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Zadina

Peter Whalen and Mike Donais on K&C Card Design

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The two Hearthstone developers talked to IGN about the design process behind some of the most impactful cards from Kobolds & Catacombs.

First of all, Peter Whalen and Mike Donais confirmed that there will be an update on February, a month after the World Championship. This patch will contain new events and possibly balance changes. They will take a look at the meta as it's been and as it is in the World Championship and they will decide accordingly.

Moving on, they talked about some of the classes and how K&C cards have affected them. Starting with Warlock, Cubelock was a deck that was tested internally and it was an archetype the team was "certainly concerned about and [they] played a bunch of games with it". Carnivorous Cube was also tested internally in Recruit Hunter and in Quest Druid. As far as Possessed Lackey is concerned, there was a second version of it that read "Battlecry: If you control a Demon, Recruit a Demon", while Dark Pact was 0 mana at some point. Lastly, Rin, the First Disciple's seals used to have different effects and Azari, the Devourer was a 15/15 untargetable minion.

The two devs talked next about the other dominating class of the current meta: Priest. Mike Donais pointed out that Highlander Priest was already doing well, so it was only given one new card: Psychic Scream. On the other hand. Big Priest has a pretty medium win rate, even though it can feel frustrating to play against. It's also a deck that will lose several cards in the upcoming rotation. At this point, the devs repeated that they are looking forward to develop and see in action new playstyles in the post-Barnes era. Finally, during the design process Twilight's Call could summon any minion, not just Deathrattles, but this was deemed too powerful.

The next class to be discussed was Rogue. The team is happy with how balanced the Kingsbane Rogue deck turned out to be. Some internal iterations of the Rogue legendary weapon were dual-wielded daggers or a weapon that had the Battlecry: Discover a card, everything you draw is a copy of that. Mike also talked about Valeera the Hollow: he expected her to be more powerful than she already is, but maybe players will find a way to use her more in the future.

There were a few words about Hearthstone's currently weakest class: Shaman. The devs think that the Shaman Spellstone is a powerful "sleeper" card, although maybe there's presently not a proper deck for it. They were also slightly worried about Unstable Evolution. Another "sleeper" card for them is Warrior's Drywhisker Armorer.

An important point is that when asked about Corridor Creeper, Peter said that it's "one of the cards that raised a red flag". Lastly, they talked about King Togwaggle and the numerous iterations he had - all around swapping decks with your opponent. The penalty on the spell card isn't high enough on purpose, because they didn't want Togwaggle to be a super competitive card.

I've tried to summarise the most important points, but you should definitely check out the entire interview on IGN. There's much more detail behind the design process of Kobolds & Catacombs, while there is also temp artwortk of cards as well as two cards that never made it into the game!

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58 minutes ago, Zadina said:

There were a few words about Hearthstone's currently weakest class: Shaman. The devs think that the Shaman Spellstone is a powerful "sleeper" card

Blizzard and their "We think that...". "Haha, Shaman!" is the new "Haha, Priest!". Except this is 2 seasons now.

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I'm not sure what they are thinking.

First they cheer on themselves about the creation of cards/sets, then they release bad/shitty/op cards, followed by being ppl pissed off then they discuss it and try to look competent then they nerf cards and ppl are pissed off again :D

Voidlord is one of the K&C cards I hate the most, I was hoping for a cool demon for Warlock but this card is so bad.

Ofc it's a strong card and it's not over powered but makes the game so boring.

Psychic Scream is a pain in the ass, too. Priests ability to remove and deny everything was already annoying enough, why make it even worse?

I'm pretty sure Corridor Creeper will see a nerf and it definitely deserves that. It's a neutral powerful auto include in nearly every deck. Maybe they learned something from their past mistake with patches, but who knows :D

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I agree on the rogue part. i got kingsbane and valeera and i have so much fun with mill rogue and miracle rogue. it's challenging (mill more than miracle imo) and you really have to think and play well to win and then the payoff is great. truly this should be how every archetype should be like. in a competitive game like hearthstone there shouldn't be an easy tier 1 deck, not even tier 2, because it promotes boring, unengaging encounters.

I don't understand, why they gave highlander priest a new card at all, it wasn't necessary, rather the opposite would've been. Darkness is a viable counter, but a 4-mana minion that is dead on board for a long time punishes you more than the opponent.

Also I think they need to think about how to push warrior and shaman back into the meta with some new and diverse archetypes. Since Pirate Warrior won't be a thing after patches rotates out, I wonder whats left... big warrior certainly didn't stick.

Overall I was expecting something like this. games like hearthstone are hard to balance perfectly (rather, impossible), so I don't think it's reasonable to complain, rather critisize. Especially because finally the strongest decks are not pirates, but control, which is usually way more exciting.

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53 minutes ago, Solanaar said:

... because it promotes boring, unengaging encounters.

That's what I think about Mill Rogue and I always concede for these reasons.

Otherwise I mostly agree with you but there is definitely room for complains because since it's already hard to balance the game they should have used their brains and think ahead but they didn't so we got jade, patches as well as Raza and Anduin being within the same rotation.

Either they are not testing their cards or they are just damn stupid. Not sure which one is worse.

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On 19/01/2018 at 6:47 PM, Caldyrvan said:

That's what I think about Mill Rogue and I always concede for these reasons.

Not a fan of insta-concede but gotta admit I’ve done it against Mill Rogue a few times in wild. I tend to play control decks in wild (after I’ve got to rank 5 with pirate warrior to speed past the ridiculously greedy decks you tend to run into lower down the ranks) and often you’re in for a 30min game that is a near certain loss. Concede and play next match aggro is probably the best option sometimes, since you meet repeat opponents more often in wild.

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On 1/19/2018 at 12:51 AM, Caldyrvan said:

I'm not sure what they are thinking.

First they cheer on themselves about the creation of cards/sets, then they release bad/shitty/op cards, followed by being ppl pissed off then they discuss it and try to look competent then they nerf cards and ppl are pissed off again :D

Voidlord is one of the K&C cards I hate the most, I was hoping for a cool demon for Warlock but this card is so bad.

Ofc it's a strong card and it's not over powered but makes the game so boring.

Psychic Scream is a pain in the ass, too. Priests ability to remove and deny everything was already annoying enough, why make it even worse?

I'm pretty sure Corridor Creeper will see a nerf and it definitely deserves that. It's a neutral powerful auto include in nearly every deck. Maybe they learned something from their past mistake with patches, but who knows :D

Void Lord isn't that bad, it's. . . Turn 6 void Lord's, cubes full of void Lord's, nzoths full of them, and president bloodreaver guldan, and his policy of keeping the aggro decks out by building a wall and making them pay for it, even if they have been in the meta long enough to be naturalized citizens.

 

Psychic scream is problematic, in the same way the entire priest class is problematic.  Fundamentally, hearthstone is a proactive tempo driven game, and 8 out of the 9 classes, to some extent or the other, play a proactive strategy at their core, while priest plays reactively.  This means priests tend to feel very unfun to play against when they are strong, because they fundamentally want to play a different game from you.  This is also why they have such a weak core set, there strong cards tend to mesh poorly with neutrals, so their card pool is inherently smaller.

 

As for corridor creeper, I think it's power level is largely carried by patches and the ubiquitous pirate package.  Without that, I don't know if many decks would play it.  I mean some still would, aggro paladin jumps to mind, since call to arms is one hell of a drug.

On 1/18/2018 at 4:58 PM, Yridaa said:

Blizzard and their "We think that...". "Haha, Shaman!" is the new "Haha, Priest!". Except this is 2 seasons now.

Eh, I remember when the bottom tier was called shaman tier.  Shamans were really bad for a long time.  There time will come again.

Edited by VaraTreledees
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