This afternoon, four Hearthstone developers (Dean “Iksar” Ayala, Mike Donais, Ben Thompson, and Giovanni Scarpati (one of the new designers on the Missions Team)) sat down with Reddit for an AMA. It was lots of fun, so I suggest you check it out in full if you can, but we’ve summarized the top points here if you want the TL;DR:
- The team is looking into ways to do a better job of offering medium- and long-term goals that might be of particular interest to more long-term players who have already done things like earned golden hero portraits on all their classes, hit max levels, hit Legend, and/or gotten 12 Arena wins. They are open to player suggestions as to what we would like to see both as the goals to reach and as the rewards for reaching them. They expect at least one implementation of this sort will be released in this upcoming year.
- Cross-region support (such as merging card collections) is not a priority at this time.
- There will be some sort of pre-expansion expansion-card drop with this expansion, similar to Marin, the Fox and Volcanosaur in the past. The giveaway will be the week before the expansion launches, so the card can be used at pre-release events.
- They like to put things like additional formats and game modes into Tavern Brawls because the Tavern Brawl structure guarantees that a large portion of the community will pay attention to them for a time (which helps with things like matchmaking).
Blizzpro note: The implication here being that one reason why additional formats are not added is for matchmaking concerns.
- They have not yet figured out what they want the next Hearthstone game mode to be, so they are, of course, not working on any right now. In 2019, their focus is more on improving the current systems, experimenting within them (like they will be doing with the Arena rotations system), and keeping the meta fresh and interesting. They also have plans for special events that they’re not yet ready to announce at this time.
- There are plans not just for additional cosmetics of the same types as we are used to (hero portraits and cardbacks), but also new types of cosmetics in the future.
- They are looking into ways to handle awarding older cardbacks to players.
Blizzpro note: this is one of the things they have been saying for years, and there is a lot of division in the community as to whether it should even be done. We do not have particularly high hopes this will happen this year though, of course, it might.
- As previously announced, the three sets this year will be linked together by a unified story. Much of that will be told via the single-player content, but you will also see it in things like the sets themselves. Some of the core characters (which are being revealed in small set teasers) will show up in multiple sets.
- A hint as to the keyword in the next expansion: “We’d give you a hint, but it might give two much away…” Another clue: “Didn’t someone already ask this? I swear I’m seeing twins.” Yet another: “I just wanted to double down on the fact that we can’t give any new keywords away.” (Emphasis in the originals).
Blizzpro note: there are a lot of ways this can be taken, such as 1) a bizzaro-Reno where you get an effect if you have all two-ofs; 2) cards that have different effects while the other is in play or in your hand (kind of like Feugen and Stalagg, or a specialized magnetic); 3) a keyworded version of the Chromaggus effect; 4) cards that you can play more than two-of in your deck; etc.
- In response to a question about bringing old sets back into Standard: The combination of old sets with current sets did well in the Tavern Brawl, so they will see how well it is received in the upcoming Arena systems and guage how they can further explore that space going forward.
- In those mixed-sets formats, but specifically in the upcoming Arena formats, Discover and random-card-generation effects will pull from all and only the legal sets. Hall of Fame is considered a separate “set” that will likely be added to the Arena rotation at some point, but not initially.
- Arena runs will be automatically retired with each Arena set change. Per usual, you will receive an arena ticket and your current rewards in your run is retired mid-run.
Blizzpro note: that means the highest EV will be to do at least one arena run per “rotation,” but to stop playing when you get to 2 losses. That way, you will get the rewards for your current streak and also get a ticket for it–effectively making that run free! You will net at least one pack each time you do this.
There hasn’t been an official post saying that the AMA is now over, but it was scheduled to run until 3:00 p.m. Pacific time, so we assume it is now done. We’ll check back after a little bit to make sure, but, for now, that’s all folks! What was your favorite part?