With years of expansion releases now under their belt, Blizzard is continually trying to improve the hype and roll out of new sets.
Be that the livestreams that booked card reveal seasons, the pacing of the time between announcement and launch, and all the content that helps build the excitement.
For the first time, Blizzard has released a behind the scenes video to coincide with the launch of The Witchwood, the first set of the new Standard year. In it figures from all the facets of the Hearthstone development team take you through the entire process of creating the expansion.
First off, they had to pick a theme. The team wanted a darker expansion, with a spooky theme. That led them naturally to Gilneas, and the forest that surrounds it.
The video details the development of the worgen cards, in particular showing some of the art development process, and the new Hero card Hagatha. For the worgen cards, Blizzard apparently went through a ton of different transformation mechanics until settling on the stat swap version that’s in the expansion. All those cards have two pieces of art instead of one.
Shudderwock, a card already getting a ton of attention from players, features prominently in this video too. The engineering processes it takes to make the card makes it “the most complicated card we’ve ever made” according to game director Ben Brode.
This video is a great insight into what goes on during the creation of an expansion. But to be honest, it doesn’t feel nearly long enough. Maybe for a future set, the team could film a series of developer diaries and really give players an in-depth look at what it takes to create a new set of cards.