Hearthstone Q&A BlizzCon 2016 Liveblog Coverage

If you don’t find yourself at BlizzCon and you don’t have a Virtual Ticket then we have you covered. I’ll be covering the Hearthstone Q&A right here!

The panel is featuring four Blizzard Game Designers: Yong Woo, Mike Donais, Peter Whalen, and Matthew Place.

Hearthstone Q&A BlizzCon 2016 Coverage

The panel is over, thanks for being with us! The questions and answers are going to be paraphrased, so don’t take them as exact quotes.

What are you looking to do in terms of more in person Hearthstone tournaments?

They are looking to increase Fireside Gathering events, and they’ll be continuing to increase these in 2017.

Any chance if there could be more than 2 players playing in co-op?

They love the idea of this, and they’ll continue experimenting in this direction.

Is there any ideas or plans for the new player experience at fireside gatherings or in general?

They have someone working specifically on new player experience. They are going to be working on things to improve stuff at firesides.

Is there any thought to changing the interface and allowing you to favorite certain cards?

They’ve been discussing ways to customize how your collection looks. No plans at the moment, but they are very passionate about updating the Collection Manager.

Have you figured out to release the Tyrande skin in the other areas of the World? When are the other classes getting new skins?

They will continue to add skins for all the missing classes. They like to think of a lot of creative ways to get the hero skins out. Tyrande in China is something they are working on.

How does Engineering interface with Design? Is it a challenge working with new cards?

Tri-class cards were a difficult engineering challenge. The system had to be built differently as every card was a fixed class.

Any plans to have a way to play the AI with specific archetypes or decks?

No current plans. The AI system in general could be invested in more.

Any plan for Sideboards?

Sideboards are a cool idea, it might be something to try out in a Tavern Brawl.

Are the tri-class cards your answer to neutral spell cards?

The reason for the tri-class cards were to make each family have a specific playstyle.

Do you think that each class should have its own top tier deck?

Having an ebb and flow is really important. Right now Paladin is one of the weakest classes, but a year ago it was the most complained about class. It’s important that each class and each playstyle should have it’s time to shine.

Are you willing to add more tempo swing cards and more AOE?

They think tempo swings and big AOE are fun. They’ve shown one Priest AOE that shows them experimenting in this direction. Kazakus is another card in this vein.

Are the increase in upcoming official tournaments a way to discourage 3rd party tournaments?

No, the implementation of the upcoming Hearthstone Championship Tour is just a way to augment what they’ve already done so far.

Is there any plan on bringing back the randomness deck builder?

There’s no plans to bring it back, but they were hoping Tavern Brawl would fill that niche. They’ve discussed ways to import/export decks, no current timeline.

How do you deal when there’s a lot of negative feedback?

A lot of the community feedback comes from a place of passion. It comes from a place where they really care about Hearthstone. They get lots of great feedback and ideas from the community. If our community cares about certain things, so it encourages us to invest in them.

Do you have plans for future Achievements and Goals?

One option is the World Championship as a goal. They are discussing more options, but a good goal at the moment is participating in the Hearthstone Championship Tour.

When is Heroic Tavern Brawl coming out? Where is it leading to?

We haven’t announced when we’re going to do it, but it’s ready to go and we’ll be releasing it soon. We’ll see how it goes and feels once released.

Are you going to introduce a Tournament system?

They’ve been talking with the community with this for a while. There’s a lot difference between how each person envisions a tournament system. Some want all day long tournaments, and some want to get to the top of a ladder type tournament. They will be exploring more things like with Heroic Tavern Brawl.

How does the art team cooperate with the design team? Does art come first, or do you design a card first?

It’s a lot of collaboration.

How much variance is good for the game?

It’s important that players feel like they have a chance in every game. Much of the skill is involved in playing around randomness. It’s true that Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has less RNG, and it’s important for each set to feel different. This is a lot of the reason why they’ve leaned into Discover with this new expansion.

Why and how did Midrange Shaman becomes so powerful in Standard?

We designed new cards and we evaluate power level. They knew people wanted new Shaman cards, the cards weren’t performing well enough. They work really far in advance, if Shaman goes to 55 percent (winrate) when it was 45 percent then that’s okay. It’s not that bad when you look at the stats after the nerfs 50 – 55% winrate. Fortunately, they have the new expansion coming out and it should change everything.

Do you think the increased chance of seeing new expansion cards in Arena is bad?

As they go forward, once they new tools are available they can adjust it more easily.

Will you reach a point where it’s too hard to balance Heroic Bosses in Adventure Mode?

People have varied collections so it will be challenging. They do the best they can, but people who are experts at the game will potentially beat them easily.

Have you landed on a decision where you’re taking Priest, e.g. Archetypes?

They are looking at three archteypes, e.g., Dragon, Reno, and Spell Priest. These are the direction the cards will be taking Priest in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan.

How were the Tri-Class cards designed from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan?

A lot of it was to encompass the three gangs together. Once they start releasing more of the cards, you’ll see how the classes will work together and have a playstyle. The goal was to feel like you are apart of the gang you are playing.

When are we going to see some changes to Arena?

They’re building a lot of infrastructure for designers to change things in Arena, but they don’t have a timeline before they can announce anything.

Year of the Kraken is going to be over soon, are you happy with the current expansion release schedule?

They are evaluating the best way to release cards, e.g., through expansions or adventures. They are pretty happy with two expansions and an adventure each year.

What’s the chance of a Hearthstone API?

No specific plans on releasing one in the near future.

Will they change the way you regress in ranks at the end of the Season?

They’ve been discussing this, but they don’t have anyone on it right now.

Is there any chance you’ll allow players to earn previous Card Backs?

They feel it’s special for players in the past to have access to the old card backs, but they’re discussing bringing card backs to more people in the future. Nothing concrete.

Will you be adding a hero class such as Death Knight or Monk?

They talk about this a lot, but they don’t want to create a new class if it steals design space from another class. Right now they don’t have any plans for it.

How do you decide when to add new keywords, e.g. battlecry?

They test new mechanics and decide whether or not it needs a keyword. Sometimes a new mechanic doesn’t need a keyword because it only appears on a few cards.

Is there going to be an increase of Hearthstone Lore?

Yes, they are excited to keep doing the things they’ve done with Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. It was a ton of fun for them to create new characters.

A wild Robert Wing just appeared to ask why Yong Woo is so handsome.

Is there going to be any changes to Arena soon?

They are very passionate about Arena, and there’s someone who spends a lot of time┬ádealing with Arena. They’ll have new technology in the future to tune Arena better. They are interested in some crazy ideas for Arena, such as picking a Murloc gives you more options for Murlocs in the future.

Is there any plans for more dedicated Co-op content?

They’ve discussed more ways of making it easier to play with friends. We’ve tried adding more stuff like Friend vs. Friend quests.

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