Developer Insights Live - Potential Arena & Ranked Changes, Community Q&A
The live edition of Developer insights featuring Ben Brode and Dean Ayala has concluded. You can find our recap of the stream below, or watch the vod further below that.
Please note that some stuff below is simply the team sharing ideas of changes that could come and doesn't mean we'll see everything implemented. The team loves to hear feedback and are really interested in the points on Arena changes and ranked ladder.
Top 3 Takeaways
- Arena may change into a Standard format.
- Ranked is currently too grindy so new breakpoints, bonus stars, and and win-streaks past rank 5 could help with that.
- If Pirates don't lose some steam, the team will likely intervene.
Quote from Ben and Dean
- They've never done a live Q&A before so this will be a bit different than past experiences.
- Ben thinks video format is helpful for communication and they should do more of it.
New Player Experience
- Most new players play against AI, some hit up casual, and few hit up ranked right away.
- They've adjusted the matchmaking experience over time to ensure new players get introduced to the game better.
- The current system is very clear how it works, there's no behind the scenes calculations outside of Legend.
- It's too grindy right, especially with it always resetting.
- Monthly seasons are a good duration.
- A short-term fix is to increase the amount of bonus stars you gain so you can get back up to where you were faster.
- Trying to move more players away from Rank 20 can help with the new player experience.
- They don't want everyone to be a Legend player, that would devalue the ranking. Ladder changes shouldn't inflate this count much.
- Win-streaks stopping at Rank 5 was due to the team wanting people to get to Legend "Legit". This could change.
- They have a meeting on Wednesday to see how they can attack the Ranked Ladder issue.
- Making Arena Standard is a consideration. New sets become more important to the card pool instead of further diluting it.
- They'd like to reduce the amount of Commons and "useless" cards you get.
- Arena shouldn't feel like constructed, but it also shouldn't just be about picking things to play on curve. More strategy / synergy would be good.
- In February, they're going to release a Top 100 ranking for Arena. It will be calculated based on highest avg wins per run with a minimum 30 run requirement.
- Some changes for Arena are already ready to be added to the game, they're evaluating the best time to patch them in.
- Moving specific cards from Classic and Basic sets keeps them available to that format without nerfing them to keep Standard different.
- They expect Wild to increase in popularity once the next rotation happens. Wild will have 5 format sets instead of just 2.
- Standard is about twice as popular as wild right now.
- Ben would love to see more Wild events, Blizzard has to promote them more.
- Pirate Warrior was 30% of the meta game near Gadgetzan launch but has fallen off.
- They're a little higher than they're comfortable with, but if it doesn't change, they're likely to do something about it.
- Patches the Pirate being in all the weapon classes is great from a design perspective even if Pirates may be a bit too strong.
- There's a lot of different stuff going on in their personal meta report. Lots of decks really close to 50%.
- The top deck and 11th deck were within 3% win-rate of each other with a high end of 52%.
- Hunters and Paladins should see more play once the meta slows down.
- A healthy meta is determined largely by feel. How the community feels and a personal level of the team is important but statistics also come into play.
- Win-rates over 55% for a deck can be a sign that something is wrong, or when 25-30% (or more) of players are playing a specific deck.
- Undertaker was being played in ~40% of games which is why it ended up being nerfed.
- It's really healthy when something is really powerful initially (Pirate Warrior) but then players find tools to combat those decks. They like it when players figure things out themselves without the team intervening.
- Before Naxx, Hunter was at the top in low-end play but not as good in the high end. They tried to solve it back then by creating cards for Hunters that were harder to play so bad players would do worse and the truly good could excel.
- It's important to have a variety of skill-testing decks in the top end of play.
- It's also okay to have cards that can just be fun and not super competitive.
- They like to do cards like Kun the Forgotten King but they have to be careful with testing to make sure they can't be abused. Malygos and Aviana were cited as being tested a ton with Kun.
- Reprinting nerfed cards could happen, but it hasn't been long enough since those original Standard nerfs. You could also have up to 4 of the same card in Wild then which is an issue.
- Silver Hand Recruits, Buffs, and Healing is the identity for Paladin. More buff synergy is planned. Heals should shine more once Reno Jackson drops out.
- Team 5 has almost doubled in size each year since launch. They'll likely get larger.
- Ben spends much of his time in meetings nowadays.
- Dean, as a game designer, spends a lot of time play testing.
The stream has concluded but you can watch the vod to experience the magic.