If you’ve been watching or playing Hearthstone, it’s no secret that the Rogue set is one of, if not the strongest sets in the game right now. The class features unparalleled card efficiency, crippling amounts of direct damage and an affinity with The Coin that most other classes can only dream of. Oh, and it also has Defias Ringleader, a tragically good minion which, when comboed, creates a 2/3 and 2/1 minion for two mana. Incredibly strong already, when used in conjunction with The Coin on turn one, it creates an incredible amount of pressure that allows Rogue decks to steamroll an unwitting opponent. Individuals prepared to deal with it will still find themselves in a hole, having to expend multiple cards/HP dealing with the turn one menace.
It thus comes as no surprise that there are changes on the horizon for the Rogue set. Hearthstone dev Eric Dodds sat down last night with Turn2, a Hearthstone Podcast, and spent time discussing the state of the game.
“They’re too strong, frankly,” said Dodds of Rogues. “We are definitely going to be making changes in the future on a variety of areas to the Rogue to bring them into line with the other classes.”
The combo mechanic is not going be changed, but specific cards will be, including the obvious candidate, Defias Ringleader.
“The Defias Ringleader is not going to survive in its current exact stats,” Dodds explained. “It’ll still be his town, but not quite as much his town, I think.” The last bit was a comical nod to the script that plays upon summoning the comboed version of the minion, wherein Defias Ringleader quips “this is our town scrub!”, followed by Defias Bandit chipping in with “yah, beat it!”
Another issue brought up by co-host Erik Ionnquist (known by many as ggDoA) was the relative weakness of Warrior and Priest in the current format.
Dodds was mum on specifics, but he did explain that the dev team acknowledged the weakness of the Priest set and was looking to find a way to bring it up to par. Moreover, he mentioned that, because Hearthstone is based on World of Warcraft, there are unique challenges in trying to make classes both viable and representative of their Warcraft counterparts, citing that as a reason why Priest might be a bit underwhelming at present.
Mention was also made of the precarious nature of balancing Warriors. At present, while capable of inflicting intense burst damage via weapons and the enrage mechanic, the class has survivability issues for how much they’re called to battle minions directly, and their card draw is some of the least impressive in the game. Dodds was quite transparent on this front as well.
“In earlier alphas that, of course you guys didn’t see, but we played a lot of, the Warrior was actually one of the strongest classes and all it takes is the changes of a couple numbers here or there and actually that’s one of the things that we’re making sure that we adjust accordingly because it’s really easy for us to go ‘bump this one, bump this one, bump this one’ and oh my god the Warrior is just ruining everybody because the weapons are really a strong mechanic,” explained Dodds.
“Specifically to the enrage mechanic, we took a step back and looked at the warriors on a whole and said on a larger scale, Warriors have a lot of cards that are effective once you sort of have your thing going like the enrage mechanic and you whirlwind and once your rolling on that you’re looking awesome but, if it sort of fizzles out and you’re in top decking mode, you don’t have a lot of places to go. You draw some of those cards and you go ‘this just isn’t taking me anywhere by itself’, so we’re looking at a few of those cards and trying to make them a little bit more broadly applicable so if you draw it late game it’s not looking like such a weak card, and we’re also looking to give them a little bit more card draw because you look at some of the other classes and their card draw is reasonably strong and Warriors have some issues in that area so those are the sorts of things you can expect and again, we’re still monkeying with the numbers and trying to get it just right so we don’t have specifics for you but that’s sort of the thing you can see from Warrior specifically.”
There was more discussed on topics such as the Arena, possible expansion sets and a spectator mode, but Dodds had little to offer in terms of concrete information, explaining that, again, the team’s focus was on unveiling the product for the masses. Beyond that, he did note that the game would go in a direction that matched the interests of the community, suggesting that if a competitive scene was viewed as a high priority, the team would dive into making it happen. Given the interest in weekly tournaments, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that take top priority upon the actual release of the game.
Gushing a bit here, it’s awesome to see such transparency from a game developer. This is yet another in a long list of positive signs for Hearthstone going forward, and we at BlizzPro couldn’t be more excited to the see what’s around the corner.