BlizzCon 2017 Hearthstone: What’s Next Panel Transcript

Legendary Weapons

Peter: This is the treasure set, and if we’re going to make a treasure set, we need some amazing treasures. Some phenomenal treasures, some legendary treasures. For Kobolds and Catacombs, we have 9 legendary weapons. One in each class. Ben showed you this earlier, so let’s take a look at the Dragon Soul.


This is the priest legendary weapon, the 3 Mana, 0/3, and after you cast three spells in a turn, you summon a 5/5 dragon. You cast six spells in your turn? You get two 5/5 dragons. Goes up from there. This is pretty cool, but priests aren’t the only ones getting legendary weapons in the set. Let’s take a look at the Mage staff Aluneth. At the end of your turn, draw 3 cards.


So you’re going to be drawing 4 cards a turn, just pretty cool, it is however a 0/3 weapon. You are not going to be bopping people on the head very much with this. In fact, that was one of the design challenges with having legendary weapons in Kobolds and Catacombs. It’s really important to us that all the classes in Hearthstone feel the stick, and some of the classes have weapons and some of them don’t. So, in order to get that across, the caster classes: mages, warlocks, priests have zero attack weapons in Kobolds and Catacombs.

In fact, early on in design they didn’t have any attack or any durability, those were just not there on the card at all. In play testing, it felt pretty weird, but we wanted to keep that sense of it. So they all have zero attack.

Ben: Legendary weapons are something that’s very very near and dear to our hearts with this set. It’s one of the last card types to gain legendary status, but legendary status comes with more than just a drape put across the top of the frame. It comes from more than just an orange gym at the base of that art. Legendary weapons need to feel that not only do they belong to the class to which they’ve been assigned, but also that they are personas in and on their own right. These weapons have names. They’ve earned these names. They’ve gained legend status and become legends in their own right long before they found a home in Hearthstone in many cases.

Now, that happens oftentimes in magical weapons through a personality. They gain a little bit of a personality there, almost a human-like quality all their own, and in some rare cases can be found to communicate with the hero who wields them — with, of course, delightful and sparkling conversation.


Dave: If you played the World of Warcraft: Legion expansion, you no doubt discovered very very powerful artifact weapons, some of those like Aluneth might be making their way into Hearthstone. So, there was another important treasure fantasy that we wanted to get across and that is the idea of you are running a dungeon, and you find something, and you don’t know what it is. You’re raiding the boss’s stash of treasure, and you find a potion. What does it do? Do you dare take a sip?

This is something we wanted to explore. So the design team put our heads together, and we figured out a way of doing this with what we call unidentified items. So, let’s take a look at one. This is a new priest card: the Unidentified Elixir. We don’t know what it does. Now we know for sure it’s going to cost 3 Mana. We know it will give a minion +2/+2, but it also has some kind of other effect; but we don’t know what that other effect is.


This is what the card looks like when you put it in your deck during the deck building phase of the game, and you don’t find out what it does until you’re actually in the game, and you draw the card; and then its true nature is revealed. So what could the Unidentified Elixir do? Let us take a look. It’s definitely going to give a minion +2/+2, but it might give your minion lifesteal, it might give a minion Divine Shield, it could do some weird stuff, like give a minion +2/+2, and summon a 1/1 copy of it; or give a minion +2/+2 and a Deathrattle to return it to your hand.


Peter: In design, what we call this: Cherry, Grape, Banana and Peach.

Dave: So, you have to adjust your strategy, until you draw the card. You don’t really know how to use it, and you need to figure out what delicious flavor you’re going to get. We have a video of this in action, so you can see how it works. Time to draw a card. Let us see what we get. It’s unidentified. Right there it gets identified in your hands. It is the Shadow Elixir, haha, and we have a target for it on the board already.


Now, aside from a challenge to design, this also was a challenge to our art team because we were like: “Hey guys, draw a thing but don’t show people what it is.” The way our art team solved this problem is they kind of wrapped them in the shrouds so you don’t really see what it is. It’s kind of like you get to open a birthday present. We have three unidentified items in the game, in Kobolds and Catacombs. We’ve shown you the unidentified elixir, there’s some kind of unidentified shield, and some sort of unidentified weapon; but we’re not going to show those today. They will remain unidentified. You see what I did there?


Peter: Pretty good. Unidentified weapons and items are some of the core fantasies that we wanted to explore. When as the design team sat down at the beginning of Kobolds and Catacombs, we wanted to figure out: What are the core fantasies of treasure? Why is treasure so cool?

We hit on two things: anticipation and progression.

Anticipation is that feeling as you open a treasure chest, where you’re dreaming of all the awesome things that are inside of it.


BlizzCon 2017 Hearthstone: What's Next Panel Transcript
1. What is Kobolds and Catacombs?2. Legendary Weapons3. Spellstones4. Adventurers5. Monsters
6. Traps7. The Kobolds8. Dungeon Run

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts


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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