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.
- The new trailer "slaps". Gallon backed this up.
- They had considered a large-scale nerf for the expansion but decided against it as no modes felt fun.
- Expect cool cards, flavor, mechanics, and "I think it will be a fan favourite."
- If a card that was made specifically for a Core set gets moved out of the Core set, it will become craftable and added to the Legacy set.
Year of the 2022
- There will not be a year-long story this year.
- No examples of what we could see this year as that might give spoilers.
- More fine-tuning than mass overhaul within sets.
- More big additions than big subtractions.
- Less generic hand-wide cost reduction, less OTK.
- One or two themes you probably would expect, at least one you probably wouldn't.
Pitching an Expansion
- 20-25 people go into a room with a whiteboard and talk about ideas.
- The Set Lead + Expansion Lead + Director talk about the good ideas from the meeting and pick from them.
- "Not quite as scientific as it probably should be, but we're working on it".
- Dean would like to see them being more data-informed on what the global audience would think is cool.
- "Achievement Points are a 'high score', for tracking, not a currency."
- [Editor Note: Can we please stop asking about this. Achievement Points are rarely used as a currency in any title. Enjoy your nerd points score]
- They still want to create achievements for old solo content.
- Dean isn't sure if we're getting any Dr. Boom related anything in the future, but he also says he is not an expert on upcoming cosmetics.
- They are still going to make Diamond cards for older expansions, they are just working on other cosmetics as well.
- They are still working on new menu UIs - it will probably get a light refresh with a bigger refresh alongside features later on.
- We'll get to see new UI features when they have something more complete to show.
- Progression stuff is being built.
- Diablo was an experiment and they were happy overall.
- They are excited to test the waters again with a hero like Diablo.
- They still talk about class identities internally but it is hard to agree on.
- We are unlikely to see an external update on class identities while they are actively thinking about them.
- Excess Coins in Mercenaries is a problem that pains the Mercs lead more than any other.
- They don't have anything to talk about with regards to Coins right now, but they are actively looking at solutions.
The Modes Team
- There is an internal team that work on "modes".
- They are currently working on an "intensive project" which will take 1-2 months.
- After the current project, they will start working on planning the long-term future for Arena, Tavern Brawls, Duels, and Single-player content.
- We are unlikely to see major features in the short-term for these modes.
- Loves the "haha" trigger line from Archmage Antonidas.
- Says "This document looks legally binding" aloud when playing Twilight Summoner.
- His current favourite deck is a Big Spell Mage that he autocompleted. He's played it for over 100 games.
- He liked that Ben Lee was always promoting releasing quality content. Ben Lee pushed for higher standards instead of the bare minimum.
- Dean enjoyed a lemonade while answering questions tonight.
Warcraft Mobile Game
- Dean will not confirm if he has played the new Warcraft mobile game, but we can ask him when it comes out.
Dean Ayala's Q&A #39 Transcript
Hearthstone AMA #39 4:00PM - 5:00PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…) https://t.co/i9SZsS3rLw (Source)
@IksarHS anything to tease about the next expansion??? https://t.co/Jy1ybkXpVx
@navyverdant the expansion trailer slaps (Source)
@IksarHS @navyverdant True (Source)
@IksarHS What's your favorite minion play line or attack line in HS?
@MyntyPhresh antonidas 'haha' trigger line is hilarious to me play line, so many good ones "This document looks legally binding" is a random line I always said out loud when I played twilight summoner. (Source)
@IksarHS Good takes Also - "WAIT- WHAT!?"
@MyntyPhresh @IksarHS "THAT'S AN UPGRADE! … probably." (Source)
@IksarHS Any update on the new BG menus UI and light progression mentioned before ?
@Arkentass we're still working on it, menu ui will probably get a light refresh followed by brainstorm for a bigger refresh with more features progression stuff is being build, you'll see it when we've got something a bit more complete to show (Source)
@IksarHS What is the process like for pitching an expansion? And what about a year long story driven expansions like this last year, do you pitch all 3 expansions at the same time?
@BionicDoor 20-25 people go into a room with a whiteboard (or a zoom meeting with a miro board) and talk about ideas set lead + expansion lead + director talk about the good ideas from that meeting and pick something not quite as scientific as it probably should be, but we're working on it (Source)
@BionicDoor I'd like us to be a little bit more data informed on the kinds of things our global audience think is cool. We have some gut opinions on that obviously but we could do better research. We're trying to now. (Source)
@IksarHS Welcome back for the AMAs! Terms like "polarization" and "non-games" have become pretty common when the (highly engaged) public talks about Hearthstone. What super sicrit Hearthstone lingo does the team use behind-the-scenes that the public doesn't - if anything comes to mind?
@corbettgames Nothing comes to mind that isn't just an internal meme. And honestly I'm so old school I probably just use a bunch of memes the team doesn't use anymore. @Chakki_HS makes fun of me, sigh (Source)
@IksarHS My only question is: Do we have anything Dr. Boom related coming in the future? Praying for a skin of him in the future :)
@machadogps I ….. don't think so. I'm not an expert on all of our upcoming cosmetic stuff so there might be hope. Sorry! (Source)
@IksarHS What's you favorite deck to play right now, be it meta or otherwise? (Finding ways to abuse Amulet in Mage is becoming a fun passtime)
@WardrumHS I autocompleted a big spell mage deck for a quest and just kept playing it because it was fun. 100 games later still queuing it… (Source)
@IksarHS @hsdecktech What was your favorite thing that Ben implemented in his time as game director
@jcandance @hsdecktech Ben was always a loud voice promoting the release of quality content. It can be easy to get in the mindset of releasing the minimal required thing but he always pushed for a higher standard. I respect and appreciate that about him. (Source)
@IksarHS What do you think about buffing iconic cards with cool designs for Wild? Reddit has some great posts about this with many ideas, and I think it would be awesome to see that more often and focused for Wild so people can experiment and play with those sweet designs.
@AlonsoArrietaC1 Wild is a powerful format, I think for any card to compete it would have to be buffed to a level there may be more risk than reward. Buffs in general are low reward and high risk. What you want for them is to fit in this very tight window of success. (Source)
@AlonsoArrietaC1 Take something that is low play rate and make it slightly higher play rate. Almost no one wants a card to be taken from low to high. The success cases are very hard to hit. (Source)
@IksarHS Given that the mercs are (I presume) not coming back, what kinds of portraits should we expect from next year's reward tracks? Will there be a new round of characters, or more revisiting of alternates for the og 10? (also, voidtouched xyrella when 😁)
@Hyperin7 We aren't doing a year-long storyline so you can expect themes that fall in line with that current expansion. Hard to give examples without spoilers. If we released GvG 2 you could expect some cool goblins and some cool gnomes… followed by something totally different. (Source)
@IksarHS Are class identities still a thing and if so, do we get an update what they're supposed to look like?
@Banez_86 We talk about class identities internally, one of the harder things to agree on. Unlikely to get an external update anytime soon but we're actively thinking about an update internally. (Source)
@IksarHS how different do you expect next year's expansions to be,compared to year of the gryphon's?
@ArthurzimZZZ More fine-tune than mass overhaul. More big addition than big subtraction. Less generic hand-wide cost reduction, less otk. No year long storyline, one or two themes you probably would expect, at least one you probably wouldn't. (Source)
@IksarHS Old twitter faithful is back! I got a question about core set changes; have you guys considered modifying fitting old cards with certain keywords that could come back in if they didn't have the keyword?
@JiminatorHS I think the answer is no but it is a good question. We'd have to be very excited about a particular card and very not excited about its keyword to put ourselves in that position. I don't think that has come up. (Source)
@IksarHS Is there anything you can say about The Excess Coins problem in Mercenaries other than what we already know? Which is basically that the team is aware of it.
@AlonsoArrietaC1 I am starting to get a little involved in mercenaries and all I can say for now is that it is one of the problems that pains the mercs lead more than any other. Actively thinking about solutions but nothing to talk about at this moment. (Source)
@IksarHS Any update about the new Arena matchmaking/ranking system since the last time?
@PersiaAndre we have a 'modes' team now that something like this would fall under and they took on a rather intensive project recently when that is finished, probably 1-2 months, that team will start planning for the long-term future of arena/tb/duels/singleplayer (Source)
@PersiaAndre those modes will still have some support and be updated, but unlikely to see major features in the short-term (Source)
@IksarHS @PersiaAndre https://t.co/cXtQZmz3gi (Source)
@IksarHS In terms of card design What will the team focus on? I really hope board matters more Control needs a comeback Plz no more infinite value in one card
@ZeNoLifeKing1 hard problem to solve, but we are working on it increased card power across the board means cards that cost 6+ mana have to either do many things at once or do one thing so well it heavily swings the game (or wins it) (Source)
@ZeNoLifeKing1 so it's not really that card design philosophy has changed to be more otk or jack of all trades friendly, it's that slow power increase over time means cards are forced to be this way to compete (Source)
@ZeNoLifeKing1 not impossible to solve, just a tricky balance we do know the correct solution is probably not to just release very low power expansions that don't see play, have to make a bigger, wider change (Source)
@ZeNoLifeKing1 we considered that for this year, but felt there was still enough room to work in while also decreasing OTK or minimally interactive strategies that said, we have some long term solutions in mind but nothing to announce (Source)
@IksarHS Looking back on 8 years since Hearthstone launched today (congrats!) what has surprised you most how the game has evolved?
@ben_heathstone It's still incredibly popular as a game and successful as a business 8 years in. I honestly thought it was going to be something I loved in a very niche space when we launched. It blew those expectations away and maintained them all this time <3 (Source)
@IksarHS Are they any plans to expand on the achievements system? We have this currency that has no use whatsoever besides bragging rights, are they any plans to convert this to a currency that will allow us to purchase something eventually? cosmetics maybe? TIA! c.c @Celestalon
@NinoMH @IksarHS Achievement Points are a 'high score', for tracking, not a currency. There are many achievements that grant a reward (and we will continue to make more), but no plans to turn your score into a currency. (Source)
@IksarHS I know that you like to have multiple viable decks for each class but could you do a ranking of the 10 classes from most aggro to most control from your perspective? I'd be fascinated to see how they line up and if they match the rough class identities of old.
@LeBruce this question would take so much time to answer appropriately i'm going to skip it i did want to say hi though hi ian! (Source)
@IksarHS If a card was made specifically for the current core set but it won't be part of the next core set, where will it go? Thanks :D
@Elbardo_ts you'll get a new card in its place that old card will become craftable and part of the legacy set tagging @Celestalon in case I am totally wrong (Source)
@IksarHS @Elbardo_ts Correct. (Source)
@IksarHS What can you tell us about #HSDuels that @Tabayrak won't/can't? https://t.co/y19yRqN1Rq
@AshLinaDaniels @IksarHS @IksarHS don't do it. (Source)
@Tabayrak @AshLinaDaniels I was going to answer but I guess Ates is the boss so sorry nothing for you! (ates is duels dad he will sprinkle you with info as he sees fit!) (Source)
@IksarHS @Tabayrak Damn u @Tabayrak for duelsblocking me! Gimme sumtin!!
@AshLinaDaniels @IksarHS HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (Source)
@Tabayrak @IksarHS Pwetty pwease??? https://t.co/0bXwSlAmvf
@AshLinaDaniels @IksarHS I forgot, what was your question? (Source)
@Tabayrak @IksarHS Tell us stuff u won't tell us please?
@Tabayrak Before u evade, the question is about Duels and completely logical.
@AshLinaDaniels Diablo was a total experiment for us. Brad (who is real) and I wanted to test what a duel class hero was like among regular heroes. Overall we were really happy with how Big Red turned out and we are really excited to test those waters again. (Source)
@IksarHS If i remember correctly you said team is considering mass nerf to slow up the pace. Did it brought up again or team considered rotation is enough of a shake up? Even Scholomance and AoO leaving i kinda worry about pacing of standart because of expansions of this year
@hurtsbayar9 considered it for the upcoming expansion but ultimately decided no format was fun and we were confident we could deliver a fun experience without changing a wide pool of cards actively working on this for next year, though as always, will nerf as things come up (Source)
@IksarHS Are there still plans to make a diamond card for every expansion like you previously said? So far we’ve only seen Jandice and Ragnaros being added, and those were quite a while ago. Same thing with custom coins for old expacs.
@V_G50 yes maybe I say maybe because we're working on some other cosmetic stuff and I could see doing that in lieu of diamond. There will eventually be a cool reward for owning every set, though. Our current plan is still diamond. (Source)
@IksarHS Hardest boss in elden ring so far?
@KingVenomStream fallingstar beast, the one at the end of sellia crystal tunnel I haven't come close (Source)
@IksarHS Just wanted to say thanks for finding time to do AMAs again. Since it's AMA and i should ask something. What do You drink while answering us?
@Moluk13 i am currently having a lemonade (Source)
@IksarHS What makes designing a new card or mechanic exciting? Is there any in the works that you’re hyped about announcing/discussing?
@christianivanaj Yeah! The 'major' thing for the next set is one of my favorite things we've done. Hearthstone is my all-time favorite game (along with WoW) so it's still very easy for me to get excited about making it. (Source)
@IksarHS If you could go back in time to the launch and give the team any advice, what would it be?
@celazure101 I'd tell them that this game is going to be a massive success and that with success come expectations. Don't let expectations overwhelm your every thought. Reflect on success and celebrate it. Reflect on failure and celebrate the knowledge you gained. Remember to have fun. (Source)
@IksarHS Right now, there’s no way to report abusive behavior in Hearthstone chat (hate speech, threats, etc.), either on the client or on the Blizzard support site. What’s the reasoning behind this? Any thought it might change?
@shoutingboy we're working on it! (Source)
@IksarHS Any chance for an Elden Ring version of Hearthstone?
@TortillaFlat11 this sounds like something an executive would say, you've got potential (i kid, executives pls don't smite me) (Source)
@IksarHS Is there a downside to having skill based matchmaking in arena? I feel that new players having to struggle and win like 20-30% of their games while experienced players win 70% is unhealthy and doesnt promote new players at all.
@TeamAmericaHS I think if you posted this on the arena reddit you'd get absolutely roasted. Not to say it's a bad, but just to say that this has continually been discussed as a terrible idea to the very engaged community. I think it would be overall positive in the long-term, maybe not short. (Source)
@IksarHS What would you say is the best example of a game that’s aged well? Specifically one that has constant updates (I.e. LoL, HS, WoW, etc)
@Mojopowell_HS I'll give a non-bias answer LoL, Rocket League, Magic, Warframe, Destiny probably LoL is the best one, they are old as dirt and still manage to feel like a 'new' game Multipronged attack through community, esports, publishing, and dev. Very well managed game and IP. (Source)
@IksarHS can i be 4mana?
@NSaraad no stop asking me saraad it's getting old (Source)
@IksarHS How do you stop yourself from bragging every hour of the day about having the best wife ever and cutest dogs? :) <3 @ItsMeMollyO
@ShayedSays @ItsMeMollyO HI! hope you two are great and yes molly and dogs are megagreat and I am very lucky :) (Source)
@IksarHS In your opinion, where would you rank the next expansion in terms of epicness? (Cool cards, flavor, mechanics)
@Pokeniner2 cool cards YES flavor YES mechanics YES I think this will be a fan favorite (Source)
@IksarHS Hi Dean
@ggahSoO hello (Source)
@IksarHS Have you played the Warcraft mobile game? Yes/No is enough! :)
@tharid NO COMMENT ask me again soon (Source)
@IksarHS As an arena player is there a way you can completely elimate ways to get banned cards? Most importantly can you change the ability to get hero cards from random generation and discover pools? Ty for your time 😎
@lil_robitussin1 @IksarHS Yeah I want raid boss onyxia and the hero cards to be completely yeeted from the mode including from card generation
@ultrarotom @IksarHS Dang I thought for sure he was finna answer this 😅
@lil_robitussin1 @ultrarotom not an easy engineering task despite seeming like it might be if it was free we'd just do it, I'll talk to @Chakki_HS and @BoarControl about options, I know they've discussed it in the past (Source)
@IksarHS May be an odd question and I know you have thought about it in the past but any chance of achievements for the older dungeon runs ?
@EliteLeafHater want to do, on backlog (Source)