Liv Breeden (Game Designer Team 5 (Hearthstone)) and Joseph Killion (Game Designer, Set Design Lead Forged in the Barrens) were available for an interview during BlizzConline. At BlizzCon, the developers presented the upcoming expansion Forged in the Brachland and again highlighted innovations such as the core set or the classic mode. But we already know very well about the latter. Our questions therefore revolved around the announced mercenary mode, about which not much is known yet, and the new features of the new expansion and Forged in Barrens itself.
buffed: Ok, let’s talk about mercenary mode. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand when you presented your presentation, which is exactly what it should be. You mentioned that it’s some kind of rogue-like RPG. So is it something like a dungeon run with different paths and a life?
Joseph Killion: We are still at the very beginning of development in the mercenary mode. The mode is very different from what we’ve seen from Hearthstone so far (buy now € 0.00) know. In mercenary mode you build a team of well-known Warcraft heroes and fight your way from map to map with them (editor’s note: so probably like in Slay the Spire). So this is not completely different from dungeon runs, but the structure and the multitude of options are very different from dungeon runs. Instead of a deck, you build a team of heroes with different skills.
The run begins with several.
The ten mercenaries that we showed during the presentation are the heroes that we also highlight in the book of mercenaries. But a few will be added later. We cannot yet say how many there will be in the end.
The re will be different races who interact with each other, for example: Orcs buff orcs, etc.
buffed: Will upgrading my heroes work with treasure, like in dungeon runs? How do I improve during the run?
Joseph Killion: As you fight your way from map to map, your heroes gain experience and level up, thereby learning new skills. We are still working on the details, as I said, we are still at the beginning of planning the mercenary mode.
buffed: What are the rewards for completing a run?
– No information yet –
buffed: How do you make sure that the mercenary mode has a high replay value?
Joseph Killion: Each run will play a little differently via the rogue-like elements. You discover other things and bosses and we try to make some kind of strategic puzzle for some boss fights, so you may have to adapt your tactics for this boss.
buffed: Is the mercenary mode free or can I choose whether to spend gold or real money, as in the arena?
Joseph Killion: Hearthstone is more or less free to play and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get started.
The mercenary mode will be Free2Play, but there will also be options for people who want to spend money (Editor’s note: That doesn’t mean that you can also spend money on mercenary mode, with the option Spending money was more likely to mean Hearthstone content per se).
buffed: Assuming I start a run and finish it, how long does a run take?
Liv Breeden: It is still too early to say something about these specific details because, as I said, we are still at the beginning of planning.
buffed: You mentioned that the mercenary mode is also in multiplayer. Mode will be playable ?! And will there also be a PvP mode?
Joseph Killion: Yes, in addition to the PvE content, there will also be a PvP mode for the mercenary mode.
buffed: On the roadmap for this year we saw an icon with the name “spell locked” and later the same icon, which was put in chains. What’s it all about?
Liv Breeden: I’m not sure which symbol is meant, but if we haven’t announced anything yet, we’ll have to wait and see what it is all about.
buffed: Further mini-sets are also planned for the year of grasping. Can you buy these again for gold?
Liv Breeden: We can’t say anything about this yet, but since this was positively received by the community at the Darkmoon Race, it can be assumed that the mini-sets can possibly be purchased again for gold.
buffed: Forged in the Barrens is primarily focused on the Horde characters, right? Does that mean Alliance characters will be in the foreground in the subsequent expansion?
Joseph Killion: Yes, the Barrens is one of the Horde’s iconic areas. It’s right next to Orgrimmar, and so on. We’re bringing the Horde’s glory and honor to the fore. We also have a lot of Allianz fans in the team, so Allianz won’t be neglected in this expansion.
The Alliance also has outposts in the Barrens, such as Northwatch Fortress, and other Alliance characters are brought into the spotlight in addition to the mercenaries. In a later expansion we will also shed more light on the alliance.
buffed: That might not be that important for the expansion, but is Forged in the Barrens playing before the Cataclysm? Or is the Hearthstone lorry decoupled from World of Warcraft?
Joseph Killion: We oriented ourselves more towards the Classic Warcraft. So everything you see in Forged in the Barrens takes place before the cataclysm.
The Hearthstone timeline is of course a bit different from the original Warcraft, for example we already have demon hunters that did not exist in Classic. Even if we’re based on Warcraft, Hearthstone always gives us a little more leeway.
Liv Breeden: Exactly, we can let off steam more at Hearthstone. For example, if we want a demon hunter; should this even wear glaives? What does his armor set look like and we can ask questions like “What does a level 16 demon hunter look like?” etc.
buffed: Will the expansion lead to a conflict between the Horde and the Alliance?
Liv Breeden: Who knows, we can’t say that yet. Maybe they are friends in the end too.
buffed: Are cards that simply increase spell damage constantly being removed by the new magic schools? For example, are you going to change Malygos to that effect?
Liv Breeden: No, we won’t change Malygos.
The re will still be cards with +1 spell damage, for example, but then more as neutral cards so that everyone can use them. At the magic schools we focus on making Demonic only available to demon hunters and warlocks, for example, because these make the most sense in these classes.
Joseph Killion: Mages, for example, have several schools of magic (arcane, fire, frost). For this class it makes more sense to create cards with “magic damage +1” etc. in addition to spells with magic schools.
buffed: Will there be servants who only trigger effects when a certain magic school is used?
Joseph Killion: Yes it will. One of the already known servants from the set is a spirit healer, who grants a random servant friend +2 life points when you cast a holy spell.
The re will be quilboar that will produce these bloodstones. Other quilboar get buffed if you play bloodstones. This tribe is a lot of fun to play with as each round you can make tricky decisions about how to use the bloodstones.
buffed: Sounds interesting. Can you explain how exactly the blood stones still work?
Liv Breeden: Yes. Blood stones are buff cards that grant a servant + 1 / + 1 and are played out of hand. With some quilboar it plays a role whether they are cast on the servant himself or on other quilboar.
buffed: So like banana buffs?
Liv Breeden: Exactly, kind of like banana buffs. So the whole tribe is basically about banana buffs, which is pretty fun.
buffed: Can we expect more battlefield events like the gift cards from the Darkmoon Race in the future?
Liv Breeden: Could be, we’re constantly looking at how we can make the battlefield mode even more attractive for players.
buffed: Are Weeping Caves and / or Razorfen Kraul candidates for a solo adventure in Forged in the Barrens?
Joseph Killion: We will definitely focus on the solo content, which, similar to the book of heroes, is told about the book of the mercenaries, which follows the ten mercenaries on their journeys. We can’t reveal who the heroes are or how the stories play out just yet, but we will definitely be delivering some solo content.
The Book of Mercenaries gives us the opportunity to expand the story and give the player more information, which is pretty cool.
buffed: Thank you very much!
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