Fireside Chat - BlizzCon Panel

Beta Key Giveaway

We're going to be giving away fifty Hearthstone Beta Keys. Read through our panel recap below and let us know in the comments what part you loved the most! We will randomly decide the winners based on people who have put in a legitimate effort into their comment. If you've got a one word reply or a meaningless sentence, your post is not eligible.

Winners will be drawn on Sunday at 1 PM EST. Winners will be notified via private message on HearthPwn and will be given 48 hours to respond before their prize is forfeited. Reminders will be posted on Facebook and Twitter!

Fireside Chat - BlizzCon Panel

Presented by Lead Designer Eric Dodds and Technical Designer Ben Brode!


Originally posted by Blizzard

Development Team

  • The Hearthstone development team is the smallest team at Blizzard!
  • The smaller team has helped them pursue their dreams for Hearthstone and allowed them to focus on the important things.
  • Everyone on the team, and more importantly, Blizzard, has always loved card games.

Goals for Hearthstone

  • Hearthstone is a game for everyone. A game for everyone has to be accessible.
    • Although they kept things simple, it still has plenty of depth. No one likes a game you're done playing after a week.
  • Keep the game physical. Make it feel like the players are actually holding and playing their cards.
    • Accomplished through animations!
  • It was important to keep the game flavorful.
    • As Hearthstone is based on Warcraft, and more importantly, World of Warcraft, the team aimed to keep that Warcraft feel, but adding some more silliness to it.
  • The gameplay had to be fast paced.
    • Games that will be played on mobile need to be finished quicker for those on the go.
    • Having mana crystals as a resource you gained per turn kept the speed up because you aren't waiting for resource cards each turn.
  • The game had to be fun.
    • Getting rid of things like resource destruction and milling really helped keep people from feeling like they were doomed.

Making the Game

  • There was a lot of iteration and prototyping with Hearthstone.
    • One of the physical prototypes hey tried as to cut text out of the cards. Cards were created with only art and attack/health values and they found they could play it well. This is why you only see portraits on the battlefield.
    • Hearthstone was put onto a web interface after their physical testing. Much was learned about designing the interface here.
  • Combat Tricks! It's a trap! If you attacked your opponent and you had a combat trick up, it would allow you to play a card on your opponents turn to mess a round with their attack.
    • They found out when they removed Combat Tricks, it was actually a lot more fun and it increased the pace as well.
  • The interface moved onto being more comical, and then they thought "hey, what if this game was played in a tavern?".
  • The next version of the gameboard involved setting the player inside of a virtual gameboard on the table in a tavern.
  • Being a virtual card game, it let the developers do stuff that would be very hard, or impossible to accomplish in the real world.
  • There were also plenty of cards that did not work out though as well.
    • Devouring Ooze: Battlecry: Gain +1/+1 for each game you've lost in a row.
    • Auto-Pecker 4000: Deal 1 damage to any player who mouses-over this minion.
    • Worldflipper X-50: Flip your opponent's screen upside down.
  • Although they wanted to keep the game feeling physical, having a pile of cards on your screen to form your decks was frustrating.
    • This lead to the current version of the Deck Builder!
  • A lot of the developers really love draft mode. They knew something had to be done for Hearthstone.
    • In a normal draft, you buy in with a set number of packs, and pass packs around a circle of friends and each pick one card out of each pack until all the cards are gone.
    • Normal drafing wouldn't work with Hearthstone though. What if people didn't have enough friends to play draft, or their friends went offline?
      • Asynchronous drafting was created to fix this!

Making a Card

  • What makes a card awesome in Hearthstone?
    • Cards must be easy to understand. You should be able to look at a card that you just got out of a pack and can think about how you'd be able to integrate it into your deck.
    • The original version of Whirlwind was too complicated and required too much thought to process the card.

 The Beta Test

  • Over one million beta invites have been sent out so far!

Future Patches

  • Some really amazing stuff coming up.
  • Card changes!
  • Ranked playmode changes!
    • There are going to 25 new ranks in ranked playmode.
      • Each month, all players restart at Rank 25: “Angry Chicken”
      • Players will be matched against players of similar rank.
      • Win a game, acquire a star!  
      • Acquire enough stars and you’ll rank up!
      • Each rank has its own icon and medal.
      • Win streaks may give additional stars.
      • At higher ranks, you'll lose a star if you lose a game.
    • Each rank will have 5 star levels.
    • Ranks will reset every month at the start of the next season.
    • At the end of each season, if you participate in that season, you will be given new artwork for your card backs!
  • The Arena changes!
    • Three new keys being added for a total of 12 possible wins! 
      • Molten Key
      • Frostborn Key
      • Lightforged Key
    • If you go past 9 wins, there will be even better rewards!

The Future of Hearthstone

  • Going Mobile!
    • There is work on the Android version of Hearthstone. No time frame currently, but likely the second half of 2014.
    • iPhone will be getting its own version of Hearthstone in addition to the iPad.
    • No matter where you play Hearthstone, you will always have access to the same cards and the same opponents.
  • Expansions!
    • New cards, new features!
  • Reconnecting. The developers are working on a way to let you reconnect to games in progress after you've crashed or disconnected.









Hearthstone at BlizzCon – Fireside Chat Panel Highlights

Originally posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hearthstone is out in full force at BlizzCon! Lead Designer Eric Dodds and Technical Designer Ben Brode brought you the latest in news for Hearthstone including card changes, balance analysis, and upcoming features. Interested in learning about what’s in store for the future of Hearthstone? Read on to get an overview of what we covered at the panel!

Hearthstone: A Look at Today

  • Going first is still only slightly better than going second.
  • Top-level class balance looks pretty good, looking at 3 different days in October shows a different #1 class each day.
  • 44% of our current 3-Star Master players have spent no money on Hearthstone.
  • Over one million players have been invited to the closed beta for Hearthstone.

Next Patch or Two

Card Changes

  • Mind Control’s cost is changing to 10, up from 8. Mind Control can be frustrating to play against, and is dominating play at the lower ranks. This should allow opponents playing versus a Priest to have a couple more rounds to make use of their high cost minions before they have a sudden change of mind.
  • Starving Buzzard’s Health is changing to 1, down from 2.  Hunters were very strong against Druid, Mage, and Rogue in Copper through Platinum leagues, and this change should help those match-ups.
  • Unleash the Hounds can blow you out in a single turn, without any minions on the table.  We’re going to take a look at this card to see if there are some changes we’d like to make for the next patch.  We haven’t decided on a direction yet.

Ranked Play Changes

Exciting changes are coming to Ranked Play in Hearthstone!  Our new system makes your path to move up in the rankings more transparent, and gives top-level players more ways to differentiate themselves from each other.

  • Each month, all players restart at Rank 25: “Angry Chicken”
  • Players will be matched against players of similar rank.
  • Win a game, acquire a star!  
  • Acquire enough stars and you’ll rank up!
  • Each rank has its own icon and medal.
  • Win streaks may give additional stars.
  • At higher ranks, you'll lose a star if you lose a game.

Beyond Rank 1 is a special rank: Legend.

  • Once you hit the Legend rank, it cannot be lost until the season ends.
  • Legend rank will have a big number in the middle of the icon – this tells you your exact rank in your region!

This won’t be ready at the launch of our new ranked system, but eventually, if you participate in ranked play during a season, there’s a reward awaiting you: Special card backs!

  • Card backs are acquired through participating in a ranked play season.
  • Each month holds a new card back for your collection!

One of the most exciting reasons to try Ranked Play is the epic Golden Heroes. After you’ve played 500 Ranked games with a specific class, you unlock the animated golden hero for that class. Whenever you play that class, it’ll automatically be the golden version of the class rather than the regular one. Each Golden hero has its own special animations, just like the other Golden cards!

Additional Features on the Horizon

  • Reconnecting to a game in progress
  • Even more spell effects and animations!

A Bit Further Out

Hearthstone on the Go!

  • Hearthstone for Android, iPhone and Windows 8 Touch


  • Hearthstone will have expansion sets, each featuring packs full of exciting new cards!

Single-player Adventures!

  • To supplement expansions, we plan to release Adventures! These will come with a smaller set of cards that can be unlocked and will provide new strategies to explore.

Watch the full event, which includes exciting Blizzard developer panels and other featurettes, by purchasing a Virtual Ticket today. We hope to see you at BlizzCon!

We’re always interested in what you have to say and what you’re looking for in Hearthstone! Whether it’s more features or particular themes you’d like to see, we’re closely monitoring your feedback in the beta and into release. Give us your feedback on the Hearthstone forums here!


  • +1
    #592 AntsinMehPants (Beta Patch 3937)

    I love the idea of it coming to mobile. This shows that Team Five willing to venture to new scary territory. My even bigger attraction to that is the fact that I can play hearthstone while on the toilet, going to work, while playing another game without ALT+TAB'ing. I think this is an amazing feature. I mean seriously, I can play with my deck against my friends, from a tablet/smartphone. That is ridiculous and shows how far technology and blizzard itself has come.

    I love the idea of ranked play, very "starcraftesque". It's awesome that you get real "physical" rewards for it. Everything from card backs, golden portraits and ranks. I'm guessing this will make it feel very competitive and enjoyable. I mean I watched the Innkeepers invitational and all I want to do is get that good at the game.

    I also love how they have sent out over a million BETA keys and soooooo many people still haven't got one. This tells me that sooo many people are lining up to play this game. I absolutely cant wait to get stuck in.

    I mean I could go on however, but I'll end with the fore story. The background. I love knowing how everything came to be, and that Team Five are constantly working towards making this game a great experience.

  • +1
    #590 Mlock456 (Beta Patch 3937)

    Anyone got a message about the key yet?  wanted to know if i missed it, or notifications haven't been sent yet.

  • +1
    #591 GStrider (Beta Patch 3937)

    Quote from Mlock456 »

    Anyone got a message about the key yet?  wanted to know if i missed it, or notifications haven't been sent yet.

    yeah,if someone got that message plz write something about....i don't wanna miss it


  • +1
    #589 Catch_22_ (Beta Patch 3937)

    the whole resetting ranks at the start of the season will mean that the game has more replayability: you're always working towards a new goal, so to speak. Although, it could also be frustrating if you are number one... it is an interesting mechanic =)

  • +1
    #588 intervention464 (Beta Patch 3937)

    It's great that they are listening to their fans: I know that a lot of people have been crying out for android access, and it seems that our prayers have been answered. Thanks, Blizz!

  • +1
    #587 omen644 (Beta Patch 3937)

    I think that the idea of different card backs for different ranks sounds really innovative: it will your decks more unique in appearance, and also encourage many of us to rank up more!

  • +1
    #586 Phenyl09 (Beta Patch 3937)

    I've allways been a fan of how the game looks so clean and polished, and how easy it is to understand everythig going on on the board. So im not surprised to se that its actually one of the goals of the developers! Ive never actually played the game myself, so I cant comment on how the game feels to play, but considering how it looks I bet the game feels just as easy as it is to watch. And about the accsessabilty; Free beta-keys for everyone! -> Problem solved:D

  • +1
    #585 cartassc (Beta Patch 3937)

    I wonder if they will do a well thought out April Fools' Day joke cards, e.g. like the cards mentioned that they left out. It cant be too close to MTG's Unglued, but with the use of animations and unique mechanics that could only be done on a computer they could do an awesome job. It seems as though they have already made great use of being outside the limitations of physical card games.

  • +1
    #584 morwoen (Beta Patch 3937)

    I loved the fact that they are planing to have an Android version, I have only android devices so this is something huge for me, also I loved the concept for the Adventure as a way to get expansion cards. This game is going to be huge and the fact that there are just 15 people working on it makes it even better!

  • +1
    #583 Shinna1989 (Beta Patch 3937)

    I realy hope open beta starts soon.(TM)  Seems the whole team puts aot of effort into the game so far. In regards of card changes im with the 10 mana cost for mindcontrol. For 8 mana its just way to good atm.

  • +1
    #582 Auraxir (Beta Patch 3937)

    I really liked this insight into the development process. It really helped me to see what was happening in the game right now. I also loved the new card back graphics, anything that adds diversity to the game must be good! I have a new life goal as well, 12 wins!

  • +1
    #581 Vivifin (Beta Patch 3937)

    "Over one million beta invites have been sent out so far!" and I do not have beta key ;(

  • +1
    #580 bohemianfist (Beta Patch 3937)

    If I understood correctly, people ranked above 25 will reset at 25 each month. Seems like this will be a good thing towards keeping the "gurus" honest about how good they are if they have to play up and coming "talent" often.  

  • +1
    #579 adamfuhrman (Beta Patch 3937)

    I like how they are reviewing cards and trying to balance cards/classes. I still think they need to do quite a bit of work to balance cost vs effect. Hearthstone for android made me very happy as I can play when I am on lunch break without having to pull out my ipad. I have high hopes for this game, I fell in love with card games with magic and this game has some very good attributes.

    I really hope that they will be able to integrate the game into WoW, so you can just right click a player, click hearthstone battle, and the game would popup in a special in game browser, and you could play then and there. That would make the game so much more fun, and easier to challenge friends, rivals, and you could even do server tournaments, ect...

  • +1
    #578 getonthefloor (Beta Patch 3937)

    This caught my attention:

    • One of the physical prototypes hey tried as to cut text out of the cards. Cards were created with only art and attack/health values and they found they could play it well. This is why you only see portraits on the battlefield.

    Even though I don't have a key, after watching Hearthstone streams for a while everything seems clear and familiar. The game is really fluid even without the text. Also as an avid MTG player the ability to recognize most of the cards just by looking at the picture is well represented in Hearthstone. Kudos to the development team.

  • +1
    #577 Tahantos (Beta Patch 3937)

    Seeing now that this is coming to mobile devices also, I really look forward to playing this on my nexus 7 on the go :)
    Ranked play changes sound also pretty cool.

  • +1
    #576 Trinityra (Beta Patch 3937)

    What an exciting news about the future of the game! I really surprised that over one million beta invites have been sent out for closed beta, i can only imagine the number of people who will play Hearthstone ones it goes mobile!

  • +1
    #575 Gooseer (Beta Patch 3937)

    Mind Control’s cost is changing to 10, up from 8.

    Since Mind Control or rather the fear of MC is currently affecting the gameplay way too much. I think this will make games against priest much more fun and balanced.

  • +1
    #574 A93nt47 (Beta Patch 3937)

    I myself never really got into card games like Magick or Pokemon or anything like that.  I love Warcraft lore and characters and this looks to be a cool point of entry for someone to play these sort of games casually. Although I can't help feeling that this game has got to be close to launch everything looks pretty polished.

  • +1
    #573 Seaban (Beta Patch 3937)

    There are a few things that I really love about this Hearthstone news. As someone who has never really even heard of Hearthstone before (or had much interest at least) I was blown away at the quality of the UI, animations, and game-play in general. I typically despise online card game because of the lack of activity and people playing, this seems like it's going to be huge (almost 150,000 on twitch during the tournament, and a million in beta!) and Blizzard is obviously going to support this game if it's going to become an e-sport. What I am looking forward with Hearthstone is the following:

    1.Round time, from what I can see 10-20 mins seems to be the going rate of rounds. That's great for me as a busy dad. Baby grumpy? No problem, bounce on my knee as I slam down a fireball.

    2.Support from Blizzard, I would imagine this will have a nice healthy life of active balancing.

    3.The Ranked, I love the monthly reset.

    Anyways, as you can tell,  I am super pumped. I am really looking forward to playing.

    Last edited by Seaban on 11/10/2013 11:10:58 AM
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