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!


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