said, there must always be a worst class. (Source)

@IksarHS Any news on the miniset?

@kkkkoren_ we will have one :) our publishing team will announce the dates when they are ready (Source)

@IksarHS why was the mercenaries change made??

@WTomack paul (lead designer for merc) left some comments here: https://t.co/5hWGbcGJeo (Source)

@IksarHS will we see changes to the progression path in mercenaries after today's changes? Personally current PvE feels boring/monotonous and has kept me from playing mercs, if PvE was a more enjoyable experience I'd be way more into it

@JBrightt_ Hard to interpret the feedback. If the question is 'will the team try and make mercs better and better over time?' the answer is yes, of course. (Source)