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.
- As usual, not everything in AMAs becomes a real thing in Hearthstone - keep that in mind!
Sidenote, if you are interested in Wild, you should check out our Wild reviews for Voyage to the Sunken City! Standard class reviews of the expansion and Core Set are on their way.
Hearthstone's Core Set
- There are two goals for a Core Set:
- Teach Hearthstone to new players as they level up.
- Give players tools for archetypes built in expansions.
- The teams are currently quite happy with Tradeable.
- We don't see Tradeable in the Core set because they don't want too much of it in Standard.
- Cards should be run because they are desired for their entire effect, not just to draw other cards.
- Gallon wouldn't be surprised to see Tradeable in the Core set in the future.
Year of the Hydra
- All the expanions this year are standalone - no year-long story.
- Don't expect any hints about the new expansions.
- The nerf-reverts that happened for newly-sent-to-wild cards are easy to explain:
- Revert a card nerf if it would be good for the health of the game.
- Keep a card nerfed if it would be a negative.
- The golden upgrade feature is coming, timing is to be determined.
- If they could, they would let players transfer their accounts across regions.
- The game is setup in a way that makes it "extremely intensive" on the development side of things if they were to attempt such a feat.
- It is unlikely we'll see region transfers.
- There has been a real consideration about changing the Classic format to being a rotating sets format.
Duels & Battlegrounds
- Duels is still in active development.
- Duels has no new big-ticket features in the near to mid term.
- They do want to fix intentional disconnects in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. It is unlikely we'll see anything soon though as the team is busy with other things.
- Battlegrounds will be receiving a homescreen UI overhaul in the future.
- One thing Battlegrounds will get in the future is a place to see important news in-game.
- Some folks on the team want to do Tavern Brawls for Battlegrounds.
- That needs to be weighed against other features like progression, tournaments, duos, and home screen updates.
- They also need to make sure enough design space exists before committing to building the tech.
- All products they put in the shop are an experiment at the end of the day.
- They try their best to guess what players would be happy paying for a particular product.
- Dean could see them doing another card like Toki, Time-Tinker. Time travel is certain an ongoing theme in Warcraft - there's a whole dragonflight for it!
- The class ban limited-time feature that Dean has talked about in the past is still something he wants to do.
- It is not currently on the schedule but there's a good chance we'll see it.
- Elevator Pitch regarding Wild:
- They make a new set of cards that is made up of old Hearthstone favourites and some new wild-only cards.
- This becomes the pack to buy if you want to play wild.
- There are some ideas being considered, early in the process, but they like it as a starting concept.
Dean "Iksar" Ayala
- Since his title change, he's been focusing less on design and more long-term goals and thinking about leadership.
- Dean will be having dinner this evening with Ben Brode.
Dean Ayala's Q&A #40 Transcript
Quote From Dean Ayala
Hearthstone AMA #41 4:30PM - 5:30PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…or elden ring…) https://t.co/W1FtCHGp2c (Source)
@IksarHS What’s the next least memorable card after Worgen Greaser? I’ve got some long term plans… (Source)
@GallonHS that one warrior card that cleaves, it's a 5/3 or something, so unmemorable i can't remember the name (Source)
@IksarHS @GallonHS You mean 5/4? ;)
@MyntyPhresh @IksarHS @GallonHS One of my friends conviced me to craft two Magnataur Alphas to style on people with the Charge combo for board clear… it’s an epic.
@JohnEvMcIntyre @MyntyPhresh @GallonHS funny magnataur alpha note: i once looked on hearthpwn for a card and noticed there was a 'amount of times clicked on' field. I reordered it to list the cards backwards, and magnataur alpha was the least clicked card, therefore I dubbed it least known hearthstone card … (Source)
@JohnEvMcIntyre @MyntyPhresh @GallonHS and even though that story exists, I referred to that story many times, i still forgot its name a very strong case for least memorable (Source)
@IksarHS What was your favorite part of Elden Ring? Haven't played it yet but I heard it's great!
@EnderPl97808651 by far the world, exploring the world, the secret little areas you discover incredible, by far the best world for exploration i've ever played on console (Source)
@IksarHS Whats the first deck youre playing once Sunken City drops?
@MyntyPhresh whatever deck is #1 in our data when i get off work tryhard engaged (Source)
@IksarHS How does the Team feel the first edition of the core set went? I noticed a number of cards that were never used through the entire year. Is that ideal?
@RTwoCTwo the core set has two goals teach hearthstone to new players as they level up and earn cards be a baseline toolkit for archetypes we build in expansions so players can always have a reasonable starting point cards that aren't powerful are usually accomplishing the first goal (Source)
@IksarHS Hello Lord @IksarHS, hope fam is doing well. Can you give us an insight of the stories that will be told during the Year of the Hydra? Gotta admit Year of the Gryphon had an amazing work w the story of the Mercs… really loved it 💛
@HolyKnight077 We are doing 3 standalone settings, no plans for another year long storyline atm. No hints beyond that! (Source)
@IksarHS 2 questions 1. golden upgrade feature was data-mined iirc - any news on that? 2. is there a chance we see the 'inherit' mechanic again?
@UltiKon_HS 1. it's coming, time tbd 2. maybe, it's rather complicated and I don't think there is a ton of design space even if it made for a cool card. It was designed with a heavy emphasis on telling a top-down story of that character. If another character story fit the mechanic, then yeah (Source)
@IksarHS Will a one time region transfer ~ever~ be considered? Feels bad moving continents then feeling like your collection is permanently stuck somewhere else. Invested $ and time into golden cards/heroes/etc. now I have to choose between that or playing the game w/ friends
@mkhayden7 If we could snap our fingers and it would be done we wouldn't have a problem doing this. Our game is set up in a way where having a player-driven process for doing this would be extremely time intensive on dev side. So that said, unlikely to happen. Sorry :( (Source)
@IksarHS Could ”from the past” ever see a return in a card in the future? It’s a mechanic I absolutely loved back when Toki was in standard because of the ”wild” things she could do :D https://t.co/MCiTl7iZue
@V_G50 Definitely could see bring it back. Time travel is a big thing in warcraft universe, there is a whole dragonflight dedicated to it…. Seems like a good space if we ever do more bronze dragonflight stuff….. which we will surely (Source)
@IksarHS How do you feel about a rotating format in which only selected sets are legal. Like the Expedition format in Eternal… Also, the Tasks Rework in Mercs is awesome, I hope the endgame rewards will be good enough cause opening packs becomes awful at some point.
@AlonsoArrietaC1 we've been talking about shifting classic to a format like this instead of being just classic real consideration here and not just discussion (Source)
@IksarHS diamond Drek'thar is super expensive for a single card. Even thijs thinks so. Is this an experiment?
@Jotarun basically all shop products are an experiment to see what players are happy to buy at what price points we start from very educated guesses, but still always looking to shift to what players expect and are willing to spend (Source)
@IksarHS Have your work process changes since acquiring the new title? And how?
@SnuggleKingHS mostly the same, just shifts in time management Spend more time thinking about the long-term future and less time in the now. Little more time thinking about leadership and less time about design. Less time about expansions and more time about the rest of the team. (Source)
@IksarHS Hi Iksar! Duels lately become my fav mode. When I see new roadmap there was no plan for future Duels mode after this week big patch. It's intended or maybe secretly added later? Do you reading manga? Kaiju no. 8 my latest manga addition :)
@vivamagician duels still being actively updated by @Tabayrak, Brad (does brad have twitter!?!), and @themattlondon I'd expect updates in the realm of what you've seen but no big ticket features in the near to mid term plans (Source)
@IksarHS The Great Rune description says all reborn by Rennala are fragile creatures. Since I haven’t tried it, does that make me a stronk boi?
@DBAJohnBarhorst only if you have 60+ strength (Source)
@IksarHS Do you feel like some of the recently unnerfed cards might have to get nerfed again?
@ultrarotom maybe, I hear @ZeddyHS is campaigning I am a former expert on this subject, though. @GallonHS @Chakki_HS @BoarControl and @AlecoGereco rule this domain now (Source)
@IksarHS Current anime watch list? If you could rewatch any anime and experience it for the first time, what would it be?
@Goonrable just finished attack on titan and demon slayer currently watching ranking of kings looking forward to bubble (movie) and spy family coming out and easily naruto + naruto shippuden (Source)
@IksarHS Can you talk at all about the philosophy behind the recent Wild reverts? A lot of people from the community are wondering why they seemed so “light” especially when the team reverted what many would consider a problem card (Kael’thas)? Thanks!
@victorabaxter the philosophy is simple, revert cards that would make wild more fun, don't revert cards that would make wild less fun that is obviously a subjective thought, but that is the goal (Source)
@IksarHS Don't know if it's been asked yet, but do you have a favourite Elden RIng boss fight? And boss theme?
@AmescaleJ there were a lot of cool encounters but by far my favorite was dragonlord placidusax less about mechanics, more about vibe, environment, intro, how it's hidden, the VFX mechanics were also cool (Source)
@IksarHS no questions about those but how's your day going?
@real_silverUwU it's good looking foreward to having dinner later with mr hearthstone himself @bbrode (Source)
@IksarHS Any plans to implement the class ban idea you were tossing around before? Even as a limited time experiment? Thanks Dean!
@TitanofTea absolutely want to do this still in a limited time capacity and see how it goes we need a little extra UI bandwidth and a little engineering bandwidth to do the research and get it done not on the schedule yet but a good chance you'll see it (Source)
@IksarHS What rotating card was your favorite? I loved illucia and her effect and really wished she had been reverted.
@celazure101 omg same, I loved original illucia and rue the day she was taken from me all my favorite cards do mean stuff to my opponent, so probably best we don't design for me specifically (Source)
@IksarHS Thank you for doing these AMA’s! When you do announcements, could you please add one or more (common) timezone(s)? The other day for instance: “Theorycraft event starts at 9 AM PST”. Just add: (6PM CET) or: (5PM GMT). Would save a lot of Googling.
@Ocelot_HS I will keep this in mind, thanks for feedback. (Source)
@IksarHS Has there been discussion you would be able to share to fix intentional disconnecting in BGs? One idea: Setting the max time allotted to people that got disconnected to 60 seconds (if there would be more time they have to wait until this point) Thoughts on this?
@MinderRoots It's on a real list of things we want to do when we can make time, unlikely you'll see a fix soon, though. BG team is working on a whole bunch of things right now. (Source)
@IksarHS Thoughts on adding a Mailbox or similar systems for BG related changes There have been a lot of smaller adjustments to for example armor or hotfixes. Currently there seems to be no easily accessible information network within the game to make players aware or such adjustments.
@MinderRoots would like to do this our plan is to rework the bg home screen at some point and having a notification area where you can see important news is on the list (Source)
@IksarHS Back in Stormwind, you mentioned how you considered adding the Tradeable keyword into the core set with the addition of swapping out an old one. Is that not happening now?
@GolemYo I know it was discussed, though I am not a part of building the core set so I can't speak to the reasons why not. Maybe @GallonHS or @Chakki_HS can speak to it when they are around! (Source)
@IksarHS @GolemYo @Chakki_HS Teams quite happy with Tradeable, however it’s a keyword that you can have too much of in any standard environment. Need to make sure that players aren’t just running tradeable cards to solely be a 1 mana draw a card effect. (Source)
@IksarHS @GolemYo @Chakki_HS Persistent peddler is a good example of a card straddling that line. It was meant to be a piece that supported deathrattle Dh while playing off tradeable in an interesting way, but it’s current usage is almost solely limited to its interaction with tuskpiercer in quest Dh. (Source)
@IksarHS @GolemYo @Chakki_HS Have to be very careful with tradeable that we don’t go over that line of cards only being played to be traded away. With that being said, wouldn’t be surprised to see tradeable at some point in the future. (Source)
@IksarHS Has the idea of wild exclusive support cards ever been throw around? To breathe some new life into set specific archetypes ie Jade rogue, OG C’thun, etc.
@YesPaladin elevator pitch: we make a new set of cards made up of mostly old hearthstone favorites, but also some new cards that go straight to wild to support archetypes that are fun but were never quite powerful enough becomes the pack you buy if you want to play wild (Source)
@YesPaladin @themattlondon and co have been cooking up some ideas in this space very early but we like it as a starting concept (Source)
@IksarHS Saw you already responded about the upgrade to gold feature but is there any sort of timeline for it? Was really looking forward to opening prerelease packs without worrying about losing dust on regular copies of cards I plan on crafting gold.
@jdeg86126366 to be honest, yes, there is a timeline I try not to be specific even in cases where we have a good idea when something is going to land but aren't 100% yet. It will get taken as a quote, circulated, then people may be confused when it doesn't land. (Source)
@jdeg86126366 soon tho! (Source)
@IksarHS Will Diamond Loatheb be available to players that bought the adventure, beat it, but disenchanted some of the cards? I really dont want to recraft Maexxna and other legendaries I will never use… Really want that Diamond tho!
@IksarHS also, blizzard art team is 10.5/10 🙏
@SteffiVgc agree (Source)
@IksarHS What do you think about Battlegrounds Tavern Brawls? If you ever added it to the game it would need a better name, like Battlegrounds Mystery Mode or something
@_Andrew44 I know there are a few on the team that think it would be awesome. Have to weigh it against other features like progression, tournaments, duos, home screen updates, etc. We'd also have to be sure there is enough design space before committing to building the tech. (Source)
A Second Dinner?
Yes! C'mon blizzard, just do it!!! We are SCREAMING AT YOU FOR THIS! WE NEED IT!
> Revert a card nerf if it would be good for the health of the game.
For me, this is huge, I've oppened the rogue questline and I wanted gold, and feel so bad desenchant for 400 dust and spend 3200 for making gold.
Hope that come soon as possible
"We don't see Tradeable in the Core set because they don't want too much of it in Standard.
This comment feels really out of touch with how Hearthstone is actually played. 99% of decks rely on a few really powerful cards: for example Shadow priest relying on Voidtouched Attendant & Raise Dead. This is just one example and i think most experienced players will know that pretty much all decks have a few cards that are super strong and where the play is often to look for these cards.
I would play Classic forever if it sticks to the Year of the Mammoth
Your opinions are your own, but this is mostly how I recall that year: Quest rogue, pirate warrior, jade druid, druid-being-so-far-into-S-tier-it-can-win-with-anything-it-likes-Stone, cube-lock with way too much healing, Kingsbane with permanent lifesteal... I swear people view the Year of the Mammoth with rose-tinted lenses that might as well be made out of actual rose petals. The year had plenty of cool stuff, but its metas generated just as many complaints as any other, so I've never really understood all the love it gets.
Year of the mammoth was the ungoro-kobolds years, and its unsurprising that many look back at it fondly. Whatever anyone may feel about that era, its undeniable that it was during that time that hearthstone was at its peak, in terms of players and esport scene. The quests were good, but nowhere near as cancerous and unfun as stormwind's, hero cards feel fresh and impactful, and you get to do silly things like having a board of king krushes.
Of course that meta had its own problems: going against druid is like a coin flip, kingsbane rogue have little to no counters, raza priest, cubelock, evolve shaman, the Bonemare universe, etc. But if you asked me if I could pick a year to go back to, it would be year of the mammoth.
As I said to Zyella below, I wonder if the fact quests and hero cards are normal now will diminish people's enjoyment if we actually went back there. After all, people loved the DKs intially, but really loathed them by the end and I'd be surprised if people really returned to their original mindset on that. (Rexxar might get away with it without Vicious Scalehide in the pool though.) Replace the feeling of trying new stuff with just trying to get an old favourite to work, and suddenly the meta becomes a bigger impediment to enjoyment. That's been my personal experience with Classic, and why I never touch it despite loving it back in 2014.
I'm not sure going back to any era would circumvent that of course. Perhaps the best approach would actually be to pick any era but add nerfs like they would these days (rather than the old attitude of very rarely changing things), or even outright ban un-fixable cards. So we could experience Naxx without Undertaker being rampant, or MSoG without Patches, for example. It would be the 99% the same from a deck-building standpoint, but a completely different meta that allows for experimentation.
Year of the mammoth was when i played the most Hearthstone basicly out of any year/time in HS.
Kingsbane with lifesteal wasnt ever a super populair deck or a very good winrate (tier 4 /bottom tier 3 for most) and its oneof y all time favorite decks and is my second most played deck of all (after Jade Rogue)
Quest rogue got nerfed and in kobolds (which what a year of mammoth mode would most likly be on) it really wasnt prominent
Thing i liked the least was physic scream and how common bigpriest was
But even as strong as they where, the power lvl was alot more reasonable overall then current day HS, and just despite druid was alot more you could do/ Get away with alot more then can in current HS.
Maybe its not logica , but i personaly really really lliked HS during that time period, far far more then HS in current day
There was definitely a time when Kingsbane rogue was very popular, but it wasn't right at K&C launch due to druid bs. I remember facing lots of rogues and just praying they didn't draw Leeching Poison because it was pretty much game over as soon as they did. For the record, I loved playing that Kingsbane rogue too, but stopped playing it quickly because I felt so dirty with it.
Anyway, I do agree it was notably better than the Year of the Phoenix, since the Barrens was kinda uninteresting and UiS questlines have messed things up since. But if I had to order my favourite HS years Mammoth would only end up somewhere in the middle. It was perhaps the most flashy - adding several new card types - and that probably contributes a lot to people's fond memories. But I wonder how well that would hold up today when quests and hero cards are commonplace? It might be like Classic, which I know I loved in 2014 but I can't muster any interest in it now it's all so well established. If that attitude is common, then people might see Mammoth for its metas rather than the newness of it all.
i hope Ben talk sense to iksar...
Well, Metamorphosis and Warglaives of Azzinoth are still currently nerfed, and quite frankly would be unplayable in both wild and standard even if they were reverted. And yet for some reason we're seeing Kael'thas Sunstrider unnerfed. You can make a case for metamorphosis but certainly not warglaives.
As for the price of a diamond card, Im genuinely curious to know the buy rates. Because we're not buying a legendary card here, that's the price of a skin. Hopefully the rates are low enough so blizz dont start getting stupid ideas.
My assumption is they've looked at the whole upcoming year to make those adjustments. No point in unnerfing something if they have to nerf it again in 4 or 8 months.
If I'm being completely honest, I'm not sure what I think of the "wild only set" idea. Only because Wild is already a pretty powerful place. To make an expansion that is Wild Only, even if only some of the cards are actually new, they'd have to make them pretty powerful to see play in Wild. So with that in mind... why not just do normal, Standard sets like they do now? The handful of powerful cards that are either very strong on their own or boost existing Wild archetypes are kind of like the smaller set they would otherwise be making for Wild only anyway. The main difference I guess being that in a Wild Only set where only some of the cards are actually new, it'd be easier for Wild players who already have most or all of the older cards in that set to open packs and only get the new cards.
Ultimately I guess I'd have to see what they come up with.
Another idea could be adding a mini-set to each set that is pre-Outlands. Do two class cards for the original 9, four cards for DH, and then some neutrals. Then if you want them, buy some of the old packs or craft the card(s) you want!
I think what Dean is talking about is more of a "Getting Started with Wild" bundle.
Didn't think of that.
I pictured something like "here are our favorite cards/mechanics from year of the ..."
Then add in say a legendary weapon for DH since it wasn't around for Kobolds and catacombs.
Or Making Mummies and reborn didn't quite get enough play space so they add a few more to give it a boost.
Even reworks of cards that never saw use but that they have no intention of pulling into core anytime soon. I.e. Flame Leviathan.
Just ideas but a think a themed set once a year with some reprints and splashy new cards would be nice to shake up wild a bit. As for "Why not in standard" question, I think they can target and push power levels a bit more if they go directly to wild.