We've once again reached what seems a critical point in Hearthstone where the community is crying out for more insight from developers regarding balancing some of the newer cards in the game. And while it may be easy to miss if you aren't constantly checking their Twitter accounts, there are still some important daily interactions that go on. Lead Designer Ben Brode for example, recently put out a slew of tweets regarding RNG in Hearthstone and how it can be healthy. He then goes on over to Reddit and talks about the team's balancing efforts prompted by one community member's desire to know why Molten Giant was nerfed but Arcane Giant is perfectly okay.

Table of Contents

Improving Communication


@bdbrode "sometimes when people don't have access to the whole picture, it can inspire an angry position" - improve your communication then!
@jeffee83 there is always room for improvement, but not always easy to know what people will assume in advance.

@jeffee83 there is always room for improvement, but not always easy to know what people will assume in advance.
@jeffee83 and sometimes it's just that people haven't seen our videos or read all my tweets. Hard to figure out how to reach everyone.


Changing the Wording on Tracking


@bdbrode @ywoo_dev what is the result of Tracking and Silverware Golem? If not picked, does SG go to the table or is it burned?
@SuperUaiHS @bdbrode as is currently, SG will be burned.

@ywoo_dev @bdbrode any chance of updating the text? Tracking says "discard", you could specify that the card is burnt instead.
@SuperUaiHS @bdbrode yeah there's a discussion about that happening. we'll see which way we go!


Iksar Talks Yogg-Saron


@IksarHS honest question, 30 damage from Frothing to face, more or less fun and/or interactive than Yogg?
@coL_Sottle They clearly both lack interaction. Both were fun decks to play, though. Nothing black and white. Reliability is the diff here


Brode Discusses RNG


@bdbrode I see people complain about RNG in HS cards but ignore the inherent RNG of card games, drawing cards. Thoughts on why?
@KurlyHS lots of thoughts. Incoming tweetstorm, unless I get interrupted.

@KurlyHS randomness that occurs before decision making is generally good for introducing more problem solving. It can increase skill.
@KurlyHS because without randomness, you only need to solve the problem once and then execute over and over. See Chess (and FischerRandom)

@KurlyHS when a card's effect has randomness, it can sometimes feel like there was not decisions to be made afterwards. Esp. if last played.
@KurlyHS when it ends game, it's an easily referenced point and the game can feel like it was not decided by skill, which can be frustrating

@KurlyHS regardless of how many decision points were made throughout the match
@KurlyHS but a less skilled player would have lost the ability for a window in which being lucky would have saved them much faster.

@KurlyHS but a less skilled player would have lost the ability for a window in which being lucky would have saved them much faster.
@KurlyHS hard to identify those decision points that led to giving your opponent an "out". Easy to notice randomness in a card effect.
@KurlyHS some kinds of randomness play better than others, I think. Not in love with Bane of Doom, but I love Webspinner and Discover.

@KurlyHS I even liked Doomsayer/Cho from Shredder (partly because of timing of the randomness in a turn)
@KurlyHS here is a lot of great discussion on randomness from Richard Garfield, if you're interested: m.youtube.com/watch?v=av5Hf7…


Miscellaneous


@bdbrode to throw some fun in the game...make a legendary that swaps your hand with your opponents..any thoughts?
@mjbears57 that was Gallywix's old text! We didn't end up liking it.
@bdbrode I image you get asked this all the time but why can't us new players buy Naxxramas anymore? What's the upside to Blizzard?
@twiz718 we are looking at some ways to reuse that content. Hope to let you play it again some day.
@bdbrode Q: Priest will always be the worst class in standard, simply because the basic-deck is so bad. Any chance of some changes to it?
@Velerion I don't agree with that. We can and want most of the power for a class to live in expansions.
@RobertAWing @coL_Sottle @IksarHS bring malchezaar back as v2.0 with reduces mana costs by 1 after this rotates out in 2 years
@LiquidSavjz @RobertAWing @coL_Sottle we floated the idea of 'you can build a 35 card deck' on a card before this. Maybe someday.


Iksar and Gems on Uncollectible Cards

Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

Unsure on whether or not Atiesh should have a gem or Ashbringer should not, but probably something that should be consistent across both. As a lot of you have pointed out, there are a number of card general inconsistencies that should be addressed even if all of them aren't as clear as this one. We fix a number of them with each update, but new ones tend to crop up as a result of new cards. Functionality of a card in code can usually be turned around quickly because the contents of the change live on the server and do not require an update. Unfortunately for text, the information usually lives in the client. As a result, it has to wait for a client update to be changed. We try minimize the amount of client updates we do so we aren't frequently requiring new downloads. In any case, this stuff is still clearly worth fixing, I think it's just generally interesting to understand the process. Sometimes cards can appear to be inconsistent when really we made a judgment call because even though a text was slightly inconsistent, it made that particular card much easier to understand on the first read. That's why it's great to get feedback from the community on this stuff so we can learn whether or not our judgments were poorly received or went unnoticed. Other times, bugs just slip through the cracks. This will always happen (with every game ever), the hope is we learn more with every release so they become less prevalent.

On the topic of tokens, I wonder what the general consistency would be. On the one hand I think a good blanket rule might be that all non-collectible cards not have a rarity gem. On the other hand, if we ever made a card that said 'destroy a rare card', I wonder if it would be jarring to find out that you could not target a Feral Spirit minion summoned by Feral Spirits because the token is not actually 'rare'. Curious as to what you all think. Thanks for bringing it up!

Molten Giant Nerf

Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

Molten Giant was part of the nerfs to prepare for Standard. Certain archetypes would just be evergreen if we didn't hit them, and the meta would be the same each year. If Molten Giant had been in an expansion it probably would have been fine to let rotate into Wild. It's an argument perhaps for rotating a couple cards from Classic instead of nerfing them if Standard is at risk of being stale because of the evergreen sets in future rotations.

Hearthstone Balancing Team

Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

We have a huge team of people, but the team primarily responsible for balance does have folks with many years of experience balancing card games.
We've definitely made balancing mistakes in the past, and have had to nerf cards to fix them. We'd prefer to let the meta shift through a combination of new cards and players discovering new decks, but we carefully monitor the power level and prevalence of decks and have nerfed when things have gotten really out of whack.