Hearthstone's latest expansion, Journey to Un'goro, has introduced a new spell type called Quests. These powerful build-arounds offer win conditions in exchange for fulfilling some tough goals like playing Taunts or buffing your other minions. In its opening weekend, nothing has run rampant over the meta quite like the Rogue Quest. The Hearthstone subreddit even created a dedicated megathread to stem the tide of threads complaining about it.
In a chat with game designer Dean Ayala for an upcoming Un'Goro feature here at Shacknews, we had a chance to quickly pick his brain about the power of the Rogue Quest and how the community has responded so far.
"Rogue was one of the ones that was scariest to us," Ayala said. "I think in terms of us thinking about: what are the ones that we would be not shocked if they were too powerful? I think the Mage one and the Rogue one were the ones we had our eye on. At the same time we wanted to push new decks to the limits. We playtested so much with these quests, and I personally played specifically with the Rogue quest, multiple variations of it. One that I haven't seen had more Coldlight Oracles that basically based more on drawing than bouncing, so they kind of draw their Shadowsteps eventually. I think that version is also really good."
However, Ayala doesn't think the problems players are having overcoming Rogues are insurmountable, because they're vulnerable to a few key deck types. Namely, aggressive decks that deal a lot of damage too quickly, and the newly powered-up Taunt Warrior that comes with a big reward thanks to its own Quest.
"Rogues are naturally pretty susceptible to being killed. It turns out even if you complete the quest by turn four, not doing anything in the first four turns is pretty bad. You complete the Quest and you're at like nine health. I think the Rogue Quest is vulnerable to a lot of aggro decks, but also Taunt Warriors have been pretty good. They just eat a lot of the damage and Brawl their stuff away, and then the Rogue just has no more cards. I definitely saw the threads on Reddit. It's dying down a little now, it's just a little jarring when your opponent is bashing you with Stonetusk Boars on turn five."
That unassuming 1/1 with Charge is a staple of the aggressive version of the Rogue Quest, since it becomes a powerful minion. Ayala mentioned that the existence of Stonetusk Boar has actually influenced designs behind the scenes more than we might expect.
"You'd be surprised how many designs get axed because of Stonetusk Boar," he said. "In playtesting, if you put Stonetusk Boar in a deck, in the middle of playtesting for a new set, that's always the sign of like 'uh oh, what did he do?' We had a card at some point that was 'Gain the card types of your other minions' and everything was going great until someone put Stonetusk Boar in their deck."
For more on Hearthstone's Journey to Un'Goro expansion, check back here tomorrow, and be sure to read our series of card reviews.