BlizzCon 2018 Hearthstone: What’s Next Panel Transcript


Liv: So, we have the characters. We have the setting. But what does it take to be a gladiator in the arena? We wanted to find a keyword that fit the fantasy of being in the rumble. So, we came up with Overkill. We decided it’s not enough to simply defeat your opponents. You gotta style on them. You gotta show you beat them by a lot.

So, what does Overkill do? Overkill cards give you a bonus whenever they deal excess damage. So, Sul’thraze, which we saw earlier in the opening ceremony, it’s a 6 mana 4/4 warrior weapon with Overkill. You may attack again. So, if you have Sul’thraze equipped, and you’re tackling a minion who has 3 or less health, you got to attack again. And that minion has 3 or less health, then you get to attack again. And if that minion has 3 or less health, then you go face because they’re all out of minions.


So, how did we get here? What things were we looking for when we came up with Overkill? First off, it’s important to feel powerful. Gladiators need to be powerful. Whether it’s to defeat your opponent, to take the title, to impress the fans, to survive a single fight, you have to be powerful. So, we started with the mechanic that was explored in Blackrock Mountain. We figured dragons are big and powerful, so it’s a good fit for our big and powerful gladiators. So, the first generation of Overkill, excess damage dealt to a minion was dealt to your opponent’s hero, which is really good for feeling powerful. Overpowering your opponent, defeating them that way, that fit that vibe, but it didn’t really give us a lot of interesting choices to make. And that’s something that we really wanted to make important.

So, Hearthstone is all about taking different lines of playing. Do I go face? Do I kill a minion efficiently? Do I kill a minion any less efficiently and get an Overkill trigger? So, we wanted to play that up a little more, and we tried it again in Witchwood. This time, excess damage splashed to a random enemy minion, because we’re not crazy. So splashes to a random enemy minion. But then we had questions like, that Overkilled, did it go again? And then it felt really weird because you had to track the damages that bounced around, and if it didn’t go on forever, then it felt like your cards could not work by jumping to the wrong minion.

So, we tried it again with trolls. And now, every Overkill card has a different output, and it feels awesome. And it allows players to show off how good they are because different situations call for different answers, and different Overkill cards work differently in different situations. So, does the better player use Sul’thraze to clear out a bunch of minions? Does the better player use Sul’thraze to go face every turn for 16 points of damage? Different situations have different answers, and we really like that better players get to show off their skill. And finally, you get to brag a little bit. It feels good to beat your opponent via more than you need to. Trolls are a showy race. They’re all about bright colors and big hair and letting you know they beat you with one arm tied behind their back.


Peter: Overkill captures the arena vibe. It’s all about trolls doing way more than they need to. But we also wanted to capture the sense of teams in the rumble, and what better way to do that than a bit of team spirit. Spirits are a new mechanic that ties the team together.



BlizzCon 2018 Hearthstone: What's Next Panel Transcript
1. Intro2. Overkill3. Spirits & Loa4. Teams5. Missions

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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