Pinned AskHEX Answer Thread

  • AskHEX Answer Thread

    Part 1:

    Q: What's it like working at HXE/CZE?

    A: It’s great! Other than working with a bunch of nerds….

    Seriously though, as with any other job, we have deadlines, meetings and have a lot to get done. I’ve certainly lost sleep for this game, worked weekends, and have a few more gray hairs than I did two years ago. I think that’s true of everyone here. For example, I just watched one of our designers freak out for two days on what to rename a single button.

    But, for however stressed I get, I can step back and look at what I work on and it makes me so happy. This is my dream job, and there’s a reason I lose sleep and work weekends for this game. I love my job, this game, this company, and this community.

    TLDR: It’s a job. It’s the BEST job, but it’s a job. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: Evo Gauntlet was a big and welcome surprise for most people. Do you have more such surprises in the works or do we more or less know what’s coming down the pipeline?

    A: Evo Gauntlet was much better received than I could have imagined when designing the format. It was something I spent a fair amount of time on, interacting with different members of production and R&D to get feedback, and I’m so pleased with the reception from players.

    As for the future, we’re always working on new things. We’re hoping to get out another fun project that I personally have been working on for years. It took some convincing of some people that this was the best way to implement the system, but I’m really excited that they’re on board now. I’m hopeful that this will go out soon, and I really hope that players will love it as much as they have Evo Gauntlet. –Corey Burkhart

    Q: As I recall from the Kickstarter, the original plan was for every card to have equipment. We're now up to Set 5, and half of the card still don't have equipment. Will we finally see the rest of the equipment with AZ2 or have you changed your minds and decided not to give every card equipment? Also, speaking of equipment and Kickstarter plans, are the set bonus cards still going to be a thing?

    A: Yes and no. We still plan on releasing 2 pieces for most cards (I’ll get into that in a moment), but there are only so many we can release with each batch of content. We will try to continue pushing these out the door. AZs will always have equipment for cards from older sets as we try to fill in those gaps. For the most part, I try to go through and look for what still doesn’t have equipment. Cards that see a lot of play or are fan favorites are good targets for filling out equipment.

    In regards to the “no” portion of my answer, the design philosophy on equipment has changed since what was originally announced during the Kickstarter. Common cards will typically only have one piece of equipment and some uncommons will only have a single piece as well. Set bonuses also haven’t been looked at in a while. It is still something that we like, it just requires some design work and is a great deal less important than our other priorities at the moment. –Dan Clark

    Q: What are Matt Dunn's 5 favorite snacks?

    A: Spam and more spam. –Dan Clark

    Q: Escalation cards are Set 1 only. Inspire is a Set 1-2 mechanic. Empower is a Set 4 mechanic. Prophecy is a Set 3-4 mechanic. Will older mechanics be revisited or will they remain in their blocks? If they make another appearance, will it be a whole Set dedicated to them, again, or just some cards here and there?

    A: I imagine one day we will see most, if not all, of our older powers return. It depends on how popular and deep the mechanic is.

    To rate the specific powers you listed, I think Escalation has the highest likelihood to return since we only saw five cards with the mechanic and it was well received. However just as before, I don’t believe you’ll ever see Escalation in high volumes in a set.

    Inspire was mined pretty deeply the first time around, so I’d be surprised if we see it back too soon. (Most Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire keywords were used already.) I also think it’s a mechanic that needs a certain density so you feel like you’re living the Inspire dream of curving several Inspire troops in a row.

    Empower is a surprisingly difficult mechanic to find a bunch of interesting numbers, but I’d be happy to bring it back at some point in the future, probably at smaller amounts though.

    Prophecy will certainly be back. It’s one of my personal favorite abilities from HEX and does randomness in a very fun way. One thing to note is that the next time we see Prophecy it may show up under a different guise. The idea of keying off of the next X in your deck has a lot of play and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more than one mechanic living inside of the Prophecy shell.

    TLDR: Yep, we’ll certainly see keywords return once we’ve spread our wings for a bit longer. Each mechanic dictates how much of the set needs to be dedicated to the mechanic. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: What card from any set is your favorite and least favorite?

    A: Favorite was Lady Shimmer for sure. I love unbounded effects, and getting 6 or 7 of her to march out is epic. I think my least favorite was Zared Venomscorn, of all things. I like limited a lot, and I felt like he made a lot of builds impossible when mixed with that cardpool (there were a lot of interesting X/1's in Shards and Destiny.). –Chris Woods

    Q: Do you have a set contact for community events? For example if you wanted to ask for prize support, a shoutout on the hex website, or twitter etc

    A: All requests should be sent to your friendly, neighborhood Dinotropia. Feel free to contact me either through a direct message on our forums or at dinotropia@hextcg.com –Nathan Revere
  • Part 2:

    Q: With regards to PvE, are you guys planning to either add content to AZ1 or adjust the difficulties of various things to smooth out the difficulty curve when (or around when) AZ2 comes out?

    A: Potentially yes to the first part. Adding content to old AZs has been something that we have discussed many times. The issue is that it is difficult to find places where it is correct to add content to a previous AZ vs having it exist in a new adventure zone. But we do have some ideas on how to tackle this. And yes, we are definitely making modifications to adjust difficulty in previous AZs. You might just hear more about this later... –Dan Clark

    Q: Are there any AAs that outnumber their originals? And if not, is Lixil on a trajectory to get there?

    A: There are no AAs that currently outnumber their original art versions. Lixil is no exception to this. In fact, for every alternate art Lixil there are more than 7 original art Lixils! This being said, we don’t want alternate arts to match the number of arts an original has. We want alternate arts to be special, something someone strives to earn or find, not something that becomes the most common version. –Corey Burkhart

    Q: Why do gems rotate out in PvE? (I'd be thrilled if the answer to this is something like, "They'll only be illegal until you collect them somehow in the campaign.")

    A: This was one of the most debated topics within HEX R&D over the past year, and we started with two camps that felt very strongly about their positions. In order for you to get the whole picture, I’m going to also be answering why gems do not rotate in Immortal as well.

    On one side of the argument, we had the people who felt that when gems rotate in Standard they should rotate everywhere and essentially be completely removed from HEX. This means not only would you not see them in Standard and PvE, but when Immortal launches they would not be available there either. On the other side, you had people who said that when gems rotate they should rotate only in Standard but stay forever in both Immortal and PvE.

    The crux of this argument came down to what the fundamental role of gems is.

    Gems allow players to build the cards that they need for specific decks. With cards like Azurefate Sorceress, we got to see it played in both decks that used the Major Ruby of Destruction and the Major Sapphire of Subterfuge to allow players to either deal damage or bury their opponent’s entire deck. No other card game allows for cards to have that kind of versatility. However, with such new territory, it is very difficult to judge what the power level of these kinds of cards would be. Especially considering that our first gems were created long before Azurefate Sorceress, Rune Ear Hierophant or Dark Heart of Nulzann were ever created.

    The argument for making them available everywhere is that it allows players to have the maximum number of options during deckbuilding. It also means that for a player who specifically went out to buy Azurefate Sorceress to socket it with the Major Ruby of Destruction (aka, the damage gem), they get to keep playing with that version of Azurefate Sorceress in Immortal and in PvE for forever, much like they would a card that rotates out of Standard.

    The other side of the argument is that, while having a wider variety of gems in theory gives you more options for which socket to put into your troop, it doesn’t work out that way in practice. The way it actually works is that if one or two gems are at a power level above the rest of the gems, you end up with much LESS diversity in gems being used. That’s the situation we were in with both the Ruby of Destruction and the Minor Wild Orb of Conservation (Spellshield). Both of these gems were at a higher power level because they dissuaded players from interacting with one another. From the short time we’ve had the Herofall gems, I’ve seen a far wider variety of different gems seeing use. That makes for far more interesting gameplay.

    Furthermore, some socketed cards are simply far more powerful with one particular gem than any other gem. If we never rotated gems from a format, players lose the experience of looking at a card like Xentoth’s Inquisitor and having to ask themselves how good is this card without the ability to shrink an opposing troop every time I play this.

    In the end, we felt that players have gone out of their way to get cards that work with specific combinations of gems. By removing gems that were key parts to those cards, we were essentially editing cards, which is something we promised not to do for PvP.

    So, that leads us up to your actual question. Why are the gems rotating in PvE?

    Well, while we have a lot of highly skilled players who play our PvE, one of the primary goals of the campaign is to serve as a place for people to first sink their teeth into HEX. We have to manage complexity for them very carefully.

    Even from the starting point of having twenty gems, it’s pretty daunting for a new player to choose which gems to put into their first socketed card. In addition, as we continue to release more sets and the gems that go with them, having access to all of the gems immediately for new players is just too overwhelming. Maybe it doesn’t break the camel’s back with 40 gems, but at some point we will have 100 or 200 gems to wade through, and that’s just unacceptable to saddle new players with. This is especially true if we continue to produce gems that reference specific mechanics like Valor or Dreadlings.

    There are some who would argue that players already have to do that with the volume of cards at their disposal, but those cards are usually earned gradually as you play campaign or open booster packs, so you’re discovering those cards one at a time. Some could also argue that we could hide the majority of gems behind filters. However, this just gates new players from accessing the “best gem” combinations for many cards.

    This reason combined with the other issues detailed earlier lead to the compromise where we would rotate gems in PvE but have Immortal have access to all of the original gems. We expect the complexity of Immortal to be higher, but that’s a complexity you accept by participating in the format. There may also come a day where we deem one or more gems to be too powerful to continue existing in a format, and I personally feel much more comfortable banning cards in Immortal than I do in taking specific things away from players in PvE.

    So are we planning any ways to earn them through PvE?

    Not currently. It is an idea that was floated when we decided to rotate gems in PvE, however currently gems don’t exist as items you own (since everyone has access to them). Introducing this functionality would take time away from other features we want to implement.

    Could it be implemented at some point? Sure, but we’ve got some other ideas for gems as well.

    TLDR: Too many gems create complexity for new players in PvE and makes new sockets less interesting. “Unlocking” gems is not currently planned, but not out the question. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: How do you plan to handle future Exalted community members? Will it be a yearly thing, or will it be awarded when an individual has earned the title. If possible could we get some insight into how the nomination process works?

    A: The current plan is to announce a new Exalted once a year during Gencon. There is no nomination process per se, but we are pretty tapped into the community - we play the game, watch streams, and use all the fantastic community tools made by our passionate players. Exalted candidates arise as part of an internal discussion we have and is based on people we think have gone above and beyond to help make HEX a great place to be. -Nathan Revere
  • Part 3:

    Q: Can we please get more character slots sooner rather than later?

    A: Yes, but only since you asked. –Dan Clark

    Q: While Hex seems to have a nice overall art style there are also sub-styles that can often be found in different races, particularly in AA. Coyotle cards can often be more abstract while shin’hare can occasionally be more cartoonish. Was this a conscious decision or just did it just happen. If it was a conscious decision what would you say are the art themes of all the races and do the themes extend beyond the main 8 races into say goblins or minotaurs?

    A: The sub styles in HEX art style emerge from the variety of artists we like to work with. The pairing of a certain style with a particular race is merely a result of giving artists things they enjoy painting. When rebooking artwork, we consider the fan response and the availability of our artists. I really enjoy our ability to showcase different art styles in the game. We are conscious though of how this might affect a player’s immersion and tend to have a bit more uniformity in style for champions, ambient, and key artwork. –Tyler James

    Q: Any hints why the deck builder lists “Factioned” as a property in the Validation Summary tab, when you select 20 troops of the same faction?

    A: This was added by Chris Woods for special tournaments that would require 20 of the same faction troop to be in a deck at a minimum for the deck to be valid. We might use this more in the future, but if you’re not entering a special tournament using these rules you have nothing to sweat about this one! –Corey Burkhart

    Q: I know fiveshards sponsors several tournament series. If others were interested in that sort of thing would it be possible and how would we arrange it?

    A: If you want to set up and run tournaments please reach out to me at dinotropia@hextcg.com -Nathan Revere

    Q: Could a bribe of baked goods get us Twilight Revenant sleeves at some point?

    A: Bribes do no good - The Mushwocky is always hungry. We would never even see them -Nathan Revere

    Q: Let's talk Wormoids - You explored some interesting design space here and were able to give players a unique dTCG experience. In that respect, it seems very successful. However, from what I've seen around the web, the general consensus is that these encounters are quite unpopular. Do you feel like the encounter lived up to your expectations? Do you feel like it was a good fit for AZ1, or do you regret not saving it for a more developed part of the campaign? Put another way: What lessons have you learned from the Wormoid encounter and its reception? Will we be seeing more Wormoids in the future? I imagine an entire dungeon sprawling from the breach crater of the Wormoid Queen, filled with the creepy bastards. And while it makes my brain hurt just thinking about dealing with it, I confess I'd be kinda stoked. Also, will we ever see more collectible Wormoid cards? The Wormoid Hydra is awesome, and I'd love to build a proper Shai-Hulud deck at some point

    A: In terms of design, the wormoid encounter did fulfill our expectations. It offers an experience that was unique, but we misjudged the overall enjoyment the encounters offered. If we could go back, those encounters probably would have been redesigned. We still like the general idea, but it would have been a much better fit for a future adventure zone where class talents would help you along with your deck being underpowered due to the gnomes. There is a big upside to seeing community response to it, though. We feel like we recognize the benefits and drawbacks of these encounters and plan to have other instances that will feel reminiscent of the wurmoid encounters but with tweaks to help remove feelings of frustration while trying to play through them. Also, yes, wurmoids will be seen again at some point. Yes, you will be able to own more. –Dan Clark

    Q: How do you guys keep morale up during stressful times (I.E. launches for AZ’s/Sets/new content)?

    A: Honestly, those are some of the most upbeat times right around a release. We’re all so excited to see the content come out. It’s the weeks leading up until the release, right before R&D cannot change anything anymore, that we stress out. For me personally, I handle it by just trying to power through and get everything done. As far as the team goes in general, we’re all pretty laid back about things. We’ll stress out in the moment, but we’re all laughing about silly things so much that deadlines don’t drive anyone on the team truly crazy. –Corey Burkhart

    Q: As more and more AZs get released, can we expect the average power levels to rise along with this?

    A: Yes, the campaign’s difficulty will increase to match with the raising power level of each class. –Dan Clark

    Q: Most of the races have an established mechanic, lore, and feel in the game. What is the plan / direction for the Necrotics?

    A: The necrotic are certainly important to the grand scheme of things in Entrath, and as you’ve said there’s a lot in the lore that we can do with them.
    Our first four sets of HEX had a very specific task of showing off each of our first eight races of HEX, along with giving glimpses into the world that surrounds those races. For the necrotic we spent their time in the limelight focusing on the fact that the necrotic are a hivemind and expressed this with the ability Shift. Their ability to share knowledge between the different members of the necrotic display this part of their identity. We also have seen the necrotic are attuned with all of the five shards of HEX with Lixil, Uzzu and the “Midnight” cards like Midnight Shepherd and Midnight Paladin. We’ve seen the Midnight Express deck be very successful at showing off the necrotic in constructed through these means. While interacting with the crypt is certainly part of their racial identity, they have to share this space with a few of the other races of Entrath.


    In many ways, I like to think of the first sets of HEX as setting up all of the players in our world. So, Herofall marks the first of the sets where a set’s mechanics aren’t bound by defining these racial identities. Instead, we get the chance to focus on making stories with the different races that we’ve introduced. These stories will focus on different races in varying amounts, since it is difficult to keep all eight races at the forefront every set. Herofall in particular is looking at the Ardent and Underworld as wholes as opposed to particular races, although humans and orcs are playing a larger role for the Ardent while the shin’Hare and the vennen are playing a larger role for the Underworld.

    For me personally, the necrotic are one of the more interesting races to me. However, it is difficult to show off what makes them interesting to new players as the casual observer will simply assume they are undead. This means that, while they do interact with the crypt, I try not to be too heavy handed with that because it often helps reinforce this idea that they are just HEX’s zombies. This is further exacerbated by a bunch of goblins sticking gems into corpses improperly, but I digress.

    I don’t want to pull the curtain back too much and expose what we have coming up for next year, but you will certainly see some new faces for the necrotic, both in terms of characters and mechanics.

    TLDR: We have plans for necrotic, but sometimes we have to pull back on certain races for storytelling purposes. Also, the necrotic are far more than an undead race. –Ryan Sutherland
  • Part 4:

    Q: What are your feelings on the current status of the gold economy, specifically faucets vs sinks?

    A: This is something I want to address more in the coming months. There’s a massive amount of gold in the economy and not enough attractive ways for players to spend it. We have the ability to buy startdust to make your cards extended art, chests you can spin on the wheels of fate for awesome prizes, and the auction house, but the options still feel limited relative to what you can do with platinum. This often results in hoarding behavior in players, and many have fairly large stockpiles of gold. This issue is intensified as we add new gold faucets with the release of new game systems.

    We have a few plans in the works to add more sinks to give players outlets to spend the gold they’ve been stockpiling, but I know I want to go further than this still. I would say this is something we can drastically improve upon by giving players a few more meaningful ways to spend their gold. AZ2 will have some of these, and hopefully there will be more in the months surrounding the adventure zone’s release. –Corey Burkhart

    Q: I know you've also worked for some pretty high-profile games in the past. How does the experience measure up? Is working for HXE everything you hoped it would be? @HEXahedron

    A: HEX certainly stands out as the smallest company I’ve ever worked for. The last game studio I worked for had two QA departments, each of which had a larger staff than all of HEX Entertainment’s departments combined. But, I really love working with small teams. Everyone has a wider variety of duties and tasks which keeps things interesting, and people tend to be a lot more invested in their work. Plus, it’s great to be able to know the name of everyone you work with (not just because it makes communication between departments a lot easier.) It’s a project that I love, and I can really see the affect my work is having on the game. Working at HEX Entertainment is, in many ways, my dream job. –Nick Scamman

    Q: How is California treating you?

    A: The super-consistent weather here is both very convenient and a little unnerving. The food choices are fantastic (except I can’t get a good NY-style pizza anywhere). The traffic is horrible. There’s a lot of good locations to play Pokémon Go. –Nick Scamman

    Q: How do you like the Con scene as a HXE representative rather than a pure spectator?

    A: I had the pleasure of helping represent Hex at both SDCC and GenCon this year. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the community, and a rare chance to try to give newcomers the best possible introduction to the game. I intend to continue volunteering to help at conventions whenever the opportunity arises. –Nick Scamman

    Q: As a QA tester, do you ever play HEX for fun or has the day-job aspect of it cooled the recreational ardor? What other games do you enjoy?

    A: I play HEX recreationally up to 8 or 10 hours a week in addition to the normal work week. I really enjoy the game, and it helps to have a good idea of which bugs are affecting our live build. I spend most of my time playing in limited format tournaments and leveling characters in campaign. I’ve been playing a lot of Overwatch lately, and am particularly looking forward to Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and Pokémon Sun & Moon, which are both releasing soon. I also play lots of board games (which makes working next door to Cryptozoic Entertainment particularly nice) and almost always have a D&D or Pathfinder game that I’m involved in. –Nick Scamman

    Q: As you and Magician are our liaisons for all things "official rules" and "working as intended," can you offer any insights as to the state of a comprehensive rules document and whether there are plans to make such a resource available to the public?

    A: Magician (a.k.a. Corey Burkhart) is the rules authority for HEX. I simply keep up to date on the rules and communicate rulings that Corey makes. If we ever make a comprehensive rules document intended to be released to the public, it will almost certainly be Corey’s project. Although, if he asked for my help looking it over, I’d gladly do so. –Nick Scamman

    Q: Are there any plans to update the Unity version HEX is using in the near future? There are some important bugfixes and performance improvements in the newer versions that would be great to have.

    A: Sure, we'll update it to 5.4.1f with AZ2. –Chris Woods

    Q: What is shard identity in Hex? A lot of the color identity and strengths we’re used to come from previous games in the TCG genre or from general characteristics of these colors in real life. Are there any new choices you’ve made regarding what each shards capabilities & strength that’s differed from the traditional take or even from the early vision you’ve had in early sets?

    A: I think our views on shard identity is still evolving set by set. During Armies of Myth we first toyed around with Diamond being the shard of unification, which was shown by Diamond being the primary home of Shardcall type effects. Lixil, the Deathless Gem was the true originator of this, but it came into its own with Armies and Primal Dawn.

    While we try to stick to the confines of shard identity that we outlined in the first few sets, we are still allowing ourselves to explore new shard identity. One such card from Herofall was Reginald’s Riposte. While traditionally, we’ve kept Sapphire the king of interrupting, the mechanic of interrupting is a pretty vast play space one to be confined to one shard. While designing Herofall, I explored what it would be like to have a truly ruby interrupt and created Riposte, a card that caused many arguments amongst R&D.

    Our previous version of that card that was available during the PTR did not play within the confines of what it is to be Ruby. Riposte is meant to allow you to strike back at an opponent at a specific time, but still keep the “Use it or lose it” type of gameplay as cards like Impulse. However, for the older version of Riposte, “losing it” was just as good if not better than using it for cards like Extinction. In the end, the final card that ended up in packs is much closer to where I’d like to see Ruby interrupts land. It’s uncharted territory, but we are willing to take small risks and explore space like this if it is well received.


    TLDR: While we have defined the space of our shard identity with the first sets of HEX, we are still slowly exploring where else we can go. –Ryan Sutherland
  • Part 5:

    Q: Was the card Halt, its art & its equipment, the work of a single genius or a collaboration of great minds?

    A: A collaboration of a bunch of great minds. When I was putting together equipment, I knew it needed to pay tribute to the art that Cory, Ryan, Tyler, and Kirchhoof cooked up. I assume you have an extended art? –Dan Clark

    Q: What is the most challenging thing in your day-to-day business at the moment?

    A: For me personally, the most challenging thing is having enough time to focus on all the different things involved in making HEX. As of writing this, I feel somewhat connected to the larger story of AZ2 - the characters, the flow, the feelings being evoked. I’m trying to focus on improvements for the economy, templating, rules, etc. Just the number of things that I’m involved in here… there’s so many things that are really exciting that I want to be more involved in and give feedback on, but I don’t always have the time. For me personally, it’s a challenge trying to budget my time working on things I need to get done versus the things I want to help the team out with more. –Corey Burkhart

    Q: How do you feel about champions and where do you feel they could be improved? I read in the making of the Wells (I think it was there) that you guys value the champion ability a lot and so you value the charge power that comes from shards. I originally thought that champions would have multiple abilities (pay 1 = do this, pay 3, do that, pay 5 do this). Are you satisfied with how they work and would you do something to make them more important in games (Ex: a card could change the champion’s ability mid-way or add new ones)?

    A: Champions have a fine line to walk. On one hand, we don’t want them to single handedly win the game. On the other, they need to be impactful enough to help support decks that need the support. I think our current champions are doing a great job of this while also being very simple to read and understand for new players.

    Champions like [champ]Winter Moon[/champ], [champ]Yotul Mogak[/champ] and [champ]Morgan McBombus[/champ] are great because the help give certain strategies huge boons without completely winning games on their own. A player who understands the basic rules to HEX can look at these champions and understand them. Now, they may not know the intricacies well enough to know how a card like Combat Training will work with McBombus or when is the right turn to activate Yotul, but they understand the basics of what the champion is doing. A champion with three different charge powers could lead to too many decision points for one game, not to mention having to factor in your opponent’s slew of charge powers. We do allow Mages to play around in this space in campaign, but that’s the draw of the class and it doesn’t impact another player. Some of our mercenaries will also live in this kind of design space as well.

    That said, every time we make a new set we ask ourselves what is the next thing we want to try with champions. One of the great things about making so many champions in a set is that we can reserve one cycle of champions for some experimental designs. For Herofall, we tried out the champions that make Banners, which essentially allow you to have an ability for the rest of the game instead of a one-time power. This isn’t radical, but champions don’t exist in a place where they should be radically changing games. I think we will continue to experiment as more and more sets come out with what it is that champions can do.

    TLDR: I’m very happy with how champions impact games currently. They are impactful without being complicated or gamebreaking. We’ll continue to play around with new champion design space. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: If you could have gone back and changed something at the start or done something differently what would it be? Maybe something you've already fixed / changed or something that has been a thorn in your side or just something that could've been improved / executed better?

    A: This is a really tough question to answer. I know the things I know now specifically because of the mistakes I've made, and a lot of the things I would have done differently would probably have just led to other, different mistakes. I remember hearing a pretty good response to this question by a Sony film producer: "If I had axed every movie I approved, and approved every movie I axed, everything would have turned out exactly the same." (That's not the exact quote; I wish I could remember the exact quote because it's marvelous.)

    I guess the biggest thing that has never really been apparent to the user side would have been the thin client. About a year and a half ago we redid the entire client to have no idea how the game worked and require the server to tell it everything. Prior to that, the client was trying to run the game rules with the theory that it would come to the same conclusion the server did.

    We have probably lost months of time over the period prior to that chasing "bugs" that only existed because the client disagreed with the server as to the games current state, and it made figuring out strange card interactions significantly more difficult.

    I guess I would have been a whole lot louder as to how important it was to solve that Right Now. The rewrite was massive, scary, and showed no obvious benefit other than having to convince people to "trust me, it's super important", but the results of having done it has led directly to making it very easy to accomplish things that seemed impossible before. –Chris Woods

    Q: What card from any set is your favorite and least favorite?

    My least favorite card was Duplicitous Duke. I think we tried to pull the trigger on copies before we were confident with them, and it made Duplicitous Duke much less exciting than I wanted it to be. In combination with that, there are a number of ways we could have made the experience of the duke much better, but between changing the functionality so often with copies and difficulties of getting the Shifting hive mind of the Necrotic to work they fell between the cracks.

    My favorite card is Eternal Drifter. I think we could have executed the card slightly better in terms of presentation, but what the card does is exceptionally fun. Champion Charge powers is one of the most unique things about HEX, and allowing you to earn the ability to use a new one is exceptionally fun. I love the adapting on the fly nature of the random power you gain as well. It’s an exceptionally valuable skill to have in HEX, as you never know what cards your opponent’s are going to have or what power Eternal Drifter will get! –Corey Burkhart

    Q: You finally made it on a 4 month schedule to release a new set. How hard was it? What was the worst problem that you had to overcome to respect that deadline, and will it be a problem on future sets or have you pretty much nailed it?

    A: As lead designer of Primal Dawn and Herofall, I can say it was stressful but well worth it. I wouldn’t say there was any one particular problem with the development between these two. Staying nimble as a designer was important, and being able to adapt quickly to feedback was key.

    While it’s not one particular thing, the most difficult challenge with the amount of time to make a set is that, in order to give our engineers the most complete package that we can, we do many iterations of a set in physical form first. This means that when we want to have a test draft, it takes several hours just to cut and sleeve all the proxied cards. As our engineering team has become more adept at speeding up the process of making cards actually work in the engine, we are beginning to look at the possibility of frontloading the engineering process, which would further improve our R&D process.


    TLDR: Kind of tough, but I’m not complaining and we’re still improving. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: We all know that Cory Jones drafts a lot. On average, how many drafts does Cory Jones play in a week. How about a day? What is the most amount of drafts Cory has played in a 24 hour period. What set was he drafting?

    A: Cory is very passionate about the game and loves to draft. I don't know that we have exact numbers for you because Cory drafts in between his tireless efforts to make HEX great. He is a very busy guy Let's go with "As often as he can." -Nathan Revere
  • Part 6:

    Q: What is the atmosphere in the office like on a day to day basis? Is communication pretty open (rowdy, creative thought, ideas are blurted out to the group and you toss them around) or structured (focus driven, maximum efficiency, lot less free discussion)?

    A: R&D is without much doubt the loudest department in the building. We will often yell ideas and jokes at each other, and often it’s hard to decipher which is which. We work in an open office so conversation is very open. If I need to concentrate, it’ll involve headphones and Spotify. That said, all someone has to do is wave at me to get my attention for my opinion on something.

    Everyone in our department has domain over their portion of the game, so the structure of the day is going to be pretty freeform for most of us depending on what we need to get done. When we have an actual topic to discuss we will schedule a meeting, although lately many of those have been outside as opposed to in a meeting room. If you need to talk to someone in another department, we have chat programs for that or you just walk over to them and discuss it face to face.


    TLDR: Rowdy, but everyone has their job and gets it done. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: What are your plans for improving the collection manager? Letting us quickly switch between PVP and Arena cards is nice, but decks don't get saved in that category so my Decklist is still pages long. How about visually grouping decks in folders by pvp/pve validity and shards included (standard resources or cards played, preferably the first)?

    It is not normally our policy to talk about future features, but I will say that we are aware of our UI needs. The collection UI is one of the most complex screens of any TCG because of all the masters it needs to serve. It needs to be easy for new players but also smart enough to help a veteran player find the perfect card for their deck. It needs to communicate legality, format restrictions, and handle searching through large collections smoothly. Not to mention, in HEX specifically we have equipment and campaign considerations which extra screens and thousands of additional items to display cleanly. This is an area we have a close eye on, and are always looking to improve. -Nathan Revere

    Q: Being as specific as you'd like, what is the reprint policy for HEX. To give specific questions which would be helpful to know, do you favor functional reprints over actual reprints? Would you prefer to print a new 4 cost board wipe in Blood instead of just reprinting Extinction for example and why?

    A: We will make reprints as necessary, but until we have a larger backlog of cards, I don’t think we’ll see a ton of those kinds of cards. I prefer actual reprints to functional reprints, but I like cards that play with current mechanics more than I like actual reprints. That’s not a blanket statement though. I personally like to have “Clean” versions of basic cards, like Nature Reigns and Reversion available in a format. Of course, often sets will have new mechanics that need to meet a certain threshold so we will print a card like Rust and Ruin instead.

    When it comes to sweepers, I think that’s a little different. I certainly would rather print a new 4 cost board wipe that wipes in a slightly different manner or a 5 cost board wipe with a clear upside. Having sweepers that are contextual make for a more interesting experience than having nothing but Extinction. Having cards like Heat Wave, Mass Polymorph Dingler, Lazgar’s Vengeance, Horrors of War and Clash of Steel seeing play in a format is more interesting because it makes for matchups that are more dynamic than if we had a bunch of Extinctions. Is this me condemning Extinction and saying it will never be back? No, of course not, but I like the look of formats with diverse, yet still effective, mass removal effects as opposed to one sweeper that is clearly better than others. That said, when we decide Extinction should come back, I’d be surprised if we didn’t use Extinction itself as opposed to some other name. It’s much nicer to see an old friend return rather than some kind of impostor.

    TLDR: We’ll lean toward actual reprints unless they don’t make sense for some kind of story reason. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: What is it like working with a developer & publisher that are in two very different time zones?

    A: It can be a challenge working across the ocean, but we have regular conference calls to make sure we are all working in sync. It is certainly sometimes a challenge, but the upside is that we have access to a passionate team who works to make HEX awesome every day. -Nathan Revere

    Q: Why are there only 5 shards? Are there plans to have more of them?

    A: Great question. I wasn’t here when the game was originally conceived, but from what I remember from conversations about the original game being created, all of the different mechanics were hard pressed to support six different shards without a good amount of bleed. Also, even though we are named HEX, there’s certainly a beauty to the number 5. Not to get into weird Numerology or anything, but I also think there are certain numbers that have a certain mystique like 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12.

    At this point, it would be even more difficult to create definition for a sixth shard because we’ve kind of set in stone what each of the shards do and tried pretty hard to not leave any unexplored space. I don’t think it would be very likely for us to add it.

    TLDR: Too difficult to create back then, too difficult to add now. Somewhere in the middle I spouted some nonsense about weird number religion. –Ryan Sutherland
  • Part 7:

    Q: Why are races bound to specific shards? Why no Sapphire orcs, Wild humans, Diamond elves or Ruby coyotles?

    A: A lot of the reasoning for this is for thematics. Sapphire has certain characteristics that crcs do not have. Sapphire is the most cerebral of the shards, whereas the crcs are far more savage. Wild is a very nature loving shard, while the humans we have seen so far are generally all about building giant castles and sticking to rules, etc. Now these rules are not hard and fast across each of these races, but it’s important that you create the rule before you make the exceptions. Lazgar Chul, was the first of these kinds of exceptions, but it’s those exceptions that prove the rule. When you see a Ruby coyotle or Diamond shin’hare, it will be an important moment for story.

    TLDR: Each race’s shards are thematically tied to those races, but there are always individuals that are outliers amongst their own race, such as Lazgar Chul. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: Why are there no other cards like The Triumvirate, where you combine cards to something new?

    A: For some mechanics, I think it’s important to let something unique keep its uniqueness for a while. Much of what Shards of Fate did was show all of the different things we can and someday will do. There’s also some downside that by spending two cards to make one card you are opening yourself to get 2 for 1’d by your opponent which makes cards like these less appealing to a large number of players. I think you’ll see cards like these in the future, but only after we’ve found the right thematic for them.

    TLDR: You’ll see them when the time is right. –Ryan Sutherland

    Q: What are the thoughts on a PvP format where card equipment and/or PvE cards can be used against one another?

    A: This was something I envisioned when I started interning for HEX over 4 years ago now. I think it sounds exceptionally awesome, and I’d want to give it a special weekend or two to let it play out sometime. As far as a long-term healthy format, I think it would be lacking. Equipments are designed somewhat in a vacuum trying to give a new taste or twist to many of the cards you already enjoy in HEX. They’re not designed in the sense where we’re building tons of decks with these and battling them against other equipped decks.

    I fear this format would be widely imbalanced and we’d have to re-design, nerf, and buff equipment for the health of this format if it was something that existed forever. Even though PvE cards and Equipment are content we could change, it’s seldom a decision we make lightly. We’re always concerned about the monetary decisions that people have made with their possessions, but we still want to do what’s best for the game.

    In short, I expect we’ll do this at some point in time, but I don’t think it’s something that would exist forever unless it’s a huge hit and we’re willing to change the format aggressively with nerfing and buffing cards, equipment, mercenaries, and classes. –Corey Burkhart