Hearthstone Developer AMA - Basic/Classic Set Revamp, New Vanity Card Type & More!


Hearthstone Developer AMA - Basic/Classic Set Revamp, New Vanity Card Type & More!

Blizzard made an AMA event on Reddit where people could ask their most desired questions about "anything" related to Hearthstone, here is the full summary of answers.

But at first, what could this mean?

Quote from Ben Lee

Question: "Are you planning anything that has to do with the undead from the World of Warcraft?"

Answer: "My son. The day you were born, the very forests of Lordaeron whispered the name, Arthas. My child. I watched you with pride, as you grew into a weapon. Of righteousness. Remember, our line has always ruled with wisdom and strength. And I know that you will show restraint when exercising your great power. But the truest victory, my son, is stirring the hearts of your people. I tell you this, for when my days have come to an end, you shall be king." -Ben

Basic/Classic Set

  • New modern Basic and Classic set is something that Team 5 has been working on and we will see the result with next year's first expansion! [SOURCE]
  • There will be no new replacements for the 5 neutral cards from the Classic Set that rotated to Wild earlier this year, hence the reason above. [SOURCE]
  • They're asking about which cards we would like to see in Standard (from wild) beside Whizbang the Wonderful (as a reference to the new Basic/Classic Set). [SOURCE]


  • The Tide Razor and Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler are in the process of being redesigned. Tokens generated by other cards might be a problem that they'll address if needed in the future. [SOURCE]
  • Balance changes will be happening pretty soon! Eudora in particular is one they want to address. [SOURCE]
  • Battlegrounds should get their ranking reset soon, seasonal resets, and many more to come. [SOURCE]
  • Murlocs will get nerfed, Beasts will get a boost. More details in the weeks to come. [SOURCE]


  • Their main focus is on developing new game modes while keeping Arena in a stable place. [SOURCE]
  • Set rotations were removed (hence older sets are not as balanced as Standard ones), but since players want them, they'll be back in December with the next expansion release. [SOURCE]
  • Drafting "buckets" were hard to maintain and tweak right so they got removed, the current drafting experience feels "fine" for them as you have a lot of interesting choices anyways. [SOURCE]
  • Offering rates for problematic "Neutral" cards like Dragonqueen Alexstrasza are being adjusted by offering slightly more or fewer class cards, based on how the class is performing. They are open to removing problematic cards in the future if needed. [SOURCE]


  • With the next card rotation to Wild, we will see quite a few nerf reverts from Rise of Shadows, Tombs of Terror, or Descent of Dragons, they also pointed out that they want to revert nerfs for some cards that are currently in Wild already. [SOURCE]
  • Buffs are trickier to get right so in the future, we'll rather see buffs to correct classes and get them in-line with others instead of trying to make drastic changes like Luna's Pocket Galaxy. [SOURCE]
  • They are now closely looking at how decks are shaping up and in particular, they are looking at how they feel to play against (like for example Kael'thas Sunstrider), however they are still gathering feedback and data. [SOURCE]


  • We shouldn't expect any expansion stuff being attached to another game from the Blizzard universe (except World of Warcraft of course), but It's possible to expect some special events with other Blizzard fan favorites. [SOURCE]
  • There won't be a year-long narrative in the foreseeable future. [SOURCE]
  • Events like Doom in the Tomb are not planned but they are something that they might do in the future, however, they would do that a little bit differently this time by making the event a bit shorter and react quicker to problems that might arise. [SOURCE]
  • Evolve and N'Zoth, the Corruptor are 2 cards that they want to bring back in some way in the future. [SOURCE]
  • There are basically no upsides for turning "Can't be targeted by spells or hero powers" into an Elusive Keyword, but if they're about to do a design of a card that might use less text space with that keyword, they'd implement it. [SOURCE]
  • Secrets in Paladin are really hard to design as (1) mana is not a lot to work with. Celestalon said that one of his favorite cards currently planned for the next expansion happens to be a Paladin Secret. [SOURCE]

Scholomance Academy

  • If Dual-Class cards would become a staple in Hearthstone, they'd get printed in a lower amount than we saw in Scholomance Academy. [SOURCE]
  • There are no plans on printing more Dual-Class cards in a foreseeable future. [SOURCE]
  • The first Dual-Class pair was Priest/Warlock and the last one was Priest/Paladin. They wanted their mechanics/themes to overlap with each other. [SOURCE]


  • Upgrading cards to their golden version is something that they want to do in the future, but they're focused on doing "big things" right now. [SOURCE]
  • They have a list of smaller features that they are gradually adding into the game, the upcoming feature will be the ability to flip through pages in the Collection Manager using the scroll wheel. [SOURCE]


  • The performance of the client is something they're paying close attention to. They recently spun up a new engineering sub-team specifically dedicated to improving Hearthstone's performance. [SOURCE]
  • There's a fix checked in for Polkelt's animation in the next patch. Lightning Bloom's card art appearing upside down will be looked at. [SOURCE]


  • A new type of vanity card type that can look different in both the Collection, hand, and on the board is in the works. [SOURCE]
  • Some older Card Backs and Hero Skins will be back in the shop, we just don't know when. [SOURCE]
  • There will be a quite big amount of new Hero Skins in the future, maybe even surpassing players' expectations. Some of them will be free (progression system) and some of them will be available for purchase. [SOURCE]
  • Hamuul Runetotem might be a new alternative Druid Hero Skin. [SOURCE]
  • New entrance animations are something that we'll see in the future, cards that were suggested by a user, and thanked for their suggestion by FX artist -> Tirion Fordring, Archmage Antonidas, Edwin VanCleef, Grommash Hellscream, Mal'Ganis and Gahz'rilla. [SOURCE]
  • Developer Insights is something that they would like to do more, the next one will be about how Team 5 adapted to working from home in shipping Scholomance Academy. [SOURCE]

There is also an interesting insight from Cora about how the final design process looks like

Quote from Cora Georgiou

The Final Design process is 16 weeks long. We receive the spreadsheet from Initial Design that has all of the cards that they created, and from there it's a lot of building decks and playtesting. We usually start with the major mechanics of the set to get a feel for how they play and if they're fun (i.e. Spellburst, Dual-Class cards, etc). We build all of the archetypes for the 10 classes and play until we have a feel for their strengths and weaknesses. If we feel archetypes are lacking in certain areas, we'll redesign cards until they're in a good place. A lot of the design work in Final Design is ensuring the archetypes are fun and have the pieces they need to see play, but we also do more significant redesign work if it's necessary. If a mechanic needs to be changed, we can and will do that. A good example of a card that was changed fairly late in the game is Instructor Fireheart. During the 16 week Final Design process for Scholomance Academy, I believe it read something along the lines of "At the end of your turn, deal damage to a random enemy equal to your Overloaded mana crystals." We tested with it during that time and felt it would be a decent seed card for maybe an Overload deck down the line, but that it wouldn't be really impactful during this specific cycle. Later in the process, we actually decided that it was just too underwhelming, and we changed it's design to what we ended up shipping.

NEW: It was on a 2 mana 1/5 body, so it was decent. Just ended up not being what we wanted, so we changed it. [SOURCE]



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