A new era has begun for Hearthstone, Dean Iksar Ayala takes over the Game Director position Ben Lee vacated three months ago.

Dean Ayala, commonly known as ‘Iksar’, has become Hearthstone’s new Game Director. Three months after the departure of the former Game Director, Ben Lee, the game is now under new leadership. Who is Iksar, and what has he done for Hearthstone?

Iksar, Hearthstone's new Game Director

With a fun promotion tweet, Iksar announced his new position in Hearthstone to the world. The news was well-received by the community and even Ben Brode, former Hearthstone Game Director congratulated Iksar on the promotion.

Memeing about the lineage of Bens that ruled Hearthstone for the last six years (Ben Brode 2016-2018 and Ben Lee 2018-2022), Iksar doubled the stakes saying that he would be the first of a long line of Deans that would erase any Ben reign memory. 

Who is Dean ‘Iksar’ Ayala?

First of all, we can say that Iksar is a Hearthstone player. He joined the team when Mike Donais contacted him after Iksar reached #1 Legend in December 2013. From that point onwards, Iksar has been part of different Game Designer teams until 2016, when he became the Lead Designer. His resume is impressive.

Iksar's tribute card - From hearthstone Credits
Iksar's tribute card - From hearthstone Credits

But that doesn’t stop there. Iksar is a public figure on Twitter, recognized for his open communication. His Twitter AMAs are a trademark by now. He has conducted 44 of them, giving insightful answers to Hearthstone design questions or addressing players' concerns.

Moreover, Dean ‘Iksar’ Ayala was one of the first persons in the Hearthstone team to speak when the ABK scandal came to light, addressing the Reddit community with a clear message of how this affected the team just before an expansion.

What to expect?

While the future is always uncertain, and we don’t have many spoilers to give, I think Iksar’s open and honest communication should be something we can focus on. 

There are many unsolved issues in the game, something that was addressed by the previous Game Director, mentioning that 2022 would be a year of improving what is done, rather than presenting new game modes. I don’t see a better fit for this task than Iksar, who has always listened to the community.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Hearthstone news and updates. See you next time in the tavern and long to the Dean dynasty!