Interview: Talking Murder at Castle Nathria with Hearthstone’s Lead Designer and Game Designer – MMORPG.com | Region & Cash

this august, Hearthstone will release its latest expansion, Murder at Castle Nathriaand we would have loved to have been part of a group interview with Lead Designer Liv Breeden and Game Designer Cora Georgiou.

Full of puns and gothic whims, Murder at Castle Nathria plunges us back into the shadowlands to solve a murder mystery with the tenacious murloc Holmes and his ever-loyal companion Watfin. While the Shadowlands expansion has had a mixed reception from the player base, this new card set is bursting at the seams with potential and dripping with tasteful features that are sure to keep players entertained well past its expiration date (August 2nd!).

At first it seems a little silly to think about the concept. How do the Shadowlands and a crime thriller go together? Where did this idea come from? And to be honest, after hearing about Cora and Liv, I wondered why they didn’t match up in my brain from the start. It’s perfect!

Game Designer, Cora Georgiou:

“The inspiration was definitely crime fiction and pop culture and then the classic tropes of crime dinner parties and how funny and silly and really interesting they can be. i really love her It was something I wanted to do Hearthstone For a long time. I find [murder mysteries] offer themselves Hearthstone very good. I love subverting expectations for such gritty material as a crime thriller, but, you know, turning it into something that’s actually pretty light and pretty silly… During a brainstorming session someone said, “Oh, you know, those Venthyr in Revendreth, actually throwing parties as part of the class your character is in.” It’s just a big part of the bond. So I did a little research and I think the only thing that can make a murder mystery dinner party better is gothic settings and vampire characters. It really was kind of a perfect marriage of all these different wonderful tropes, and it felt like it would fit perfectly.”

Lead Designer, Liv Breeden:

“I also think coming from last year where we’re like, ‘Hey, let’s focus on the essentials WarcraftThis year has been so refreshing so far where it’s like, we’re going underwater, and we’re going to visit this sunken city and these gigantic minions, and now we’re going into a space where we can be really creative with our ideas. We’re seeing lots and lots of map names and map themes that we’ve never really been able to do before because it’s just such a unique space where exploration is really creative.”

to hear that Hearthstone Developers finally getting a chance to spread their creative wings is amazing; Especially since the past year, although still successful, was extremely tough for the team. This has resulted in the team focusing most of their resources on the expansion card set and new mechanics and features, while opting not to include solo content. It was a difficult decision, but certainly a necessary one.

Lead Designer, Liv Breeden:

“It’s really unfortunate because this is one of the sets I’d really like to do [solo content] in. But the truth is that our solo content designers had a really unhealthy schedule and it made for a really bad working environment for them because last year was the book of mercenaries and it has so much content… But, that means also that they ran against deadlines and worked overtime, and we don’t want that. So let’s move on to single player content. But instead we wanted to find something appropriate to take this story a little further because (like cards do) they’re great at setting the atmosphere for an expansion, but like many other connective tissues they lack. So we did that Script for solo screenplay to help build these characters and help players learn more about what the story will be like. So we’re trying other things outside of gameplay that can build that story – and learn a little bit more about the crime story that way.”

Two of the main features of this extension are the Keyword infusion as well as Locations memory card type. It’s not every day that we see new additions of this magnitude, as a lot of work goes into their creation and they can potentially completely transform gameplay. Cards with the new Infuse keyword are converted into a stronger version once the specified number of friendly minions have died (as long as the card is in your hand). It’s a really cool idea that goes with the themes of Shadowlands and consuming and reusing anima. For a long time, the team toyed with red mana crystals as an idea, but settled on the new cue instead.

Murder at Castle Nathria Hearthstone

Lead Designer, Liv Breeden:

“It’s funny how we keep going back to red mana crystals. And we’re like, that’s so coo! We can color the crystals red and then the gameplay that comes out of it – it’s not really fun. It’s like, “Oh, it’s like playing with blue mana crystals, but the visuals are cool.” So it’s something that we’ve held on to for a very long time because of the concept of getting red mana and turning mana crystals into anima crystals , was really cool. But… there wasn’t much gameplay to justify adding a new resource or changing your mana crystals and the complexity that comes with it. So I think Infused gives us a lot more gameplay where it’s the choices you make, the cards you put in your deck – they really make for better gameplay. And you know, eventually our iteration leads there.”

Location, location, location

Locations are particularly fascinating because they make such a unique addition to our current list of map types. “Location cards are played for an initial fee, then activate for free on your turn, granting you powerful buffs and abilities. Each location can be activated at the cost of one durability and has a one-turn cooldown between activations. Locations take up a slot on your board, but enemies cannot interact with your locations except with cards that specifically affect locations” (MaCN Announcement).

This is the kind of thing that “only gets added every 4-5 years,” Liv confirms, and a lot of love and thought went into making it a reality. One thing we really want to keep an eye on is whether these keyword and card types will continue into more card sets, and that really seems to be down to community reception.

Game Designer, Cora Georgiou:

“We’re kind of always looking to see if a keyword resonates with our players, the gameplay is really good, and we as designers want to keep coming back to that. We’re always open to making keywords “evergreen,” which is sort of a way of referencing keywords that we use all the time, e.g. B. “Discover”, “Battlecry” or “Deathrattle”. So there’s always that opportunity when we want it. I don’t know if we’ll be doing this within views, it seems pretty specific to the setting. But with locations-absolutely. We’ll be bringing these back, we have some fun ideas for the future. But it was really important to us that we sort of laid the groundwork for locations within this set. It’s a brand new card type. There are a lot of rules that are very specific to places, and we want to give players a chance to learn those rules and set those rules before we eventually break those rules and create places that do crazy things that players aren’t expecting . So it was really important for us to create that base with places that are simple enough but still very exciting and quite eye-catching before we decide (in the future) how we want to grow with them.”

MMORPG.com: “With so many new, fun and creative cards, tell us your three favorites!”

Murder at Castle Nathria Hearthstone

Game Designer, Cora Georgiou:

“I like that question! OK, so I love them Harvester of Envythat we unveiled yesterday I think. I find it super controversial. I think many players will love it. A lot of players will hate it, and I think it’s really unique, which is why I like it. I love the ones that haven’t been revealed yet Paladin legendary. It’s super fun and a really cool character. So keep an eye out for it whenever we reveal it! I’m not sure when it will be, but it’s really fun. And third favorite card. Mmmmm Probably like Merloc Holmes or Father Denathrius. I think it’s hard for me because I’m so close to so many cards in this set. I had everything in my hands, so to speak, and I’m already attached to everything. But I think Murloc Homes and Sire Denathrius are something like the two flagships of the set. You have to love her.”

Murder at Castle Nathria Hearthstone

Lead Designer, Liv Breeden:

“For me, I think a lot of side maps I’ve tried to slip into previous expansions have always been truncated for some reason. but Renathal-I think that’s probably the best version of him too. I joke that I tried to put the 40 cards in each expansion, but that’s like we found a good solution where it’s like not only the downside feels like the upside because it’s in In a deck building game, having more cards in your deck is, you know, less beneficial because your decks are less consistent. But people just like having more cards in their deck. Playing a 40-card Reno deck is just silly to me. So to be able to get this to work – I’m really glad it’s come this far Suspicious cycle is different. I think it’s just a fun mind game to play with your opponent. It’s better with friends, I say that, or with people you’ve played with several times. So (Hearthstone eSports, come on!), but the idea of ​​driving your opponent nuts or making them think you’re not going to pick the best map or whatever, I think there’s one up there.

For my favorite finale… There are so many good ones. I think the Kel’Thuzad package (but we can put it under Kel’Thuzad) is really exciting. Skeleton Mage is just super weird. It was something we wanted to try Frost on, but we didn’t want to “freeze a bunch of minions.” We actually tried that, that was the first iteration. It’s like, “We’ve got Kel’Thuzad, we’re going to freeze some stuff, we’re going to freeze mages!” And then internal feedback was like, “Please don’t…we don’t want to freeze any more stuff. We want to play the game”… So it’s cool to be able to get that frost flavor without just worrying about freezing. So yeah, I’m excited to see how that pans out.”

Game Designer, Cora Georgiou:

“I’ll also say that my favorite flavor text of the set is an undisclosed shaman spell. It’s really fun.”Thanks again to Liv Breeden and Cora Georgiou for taking the time to meet up with us for an interview! Murder at Castle Nathria evolves into a deliciously fun addition to Hearthstone lineup, and we can’t wait to see what happens when the playerbase gets their hands on the new set.

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