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Mike Donais talks final design and the current meta - Hearthstone

PCGamer interview goes deep on the latest design considerations.

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About John Bedford

John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.

PCGamer has recently published a big interview with Hearthstone's principal designer Mike Donais.

The interview covers how the final design team go about assigning power ratings to cards and re-iterating on card designs, the state of the meta after the recent round of nerfs, and philosophical thoughts on the nature of the Standard rotation system.

You can read the entire thing over at PCGamer but here's a quick breakdown of the most important points:

Final Design Team

The final design team is involved in finalising the next upcoming Hearthstone expansion:

  • There's a team of four core designers on the final design team.
  • They have a list of decks they like to road-test ahead of launch.
  • Some decks are focused on a specific combo. They look for broken elements.
  • When a card's just not working, they email the team of 50 or so for insight and suggestions.
  • Different cards get different internal power ratings, depending on the purpose they want the card to serve.

The Meta

  • People are playing lots of different decks and all nine heroes are viable.
  • Spreading Plague was tested in an internal meta of very diverse archetypes, and so didn't appear problematic at the time.
  • Raza the Chained and Shadowreaper Anduin were an initial concern during testing, but the deck is hard to play and the win-rate is not actually problematic.
  • The team knew Prince Keleseth was a great card but it look a long time to catch on.

The Standard Rotation

  • Barnes does provide very big swings that can be unfun for the opponent, but the Standard rotation means that eventually these problems pass by themselves.
  • The first expansion in a rotation is big, fun and with lots of new fresh ideas to take the sting out of the huge amount of change introduced.

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