Dean Ayala Talks About the Nerfs, Jade Concerns, and the Different Hearthstone Design Teams

Dean Ayala Talks About the Nerfs, Jade Concerns, and the Different Hearthstone Design Teams

Dean Ayala was out on reddit this evening talking about the nerf announcement. You can check out our summary, or the quoted text, below.

  • They can't know exactly how the meta will play out once the nerfs go live, but they can get a reasonable idea through play testing.
  • Aggro shouldn't go away as a result of the Small-Time Buccaneer change, which keeps Jade at bay.
  • If Jade was going to make up half the meta post nerfs, they would have gone a different route.
  • The design team is made up of 15 people, through multiple teams. 4 work on Balancing. They all tend to help eachother out though.
    • Live Content - Brawls, Firesides, Other Events
    • Initial Design - Card Designs, Mechanic Designs, Set Flavor and Theme
    • System Design - Ranked Systems, Tons of Other Systems
    • Final Design - Set Tuning, Card Design, Mechanic Design
    • Mission Design  - Mission Design, Card Design

Quote from /u/IksarHS

In your testing of the nerfs, how has Jade Druid/Rogue improved with the nerf of STB/Claws? I think it's good if it improves a little but if it gets too strong it could be just as infuriating to play against.

This is something that is mostly a prediction rather than a result of testing. Whether or not Jade Druid and Rogue will be 'good' is meta dependent. I don't think these changes will magically make Jade decks strong against aggressive decks, but I think it's safe to say the meta slowing down at any % is a good thing for Jade. (Source)

Wait you guys didn't test these changes in a ladder environment?

Of course we do, what I mean by prediction is not predicting how good or bad particular matchups are, but predicting what people will actually choose to play. Jade decks still aren't great vs highly aggressive pirate decks, even after changing small-time buccaneer. If pirates are still played at the same volume they are now, I don't imagine Jade will be very strong. We can playtest every matchup in the game between the 3-4 of us but that won't tell us the exact rate at which each deck will be played on ladder, though it does put us in a good position to make a reasonable prediction. (Source)

There are only 4 guys on the balance team?!

Yes. Design team is around 15 people now. Live Content (Brawls, Firesides, Other Events), Initial Design (Card Designs, Mechanic Designs, Set Flavor and Theme), System Design (Ranked Systems, Tons of Other Systems), Final Design (Set Tuning, Card Design, Mechanic Design), and Mission Design (Mission Design, Card Design). We also have Ben that directs the ship and another sort of jack of all trades designer than works a lot on new player experience, matchmaking, and flavor things. That said, well all help each other out quite a bit and the real list of things each individual person does is more like 20 bullet points rather than 2. That's the general jist though. (Source)

Thanks for the answer! Part of me really hope that with such a small team every single one of you are millionaires. The other part kinda thinks this number is really low! But I am just a Internet dude. One more question! I think is safe to say that the vocal community is tired of losing to aggro, do you guys think is fair criticism to say that the team could be doing a better job at balancing aggro?

To clarify, this is also just the design team I'm speaking to. There are many other people of various disciplines like art, engineering, production, community, QA, customer support, marketing, business, etc that make an equally large impact on the game. (Source)

Why waiting until the end of February? Why not nerf the cards today?

I'm not an expert in this area, but it has a lot to do with being a game on multiple platforms. In order to patch simultaneously on PC/Mobile there are a number of things that have to be submit and approved being we can release a new patch to the public. (Source)

If the wolf population is keeping the rabbit population in check and you weaken wolves, that will probably increase the frequency of rabbits?

This isn't too far off. The hard part is determining how many rabbit-eating-animal decks will appear as a result of the increase of rabbit frequency, and if the introduction of said-animal-rabbit-eater introduces a new animal we've never heard of. (Source)

So why not do something regarding jade now then just wait for us to have to deal with 2 months of jade being infuriating to play against in any control matchup?

Jade is fairly weak to aggressive strategies, and I don't think those are going to go away as a result of STB change. There is still some room between hyper-aggressive pirate things and heavy control things that will keep us pretty far from all-jade-all-the-time meta. At least that's the idea. If we thought as a result of these changes Jade would be all (or half of all decks) that were relevant, we would have gone a different route. (Source)

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