Mike Donais (Update: And Peter Whalen) No Longer Working on Hearthstone, Still At Blizzard

Mike Donais is known for visiting Twitch chats of pro players once in a while, often explaining current game mechanics, as well as dropping some interesting tidbits about future updates. Today, during Dog’s Battlegrounds session, instead of fun facts or patch notes, he has dropped a massive bomb. Apparently, he’s no longer working on Hearthstone as of January. He mentioned that he’s still at Blizzard, but it seems that he’s working on another game now.

Mike has been on the Hearthstone team since 2014, and became a Lead Game Designer in 2018. Lately he’s been very involved in Battlegrounds game mode. We have no clue what he might be working on right now. Is it something related to Hearthstone? Maybe a standalone Battlegrounds game? Another known game that’s currently being developed? Or possibly some unannounced project? If you have any guesses, let us know!

Update #1

Iksar has commented on the reddit post about Mike leaving HS team, pretty much confirming what he said in the chat. He, in fact, moved on from the team, but still gives design team some advice. As for the Battlegrounds, the mode will now be balanced and designed by the same team that designs regular Hearthstone cards. We’ll see how it works.

Mike is OP. He still gives us advice and just recently pitched us a robo-murloc design for battlegrounds even though he had already moved on from the team. Thanks Mike, I know we can always count on you for murloc designs and murloc related puns.

Battlegrounds is now a responsibility of the card design team, so the same team that works on expansions will now also handle content production for that game mode.


Update #2

It seems that Senior Game Designer Peter Whalen has also left Hearthstone team. Together with Mike, he’s working on “something cool”. Since they can’t talk about it, it’s most likely some unannounced project, such as another game. I hope that we’ll learn more soon!


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. KingArthas
    January 31, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    If either of them had the stupid idea about lackeys and the “discover” mechanic overall, then I’m pretty sure the game will do just fine without them!

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      January 31, 2020 at 3:53 pm

      Before Discover, all cards that added random cards to your deck added… exactly that, completely random cards. So I think that Discover was a big improvement in that matter. It was even more inconsistent and RNG.

      And I know that you guys didn’t always like their card design or balance decisions, but both Mike and Peter were amazing designers.

    • Mikek12003
      February 1, 2020 at 4:38 am

      lol u really not like the discover mechanic? It was one of games greatest hits. Literally everyone saw it as an improvement and loved me. Afraid to hear your opinion on the rest of the game

      • KingArthas
        February 1, 2020 at 2:15 pm

        If you like the discover mechanic, then you really must love Galakrond rogue and its hero power. Which is fine I guess (smh), but I beg to differ…

  2. GlosuuLang
    January 31, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    This is interesting. Fans have complained about the direction the game has gone for several expansions, so if there’s a new design team, then it will be a different direction, right? So why all the moaning by those same fans? Ben Brode is an awesome guy, but remember that with him there were tons of super-aggro metas. His last legacy was Genn and Baku. Once he left the game improved imo. Now they just need to stop printing soooo many RNG cards and infinite value and the game will be good again. It would be nice to have Hearthstone Vanilla some time too, just so we can experience what it is to fight fatigue matches once again.