Odinn

Hearthstone Developer Interview at gamescom 2015 with Mike Donais

Sign in to follow this  

2 posts in this topic

13220-hearthstone-developer-interview-at

 

Icy Veins sat down with Mike Donais at gamescom 2015 to ask some of your burning questions about Hearthstone - TGT design concerns, game features, the new player experience, and more. Some big surprises in this particular interview!

 

We got some phenomenal information from Mike:

 

Many of the cards that have been shown so far seem to slow the game down. Was this a deliberate design decision, or simply a byproduct of the nature of the Inspire and Joust mechanics?

  • We wanted to give people answers to things they were uncomfortable with or complaining about. Joust helps counter cheap Hunter or Warlock decks.

 

For the Joust mechanic, will there be a better animation eventually?

  • There is an animation for the Joust mechanic, but it's not "jousting". For a while, we had a jousting animation, but it wasn't working visually, so we decided to change it.

Joust animation.

 

Why isn't Joust a keyword?

  • You still needed other words. It didn't make sense. It ended up reading like Battlecry; Joust; If you win the Joust, gain +1/+1. We've tried to put Joust in a lot of the names of minions that have Joust to make it obvious.

 

Hearthstone has developed into a big eSport - do you have any plans to improve Spectator Mode for that?

  • We're happy to keep improving on Spectator Mode. We think there's still a lot of room to do that and add new features, but we don't have anything immediately on our schedule for that.

Spectator_mode_preview.png

Spectator Mode preview.

 

Will Hearthstone ever get an in-game tournament mode?

  • Tournament mode is another thing that people have been asking for. We almost did it before Tavern Brawl, but we decided that Tavern Brawl was something more people would enjoy, and let more people have more fun each week.

 

When making balance decisions, do you consider top-level play, newer players, or a combination of both?

  • For each card, we have to make sure it reads simply, has a cool design, matches the flavour, is good for new players, and we also want cards that are good for tournament play and expert players.

 

What do you view as the perfect length of a Hearthstone game? Are you worried about a slow meta affecting the playability on mobile?

  • Complaints about rush decks have driven recent decisions, but rush decks could go away and leave only slow decks. Presumably, the cards that are good against rush decks would get removed, and then rush decks would come back, but it's definitely a concern (e.g. Antique Healbot).

G2OKRU48VRL71428959630793.jpg

Hearthstone mobile UI.

 

We've seen a content release pattern of Adventure Mode sets into full card set - will this continue?

  • We don't know that we have one solution that's good forever. Our next update could be a third expansion, or something we've never done before. Maybe we'll do multiple adventures in a row.

 

Is the introduction of free packs from Tavern Brawl and end-of-season rewards to lower the barrier to entry for new players?

  • The new player experience is important to us. Free packs from Tavern Brawl are a nice bonus, but by itself that doesn't solve anything, so we make sure they face similar opponents in every play mode and release powerful common cards, too. We're still looking to see if the problem gets bigger when we get to 1,000 cards, for example. 

 

Several high-level players were recruited to join the team. What effect has this had on your game design?

  • The balance team makes sure cards are clear, well-designed, and well-balanced. We recently hired people from the tournament circuit to make sure things are more balanced, but we also try to make risky cards that push the limits and scare us. Lock and Load is a good example of a card that is risky and could be unbalanced.

en-us-full.png

New Lock and Load card in The Grand Tournament.

 

What is your philosophy on making unique cards for specific mana costs? How do you make more viable options for each mana slot without simply introducing power creep?

  • We do a lot of 'sideways' design. If one option were inherently better or worse, that would be a problem, so we try to provide options that fit different styles of decks - dragons vs. murlocs vs. spells, for example. Lots of options.

 

Are there any plans to introduce a 'disable animation' option? The length of animations can become a problem with Patron Warrior, for example.

  • There is no work being put into removing animations. We don't want the game to feel less physical, or to take the sounds/art/effects away. If it's a problem, we'll solve it other ways.

 

Sounds like Tournament Mode is on the way! Any other new details in here you're excited for?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still excited for Tournament Mode! The rest of the interview was interesting also. I especially find it interesting that the Inspire and Joust mechanics were created deliberately to slow down the meta, to "counter cheap Hunter or Warlock decks." It's neat to me that Blizzard is listening to their fan base and responding to suggestions and complaints. The meta can never be slowed down permanently, however. As Mike alluded to in another answer, the decline of aggressive decks will lead to the removal of aggressive counters, thus opening the door for aggressive decks to return. It's good for the game, though, as the swing of the meta keeps things entertaining. 

 

Great interview!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Aleco

      In episode two of "What's the Move?" Aleco discusses an open-ended situation which doesn't have a clear answer.
      In episode two of "What's the Move?" Aleco discusses an open-ended situation which doesn't have a clear answer.
      We kicked off this new series by analyzing a tricky situation which had only one optimal line of play. In episode two we'll take a look at a very different kind of situation, one where there might not be a perfect move at all.
      Please let us know in the comments what you would have done in this situation! One of the primary goals of this series is to foster improvement at Hearthstone by generating discussions. We would also love to hear your feedback on the video itself, as the series is still very new and has plenty room to improve on its format.
      - Aleco
    • By Stan

      In the latest Hearthstone update, Blizzard made adjustments to several cards. The patch is now live now on desktop and it should become available on mobile devices in the coming hours.
      Philosophy and reasons behind these changes can be found here.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Card Changes
      Innervate now reads: Gain 1 Mana Crystal this turn only. (Down from 2)
      Fiery War Axe now costs 3 mana.  (Up from 2)
      Hex now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3)
      Murloc Warleader now reads: Your other Murlocs have +2 Attack. (Down from +2 Attack, +1 Health)
      Spreading Plague now costs 6 mana. (Up from 5) 
    • By Zadina

      A new Brawl has landed in the Tavern.
      Just like with the previous expansions, it's time to try out the deck recipes of Knights of the Frozen Throne in this week's Tavern Brawl. The archetypes for each deck recipe are the following:
      Druid: I guess the best name for this deck is Midrange Druid. It has Ultimate Infestation and Spreading Plague, so... PROFIT?! Deathrattle Hunter Elemental Mage Divine Shield Paladin Control Priest (you've probably seen variations of it in ladder) Jade Deathrattle Rogue Freeze Shaman Zoolock Control Warrior with Enrage minions This is a good opportunity to try out cards that you don't own. Good luck and have fun!
    • By Zadina

      The balance patch is arriving in the beginning of the next week.
      The wait is over! The anticipated card balance changes will arrive on September 18th and hopefully freshen up the meta a little bit. As the case always is with balance patches, for the next two weeks if you disenchant Spreading Plague and/or Murloc Warleader, you will get their full value in Arcane Dust.
      Daxxarri
      In the recent Upcoming Balance Changes – Update 9.1 blog, we discussed the details and philosophy behind balance updates that are coming to several Hearthstone cards:
       
      Innervate - Now reads: Gain 1 Mana Crystal this turn only. (Down from 2) Fiery War Axe - Now costs 3 mana. (Up from 2) Hex - Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3) Murloc Warleader - Now reads: Your other Murlocs have +2 Attack. (Down from +2 Attack, +1 Health) Spreading Plague - Now costs 6 mana. (Up from 5)
      This patch is currently targeted for September 18th PDT. Please note that updates for mobile devices may take a few additional hours to propagate.

      Once these card changes are live, players will be able to disenchant cards that are not Basic (Murloc Warleader and Spreading Plague) for their full Arcane Dust value for two weeks. Basic cards cannot be disenchanted and will not be available for an Arcane Dust refund. (source)
    • By Damien
      This thread is for comments about our HCT Americas Summer Playoffs coverage.