Following the reveal of Hearthstone's new expansion, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, Liv Breeden and Cora Georgiou from the Hearthstone team recently did an interview where they talk more about the new expansion, game mode, mechanics and progression system. We've listed the highlights down below.

Everything below has been paraphrased and should not be considered a direct quote.

Quote From Liv Breeden and Cora Georgiou

Madness at the Darkmoon Faire

  • Fans who are familiar with corruption and Old Gods are in for a treat.
  • Y'Shaarj, the Defiler went through different designs. They knew it was going to be a Corrupt build-around.
    • Return them back to your hand. They cost (0) permanently."
    • "Return the first one, and it costs (0)."
    • They wanted the cards to cost 0, but that can be dangerous, so they went with the temporary reduction.
  • C'Thun, the Shattered went through many changes as well.
    • It was always the idea to make him deal tons of damage, but they weren't sure how to get there.
    • First it supposed to have an interaction with Corrupted cards as well.
    • Once they settled on the "broken apart" mechanic, it was a question what would individual parts do.
    • One idea was to split it in 5 parts that would summon a 5/5 minion.
    • The final result is so much better, where there is more interaction and makes the deck more interesting.

Expansions Mini-Sets

  • They didn't like the slow release of Galakrond's Awakening unlocking few cards every week so they are dropping the entire mini-set all at once this time.
  • You will get cards from the mini-set via Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs.
  • Duplicate protection will guarantee if you've collected all the commons from Darkmoon Faire when the mini-set drops, you will get commons from the new mini-set.
  • Mini-sets are to keep players engaged throughout the entire expansion cycle and have something new for returning and current players alike.
  • Even though the Scholomance meta was fairly balanced, the decks felt comparable to each other.
  • They want to make things feel fresh more often.
  • They can experiment with a new keyword they like more, they can create a baseline for it in the main set for everyone to get familiar with it and then goof around in the mini-set.
  • Mini-sets are part of their corresponding expansion, which means they will also rotate with said expansion when the time comes.

New Keyword: Corrupt

  • The keyword had several iterations:
    • "What if these minions cost health instead of mana?"
    • "What if there was a deck-building restriction like 'No 4-cost minions?'"
  • They settled on the current version of Corrupt because they liked how through the keyword, they can tell a story.
  • Further down in the development process, they realized it could become very difficult to activate high-cost Corrupt cards and had to adapt.
  • There will be a 9-Cost Corrupted card with a crazy effect!

Balancing for Standard vs Wild

  • Standard is their first priority, but they absolutely keep Wild in mind.
  • They make a lot of changes in final design that could break things in Wild.
  • Balancing happens ahead of time on two teams; The Initial Design team and the Final Design team.
    • Initial Design has a bit more free reign, they get to design the "cool stuff"
    • Final Design has to be the "bad guy" and shoot some of those things down not to break the game.
  • There is also a "final final" design, right before the new set releases.
  • They try to predict how will the meta shape up and have their eye set on few potential offenders like Potion of Illusion during Scholomance, but ultimately it is on the players to show them to what extent can different cards be used.

New Game Mode: Duels

  • Battlegrounds, and how the community received it, paved the way for Duels and other new game modes to come.
    • They shot in the dark and hit a bullseye, that got them excited and wanted to try that again.
    • The community was asking for a PvP Dungeon Run forever, so here you go :)
  • They are experimenting with different sizes of game modes.
  • Duels have a lot of similarities with Arena, and because they know the boundaries of that mode, they had a good idea of how to go from there.
  • They wanted you to be able to use your collection, but also keep the spirit of the Dungeon run, so now you can do both!
  • With rotating sets, the game mode will stay fresh because you will need to build your deck from different cards.
  • They like the idea of unlocking a unique Hero Powers by owning a specific card.
  • There is a lot of wiggle room for balance and adjustment, be it treasures, their occurrence or power and so on.
  • Community feedback is the most important and can help steer the new game mode in a certain direction.

New Progression System

  • The goal is to ensure that players never lose something.
  • They want to be more transparent with how much gold and other rewards you (can) get over the course of an expansion.
    • Before, you would get 10 gold per 3 wins, but how many times did you actually get that during an expansion?
    • Now you can track your progress easily and see exactly how much you got and how much you can still get.
  • If you like to save up gold and buy a bunch of packs when new expansion launches, that is not going to change.
    • In fact, you should be getting more gold and cosmetics at the end of the season, that is the goal.
    • It also lets them do more awesome Hero skins and different versions for The Coin (Editor's note: maybe more different card art in the future?)
  • The new system is more rewarding to players who like to play different game modes.
    • If you play a lot of Battlegrounds, you don't get 10 gold for 3 wins very often, now you'll get rewarded better for playing the game mode you like!
  • Liv is very excited about achievements and just wants to OTK someone with C'Thun, the Shattered :)
    • Achievements are going to be tailored for each expansion and should let you experience it to the fullest and show you what might be possible.

And there you have it, folks. What are you most excited about in the new expansion?

Learn more about Madness at the Darkmoon Faire

Head on over to our dedicated guide for Madness at the Darkmoon Faire to learn more about the new expansion and to see all the revealed cards!

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