Hearthstone: The Grand Tournament Announcement Transcript
The Grand Tournament Announcement shocked fans around the world with all the exciting combos and strategies that might be possible in Hearthstone with the introduction of cards that affect hero power or viceversa.
Eric Dodds was in charge of The Grand Tournament Announcement and we have the full transcript and a plethora of images shown during the livesstream (which had an audience of over 20,000 viewers).
Dodds: This is awesome. I am super excited about Fireside Gatherings in general. I’m sort of just blown away by all the people here. Especially with all the people who have joining us from other Fireside Gatherings all over the world and innkeepers who are making that possible.
So this is an unbelievable gathering of people who are as excited — maybe even more excited … no about as excited as I am about Hearthstone.
Not that long ago, we sent out a scroll to a few different places, and there were some guesses about what we might be talking abut today.
I imagine a few of you have some guesses about what we might be talking about, and I wanted to start right away by saying what we are doing is something along the lines of Goblins vs Gnomes; and that is going to be a brand-new Hearthstone expansion. That is what I am going to be talking about today.
So Goblins and Gnomes is all about the crazy goblins, the crazy gnomes, their crazy inventions, and doing battle with each other in crazy ways, and we really like that theme; and when we sent out the scrolls and some other handscript put out there.
A lot of you had some guesses as to — “hey, what might the theme of the next thing you guys are doing?” … and there are a lot of great ideas. One of the ideas that we definitely saw out there was kinda cool was the idea that maybe we are doing Pirates vs Ninjas?!
Pirates vs Ninjas would actually be super awesome. It’s an idea that is near and dear to my heart. There is only a little problem for me personally with us ever doing this expansion. There would be some difficulties, because I have a personal take on which way that conflict would go.
I know, I know, but trust me. If we ever do decide to do something like this there are many many people on the Hearthstone team who are very strongly in the ninja camp. So it would be an epic battle for us to even get going on something like this. So it was an awesome idea, but it is not Pirates vs Ninjas. (laughs) Someday perhaps.
There was an idea that maybe it was Tauren vs Worgen. They are epic and awesome characters from the Warcraft universe, and those would be super-fun for us to do, and while we really love those characters, it didn’t feel like it was the time. So that’s not really what we are leaning to right now.
There was another idea out there — well actually it wasn’t really an idea out there, but I was kinda wishing it was an idea out there, because it’s one I think would be super awesome — is the idea that maybe we could do something like the Lich King vs Battles Pets … and of course, we are not doing that, and of course, I only put that out there to have a little fun with it, but in the other hand, as I had been looking to it and thinking about it is starting to grow on me actually. So we’ll see, but it is not the Lich King vs Battle Pets even though that would be super-awesome.
So what it is actually all about is about epic characters doing battle on epic speed steeds, and the conflict of honor and glory with mighty Warcraft characters doing battle, and really I don’t want to tell you about it, I just want to show you something. So let me show you what our next expansion is. RIGHT NOW!
So it is in fact The Grand Tournament, and it is going to be or is an awesome awesome expansion, and filled with honor, and knights, and glory, and a knight tournament and all that sort of thing; but really before I get into the details of exactly what The Grand Tournament is, I actually have to talk a bit about where the idea for The Grand Tournament came from … and this is something some of you may have guesses about (sort of the background of The Grand Tournament); but for those who don’t, a number of years ago, there was a character in a place called Northrend who was causing a lot of trouble — called The Lich King — and a lot of people wanted to get rid of this guy, because he was basically a major nuisance of himself.
So the people of the world sent together a group of heroes to do battle with the Lich King, and they were all killed and reanimated, and forced to join his army. So they decided that perhaps that was not the best plan to do again. So what they decided to do instead was to have this tournament (The Argent Tournament) where they took the knights and the best warriors and characters, people from across the land, and do battle with each other until they found out who was the very best and mightiest heroes in the world; and they were going to send this elite strike team to do battle with the Lich King, and see if that group could take him down so that they wouldn’t be reanimated afterwards; and they sent that group in, and they defeated the Lich King, and this is where our story takes a little bit of a turn from the story you may know from Warcraft.
So what happened after that was that there were the people who put together the Argent Tournament and these people were sitting around at the Argent Tournament Grounds and said: “The Argent Tournament was pretty cool. That was pretty fun, and you know we got these Tournament grounds and we have got this extra lances and tents, and the knights seem to have a good time. So maybe we should keep doing that, and have the emphasis be more on fun and honor and glory rather than this need to defeat the Lich King.”
So that’s what they did. They had this tournament and they decided: “We are going to keep this Tournament Grounds, and we are going to use these Tournament Grounds again and have a Grand Tournament. We are going to have all these characters from across the world come and keep doing battle. So again, something happened that they were not necessarily expecting. So they sent these invitations across the world to the mightiest knights, to all the races of the world to come do battle in the Grand Tournament, and you know … the humans came on their mighty steeds, and the Tauren came on their kodos, and then … some other people got invitations that they weren’t initially expecting. The Murlocs got invitations, and the clockwork knights got invitations, and the pirates got invitations.
So when they look at the people who arrived to do battle at the Grand Tournament, and actually looked a little bit like this.
So they are still mighty knights. They are just mighty unconventional knights who showed up to the Grand Tournament, and I have to imagine that all of you can’t be terribly surprised that we took what was a very serious part of Warcraft lore and made it slightly less serious, and slightly sillier. Slightly more fun. So that is sort of the background here where they are still some of these characters who you know from the Argent Tournament doing battle in this, but they is also a lot of these new characters who have never been seen before participating in the Grand Tournament.
So we have this, and we have these awesome characters, and of course, these awesome characters are going to need a new board to do battle on. So we have to, of course, make some awesome board … and I always say this when I am looking at new boards artists have put together, but this board is pretty amazing, and of course, there is normal stuff. Like you can eat from the food area, and have them refill, and bring you different food.
Of course, the people in the stands will cheer for you when you are doing well, and they will be sad when you are doing poorly. So they are actually going to participate in your battles with you. That’s kinda fun. The artillery booth, there is a lot of secrets there. I had a lot of fun shooting arrows and there is interesting and fun stuff that happen there, so again — the artists just went nuts and outdid themselves with what they provided in this map.
So we have an awesome map, we have an awesome theme. I suppose you guys are probably interested to see some of the characters that are doing battle in this arena. So let’s take a look at, for instance, Skycap’n Kragg. He is a — as you might imagine a parrot-riding pirate.
We are excited about his abilities, we are excited about a pirate (of course) having the ability charrrrrge — because it is as it should be as you may have discovered my inclination toward pirates; but it is also a great example of the types of characters that you are going to see participating in the Argent Tournament — or The Grand Tournament, coming from the Argent Tournament.
So we have Skycap’n Kragg, but we just don’t have minions participating in the Grand Tournament. Of course, we have new spells, so I thought maybe I would show you a new Hunter spell that we have going. This spell is Lock and Load.
It is a super-fun spell because it let’s you play hunter a little bit differently. You are sorta waiting for the big turn where you can just drop tons of cards, so it is an interesting twist to how you are playing Hunter; and I actually thought I would show you a movie of how this plays out in the game field, because it is pretty cool how it looks once you are actually watching a play.
This is a movie of you playing Lock and Load, and one of the things that is exciting to me about is that once you play it, a scope is zoomed in the playfield so that you and your opponent know that something awesome and very different is about to happen, and you start playing your spells, and you start drawing more Hunter cards. You don’t know exactly what you are going to get.
We talk a lot about some new characters, like a new spell and a new character that is part of the Grand Tournament; but really what is going to be super interesting about this is the new mechanics that are involved. What is going to be the thing that is going to sort of tie this all together from a mechanical point of view? … and we talked about a lot of different ideas of what we could be doing, and when we talked about it, we really liked the idea of settling Heroes are a big deal in the Grand Tournament. Let’s focus on Heroes.
So maybe what we wanted to do (and this was in fact what we did) is focus on Heroes and the Hero Power. So you are going to see a ton of new cards that are going to affect player’s hero power. So I am going to show you one of them right now. Let’s see the Maiden of the Lake.
So the Maiden in the Lake is awesome in that she is hard to get rid of. She is a character you all will recognize from the Argent Tournament. So again, we have Argent Tournament characters and these new characters from the Grand Tournament theme of things, and it makes hero power cost (1), which means (you know) it’s pretty cool. You can sneak in some new effects here and there, but it gets a lot more exciting when you start to include other cards in the mix. So I am actually going to be now talking about a new Mage card that is a new Mage dragon.
Let’s look at this new Mage dragon and think how this would affect the Maiden of the Lake.
So you can really see … so there is a ton of awesome combos that we’ll have here, and this is just scratching the surface; but I also wanted to show you — get to some more cards we really liked the theme in Hearthstone of giants, and these giant AA characters that cost more mana than they should, but can reduce the mana cost. We liked the idea of Frost giants, because it’s perfect for Northrend and around the Argent Tournament. So this is our Frost Giant.
So the Frost Giant is awesome. You use your hero power a bunch, you play it for much cheaper, and you are very much good to go with the Frost Giant. So we have got a lot of cards that are based around the hero power and affecting the hero power.
But when we talked about this expansion, we talked about: “Is this enough?,” because we wanted to maybe have a — we talked about maybe: “Should we do a new keyword in this expansion?” We haven’t really done that before. Now we have some keywords that appear on the character’s traits or the minion’s traits, we have Deathrattle in some of our minions, we have activated abilities in some of our minions. You’ll see them on the bottom of the minions.
We thought maybe it was the right time to add a new keyword, and so of course did but it was around the idea that the hero power matters. So we are adding a new keyword: INSPIRE!, to the game, and what it means is when you see “INSPIRE!” in a card, or when you see that flag on a minion, it’s going to have a power that is going to activate every single time you use your hero power.
So it’s going to be really interesting in how that plays out. So I can show you sort of just our simplest (1) drop example: the Lowly Squire, and he costs (1). He is a 1/2, and his attack is inspired every time you use your hero power. So you can trigger it if you want to, and he is going to become more powerful, and this is just sort of an example of the sort of things that we are doing in The Grand Tournament with Inspire!
One of the things we are really actually excited about though with the “Inspire!” keyword is that since we put this “Inspire!” keyword in so many neutral minions that there is actually a ton of new combinatorics that you are all going to play with, because I play the Lowly Squire or one of the other “Inspire!” minions and play it with a mage, it’s going to play very differently and feel and pacing than if I play it with a warlock, and if I play it with the priest.
So you are going to have a bunch of these “Inspire!” minions that we’ve certainly done some exploring of the space, but we are just expecting you guys to do a lot of the exploring of the space of what is the crazy combination of this minion, with this hero power, with this other card that does something that we have never seen before; and we are expecting a lot of that.
I probably should show you one of our big characters that has “Inspire!,” so let’s show you Nexus-Champion Saraad. He is, of course, an ethereal riding an energy camel.
So there is really some exciting things you can do with that, and in fact, one of the reasons we like this guy is he is going to put cards in your hands that you weren’t necessarily expecting, you are going to play in a different way when you have them, and of course, he is an ethereal riding an energy camel, so he is another perfect example of the people who showed up at the Grand Tournament — that the inviters were not entirely expecting when they first sent out those invites. So another awesome character for the Grand Tournament.
Those are a bunch of characters for the Grand Tournament, but as a whole, it is important for you guys to know like how many cards are coming, so there are over a 130 new cards.
You are going to see a lot more cards than what you have already seen and they are going to come in packs just like Goblins vs Gnomes, just like the classic packs. It’s going to cost the same price. You can either buy with gold or with real money. It’s exactly like you know before. It just has a 130 or over a 130 of these awesome new The Grand Tournament cards in them which sort of change the way you play the game.
So we have all of these new cards, and we (of course) wanted to make sure that there is a way for people getting excited about it early (if they would like to). So we are actually starting a pre-purchase for these cards next week.
What this all means is you will be able to buy 50 packs at a discounted rate, and you also get the cardback, which — that is the cardback that comes with it. I’m actually pretty excited about it. It’s maybe my new favorite. It’s an awesome cardback, but you can pre-purchase it next week, and then when the actual Grand Tournament opens you will be able to open those packs and have a big headstart in jumping into the game, and of course, it opens next month.
So starting next month you will be playing The Grand Tournament.
So those were the cards I had to show you, but there is still a lot of exciting stuff to come because we have actually some players (a lot of you undoubtedly know) who will be playing matches with not only the cards that you have seen here, but a bunch of additional cards from the Grand Tournament that you haven’t seen yet.
So I’m going to throw it back to Rachel, and she’s going to take you to the next step. So thank you so much for coming and listening to us talk, and thank you for coming to the Fireside Gathering. It’s been awesome having you all here, and here’s off to Rachel. Thank you so much.
Jump to minute 29:30 to skip into the beggining of the announcement event.
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Hearthstone’s second expansion, The Grand Tournament, has been announced! And a hiring reminder – we’re looking for FX artists, UI designers, software engineers and more to join the Hearthstone team. Visit jobs.blizzard.com to view all their current openings.