Dean "Iksar" Ayala popped in this evening for a Hearthstone Q&A session on Twitter. 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 mentioned that he hasn't been at work for over a month so some questions he may not be able to answer. This isn't surprising since he said he'd be taking a vacation at the end of his last AMA 6 weeks ago.
Future of Hearthstone
A previous version of this post said "Lich King eventually". Although you could say that, the bigger picture was Death Knights and that the Lich King is too cool to not do at some point.
- There are plans to add a new type of card.
- Death Knights eventually. Confirmed to not be happening anytime soon.
- We should see standalone stories from next year's expansions unlike this year's big story.
- Reporting players is something that is on the list of features to investigate implementing.
- The Hearthstone team is being reorganized next year:
- Instead of separate groups per discipline (engineering, design, art, etc.) they will move to group members by features.
- As an example, Battlegrounds would get their own team members that were focused on that.
- Dean is excited to see how the changes work out.
- Dean commits to doing the Q&A periods on Twitter as much as possible in 2021.
- He isn't sure if there might be a better solution though.
- No current plans to make old Diamond cards from the tavern pass purchasable. It may be something they will consider in the future.
- A Battlegrounds pass is in development and Dean imagines most, if not all, content for Battlegrounds would be on that pass over the current tavern pass.
- They will get more comfortable pushing more gameplay rewards as cosmetics get more popular, so indirectly, they are moving in the direction of a more cosmetic-based monetization model for Hearthstone.
- It is unlikely that Hearthstone would ever be a cosmetics-only monetization model as it is always a low % adoption product.
- If the game had an audience like Fortnite or League of Legends, it is likely that a cosmetic approach to monetization would then support the team.
- Old adventure content as hero skins is still something they'd like to get in, but its far down the list.
- "I think we'll probably just do away with the idea of 'these expansions are in, these are out' for at least one rotation."
- "We'll just curate a list of cards from various expansions that we think might play well together."
- "I'd love for the community to do this themselves, but it's hard to understand what that even means. Everyone? The community chooses a representative to choose for them? From what region? It's something I'm thinking about...."
- There are no updates to share on a possible Arena matchmaking revamp. It is something they will talk about next year.
- Dean would like to see Duels be easier to hop in and play.
- Building a deck is great flexibility, but it can be a large barrier of entry. Finding a solution could help the experience.
Dean's Dream Land Feature List
We have a dedicated article which features all the new stuff Dean wants to pitch to the Hearthstone team when he returns to work. This includes:
- Multiplayer Constructed Game Mode (2v2? 4v4? Raids)
- Card Market (Selling/Buying Cards)
- Mass Pack Opening
- Deck Tracker
None of this is in development. None of it is guaranteed to become a thing in Hearthstone.
- Has always wanted to do a card that was reaction based.
- "Like a laser that scrolls quickly back and forth on the screen that you have to click on to activate and hope you timed it right to hit the right minion/hero."
- "Probably too big of a tech ask for a one-off card."
- Once Dean gets back to work he'll be taking time to get caught up to speed. Afterward, he'll jump back on the decision making process.
- If the Hearthstone team was able to license the Muppets for hero skins, Dean would choose to make a Kermit Hunter card.
- His favourite hero portrait that they released over the past year was N'Zoth.
- Dean thinks that the fantasy in Hearthstone is easier to understand than other card games.
- "I am Jaina, you are Rexxar, I point fireball at your face, you explode. Easy."
Full Transcript of Iksar's Q&A #35
Hearthstone AMA #35 5:30PM - 6:30PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/53nLLzJ5X0 (Source)
*****disclaimer***** I haven't been at work for over a month so there are some questions I won't be able to answer. (Source)
@IksarHS I really need to know. Have you looked at my huge list of features/changes under your post, and if so, can you tell me which ones won't happen anytime soon (because of some ui issues, monetization issues, etc)? 😂 And if you like any of them that you haven't seen before.
@imik_plays @IksarHS If you're not careful imik @IksarHS is gonna hit you with another one of these 😂 https://t.co/BL4Lv1MREg
@irboo_ @imik_plays https://t.co/nrf9oR2SGN (Source)
@imik_plays i posted the list of things I liked along with my own musings somewhere else in this thread. I can't remember if anything you mentioned I added to the list…. (Source)
@IksarHS Are there any current plans on adding a new type of card?
@FroggyHSxD yes :3 (Source)
@IksarHS Are there any plans to make old diamond cards from battle passes purchaseable/craftable? For example for those that missed samuro or Varian?
@FroggyHSxD not currently, though I imagine as we get better shop tech and personalization it's something we'd consider (Source)
@IksarHS Have you thought about adding different battle passes? A game called dragon ball legends has a pass that you choose your playstyle, there is one for solo players, pvp, and a mix of both. I bascially only play constructed so the rewards for other modes feel “useless” to me.
@FroggyHSxD We have a battlegrounds pass in development, I imagine most or all battlegrounds content will be there in the future. It's still in early dev so no release patch planned yet. (Source)
@IksarHS Death knights when? :)
@FroggyHSxD Someday, probably. Lich King is too strong of a Warcraft character to leave alone forever. Not anytime soon, though! (Source)
@IksarHS How did Freeze Shaman come about as an archetype for AV? Could we see a Moorabi buff to celebrate?
@ChaosOS_59 I think 99% of the audience would see Moorabi buffed and be like ????? what is this ????? I didn't work in initial design for this set but I imagine having a snow set is where the idea originates. Doing freeze stuff in the snow is an easy fantasy to sell. (Source)
@IksarHS What’s your fav card design you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t ship?
@MaxwellPerlman I've always been intrigued by having something reaction time based. Like a laser that scrolls quickly back and forth on the screen that you have to click on to activate and hope you timed it right to hit the right minion/hero. Probably too big of a tech ask for a one-off card. (Source)
@IksarHS what will your first day back look like?
@RidiculousHat trogg on 1 totem golem on 2 coin faceless on 4 all features and bugs concede to me explosion finger guns "IM BACK BABYYY" (Source)
@RidiculousHat really, though I'll probably just try and catch up with all my direct reports to see if there is anything I can help them with. Understand what I'm responsible for and understand who to trust with decision making until I can get sufficiently up to speed. (Source)
@RidiculousHat the goal when returning from leave or starting a new position is not to slow everyone down while you catch up let them keep going at their speed and only jump back in to the decision making process when you are at the same speed (Source)
@IksarHS What are the best golden legendaries to craft from Alterac?
@Spex_J I am not the right person to ask for this. You can always ask @GallonHS tho he's a gamer who knows his stuff. (Source)
@IksarHS @Spex_J Shadowcrafter Scabbs and Cariel Roame seem like solid choices. Also please change your profile pic to match Orange’s again @Spex_J, thank you. (Source)
@IksarHS If we got approval to make Muppet-themed skins, which class would get which Muppet?
@MyntyPhresh kermit hunter because he a green beast other muppets don't matter (Source)
@IksarHS How do you feel about the year long story format now that the team has done it twice? Should we expect it as the norm going forward?
@Raktoner We still think about year-long story as a tool in the toolbelt rather than the right or wrong way to do something. Next year should be more standalone stories rather than a yearlong thing. (Source)
@IksarHS I think you said no, but would you be willing to buff some old cards (in wild) that have a synergy with returning card mechanics? (For example Moorabi and other freeze shaman support)?
@imik_plays Buffing cards in a 1000+ card format has very little upside with potentially large downsides. We still plan on un-nerfing cards that had nerfs targeted at Standard but not buffing cards that were never nerfed just so they can be more powerful. (Source)
@IksarHS Hi dean when hearthstone x arcane? Kappa
@Ocram507_Hs they never hit me up I'm a big fan though so let me know what we can do for S2 @arcaneshow (Source)
@IksarHS Favorite hero portraits released over the past year?
@DatMageDoe NZOTH! (Source)
@IksarHS As a player, what do you like the most about Standard Hearthstone over other strategy games (particularly other card games but I'm also interested in comparisons vs other strategy games)
@PascoaHS The fantasy is easier to understand than many other card games. I love Magic/Gwent/Runeterra but the player is disconnected from the fantasy in all those experiences. In Hearthstone, I am Jaina, you are Rexxar, I point fireball at your face, you explode. Easy. (Source)
@IksarHS With the recent ever increasing push of cosmetic sales on the shop in all modes with a shop, do you think a move to a more cosmetic based monetization model would work instead of a card selling based one? would it be possible one day?
@Wiibomb Cosmetic revenue helps us give away more gameplay content without hurting the business of Hearthstone. We are more and more comfortable doling out more gameplay rewards as cosmetics get more popular, so yes indirectly we're moving that direction. (Source)
@Wiibomb Unlikely we'll ever have a cosmetics based monetization approach. Cosmetics are always a low % adoption product. There are large game teams like Hearthstone that are successful on the back of mostly cosmetics, but their audiences are so insanely large a low % adoption is ok. (Source)
@Wiibomb Third-person, 3D character model games also tend to fair better in this space because it's easier to make cool visual things players care about. (Source)
@Wiibomb If we had the audience size of something like Fortnite or League then yes, a cosmetics based monetization approach would probably support the 100's of people that make the game. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there anything cool you can tell us about Duels? Seems like the format is getting some more attention from players lately, and I've sure been enjoying it.
@RegisKillbin @Tabayrak is always hard at work thinking of duels ideas and solutions, talking to players, I'm sure that helps (Source)
@RegisKillbin @Tabayrak I'd like to find ways to make it easier to hop in and play. I like the flexibility building your own deck each run gives you, but it's quite a large barrier. Need to find a solution for that or something that eases the experience. (Source)
@IksarHS @RegisKillbin Oh boy DO I WANT THIS AS WELL! (Source)
@IksarHS @Tabayrak Oh yeah he's an all star! Except when he definitely absolutely totally for real hand codes the game on the fly to give me bad treasures while I'm streaming.
@RegisKillbin @IksarHS Only skull for you king. (Source)
@IksarHS What kind of Hearthstone related content do you consume the most most? Twitch streams, youtube videos, written articles, podcasts, social media discussions? How do you consider the relative community impact of each of these?
@hs_Pasca Our regional teams send us summarized reports. I pay pretty close attention to those so I can get a download of sentiment and discussion in regions were english is not the primary language. (Source)
@hs_Pasca Reddit and twitter, watch streams, etc. I enjoy doing all those things as a player but I try to reserve design judgment based on consumer survey, data, community summary reports, etc. Reading and acting on info from my personal social media isn't a smart way to make decisions. (Source)
@IksarHS We saw a glimpse of HP Mage and an endgame wincon for it at the start of the year. However we've only received one other HP card since then in the new Snowflurry. The archetype feels very lacking compared to other Mage archetypes. Any chance we'll get more support for next year?
@Pokeniner2 I don't work in card design anymore, so unfortunately I can't give you any hints at what mage cards might be coming in the future. Sorry! (Source)
@IksarHS seeing a lot of pottymouth rage-add screens lately, any plans to add in-client reporting (in HS as opposed to bnet)?
@Domjat_OW On the list of features to investigate, unfortunately I don't have any info to add beyond that. Reporting lives through another team right now so I have very limited info. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there any possibility for an Annhylde rerun? Not sure on the policy for BP rewards, would love to have her though 😎👉👈
@Hyperin7 We don't have very many exclusive items other than stuff you get from achievements, so we'll likely rerun at some point. As we get better shop tech and can personalize store offers more we'll try to deliver you things you are likely to want. (Source)
@IksarHS How does ysera's heropower work in BGs? Is there some way to reliably get answers to these "behind the scenes, but impactful to gameplay" questions?
@Jkirek_ @DCalkosz or @puffinplays usually your best bet best to ask 930-630PM on weekdays tho (Source)
@IksarHS If Questlines turn out to be restrictive for new strategies, would you consider adding a "rule" that if you play a Questline/Quest you can only be matched against another Questline/Quest player? Like a "subgame" let's say. That way the people who enjoys them can still play them.
@AlonsoArrietaC1 Probably not, if we really believed there was an experience so unfun we wanted to stop huge buckets of players from playing against it….. we'd just nerf or change those cards in some way (Source)
@IksarHS I know its been asked before but with the set so close are hero cards going to be banned from this expansion in arena. Also will any other card be banned from this set in arena
@EliteLeafHater I'm 99% sure they are, but I'd ask @BoarControl next week to be sure. As a player I hate this because I like drafting powerful cards but I didn't win this battle. (Source)
@IksarHS @EliteLeafHater @BoarControl They are (Source)
@IksarHS When someone has a scheduled tweet as a joke how many times should they set it to post for it to still be funny?
@kilmarnok1285 mute is a good feature of this website (Source)
@IksarHS Have you ever watched any Yu-Gi-Oh! dubbed or subbed?
@VillalobosChamp I have, but only a few episodes and only a couple years ago. I watched a few card-gamer animes for research on how the game ties into the fantasy of the universe its in. Was doing this when we were trying to figure that out for Hearthstone. (Source)
@IksarHS Anything (you can share) that you are particularly excited for when returning back to work? Also - has taking time off like this changed any way you look at work?
@TheInfinitePez Anytime there is a big fire at work or big life event it makes things that used to stress me out less of a big deal. I imagine there will be very few projects at work that could cause me to panic after having a kid 😀 perspective! (Source)
@TheInfinitePez also we're changing our team structure significantly starting next year. Instead of there being separate groups per discipline (design,eng,art,etc) we're moving towards grouping people by feature. Like all the people involved in making BG from all disciplines working together. (Source)
@TheInfinitePez We'll have some growing pains, but excited to see how it changes the work. (Source)
@IksarHS I remember you once mentioning Solo Adventures heroes (such as Toki or Barkeye) becoming achievement reward skins. Is that still considered?
@Xelo495 yes, just been pretty far down the list of things to get in we still want to upgrade achievements, particularly for old adventure content (Source)
@IksarHS Thoughts on 2v2 / 3v3 mode, where there are 2-3 attackable heroes on either side of the board? Like has the team ever considered it and is it even possible? I’ve thought for a few years now that going multiplayer co-op would fuel a huge interest in competitive Hearthstone
@MeatiHS there are some gameplay challenges, but the biggest challenge is having a coherent UI to house all the information (Source)
@MeatiHS On paper, it's a golden idea. It leverages content we already make (cards…) and creates a social experience when our game is very limited (bad) at creating those experiences. (Source)
@MeatiHS Most Hearthstone players are on phone, on a medium sized screen. Putting 4 players there would require some rethinking of how our UI works. (Source)
@IksarHS Do any blizz employees ever taunt Alec about being a vikings fan?
@ggahSoO @IksarHS Yo @GW_Alec imagine being a Vikings fan KEKW (Source)
@ggahSoO @IksarHS @GW_Alec So to answer your question, yes. (Source)
@GallonHS @ggahSoO @IksarHS 😡😡😡 (Source)
@GW_Alec @GallonHS @ggahSoO @IksarHS All I know about fooseball is that “GRONK IS MA BOI!” (Source)
@GW_Alec @GallonHS @ggahSoO The best ever Vikings team went 15-1 in 1998. They got bounced by the Falcons (my favorite team) in the conference championship. In closing, get rekt @GW_Alec (Source)
@ggahSoO no we just feel sorry for him (Source)
@IksarHS What did you think/feel about the various ideas presented in your recent “2022 Features Feedback” tweet? Did you like most of them, or did a lot seem/feel too ambitious or costly to implement? Which idea was your favorite? Least favorite?
@NightDrawn I'm still in the space of generating a big list. Here is where I ended up after some personal brainstorming and community feedback. https://t.co/tJzymLKWZU (Source)
@NightDrawn and please whoever summarizes this don't link this screenshot and say all of these things are in development it's a list, of things, to talk about that's it for now! (Source)
@IksarHS Oh come on, I'm better than that. https://t.co/tSB61hPlcz
@Fluxflashor My biggest hesitance is honestly not even with players. It's people on the team catching a post saying these are things in dev and them going: 'wow, no one even asked me what I thought of this' the reality is that it's just a personal list I want to talk to the team about (Source)
@IksarHS @NightDrawn What does AI on Ladder mean? Literal bots on ranked? Or like an ai to matchmake you based on something?
@juniorgryphon3 @NightDrawn Bots Either only in casual or only in casual + lower ranked play. It's a pretty standard practice for almost all big multiplayer games. Faster queues, easier to learn, overall better experience. (Source)
@IksarHS Thinking of changing the reward system for mercenaries? It would be nice to be able to receive packages more frequently, due to the time it takes to create each one with just coins. Maybe some daily mission that gives a package instead of 50 coins. Thanks! 😄
@SuppoHearthsto1 Unfortunately I'm still a little in the dark when it comes to Mercs. I wasn't involved in dev then left for paternity quickly after ship. (Source)
@IksarHS I have to ask…Is the name of the new expansion inspired by the Southpark game “The Fractured But Whole” ?
@Ocelot_HS no even if it was I'd have to say no so does that mean it was? no (but am I just saying that?) no, it was not (seriously it wasn't) (Source)
@IksarHS What do you think about older, lower power level sets in arena rotation? Drafting cards from them usually feels bad, worth re-examining how to do rotations?
@bwebster I think we'll probably just do away with the idea of 'these expansions are in, these are out' for at least one rotation. We'll just curate a list of cards from various expansions that we think might play well together. (Source)
@bwebster I'd love for the community to do this themselves, but it's hard to understand what that even means. Everyone? The community chooses a representative to choose for them? From what region? It's something I'm thinking about…. (Source)
@IksarHS Any update on the Arena system/MMR revamp?
@PersiaAndre No, will be a topic to discuss and either plan on or cut once we get back from holiday break at the start of the new year. Booked until then. (Source)
@IksarHS Do you, personally, think Hat and Ben are the same person?
@JaredPullet @IksarHS Now that you mention it
@Kat__HS @JaredPullet …. wait a minute (Source)
@IksarHS I have a few questions: 1. How were your vacations? Hope you really are doing well :) 2. Can Warrior's and Hunter's Questlines be banned from Wild? If so, can they be nerfed once they rotate to Wild completely (along with Warlock's)? 3. What are you most excited about next set?
@HolyKnight077 It's great. I am learning to become a dad, which is hard work but so worth it. Baby is happy and healthy and that is honestly all I can ask for. We'll watch post release and nerf anything that is a power or population outlier, as always. Hero cards! They are my favorite :) (Source)
@IksarHS 4. Excited for AoT final season? 5. Starting to get into anime, any recommendations beside Naruto, AoT, and MHA? https://t.co/1qATl9Lk1D
@HolyKnight077 So…. so excited. It's incredible. Fullmetal, Death Note, Odd Taxi. Also, if you haven't watch @arcaneshow you should do it. One of the best animations I've ever seen. (Maybe literally the best) (Source)
@IksarHS Will the Kermit gif be rotated to Wild in April?
@hsWhiteDelight Maybe, contemplating if I will continue doing these AMAs next year or if there is a better solution. I commit myself to doing it as much as possible for 2021, though :) (Source)
@IksarHS Love these and first time catching you! Is there any talks about possibly buffing wild cards in the not too distant future?
@BrentJacob10 Only ones we've previously nerfed. Of all the potential issues with Wild, I don't think one of them is a lack of powerful cards to play. (Source)
@IksarHS If you could add one non wow class (probably from another game) as a hearthstone class what would it be and why?
@Sully_S9 Bard or Necromancer. Warlock is kind of necromancery but for whatever reason the word NECROMANCER is just more badass to me. (Source)
@IksarHS Will you be playing Halo Infinite?
@lamri247 hellllll yeah (Source)
@IksarHS As someone who basically watched anime for the first time 2-3 weeks ago and has been binging it ever since, what's good? 😊😊 (7 or so animes down so far)
@Kat__HS Death Note (mystery, dark, shonen) Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (best of all-time) Attack on Titan (shonen) Haikyuu! (sports) One Punch Man (comedy) (Source)
@Kat__HS psychopass is a personal favorite, but it's quite dark your name is a movie you HAVE to watch avatar (last airbender and korra) are must watches but not technically anime arcane, the league of legends show that just came out, might be my favorite animation ever (Source)