Hearthstone AMA Summary

Hearthstone AMA


The Hearthstone Team answered a lot of questions by the community, some questions are very general, some others announce what could come in the future.

Q: The Priest overhaul is something that many players have been asking for for a long time. With that said, it’s clear that several of the classes (especially Paladin) still have lacking core sets, especially when compared to, say, Mage. Are there any plans to re-evaluate other classes’ core sets as a whole in the future, instead of simply replacing HOF’d cards from those classes?

A: Priest was the one where we felt the Basic/Classic set was the most in need of revision, by a considerable margin.

We’re hoping to see how that goes (please, let us know what you think of it, whether you’d like to see more of that, etc.), and then evaluate the potential of making Basic/Classic design changes to other classes. I wouldn’t expect the same level of change to other classes, but we’re definitely talking about it.

Q: How many of the nerfs and revisions of Classic and Basic were caused by the inclusion of Zypherus into the game? Is there a chance that any of those changes be undone after his rotation.

A: Zephrys didn’t cause any of the balance changes to the Classic and Basic cards and it’s unlikely that they’ll be undone after the next rotation. That said, we’re more open minded about things in Wild and recently reverted some Wild cards back to their original forms. It’s possible we could do the same for some Basic and Classic Hall of Fame cards. – Ben

Q: Lord Jaraxxus, we need to talk about him. Right now he is a class legendary that has no logical reason to be played, even if Zephrys wasn’t in standard so everyone could just top deck a sacrificial pact (an interaction that while was cute at the start has become an annoyance), a 9 mana set your max health to 15 and equip a meh weapon at best is terrible in an environment in which 15 face damage is not impossible to do from hand alone. He has one of the best hero powers in the game but that shouldn’t come at such a heavy cost. Has the team at all considered looking into possible changes to either the card or how things interact with him? Cause an evergreen class legendary shouldn’t be so mediocre at best IMO.

A: Lord Jaraxxus is super sweet, and we love him. Any card’s viability is always going to fluctuate with the meta, and this is no different. We may currently be at a low point in his meta-viability, but that’s okay and natural for card games.

I’d also take issue with the idea that even now, he’s unplayable. Yes, Zephrys is currently in standard, making Jaraxxus risky. But it’s also quite an exaggeration to say that he can’t be played because of that. He’s still good against non-Highlander decks (which are the majority, currently), and I’ve heard multiple pro (GM) players state that they’ll still run him, and just save him for after Zephrys is played.

Q: With all do respect, even if Zephrys didn’t exist he’d still be too big of a risk to play. A 3/8 weapon that has nothing else to it is just meh, the 15 max health is a huge risk, and the 9 mana is too clunky. The Galakrond cards get a 5/2 which is fine and the two death knight hero cards (Garrosh and Uther) that get weapons at least have something special about them. And I know it’s not fair to compare Jaraxxus to any Hero Card but he kinda is in a bizarre way. Like a beta hero card.

I don’t know, I feel like while he doesn’t need such a drastic change he could get some quality of life touches so when I am making a warlock deck I can look at him and at least consider him as an option. Cause right now there are two different hero cards I’d rather make a deck with and they don’t die to a random 0 mana spell. And if I want to hear Jaraxxus ham I just have the Mecha-Jaraxxus skin to do that for me.

Hope this doesn’t sound too rude.

A: Maybe my reply came off a bit out of touch. I’m not at all saying that he’s currently a strong card, merely that he’s at a reasonable power level, similar to numerous other general-purpose legendaries.

I also wasn’t sure if we were going to announce the Sacrificial Pact change yet, but we decided to announce that below as well, so great!

Q: I love the priest classic/core set change and ive wouldve only done it sligtly different persoanly in buffing shadowform to 2mana and replacing mindgames .

And id really love to see it happen to other classes(palladin,shaman the most then warrior imo) as i think its needed and would be really good for the future.

Also whats the design decisions for the core set change for priest in buffing some,nerfing others and others juet being hof’d ? like northsire is hof’d but powershield is nerfed/changed.

A: Some things are intended to be part of the core strength of Priest (hard removal, control), so those things got buffed (Shadow Word: Death, Smite).

Other things are *not* intended to be part of their core strengths (card draw), and nerfing them to the point that they fit would have resulted in just a useless card, so they were Hall of Famed (Northshire Cleric). Others could be changed to still fit and are useful, so that was done instead (Power Word: Shield).

Q: Cards like Evocation and The Solarium have an effect that makes cards become darker. I’ve been playing Evocation lately and been having trouble knowing what the cards are without hovering over them and leaning closer to the screen/phone display. Could you consider making the effect a bit lighter to make the cards more visible? It wasn’t a big deal with The Solarium because it was only 3 cards and you knew what was in your deck. With Evocation you often try to clear your hand as much as possible and then quickly try to find the best options among 7+ cards.

A: Can do, thanks for calling it out.:)

Q: Any chances of spicing up the meta with buffs like last June? I really loved that decision to give weaker cards a chance to shine.

A: We don’t have any current plans for something exactly like the Rise of the Mechs event from last year. In general, if cards we release aren’t achieving our aims, then we’re open minded about making changes. Don’t be surprised if you do see the odd buff alongside other card changes we make throughout the year. – Ben

Q: With wild getting bigger and bigger each expansion, are there plans to introduce a game mode that will have rotating sets like Arena, but where you could build your own decks? There is a gamemode coming this year that you said will use your whole collection, including wild cards, so a gamemode like this would be awesome. Now, if that gamemode is excactly what you’re planning, I’m not anticipating an answer for this, but I’d like to hear any thoughts 🙂

A: The new game mode coming later this year will allow you to use cards from older and newer sets. Currently, we aren’t putting any restrictions on which sets can be played within it, and there might even be some cool hidden secrets for using some of the older cards 😉. – Ben

Q: Are there any plans to look at old classic legendaries? Most don’t feel very legendary at all. Good work so far I have come back after a long break

A: Some of the most iconic Legendary cards around are from the Classic set and many of them have seen play consistently throughout the years: Alexstrasza, Malygos, Harrison Jones, and Edwin Van Cleef all come to mind. But there are certainly a few that haven’t aged well, such as “The Beast.”

We recently made some changes to the Priest Basic and Classic sets and are waiting to see how those play out. If players enjoy these changes and we feel they’re better for the game, we’re certainly open to making more changes to the Basic and Classic sets. – Ben

Q: Last year we saw three very different approaches to mid-expansion shakeups, and each was super cool in a different way. If the team had to pick a favorite between buffs, wild cards in standard, and an adventure with unique cards… which is their favorite?

A: Hi, this is Alex one of the Hearthstone Producers.

While not necessarily my favorite in terms of play mechanic, the Wild cards in Standard was definitely the most interesting one to setup because it had some unique questions we had to answer and solve. Buffs and cards granted through adventures are things we have done in the past, but for the Wild-to-Standard cards we needed figure out how that would work. To do this we started with the base core goal of shaking up the meta. This then lead to some derived core goals such as access to those cards.

Normally for something like an adventure we are granting you cards that you can carry until set rotation occurs, but for the wild-to-standard cards these would only be relevant to Standard for the duration of the event and we did not want players to use Dust to craft the cards or have to open a wild packs to find them. Our solution for this was to grant temporary versions of the cards that would last for the duration of the event. Like many things in game development, this lead to a host of secondary issue to solve such as having to show players multiple versions of the cards in the Collection Manager and making sure decks in Wild would not allow players to add both versions.

There were also a number of UI considerations and card decisions that went into this so overall I think it was the most interesting of the three to work on. Hope this answers your question!

Q: Concerning Demon Hunter:

-Will Warglaives of Azzinoth be moved to classic for the class? (even the hero portrait is him using them) Its a staple of Illidan and we have Doomhammer and Gorehowl for use in classic for Warrior/Shaman.

-Alot of Demon Hunter Initiate cards are pretty much the class identity from lore (Immolation, Eye Beam, Spectral Sight, etc), I guess this goes with my first question, will some demon hunter initiate cards be moved and chosen for the classic set or will there be all new classic DH cards? Seems like you guys used all of Demon Hunters abilities for a set that will get rotated out.

-Why doesnt metamorphosis change the hero portrait while its in use? Its a legendary card and we already seen that Hearthstone can change hero portraits with card abilities (Shadow Form Priest anyone?)

A: Because I suck and I ran out of time to to finish implementing the overlay (I even mentioned the intent to do it in an interview so you can imagine what a tit I feel like). It’s still something we want to add, I just haven’t been able to finish it yet (because I didn’t want to just do Shadowform-but-green). It is actively in progress, though it unfortunately won’t make it into the next patch, sorry.:(

Q: Given that the identity of Demon Hunter is tied closely to Outland and Illidan himself, are there any concerns with creating DH cards that fit the theme of other expansions? It seems to me that Demon Hunters might clash with the motifs of further expansions.

A: The team has had a lot of practice at this over the past six years with Hearthstone’s nine other Heroes 🙂. Characters like Uther and Thrall are very grounded in Warcraft lore and history, but they and their cards manage to have their own flavors in Hearthstone while remaining true to the source material. – Ben

A: I’ll add on to this… Part of the way we’re doing this is through having more cards in each Year of the Phoenix expansion for Demon Hunter, but some of those cards are core Demon Hunter fantasy, not tied to the expansion. Since they’re brand new, we want to help instill the baseline of what Demon Hunter is, especially for those who are experiencing them for the first time here in Hearthstone.

Examples from Ashes of Outland: Spectral Sight, Immolation Aura, Warglaives of Azzinoth, Metamorphosis.

We intend to continue that strategy in the other two expansions this year.

Q: Are there any plans for more deckslots/being able to freely move decks in the future?

A: Since the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, we’ve made a concerted effort to try and take more player feedback on board. This is a request that comes up consistently—we’ve heard you loud and clear and are taking it seriously.

Edit: and yes, The ability to rearrange your decks should be coming during this expansion phase.

– Ben

Q: Are there any plans to reprint cards/create a reverse hall of fame to bring certain wild cards to standard?

A: No current plans at this time, but this is an interesting question. If we were to reprint a Wild card for Standard, which one would you like to see and why? – Ben

Q: Can we expect a better collection manager in the future with a better and simpler UI?

A: We have no short-term plans for this, but in the long term would like to revisit the Collection manager, especially on mobile. – Ben

Q: We’ve seen in the past certain neutral cards be considered to be so good that they were included in 50% or more of all decks. At what point does widespread prevalence of a card become a problem insofar as it takes away from the uniqueness of each class, makes each game feel the same, and potentially demonstrates that a card is too powerful?

A: We’ve done a lot of work in the Year of the Dragon and in the upcoming sets to try and strengthen and better define class identities and mechanics. While we like Neutral cards, and they do serve various purposes, we really want to see class cards being played more in general because then those decks feel more unique and create more fun and diverse games. – Ben

Q: Hey there,

I’d like to know how you guys come up with the flavor text for card

A: Valerie Chu, a designer on our team, heads up the process for flavor text. She does a lot of the writing herself, but also sources ideas from across the whole team. – Ben

Q: Rogue secrets are super flavourful and fit the class. Any chance of them sticking around beyond just 1 expansion/ year?

A: We like Rogue Secrets too and are following how they play out. It may be something we see more of in the future if it goes well 🙂. – Ben

Q: Hello, 2 questions from me:

If i hit a certain rank e.g. Diamond 5/Legend and then start playing janky decks with a terrible win rate… will my MMR tank extremely badly and affect my ranking the next season

Anything like slay the spire planned in some massive adventure? (Is this possible with the hearthstone UI?)

Thank you for the good work you guys are doing. Been having a blast since beta 🙂

A: Hey there, this is Alex one of the Hearthstone Producers who worked on the new Ranked system so I can answer that one.

For each rank floor such as Diamond 5 or Legend, we also have a system to prevent players from tanking their MMR for the next season. We know a lot of players like to test new decks or just try fun decks at the rank floors so we made sure this was in place for players such as yourself.

For reference, I would look at this thread where one of our data scientists wrote a number of things to clarify how the system works.

Hope this helps!

Q: We’re about 10 months since the class identity blog you posted last year. Will Team 5 be revisiting and/or amending any of the class strengths, limitations or weaknesses? And will DH’s class strengths, limitations or weaknesses be included, as well?

Finally, with respect to class limitations and weaknesses, I think a trend is starting to reveal itself for those classes with “card draw” as a weakness/limitation: those classes have not got enough “strength” to overcome such a crippling weakness/limitation. Are there plans to push certain class strengths’ harder? Or, better yet, loosening the limitations/weakness imposed on certain classes?

A: Hey there, this is a great question!

When it comes to class identity, it’s something we are still seeing through and want to be noticeable for the Year of the Phoenix and all future years. So yes, we will be amending and revisiting those class strengths, limitations, and weaknesses as development continues. DH will also be included in that process.

More to the second part of your question though, while developing and honing in on these more specific class identities, we’ve learned quite a bit. Hearthstone games definitely play out different when you know which classes have the large removal vs. which don’t, or know which classes can kill you from hand and against which classes you feel a bit safer at say 8 health. That’s important for the game and creates a more varied experience.

We’ve also learned that pushing some of those strengths really does help establish the identity further. I think Druid is a solid example of this in Ashes of Outland and that was part of the intention when development started on the expansion. When you have cards like Overgrowth, it goes a long way to reinforcing the mana generation of Druid. We will be leaning more into themes like these for specific classes in order to showcase their strengths.

Finally, we do realize that some of the outlined weaknesses can be a bit too limiting in a card game like Hearthstone. Card draw, for example, is a natural part of our game. The class identities should detail and remind which classes draw a ton of cards vs. which classes draw fewer cards, not which classes draw a ton of cards vs. which classes draw no cards at all. This is something we are actively discussing when it comes to class design and how classes will be shaped in the future.

Q: If you could choose three cards to buff from The Year of The Dragon, which cards would that be?

A: Madame Lazul – I think we overvalued the knowledge you gain from the Discover.

Nozdormu the Timeless – This card is super unique and interesting and would love for it to see more play. It’s a pretty scary amount of stats for this point in the game, so it’s risky.

Valdris Felgorge – This card is awesome and broke a bunch of conventions—I’d love to see it be played more!


Q: How do you guys feel about Dragonqueen Alexstrazsa and Zephyrs being played in decks with duplicates such as Galakrond Control Warlock which is able to draw through their deck really fast and use these 2 cards for more value that it otherwise wouldn’t have. I feel like it doesn’t reward Highlander decks such as Highlander Mage and Highlander Priest who are only able to have one copy of hard removal and both have limited card draw compared to warlock. Was this an intended effect?

A: During the development of these cards, we thought about giving them a requirement related to your deck at the start of the game rather than your active deck to account for players wanting to do this. We opted not to go with this as there was no form of counterplay—with the current version you can try to shuffle cards into your opponents’ deck as a way to try and mitigate the powerful effects of Alexstrasza and Zephrys. – Ben

A: To add a bit to what Ben mentioned above. We like when cards have varied uses that might seem out of the norm. In the case of the decks you mentioned, they’re still building around the card in a different way (heavy card draw versus pure no duplicates). We love it when players come up with creative deck ideas like this and definitely encourage it. We did try the version where it was a hard condition at the start of the game, but it just wasn’t as fun and liked the current version that’s more open-ended and up for experimentation and has opened up room for a lot of the varied pseudo-no-dupe decks that we see now in the meta.

Q: Has the team considered options to reintroduce old monthly cardbacks? It happened once with the Ragnaros one but nothing since then.

A: The Ragnaros card back was a test for how the community would react to this, there were some complaints but we believe this was mostly seen as a positive. No specific plans to announce here but expect to see more on this in the future. – Ben

Q: Can you give us any hints on what kind of achievements you guys are thinking about and rewards that are planned for Phase 3?

Purely selfish: if you make an “Achieve Legend!” achievement, please make it retroactive, I don’t know if dad me can ever reach it again.

ps Y’all rock!

A: When we launch this system, we want people to play and try to achieve the gameplay goals we’ve laid out for them, so we’re not hugely fond of retroactive achievements. But there are some cases where it makes sense and we don’t want to ask players to retread familiar ground. I think the best example for this is the Golden Hero portraits and the 1,000 win Hero portraits. We aren’t going to nullify or restart your progress here, as that feels really bad and unfair.

As for example achievements, what would you all like to see? We’d love to hear your suggestions! – Ben

Q: For players with big collections of cards, many of them only usable in wild; should we keep these cards when we don’t play wild, for…the new gamemode? Any information you can let loose about that? Is it more like tavern brawl, battlegrounds, arena…or maybe co-op? Haha.

A: Yes, the new game mode we plan to launch this year will allow you to use older cards and there will also be achievements that link into older expansions, so you may want to keep your Wild cards. We are a collectible card game and would like our players to feel better about their collection and its value. The recent change we made to prevent duplicates across all rarities in card packs was in part done to help here, and we want you to be able to collect the majority of an expansion for a reasonable price. – Ben

Q: How seriously do you take people’s complaints about Resurrect Priest being “unfun”? If the issues people present about Resurrect Priest are important to you – or at least important enough to try to resolve in some way – can you share anything about what is planned to rectify it? Change in design for Priest? Going forward with the changes already created and seeing if they make a bigger difference in the long run?

Lot of respect for what you guys do, thanks for maintaining solid work on this game. I seriously enjoy this meta.

A: We take this feedback seriously, and Resurrect Priest has been the source of lots of discussion on the team. The flip-side of this, though, is that a huge number of people are really enjoying playing Resurrect Priest and have invested a lot into building their decks. If its prevalence and win-rate reach an alarming point we’d almost certainly make changes, and we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. – Ben

Q: Will other classes get a revamped core set like priest has as some area really lacking and dont fit to well with class identity ?

A: We want to continue to make class identity important, the fantasy of playing as each class and keeping them feeling unique is important to us. What changes would you like to see here? – Ben

Q: Is priest where you hoped it would be after the class changes and expansion release?

A: The Basic and Classic changes we made this year felt necessary. We are taking a longer, more in-depth look at Basic and Classic internally. We’ve nothing specific to announce on this front yet, but there is more work to be done on Priest, and on other things. – Ben

Q: How does duplicate protection work for disenchanted cards?

E.g. I recieved a first plain copy of an epic card and disenchant it. Can I still recieve a second copy of that card from a pack, or is it marked as unwanted as soon as I disenchant it and duplicate protection will save me from receiving another copy before collecting a full set of all the other cards?

Once I recieve a full set of any epic cards, duplicate protection will switch to a mode, where it saves me separately from duplicate plain epics and duplicate golden epics. How does information about disenchanted cards transfers to the new mode? If I had one plain and one golden copy and disenchanted a golden copy before collecting a full set, will the duplicate protection provide me with another plain copy, once it switches to plain duplicate protection?

In the news article on playhearthstone you write, when I disenchant a common, rare or epic card, I won’t recieve that card again, before I collect a full set. I expect, that works for legendary cards as well, but would like to confirm.

A: Hi there, this is Alex one of the Hearthstone Producers,
I believe Coreycarries answered this but just to confirm this for you, the system tracks the first two copies of Common, Rare, and Epic cards you receive and tags them as owned in terms of duplicate checks. So let’s say you have 1 regular copy of Overconfident Orc and then 1 Golden copy of Overconfident Orc. The system will note that you have 2 copies of that card and therefore prevent you from getting another copy of it unless you have all of the Common cards from the Ashes of Outland set.

Even if you disenchant one of your copies of Overconfident Orc, the system still notes that you had received 2 copies and will therefore skip that card until you have all Commons from Ashes of Outland.

For Legendary cards, we do the same thing but we check to see if you have 1 copy of the card instead of 2.

Hope this helps (although credit should go to Coreycarries for answering this initially).

Q: What’s the least-descriptive way you can describe your favorite upcoming archetypes we should be on the lookout for throughout the year?

A: Cats? – Ben

Q: In the past there have been a couple of cards that the balance team thought would be fair, but turned out to be incredibly OP (e.g. corridor creeper). I’m interested in whether the flipside has ever happened. In other words, what are some of the cards that the balance team thought would be really good, that ended up seeing almost no play?

A: Hey! So I don’t think there are cards that we thought would be really good but ended up seeing almost play (we have a pretty good feel for this) but rather I think there are cards that we think have some potential but just haven’t gotten there yet. Cards that are waiting for their archetype to take off, cards looking for a home.

We can look at some recent examples of this like Exotic Mountseller. It’s not something we thought was going to be super strong, but possibly had potential if the right deck came along. There’s definitely some cards like that still out there! I know some of the most fun I’ve had playing in playtests is absolutely going off with a card like Whirlkick Master. There’s potential out there, but it’s not always the right meta or deck for certain cards.

Q: Last year you set a precedence for mid year hall of fame rotations with the removal of vanish and mind blast. Gojng forward, will that be used more often to deal with classic and basic cards as opposed to nerfing them? In addition, im looking at classic and basic cards that have been nerfed and I am wondering if they could perhaps be rotated and have their nerfs reverted.

In particular cards like mana wyrm, cold blood preperation, equality, wild growth and fiery war axe seem like cards that I’d love to see in their original state. Granted, Some of them are arguably balance outliers while I feel others have only been nerfed because a hall of fame rotation was out of the question at that point.

A: Generally, we’d prefer to welcome Classic and Basic cards to the Hall of Fame rather than changing them. People have a lot of fond memories of their cards and we like that they can play with them as they remembered in Wild.

As for reverting changes, we recently reverted some changes for cards that are exclusively in Wild. If a Basic or Classic card were to go to the Hall of Fame, we’d be open to reverting any of their changes in certain cases. – Ben

Q: Will you guys ever consider hand mechanics in battlegrounds? I think they fit pretty well in the mode if they’re done right. Maybe add some more dragons with hand mechanics?

A: We have considered hand mechanics in the past and it is definitely possible for them to appear in some form one day in Battlegrounds. One of the design goals of Battlegrounds was to put emphasis and focus on the gameplay of each individual round. In practice, that equates to trying to make your warband as strong as possible every turn with the minions you bought during that turn. A mechanic such as “If you’re holding a Dragon…” is functional but encourages some undesirable gameplay. There are some exceptions but in general, if you buy a minion, we want you to feel like you can play it and don’t need to hold on to it in your hand just to enable some trigger.

Here is a fun little design story. When trying to figure out the identity of Dragons in Battlegrounds, we of course had to consider the “If you’re holding a Dragon” mechanic, as it is one of the big themes in Dragons. So we asked ourselves, what is the equivalent of that in Battlegrounds? Dragons care about another Dragon being around right? We talked about doing “If you control a Dragon” – which is similar, but the condition was too easy to meet forever. Eventually that led us to what we have now on minions like Razorgore, which is explicitly caring about having a large Dragonflight (the number of Dragons you control). Basically we tried to keep some semblance of the Dragon identity but translated into Battlegrounds.

Conor Kou, Game Designer

Q: One more question from me regarding the events and features we could expect in the future: Would you say that we should expect something along the lines of last year’s schedule regarding the content through this year (e.g. We had Rise of Shadows, followed by the Dalaran Heist, then we had Rise of Mech as a larger event and of course some smaller ones in-between)? So I guess my question is whether you feel like that’s the schedule with which you’re happy or should we expect something more/less packed?

A: We have a lot of content yet to come in the Year of the Phoenix—you can see this in our roadmap. A lot of the teams’ time and energy is invested in “larger” endeavors, such as new game modes and large-scale systems additions like achievements. We also haven’t forgotten our seasonal events and hope players will enjoy what’s in store for them with the next one that‘s launching this expansion cycle! It’s an Outlandish take on the Fire Festival! – Ben

Q: Legendary card animations are getting better and better with each next expansion, constantly raising the bar and we’ve seen that you are passionate about updating old ones that lack a specific entrance like from the classic set. So far the additions are great and I know it’s something that you would do whenever there is free time, but would you say that at some point we could see the whole classic set with animations or is that more or less uncertain at the moment?

A: It’s uncertain, unfortunately, for exactly the reasons you’ve mentioned. It’s still the first place most of our minds go when the possibility of some free VFX time comes up (as I think Dominic’s kick-ass dragon updates indicate:)), but it also still hinges on free time. That’s gotten tougher to find over time since our first focus is always on maintaining the current quality bar for new sets and content and there’s more and more of that, but on the flip side, the VFX team is now five people rather than just, er, me like it was when I did Deathwing and Thalnos. So I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying there isn’t a specific plan for how/when to hit all of them, but also that (I think:3) I hired some really good artists who also care about this, and a big part of the goal of hiring more VFX artists was to give everyone’s schedule more breathing room for these sorts of passion projects.:)

Also I’m really glad you like how the animations have been leveling up, the guys will be so happy to hear that! I’m still constantly amazed by all the cool stuff they come up with.<3

Q: Can we please get any indication of what legend rank separate the 11 star bonus and the 10 star one?

Is it based on a percentage of the top or is it just an absolute MMR no matter how many players are in legend? Thank you.

A: The current requirement to receive 11 star bonus the following season is 3.0 MMR. This is very roughly top 1500 Legend (<0.1% of players). However, the exact Legend rank cutoff varies based on the season, number of players in the region, MMR distribution within the region, and Standard vs. Wild.

We’ve discussed making this cutoff a flat Top X Legend instead of MMR requirement so Legend players had a clear target to aim for to get 11 star bonus the following season. However, due to the aforementioned variances, there’d need to be several different cutoffs, and they’d probably need to change season to season, so we haven’t settled on any changes. It’s the first season of the new Ranked system, and this is something we are watching and discussing.

Appreciate the feedback on the new Ranked system, hope you’re enjoying it overall.

Q: In battlegrounds will i ever be able to put my faith in the light again? (read: is Tyrion making a comeback?)

A: He may return one day! But with a new hero power 🙂

Conor Kou, Game Designer

Q: During the blizzcon 2017 QA, four of your colleagues (I actually think none of them are still part of team 5) were asked about their favorite card that never made it into the game and Peter and Mike mentioned a card called Titan Script that is insanely complicated to build.

Has that card made it into the game since then? Is it perhaps Zephrys? If not, do you have any more teases or pet peeve designs that you are still trying to get into the game?

A: Good question! “Titan’s Script” actually refers to “Titan’s Grip”, a Warrior ability from World of Warcraft that lets you equip a two-handed weapon in each hand. Not at all related to Zephrys.

The Hearthstone design for Titan’s Grip that they were talking about was a spell that read “Equip a minion.” You’d pick a minion up and put it in your weapon slot, using its Attack as Attack, and Health as Durability. Fun idea, but there were a TON of technical issues with it. There were also a ton of gameplay issues with it as well, like, do you just use it as a way to protect an important minion from being killed? What do all these combat keywords like Taunt mean when they’re on your weapon? Does ‘Can’t Attack’ on a weapon mean that the Hero can’t use it to attack? Do all of their triggered effects still happen? Imagine putting Armorsmith in your weapon slot and just never using it up!

We may find a way to do something like it, someday. We’re brainstorming and prototyping similar ideas, and you may see something very lightly inspired by it in a card coming a couple expansions from now; but we’ll see if it makes it live!

Q: Will you ever add tribal tags for certain minion types that the game already handles as a mechanic, such as Treants or Silver Hand Recruits? Also, will Imps ever get a unique tribal tag, perhaps as a way to further establish a difference between Warlock and Demon Hunter?

A: Archetypes that focus on minion type synergies are some of our favorite in Hearthstone and we like to have them ebb and flow in and out of the meta. We revisit them from time to time like with Dragons in the Year of the Dragon, or have more regular minion type archetypes like Demons for Demon Hunter and Warlock, Beasts for Hunter, and Murlocs for Paladin and Shaman. We also have decks like Treants and Silver Hand Recruits that can work fine without having a specific minion type tied to them and can even get some benefits by not being affected by cards like Waste Warden. We’ll continue to explore the use of minion types in the future with various mechanics and archetypes. It was cool that we were able to tie a mechanic to Dragons in Blackrock Mountain, Elementals with Journey to Un’Goro and something that we could do again if it makes sense in the future.

Q: Hello! Thank you for this great opportunity!

How much effort is it to design a new game “board”? I would love to see grass, lava, water, ice or wooden planks like on a pirate ship…or something spooky. Is this even possible? It could be a great achievement reward for getting a class to 60!

Which cards currently restrict the design space in hearthstone, in your opinion?

Are you looking into adding pirates, totems or elementals to the battlegrounds? How far are you in the development/Implementation of new tribes here?

A: “Restricting design space” is something we refer to as a downside of certain designs. However, I wouldn’t take that to mean that all cards that restrict design space are bad. All cards restrict design space to some degree, but ones that do so more tend to also be the more interesting ones, and good for the game, especially in expansions.

In some cases, it’s merely the presence of a class already having something for that role and not needing more (Polymorph), or adding more would give them a dangerous critical mass of it (Freeze and damage effects in general). In other cases, it’s potential combo interactions that we have to be careful of (Tundra Rhino, Arcane Amplifier, Archmage Antonidas, Lightforged Blessing, Holy Wrath, Al’akir, etc).

There are a ton of cards that “restrict design space” in some regard, but that’s not always a problem, and often goes hand-in-hand with doing good things for the game too. When it doesn’t, especially when it’s Basic/Classic, that’s where we tend to step in.


A: We are excited to explore more minion types and try to figure out how they fit into Battlegrounds! We work on new stuff decently far in advance. We started working on Dragons before Battlegrounds went live.

Who doesn’t want to see some Elementals in the Battlegrounds at some point? I personally love the idea of Totems and Pirates in Battlegrounds. Yaharr!

Conor Kou, Game Designer

Q: are their any major wild changes/patches on the planning?

A: Hey! I just answered this in the thread, but yes. Here’s the full response:

Hey! We are planning something soon, but here I will shed light on what we are looking at.

With the Year of the Phoenix and Demon Hunter especially, we want to make sure we are active with our approach to balance. There will be additional changes coming shortly that is focused on Demon Hunter, Standard, Wild, and Arena.

For Demon Hunter, we are still monitoring the data as it comes in but expect 1 or 2 cards to see a change. We are thrilled by how players have responded to Demon Hunter, but we want the class to be in a healthy state for years to come. Will be adjusting as we see fit in order to get it into a great spot.

For other standard cards, we are looking at a number of cards including Sacrificial Pact, Bad Luck Albatross, Frenzied Felwing, and Kael’Thas. Some of these cards present some raw power that is just a little too high (Bad Luck Albatross, Frenzied Felwing), while a card like Kael’Thas can create some crazy swing turns but that’s usually only fun for one player. Kael’Thas is a super interesting card though so we don’t want to kill off his combo potential entirely.

When it comes to Sac Pac, we don’t believe it is fun if it plays such a large role in the metagame. That says a lot about where the meta is and your ability to play certain cards. Also, it would be awesome to see more Jaraxxus!

For Wild, we know there has been a lot of very strong reactions to Quest Mage and Darkest Hour Warlock. These decks play in a one-player fashion similar to other decks we’ve nerfed in the past. There’s going to be crazy combos in Wild, but we don’t think these two decks in particular are healthy. Expect to see changes to Open the Waygate and Bloodbloom.

Finally for Arena, we are looking to do a full microadjust patch alongside these changes or shortly after. DH is still a little too strong here and we want to bring up the other classes to close this gap.

Q: One feature I’ve been waiting for is the ability to spectate a friend while they’re drafting an Arena deck, or even spectating a friend while they’re building a constructed deck. I know they’re not exactly high priority things but what is the likelihood of these features being implemented in the future?

Stay safe and keep up the good work, been loving Hearthstone since beta 🙂

A: We recently talked about this internally. It isn’t high on our list of priorities, but it is on the list! We like the idea and hopefully we’ll get to it at some point. -Ben

Q: Whether it’s paid content like the cards from the galakronds adventure or the doom in the tomb event, having new cards to work with always makes the game more fun. Do you guys have more plans for content that can shake up the meta inbetween expansions?

A: Hey! We love doing events like these and last year you saw us experimenting with a variety of different ways to do them. Some were received better by players than others and we learned a lot about the timing of those events/which ones had the best impact.

You will see more of that in the future, but you will also see events that bring different types of play experiences to Hearthstone. Ben detailed some of this in our Year of the Phoenix video, there’s a lot of great stuff in the pipeline!

Q: Are there plans to change the crafting cost or method for golden cards? Goldens are an already available cosmetic in game that I think could be explored more. With the duplicate pack change it seems that there are efforts to reduce cost of the game. I am hesitant to craft goldens at the moment in case changes are made and without compensation for prior crafted golden cards. Thanks for doing this AMA!

A: We’ve actually discussed “Upgrade Card to Golden” as a new feature – it’s an idea we like and are considering. It’d probably work just as you’d expect. We don’t have any specific timelines to announce – hopefully we’ll be able to in the future.

Q: Will mixed arena battles ever happen again? Like druid-priest and warlock-hunter?

A: We’d like to have Dual Class arena happen at least every Halloween, so expect to see this again in October 🙂. -Ben

Q: Will Rogue get a new alternate hero anytime soon?

A: No details on dates and it likely won’t be as soon as you want, sorry for that. But we’ve locked down who is the next Rogue hero and we think players will be happy with this Legendary character. – Ben

Q: UI question:

PC Gamer saw an early version of Demon Hunter that used a unique UI element (Fury) to power some of his spells. Ultimately it was decided not to use it for various reasons. Similarly, Red Mana was something that was originally in Mean Streets, but it also was scrapped for whatever reason.

As Hearthstone gets older, the playerbase is (I think) ready for more complicated gameplay elements: Effects that last multiple turns, unique resources (ala Red Mana and Fury), etc.

Do you feel that implementing new gameplay mechanics that require new gameboard UI is out of the question? Or is it something that will always be handled on a case by case basis?

A: Early on in the initial design phase of an expansion cycle we explore a ton of mechanics for a set and try to hone in on the ones that we find most fun. That’s where we explored things like Red Mana and Fury, but there were a lot of other keywords and mechanics being explored at the same time. For Demon Hunter, we found the Outcast mechanic to be more fun and flavorful. It really tied well into the fantasy of who the Demon Hunter were, these outcasts of society, but also mechanically, it was a super fun space to be able to think of your hand in different ways and try to move cards to the sides, plan ahead for future turns, and reevaluate your turn anytime you drew an Outcast card at the start of your turn. Ultimately, we went with Outcast as the more fun mechanic. If we had thought Fury were more fun, we would’ve went the other route. In shore, its handled on a case by case basis and we just try to go with what ends up being the most fun and fits the best for the theme of the expansion that we’re currently working on.

Q: Any chance we have more wild changes this year? And why not unerf these cards that are not seeing any play in the format?

Extra Arms: It created a bunch of fun priest decks like zoo priest and egg priest. Priest right now has very few decks in wild and that would make the class more interesting. The card just looks bad compared to Apotheosis and Velen’s Chosen.

Spirit Claws: This card sees zero play. The best Shaman deck (Even Shaman ) doesn’t even play it. Unerfing it back to 1 mana would make the card really interesting in Odd Shaman for example.

Level Up!: I think this card could be unerfed. At the time it was nerfed we didn’t have enough early game boardclears but now with defile, plague of flames, darkskies, flakmage, flame ward, breath of the infinite etc, I think this card would not be a problem.

Call to Arms: The same thing as Level Up!. At the time it was nerfed we didn’t have enough early game boardclears, I think it is fine to unerf this. Paladin is a bad class in wild with only two decks that you can play, bringing back Even Paladin would be nice.

Chain Gang: Shudderwock already has doppelgangster for duplication shenanigans and this card would not buff the deck that much. It would be a really fun card for handbuff decks in Warlock, Paladin and Druid.

Bonemare: This card sees zero play at 8 mana. Even at 7 I think it wouldn’t be that good. It would also make midrange a better strategy in the game mode.

A: Hey! So we actually looked at a number of these when we reverted changes to cards like Raza. When evaluating which candidates to revert, we chose the ones we thought would enable the most fun and interesting decks (lots of Raza fans in the Design pit). This is something we are open to doing again in the future!

Q: Are there any plans for more customized settings/game options? Let me mention few examples to illustrate what I mean:

1-) Collection: Don’t show regular cards if I have golden copies. / Don’t show goldens if I have regular copies. This is to show most cards in one page instead of 2 regular plus 2 golden taking up 2 card space. So every card would take one space. Alternatively the counter shown below the cards can be made two counters, respectively regular and golden:


[x2] – [x2]

2-) Squelch every opponent.

3-) When squelched, enemy hero’s other voice lines are also disabled. Sylvanas talks too much to my taste, and Illidan’s “Vengeance is mine!” repeatedly is a horror show for me.

4-) Show quest progress at any moment. Even when you are already playing a game.

Have a 4/7/7 day! Cheers!

A: Hearthstone’s clean and intuitive UI is a huge part of its charm and success, and so we’re very careful when it comes to UI complexity. “Options” can just turn into “messy and confusing” quickly, if we’re not careful.

We have some long-term goals of revisiting the Collection Manager, especially on mobile, and I think this sort of thing would likely fall under that. Nothing planned in the short-term though.

We hear the request for auto-squelch, but still think it would be a net negative for the game. Emotes are implicitly good-natured, and we want to support them as such. Manually squelching can be used for the extremely rare outlier of toxicity.

One of the great things about Demon Hunters is that they attack a LOT. It’s super fun! However, that has the downside of sounding repetitive, hearing that voice line over and over. In the next major patch, we’ll be adding some alternative exertion lines for Illidan attacking, to reduce the repetition. Not TOO much though, what would Lord Illidan be without his VENGEANCE? 😉

We’ll keep this idea in mind. In general, there’s risk of clutter; when you’re in a game, we want you focused on playing that game. But, maybe there’s something here we can do, in the rare case that you’re wondering “have I played enough Pirates for my Pirate quest yet?”

Q: One last I always thought would be interesting would be a clan or guild system. It would be really cool to be able to just find a like-minded community to engage with in game such as a ‘Wild Guild’, ‘Meme Decks Guild’, ‘Climbing to (Dad) legend competitive guild’, ‘Arena Guild’, or a ‘Battlegrounds Guild’. This could even lay the ground work for more features and community tools such as Tavern brawls your guild can save and always have unlocked. Battle grounds players may love crazy random tavern brawls, but wild players may want to play with interesting deck building brawls. Even further down the Road, you could even implement a new mode such as ‘raids’ where guilds can work together to take down unique bosses. It could also set a foundation for in game tournaments.

A: Totally agreed on a Guild/Clan social system – it’s something Hearthstone would greatly benefit from. As you mentioned, it would be a great springboard for many new features and game modes.

Social System been on our list for a while. This year we decided to pursue Progression, Achievements, and New Game Mode as higher priorities for now, but we will reassess in the future.

Q: Will there be any more pure paladin cards? Also this arch gets pretty destroyed by antihighlander tech, is this intended?

A: The fun thing about Pure Paladin is that all Paladin cards are potential Pure Paladin cards! But really, we’ve got some balance changes coming soon, not specifically targeted at Paladin, but the meta overall, and the meta will look quite different after that. If any class is left in a bad state after that, we’ll continue to adjust.

Q: Concerning Demon Hunter:

-Will Warglaives of Azzinoth be moved to classic for the class? (even the hero portrait is him using them) Its a staple of Illidan and we have Doomhammer and Gorehowl for use in classic for Warrior/Shaman.

-Alot of Demon Hunter Initiate cards are pretty much the class identity from lore (Immolation, Eye Beam, Spectral Sight, etc), I guess this goes with my first question, will some demon hunter initiate cards be moved and chosen for the classic set or will there be all new classic DH cards? Seems like you guys used all of Demon Hunters abilities for a set that will get rotated out.

-Why doesnt metamorphosis change the hero portrait while its in use? Its a legendary card and we already seen that Hearthstone can change hero portraits with card abilities (Shadow Form Priest anyone?)

A: Our current plan for card sets for Demon Hunters involves creating a Classic set for them in the future. That set may pull from some existing Initiate/Phoenix cards, possibly with changes, and some brand new cards. Exact plans are still very much up in the air; we have a lot of time before we have to decided what their evergreen cards are, and so want to take that time to get more experience with how Demon Hunters play out. Rest assured, we’ll let you know what’s going to happen when it’s finalized.

Q: Legendary entrance animations are fantastic; my personal favourite is Kalimos, Primal Lord. What are the team’s favourites of all time, and do you have a clear view of what you want an animation to look like when you design a card?

A: I think one of the perennial favorites on the team is King Krush – for my personal favorite legendaries, I think my favorite of Nick’s is Deathwing Mad Aspect, Dominic’s is Zephrys, and Sasha’s is Murgur Murgurgle. It’s hard for me to pick one of my own because I always see the bad in them, but I love Glass Knight because /u/Moolamu did a beautiful piece of art based off of her story that I actually have a big print of hanging in the office. (Also I’M SO GLAD YOU LIKE KALIMOS he is one of my favorite sons.<3)

Set design starts like 8+ months before we start doing legendary VFX. There are definitely cases where Design has a very clear vision for what they want for a card (they’re never bossy about it, because they’re darlings, it just means who’s pitching the idea is flipped), but by and large we have a lot of freedom to come up with our own ideas based on the card’s mechanics, art, VO, and lore. Historically we’ve been pretty loosey-goosey about when we come up with our ideas for them (everyone usually has a few cards they go into the set with really clear visions for, but mostly we’d kinda solidify ideas as we started working on each one). We’re trying to get more organized about it and plan out all the legendaries before we start though, so we can have better conversations earlier with Design and Audio to make sure they’re getting everything they want/need out of the FX, spot visual overlaps early so everything can feel a little more unique, etc. Everything’s better when we’re all getting to jam on each other’s ideas more.:)

Q: Concerning Demon Hunter:

-Will Warglaives of Azzinoth be moved to classic for the class? (even the hero portrait is him using them) Its a staple of Illidan and we have Doomhammer and Gorehowl for use in classic for Warrior/Shaman.

-Alot of Demon Hunter Initiate cards are pretty much the class identity from lore (Immolation, Eye Beam, Spectral Sight, etc), I guess this goes with my first question, will some demon hunter initiate cards be moved and chosen for the classic set or will there be all new classic DH cards? Seems like you guys used all of Demon Hunters abilities for a set that will get rotated out.

-Why doesnt metamorphosis change the hero portrait while its in use? Its a legendary card and we already seen that Hearthstone can change hero portraits with card abilities (Shadow Form Priest anyone?)

A: Our current plan for card sets for Demon Hunters involves creating a Classic set for them in the future. That set may pull from some existing Initiate/Phoenix cards, possibly with changes, and some brand new cards. Exact plans are still very much up in the air; we have a lot of time before we have to decided what their evergreen cards are, and so want to take that time to get more experience with how Demon Hunters play out. Rest assured, we’ll let you know what’s going to happen when it’s finalized.

Q: During the blizzcon 2017 QA, four of your colleagues (I actually think none of them are still part of team 5) were asked about their favorite card that never made it into the game and Peter and Mike mentioned a card called Titan Script that is insanely complicated to build.

Has that card made it into the game since then? Is it perhaps Zephrys? If not, do you have any more teases or pet peeve designs that you are still trying to get into the game?

A: One of the upcoming sets is a) a theme I’ve been rooting for for like, three years, and b) contains a design I was really excited about that was cut from Kobolds, and a design that always terrified me and has been cut from multiple sets since at least Un’Goro.:)

Q: Hamuul Runetotem when for Druid as an alternate hero?

A: I think we’re a while out from picking the next Druid alt hero, but last time we made a list of hero skin ideas I made sure everyone there knew what a fan favorite Hamuul is.:)

Written by

The author didnt add any Information to his profile yet