Tavern Brawls and Open Q&A - BlizzCon 2015 Live Panel Recap (Fireside Chat)

Update 3:40 PM EST: Added ordered list of brawls by number of games played.

Tavern Brawls and Open Q&A - BlizzCon 2015 Live Panel Recap

Update 2:05 PM EST: The Tavern Brawls and Q&A Panel for Hearthstone at Day 2 of BlizzCon has ended. The recap is available below, we're working on getting it organized now.

The panel featured Mike Donais, Yong Woo, Ben Brode, and Pat Nagle (yes, that's his real name).

Quote from BlizzCon

Tavern Brawls!

  • Tavern Brawls are weekly content. Its there to give players variety between expansion launches.
  • Tavern Brawls need to be fun. You want to keep playing because you love it.
  • When they first discussed Tavern Brawls, they wanted to do a ranked ladder, including a legend rank.
  • They didn't go with the ranked ladder so people don't feel pressured to play it for rewards but instead play it just because they want to.
  • Build your own deck brawls are exciting for people who want to innovate since it changes the value of your collection.
  • They've learned a lot from the pick your own class tavern brawls.
    • A deck of just 30 minions wasn't very fun. Adding some random spells into the mix to fix that.
    • All pick your class tavern brawls will use both minions and spells.
  • Individual premade tavern brawls can appeal to different people and that's okay.
  • They've released 21 brawls so far.
  • The graph (see below) shows the amount of games played for each brawl.
  • They will continue to improve upon brawls, including making new types.
  • They've learned players like to really play with new cards with a new expansion launches, so they'll try to do stuff with the new cards when a new expansion launches, but maybe not all the time.

Individual Brawls

  • Randomonium is the most popular brawl yet. But don't worry, they'll continue to innovate.
  • They think Randomonium was the most popular because games were quick, you got to play with cards you may not have, and you can play strong stuff early on.
  • People really like Encounter at the Crossroads because its helpful to complete class quests.
  • The Webspinner brawl came into existence because of feedback during the Naxx adventure.
  • Ragnaros vs Nefarian will be coming back next week. Nefarian will start with one less mana crystal.
  • The Summoning Stone was created due to the popularity and fun of The Great Summoner's Competition.
    • Summoning Stone was originally Shaman only, but it was more fun as Neutral.
  • They tried to launch Captain Blackheart's Treasure a week ago to show off the Discover mechanic.
    • This will launch is about 3 weeks.

The Mechazod Co-Op Brawl

  • We saw the first co-op tavern brawl this week, they've received lots of great feedback for it.
  • This was the most difficult brawl to create yet.
  • They didn't have time to re-engineer the game to make the first co-op brawl very different from regular play, because they wanted to get it out this year.
  • Thats why Mechazod floats between the sides of the board rather than having his own space.
  • They tried many different placements for Mechazod.
    • Middle of the board doesn't work, there's no room for it.
    • They tried the center column, and players wouldn't be able to play minions there.. that was awkward.
    • The top corner was also discussed.
  • They didn't have all the things in place to stop things like Equality, Hunter's Mark against Mechazod, so they went with creating premade decks for the brawl.
  • Premade decks promote working together with the synergy given to you. Really good for playing with friends.
  • There are algorithms in place to make the brawl less random, but not entirely.
    • For example, he won't just cast overclock every single turn, then he'd never attack.
  • If Lorewalker stayed in played too long, the game got out of hand. That's why Lorewalker Cho dies after one turn to the Kill the Lorewalker card.

Q&A Period

  • Yong Woo, Ben Brode, and Pat Nagle have now joined Mike Donais on stage.
  • Pat Nagle works on Tavern Brawls!
  • Ben Brode helps with content design and creative direction!
  • Yong Woo is the producer. What does he do? He works with the team to figure out whats the most important for the team and works on their schedules to make sure stuff "happens correctly".
  • They think a lot about randomness in the game and recent experiments with cards has taught them a lot.
  • They like when you are guaranteed to get something via RNG, such as with Webspinner or Shredder.
  • One of the concerns players have is with accessibility as the game ages.
  • They have a designer on the team dedicated to new player experience.
  • There is a special queue just for brand new accounts where they play only with other new players for a little bit.
  • Tavern Brawls have been a nice way to give newer players more cards for their collections. It may be slow, but it's something to help.
  • Uh oh, question about arena golden cards.
  • Brode has been asking to see his collection's golden cards in the arena since forever.
  • They're working on so many other awesome things, having your golden cards in the arena isn't something they've gotten to work on yet.
  • "Lets get it done!" - Ben Brode 2015
  • Having a chat with your opponent during a co-op tavern brawl when playing with a random person isn't something they're opposed to.
  • They made the tavern brawl card pack reward from co-op require just playing the game instead of winning due to the communication issue.
  • Maybe they can let you add each other as friends before the game begins.
  • They like to create build around cards, especially when they encourage you to use weaker cards. Mysterious Challenger.
  • They're watching Mysterious Challenger closely.
  • Now with Patron Warrior out of the way, players can make decks to fight against secret paladin.
  • They like the variety in having quests that progress at different rates.
  • They try to split releasing content from releasing features to limit the risk with huge patches.
  • They have a couple of patches planned before the content release after The League of Explorers.
  • They don't think doing a baseline amount of certain tribes in each expansion is needed. Its more fun to mix it up.
  • They will continue to explore new mechs.
  • With the way the hearthstone service is setup, its  difficult to  have your collection travel with you.
  • They really like the idea of tournaments in the game, but they aren't sure what exactly tournaments would be. They do talk about it though.
  • They're working on deck slots.
  • Brode wants to put some kind of marker on heroes which shows you have an active quest for them so you don't need to keep going back and forth to the quest log to confirm which quest(s) you have.
  • Huge Toad - Name came from a QA analyst named Hugh Tod. Friend of Brode.
  • They wanted to add more rewards of Classic Packs to help catch people up on the collection.
  • Not a ton of super positive feedback with the arena pack reward, they're looking at it still.
  • Having a variety of good options across the board for minions is important. They don't always just try to predict the meta when deciding to create new cards.
  • Its possible they could create different ranked systems of play, but no current plans to announce.
    • Yong Woo has threatened Ben Brode with beatings due to this comment.
  • Digital-only can let them do a lot with formats, announcements soon, they're planning on radical stuff.
  • Reno Jackson - There isn't a plan to have any kind of UI hint to show that you still have second copies of cards in your deck. They'll talk about it though.
  • Alternate art scares them a bit. Art tells you what a card is right away. Heroes is a bit safer to do. They'll talk about promo cards more though.

Ben Brode on the Main Stage Stream

  • They were brainstorming the idea behind The League of Explorers back in 2011.
  • Chris Metzen had brought up The WoW faction Explorer's League and said they didn't receive a lot of love in WoW. The Hearthstone team saw an opportunity to use their previous brain storming to go with them as a theme.
  • Legendary minions should be legendary. Elise Starseeker is no exception.
  • They gave the artists time to do just whatever they wanted. One of the artists went all out on Elise and her tokens.
  • Wing by wing, the new cards will make it into the arena. The drop rate of the new cards in arena will increased when the adventure is out to promote it.
  • Ben was playing a Majordomo mage deck at the start of this season with Secrets, and dragons. He was knocked down to rank 20.

Brawls Ordered by Number of Games Played

Thanks to ShadowsOfSense for putting this together!

Blue - Pick Your Class
Green - Brawl Provides Deck
Orange - Build Your Own Deck

  1.  Randomonium (Week 18)
  2.  Encounter at the Crossroads (Week 11)
  3.  Too Many Portals!  (Week 14)
  4.  Showdown At Blackrock Mountain (Week 1)
  5. Encounter at the Crossroads (Week 5)
  6. Heart of the Sunwell (Week 6)
  7. Too Many Portals! (Week 7)
  8. The Great Summoner Competition (Week 4)
  9. The Great Summoner Competition (Week 9)
  10. Grand Tournament Match (Week 10)
  11. It's Raining Mana (Week 12)
  12. Who's the Boss Now? (Week 19)
  13. Double Deathrattler Battler (Week 13)
  14. Boom Bot vs Annoy-o-Tron (Week 16)
  15. Spiders, Spiders EVERYWHERE! (Week 3)
  16. Underdog Rules (Week 15)
  17. Clockwork Card Dealer (Week 17)
  18. The Masked Ball (Week 8)
  19. Banana Brawl! (Week 2)

Panel Screenshots











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