TRANSCRIPT – vS Data Reaper Podcast: Episode 21

Below you will find a transcript of our interview with Alec Dawson from episode 21 of the Data Reaper Podcast.

RidiculousHat: Hello everyone, thank you so much for tuning in to this very special episode with Alec Dawson senior game designer. We had a lovely chat with him, and we’re gonna let the interview stand on its own as the episode will be a little shorter than you’re used to. And after this, we’re going to take a little pause and work on matters related to the Darkmoon Faire, theorycrafting and card reviewing and we’re going to figure out a timeline for the next podcast episode. It will be announced, but we don’t have a timeline quite yet. So hang tight and Vicious Syndicate will be back with all the reports and theorycrafting and card ratings and podcasts that you know and love. Enjoy the episode. Huge thanks to Steven Sensei for intro and outro as always, and thank you so much to Alec and the blizzard PR team for making this interview happen.

Hat: Hello, and welcome to Episode 21 of the Data Reaper Podcast. My name is RidiculousHat I’m your host. It’s a very special episode. With us as always, we have ZachO. Zach, how you doing? Are you doing hat doing all right. And we are joined by special guest senior game designer and Golden Wisp owner. Alec Dawson. How’s it going?

Alec: Good. How are y’all doing today?

Hat: I’m doing okay. It’s you know, it’s an exciting day when Vicious Syndicate gets to talk to Team five. That’s it. That’s a special occasion.

Alec: And I’m definitely excited to be here. It’s funny you said Golden Wisp owner. That’s funny to hear that again. It’s been quite a while.

Hat: So I meant the cards. I assume you have two golden wisps I crafted two myself because I was trying a Disciplinarian Gandling list. But yes, also your old podcast back in the day. Back when you were you were one of us,  just a fan. And now you make the game. So give us a little bit of introduction. What’s your current role in Hearthstone? And can you give us an idea of what you’re doing these days?

Alec: Yeah, I’m a senior game designer on Hearthstone, currently heading up some final design on future sets. So I also did Scholomance Academy. I was the lead there and was on initial up until Darkmoon Faire. So yeah, lots and lots of good stuff even do some battlegrounds stuff sometimes too. So you know, it’s a fun day on Hearthstone, it’s really fun to do a lot of things. And that’s been really fun over the last year.

Hat: Okay, heading up, heading up the final design. Congratulations.

ZachO: Congratulations. So, Alec, how you doing? Zacho here. This is the first time we have a member of Team Five as our guests in any capacity. And I personally really appreciate you coming over. And we’re really proud and thrilled to have you here. The Reaper project has been going on since Whispers, which is fitting considering we have the old gods coming back in Darkmoon Faire. What’s your perspective on how data collection sites since then have changed the pace of the metas’ evolution and have changed the game over time compared to years ago? Does Team Five consider such analysis to have any positive or negative consequences? We know that there’s some community sentiment and mostly, you know, they focus on the negative, but there might be positives too. What’s your take on this?

Alec: Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, it’s a big question, too. Something that I think about quite often, because going back, you know, even when I was doing my podcasts, and you’re a player, how would you look at the meta and figure out what you’re supposed to play? You maybe will get Tempo Storm’s meta Snapshot that came out every two weeks or something, but it’s very subjective. There wasn’t something you could point to. Say, actually, no, this is the best thing you have arguments online about what may be the best deck and then in tournaments, see what performed the best usually, because of what you may think someone just won with a tournament deck that might be like, Oh, I’m definitely gonna play that. And so I don’t think the experience nowadays is necessarily better or worse, I just think it’s different.

I would say one thing about these sites and your sites and others, what it does allow players to do is make really informed decisions, right. And that’s something we’ve even done in our client as well, a tiny bit. You can come into the game. And if you just hit complete my deck, it’s going to build you something that’s actually going to be a little bit better than it used to be in the past, right? It’s not going to randomly fill with cards, it’s going to be something that hey, this is gonna be a meta deck that you’re going to be able to play on the ladder based on the cards that you included first and based on your collection. So that’s great. I think it’s great for players to come in and have more information out there and make deckbuilding easier. It is one of the hardest things in Hearthstone, it’s a very daunting task. So whatever we can do as a game and as a community to make that easier, I think is a really good thing.

I think on the other side of it, though, you know, card games inherently are about discovery, right? New sets come out, we do card reveal season. And theorycrafting is one of my favorite things in card games, and you look at what can develop. And what happens here is that those things do get solved a bit faster than they did in the past. Right? It’s interesting, even when I say that, though, I don’t even necessarily think it’s completely true.

I say solved in the sense of the community thinking something is solved. But it’s more of the general consensus coming together faster, right? Because I actually believe you could release a set. And this is something that Peter Whalen talked to me about a long time ago, when I first joined. He’s like, you can release a set five times, and the meta is gonna be different each time. It may end at the same place. But based on the trends, based on who’s playing what deck and how things catch, that’s gonna have a complete ripple effect in terms of what everyone’s playing, right? I mean, look at just right now, with Paladin, that was something I think some people had some builds early on, but say you just for some reason someone gets that solid build week one. That’s like, ooh, how does the meta shift from there? Right?  I think coming into Scholomance, we knew Guardian Animals was going to be really good. So obviously, that was going to be at the forefront. And that’s what people were going to react to. And they were going to get that build up first. Right? So I think these sites, it makes the world so different. And I think from our side, we’ve been trying to adapt to that world, what that world means what that pace means. And that’s something with balance changes, or even making, as I said earlier, it easier to deck build in the client, things like that. So a long answer, but there’s a lot of thoughts here, I think about this all the time. I think it’s actually one of the most interesting things outside of what we do in our game that affects our game.

ZachO: I agree. I think from my perspective, if you look at positive things, you just mentioned Libroom Paladin. I’m not sure Libroom Paladin would have gained traction, would have been popular on ladder, if publicly available data, wouldn’t have shown it to be that good. And you think about Cyclone Mage, a few weeks ago before it was nerfed, think about if data wasn’t available. How powerful would it be perceived by the players if there wasn’t that information? I think that complaints over that deck would have been far higher and more prevalent if there wasn’t publicly available data. So sometimes I think these websites help bridge communications better between the community and the developers because they’re kind of on the same page, or closer to the same page than they did before.

Alec: Yeah, I could definitely see that as well. I think it’s something. Even if our data isn’t like completely aligned, sometimes I think that’s a great point where it’s like the communication, there’s, hey, actually, these are good decisions because of this. And, you know, I think that’s a good conversation to have sometimes I even wonder myself is, how much should we be sharing of that? I think there’s a fine line between us being the ones that guide things and coming in and kind of showing everything, I think that’s a little murky, I would never want to be in that position. I think it’s also good. You know, when Iksar goes on Twitter says, Hey, here’s some of the top decks right now, you know, maybe different from what everyone’s expectations were.

Hat: It helps us well, if Iksar knows the difference between the number two and number seven, which I will say has been, you know, hit or miss. But yeah, it’s so an Iksar was posting, I think in DOD was when he was posting a lot of those meta reports, along with the balance changes that were happening along the time of which decks were performing. And DOD is also where I think Team Five really took a different approach to balancing where the patches became much more frequent. And that can help the data collection sites in some ways, and also, you know, it disrupts how frequently we can publish reports. But at the same time, it creates that fresh look at the meta which you have to take every time there’s a new patch. So what has prompted Team Five to take this different approach of more rapid balancing?

Alec: Yeah, I think for a long time, there was a thought on our team that perhaps frequent balance changes would really hurt the player base in ways that were significant. I don’t think that thought is true. And it didn’t turn out to be true. You know, as we continued this process. There’s definitely things to consider there, obviously, you know, from our side. Frequent balance changes, we think create a much more engaging game. We think, coming in to be able to inject more content with balance changes or even you know, perhaps cards in the future, like later on in Darkmoon Faire is something that we think is really great for the game. So breathe new fresh life into it. That doesn’t mean it’s, you know, without some but there are things to consider there too, though, right? We come in and we change a deck that someone’s been building up for a while. That can hurt right? So I think some of our philosophies there. Yes, they are faster, but we also don’t want to make such changes that immediately strike a deck completely out of the meta and make it absolutely unplayable. You know what may have happened in the past with some old change. We want to be a tiny bit more minor in some of those changes. We want things to shift. But you know, look the warrior changes that we made in the past. They were stat adjustments, and that deck is still pretty good. So pretty playable. We don’t want to kill that off immediately. Right? So I think the main push here from us, though, is that it does create a more engaging game. We think that it’s better for the game if we come in, and we’re able to adjust things more frequently.

And imagine a world that we’re in right now. And Undertaker Hunter comes up or something like that? Is that something we would let like sit for a long time? I think we would be pretty. We’d react pretty quickly there because…

ZachO: 24 hours.

Alec: 24 hours? Yeah, maybe? Maybe you’re right, maybe 24 hours! I would really wonder what it’d be like in this world.

Hat: 10 minutes after the first Team Five member BGH’s an undertaker. 10 minutes after that, there would be a nerf patch. Yeah. And do you think that the new cadence of balance changes, changes how you design at all? because I guess if you get the idea that they’re going to change more quickly, then maybe you have more freedom. But also, if you want to avoid disrupting a deck that a player has been building to, that could be almost more challenging in a way.

Alec: Yeah. I think there are two things here, you know, with the frequency and just these two things go hand in hand where it’s about, hey, we’re going to come in here and be able to do this quickly. We can push a little harder, make things more exciting, make things you know, a bit more powerful. I think I was just looking at some Scholomance examples before this, where it’s three cards that we were really talking about before Scholomance Academy came out were Voracious Reader, Guardian Animals, and Pen Flinger. And what those cards would look like in certain worlds. Pen Flinger actually was pretty late change I think it was a two mana and it was maybe like two or three mana deal three damage or two mana deal one. And we played a bunch of combinations, but like, one mana 1/1 got the effect. We think that’s gonna be pretty, you know, pretty good. pretty solid there. Voracious Reader – we knew that card was gonna be quite powerful. But look at it right now it’s you could say it’s Oh, yeah, it creates some, you could make some more aggressive deck with this card in mind. That’s pretty interesting. Guardian Animals, definitely knew it was gonna be pretty strong. And I think the right decision was to release it where it was, right? And let that play out and let everyone react to that and let the community kind of figure out how to deal with that. Which they did I which I thought was actually one of the best narratives coming out Scholomance, you know, Guardian Animals druid day one, everyone thought was like, this is going to be absolutely insane. And decks reacted to it. Decks came up decks were able to beat it. And that was really great. I mean, that’s one of the best things about card games. Seeing how that can all develop. So when I look at Scholomance. Yes, we were able to do more powerful, exciting things because of this. You know, because of our new cadence. And because of the way we now treat balance changes.

Hat: But you have to let us squelch Pen Flinger at some point, right?

ZachO: I’m fine with keeping it as it is. So, in general, you’ve talked about this, but I think that the meta is Scholomance Academy was generally very well received amongst the player base. And the expansion seems to have been successful in diversifying the field and giving a lot of exciting options for players. But of course, with every, every meta there will be some issues raised in the community. And probably the most popular complaint where the high amount of randomly generated cards that you have classes like Mage, Priest, and Rogue can produce. Now, personally, I didn’t see that as a big of an issue. And I talked about it in this podcast as well. But how do you feel about generation and the discover mechanics right now?

Alec: I think some of the complaints are warranted to an extent, I think we are a bit heavy here. The way I like to view it is we don’t want the best decks in your class, to not really care about the cards you’re putting inside your deck. I think it’s important for a card game like ourselves, when the cards I’m putting in my deck are supposed to matter. I think that you know,  that’s a very plain statement. But when we look at some of the generation decks that we’ve seen, you know, over the past months, sometimes that wasn’t always the case, or could feel like it wasn’t always the case, right. And that’s, that’s an important thing here. If you felt like you’re losing to randomness too much, that can be very frustrating. Now, there are cards in particular, that definitely cause a bigger effect to that. So for us, it’s more about hey, let’s look at the future. Let’s look at making maybe less Mana cyclones cards that do a ton of multi-generation. And let’s do things that are like, you know, one for one, I think cards like Wand Maker are actually really great for us. And focusing on how much of that is available in the pool at one time. And but the cards that really can, you know, break that for us are the cards that are going to create a ton of cards in one game. And if that’s gonna happen all the time, then you know, I think as a player, sometimes you can really feel that, you can feel that way, like, what do I even do?

You know, that’s, that’s a challenge. There’s definitely some skill there to navigate those games. But I think there is a reaction that you can have as a player that can be quite negative to that. So yes, we’re a little high right now, I think there’s also you know, there’s two things for us in the future ways that we can navigate this ourselves, where it’s like, we can make less of it. And/or it can be less powerful too right?. I think for us, we don’t always want those to be your best decks. And providing options for those classes that are different is one of our main goals going forward.

ZachO: Yeah, and a different slant to this is what you just mentioned a little bit when it comes to the frustration of players that too much generation lowers player agency lowers the players skill, because you cant play around generated cards. Now, interestingly, we see Scholomance Academy as actually one of the most skill-testing matters. And we’ve looked at it internally as well that these created-by decks even though they generate a lot of cards, they do exhibit steep learning curves and have a lot of depth and complexity to them. What do you think about this debate?

Alec: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, they can create varying experiences from game to game, you know, so you’re not always playing against this the same puzzle there. And it takes a lot of skill to go through that and be able to perform every time, right? I think in some of those, you know, Priest mirrors while they can go on for a very long time, and watching those over and over maybe something that’s, you know, something that’s not the best as a viewer, those are some of the most skill-intensive matchups sometimes right? And for us, it is I think,  when you have the ability to gain tiny percentages in a match based on your knowledge, I think that’s really good for us. One thing here I do want to say, though, about generation randomness. In general, I think it is very exciting for Hearthstone, we’ve seen some of the things where I don’t think it’s a matter of should this exist or not in Hearthstone. Right, I think that’s actually one of the best things that we do in Hearthstone – the discover mechanic and the ability to change up what the expectations of this match can be. Now, if you go into a match, and you have some sort of sense that this is going to be the outlook of it the entire time and the expectations come to light in a way that you know what I expected to lose, it happened exactly as I thought it was going to, and the cards just played themselves. That’s not what we want to happen either right? We want those matches, we want you to have some way to shift what that may be and what that experience could be.

ZachO: I think that this might be a case of maybe something, there are a lot of mechanics in Hearthstone that you know can be very healthy on the surface. And maybe when they’re too ubiquitous and maybe too powerful and overwhelming, then players might label them or mislabel them as unhealthy as inherently unhealthy. But I think it might be a case of you know, you have a cake, and it tastes pretty good. But if you eat too much of it, you might get sick of it. And this might be the case here. I like to use this example all the time. I think we saw it in with Rush minions in Galakrond awakening with a lot of rush minions that were really powerful. And people complain about that mechanic being unhealthy. But I think when something is in moderation, you don’t see too much of it. It’s not too overwhelming or dominant in matchups, then I think it’s more reasonable and people will complain about it less.

Alec: Definitely. And that was something even with the with Rush, we did cut back on it in feature sets as well. You know, if you look at Scholomance, but also even Ashes of Outland that was something we came in to near the end there where we’re like, hey, there’s a lot of Rush the set. Let’s trim it back a little bit. And we actually made some changes there pretty late, you know, in reaction to that and because we felt it was true as well.

Hat: Sounds like game design is hard. A lot of balancing here because you need to have just the right amount of everything. Yeah, perhaps you owe for the efforts put in. We want to talk about some magic words, the magic phrase the catchphrase “play pattern.” Let’s talk about that phrase. A lot of the nerfs this expansion, I think you’ve actually specifically commented on because you are “patch-notes Alec” on Twitter. Guardian Animals was actually in a healthy spot from a numbers perspective, but maybe not as much from a play patterns perspective. Kaelthas, Illucia, there were specific spots where these cards were outliers and how the games felt, even if the decks win rate was in line with the meta. How does the team consider this approach, especially with what you’ve mentioned earlier that some of these nerfs to specific outliers might actually hurt the decks overall win rate, but also dealing with these Feel-Bad moments.

Alec: I think Illucia has a pretty great example there. Illucia is probably a little too strong, you know, back at two manna and everything. But what we saw was, you could feel like you lost the game in the first few turns, right? If you’re, if you’re the Druid player, they play Illucia and they go Lightning Bloom, take your Overgrowth away, things like that. I think were probably too much. And what we want to look at, and what we want to, you know, make sure doesn’t happen is that you come to the game, and you have these moments where you go, Oh, I just lost this game. And especially when that happens, in the first few turns, right? Especially when that can happen pretty early. I think that’s why, you know, cutting back a little bit on Evocation. And cutting back on Illucia makes some of those early feelings there disappear, right? It definitely makes them happen a lot less. And that’s important to us, I think, when we have those moments where they’re building up, they’re building up, like you’ve seen Darkmoon Faire with C’Thune and then you go, Oh, I just lost this game. And you’re like, yeah, they played all their C’Thun cards, they drew C’Thun, and then they play C’Thun. So I think that’s a little bit more appropriate, right? And that’s the sort of build-up that we like, rather than, wait, you take a snapshot of this, what this game state could be, and they take a snapshot of the game state was at the end of your opponent’s turn, and all of a sudden, it looks completely different, right? I think we need to, I think what we have, we have our eye out for those sorts of things. We like to be in a spot where you can do big exciting things, but maybe not as drastic as what we had with some of the Kaelthas turns and things of that nature.

ZachO: And perhaps the most, maybe the most unfortunate part of Scholomance Academy is that there are several decks that relied on these huge power swings on these really, really powerful cards and, and then you were in a predicament where you kind of had to nerf them for play pattern reasons. But then these decks were severely weakened and felt like they were pushed out of the meta. So it was like a difficult balancing decision where you need to decide whether you keep these play patterns, these problematic play patterns, or you risk kind of pushing these decks out of the meta, and players may feel like they have less options. Because the decks were kind of balanced around these power turns. We saw it with the Dark Glare, especially in zoo, for example.

Alec: Yeah, I think Dark Glare in Zoo, I think there’s, you know, hopefully, future possibilities for that. I think even with Guardian Animals looking at it. We saw a future with it, too. You know, we saw what that future could look like. And right now, this is probably one of the more contentious points for us. Like I was just looking at some stats for Guardian Animals. You can still play that deck. Right? You can still play it. Yes, it feels a little bit weaker. But you know, we’re looking at it right now. Right around, you know, right, right. Right. Right. We’re doing alright, you know, right in between maybe it’s not…

ZachO: it’s not like dumpster…

Alec: …tier two/three right around there. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think that’s part of our intention. Right?

ZachO: Yeah, I agree.

Hat: All right, Zach, you get to ask the question.

Alec: The question?

ZachO: Yeah. So let’s talk about Darkmoon Faire from a game design perspective. So there are a lot of high-level players that listen to this podcast and follow it. And the first question I have to ask is, what is the story of Yogg? And do you consider this new Yogg to be a risk? Because we’ve seen some pushback from these players. And this is an opportunity for you to send a message to them. So what do you want to say to these players regarding Yogg and their concerns of the card?

Alec: Well, we’re gonna take risks. So even if Yogg’s a risk, we’re gonna take multiple risks, you know, with expansions, I think that’s something we should always be doing. I think that’s exciting. When we look at, there’s a few cards in each set, We’re like, That’s scary. I think that’s a great thing for us. I think that’s very exciting. Not only as you know, us putting the content out there, but also from the players’ side, see, right? Oh my god, what’s gonna happen here. With Yogg, the story there for us as always about rekindling some of that old Yogg magic. You know, I think it’s very easy to look at, look at Yogg of the past and understand, hey, you know, this card got nerfed later on. It was obviously like, I think in tournaments that we didn’t want to happen all the time. But I remember Yogg, you know, way up until that point too where it was like the most exciting thing in Hearthstone for quite a while until it became super prevalent and everywhere, right? I think that’s one thing. Like, let’s look back at Yogg. Remember, there was a lot of positive excitement around there. So we had other designs in mind, you know, we had stuff like, if you play ten spells this game, discover five and cast them. For each spell you played shuffle a gifted Yogg into your deck and then cast random spell when you drew it. But once we had that he’ll of Yogg Saron. Right? That’s, that’s the magic right there. That’s some of the old Yogg magic with it with the new school stuff doing Darkmoon Faire, right? And I think from us, so the one thing we mainly talked about a lot was the spell requirements and where how much that was going to be whether or not that was actually going to be on the card. That was one of the things in terms of the design process that we have with Yogg.

Now, to your question about, you know, what is the message to the player base. There are knobs here, right, there knobs if we, if we think it ever becomes a thing where it’s out of hand and appearing too frequently than we may like, then of course, we’re going to come in, and we’ll change things. And it’s also you know, it doesn’t go into every deck, you know, that is not necessarily the easiest requirement to fulfill. You need to play 10 spells in the game, it’s a 10 mana card, right? we look at all these 10 mana cards in the old gods and you got to get to that point in the game, right? You have to build something that’s going to be able to get to 10 mana and have the big effect. I think that’s a challenge in itself, right? To be able to construct a deck that’s going to be able to survive to that point, if there are more aggressive things out there. So that would be the message there to the players, I think, to step back a little bit. Talk about Darkmoon Faire, as a design and what we were going for, I think, you know, printing a lot more big cards, right? Corrupt as the main mechanic here. Lets us do some absolutely insane effects on some of these cards. And I think especially when you get into the eight mana Corrupts or the nine mana Corrupts and what you may see, there’s gonna be some big stuff, right? I think for us as a challenge there. It wasn’t about you know, making those things exciting. It was actually about like the one- or two-mana cards and what it would feel like, you know, well as the costs for an opponent, you’re going against the deck and they play a two cost minion and then all of a sudden, their one mana card’s corrupt, right? Well, how much work did you do there? So I think that was one of the challenges. And then the other challenge was giving you enough incentives to play 7,8,9,10 mana cards. And what we can do on some of those cards, I think it’s actually turned out really well. I’m very excited about Corrupt and see how players construct their decks to take it into account

ZachO: I’m personally also very excited about the late game implications of the old gods, and how that affects several classes, potentially those that lack win conditions right now. Warlock and shaman I think might be really boosted by Old Gods’ presence.

But let’s finish with a little bit about the future. Team Five has hinted that it will look to rework the classic set more thoroughly. Rather than tweaks or like one class rework like we’ve seen with Priest might be a bigger revamp. Now the classic set, you know, it feels like a bit of an artifact of the past perhaps and it’s fine, because it was designed many years ago. There are mechanics that you know, might be under-tuned that back then there were evaluated to be stronger than what they actually are, things like healing in Paladin. Or other such things and classes possibly missing crucial things that provide their flavor in the classic set that they cannot really use. And there are a lot of cards that feel completely useless have never ever been played before. Or cards that are weird and don’t really belong in a classic set, or cards that were brutally nerfed in the past and now just sit there,  taking up space, you know, they don’t really contribute to that, that deckbuilding experience right now, especially for newer players. What can we expect from this rework? Can you provide some information of that, some hints?

Alec: Yeah, we’re gonna be looking at classics, they are gonna serve as the building blocks of what those classes can do. I think that’s one of the most important pieces there, we will get like, you know, basic and classic set. You come in the game as a player, you look at the cards available and say, what does this class do? What did they do differently than the other classes? What do they do Well? right? I think even when we talk about class identity going back, you know, was it a year and a half ago now? I believe,  when we released some of our thoughts on class identity. I think that’s been carrying through and talking about, okay, how can we separate these classes in terms of how they function. Now, that’s going to be one of the main driving points there and also looking at, hey, which cards just don’t really feel like they belong anymore? I think one of our conversations actually, before undergoing what we’re going to talk about, you know, in the future was which class to be next, we’ve just done Priest. And we said which class should be next? Warrior? Paladin? you know, Warrior has a ton of cards that are just like, this just doesn’t do anything anymore. It doesn’t really fit what Hearthstone is nowadays, and what the identity is and what some of the mechanics are, right? So, cards like that, you know, definitely getting, you know, a refresh and wait. So we looked at some of those classes, say, hey, which class should we do next? And then we backed up, say, let’s do, let’s do it, right, let’s do it. Let’s do it all the way. So we’ll have more information later about that, though. And I’m excited to share that in the future be really excited.

ZachO: I’m extremely passionate about this particular subject to the extent that a few months ago, I actually did a full class, classic set rework myself, I even designed cards. Yeah, I should. I may write an article proposal in the future about it, I might slip you some cards, maybe by dm, if you want. But yeah, this is a subject that I really enjoy discussing. And I think the classic set is, as you said, it’s important to provide some building blocks a safety net for classes that are, you know, notable for particular effects and mechanics, and maybe provide, not necessarily powerful cards in the classic set, but at least like mediocre options that they can use, in case they need to fill a gap in deck building wise. Because I feel like too many classes in the past couple years, were just missing this particular effect had nothing to fall back to and then it kind of impeded their ability to be viable and competitive. And that might be like, that’s an unfortunate thing. But that’s what I look to a classic set that, you know, not particularly powerful, but provide that safety net that building block that you know, new players also get to recognize and enjoy.

Alec: Yeah, and that’s something that helps uss us design new expansions. When you look at you know, Priest, I think the same, as whoa another Priest AOE. You know, I think that that had gone on for a while but it’s about having those options that are going to be baseline, fairly strong, and something that is going to be one of the centerpieces in that class and having that for a while, right? And then the expansions being able to provide new ways to play new archetypes and really push some of the other boundaries.

Hat: Well, Alec, we could talk to you forever, but you got to go make Hearthstone. So we’re going to let you do that. Thank you so much for coming on any final thoughts or shoutouts you want to give here at the end?

Alec: I’m just so excited that it’s reveal season, you know Darkmoon Faire, it’s finally here. There’s a ton of awesome cards being revealed over like what next week and a half. So you know, stay tuned all that. it’s a great set. We’re very excited for it and I cannot wait to play Yogg Saron. Let’s see what happens with the wheel of Yogg.

Hat: Well, may your Pyroblast target the opponent. Thank you so much for coming on. We’d love to have you on some other time. And you know, we got to talk to the rest of the team in this podcast too. But thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to share some of it with us.

Alec: Thank you for having me. Seriously, it’s been a pleasure. Take it easy.

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  1. – with significant edits for weird words like card names, and for lower-quality audio. But Otter is pretty awesome overall.

  2. Wow, you guys did it! Congrats!
    Btw, sorry for the strange question, but how did you do it? Manually or with the help of some automatic transcriptor?
    I used to work with transcriptions in my country and I know how much time consuming it is.

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