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PC Gamer sat down with the Senior Game Designer and talked about The Witchwood and some general Hearthstone topics.
Starting with the recently announced The Witchwood, Dean "Iksar" Ayala confirmed that there are no more odd and even cards than the six that have already been revealed. The team is also going "pretty light" on Start of the Game effects, like the ones represented by Genn Greymane and Baku the Mooneater.
The Witchwood will have no Charge minions, given that the new "Rush" keyword is being added to the game with this expansion. However, the team hasn't ruled out Charge completely for the future, although they will have to be extra careful with balancing Charge cards. They are also planning on printing more one-off hero cards like Hagatha, the upcoming Shaman hero. Lastly, we have a little hint about one of the four classes in the Monster Hunt: it's going to have Hunter traps, but will also use cards from another class (probably the alternative Rogue hero, the Tracker).
Dean also talked about more general Hearthstone stuff. For example, Team 5 isn't considering card trading as an option at the moment. They also think that stat tracking isn't necessary for the majority of the player base; the game has minimal stat tracking at the moment and more of it will only burden the user interface with too much information. Finally, there was mention of the tournament mode: it's not going to have an Arena mode in the beginning, although Dean thinks it's an excellent idea. It will start with a ban feature and Iksar interestingly revealed that the team considered (not so seriously) the idea of adding bans to Ladder too.
You can read the entire interview on PC Gamer; other topics are also discussed, like Corridor Creeper, the cost of the game and more!
Two new Echo cards, as well as some of the history of The Witchwood, were revealed today in a video with game designer Peter Whalen.
Today's Hearthside Chat with game designer Peter Whalen revealed two new Echo cards as it discussed the design history of The Witchwood, which apparently started out as "Murder On The Gilnean Express". You can view the entire Hearthside Chat here, where Peter discusses some of the things that the design team tried out before settling on Echo:
Hearthside Chat Video
Warpath and Face Collector
Card Images courtesy of Hearthpwn.com
Warpath strikes me as a flexible tool for aggressive decks and an enabler for while damaged effects. Sleep with the Fishes will rotate from standard when Warpath becomes legal, but this card doesn't strike me as a direct replacement for it. Warpath doesn't do a great job of cleaning up midsize boards before they get out hand, and has a lot of overlap with Scourgelord Garrosh's Hero Power. However, it has much more utility with cards like Acolyte of Pain, and can be used on its own in the late game to handle most threats. It might not be as efficient as Defile, but I expect this one to see play.
Face Collector is the first truly dynamic Echo card we've seen, as its random Battlecry can put players in a position where they are forced to choose between playing additional copies of Face Collector or playing one of the random Legendary minions it just drew them. Rogue decks tend not to be slow or controlling in nature, which makes me a bit suspect as to how strong this card will actually be in practice. It doesn't buy you a lot of tempo when played on curve, but it has the ability to provide INSANE value if you can cast 3 times in a single turn. If there's a value-oriented Rogue deck to be had when the new set comes out, I expect Face Collector to be a part of it.
Murder on the Gilnean Express
As much as I love new card spoilers, my favorite part of today's video was when Peter Whalen discussed the design history of The Witchwood. He shared that the set was initially themed as a murder mystery titled "Murder on the Gilnean Express", and included a number of designs which played up this theme.
One ability they tried out was called "Investigate", where you built a minion's abilities up over a series of Discover effects. This design sounds fun and skill testing, but it may have proved to be a bit too time consuming in practice.
Another ability they tried out was called "Mystery", which is explained on card image above. I really like the design behind Mystery and hope to see it show up in a future set, even if only on a single card and not as a new keyword ability.
Ghostly cards were one of the precursors to Echo. They tried out several designs of Ghostly while the set was still murder mystery themed, and at one point Ghostly read as "discard this card at the end of your turn". As they moved away from the old theme and towards the new one, they eventually settled on Echo as the new keyword ability for a variety of reasons. It fit well with the set's new theme, and it provided players with interesting decisions to make throughout the game.
If you'd like to learn more about The Witchwood, check out our expansion hub right here!
We'll get to see 25 new cards in the first week of Witchwood spoilers.
The full Witchwood card reveal schedule was announced today, detailing the art, names, and times of the 55 cards which will be spoiled over the next two weeks.
The first week of Witchwood spoilers will brings us 25 cards. Some of the community members spoiling cards include Thijs, Eurogamer, Alliestraza, Ddahyoni, and Omnislash:
The Witchwood Week One Card Reveal Schedule
The second week of spoilers packs 30 cards, and includes spoilers from Kripp, Disguised Toast, IGN, Savjz, Trump, and Dog:
The Witchwood Week Two Card Reveal Schedule
Edit: I made a mistake in the initial post by improperly sourcing the names of the cards. For the full list of the 55 card names, please hop on over to Hearthpwn.com.
For two weeks, players will receive one card pack in addition to the normal reward for completing a Daily Quest.
There are no sweeter words than "free packs" to a Hearthstone fan, which makes today's announcement of the New Year of the Raven Party as sweet as it gets. Beginning on March 26th and ending on April 9th, each Daily Quest completed during the New Year of the Raven Party will reward one card pack in addition to the normal rewards. These packs can be from Journey to Un'Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, Kobolds & Catacombs, or even The Witchwood (but they won't open-able until the set releases). That adds up to 14 free packs for daily Hearthstone players, and two additional packs to players who is wise enough to bank up a couple of Daily Quests coming into event.
Blizzard held a similar event last year leading up to the release of Journey to Un'Goro, which rewarded dust, gold, packs, and even a golden Volcanosaur on the final day of the event. Even though there are already 14 reasons to be excited about the New Year of the Raven party, there could be even more free rewards in store for us as we approach the release of The Witchwood.
Ben Brode answers sixteen minutes of fan questions in his latest video, shedding light on a number of fun and interesting topics.
In collaboration with WIRED, Hearthstone's Game Director Ben Brode answered a number of questions from the Hearthstone community in a 16 minute video. The questions span a wide variety of topics, including game balance and new client features:
Videos with Ben Brode are regularly entertaining to watch, and this one was no exception. It's probably worth a watch (perhaps on 1.25 times speed?) for most big-time Hearthstone fans. However, if you don't have 16 minutes, here's a quick summary of some of the questions which were covered in the video:
Question: Have they considered ways to balance going second other than The Coin?
Answer: Several things were tried in place of The Coin during initial design, including giving a 1/1 minion to the player who goes second or making the first minion they play get a 1/1 bonus to its stats. The goal was to aim for a 55% win percentage for the player who goes first, which is equivalent to Chess. The Coin not only achieved that targeted win percentage, but it created some cool moments and interesting decision points along the way.
Question: What are the chances that cards will be added to the Classic set?
Answer: High! The Hall of Fame has made it so that Mage has fewer cards than the other classes in Standard. Though they'd have to be very careful about it, there's a good chance that Mage could receive some new Classic cards in the future.
Question: Why has the focus been on nerfing cards, a not buffing them?
Answer: The objective is not to make all cards be of the same power level. They want bad cards to exist just as much as they want good cards to exist. Having bad cards can be a benefit to the game, such as with Paladin Secrets. The fact that Paladin Secrets were generally quite bad allowed them to create a card like Mysterious Challenger.
Question: Will the upcoming tournament mode have a sideboard feature?
Answer: No, and not likely to happen for a while. Tournament mode will have Conquest and Last Hero Standing modes to start, but it will pick up additional features over time.
Question: What are the chances that Inspire gets a second look?
Answer: Not in the near future, but it could happen eventually.
Question: Will there be a way for players to get old card backs?
Answer: Eventually, yes! They obviously can't just give them out for free, because that would feel bad to the players who worked hard to get them. They also couldn't make them too hard to get. But if they could find a method which struck a good balance between the two, then this is likely to happen.
Question: Is Cubelock on their balance radar?
Answer: Yes! They think it's a skill-testing deck. It posts strong winrates for players who have practice with the deck, but less-than-stellar winrates for players who are just picking it up. They are aware that many players don't like losing to this deck, and they want to collect more data on that. With set rotation coming up they are unlikely to make any changes to Cubelock in the near future, but if the deck is a problem after The Witchwood comes out then they will address it.
Question: Have they thought about game modes with other deck sizes?
Answer: They have tried out modes with other deck sizes, including a mode where the decks were 60 cards in size and could have no more than one of each card in it. They don't plan to add any modes like this in the future, but something like this would make a good Tavern Brawl.
Question: Will there be more rewards for leveling up your Heroes in the future?
Answer: They would like to add more content to the Hero leveling system in the future.
Question: Why the unnerf to Molten Giant but not other cards?
Answer: Molten Giant is a card with a huge following. Many players love the card, and the Hall of Fame was created in part so that cards like Molten Giant can live on in Wild. They are likely to do what they did with Molten Giant to other cards in the future.