Last week we introduced you to Hearthstone's new villain (opens in new tab): King Togwaggle, the leader of the verminous Kobolds. He'll appear in the upcoming new expansion, Kobolds & Catacombs (opens in new tab) as part of new single player mode, Dungeon Run. This week we spoke to Hearthstone (opens in new tab) game designers Peter Whalen and Dave Kosak about one of new weapons in your arsenal to defeat him: the Recruit keyword. When triggered, say as a deathrattle, it'll pull a creature from your deck and drop it straight onto the board.
"We typically create new mechanics for each set, and for Kobolds & Catacombs, we wanted new mechanics that would represent both the dungeon you’d be exploring and the adventurers - the friends that fight through the dungeon with you," explains Whalen.
Hearthstone trial, error and Guildies
He admits there were some initial ideas that didn't make the cut. For instance, we nearly got to play Kobolds & Catacombs with new minion tribes called "Guildies" who could combine their powers (not unlike Minion Power Rangers). Another idea that was scrapped was a level up mechanic, because it didn't fit with the plan for the new spellstones. "We also experimented with an experience point system, where players would gain experience over the course of a match, but it felt a bit like the Quests from Journey to Un’Goro," says Whalen.
Deck building and recruitment
So how will Recruit change the way you use cards? Your initial instinct is to hope to pull out a high-value creature, but there are pros and cons to its use. "We think Recruit really opens up new deck building possibilities," says Kosak. " It also makes you look at your cards - old and new - in different ways. Battlecries won’t trigger when you Recruit a minion, so those might not always be the best kinds of cards to play in a Recruit deck. If you’re playing Gather Your Party in your Warrior deck, you might want to pack some high-cost Minions in your deck to get the most value out of that 6-mana Recruit card."
Kobold & Catacombs' class warfare
Of course, whether or not Recruit tickles your pickle will depend a lot on what class you prefer to play in Hearthstone. "Early on, we tagged two classes to be the main Recruit classes: Warrior and Druid," explains Whalen. "They each have their own style of Recruiting. Warriors are more open-ended, and they like to recruit giant Minions. Druids are more contained, and have some more specific rules for how they Recruit. Other classes got Recruit cards that made sense for their class fantasy. Hunters get a Legendary Minion, Kathrena Winterwisp, that Recruits a Beast when it’s played and when it dies. Warlocks can Recruit a Demon, and Paladins can Recruit a bunch of small Minions. All classes approach the mechanic in different ways - some don’t get their own Recruit card, but there are a handful of interesting neutral Recruit cards they can all take advantage of."
Hearthstone's new Silver Vanguard
Our friends over at PC Gamer (opens in new tab) revealed one of the new cards that will feature the Recruit keyword: Silver Vanguard. "Silver Vanguard is a neutral Minion with 'Deathrattle: Recruit an 8-cost minion.' Summoning a free 8-cost minion is pretty sweet, right?" says Whalen, while Kosak jokes about using it to summon the Lich King.
"Silver Vanguard is only a 3/3, and costs 7 mana, but you can use her to create some really cool synergies," says Whalen. "Imagine you’re playing Hunter. Kathrena Winterwisp is an 8-cost minion, so you could Recruit her with Silver Vanguard’s Deathrattle. Kathrena’s Battlecry wouldn’t trigger, but she still recruits a random Beast when she dies. What if you have a Play Dead or two? There’s definitely some cool Hunter Deathrattle synergy in the set to look forward to."
Kobolds & Catacombs will launch for Hearthstone this December, but you can pre-purchase the new Kobolds & Catacombs cards (opens in new tab) in preparation now. We'll have another exclusive Hearthstone video for you next week.