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!
How To Be Wrong 101
- "cake sucks" (Source)
Voyage to the Sunken City
- There will be a mini-set for Voyage to the Sunken City.
- Yesterday they were brainstorming future expansions and "a certain old god" was very high on the list.
- For context, this was in reference to someone stating they missed N'Zoth.
- We will get to see an actual new card type, like the playable Hero cards, in the future.
- This card type has finished development and they are now waiting to ship it.
- They have been busy figuring out a solution for Arena balance and will be talking, internally, next week about solutions.
- According to Matt London, Cora seems to be working on something for Arena. (Source)
- We've previously known that Cora has worked on Arena stuff during Free Your Mind.
- Dean would love to do a StarCraft crossover in Battlegrounds, but nothing is planned for anytime in the next year.
- Classic was only really played for a couple of weeks.
- Adding Naxxramas to Classic only adds in 30 cards and doesn't feel very compelling. They want to think bigger.
- Classic will either get Naxxramas or get replaced by something else.
- Here are the current things being discussed as a possible replacement for Classic - not final!
- A rotating group of sets, but not frequently rotating.
- They have been considering Classic -> Mean Streets of Gadgetzan for the first rotation.
- A Casual replacement. Works like ranked ladder but your opponents are all bots.
- A format that uses only the current year of Hearthstone cards instead of Standard's 2.
- A rotating group of sets, but not frequently rotating.
- They may create some "straight to wild" cards.
- They are working on endgame. Nothing to talk about right now.
- It's a bad thing if all your games feel like a coin flip. Like most things, it's just a balance.
- Decks should have weaknesses and because of that, some games are going to feel polarized.
- All classes will eventually play with spell schools, it just needs to fit themes.
- We could see Fire Warrior or Frost Rogue if that were to make sense.
- They feel that Twinspell as a mechanic is difficult to have design space for which means it is unlikely we'll see it again.
- There was a Weapon that had a Battlecry that destructed the middle of the board, destroying minions.
- The board also separated so the two sides (left and right) couldn't interact with each other.
- Dean did say why this experiment never became a thing.
- We'll get to see some more WoW TCG Art in new cards (unsure if collectible cards) over the next year.
- They don't use a lot of WoW TCG art anymore because they have used most of it, and they prefer new art that fits their current standards and style.
- If Drek'Thar gets rebalanced, Dean isn't sure what would happen to people who purchased it with real money. "A hard problem for our commercial team".
- They try to choose Diamond cards based on how iconic a card will be for the set.
- Older Diamond cards get chosen based on how cool of an animation they could make for the art.
- Upgrade to Golden feature is coming soon.
- The team wishes they had more in-game events.
- Dean says that events are really spaced-out and they don't feel robust.
- A dedicated team now exists that works on events so we should get to see different types of events in the future.
- New events will start small and get bigger and better over time.
- They know that storage size is a problem for the game. They lose players every day because of the game being too big.
- A big problem of the game's size is all the unique audio files and how they require everything to be downloaded instead of packages of things.
- It is unlikely they'll patch the game more than once a month.
- Patches are "extremely people intensive".
- It is more likely they will try to develop technologies that let them fix bugs in data-only patches or server patches that can't be done right now.
Dean Ayala's Q&A #42 Transcript
Quote From Dean Ayala
Hearthstone AMA #42 5:00PM - 5:45PM PST Ask me a question about Hearthstone! Or Design! (or anime…or elden ring…or fruit) https://t.co/X9RUSuWUDv
@IksarHS what does a pizza consultant do?
@RidiculousHat @IksarHS We are dying to know! (Source)
@Tabayrak @IksarHS paging @Flavio_ilZito to see if there are any follow up questions
@RidiculousHat @Tabayrak @IksarHS Yeah, where's the good Pizza in Orange County?
@Flavio_ilZito @RidiculousHat @Tabayrak i like pizza 900 or first class bjs isn't bad but it's almost not even pizza, it's like fluffy bread with cheese on it (Source)
@IksarHS @Flavio_ilZito @RidiculousHat @Tabayrak Did you ever try pizza 90 and what were your thoughts?
@Solid_monk @Flavio_ilZito @RidiculousHat @Tabayrak what is pizza 90 it's probably 10X worse than pizza 900 (Source)
@RidiculousHat depends on the needs of the restaurant Core Things: teach you to understand the margins on each of your menu items where to buy your product, how much of it to buy, and where to store it what equipment to buy, where to buy it from (Source)
@RidiculousHat but it can range pretty far hiring lease negotiation remodeling POS (point of sale system) training building a menu teaching how to cook said menu (Source)
@IksarHS @RidiculousHat What (Source)
@IksarHS @RidiculousHat That sounds more like my job as General Manager of Operations at the fast food burger chain I work at.
@Gambito_HS @IksarHS yeah i'm a gm at a large corporate movie theatre chain and dean described all the things i do almost every day - only things missing are performance management, facilities/maintenance, and loss prevention
@RidiculousHat @IksarHS yeah, pretty much. plus equipment and personnel management, training and standardization on my end.
@Gambito_HS @IksarHS but a lot of this is perpetual work once the base is established, at which point the consultant has already been well paid and moved on to the next new business ;)
@RidiculousHat @IksarHS yeah, we do hace consultants that pretty much lay in the groundwork and general direction of every side of the business, after that, it’s my job and the other managers to see it though/maintain and execute it over time.
@Gambito_HS @RidiculousHat restaurant consultants exist because the people that buy restaurants often times have zero experience ever running a restuarant when they need lettuce they go to ralphs they sell a salad that costs them 7 dollars for 5 dollars it's agonizing, but feels good to help (Source)
@IksarHS Do you feel like matchups are becoming too polarized over the past few sets? If so, are there any overarching changes you'd like to make to address it?
@NautThatMeta Polarization is a topic I've talked about many times. In some ways, polarization is good. If I were to ask players if it's a good thing that every deck has a weakness, the answer would probably be yes. Yet when that weak matchup happens, it's a polarized matchup. (Source)
@NautThatMeta It's a bad thing if every game feels like a coin flip, of course. Like most things, it's just a balance. Your deck should have weaknesses. Some games are going to feel polarized because having weaknesses is a thing. It shouldn't feel like that every game. (Source)
@IksarHS Thoughts on using more WoW TCG art in expansion cards? I know you’ve basically moved away from using any TCG art in new cards in favor of original art, but I think it’s fun to see art that you can recognize from the TCG, and there are still some nice artworks left in there.
@V_G50 I wonder if we even do this anymore. @Celestalon would probably know. We've mined many of the quality pieces we wanted from the WoW TCG at this point. I'm not sure how much there is left. (Source)
@IksarHS @V_G50 In general, as Dean said, we've already used most of it, and we prefer to make fancy new art that fits our current standards and style. That said, we do still pull from old TCG art from time to time. There are several coming in the next year, in fact. (Source)
@Celestalon @IksarHS @V_G50 When is Elendril going to be in the game?
@bmkibler @IksarHS @V_G50 Probably when you win Worlds. (Source)
@IksarHS @V_G50 @Celestalon I spent so much time rapidly looking through all the WoW TCG art to find re-uses for single player content.
@Chaemirix @V_G50 @Celestalon yeah gio already took it all (Source)
@IksarHS @hsdecktech what was a Colossal idea that was left on the table?
@jcandance @hsdecktech They don't let me design cards anymore, unfortunately. Maybe @MyntyPhresh or @JohnEvMcIntyre would know. (Source)
@IksarHS Let's say you balance adjust Drek'Thar. What's the refund policy for Diamond Drek'thar owners?
@J_Alexander_HS Not sure, sounds like a hard problem for our commercial team! (Source)
@IksarHS Is Physical spell school something you'd consider adding in the future? I think Rogues and Warriors spell school synergies would've been interesting.
@imik_plays We considered it, ultimately decided not to. All classes will play with spell schools at some point. You might see a fire warrior or frost rogue if the set makes sense for it. (Source)
@IksarHS Who do I talk to about getting this Dawngrasp portrait from Book of Mercenaries available in the shop? Because I will buy it. Twice. https://t.co/4p59VeVso5
@probzemily oo i love this portrait not sure I will ask almost always when a portrait exists but it's not a hero skin, it's because we didn't record all the necessary lines for it to be a hero skin (Source)
@IksarHS I know they just left, but can we have the Old Gods back. They too cool to be without. I miss my boy N’Zoth.
@BionicDoor we were brainstorming future expansions just yesterday and a certain old god was very high on the list… (Source)
@IksarHS How do you determine witch card in each set gets the diamond card treatment?
@lamri247 we try to choose a character that is iconic to the set for old cards we also try to use a character that has a pose we can animate to look cool for new cards this is less of a concern because we can commission the art with the diamond animation in mind (Source)
@IksarHS Is the team worried about HS's storage size? I put a lot of expectations at Merc and got a bit disapointed by the end result, but then I realised that my expectations where too high simply bcs you can't increase the file size of the game by 4 or 5 Gbs and leave at that+
@Shmilia UGH storage size. I'm not going to talk solutions because I'm not a tech person but yes it's top of mind. We lose players every day because our file size is too big, the solutions are just very, very difficult. (Source)
@Shmilia We have way too many unique sound files, we require you to download everything instead of packages of things. The tech solutions for streaming exactly what you want when you need it are (apparently and unsurprisingly) hard work. (Source)
@IksarHS How is your potential microadjust solution coming for arena there are some classes that are just unplayable right now and demon hunter and druid seem to need a tone down
@EliteLeafHater @themattlondon has been pretty busy but we'll talk next week about solutions i've played about 30 runs of arena in the last week and I'm tired of the Druids myself 😓 (Source)
@IksarHS Since Microsoft bought blizz, how likely is a console port of WoW or hearthstone/Which games would be most likely to get a console port if any and what's the process behind making it work? (sorry, FAT question)
@JockyRhonson I cannot answer any questions about acquisition related stuff. (Source)
@IksarHS @hsdecktech have you thought about adding any StarCraft content to Hearthstone I know we have Diablo and some Overwatch but I would love to see some StarCraft stuff maybe some hero skins would love to have a Queen of Blades Demon Hunter skin
@Sir_CharlesNC @hsdecktech I'd love to do this in BG first and see how it goes. We've thought a significant amount about exploring a new IP in some piece of major content. I think you'll see it, just not anytime in the next year. (Source)
@IksarHS This q wasn’t answered in previous AMA’s so if this isn’t the place for it just let me know, but I’d be eager to hear more about the design process for wild-focused cards (e.g. grizzled wizard or injured marauder)
@jjjjjj_wildhs We rarely design cards (ever?) for wild. Sometimes there are concepts that we know will be more interesting in Wild than they are in Standard, but we don't address problems in Wild through new card design. Yet…. (Source)
@IksarHS How many total Arena wins do you have (main server or cumulative across the 3 global servers)? Does anyone on the current Hearthstone team that wasn't a former "pro" have more? Same question about current gold.
@seewhykai 3000 or something, I'd guess @Songbird_HS has significantly more. Her stats embarrass mine last time we looked into it. As for gold, I always have 1k or around there. I keep that much to play arena as I choose but spend the rest on packs. Paul has the most gold by far. 100k+? (Source)
@IksarHS @seewhykai 🙃 https://t.co/dNTLt1FxUG (Source)
@Songbird_HS @seewhykai you are GAMER (Source)
@IksarHS @seewhykai Sage has more though I'm pretty sure. (Source)
@Songbird_HS @IksarHS @seewhykai This is why I'm glad you're working on the thing.
@themattlondon @IksarHS @seewhykai 👀 (Source)
@Songbird_HS @IksarHS @seewhykai Right there with you. https://t.co/ZkvKdMRQJl (Source)
@hsdecktech @Songbird_HS @IksarHS @seewhykai well now i just feel like a chump https://t.co/CtAk29sUMi
@paulsworkintwit @Songbird_HS @IksarHS @seewhykai We’re only a few years behind, Paul, we’ve got this. (Source)
@hsdecktech @Songbird_HS @IksarHS @seewhykai ……yeah. a few years behind. that's what we both are. you and me together. 👀💦
@paulsworkintwit @Songbird_HS @IksarHS @seewhykai The real tears were when I went 11-0 only to end it going 0-3. I’m pretty sure that was the last time I played Arena, lol. (Source)
@IksarHS How’s life?
@LWaechter25 ok, I have two very big things to finish in the next two weeks and hundred minor things baby is happy and healthy @ItsMeMollyO is great I have no games I'm really excited to play other than @PlayHearthstone tho post elden ring game depression… (Source)
@IksarHS Okay, finished Elden Ring since the last AMA, so I'm coming back with a new question. What are your thoughts on the final boss? I loved both's phases character design, but I was a bit let down by the fight's gameplay. What did you think of it?
@AmescaleJ BEAUTIFUL BOSS I was also a little let down. The cinematic experience afterward was also a letdown considering how epic the whole game was. You are mostly running around chasing. I still think I liked the experience overall? 6/10. (Source)
@IksarHS Are we getting the “upgrade” to golden feature soon? 👀 It would still be cool to be able to open packs early whilst collecting your favorite cards golden. 😎
@DracoCatt yes (Source)
@IksarHS Which weapon in Elden Ring is the most satisfying for you to use?
@olandgren night and flame easily such a cool theme, i used both abilities all the time, i liked the quick sword strikes (Source)
@IksarHS When are we going to get a new ladder format?
@griffior good question, been discussing this recently I have been interested in three different formats before i type the follow up tweets, note that these are all discussions and not in dev projects (Source)
@griffior A: One that replaces classic. Rotates, but not super often. Think Classic –> MSOG, then 6 months or a year later it rotates to something else. B: One that replaces casual. Works just like ranked ladder but all your opponents are bots. Get sprogressively harder as you rank up. (Source)
@griffior C: A format that only uses only the current Hearthstone year of sets rather than the last 2 years. upside: 100% of the cards change, great moment to jump in, fresh start downside: the middle set is only legal for 8 months, the last set of the year is only legal for 4 months (Source)
@griffior to be honest, one thing hearthstone is not lacking is a bunch of different ways to play, we have arguably too many doesn't stop us from continuing to discuss options that players might like we're just more likely to want to replace something that add something new (Source)
@IksarHS What is the best fruit to be served in a cake?
@PatrynHS cake sucks (Source)
@IksarHS How do you feel about the pace at which you can patch the game? Often feels to me like bugs and balance changes sometimes hang around for weeks to wait for the next scheduled patch. How much could this change? - I understand there is some tech constraints with multiple platforms.
@reerkat very unlikely we'll client patch more than once a month anytime in the future, client patches are extremely people intensive! more likely we'll try and develop technologies over time that allow us to fix bugs in data only patches or server patches that we can't now (Source)
@IksarHS Can you share something about Classic Mode?
@gtluizmoratelli we'll either add naxx or replace it with a mode that does format rotation (Source)
@IksarHS What would it take to release some new Twinspells? I really loved that mechanic from Dalaran
@VillalobosChamp we thought it had very little design space, meaning it was hard for us to make a large number of designs we thought were compelling that's why there were so few twinspell cards, and why it's fairly unlikely to return (Source)
@IksarHS How did you deal with the birds on a dex build in Stormveil Castle?
@KreaGaming lol my solution to elden ring was to be overleveled for anything I encountered I killed anything I saw the whole game, and sometimes recleared areas I thought were fun (Source)
@IksarHS Is there anything you can say or tease about Mercenaries' "endgame"?
@AlonsoArrietaC1 team is working on it (Source)
@IksarHS I know there was talk of adding Naxrammas to Classic at rotation this year which obviously didn't happen. Has adding expansions to Classic been taken off the table or is it something that could still happen?
@ZeddyHS we want to do something with classic, just not sure what @themattlondon and team have some ideas just not ready to disclose yet there wasn't a lot of play in classic after the first couple weeks, worried that just adding 30 cards is not a compelling option, want to think bigger (Source)
@ZeddyHS @themattlondon a lot of what I say in AMAs is just discussion or philosophy on how we think of things in this case there is a team of people actively working on potential solutions as a main priority (Source)
@IksarHS I’ve never played a souls game before. I’m in my 40s with kids and not much time. Super casual gamer by necessity. Elden Ring looks gorgeous but I worry it’ll just be impossible for me. Is there anything there for a guy like me, or should I just enjoy from afar?
@codechemist You can definitely enjoy it still, just at a slow pace. I'd recommend playing caster. You can always hit stuff with a sword later in the game by respec'ing if you really want. Playing a caster will make the starting experience much more approachable. (Source)
@IksarHS Will there be a mini set this expansion?
@KatakSumur yes (Source)
@IksarHS I heard a rumor that a rotating format may be in the works. IF something like that were pursued, how many expansions would be included per cycle and how often would the format rotate?
@Kross3d_ lots of ideas being mulled here We've been talking lately about a classic –> msog format, so essentially Wild mode when MSOG was out. We might create some new 'straight to wild cards' just for whatever format we make as well. That idea is FAR from finalized, though. (Source)
@IksarHS Will future Reward Tracks maintain the same style as this one? I loved getting atleast one skin of each class in this pass, instead of the upgradeable ones and getting bored of the first ones rather quickly.
@machadogps I'm not sure, I'll pass the feedback to Michelle, who works on our BPass stuff (Source)
@IksarHS Best/Worst arc in Naruto?
@PaxLillin I actually don't know the arcs by name… I liked the itachi story I liked learning about pain and the hidden rain I did not like the 100 episodes of sakura and puppet patrol fighting each other (Source)
@IksarHS I wish Hearthstone had more “events”. Lately the only events have been mini sets and expansions. Are things like Terror in the tomb where old cards appear briefly, still things you want to do for Hearthstone?
@Corpssavy66 us too, our events are really spaced out and don't feel very robust we have a team working on events as a core focus now, they just started but you should expect some newer and different events in the future starting small, getting bigger and better over time (Source)
@IksarHS Tomato is fruit or vegetable?
@IbrahimAyazalp fruit I didn't include it because it was obviously be tier SSSS and obliterate all other fruits unfair how important tomato is to food in comparison to any other fruit (Source)
@IksarHS What's the most expensive fruit you've had that's actually worth the money?
@Asd21009 this is such a ridiculous question, I don't think I have a cool answer if you consider tomato a fruit, one time I bought a bag of heirloom tomatoes for over 100$ because I needed them to make some fancy italian dinners was it worth it? hell yes heirloom tomatoes are amazing (Source)
@IksarHS Colossal is considered a new cardtype… but it is still a minion… can we see a whole new cardtype comming into the game? Like when we received the hero cards, something we have never seen before?
@IbrahimAyazalp yes, one has already finished development, just waiting to ship it (Source)
@IksarHS You having fun with Hearthstone? Just wanted to let you know I’m having a great time
@Impact_onfire I've been playing only arena since launch. Probably 50+ runs. I am having a lot of fun and have learned I really suck at Arena. (Source)
@IksarHS have you guys ever experimented with cards that add or decrease board space?
@triceslice we had a weapon once that had a battlecry that destroyed the center of the board killed anything in the center separated the board into two sides that couldn't interact with each other anymore (Source)
@IksarHS What are your opinions on Taco Bell nacho fries
@IksarHS Also can I have your job?
@sedanwonttweet the job i'm currently doing is an open role on the blizzard website so technically yes you can have it (Source)
@sedanwonttweet nacho cheese is gross, so no thanks (Source)
@IksarHS Have you watched any good anime recently?
@MegaSwampert419 spy family is good i started watching one piece but I'm not sure I'm ready for that undertaking I'll probably finish Kaguya Sama season 3 next (Source)
AMA IS OVER (24 minutes late….) thanks for showing up to hang out! https://t.co/Rad4GXVpk0 (Source)
Please no, enough with the Old Gods. So repetitive
I already play against bots in Classic, actual bots that play different decks would be refreshing.
I'd be up for a rotating format. Could be a fun way to explore some cool synergies that can only exist in certain circumstances.
As a classic player I'm not happy about what I'm reading.
Those propositions are all kind of wrong: no one wants to jump straight to gadgzetan, no one wants bots only, ppl want to keep classic with maybe naxx but go slow with expansions... But from what he said classic players are a thin minority, so I guess we don't matter, which is understandable.
For anyone interested: there are something like 800-1k legends on EU and god knows how many below that. It is however sure that those numbers must be pale in comparison with standard or wild, and money wise you probably don't get much from classic players.
god plz yes i would love the rotating wild set as new mode, and its exactly what the community have asked for years (i have read this request everywhere on reddit and other socials) is a lot of work for the devs but it have a lot of potiential in bringing new decks and fun to this game.
Im not agains to rotating wild, but i dont see why it would have to replace classi
i have notthing agains classic but seems they want to remove it because is a dead mode, the problem that the static is the death of fun, a mode that doesn't change make the mojority of people bored in no time, it was a good mode for the newcomers but bad for people with a great collection that have tons of cards unused.
with the incredible quantity of possiblities in terms of interactions and decks creation its really sad not even try to exploit all the old expansions
Upgrade to Golden feature is coming soon.
Someone ask if we'll ever have Weapon Silence.
Ooze and Viper are silencing weapons for good.
Probably not because even if we have it'll be so niche it wont see any play. But we do have something like Kobold Stickyfinger if it helps
Elden ring's final boss should have followed bloodborne's Gerhman -> moon presence structure, in that after beating radagon and then dying to elden beast you shouldn't have to beat radagon again. That way they can justify making elden beast a more interesting boss. In a sense, the real final boss in terms of difficulty and interest is actually melania, because fromsoft didn't have to compromise anything with her design
Back to hearthstone;
I really hope the rotating wild set doesn't come up the way Dean envisioned it. Each expansion is designed with classic in mind, and having us play with the cards available in each individual expansion would probably be too limiting. Is it really too much to just rotate between three expansions at a time?
As for Drek'Thar, it's just impossible to ever nerf it. Partly because of the cosmetic fiasco, and partly because the only real way to nerf this card without drastically altering its function and win rate, is to give it a stat nerf. Would we see the card banned from standard? That's one way to handle it I suppose, and provides easy excuses for not giving out refunds.
My prediction is that team5 will simply nerf decks that commonly play drek'thar instead. Like quest hunter and naga dhunter, simply because in my opinion management will likely never allow a 25 bucks card to ever lose value.