Hearthstone‘s “Cool Hearthstone Dad” — really, that’s in his Twitter profile — Dean Ayala hosted a Q&A last night, inviting players to ask him questions for about an hour that he would do his best to respond to. The responses were helpfully catalogued on fan site Out of Cards, and we’ve presented some of the highlights below.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Battlegrounds is huge and still growing in popularity. Ayala would like there to be more modes like it that are easy to get into and play. He floated the idea of “a mode we can create that you just click a button then you are playing a game with your cards,” though he wondered how such a mode would be “compelling.”
As any CCG designer could tell you, power creep is an inevitable aspect of any continuing game. Ayala described it as “a side effect to wanting to make new fun things” and that “you always have to compete with the last thing you made.” Still, the team doesn’t go out of its way to make newer things overpowered, though somethings “something is REALLY fun in playtest and we’d like it to be very strong.”
Speaking of balance, Malygos has evaded the Hall of Fame “2-3 times” while Gadgetzan Auctioneer avoided nerfs for a couple of years. Even the warlock hero power almost got changed early on. Mysterious Challenger and Spirit Claws were Ayala’s “biggest whiffs on how powerful I thought they would be,” while Inspire was “weak on purpose” but handbuff mechanics “were mostly balance misses.”
Finally, when asked about a “common misconceptions about game design,” Ayala responded by saying that things take longer than people think due to a number of factors. Those include dealing with a huge team internally, booking QA time, third-party approval from Apple or Google, and so on. So maybe don’t be too surprised if a comprehensive Tavern Pass revamp doesn’t come down the line any time soon.