Isn't our cool Hearthstone dad great? Dean Ayala was out on Twitter again this week to run a community Q&A. As we've done in the past, we've recapped and transcribed the entire thing so you can take it all in without the effort of hunting through Twitter's fantastic interface.

Let's jump right into it!

Death Knights & Demon Hunters & New Classes

  • Death Knights in Knights of the Frozen Throne originally shuffled corrupted things into your deck. It wasn't fun.
  • Hero Card DKs were created in the final design process, which was really late to make that decision.
  • Dean says that Demon Hunter seems to have been successful from player metrics.
  • We're at least two years away from getting a new class. (Read More)
  • They have discussed Death Knight, Monk, and even creating something new.

Champion Cards

  • A failed concept that didn't make it through.
  • Minions with no health value, no attack, and had an ability.
  • They were "like your commander on the battlefield", a mini hero.
  • Every turn, their ability was used but did not directly attack and were not affected by things like Flamestrike.
  • Could be revisited at a later date if they get the abilities and visuals right.

Development & Philosophy

  • Dust, Gold, and Currency are not fun. The stuff you get with them is, but they themselves are not.
  • For that reason, they prefer rewarding card packs. It removes having to do research on how to maximize your gold.
  • There's a really good answer down below on this.
  • There have been discussions about hero powers when they talked about the Classic set.
    • They talked about what the classes were supposed to be good and weak at.
    • More details on any changes that are coming will be in a big future update.
    • Not certain if this confirms we're getting new hero powers, but they have at least talked about them.


  • Livewire Lance was a 2-cost card up until the last minute when it was made 3.
  • Reprints have been discussed many times. They will probably do them one day.
  • Dean is not worried about running out of card ideas in the future.
  • Tribes on spells, like Arcane, Fire, and Frost, are a "when" not "if" thing.
  • They took a risk with Hysteria. It did not pan out.


  • Achievements will come for older single-player content.
  • It's possible we could see achievements for cards in older sets. They have to talk about it. Do you want to see this?
  • Completing achievements in casual isn't possible because it hurts the experience of achievement hunting.
  • When the current expansion ends, the achievements for it will remain but will no longer reward experience.
  • New achievements will be added in each expansion that give you rewards track experience.

Tavern Brawls

  • The Live Content team works on Brawls, Duels, Book of Heroes, and another new mode.
  • Due to the ongoing work for everything that isn't Tavern Brawl, it has been put on the backburner.
  • Dean thinks we'll see more Tavern Brawl content once these are closer to being finished.

Dean Ayala

  • Mac and Cheese is not good.

Quote From IksarHS

People always like to focus on what came out and how it could be different - "how did this card make it through?!?" -but they never see all the hundreds of things you DO catch and fix along the way. What's one card you fought to change before release and are so happy you did?

Hmm, design was Death Knights. They were a neutral design that shuffled corrupted things into your deck that turned you into a Death Knight (or something?) until pretty late. Hard to remember all the details now aside from the fact it wasn't fun. (Source)

And every class turning into a Death Knight felt very similar. We created hero cards in final design, which is really late to be creating a totally new card type from scratch. Turned out to be one of the most polarizing but ultimately positive mechanics we've ever done. (Source)

Balance wise, one that recently stands out is that Livewire Lance was just (2) mana until basically the last possible day of balance design. We knew it was a 10/10 but we liked it and wanted to push the power on it a bit. We hesitantly changed to (3) last minute. (Source)

Turns out it was still quite good at (3) and would have been a really big balance miss if we hadn't. (Source)

After seeing how implementation of a new class (demon hunter) went throw, any plans on putting another new one in the game, in the nearest future? :)

Purely from a player-metrics perspective, it seems like DH was successful. I say *seems* because there are a lot of variables. Hard to understand if success was because players love having a new class, because there was a higher marketing spend during that time window, etc. (Source)

But overall, our team is positive on it and will probably do it again. It's just not something you want to be doing every year. We've talked about Death Knight, Monk, or even the idea of inventing something new. (Source)

There is no new-class in development today and we work about a year ahead of schedule, so I wouldn't look out for it anytime soon. We set up a lot of the infrastructure for adding a new class the first time around, though, so the turnaround would be a little easier. (Source)

Inspire was left weak on purpose, charge is all-but-gone, Discover has been mostly good … but was there a mechanic or feature that has been tested, tweaked, and iterated on but just doesn’t work?

this describes most mechanics, we usually have 3-10 of them in test and 1-2 make it through. The most recent example I can think of is this concept of champion cards. (Source)

They were minions that had a health value, no attack value, and an ability. They were like your commander on the battlefield, a mini-hero. They used their ability every turn but didn't directly attack, much like your hero. Weren't affected by things like Flamestrike, etc. (Source)

There was some promise and excitement but I don't think we got to a place with the abilities or the visuals that made us confident enough to move forward at the time. Might be something we revisit later. (Source)

I really enjoy the achievement mode! Are there any plans to add past expansion gameplay achievements?

I'm not sure. We definitely want to add achievements for past single player content we just didn't get around to it for the first release. We weren't sure if adding gameplay achievements for things like GvG would be very enjoyable. (Source)

Part of the gameplay achievements now is exploring new cards in a new way and getting a reward for doing so. We could do the same thing for those older cards but the power level of cards these days could make getting TGT or GvG achievements in Wild a painful experience. (Source)

Then again, achievements hunters just sort of like doing wonky things to get achievement points (I am one of you!) so maybe there is some overthinking there. I'll talk to our resident achievement expert @Celestalon about it. (Source)

Do you think HS would ever "reprint" an existing card if it was exactly what you wanted/needed for a new set, or would you always rather make something new?

We've talked about this so many times, I think reprints can be good and we'll probably do it someday. We were extremely close to reprinting Webspinner for Un'Goro but changed it about 50-75% of the way through design. (Source)

It always just feels like we can accomplish the same thing through a very small tweak and just make a new card, so we do that instead. Eventually there will be a time where that isn't the case and we'll probably reconsider. (Source)

Any concern about "preserving" design space by starting reprinting now, before you've run out of these little tweaks you can do? Basically, extending the time of new cards by peppering in a Webspinner in place of a Macaw here or there?

Running out of card ideas' isn't really on the list of things I'm worried about for Hearthstone's future. I think the more you do it the more you realize much space there is to design new and different things. (Source)

Mm, I don't think it's really a fear of "running out of ideas" in a strict sense that comes into play here, but there are lots of small pushes and pulls. Maro has talked a lot about why mtg love reprints, for instance. Maybe a longer chat for another day.

Oh I think I just misread. Yeah, there are some benefits to doing reprints, one of the downsides is figuring out all the little rules and tech requirements that we haven't done yet. If we brought back webspinner, should you be able to play your old one? (Source)

is there any way you could consider allowing us to complete achievements in casual mode? may be even tavern brawl, but casual will do. I love them, but I really dislike the idea of risking my rank because Im using meme decks. I believe it only adds ladder anxiety

We talked about this a bunch but ultimately I think it actually hurts the experience of achievement hunting. (Source)

If the idea of making a semi-competitive deck goes completely out the window, it's easy to just concede a ton of times until you face someone afk or also not trying to win. If we allowed you to do it vs your friends I think people would just pass turn, complete, then quit. (Source)

Neither of those things seem very fun to me. So while I buy the argument of having ladder anxiety is a downside, it felt like the lesser of two evils when compared to the player behavior of the alternative. (Source)

Is the Hearthstone team expanding to accomodate for the increasing number of modes? Also, is there any concern of fragmenting the playerbase with so many different ways to play?

I don't really mind fragmenting the player base. Normally that concern comes alongside things like matchmaking times but Hearthstone is a big enough game that isn't much of a concern for us. (Source)

It's nice when people can have a conversation as a community about the same thing, so that's why we like to have different moments where each mode gets it's time in the sun. (Source)

Like not releasing an expansion and a big BG update at the same time. (Source)

If you make a live-service game, no matter what you do a player is eventually going to get burned out and face a moment where they want to do something else. When a player does decide to quit, it's better then transition into another game mode you have than a different game. (Source)

Always find it fun hearing about strong decks that went completely under-the-radar (remember Brode (?) talking about Elemental-Pirate Warrior in Un'Goro). This probably happens less often nowadays in Standard given information flow, but are there any examples of this for Wild?

It honestly doesn't really happen anymore, at least not in the way you describe. The most common case is usually there is a deck that people know is good, but it's kind of boring and there is some high-roll exciting deck next to it. (Source)

Then old-boring deck goes under the radar completely for long stretches even when it's just the best thing you should be doing. Highlander Hunter and Even Paladin were in this category, Odd Rogue is in this category for Wild. In terms of just new undiscovered strategies… (Source)

It's pretty rare anymore we identify something in playtesting that is totally disregarded by the public for any real amount of time. (Source)

What’s the plan for Tavern Brawls? They are listed on all phases of the roadmap for Year of the Phoenix, yet we had mostly repeats this year. Should we expect this many repeat Tavern Brawls as the team focusing on other game modes? Any thought to changing the Classic pack reward?

The team responsible for Tavern Brawl content is also responsible for duels, book of heroes, and another entirely new game mode we haven't talked about much yet. They've just been busy. I'd expect some newer tavern brawls when those things get closer to release but not until then (Source)

What's the biggest big brain moment you've had as a designer

After I played @DreamQuestGame, I tracked down @LegendaryFerret and asked him to apply to Hearthstone. Told Dodds about it and got them connected. My greatest achievement. (Source)

When the current expansion ends, will achievements tied to it that grant experience continue to grant experience or will they be replaced by the new experience achievements that are tied to the next expansion?

they will no longer grant experience, though there will be new achievements that do grant experience for the new expansion when that happens. (Source)

Is Kadgar getting deleted soon?

Maybe, still exploring a couple solutions. Will have more details in the next couple weeks. (Source)

Do you eat your mac & cheese with a fork or a spoon?

mac and cheese is not good (Source)

Have you ever thought to add a characteristic mechanic from an other famous card game? If yes, what will be the better to fit in HS? I think that Field spell card from yu gi oh would be great (somehow)

Sort of impossible not to take some inspiration from other games, most of us have been playing other games/cardgames for most of our lives. (Source)

Are tribal spells a "when" or an "if"? Basically spells with either existing minion types or totally new spell types like arcane, fire, etc.

Another one we've talked about quite a bit. I will confidently put this in the 'when' category. (Source)

There is some chance that the game start rewarding players with a "pack voucher" where they can choose which expansion they want to take a pack from? This effectively increasing their chance of receiving cards from a collection that they have less cards.

Instead of always be obliged to receive as a reward a package from the current collection or from the classic set, which are precisely the sets with the greatest chance of the person already having a good part of the collection.

So, it's a complicated answer that I think most players don't agree with. For what it's worth, the great majority of our rewards are gold, which is just effectively a better pack token in terms of optionality. (Source)

The reason I like to award a specific card or a specific pack when we can is to not introduce another layer of decision making. Most players have no idea what to craft or what pack to get so they end up hoarding their resources, which is pretty terrible from a design POV. (Source)

Dust is not fun. Gold is not fun. Currency is not fun. The things you buy with currency is fun, so if we are creating layers of decision that make you more worried about how you spend your currency, you are more likely to not ever get to the 'fun' thing. Cards in this example. (Source)

Even cards themselves aren't directly a fun play experience, only once you make a deck and start playing. It's one of the biggest pain points in our game, in my opinion. The time you go from spend currency to have fun in game can be agonizing for a player not in the know. (Source)

They get gold, they have to figure out what to spend it on, they spend it, they get cards, they figure out how to use them, build a deck…. it goes on and on before you are just having fun in a game. (Source)

So for that reason when we do give non-gold rewards or card rewards, I generally just like to remove that layer of decision making so you just directly have the thing rather than feel like you have to open the internet to help you figure out what thing is right to make. (Source)

How do you think the DMR release has gone with such an abbreviated preview cycle? Do you think the limited amount of pre-release coverage changed the initial meta's development and is the team considering adjustments to set preview timing/events going forward?

I wonder if they would have changed Hysteria before release if they had revealed it early enough. It was clear it was going to be a problem from day negative 2.

I saw the combo but it's hard to tell if something is going to be problematic just because it's possible. This wasn't as visibly dangerous as snippy and reckless e

Even if you know something exists and a decent change you might have to change it, sometimes we still make the call to let it slip through. When you trim all the rough edges off your game it becomes less interesting. In the world where it's this really weird strat that is… (Source)

slightly less powerful or popular (okay maybe way less) than it turned out to be, things like this are a big positive. It reminds people that it's not just a game about board control, some crazy combos can happen. (Source)

I think in this case we knew about it on the late-side but if it was an oh-shit moment (like the shadowboxer stuff was) we would have just changed it pre-release. Took the risk in this case and didn't work out. (Source)

The Shaman hero power is uniquely RNG-based (summons in random order) and rather unintuitive (always a different totem; stops working after all 4) compared to the other hero powers. Ever seriously discussed changing parts of it?

The fact that it's different because of those things isn't necessarily a negative to us, but we have discussed changing aspects of it. When we looked at the classic set and ways to change it, we also looked at the base hero powers and what classes were supposed to be good/weak at (Source)

We'll have some more details on that in a big future update but nothing to divulge just yet (Source)