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Hearthstone: Saviors of Uldum Developer AMA

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Hearthstone developers dropped by Reddit today to field questions on new mechanics, single-player content and more.

 

Update: balance designer Dean Ayala, AKA /u/IksarHS, turned up later last night to answer some questions about the competitive side of the game. We've added his answers towards the bottom of the post.

With the new Hearthstone expansion Saviors of Uldum officially announced and the FIRE FEST-E.V.I.L. just around the corner, the developers of the game graciously dropped by /r/Hearthstone for a few hours tonight to answer some questions from the community.

There were no new cards revealed during the AMA, but plenty of interesting insights from the team. Here are some topline takeaways:

  • There will be one new Lackey added in Saviors of Uldum
  • A forthcoming Tavern Brawl will do away with all deck-building limitations - you can play with 30 of a single card if you really want to!
  • New single-player content will follow the familiar Dungeon Run-style format, although there will be "some twists in store"
  • Quests in Saviors of Uldum will generally be easier to complete than those in Journey to Un'goro, but the rewards will be more moderate
  • Saviors of Uldum won't feature any mushrooms, or any balloons. Thanks for asking the questions on all of our lips, Reddit.

We've collected every answer for you below - let us know if we missed anything!

 

On designing cards for the Wild format:

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Hi, thank you for answering our questions.

Regarding Wild gameplay, are there any cards designed on this set that targets the Wild audience and/or was created with their usage on Wild decks as your objective? Are there any thoughts on doing this going forward?

E.g. creating a card that has not much use in Standard, but fills a much needed hole in a Wild deck, while still keeping inside the flavor and design of the expansion.

- /u/death_baller

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

In general when designing our expansion sets, we focus on trying to design the best cards that fit the flavor of theme that we're trying to explore and the mechanics we want to introduce.

When an expansion is released it's exciting for players who enjoy both Standard and Wild since there are new tools that they can experiment with, to either add into their existing decks, or to explore entirely new deck archetypes.

For Saviors of Uldum in particular, among the cards that we've revealed already, something like [[Questing Explorer]] that we designed to aid with the new Quests in the set can also be used with the old Quests from Journey to Un'goro. We try to design cards that players will find exciting in whichever formats they enjoy playing most, though some tend to be stronger in specific formats like Wild, Standard, or Arena.

 

On new single-player content in Saviors of Uldum:

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Can you tell us anything regarding single-player content? Are we continuing the formula from the Dalaran Heist, or can we expect something radically different?

- /u/gredman9

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

The single player campaign will follow a similar "Dungeon Run" style as the Dalaran Heist, but we have some twists in store. We'll have more information about that in the future, but nothing to talk about at this time.

 

On adding new cards to the Classic and Basic sets:

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Not SoU specific, but do you think you'll ever add cards to the Classic/Basic Set that use new Evergreen keywords like Discover, Lifesteal, or Rush?

- /u/MotCots3009

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

Not for Basic. We want cards in Basic to give you the flavor of a class and dip into the core mechanics of Hearthstone. It's possible for Classic to get new keywords, but we're hesitant to add them to the core non-rotating set. So... probably not, but if the right opportunity came around, we'd consider it.

 

On favourite card sounds in Saviors of Uldum:

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This was a favorite question from the last AMA... without spoiling anything, what’s your favorite card sound from the new expansion?

- /u/Captain_Clam

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

My favorite sound goes something like this: Pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew pew!

 

On new types of cosmetics:

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Cosmetics Questions:

Any news on new types of cosmetics? Would love for there to be more than just heroes and cardbacks in the game.

Cosmetics I would like: entrance animations (reward for 1,000 wins in Ranked/Arena with a class), hero power animations, emotes, emote animations (like the festive stuff - fireworks, snowflakes, etc.) board corners, music, alternate card art, etc.

- /u/Rhovan22

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

New cosmetics are definitely something fun that can really make an immediately noticeable difference. I know I myself love the ability to personalize my hero, deck etc as the New Heroes or the Card Backs allow for currently.

Many of the suggestions you mention are interesting and some have been discussed among the team before: Hero Powers see a change when you use a New Hero, but simultaneously have to feel be reminiscent of the original Hero Power effect to avoid any confusion. I love the visual emotes we have done in previous in-game celebrations and those could be a lot of fun for sure.

Board corners have come up in the past but are VERY work intensive, not to mention your corners look different from those your opponent sees (bottom on your screen, top when your opponent sees you). This makes it difficult to display as a "prestige" piece to your opponent in a consistent way. Definitely an exciting "what if" to consider in the future...

Music would be fun, but when you consider art and audio are the two biggest offenders when it comes to client size we try to be very cautious when it comes to adding to either of these. Come-into-play "stingers" could be a fun add that make for a fun alternate but don't require as much space in the build as a full length song would?

The alternate hero explosion cited below is also a fun idea, definitely something to take back to the team.

Love the interest in cosmetics and look forward to sharing these with the team as a whole!

 

On cute mummies :

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Will we be getting a cute card in Uldum, such as snowflipper penguin or faithful lumi? If so, how cute do you think it is?

- /u/pufflepuff89

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

There are definitely a few in this expansion, especially if you like mummies!

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

Love your name! There are definitely some cute cards. I wish you could see them right meow, but you'll just have to wait! =^.^=

 

On Priest's Classic set:

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Priest got another Board Clear spell, and it's necessary for the class because historically priest has been always combo/control oriented, the lack of these control tools and win conditions cards on the evergreen set always affect the performance of the class post rotation (now more than ever with Mind Blast Hall of Famed), for this has been necessary for the upcoming expansions to print Board Clears and some other strong card to fill that gap, making of Priest almost a problem by the end of years, not to mention wild.

In WotOG It was in 8-9th place in popularity terms with only one tier 4 deck with 45% WR (Control Dragon),

In Ungoro It was in 6-7th place with one tier 2 deck with 50% WR (Silence),

In WW It was in 8-9th place with one tier 2 deck with 51% WR (Control),

In RoS It is in 8-9th place with one tier 3 deck with 47% WR (Mech),

The pattern seems to repeat with every rotation, with no strong minions, Priest has need to rely on these spells to stall the game until the combo is achieved.

Q; Is there any plan in the future about buffing/fixing Priest's Basic/classic set, or add a Board Clear like other combo/control classes have?

- /u/misterkarmaniac

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

Not having a board clear in the core set helps Priest's board clear feel different with each expansion. At some points in time they have Psychic Scream, other times they have Mass Hysteria, other times it's Plague of Death. It makes Priest feel different from set to set.

If you compare it to Mage, who always has access to Blizzard, Flamestrike, and Frost Nova/Doomsayer, they always have the same board clear tools so their control feels more similar from set to set. It makes printing new and exciting board clears more difficult with Mage as well.

 

On designing the new Reborn mechanic:

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What other iterations of the keyword "Reborn" did you touch upon before finalising on its current functionality?

- /u/MotCots3009

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

Reborn was actually one of those mechanics we had very early on. In the first few weeks of development, we slotted it in and immediately saw a lot of design space. Some of the early work came in the form of figuring out how exactly to value minions with Reborn. Think we landed in a pretty good spot there.

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

One fun fact about the name "Reborn". It was the original temp name that we put in to the game to start testing with. We talked about it a lot afterwards and pitched a lot of other names, but it ended up being the one that was easiest to understand on first read and the one that we're shipping with.
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Now I'm curious what the other names have been like. Could you give a naming example, please?

- /u/Varggrim

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

A few we considered were:

  • Mummy/Mummified - Felt more like a minion type than a keyword. It would've also pigeon-holed us into making all of the Reborn minions into Mummies and it didn't quite lead you to understand what the mechanic did on first read.
  • Embalmed - Had that great thematic vibe, but it was harder to predict what the keyword did on first read.
  • Ankh - Felt more like an item than a keyword and also didn't indicate that it was a one-time effect.

What we liked about Reborn was, when we showed it to people for the first time, they could instantly guess what it basically did. That was a huge win for us and ultimately led to us choosing to stick with the original keyword.

 

On the new Plague cards:

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What is the common theme/mechanic to all the plagues? We've seen a board clear with absolute destruction, but I'm betting they all aren't board clears.

- /u/water2770

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

All the plagues affect both sides of the board. When they happen, it'll be a big moment in the game and minions will usually die. Since plagues can create massive destruction, you'll have to be fairly mindful of when to unleash yours.

Visually, there's also some really great swirl effects that link them all together. FX kicked *filtered* on them.

 

On Brawl Block and other new Tavern Brawls:

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Not Uldum related, or maybe?, but do you guys have any plans to introduce more game modes/make the brawl blocks a regular mode?

I love the random brawl blocks that we've been getting, it sets up all sorts of new and exciting decks. I know a lot of other TCG games have different formats similar to the brawl blocks and I think it would make for an awesome addition to the game.

That aside, I wanted to thank you guys for adapting and being willing to take chances on changing up the meta by buffing and nerfing cards and I hope you will continue to do so.

- /u/CWellDigger

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

We're really excited that we're able to explore new game modes in something like Tavern Brawl (now almost Always open!). It gives us an opportunity to explore new ideas quickly and get immediate feedback. We're excited to try something like our recently announced Fire Fest-E.V.I.L. which combines a Dungeon Rule-style experience in a Tavern Brawl. Surprise and delight is one of our key tenets and we're going to continue to explore different ways to play the game and hopefully keep you all guessing!

 

On, er, mushrooms:

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Will we have any mushrooms in SoU? With last rotation we lost all of them.

- /u/slow_rnd

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

Not for this set. Most mushrooms and mushroom people thrive in damp environments. Uldum isn't a great place for them, even for a vacation. 😄

 

On the design philosophy behind the new Quests:

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In the two years since Un'Goro, what has been the single biggest adaptation in your approach to designing Quest cards?

- /u/AlonsoQ

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

When we decided that we wanted to explore Quests again for Saviors of Uldum, we wanted to do them differently than we did with Journey to Un'Goro. The original Quests were more difficult to complete in general and you tended to have to go all-in in your deck build-around for them. Whether or not you were able to complete your quest often determined if you would win the game since rewards for those quests were so powerful the game ended shortly after.

With the Quests in Saviors of Uldum, we wanted them to be easier to complete, but also have more of a game to play out once the quest was completed. The new Quests will instantly change your Hero Power on completion so you can immediately take advantage of their effect. We expect these Quests to complete more towards the mid-game than the end game so it will feel more like a second phase of the game with your opponent still having a good opportunity to win.

 

On the success of the Rise of the Mech event:

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How did you feel like the Rise of Mechs event and card buffs went? Would you consider doing something similar in the future?

- /u/FinancialWizard77

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

Definitely happy with Rise of the Mech and the card buffs. Being able to introduce cards like SN1P-SN4P and see how players react to the buffs was super exciting for us. Nothing to announce at the moment, but we are considering it.

 

On developing new Tavern Brawls, and an interesting upcoming Brawl:

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Do you have an internal version of the game that lets you playtest different rulesets, especially for Tavern Brawls, such as the limited formats we’ve seen in Brawl Blocks, or extreme rules such as in the Double Deathrattle Brawl?

Which of these alternative rulesets are your favourite and are there any that you decided not to make into Brawls for being unfun?

- /u/aliaswhatshisface

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

Yeah, we have ways of creating alternate rulesets for playtests. How else would we playtest them? ?

My favorite brawl has to be the upcoming Burndown one that's coming out soon. The WIP name was "The Darwin Brawl." It's super clever and I loved seeing which decks became dominant. I'm also a fan of the pre-release brawl that removes restrictions on deck building so you can put whatever you've opened into a deck. I made a deck of 13 Springpaws and it was horrible. 😄

 

On Reckless Experimenter and Chakki, Mad Genius:

Quote

Have you ever had to retroactively change a card before release? I.e. if you were working on Rise of Shadows, change a card in Rastakhan's Rumble after you "finished" RR due to a potential combo you found?

- /u/mylifemyworld17

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

Reckless Experimenter was changed after Chakki found an "undesirable" combo using Spirit of the Dead. Before release, Experimenter used to kill minions immediately instead of waiting until the end of the turn. Using Experimenter + Spirit of the Dead + Knife Juggler + Dead Ringer meant you created a draw engine that dealt one damage and drew the copy of Dead Ringer that had just shuffled into the deck after it died to create an OTK. So we went back and changed Experimenter to destroy the minion at the end of the turn.

 

On Zilliax:

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Does the fact that Zilliax is included in more than 66% of all decks concern the balance team at all? In the past, neutral cards that were too prevalent have been the subject of balance changes. Or are you comfortable with it's current power level, and enjoy watching the meta becoming unified, precise, and perfected?

- /u/noirradnod

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

We've continued to keep an eye Zilliax since its release and we're comfortable with its place in the current meta. It's used in a variety of decks, but plays different roles in each. We intended for Zilliax to be a card that showcased the Magnetic mechanic and are happy that it's been able to do so. We'll continue to monitor its power and place in the meta, but are pleased with it overall.

 

On fan theories:

Quote

Hello, I would like to know if the team reads the theories about the next expansions. Has any been discovered before being announced?

Thanks!

- /u/aeros209

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

Yes.

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

Yes.

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

Yes

Blizzard LogoValerie Chu (/u/HS_Valerie_C)

Yes

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

Yup and Yes 😉

 

On the rules of the Reborn mechanic:

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Posted this in the competitveHS thread but

Does the minion return without the keyword Reborn? I.E. if you had a buff that only worked on a reborn minion would it work post reborn?

Do reborn minion retain buffs? I assume not but want to make sure

Do reborn minion count as "summons"? So would a reborn minion with a Kadgar in play summon 2 minions?

Do reborn minions spawn in the same spot they died or always to the left?

If the second minion that is Reborn after the first minion dies is returned to your hand, does it have Reborn when you play it again?

- /u/Slayergnome

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

  1. The minion that returns will still have the keyword Reborn on it. You can think of it like a Divine Shield minion that has its Divine Shield popped. It's still a Divine Shield minion, but no longer has Divine Shield.
  2. They do not.
  3. Yes, they count as summons.
  4. Yes, the Reborn gets refreshed if it gets bounced and played again.
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One last follow up on the first question. Will the word be like greyed out or will the be some visual effect to let you know it does not have Reborn anymore?

- /u/Slayergnome

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/puffinplays)

There's a visual effect to let you know if a minion has Reborn active or not.
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Wouldn't it be easier to program it like Twinspell? The first half having the name and the second half not having it.

- /u/Wenpachi

Blizzard LogoStephen Chang (/u/PuffinPlays)

It's less about what's easier or harder to program. It's more about what makes for better gameplay. It being the same minion with Reborn on or off lets us do some cool things with some of the designs (that you'll see when more cards are shown). Having an on-board visual effect is a concern for board clarity and something we definitely were concerned with, but in the end we tried to make the effect for it clear but not cluttered. With Twinspell, it's harder to do a visual effect for the card since they stay in your hand so we went with a different treatment for that.

 

On new entrance animations for Classic set Minions:

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Will the rest of the Classic set legendaries be getting updated entrance animations like Illidan, Thalnos and Deathwing did?

- /u/Rhovan22

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

Not necessarily, though when people have a positive response to these kind of changes it certainly helps! I think the examples you cite above were natural candidates as they are such prominent characters in the Warcraft universe and we felt we wanted to give them a little extra "oompf" when they are played. I am curious what other characters people would love to see get a similar treatment in the future when time allows for it?

 

On the experience of creating Saviors of Uldum:

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What were the biggest challenges on making this new expansion

- /u/ikill4food

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

As the second in the three part story line started with Rise of Shadows, the team really focused on furthering the vibe and story while also bringing back the fan favorites: Elise, Reno, Brann and of course Sir Finley. Bringing back these characters along with a familiar mechanic in Quests, while still leaving room for new ideas such as Plagues and Reborn, all the while exploring the mysteries of Uldum, meant that the team had a ton of fun and opportunities and made the most of them at every turn!

 

On allocating each of the League of Explorers to a single class:

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What was the rationale behind pushing the League of Explorers as the Saviours of Uldum in their... peculiar class roles? Reno for Mage, Finley for Paladin, Elise for Druid.

- /u/MotsCots3009

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

We wanted the League of Explorers to fill in the remaining four classes after assigning the first five to the League of E.V.I.L. "CitizenDane" below is pretty close with their answer:
Elise - Made a natural Druid with her early studies of Un'goro Crater
Brann - The giant blunderbuss he carries (not to mention super sweet Dino Mount) made him an instant Hunter
SirFinley - Having apparently been "knighted" at some point became the Paladin
Reno - Well... that left mage.. this in turn led us to the "Gatling Wand" he carries, and he seemed to take to the using of magic in this form like a duck to water!

 

On balloons:

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Any balloons in the expansion?

- /u/Retl

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

hmmm... not this one...

(When you gotta know, you gotta know.)

 

On competition from Teamfight Tactics and keeping the game fresh:

Quote

The latest VS report noted a dramatic decrease in contributor numbers coinciding with the TFT release. With newer games on the market vying for our attention what plans or features do you have in place to keep the playerbase engaged going forwards? I appreciate the single player content is more involving than ever, but are any changes planned to the core multiplayer experience?

- /u/Smithers555s

Blizzard LogoBen Thompson (/u/Ben_Thompson_HS)

At the beginning of the year the team committed to increasing the cadence of content and the variety of ways players get to interact with the game and the team who makes it. With the first round of single player found in Rise of Shadows there was focus on making the most exciting and re-playable single player to date, and the team continues to be proud of this experience.

The "Rise of the Mech", the recently announced "Fire Fest-E.V.I.L.", and a more open outlook towards changing cards more frequently (as seen with the recent nerf, buffs and classic rotated cards) are just a few of the examples of this commitment to date. We fully intend to do more like this especially between expansions, and identify even more opportunities going forward.

 

On Arch-Villain Rafaam's big ideas:

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Okay so Rafaam's Plan is to unleash the plagues. It sounds nice but why?. Does he like chaos and destruction that much?

- /u/Mateusz3010

Blizzard LogoValerie Chu (/u/HS_Valerie_C)

He really does! Some people have quiet hobbies like knitting or stamp collecting. Rafaam thinks bigger! (Maybe too much bigger.)

 

On Reno Jackson's treasure fixation:

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Lore Question:

  1. Does Reno’s magical crystal gun have a name?
  2. Where did he find such a powerful artifact?

- /u/Rhovan22

Blizzard LogoValerie Chu (/u/HS_Valerie_C)

Reno has recently taken an interest in magical items. The more powerful they are, the more he likes them! The Gatling Wand might be his favorite, though.

 

On a new Lackey in Saviors of Uldum:

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Since this seems to be a point of confusion, are more Lackey's getting added or just more cards using the Lackey keyword?

- /u/TrueFly

Blizzard LogoAlec Dawson (/u/HS_Alec)

We will be adding another Lackey in Saviors of Uldum. Expanding the pool changes how you think about Lackeys and what outs you are looking for, like 2 damage or that clutch spell you were looking for. Lackeys are a year-long mechanic and we really wanted to shake things up with each expansion.

 

On Class identity:

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There has been a lot of discussion in regard to "class identity" recently. There are many who believe the criteria listed in your recent article goes against current design philosophies, particularly concerning Mage and Shaman. On the other hand, I do understand the need for flexibility in order to enable new archetypes and playstyles for each class. Can you provide any sort of clarification to what "class identity" means to you when working on a new set?

- /u/gredman9

Blizzard LogoLiv Breeden (/u/HS_Liv)

We've been talking about Class Identity for some time now; we want classes to feel different to play as and against. Priest is all about building up a board and healing your minions, creating a bunch of big minions to beat your opponent down. If you're playing against Priest and they have a bunch of minions on the board, it should feel scary. If you're at ten Health but they don't have any minions, you should feel pretty safe. However, you should feel scared if you're at ten Health against a Hunter, even if they don't have a board of minions. When Priest has access to cards like Mind Blast, it makes it harder to create that plan against a Priest.

It was important for us to nail down the details first, though. To your point, Shaman have been doing a lot of card generation lately. We'd like to stick to class identities more closely, so going forward you can expect to see us lean into that those identities more and more.

When working on a new set as a designer, if I need ideas for what core cards to put in a class I look at the strengths in their class identity for inspiration. The weaknesses are really the defining feature of a class though. They help separate their class from the others. Knowing what a class can't do helps reinforce the feel of the class. If something doesn't fit in their identity, maybe that mechanic would be best suited in a different class.

We changed Rogue's Plague for Saviors of Uldum during Final Design as a result of the Class Identity being solidified.

 

Answers from Iksar:

Blizzard LogoDean Ayala (/u/IksarHS)

On engineering new cards:

Not Uldum specific, but what are some engineering nightmares that stuck out while developing the cards? - /u/1RiceBowl1

Nightmares probably isn't the right word, but certainly challenges. I have a feeling you'll know the card we're talking about when you see it. Every expansion we have an engineering time budget we try to adhere to. It's important we're doing new cool stuff, sometimes that includes work we have to ask for from our engineering team. Our design tools are pretty robust, but there are always a bunch of designs we think of that we currently don't support within our designer tool. When that happens we find the cards that are most important to the set to ship and make sure we have enough time budgeted to finish them.

 

On keeping the game fresh:

Do you think that 135 collectible cards are enough to keep the meta diverse between each expansions? If you guys had enough resources would you make more/bigger expansions or is the current ammount ideal? - /u/rabo_de_galo

Really good question! There are a bunch of factors that go into making a decision around how many cards to release. Usually when people talk about meta diversity they are talking about the length of time they can go before the game seems solved and becomes less interesting. The two things that impact this the most are the amount of cards we release, and the cadence in which we release them. In the past, some of our content releases only came with 30-45 cards, which we don't think ended up being enough card content to fill a 4-month window with enough interesting decks to explore. We landed on releasing 135 cards per expansion because it felt like enough content to last the full 4 months. Nowadays, as players are consuming the content faster we're trying a bunch of different ways to freshen things up around the 2-month mark. One of our first swings at that was the Rise of the Mech event, I would be curious if players think that releasing a small subset of cards during the 2-month timeline would be a good idea or not. We have a bunch of ideas that we're going to try over the new few expansions.

Ive always been interested in releasing 35 or so less cards in the first release and holding them for a month. Doing this would both help with keeping things fresh and developing a story, maybe the single player adventure could end with a surprise villain and then boom 30 cards relating to the character come in and shake things up. - /u/CivilKobold

Pretty reasonable. If anything, I think we'd be more likely to ship the same amount of cards at a faster cadence than substantially increase the amount of cards we release on the same cadence.

Still, I think there is some room for some very small releases or 5-40 cards. Interesting thought. For both complexity and cost of game reasons, though, I think it's very unlikely we'd release very many more cards than that per year.

 

On balancing the Wild format:

Will wild get any balance changes implemented at the next expansion launch? - /u/LocoTurko

Barnes comes up as a topic of conversation a lot and it's something we've been looking at a little closer in the last week or so as Saviors of Uldum gets closer and closer to release. One of the biggest concerns we've had with changing Barnes is that the Resurrect Priest deck is a favorite of many Wild players, and taking away Barnes might make it feel like they can't play their favorite deck anymore. The spirit of Wild to some degree is that it should be a place where you can go to play your favorite deck no matter when you come back to the game. That said, there have been so many cards released that fall into the Resurrect Priest archetype that I think we could make a change to Barnes without making it feel like that deck is unable to function. We don't have any changes planned on or before the release of Saviors of Uldum, though we'll revisit this topic once the expansion releases and we have a better idea of what Wild looks like post-Uldum.

I´m sorry, but is that for real?

Is ANYONE playing wild right now from the team on rank 24+?

Who the ... is enjoying playing Big Priest or playing agaist it?

Baku and Genn should´ve been removed completely as I´ll be pain in the *filtered* forever for me and for everyone playing wild...

I´m sorry again, but this answer is one of the biggest jokes I have seen in my life.

Like how hard is to actually nerf few broken decks/cards and actually be responsive with the Wild community and not just response to Standard players "casually" playing wild time to time? 😞

End even tho I was so excited, this just ended my hopes and dreams again and again.

- /u/imicekczech

Yes, we do.

Statistically speaking, Big Priest is pretty average. However, it's one of the most played decks. One of the easiest explanations for this is that players like playing the deck. It might not be the highest win rate strategy but it *feels* powerful to play. We would never argue that Big Priest is something that everyone loves, but I think it's pretty hard to argue that no one likes playing it. If that were true, then it would fall closer in line with other decks that have a similar win rate, cost to craft, or style of play.

You hadn't hesitate when nerfing others favourite deck "Kingsbane Rogue". (by nerfing leeching poison) - /u/bakublade2002

You're right. Design and balance are always a subjective thing. Which card is too powerful? Which deck archetype truly crosses the sacred boundary of fun?! It's not an exact science. In the case of Kingsbane Rogue we thought that deck invalidated most control strategies, and it was also quite a bit more popular in Wild than Big Priest has been.

Ironically, it's [Big Priest] probably the most hated of many Wild players. - /u/gliido

Unsurprisingly, some of the most loved decks are usually some of of the most hated.

 

On balancing Priest's Classic set:

Any plans to make Priest "Evergreen" set better? I'm still playing the game, but my Priest player friends mostly left and I'm probably staying but it feels sad to see them leave. - /u/Artorias_Soul

The power of individual Priest cards is actually not bad, it's more that the basic and classic set don't have a strong archetype direction. One of the clearest identities of Priest in the base set is Divine Spirit, but the mechanics of Divine Spirit can be so frustrating that it's not something we go out of our way to design towards. Healing is a strong flavor mechanic, but it's not a great mechanic to build your deck around. Card generation is a fun mechanic, but it doesn't necessarily lead to winning games on its own. We like leaning into high minion health so Priest can take advantage of their healing potential, but might have to address Divine Spirit in order to realize that goal. Priest archetypes isn't a totally solved question at this point, but we hope there are some fun decks on the horizon and Priest players will be excited with some of the Uldum cards being revealed over the next month or so.

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One of the clearest identities of Priest in the base set is Divine Spirit, but the mechanics of Divine Spirit can be so frustrating that it's not something we go out of our way to design towards.

I'm so confused: the only endgame condition Priest has... you no longer want to support. (Not that I'm complaining about the Inner Fire Combo).

What gives?

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We like leaning into high minion health so Priest can take advantage of their healing potential, but might have to address Divine Spirit in order to realize that goal.

PLEASE. PLEASE do this. Priest players have been begging for this for a while. We can't keep minions alive if you're always worried about giving Priest minions too much health because of Divine Spirit. - /u/Artorias_Soul

We honestly don't usually go into decks wanting Divine Spirit to be the main win condition. Priest cards tend to have higher health because they are a less aggressive class and their hero power heals. Because of this, Divine Spirit ends up being a core win condition. This is fine. I'm not trying to say we won't continue to do this, though I am saying that we would rather not go into card design with the idea that Divine Spirit / Inner Fire should be the core win condition in all Priest decks. It can create a feeling that if you don't clear a Priest minion, you could be dead at any moment, which I think is mostly a negative feeling. If we were to ever change Divine Spirit in some way, we'd do it at a time where the design benefits of making that change are right around the corner. You are safe.... FOR NOW!!!

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Priest cards tend to have higher health because they are a less aggressive class and their hero power heals.

Not sure this is accurate. It always felt to me like Priest cards tend to NOT have higher health pools because Divine Spirit is a consideration. Other then Rise of Shadow's Henchclan Thug, I can't think of a Priest Minion that had a high health pool when compared to its mana cost. - /u/Artorias_Soul

We do have to be careful of Divine Spirit, though it's just much more likely you'd see a minion be 6/4 than 4/6. Priest minions are pretty cool, laid back characters. Hunter characters are usually a bit more aggressive looking and have stats a little more aggressive to back up both their flavor and the toolkit of what that class is good at.

 

On the experience of designing for Hearthstone:

Hello from the head moderator of r/customhearthstone! I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of our creative community for continuing to make sure an inspiring game.

I wanted to ask about how familiar the designers of Hearthstone are with various design theories such as top-down and bottom-up, timmy, johnny, and spike, lenticular design, and design aesthetics. Is it something that you are constantly learning about and implementing into your work? - /u/Coolboypai

Extremely familiar. Those are all terms we reference frequently. One of the benefits to working on a game like Hearthstone is that you frequently have the opportunity to learn. Releasing every 4 months means you have to design, iterate, and *finish*. After that you have a window of player feedback and you are on to the next thing. We go through that loop over and over again while most other games have much, much longer windows of time before they can go through that experience. I've been on Hearthstone since Naxx, so getting all the player feedback for the last 15 releases just helps you become a better designer.

(Crikey, that got a bit heated.)

 

That's all folks! There's a lot to get our teeth into here - I'm especially curious about which fan theories will turn out to have been on the money. But at least I can rest easy knowing that there will be no mushrooms or balloons in sight.

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On 7/10/2019 at 1:34 AM, Lemon1 said:

In the past, neutral cards that were too prevalent have been the subject of balance changes.

Not always. Fire Fly must have been in over 80% of decks for almost 2 years, and never changed. Like Zilliax, Fire Fly had great value and was versatile, so it would go in many decks but not necessarily for the same reason. Sometimes it was there merely for the value (2x 1/2 for 2 mana is pretty decent). Rogue enjoyed the combo-enabler. Mage and Shaman could leverage the Elemental minion type. It was also good in both zoo/token and big-hand decks. But you never had that feeling of "OMG my opponent played Fire Fly, I can't win that game".

On 7/10/2019 at 1:34 AM, Lemon1 said:

We landed on releasing 135 cards per expansion because it felt like enough content to last the full 4 months.

I fully agree. I definitely don't want to see more cards created (for the PvP side of the game). If players get tired too fast, I don't think that this is caused by the new cards being too few. I see no reason to believe that the meta would settle significantly more slowly with more cards. Also I believe that only a subset of players are rushing through the new extension, buying all the cards fast and creating a top deck within a week. Many players (of which I am) will take several weeks to buy enough packs to be able to catch up with the meta. As far as I'm concerned, I only start playing the new expansion after about 6 weeks, which leaves only 2 months and a half to use my new deck(s). Definitely not long enough for me to get bored.

More cards would take a lot more resources (money and/or playing time) to obtain. I remember that as a new player starting with The Boomsday Project, I felt bad when Rastakhan's Rumble was released after only 4 months. 4 months was definitely not enough to get my hands on enough Boomsday Project card packs plus catch up with Witchwood plus start growing my Classic collection. The release of Rastakhan's Rumble gave me a bad feeling of having to start it all over again (which was definitely wrong, but that's how it felt back then). On top of that, getting familiar with all the cards in Standard was quite a challenge, and I was not exactly happy to see 135 new cards added when I was finally no longer struggling to identify the cards played by my opponents. Of course, after almost a year playing the game now, things are much better for me, but I'm still missing 28% of the Classic set, and have significant holes in the 4 Standard expansions. Let's not neglect the new player experience.

As a summary, if Blizzard wants to keep their player base large, I don't think they should release more cards, nor release them faster. I much prefer what they are doing right now, with seasonal events and adjustments to older cards. This keeps things interesting without requesting us all to play 8 hours a day to stay up-to-date.

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