Hearthstone News from Blizzard HQ

 Jaina Proudmoore Tutorial Voiceovers, Fireside Chat #2
 Twisting Nether Board Effect, Fireside Update, Hero Voiceover Recap

Hearthstone News from Blizzard HQ

Blizzard held the 2013 Fansite Mixer today at their headquarters in Irvine, California. We spoke with the Hearthstone developers during a Q&A session and have some things to share with you.

General

  • There is a tutorial that uses Jaina as the player's hero. After the tutorial, players will start out with Jaina as their main deck.
  • More decks (classes) will be unlocked as they play Jaina and the other heroes.
  • Players will be given daily quests that they can complete to earn rewards.
  • A concede option is available for players who want to forfeit a duel.
  • There will be some cross promotion with World of Warcraft. The "mtg genre" is a genre that hasn't gotten the love it deserves.
  • The game will be fully localized in different regions. 
  • Devs want to put in stuff the community think is right for the game (Examples: 2v2, Spectator mode)
  • There is interest in supporting a Hearthstone esport based on how the community wants to see it.
  • Aside from being free to play, the game is a small download which makes getting into it easy.
  • Possibility of cosmetic options for microtransactions.
  • Pushing for players to play multiplayer instead of single player. Daily quests to defeat opponents will help.
  • In-game card searching will be filtered by keywords
  • Dev team consists of mixed levels of TCG experience.
  • Small team size is a communication asset.

Matchmaking

  • Both ranked and unranked gameplay will be made available.
  • Players competing in ranked gameplay will receive medals to denote their skill level.
  • Achievements will be earnable in ranked gameplay.
  • Matchmaking will be based on a hidden matchmaking rating and not the cards in ones deck.
  • It's possible to be competitive with all the common cards. In playtesting, lots of people at the high end aren't using many expert cards.

Game Progression

  • Progression will be iterated upon in the future, currently serves as a means to give players basic cards.
  • Lots of unused Warcraft lore and content that is yet to be used.
  • Expect to see Warcraft lore from both the past and the future in card decisions.
  • Post-launch development cycle will be based upon community feedback.
  • Funding isn't important as Blizzard has many other successful projects. Key focus is the quality of the game. Blizzard core philosophy "Making the best game ever".

Gold

  • Gold is the primary currency of Hearthstone.
  • Will be used to purchase packs of cards and will be the entry fee for entering the forge
  • Primarily earned through the completion of daily quests.

Cards

  • Golden Cards are getting tweaked. They will have colored banners for each class.
  • Golden Cards will have specular highlights and will interact with the environment.
  • Changes will be made to cards only if it is absolutely necessary.
  • Do not want to ban cards from play, they would rather modify them
  • Expert cards will be available through booster packs which are purchased with gold.
  • Basic cards will be earned through leveling your hero up and playing the tutorials
  • Players may create a maximum of nine decks.

Forge

Not too much was said about the forge, but they did reinforce there will be information about it coming soon.

  • Players will buy into the forge using gold.
  • Players will likely not be keeping the cards they build in a forge deck. There is conflict between playing in the forge or opening packs for card acquisition.
  • They want players to compete in the forge, not just use it as a less random card selector.
  • They expect the forge to fill a niche, but want to make it accessible for people who would otherwise glance over it.
  • It's not expected that players instantly jump into the forge.

iPad / Tablet Support

  • Support for iPad versions 2 and over is planned along with the iPad Mini.
  • iPad version of Hearthstone is currently very well developed.
  • Finalizations are being made to get cross platform battle.net integration.
  • Focus being put onto a dynamic backend to allow for easy exploration of other platforms.

Fireside Chat #2

We had a live chat with CrsJames and Liam (HSPlayers) who were on-site at the Blizzard HQ today to discuss the Q&A session. The show was cut short, but if you'd like to hear about their gameplay experiences, be sure to check it out. We will have a normal podcast next week once everyone is back in the comfort of their basements.

Comments

  • #31 jimon (Beta Patch 3388)

    i think u guys all missing the point, additional deck spaces will be likely to be available, but you just need to spend gold for them

    remember how they mentioned that gold will be multi-purposed?

  • #24 Xdega (Beta Patch 3388)

    Ok. I would like to comment on the 9 deck Limit. It really should not be an issue for the majority of players for the following reasons:

    • The interface for creating, editing, and deleting existing decks is quick and intuitive with no notable penalty
    • 9 decks is a significant number, at least to start with
    • Having too many decks, could easily end up with newer players "burying" themselves.

    Although I can see the argument against this limit, that it reduces options, what would you consider a good number of custom deck slots? 20? 50? unlimited?

    One thing to note, this 9 deck limit is not set in stone by any means. As with many of the features of Hearthstone, the developers are very committed to pushing a direction that caters to what the community wants. If only 9 decks does indeed prove to be too low, and it causes a lot of issues for the typical Hearthstone playerbase, then there will obviously be changes. 

  • #25 hellfurion (Beta Patch 3388)

    While I agree with most of your points, I still think that they should still stick with the 9 deck limit. Just like with their other games, a player should have limitations on how many characters or they could create. 

    It wouldn't be fun if one WoW player can create 50 characters, because if so, then that player won't have a sense of individuality. This is the problem with Diablo 3 right now. Any Barbarian can easily become a carbon copy of any other Barbarians with a single click. And that is also why the D2 talent tree style was very popular even today. You made your choices, and you stick by it, thus allowing you to create a character that is truly your own.

    Same goes with Hearthstone. With just 9 decks available for you to use, you are forced to make decisions. You are forced to "pick your talent points" per se.  You make sure that you craft a deck that works for you because you know that you have limitations. In turn, you became attached to your own personal deck.

    I for one would want to say that "I can beat you with my own Warrior deck". rather than "I just got lucky because among my 20 other Warrior decks, I chose this one and it worked"

    Last edited by hellfurion on 6/30/2013 10:29:49 AM
  • #26 Najja_Mallace (Beta Patch 3388)

    A WoW player can already have 50 characters, just not all on the same sever. Also do you care to show where between the current realm limit of characters and 50 a player loses a sense of individuality? I always had plenty of decks for the card games I played and never once did I feel like it somehow took away from the game or from my enjoyment of it. 

    Secondly I feel the idea of "forced to ..." pretty much anything in a game is a bad way to go about things. With a card game that idea is even more absurd, you should be able to mix and match your cards, make a great many decks and choose from them which one to use based on the situation and  your idea of what your opponent might use.

    As for your last line ... What? Are you saying that because you have multiple warrior decks that suddenly its not your deck? Or that because you use the same deck build as another player its not yours? Using the same logic then a vast amount of WoW players don't play their own character they're simply playing a copy of whomever they got their spec, talent and gemming ideas from. Also "luck" always plays a role in a card game, but deck construction is also huge, you can't just throw together 20 decks and have them all be viable.

  • #28 xskarma (Beta Patch 3388)

    I think it's just one of those things that will be an attractive thing to put on the store as a paid upgrade. Many free to play games have character slot upgrades or inventory upgrades, I feel this is much the same thing. You can perfectly play the game with 9 deck slots. Might need some restraint and turn over in decks for some players, but it's not a very harsh limitation. Putting a $X for 9 deck slots in the store on the other hand both helps Blizz make money on the game (which is a necessity) AND helps those that feel they need more deck slots. I would be surprised if something like this doesn't become a reality.

    I think the thing to keep in mind is that if you have too many free deck slots it's quickly going to be a LOT of extra data that Blizz needs to store, so keeping the basic number of slots not too high is imperative, for the same reason Blizz don't give us easy 64 slot bags in WoW and infinite bank slots.

     

  • #29 hellfurion (Beta Patch 3388)

    You are over simplifying it.You're spec choices in WoW is limited so two classes are bound to be identical. A deck in Hearth consists of what, 50-60 cards? A single tweak can have huge effect on it. In WoW, your choices comes with a lot of things, not just spec. Gear, achievements and end-game too. But in Hearth, deck is everything.

    The forcing part is where the competition begins. In SC2, no matter what race, in order to win, you are "forced" to make choices. You are either going Terran as bio, or mech, etc. You cannot do everything all at once. The tactic you choose to play is the risk you have to face.  That is why it is more satisfying if you win because your risk paid off. 

    50 something decks in your arsenal is not really a tactic. Actually, 9 decks is a bit too much for me, since you only get to play just one. Sure, there has to be experimentation, but 50 is way too many. And if you wanna go experiment that much go play at The Forge.

    Last edited by hellfurion on 6/30/2013 7:53:23 PM
  • #30 xskarma (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from hellfurion»

     A deck in Hearth consists of what, 50-60 cards? A single tweak can have huge effect on it.

    30 cards in a deck. That's few enough that you can most likely build a different deck pretty quickly if you know what you want in it.

    Problem arises if you want to have a deck ready for each class, AND then have the ability to make several decks for certain classes with different playstyles. Most people won't get to that point, but some will, and it's likely that that group is the most serious about the game, and most willing to spend money on the game. A small but important group.

    I repeat, I think it's highly unlikely Blizzard doesn't cater to the group that wants more decks in some way, most likely through spending money in the store, although I wouldn't be surprised if they made more deck slots available through gold as well.

  • #32 Nethara (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from hellfurion »

    It wouldn't be fun if one WoW player can create 50 characters, because if so, then that player won't have a sense of individuality. This is the problem with Diablo 3 right now. Any Barbarian can easily become a carbon copy of any other Barbarians with a single click. And that is also why the D2 talent tree style was very popular even today. You made your choices, and you stick by it, thus allowing you to create a character that is truly your own.

    Same goes with Hearthstone. With just 9 decks available for you to use, you are forced to make decisions. You are forced to "pick your talent points" per se.  You make sure that you craft a deck that works for you because you know that you have limitations. In turn, you became attached to your own personal deck.

    Except that argument is completely irrelevent.  In Hearthstone, assuming I have the same cards, I could quickly change my deck to copy anyone else's at any time.  The deck limit doesn't change that at all.  No matter what the limit is, you'll always be able to swap out your decks for another deck at will.  If we wanted permanent choice, you would put together a deck once, and never be able to change it again...and you couldn't re-use the cards in another deck, so you need to earn them all again (but you have unlimited deck slots).  That's what a D2 style system would bring us.  Granted, I could see some merit to a system like that in a more hardcore CCG, but that's not what hearthstone is.  

    Besides, another place your argument falls flat is that Diablo III, the one you have issues with, is the one with the extremely limited character slots.  You seem to want a system like D2 (unlimited slots) by campaigning for limited slots, which just doesn't make sense.  If you can swap around at any time, the number of characters won't change how easy it is to copy someone; rather, it will change how long it takes you to swap between your favorite builds/decks.

  • #13 gorocz (Beta Patch 3388)

    I don't want to sound like one of "those guys" but the 9 deck limit reminds me of other f2p games that often add a feature, that's in some way limited and later "on demand of the playerbase" increase the limit through microtransactions...

  • #14 angelcrest (Beta Patch 3388)

    yh unfortunately I agree with you

  • #19 Broloth (Beta Patch 3388)

    Except what does that matter? "Buy a pack unlock 9 more slots" OH KNOWS A WHOLE 1 - 3 DOLLARS.

  • #22 hellfurion (Beta Patch 3388)

    I for one support the 9 deck limit. Just think, pretty soon, different versions of "cookie-cutter" decks will be created. By having, say 30 deck limit, then a noob player can easily copy OP Deck #1-10. And I think this is what Blizzard is trying to avoid.  They wanted us to learn the game and build our own personal deck instead of stockpiling copied decks from everyone else.

  • #27 Najja_Mallace (Beta Patch 3388)

    So what's to stop them from simply copying OP Deck 1-9 as it is anyway? Also a large part of the card game scene is players following another's deck idea and then other people developing decks to beat the then OP deck. Its the natural progression of the game.

  • #11 splashaku (Beta Patch 3388)

    So, gold just from daily quests /  achievements ? Interesting.

  • #12 angelcrest (Beta Patch 3388)

    yh I thought they would give gold for winning but more importantly losing. I thought they added gold to be able to give like a 5/14 of a card pack to a loser. It would be much easier to balance rewards for winning and losing with gold rather than packs.

  • #15 CrsJames (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from splashaku »

    So, gold just from daily quests /  achievements ? Interesting.

    I believe gold will also be accumulated by winning games.

  • #16 xskarma (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from angelcrest »

    yh I thought they would give gold for winning but more importantly losing. I thought they added gold to be able to give like a 5/14 of a card pack to a loser. It would be much easier to balance rewards for winning and losing with gold rather than packs.

    There's a problem with getting gold for losing though. Becomes very easy to just join and then forfeit matches at a high pace and get quick gold that way. There's things that can be done to prevent that, I'm sure, but it's something they need to design for. It wouldn't be much fun to get people to start creating decks and min/maxing to get a match won before a certain time point or else just forfeit, cause it's a quicker way to get gold.

    I'm sure getting at least something for losing a match would be nice, but it's a tricky thing to design well.

  • #17 angelcrest (Beta Patch 3388)

    Yh I suppose you're right. People would do that. Maybe they can make something where you get more rewards if it your lose was a close call and almost nothing for just entering and forfieting

  • #18 CrsJames (Beta Patch 3388)

    I actually think one of the reasons they moved from the booster over to the gold system is because they want to reward people for playing not just winning. I think the gold winnings from a losing match will be negligible though.

  • #21 splashaku (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Xskarma »

    Quote from angelcrest »

    yh I thought they would give gold for winning but more importantly losing. I thought they added gold to be able to give like a 5/14 of a card pack to a loser. It would be much easier to balance rewards for winning and losing with gold rather than packs.

    There's a problem with getting gold for losing though. Becomes very easy to just join and then forfeit matches at a high pace and get quick gold that way. There's things that can be done to prevent that, I'm sure, but it's something they need to design for. It wouldn't be much fun to get people to start creating decks and min/maxing to get a match won before a certain time point or else just forfeit, cause it's a quicker way to get gold.

    I'm sure getting at least something for losing a match would be nice, but it's a tricky thing to design well.

    It seems the loser will get exp only.

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