BlizzCon 2018 Hearthstone: What’s Next Panel Transcript

Blizzard Entertainment announced the new Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion during the BlizzCon 2018 Hearthstone: What’s Next panel.


BlizzCon 2018 Hearthstone: What’s Next Panel Transcript

Peter: Welcome to Hearthstone: what’s next panel. I’m Peter Whalen, one of the designers on the Hearthstone team.

Liv: I’m Liv Breeden. I’m also a designer on the Hearthstone team.

Peter: And we’re here today to talk to you about Rastakhan’s Rumble. This is a no-holds bar, team-based arena brawl set in the legendary Gurubashi Arena, and it looks something like this.

Liv: That’s right. We’re going back to the heyday of Gurubashi Arena, and we focused an entire expansion around the trolls who brought it to the heights of its glory. And what’s not to love about trolls? They’re like dinosaurs. They have mohawks. They’re awesome.


With the recent launch of Battle for Azeroth, we got to explore trolls more in depth now than we ever had in the past, and it turns out everybody loves trolls. They built these monolithic empires, ruled over all of Azeroth.


They spread so far that they’ve had to adapt to different environments from the ferocious forest trolls to the grim rituals of the blood trolls. There are so many different interesting characters that we can pull from, because they have this majestic society with this proud heritage, but there’s also this dark mysticism and voodoo that’s at the core of what it means to be a troll.


Peter: Trolls are awesome. There’s a ton of diversity among trolls, and we’ve wanted to do a troll expansion for a long time. With Battle for Azeroth launching, it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of that.


So, if we’re going to do a troll expansion, what are we going to do? We talked about a frosty monastery with frost trolls. We talked about doing the search for Troll-Dorado, the legendary city of gold that we just made up on the spot. We talked about a bunch of different things, but one of the things we really wanted to capture was that sense of lots of different trolls. That diversity, the dark voodoo, and the smashy, troll acts guys, all kinds of different trolls. And what better way to do that than to have them beat each other up, smash each other in an arena gladiator style.


All right. So that brings us to Rastakhan’s Rumble. We know we want a bunch of trolls in Gurubashi Arena just wailing on each other. So we got the whole team together and said: “We love trolls. You love trolls. What do you love most about trolls? What are the things from World of Warcraft we have to make sure we get in here?” And people called out Zul’jin; the Hakkar corrupted blood event; They called out dinosaurs with giant shoulder armor. All the things that you associate and love about trolls, but one thing that everybody called out was the Loa.

Loa are the primal gods that the trolls worship. They’re these larger than life, mostly beasts, and they’re incredibly powerful and cool. They also have big personalities, and that was great for us. We love big personalities in Hearthstone.

So, we said: “All right. We’re going to do the Loa. We’re going to do trolls in an arena, and the Loa are going to have teams. Each of them is going to have a team with all the characteristics that go along with that Loa.

So, we started concepting that out, and these are some of the first concept sketches that we had. This was our very first team. These are Hakkar’s soulflayers. Turns out, Hakkar is the most evil of all of the Loa, and he was so evil we decided not to put him with a team because we thought he might eat all of the people on his team. So…


Liv: But, I mean, he’s still going to show up, right? Like he’s going to crash the party even though he’s not invited. So, he’s going to be a card.

Peter: So, he’s a card. He’s a neutral card. He ate his team. That’s all that a card can do. But the concept in here wasn’t a waste at all. We figured out that we wanted to have fans with the Loa painted on their chest, like the shark Loa. We wanted to have the colors, the blue and red that you associate with Hakkar, the wings on the shoulders, weapons that are the talons. All of these things that the whole team would derive their artistic vibe from the Loa.

So, that brings us to Shirvallah’s tigers. These guys are actually in the game. These are the noble Zandalari tribe. These are all Paladin minions. They’ve got the upright trolls, the glowing hammers, the gleaming yellow magic eye. You can see the tiger head and the brazier and the tiger symbol that’s on a lot of the cards for Shirvallah’s tigers.


They inherit a lot of the qualities of that Loa, and we can see that with Akali’s rhinos. These are the smashy warrior minions. These are trolls that have probably more brawn than brain. They like to ram their head at walls or do all of the things that a rhino might do. They’ve got huge metal shoulder pads, huge metal gauntlets that they punch things with, huge metal totems that they draw some of their power from.


And that, speaking of totems, brings us to Shaman. These are Krag’wa’s frogs, and they embrace the voodoo aspect of trolls. They love everything about frogs. The frog tongues on their shoulders. They’ve got frog tongues on their weapons. They’ve got frog tongues everywhere. They turn people into frogs. They summon frogs. They really, really like frogs.



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

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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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