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Exclusive BlizzCon Hearthstone Dev Interview with Hamilton Chu

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Icy Veins sat down with Executive Producer Hamilton Chu at BlizzCon 2015 to ask your questions about the state of Hearthstone for everyone from casual players to eSports fans and pro gamers alike. Here's what we learned:

 

1. Regular content updates are in the pipeline. While new features - such as new game modes, tournaments, or a better spectating experience - are things that players would love to see added to the game, the development team is focused primarily on continuing to add new content.

 

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Hamilton Chu

 

2. Win condition options are important to the developers. If you haven't seen the video with 2014 world champion Firebat discussing win conditions, it's worth watching for context. Whether players want to play fast games, control styles, or with cards where a lot of unexpected and hilarious outcomes can occur - there should be decks for all of those types of Hearthstone fans to enjoy.

 

3. We don't know yet whether or not Conquest format will continue into 2016. The developers saw broad positives in utilizing Conquest over Last Man Standing in terms of the range of classes brought and played at BlizzCon 2015, but they're open to changes to iterate on the format and improve it for next year.

 

The League of Explorers is the newest Hearthstone adventure/expansion.

 

4. The developers have no immediate plans to improve upon the new player or free-to-play experience. Chu indicated that "the free experience has to be really good," but did not think any changes were forthcoming. Asked specifically about something like discounting Curse of Naxxramas, the oldest adventure, we were told that the adventure experience still has value and is compelling in and of itself.

 

5. No additional 'free' content like Tavern Brawl is on the horizon. The development team is really happy with the game mode and stresses that outside of content packages, none of the new 'features' of the game have had an associated cost, but there are no plans at this time for additional game modes or features.

 

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6. Arena improvements have been discussed. Chu said he didn't have anything to formally announce, but "I promise you there are words written on a list somewhere." It's a prioritization problem, and the team has lots of ideas for Arena, but they have been focusing on content updates like League of Explorers recently.

 

7. Over 10 billion games of Hearthstone have been played by over 40 million accounts. The team is really thrilled with the reception the game has gotten.

 

8. No specific changes to Ranked play are inbound. The general feeling of getting routine rewards on a predictable cycle (monthly) has been good for the game thus far, but the team is continuing to discuss new options and ways to improve upon it. Chu did specifically note that there are things about the current model that they are unhappy with, so while no specific or immediate alterations may be planned, it's probably safe to expect some tweaks in 2016.

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