On Friday, Blizzard revealed the last 24 cards from One Night In Karazhan. Among them were all of the Shaman and Priest cards which had been kept entirely secret until the very last moment. Perhaps this was a bad decision on the developers part given the impending weekend with the community not even waiting for the next day to start getting the pitchforks.
  • The Priest cards are GARBAGE, all were revealed.
  • We need Designer Insights with Ben Brode about current situation of Priest.
  • The Development of Hearthstone Has Been Terrible.
  • When did attaching spells to minions become a substitute for creative card design?
  • Please make separate design and balance teams
All of these are titles from Reddit threads over the weekend that were among the most popular in the last seven days. Fortunately, while most of Blizzard was enjoying their weekend, game designer Dean Ayala has been busy observing feedback, watching card reviews, and responding to concerns. We've gathered a bunch of them below to make it easier to find.

Design Philosophy

Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

I think it's cool we decided to share some data there, but overall class win rate doesn't really share the best story when talking about balance or design goals. We mainly look at archetype reports and check out whether or not each class has at least 1-2 strategies they can look to to be successful. If that's not the case then we try to either bump existing strategies or create new ones. For EX: at one point Rogue was around 43% win rate, but that was largely because so many people found Gang Up / Mill to be something they enjoyed playing. I think most people that made the deck went into it knowing they weren't playing a hyper-competitive deck, but did so anyway because that archetype was fun to them. The chunk of players playing Gang-Up Mill drove Rogues win-rate down a ton, but that doesn't necessarily demand a response of 'the win-rate of Rogue is low, they need stronger cards to bump up over 50%'. There are many examples similar to this. In any case, there is no one happy when a class does not have a fun/effective strategy they can turn to. If that ends up being the case with any class we are looking to try and fix that, whether it's a perception problem or an actual one doesn't really matter.

Priest Balance/New Cards

Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

We've had similar articles in the past about design stories for particular cards, I think the most recent one I remember discussed all the design iterations that Yogg went through. Card designs have a number of different goals, sometimes those goals are immediate competitive play and sometimes they shoot for something else. Things like flavor, arena viability, or sprinkling in tools for a new or existing archetype. In smaller sets, it can be a little risky to take a gamble on a new toolkit because there are fewer cards to work with. In the case of Priest, we were pretty happy with the amount of options the class was getting from neutral (Barnes, Curator*, Medivh, Dragon Cards) to do some testing with a new archetype that Purify could be a part of. In my mind there is some positive to the outcry over Purify because I think people will definitely try it out and report any successes/failures/stories they had building and playing a 'silence your own stuff' priest. None of this is to say anyone is wrong in their feedback, but just to communicate some of the ideas surrounding a card design. Hearthstone is important to all of us, and we're trying to do better in terms of communication and understanding what different communities (like this one) are most interested in. I've been happy to be here and have a conversation about what you all want from the game, thanks for being so passionate about it. :D
Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

Specifically for PriestFeast I think it has the potential to be a bigger swing that it's credited for. 3/6 is hard to deal with and Priest has access to a number of spells to make the trigger happen. Drawing and combo'ing with 2-3 spells on T7-8 can push you completely out of range of a lethal from an aggressive deck and swing you into late-game where you have a large advantage. Been fairly solid in playtesting as just a card to play on curve.
@NigmaNoname It's great when there is variance from set to set and people are playing different classes/decks. That isn't to say we pick ...
@NigmaNoname a couple classes every set and say "These will be the OP classes this set". Because we introduce so many new strategies every

@NigmaNoname set, the flow of what classes are perceived as powerful changes a lot. Which is great! The main message is that we are going to
@NigmaNoname continue to try and create new strategies for each class every set, and not just make 10/10 power level cards in classes that

@NigmaNoname continue to try and create new strategies for each class every set, and not just make 10/10 power level cards in classes that
@NigmaNoname are seeing less play because we want that class to be more powerful than all the others. That just isn't true.


@NigmaNoname @IksarHS So much this. Priest already has conditional cards that are tough to use. Giving them more (& bad) ones won't help.
@Aaron90495 @NigmaNoname lots of focus around purify it seems, I think most cards that promote new strategies are undervalued early

@NigmaNoname say 'wow' on the first read. Some are going to be undervalued and surprise at a later date or later set. If too many cards are
@NigmaNoname like that you run the risk of the set looking very 'meh' on first read. I think this set reads exciting, but some classes read


@IksarHS i just don't see any reason to release a lot of bad cards (change) when you already know they wont see any play.
@LaughingHS lots of goals with new cards, one of which is competitive formats. Some is flavor, some is arena, some is arena viability, and

@LaughingHS lots of goals with new cards, one of which is competitive formats. Some is flavor, some is arena, some is arena viability, and
@LaughingHS some is sprinkling in tools for a possible near or future archetype.


@Milago_HS @Kripparrian I think this comment is reasonable. I think we tried to address this by making sure Priest had neutral help, but so
@Milago_HS @Kripparrian much of the discussion around viability is centered around class cards. Hopefully that changes when play starts.

On Arena Balance

@tetraplasm @Milago_HS @Kripparrian I mean, you can. The system currently functions a specific way where class commons have a large impact
@tetraplasm @Milago_HS @Kripparrian I think the perfect system allows for us to assign rarity based on complexity and have better tools for

@IksarHS @Milago_HS @Kripparrian like how would a new arena player know that certain cards are weighted more than others, despite rarity?
@tetraplasm @Kripparrian I think you are running into the questions that need to get answered when thinking about new ways to draft.

@tetraplasm @Kripparrian We're trying to figure out a simple solution that you won't have to read an article to figure out while still
@tetraplasm @Kripparrian addressing arena balance. In any case, being tied specifically to rarity at all times I think can be improved.

Increasing the Max Level

@EliteLeafHater Progression beyond 60 or 500 wins is something we've discussed. I like the idea, finding a cool reward attached to...
@EliteLeafHater progression I think would feel better, but maybe it's okay to just have an increasing number.


Why no Charge/Windfury?
Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

Charge cards are a little tricky in that every time we make one players find out the best way to use them is to hold them waiting to combo other cards to deal 15+ damage from hand. Not something we get super excited about ;). That said, Charge has some cool flavor and feels very Warcraft universe to me. Finding designs for Charge that don't result in mass damage from hand I think is something we'll do in the future. As far as Windfury goes, I don't think there is much preventing us from going there... but is does feel very Shaman as a mechanic and I think we've just been more interested in exploring different designs/mechanics for Shaman than going back to Windfury in the last couple sets.