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Ben Brode AMA Summary: July 14

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Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode did an AMA on reddit yesterday and here's a summary with the most interesting highlihts.

  • Blizzard didn't want to reveal 1 card a day for the new expansion, because the feedback they were getting was that hype was slowing down as they got closer to the expansion. Cards will be revealed on July 24.
  • They would like to make Handlock a thing again, but Brode's worried with their ability to make Handlock insane in Standard going forward, with new cards, without pushing it into insanity in Wild. It can be done in Wild by moving cards that are buffing it, or by making entirely new cards in Standard that are good in both formats. 
  • When asked about free cards on a weekly rotation, Brode said they wouldn't be doing it due to its complexity, but the team is exploring other options with similar, less complex goals.
  • The team internally experiments with various formats to keep the game fresh e.g. by changing the ladder format for the last month of a set.
  • Each class will have a hero card and a legendary minion in Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion.
  • New ladder experience is in the works with the goals to reduce the monthly grind for top-level players, increase progression for bottom 25% of player, better match-making and improve new player ranked experience.
  • Hearthstone won't be coming to consoles anytime soon.
  • Ice Block is a card that matches their red flags for cards that shouldn't be in Standard forever.
  • They will continue to add more features to the collection manager.
  • The team will make a new Druid and Warlock hero. Regarding Tyrande, the goal was to find alternative ways for regions that were not eligible for the offer to get access to Tyrande and they've been working with their regional offices to make it happen.
  • More minion-placement cards will be added to the game.
  • Blizzard's working on a way to provide more stats to players, but Brode doesn't like "profile" pages.
  • The main goals with the upcoming ladder rework are
    • Reduce grind for top-level players
    • Increase progression for players stuck at rank 20-ish
    • Get better matchmaking for bottom 25% players
    • Make experience better for new players
  • The biggest challenging is making those things better without losing what they like about the current system.
  • Specating mode is definitely a place with a lot of room for improvement.
  • New opportunities are on the horizon to earn packs of the new set through upcoming events and single-player missions that will be free with the new set.
  • They're going to bring back Wild cards for sale, which should make Wild more accessible.
  • No plans to add another class, they have plans for more unique things for Warlocks and a 10th class wouldn't be helpful. The time should be spent to make the core classes more fun.
  • Adding the Hall of Fame in Un'Goro and hitting those 6 cards allowed them to see the "freshest" meta yet. 
  • Changes to arena rewards are coming. Details TBA.
  • Hero cards are a new thing that replaces your hero, not transforms them.

(Source)

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5 hours ago, Stan said:

Ice Block is a card that matches their red flags for cards that shouldn't be in Standard forever.

Good news indeed. :D

5 hours ago, Stan said:

The team will make a new Druid and Warlock hero

It's about damn time. :D

5 hours ago, Stan said:

They would like to make Handlock a thing again

Yay! :D

5 hours ago, Stan said:

More minion-placement cards will be added to the game.

More yay! :D

5 hours ago, Stan said:

The main goals with the upcoming ladder rework are

  • Reduce grind for top-level players
  • Increase progression for players stuck at rank 20-ish
  • Get better matchmaking for bottom 25% players
  • Make experience better for new players

Good news but I do fear that they might muck it up. I am going to be optimistic on this one. 

5 hours ago, Stan said:

No plans to add another class, they have plans for more unique things for Warlocks

I'm happy about this as Warlock is one of my favorite classes but I am sad that we won't be getting a DK class. Good news for your wallet @positiv2 ;)

4 hours ago, Dustintime said:

Ben Brode has an odd resemblance to that actor fellow.

Seth Rogan? 

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1 hour ago, KingMe said:

[Re Ice Block's potential removal from Standard] Good news indeed. :D 

As someone who likes to play Quest Mage a lot (Giants version, not endless Fireball), I disagree. Without Ice block, I don't see how the Mage quest can possibly work, because its tough enough as it is now. Not unless some new card is added.

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1 hour ago, h3llbee said:

As someone who likes to play Quest Mage a lot (Giants version, not endless Fireball), I disagree. Without Ice block, I don't see how the Mage quest can possibly work, because its tough enough as it is now. Not unless some new card is added.

I agree. I don't see Quest Mage working without it but at the same time I would like to see mage work period without the need for Ice Block

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Love Blizzard trying to make Handlock a thing again, but honestly most of the best decks gameplay wise and most balanced decks have been discovered by community, not handed on a plate by Blizzard. The decks Blizzard want to push to viability end up being decks like Taunt warrior and Secret Paladin, decks that are both uninteractive and very often pretty autopilot as well. The argument of "not making it insane in wild" is completely just a bad excuse, as with that logic N'Zoth for example would never have been printed ever. Keeping wild balanced is while still trying to make standard meta less stale is borderline impossible, and I would like Blizzard just to give up on trying to pay attention to wild balance, as it griefs the development of standard too much.

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1 hour ago, BrightwingMain said:

Love Blizzard trying to make Handlock a thing again, but honestly most of the best decks gameplay wise and most balanced decks have been discovered by community, not handed on a plate by Blizzard. The decks Blizzard want to push to viability end up being decks like Taunt warrior and Secret Paladin, decks that are both uninteractive and very often pretty autopilot as well. The argument of "not making it insane in wild" is completely just a bad excuse, as with that logic N'Zoth for example would never have been printed ever. Keeping wild balanced is while still trying to make standard meta less stale is borderline impossible, and I would like Blizzard just to give up on trying to pay attention to wild balance, as it griefs the development of standard too much.

Most of the decks that ended up being tier 1 were obviously "intentional" - Patron Warrior, Secret Paladin, C'thun decks, Quest decks, OTK Murloc pally, so on. Anyway, it's hard to tell whether a deck was "handed on a plate by Blizzard", as the only decks they provide are deck recipes, and giving one deck for each class is often not enough to showcase all ideas they had.

I agree with you on the wild excuse. Currently, the (arguably) strongest deck in wild is Pirate Warrior, which is a standard deck with only 1 wild card in it - Ship's Cannon. It's obvious that even though blizzard said Wild allows them to print low-power cards so that it doesn't spiral out of control, they are so far unsuccessful.

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10 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Currently, the (arguably) strongest deck in wild is Pirate Warrior, which is a standard deck with only 1 wild card in it - Ship's Cannon. It's obvious that even though blizzard said Wild allows them to print low-power cards so that it doesn't spiral out of control, they are so far unsuccessful.

Not convinced it's the best wild deck, just the best easy-to-play wild deck. But anyway, it also runs Sir Finley, and often a Death's Bite or two. And Ship's Cannon is a pretty big boost to the power of the deck.

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I dislike Ice Block because unlike all other secrets there are no ways to play around it. You need to deliver a lethal damage to win so there are no way to not proc the secret.  

I wouldn't mind it as much if we had enough cards like Curse of Rafaam to play around the effect.

 

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4 hours ago, Strongpoint said:

I dislike Ice Block because unlike all other secrets there are no ways to play around it. You need to deliver a lethal damage to win so there are no way to not proc the secret.  

I wouldn't mind it as much if we had enough cards like Curse of Rafaam to play around the effect.

 

You can absolutely play around it if you add a situational card like Eater of Secrets to your deck, The meta is so full of secrets right now that you can really get a lot of play out of that card. There are few things more enjoyable then dropping that card to remove an Ice Block and pushing through lethal damage.

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12 hours ago, Bozonik said:

Not convinced it's the best wild deck, just the best easy-to-play wild deck. But anyway, it also runs Sir Finley, and often a Death's Bite or two. And Ship's Cannon is a pretty big boost to the power of the deck.

#1 on tempostorm's meta snapshot, #4 on vicious syndicate's report, and #1 on hsreplay.

Not all variations run these cards. Some omit them, yet they remain powerful. You will also see a lot of standard decks on wild ladder, often past rank 5.

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On 17/07/2017 at 11:18 PM, positiv2 said:

#1 on tempostorm's meta snapshot, #4 on vicious syndicate's report, and #1 on hsreplay.

Not all variations run these cards. Some omit them, yet they remain powerful. You will also see a lot of standard decks on wild ladder, often past rank 5.

Yeah, I played wild last season, plenty of standard decks out there. But the standard of play is much weaker too, pushing to Legend was way easier than in Standard, and that's without any prior knowledge of the wild meta too.

Meta snapshots are interesting, but easy-to-play decks get overrated compared to decks that are hard to play well but are stronger with optimal play. Playing out patches on turn 1 in pirate warrior is almost always a horrible play, which I saw a surprising amount in wild, but it'll cost less wins than mulliganing badly in control Shaman, etc. And meta snapshots include all the bad plays, so an optimal-play meta snapshot would look very different imo, were such a thing possible.

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