BlizzCon 2016 Hearthstone: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Panel Transcript

The Kabal

Matt: Our next crime family is nothing like that though. They are the cloth casters of Gadgetzan, the outcast magic users that have gathered here in Gadgetzan to practice their illicit magic trade, and they all bend to the will of their leader who we showed you earlier: Kazakus.



Jomaro: Oh Kazakus, my man. I like the way his name sounds: “KAZAKUS!” It sounds so powerful. Well, Kazakus here, he’s very sinister. He’s also very mysterious. No one really knows his true origins, but honestly no one really cares. What they care about is that corrupted mana potions that he sells. That’s what they want. They want to get their hands on those. And that’s cool with Kazakus, because his motto is: “Powers should be attainable for anyone at a price.”



Let me show you what went into the design of this character, a lot of fun stuff going on with this guy. Right away, we had to know we had to represent three classes. You know: Priest, Warlock Mage. We kind of did that, that kind of goes across all three, but then like his armpad like with the skull and bone… that feels really warlock, and if you go down to his lower robes, you see a lot of these sharp shapes and things that we even established in the architecture early on, we wanted to bring that here because again it feels dangerous, and here has like a lot of cool stuff going on.



First of all his tusks. I’ve never seen troll tusks like that, and the reason why is because his tusks were contorted, and twisted, and contorted due to the corrupted mana he uses, and that mana is super important. So let me point your attention to his tattoos. All the Kabal get these tattoos, and since they use a lot of external sources of power, these tattoos come in handy. They take that corrupted mana, turn it into tattoo ink, and get these ornate detailed designs tattooed on their bodies in case they are ever in a situation where they need a little extra push of magic, push of mana to get a powerful spell off.

Another cool thing about Kazakus here is his belt. That belt, that little red circle in the center of his stomach is a portal, goes right through his body. No one knows where it goes, maybe to another dimension.

Matt: Another dimension?

Jomaro: Another dimension. I’m really in love with those white dreads of his too. One final really cool fact about Kazakus here is he started out as a Darkspear troll. He felt really cool, a little hunched over, so we wanted him to be more upright. We felt like it felt stronger, we wanted to give him a little more strength. So we made him a Zandalari troll, and we felt like that was the right way to go.

So let me show you how some of these early design decisions affected the rest of his crew. Alright… Murloc test: Mana-pop Murloc on the far left. What would a murloc do with this corrupted mana? Of course, he will make it into a lollipop. Whenever he needs a little push: “ah-ah!” He licks it… good to go.



In the center, we have an arakkoa. We just felt like they fit in the Kabal, I mean, they are dark ritualists, they’re already kind of creepy. We feel like they just fit right in; and on the far right, we have that goblin just consumed in corrupted mana. Let me show you a few of these guys in-game.



So we have potions being concocted on the left. We have that tattoo just being finished there in the center, and that orc… he looks super happy, he’s got corrupted mana leaping off his back. I need to get one of those, definitely; and on the far right the arakkoa.

We faced a really crazy challenge with the arakkoa though. They are covered in feathers. Where can we put tattoos? There’s a few on his hands. All we did was: we used that shape language, and just kind of added it to his robe. So these guys use a lot of external sources of power. Let me show you how we went about creating some of these things.



Their potions, you might have noticed some of the potions are wrapped in chains, and that’s for a reason: they’re super unstable. So they have these enchanted chains to help stabilize his potions, because I believe one or two of these potions could possibly level all of Gadgetzan. So they got to keep them under wraps; and at the center, you see that tome? Another portal to some strange place. Maybe another dimension?

Matt: Not again. Not again. (chuckles)

Jomaro: (chuckles) Alright. Let me show you a few of these artifacts in-game.



Alright! Ethereals! Ethereals are cool. If you guys are familiar with them, they are usually like mummies. They are made of cloths, but this one is made out of those enchanted chains, and personally, I just think he looks badass; and in the center we have that potion about to go nuclear, so I hope all those chains hold up; and finally on the right, we have that person pawning potions. That’s how they have to distribute these corrupted mana potions throughout Gadgetzan. So that kind of wraps up the visual design of the Kabal.

Matt: Awesome! One real quick, this huckster not only deals in potions, but she’s got a mean red sauce that is fantastic on funnel cakes. Some of you might get that reference.

So let’s take a look at the three classes that come together to form the Kabal: we’ve got Mage, Priest and Warlock the cloth casters, and Jomaro mentioned the potion peddlers here in Gadgetzan, and our first card is one of their potions… it’s actually selling super well. It’s selling like mad: Potion of Madness… this is a Priest spell. It’s fantastic. It lets you take a tiny enemy minion, and attack with it right away.



So if you are against an aggressive deck, they’ve got a 2/1, and a 3/2, grab that 3/1, slam it into the 3/2, great defense for just one mana; and our next card is a spy. Kazakus decided that he needs to keep tabs on his rivals. So he hired this 9-foot tall glow-in-the-dark spy: the Drakonid Operative.



The Drakonid Operative: 5-mana, 5/6 stats. Great stats to start and it lets you discover a card from your opponent’s deck. Really cool new mechanic. This is great flavor to the spy because not only are you getting to copy that card, but the two cards you don’t pick are still providing you information on what’s left to come from your opponent’s deck. Super cool card.

Next we have a Mage card: the Manic Soulcaster. So choose a friendly minion and get another chance at drawing it which is especially great when you’re playing a deck with our leader for the Kabal who says no duplicates in your deck. So if you get only one of each minion, she’ll give you another chance.



Speaking of Kazakus, let’s take a look at him. Here he is! Kazakus is super awesome. We showed him earlier today.



I want to dive in a bit more and give you the background of his creation, and exactly how creating your own spell works. So one day in our Hearthstone design… someone said… He wondered: “What if players could create their own Hearthstone card,” and that’s an easy question to answer with: “What does that mean? That’s impossible! We could never do that!” — but someone else actually answered it, and they said: “How about with three Discover? So you always get to choose a cost: you always have one, five, or ten;” and the reason we chose these 3-Cost is we wanted ones that if you’re under the gun and you need something right away, you’ve got that as an option; and these 1-Cost spells are much better than what you’re used to for 1-Cost.



So for example, one of the permutations is deal 3-damage and gain 4-armor. Quite good. 5-Cost which shows for that perfect curve, right turn for Kazakus into Turn 5: Greater Potion; and Superior Potion is for late game, and for greedy players like me.

Of course, depending on the cost you pick that will affect how powerful the ingredients you get to mix together are. So King’s Blood it become just from: Draw one, Draw two, to Draw Three.



Now I want to show you two videos, one of creating the spell and then we’re going to show you the actual playing of the spell.


We are going to choose our card. He chose 10. Now we’re choosing our first power: “Deals 6-damage to all minions.” For our second power: “Resurrect three minions.” We’ll fastforward a few turns.


Now look at this. We’re way behind seven minions to nothing. We had nothing going on. Will our potion get us back into it?


Hey what do you know? We engineered it, kills all minions for this guy, and we’re left with three great minions. You can see… super potent, and one of our goals was to leave that an original dream where we actually feel like you’re creating your own spell. It’s so cool, and that meant that we needed to create a lot of ingredients, and that’s exactly what we did.



So each game, it all be a ton of fun creating your own new spell and skill testing. What you need in this game might be different from last game, and different for the next game. So super cool. So that is the Kabal. Outcast magic users here in Gadgetzan.

Next: The Jade Lotus

BlizzCon 2016 Hearthstone: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Panel Transcript
Visual Design of GadgetzanCard RevealsThe Grim GoonsThe KabalThe Jade Lotus

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