Mike Donais is a Blizzard employee who was formerly a Principal Game Designer on Team 5, working on card design and balance. He was introduced as a new member of the Hearthstone team in January 2014, just before the game's open beta. He was the Lead Game Designer for Hearthstone from 2018 to January 2020, at which point he left the team. He now works on an unannounced Blizzard project along with Peter Whalen, but he still occasionally provides advice and design ideas to the Hearthstone developers.
As a senior game designer on Blizzard Entertainment's Hearthstone team, Mike Donais is responsible for designing Hearthstone cards, balancing those cards, and designing Adventures.
Donais joined Blizzard Entertainment in 2013 after serving as senior designer on Marvel Heroes at Gazillion Entertainment. He was also design director for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game at Cryptozoic Entertainment. Mike was a senior game designer for 10 years who helped design Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, among other projects.
Mike is a competitive gamer who began his career in game design as a pro TCG player. In his spare time he enjoys card games and pro gaming. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
- As of September 2016 Donais states that he "probably [has] about 4,000 Arena wins" on his account. Based on comments from the same period his average run is believed to be close to 7 wins.
- As of September 2016 Donais is the Principal Game Designer, apparently promoted from his previous title of Senior Designer. This may be related to the promotion of previous Lead Game Designer Ben Brode to the more supervisory position of Lead Designer, in late 2015.
- Donais previously worked as a designer for Magic: The Gathering and the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, and is described as having "20 years of card-gaming" experience and "more than 10 years of card game design experience" prior to his joining the Hearthstone team.
- Mike Donais was the 1997 Magic World Team Champion and the 2010 D&D World Champion.
- Donais is responsible for "all the 'Fin' puns".
- About Donais
- "I'm pretty intimidated by Mike Donais and the decks he creates - I feel like he's always two steps ahead, like a puzzle wrapped in an enigma." - Zeriyah
- "Mike Donais is known to be the biggest troll of all time." - Ben Brode
- Patch 188.8.131.5266 (2015-06-15): Credits card added.
- Patch 184.108.40.20644 (2014-03-11): Added to the game's credits.
- Blizzard Hearthstone Developer AMA - Ben Brode, Yong Woo and Christina Sims!. (2014-12-15).
- Juicy Bits from Hafu and Mike Donais’ Co-Op, Pt 2. (2016-09-22).
- The Angry Chicken: "The One with Iksar". (2016-05-18).
- Imicek (2020-01-31). Mike Donais Departs Hearthstone Team?. HearthPwn. Retrieved on 2020-03-21.
- Peter Whalen on Twitter. (2020-01-31).
- Dean Ayala on reddit. (2020-01-31). Retrieved on 2020-03-21.
- Juicy Bits from Hafu and Mike Donais’ Co-Op. (2016-09-22).
- Hearthside Chat - Tips for Hearthstone by Mike Donais. (2014-06-12).
- Twitter profile. Retrieved on 2015-12-01. Lead Designer on Hearthstone at Blizzard Entertainment.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-12-01).
- Official blog: Hearthstone's Card Balance Philosophy (2014-01-06)
- Wikipedia - Magic: The Gathering World Championship. Retrieved on 2016-08-03.
- Boardgamegeek.com - Mike Donais. Retrieved on 2016-08-03.
- Banter with the Blues - February 13. (2015-02-13).
- http://www.twitch.tv/amovetv 2015-08-31
- Live Stream Q&A - Year of the Mammoth (2017-02-21)
- Hearthside Chat: Dusting Off Old Cards with Mike Donais (2016-02-18)
- Hearthside Chat - Tips for Hearthstone by Mike Donais (2014-06-12)
- Selected media
- IGN - BLIZZARD ON DESIGNING HEARTHSTONE’S OLD GODS (2016-06-19)