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Hearthstone interview: Forged at the Barrens, the Core set, and Classic

There's a lot coming to Hearthstone and we talk with Blizzard's Dean Ayala and Chadd Nervig about Forged in the Barrens, the new Core set, Classic mode, and yes, we even ask about the Switch.


There's a lot that's happening in the world of Hearthstone over the next few weeks. The Year of the Phoenix is about to come to a close, ushering in the Year of the Gryphon. That means more than a new expansion and it even means more than the annual Standard rotation. Hearthstone is about to change in more ways than one with the new Core set, as well as with the addition of Classic mode.

"From a design perspective, I think one of the things that's really important from that first set is, it's there to teach you Hearthstone, but also to prepare you for what Hearthstone is going to be like once you're out there on ladder and experiencing things," Lead Designer Dean Ayala told Shacknews. "The Core set and the cards that you earn should teach you a little bit about what that experience is going to be like. A lot of those cards are going to be some serious considerations for a bunch of meta decks out there, too. Hopefully not so powerful to the point where every deck is using the same cards throughout the entire year, but we think that almost all the cards will be a consideration for [what] you'll be putting in different sorts of meta decks and there's a lot of really popular cards that players have been using for a really long time. There's a bunch of synergies there, so idea is that you'll level up, you'll earn some exciting cards, and by the end of your leveling experience in a class when you get to Level 10, the cards that you earn result in some semblance of a deck with some synergy that feels like you can take it on the ladder and have some success with it."

Beyond the Core set, the topics in this interview touched on the upcoming Forged in the Barrens expansion, some of the cards players can expect to see, as well as the decision to jump into the past with the new (old?) Classic mode.

There's a lot that's in Hearthstone's future, but one thing that's not in the cards is a Nintendo Switch port.

"We don't have any plans for that," Ayala added. "I think input design is really interesting to trying to figure out how we would put Hearthstone on a controller input. It's an interesting question to ask, but it's not something that we've dove into in terms of trying to solve. Not for now."

Hearthstone: Forged in the Barrens is coming soon. Cards are expected to be revealed in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, the new Core set was recently revealed in full and we break down what's in and what's out for the next Standard year. For more interviews like this, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews and GamerHub.TV on YouTube.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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