Zadina

Mike Donais and Dean Ayala Talk About the Upcoming Nerfs

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In the first part of an IGN interview, the two devs discussed the heated topic of the reasoning behind the nerfs to Fiery War Axe, Innervate and Spreading Plague.

After Ben Brode's initial clarifications and his lengthy posts on Fiery War Axe specifically, now it's time for more talk about the upcoming card nerfs! Mike Donais and Dean Ayala sat down with IGN in a two-part interview and explained the changes on the three aforementioned cards.

I have summarised the most important points, but you should definitely check out the whole interview here.

As far as Druid in general is concerned, the two developers revealed some statistics from Blizzard's own data. it turns out that Spreading Plague was the top card in Druid, followed by Innervate which has been in the top three cards of the class historically. On the other hand, Ultimate Infestation was hoovering around the tenth position. The card changes will hit the current top four decks (assumedly Aggro Druid, Jade Druid, Pirate Warrior and Murloc Paladin), so this opens up space for new decks to shine.

Moving on to Innervate, it was so powerful it was auto-included in all Druid decks no matter the synergies. This made all Druid decks feel the same and it limited design space, since Innervate synergises, well, with... everything! The nerf was intentionally hard, otherwise the card would still be included in most Druid decks.

The same rationale was used for Fiery War Axe. These two cards were included in all decks of their respective classes. However, the team wants players to focus more on cards that promote synergies, instead of cards that are just too powerful so they HAVE to be included in a deck. Donais and Ayala also talked about wanting to limit the number of Basic and Classic card in decks to around 25-30%.

The team admits that they underestimated the power of Spreading Plague. They didn't want to change the stats of the scarabs, as many people suggested, due to consistency; these are the exact same scarabs that Druid of the Swarm and Malfurion the Pestilent can create. Six mana feels good for a late-game board tempo swing.

Lastly, the team is still looking into Ice Block and discussing whether it will be moved to the Hall of Fame, but it's too early to tell.

A final detail worth noting is a phrase Dean Ayala used when talking about Innervate: "I think at some point there will be some meta where Innervate will be super useful for Druids when they need cheap spells for whatever the new Auctioneer is three years from now, or next year". This could be interpreted in many ways: 1) he was just talking generally, 2) they are thinking of rotating Gadgetzan Auctioneer, who has already survived a nerf, to the Hall of Fame, 3) they might design a similar card in the future.

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First Ben Brode now these two guys with a lot of words for "we want to make players buy expansion packs instead of using basic/classic cards".(yea yea, I know ofc there are other (good) reasons for nerfs but that's no excuse for how bad they did that) 

Maybe I should mention I'm not the greatest fan of playing warrior and when facing them (once the nerfs go live) I will have it easier against them, at least until players adapt to the changes. Still I think the change/nerf to Fiery War Axe was badly executed.

Edited by Caldyrvan
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Spreading plague is still ridiculously overpowered. Who cares if druid of the swarm and malfurious spawn 1/5's? alot of boards go wide and having an equal amount of 1/5 taunts for six mana is still too much. They should be 1/3's at the most.

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I had a lot of games against Druids who either didn't play or didn't draw Spreading Plague and they are still powerful. Ofc it makes them even stronger and it needed a nerf but making them 1/3 would be a joke (no offense ^^).

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3 hours ago, Zadina said:

The card changes will hit the current top four decks (assumedly Aggro Druid, Jade Druid, Pirate Warrior and Murloc Paladin), so this opens up space for new decks to shine.

Priest not top 4 kek

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Donais and Ayala also talked about wanting to limit the number of Basic and Classic card in decks to around 25-30%.  

*Looks at all rogue decks and shudders*

 

Really, what they need to do to rogues to force them to use 25%-30% of basic\classic cards?

Edited by Strongpoint

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24 minutes ago, Strongpoint said:

*Looks at all rogue decks and shudders*

 

Really, what they need to do to rogues to force them to use 25%-30% of basic\classic cards?

The entire problem with rogues is largely like the innervate problem with druids, a sort of super synergy.  It is really hard to design good cards for rogues without breaking them.  If they give them any type of cards that promote aggressive styles, ie more burst, then you get super tempo decks like oil rogue that are extremely strong, any sort of strong lower cost spells, and miracle has a field day.  Give them anything else, and it is pretty worthless because "taunts, heals, and good AoE isn't in rogues class identity".  Rogue is currently a broken class that needs to be rethought, and I shudder to think what will happen to the class if auctioneer is HoFed (seriously, miracle is actually in a healthy spot now, it is far more interactive then it ever has been, and is just in general, no where near as broken as it used to be).  Rogue is pigeon holed into using most of its classic and basic cards because they are the only good ones rogue has, because if they print anything else, it will either be worthless (since rogue lacks the ability to play a value based strategy), or have to be intentionally weak or gimmicky, or else rogue gets. . . broken.  You see a similar problem with priest.  Priest is the lone class in hearthstone that basically wants to play a reactive game plan.  Hearthstone is a game about aggression and tempo, which means that if priest is ever strong, it ends up stiffing that sort of game play, which makes it really unfair feeling to play against.  Simply put, priests don't play "fair".  If you look at the current strong priest decks, big priest and kazamakus priest, I don't really think the actual power level of the deck is higher then any of the other tier one decks we have seen in history, at least relative to the meta.  It just feels that way, because losing to priest feels really bad.  That is why blizzard just doesn't print many good control priest cards, because control priest is, in a way, unhealthy for the game.  Also, in case anyone wants to accuse me of bias against the aforementioned classes, I play mainly miracle rogue and control priest, and yes i am a particular kind of ass.

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7 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

First Ben Brode now these two guys with a lot of words for "we want to make players buy expansion packs instead of using basic/classic cards".(yea yea, I know ofc there are other (good) reasons for nerfs but that's no excuse for how bad they did that) 

Maybe I should mention I'm not the greatest fan of playing warrior and when facing them (once the nerfs go live) I will have it easier against them, at least until players adapt to the changes. Still I think the change/nerf to Fiery War Axe was badly executed.

Yeah, it feels like they may put the last weeks to the motto: "We are disgusted by your poverty"

Seriously, a limit of 30% classics? You are a new player, you start the game (Free 2 Play, remember?) - and the first thing you see when you want to create a deck: "Oh, sorry, you poor pathetic being, you can only use 10 cards out of those you have for free. Buy 10 more packs that you can at least make a deck." And you definitly would have to buy packs - because without being able to make a single deck you cant finish a single quest. Because every quests requires you to have one playable deck.

They can't be serious about that.

What did they say in this advertisement? You are Hearthstone, everybody is welcome - or something like it?

Yeah, like in a strip club, you are welcome if you have a few hundred bucks.

 

If they continue the path they seem to be taken at the moment Hearthstone has had it's best times. And will die in a few years, because more and more players will leave it. Because it becomes too expensive.

2013: Start of Beta

2014: official release of Hearthstone + 1 adventure + 1 expansion

2015:  2 adventures + 1 expansion

2016: 1 adventure + 2 expansion

2017: 3 expansions

 

From 2015 - 2017 it has become more and more expensive / difficult each year to keep up.

And now they discuss to limit standard-cards alltogether.

 

It is ok that they want to earn money with Hearthstone (in 2016 they earned several hundred million bucks). That is out of the question.

But what they seem to be pulling now is over the top IMO. I have the feeling they get too greedy. You can increase the price of your product - but not infinitely. There comes a point when your customers will just say: "Screw you" and stop buying your product.

Blizzard shouldn't forget that.

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2 hours ago, WedgeAntilles said:

Seriously, a limit of 30% classics? You are a new player, you start the game (Free 2 Play, remember?) - and the first thing you see when you want to create a deck: "Oh, sorry, you poor pathetic being, you can only use 10 cards out of those you have for free. Buy 10 more packs that you can at least make a deck." And you definitly would have to buy packs - because without being able to make a single deck you cant finish a single quest. Because every quests requires you to have one playable deck.

 

I think you misunderstood their words. No one is planning to make some kind of hard limit. They want meta decks to have ~30% basic\classic cards by nerfing\HOFing cards to the point when it will be logical choice by players to not include more. No one is going to stop new players from making 30 basic card decks, it would be insane.

 

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8 hours ago, SMOrcMan said:

Priest not top 4 kek

Yeah, I found this statement perplexing. They mentioned "the top four decks were hit" but they didn't say which were the top four decks. From various reports, Priest is definitely in the top 4 decks at the moment but the upcoming nerfs don't affect it. That's why I assumed they meant Jade & Aggro Druid, Murloc Pala and Pirate Warrior.

They did talk about Kazamakus Priest in that interview, saying that it's really strong and that they expect it to perhaps become the best deck of the new meta.

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1 hour ago, Strongpoint said:

I think you misunderstood their words. No one is planning to make some kind of hard limit. They want meta decks to have ~30% basic\classic cards by nerfing\HOFing cards to the point when it will be logical choice by players to not include more. No one is going to stop new players from making 30 basic card decks, it would be insane.

 

Ah, ok, probably a problem because I am not a native.

I took the word limit is an maximum number you musn't get over. Like a speed limit.

If it is just an aim, like: We'd like that decks don't contain more then 30% of standard cards that sounds way better.

Thx for the clarification!

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10 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

I had a lot of games against Druids who either didn't play or didn't draw Spreading Plague and they are still powerful. Ofc it makes them even stronger and it needed a nerf but making them 1/3 would be a joke (no offense ^^).

Spreading plague should only give them one turn of safety, not a wall of 1/5 taunts that take two to three hits each (two to three turns) to clear them all.

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I agree, Spreading Plague is definitely strong and the weeks after the nerfs go live will tell us how strong.

My problem is still their stance on and nerfs of basic/classic cards along with the faster release of new expansions as well as creating a meta in standard where decks need more and more expensive cards.

It's totally ok to make people pay. After all they provide a game we enjoy and that requires work but there is a point where they get too greedy.

 

Edited by Caldyrvan
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On 9/9/2017 at 4:09 PM, Dustintime said:

Spreading plague should only give them one turn of safety, not a wall of 1/5 taunts that take two to three hits each (two to three turns) to clear them all.

1/4 would have been nice since they are then actually killable by more AoE. They hit Flamestrike range then, as well as double Holy Nova. 

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      I imagine the reason why Corridor Creeper was nerfed immediately yet Patches the Pirate was allowed to stay in his current form for as long as he was has something to do with Blizzard's internal stat tracking. I have little doubt that Corridor Creeper will raise more statistical red flags than Patches due to the fact that it's rarely (if ever) a bad card to draw in aggro decks, whereas Patches is arguably the worst card to draw in the entire game. When you average out the games that Patches both single-handedly wins and loses, he likely tests as a "worse" card than Corridor Creeper does statisically, which could be used as justification for why he was left untouched for as long as he was.
      Though the actual stats surrounding a cards win rates should be a major factor when it comes to balance updates, I believe that Blizzard should put a little more weight on the "human element" of cards. Whereas Creeper may be the stronger card, it doesn't feel nearly as bad as Patches does. Regardless of whether or not the stats said that the card needed a nerf, Hearthstone would have almost certainly been a better game if Patches was nerfed at the same time as Small-Time Buccaneer. The same can probably be said for Ultimate Infestation when it comes to the previous balance patch. Though Blizzard's internal stats told them that Spreading Plague was more responsible for Jade Druid's dominance in the early KFT meta, it doesn't feel nearly as bad to lose to as Ultimate Infestation does. And that's important.
      At the end of the day, I believe that stats shouldn't be the only thing which dictates whether or not a card deserves to be nerfed. Cards like Patches and Ultimate Infestation have caused far more headaches and groans than smiles and cheers, regardless of what the statistics say. Hearthstone is a video game, video games are supposed to fun, and cards that have drawn hate for as long as Patches and Ultimate Infestation have seriously get in the way of that.
      On the whole, I'm quite happy with the nerfs that will be coming in the next balance patch and am excited for the future of Hearthstone. Despite the concerns surrounding Warlock, I'm happy to see that Blizzard isn't the business of preemptively handling problems which may or may ever exist. I'd much rather endure a few months of Warlock dominance (especially after how bad the class was in Journey to Un'Goro) than live in a world where every "best deck in the meta" has a constant target on its back for Blizzard's nerf gun.