Weekly Community AMA From Dean "Iksar" Ayala - New Class? Game Modes, Bots & More


Weekly Community AMA From Dean "Iksar" Ayala - New Class? Game Modes, Bots & More

Yesterday, Dean "Iksar" Ayala made another weekly community AMA on his Twitter account, where anyone could ask him any questions about Hearthstone and he tried to answer back.

Here's a summary of answers from this week's AMA:

Game Philosophy/Balance

  • Highlander Hunter
    • Has been (or been close to) a tier 1 deck for 5 expansions, hence it has been hard for other archetypes to compete. [SOURCE] 
    • Has a reasonable argument to be considered one of the best decks in Hearthstone history. [SOURCE] 
  • Hunter and Rogue
    • Share a downside that they are the only classes with a clear identity of no (or very limited) lifegain. [SOURCE]
    • Share an upside that helps set them apart from other classes but a downside is that it's hard to take them to control archetypes. [SOURCE] 
  • Demon Hunter
    • From a player-metrics perspective, it seems like Demon Hunter was successful. [SOURCE]
  • It's sort of impossible not to take some inspiration from other games. [SOURCE]
  • Reprints can be good and they will do that someday. [SOURCE] 
  • They were extremely close to reprinting Webspinner for Un'Goro but changed it about 50-75% of the way through design (Jeweled Macaw). [SOURCE] 
  • It always just feels like they can accomplish the same thing through a very small tweak and just make a new card, so they do that instead. Eventually, there will be a time where that isn't the case and they'll probably reconsider. [SOURCE] 
  • There are some benefits to doing reprints but one of the downsides is figuring out all the little rules and tech requirements that they haven't done yet. If they brought back Webspinner, should we be able to play our old one? [SOURCE] 
  • They don't want to introduce a "pack voucher" because the majority of rewards are gold anyways and if there are pre-selected packs, you don't need to make a decision if you want to buy this pack or that pack and they think this is a good approach because you already have a lot of decision making in the game (gold, dust) and this is the fun part, where you don't need to decide what you want/need - It should be the minority of rewards though. [SOURCE] 
  • The fact that Shaman's Hero Power is different because of some RNG involved isn't negative for them, but they have discussed changing aspects of it. When they looked at the classic set and ways to change it, they also looked at the base hero powers and what classes were supposed to be good/weak at. They'll have some more details on that in a big future update but nothing to divulge just yet. [SOURCE] 
  • They made the call to let Hysteria slip through, even though they knew about the Wretched Tiller and other interactions. They made this call because they tend not to "round all edges" ahead of the set launch in order to keep the game interesting. This time it didn't work out. [SOURCE]


  • Khadgar might be deleted soon but they are still exploring a couple of solutions. They will have more details in the next couple of weeks. [SOURCE] 

Upcoming Cards/Strategies

  • Hunter
    • In the future, we could see a deathrattle buildaround that will tie all the deathrattle pieces together. [SOURCE]

New Class

  • Hearthstone's team is positive about Demon Hunter and will probably make another new class in the future. It's just not something we'll see every year. [SOURCE]
  • They've talked about Death Knight, Monk, or even the idea of inventing something new. [SOURCE]
  • There is no new-class in development today, and they work about a year ahead of schedule, so don't expect a new class anytime soon. [SOURCE]


  • They BAN bots somewhat regularly, but people that make these bots always adapt, make new bots, smarter bots, and the cycle continues. [SOURCE] 
  • They did research recently to look into the issue of players roping for more XP, or botting for more XP, and it turns out there hasn't been much of a difference before and after progression was released. [SOURCE]
  • The time taken per turn is roughly the same as it's always been across all game modes. [SOURCE] 

Upcoming/Current Modes

  • The Tavern Brawl team is also responsible for Duels, Book of Heroes, and another entirely new game mode, they've been busy. That's why we haven't got any new Tavern Brawls. We should expect some newer Tavern Brawls when those things get closer to release but not until then. [SOURCE]
  • They don't mind fragmenting the player base with new modes because Hearthstone is a big enough game, hence they don't need to worry about matchmaking times, etc. [SOURCE] 
  • It's nice when people can have a conversation as a community about the same thing, so that's why we like to have different moments where each mode gets its time in the sun. (Like not releasing an expansion and a big BG update at the same time.) [SOURCE] 


  • They want to add achievements for past single-player content. [SOURCE] 
  • They weren't sure if adding gameplay achievements for things like GvG would be very enjoyable. [SOURCE] 
  • Part of the gameplay achievements now is exploring new cards in a new way and getting a reward for doing so. [SOURCE] 
  • They could do the same thing for older cards but the power level of cards these days could make getting TGT or GvG achievements in Wild a painful experience. [SOURCE] 
  • Achievements hunters like doing wonky things to get achievement points, so maybe there is some room for overthinking there. [SOURCE]
  • Allowing players to complete achievements in casual mode/with friends would hurt the experience of achievement hunting because it's easy to complete this way. [SOURCE] 
  • With the new reward track, there will be new achievements that will grant XP for the reward track and the previous expansion achievements will no longer grant XP, only achievement points. [SOURCE]  


  • They have some related information about more deck slots to share but it's not quite ready yet. [SOURCE]


  • Until pretty late Death Knights were a neutral design that shuffled corrupted things into your deck that turned you into a Death Knight (or something?). It wasn't fun and every class turning into a Death Knight felt very similar. [SOURCE]  
  • They created Hero cards in the final design, which is really late to be creating a totally new card type from scratch. Turned out to be one of the most polarizing but ultimately positive mechanics they've ever done. [SOURCE]  
  • Livewire Lance was just (2) mana until basically the last possible day of balance design. They knew it was a 10/10 but they liked it and wanted to push the power on it a bit. They hesitantly changed to (3) last minute. [SOURCE]
  • They usually have 3-10 mechanics that have been tested, tweaked, and iterated on, but just 1-2 make it through. The most recent example he can think of is this concept of champion cards. [SOURCE]
    • They were minions that had a health value, no attack value, and an ability. They were like your commander on the battlefield, a mini-hero. They used their ability every turn but didn't directly attack, much like your hero. Weren't affected by things like Flamestrike, etc. [SOURCE]
    • There were some promise and excitement but he doesn't think they got to a place with the abilities or the visuals that made them confident enough to move forward at the time. Might be something we revisit later. [SOURCE]


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