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Everything we learned from the Hearthstone Q&A at Blizzcon

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Lots of exciting new features and developments were confirmed by Team 5 during the Hearthstone Q&A at Blizzcon.

After allowing the audience to select nine new cards to be added to the Arena, four of Hearthstone's most senior designers (Ben Brode, Mike Donais, Peter Whalen ,and Yong Woo) fielded a number of questions from the Blizzcon audience, and many new and exciting Hearthstone developments were confirmed during this illuminating Q&A session. Here's everything we learned:

When asked about potential changes to the current Arena draft format:

  • Blizzard's original design for the Arena was much closer to a Magic: the Gathering draft than the Arena we have today. Though they probably won't stray far from the current design of the Arena going forward, it is very likely that we will see some new approaches to the Arena and drafting at Fireside Gatherings.

When asked about the probability of having more Fireside Gatherings like the one we saw at Gamescom 2017:

  • "There is definitely going to be more stuff like that in the future."

When asked the possibility of Standard-only cards, not unlike the Arena-only cards selected by the audience earlier:

  • A tepid response, Team 5 would "maybe discuss" cards like this if the upcoming Arena-only cards are a tremendous success.

When asked about adding a new Druid hero:

  • Team 5 is very aware of the fact that Druid is the only class without an alternate hero, and they are currently developing a new Druid hero. Don't expect to see the new Druid any time soon though, as they still haven't figured out when or how they would like to release it.

When asked about adding a feature to randomize your card back before each match:

  • "We will do it!"

When asked about the card Ultimate Infestation:

  • They do not think that the card is a big "statistical factor", but more of an "emotional factor". They noted that cards such as Wild Growth probably have a greater effect on Druid's overall winrate than Ultimate Infestation does.

When asked about the new Legendary Weapons in relation to cards like Gluttonous Ooze:

  • Many of the new Legendary Weapons were designed with effects such as Deathrattle and Battlecry to mitigate the risk of cards like Harrison Jones.

When asked about the various factors they considered before the recent nerfs to Innervate and Hex:

  • The play rate of the card.
  • The overall winrate of the card.
  • How do people feel when they play against the card? People generally dislike OTK combos and cards with little counterplay, even if these strategies have low winrates.
  • The ranks that the card is being played most at.
  • Do all of these factors add up to “people having fun”? If people aren’t having fun, they make a change.
  • Ben Brode added that he believes the power level of certain Basic and Classic cards is too high.
  • Sometimes they will nerf cards not because they present problems right now, but because they present problems in the design of future sets.

When asked about the rewards for defeating Dungeon Runs:

  • Players will receive a card back for completing a Dungeon Run with each of the nine classes, but there will be no other rewards for succeeding at Dungeon Runs.

When asked about replay functionality being added in the future:

  • Ben Brode confirmed that replay functionality will be added to the game at some point in the future, but suggested that there may be several other features which are added to the game first. "We will be improving Hearthstone forever, but we need to prioritize which features have the highest impact. We will look at it at some point.”

When asked about high variance cards and game mechanics:

  • The development team aims to maintain a healthy mixture of cards that are high variance and cards that are more "stable". They believe that Hearthstone players enjoy moments where they get to high roll, but that there can't be too many of these moments on a game by game basis.

When asked about stat tracking:

  • Team 5 is aware that many fans are interested in more stat tracking features. They have already started to send out emails to players which contain play statistics, but believe they can do much more to improve on stat tracking in the future. Ben Brode noted that he would like to have advanced stat tracking tools on the Blizzard website (not in the client), and that there are ongoing discussions about stat tracking within the team.

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A few good questions and answers :)

So they put in work for the dungeon solo stuff but besides the cards back there is no reward. I assume most players (except for players who like playing vs AI over playing vs players) will go for the card back then never touch it again, in a game where ppl have to spent time on games to gain gold or grind rank or arena it would be a waste of time to play the solo stuff more than for the card back. Sad and a waste of work.

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I haven't been this hyped for a hearthstone expansion for a while!!!!!! It's been forever since we got a new gamemode and I'm so happy that the RNG this expansion won't be 90% card draws like it has been lately!

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8 hours ago, Aleco said:
  • Ben Brode added that he believes the power level of certain Basic and Classic cards is too high.

 

Oh yes, I totally agree! There are still non-legendary or non-epic cards that are strong and can be played.

That's the biggest (not to say the only!) problem Hearthstone has.

Get rid of these cards so that every single strong card in a deck has to be a legendary and epic!

I am sick of using my 25k / 30k dust-cost deck and still loose to some decks which have common or basic cards.

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I think a lot of basic/classic cards are definitely strong but that's ok. I am still sure when they think about changing/removing one of those cards there are less voices from blizzard who are concerned about the games health than those who have the money making in mind.

It's obvious, everyone has (or gets very fast) all basic cards. Everyone constantly gets classic card packs. All who play HS for a while have most or all cards from the classic set, so no need to spend money on those packs. Additionally long time players have enough dust to craft the crucial cards of a new expansion, so again no or less need to pay for additional packs.

So how do we make our nice customers pay more?

No longer getting duplicate legends and giving out one free legend plus one among the frist 10 packs was a good move but it's just a drop in the bucket.

At the same time I think about pre-purchasing the new expansion and about stopping with HS.

Edited by Caldyrvan
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15 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

A few good questions and answers :)

So they put in work for the dungeon solo stuff but besides the cards back there is no reward. I assume most players (except for players who like playing vs AI over playing vs players) will go for the card back then never touch it again, in a game where ppl have to spent time on games to gain gold or grind rank or arena it would be a waste of time to play the solo stuff more than for the card back. Sad and a waste of work.

I'm betting that blizzard will find this out and add more rewards at a later stage when people complain alot about there not being an incentive to play.

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I doubt it. And what would they give out as rewards? More card backs? (boring boring boring), Gold? They obviously don't want players to get a lot of gold. Cards? hahaha. Maybe every time you complete a run you will be awarded with one dust :D

Edited by Caldyrvan

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1 hour ago, Caldyrvan said:

I doubt it. And what would they give out as rewards? More card backs? (boring boring boring), Gold? They obviously don't want players to get a lot of gold. Cards? hahaha. Maybe every time you complete a run you will be awarded with one dust :D

I think giving gold for dungeon runs would be... awful. semi-forcing free to play players to play a game mode they may not enjoy is bad game design.

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7 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

As well as giving players more gold options and not paying for packs :D

They could easily give gold rewards that give worse time\gold ratio than play mode.

I think their goal with dungeons is very straightforward. They want to attract new players and keep them hooked. Experienced players will get bored real quick.

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I like the idea of the dungeons and if they are well made it's sad because in a game where players want to gain gold in play mode or climbing the ladder or playing arena for possibly great rewards I doubt they will find the time for the dungeon  unless they implement rewards beside card backs.

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In Magic Duels, an offline game rewards you with 1/30 of card pack at lowest difficult, 1/10 at the hardest; while an online match gives you 1/5 of pack.

I think that if 3 victories in ladders give you 10 gold, a successfull Dungeon Run should at least give you 10 gold or a casual card.
I don't think that people would stop playing ladder if 8 difficult matches can give you 10 gold or 5 dust....

Well, I don't think that people would stop playing ladder even if a successfull Dungeon Run would award you with a classic pack, with a day maximum of one.

In fact, you people say things like

On 11/5/2017 at 9:44 PM, Strongpoint said:

I think giving gold for dungeon runs would be... awful. semi-forcing free to play players to play a game mode they may not enjoy is bad game design.

I see it opposite. If you give me nothing for playing a game mode that I enjoy, you are semi-forcing me NOT to play a game mode that I would like but that isn't competitive enough.

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5 hours ago, Synesthesy said:

I see it opposite. If you give me nothing for playing a game mode that I enjoy, you are semi-forcing me NOT to play a game mode that I would like but that isn't competitive enough.

Do you mean that blizzard is semi-forcing you to not play other games?

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9 hours ago, Strongpoint said:

Do you mean that blizzard is semi-forcing you to not play other games?

Actually, yes. Sure, they aren't pointing me a gun. But every evening I want to play a game, I find myself thinking "should I get my daily HS pack or should I play game X?". I think this is because Hearthstone is a GREAT game I like very much, it's the third game I have invested so much time after Minecraft and Team Fortress 2.

But we aren't talking about me :P

If you want to be competitive in Hearthstone, it's really important that you:
-end the season at rank 5, or the nearest you can, to get the more dust from golden card rewards
-make every daily quest to buy pack

And there are people arguing if it's more efficient to play ladder then buy packs or to play arena trying to get the best rewards.

If you add a third game mode, that doesn't give you anything, people would ask themselves if it's a good idea play it if it doesn't advance my game status. Because it's not always possible to do both without having lots of free time to spend...

And time is a resource, the most important one. Games like Hearthstone, Clash Royale, etc, are based on the idea of a slow progression over time. You play every day, you slowly get cards, someday you'll get legendaries (maybe the Boogeymonster, maybe N'zoth), you'll get dust, you climb the ladder, you become better at climbing the ladder.... So it's important to use time in the best way. A game mode that doesn't give anything could be seen as a waste  of the most precious resource in the game.

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You are definitely right. Look at the Lich King, I got my pack, I tried a bit with others but it's simply to boring, disappointing and time consuming to be played. The Arthas reward is not worth the time. I know a lot of ppl got it done but a ton of players didn't and most of them don't care anymore.

Ofc it's how badly made this encounter is but even if the dungeons will be made better and actually enjoyable to put time into it just to get a card back is barely worth it and not attractive for many players. And after getting the card back it will be even less interesting to play.

Edited by Caldyrvan
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