In the first part of our BlizzCon interview, Yong Woo told us about the origins of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and how its creation is all owed to a gangster Murloc. Today we highlight different parts of our hour-long discussion that have to do with tri-class cards and the community's response to the announcement that there would only be three per family.
We were lucky in that our interview took place after the community was able to respond to the original reveal and as a result, Dean and Yong were able to directly address the concerns that players were expressing on community websites like Reddit and Twitter.
That's the cool thing about tri-class cards right? Priest can get (kind of) two legendaries this expansion?
Dean: Yeah, kind of. I think the cool thing to me about tri-class cards is backing up...we tried really, really hard to do is make sure we..."Well, all these games feel a little bit the same, the classes feel the same," would be very bad for us. So I think with tri-class cards because we try to stick so close to the identity of each individual class, it's the idea of being able to dip a little bit into another class' flavor...That feels a lot different than the average game because we're trying to stick so hard to the identity of each individual class. There's also sort of a danger in tri-class cards. Releasing nine in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, I think if we released much more than that we'd run the risk with Mage, Priest, and Warlock, they're all sharing tri-class cards and there's 20 or thirty of them. Who's to say that Mage picks the Warlocks and starts building the same class versus [being] very different from each other. So we tried to hit the sweet spot with nine and have each of those cards make a relative impact, hopefully, we got there.
Yong: The big thing we really want to help you feel in Mean Streets is when you play on the turf of these families that you feel like you're part of that family. So these class legendaries will really bind those classes together and help people understand. "For the Kabal, it's Mage, Priest, and Warlock because that's what Kazakus can be used in." But then also help you really feel like, "With these three classes I can play a Kabal deck, I can feel like I'm part of that family." And I think that will be really cool. That flavor is...a lot of players identify themselves as a Priest players, Paladin player, etc. I think it would be really awesome with Mean Streets going up if players also identify themselves as, 'Go Kabal! Let's fight for the Kabal cause!"
Were the tri-class cards a big part of the reason behind the Ethereal Peddler text change?
[Ed note: Dean is confused as he apparently wasn't aware of the change]
Obviously, the way it was originally worded we weren't thinking about tri-class as that time. So we realized that the way it was worded players would imagine a card like tri-class would actually be considered not of its class. That wasn't our intention so we made that adjustment to really clarify that.
So there are only three cards per family for tri-class cards. I think the kneejerk response is that people were expecting something along the line of cultists, around nine cards for each. A lot of people are trying to figure out exactly how it allows you to embody those gangs with what is effectively three cards.
Yong: In Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, the class cards are all very themed to be part of that family. A good example is I Know a Guy. It's a Warrior card, it's a Warrior spell, but it's themed such that when you play it you're like, 'Yeah, I know a guy,' because I'm part of the Grimy Goons. It really makes you feel part of that family. The purpose of the three tri-class is to really help...the entire set is designed with this family in mind, but these three class cards are really there to bind it together. So you're going to have the leader of the family, like Han'Cho in this case, the Warrior, and then you're going to have two cards that embody what it means to be part of this family.
We're going to be talking more about that over the next three weeks which will be really exciting, but I think that's going to really help the player look at those cards and understand [what each family is about]. And at that point, I think that plus the fact that the full set is designed with this rich family story built into the set will bind it together perfectly.
So it's almost like there are three families within each family? So Mage, Priest, and Warlock are all similar since they share the tri-class cards, but are slightly different within their own class cards?
Yong: Yeah, they're all part of the same family.
Dean: We'd be a little sad if we created tri-class and we kind of alluded to this earlier, but for the Grimy Goons deck [people were saying], "The Warrior one, the Hunter one, and the Paladin one are all the same. I queued into Warrior so it's the same as this Hunter deck." I guess the short answer to the question is, the tri-class cards serve more as a lynchpin to these decks rather that you need these tri-class cards and it's like a tri-class card deck.
Yong: But it's really exciting. It's hard to...we have a lot of people ask us, "Well this isn't an adventure it's an expansion. How are you going to convey this story of these three families struggling with each other?" I really feel like Dean and the rest of the design team did such a great job. You start these cards and start making these decks and at least for me it makes me feel like, "Ah, wow, cool!" I've always had an affinity towards cloth-casters. I'm very excited to join the Kabal and scheme with them and maybe play a lot of Priest, but maybe I'm going to end up playing a lot more Mage or Warlock. As I identify myself with that faction. These cards are just so well flavored it's going to make me really feel like I'm living that fantasy...
Dean: We took the story part of it so seriously it kind of makes me laugh looking back on it. You might have a card and it's from the Kabal and this isn't an adventure. There's no script. There's no storyline essentially. What we have is a voice line. We have a character that says, "For the Kabal," but trust me I know all about that guy. I know his name, I know his backstory...in some cases, we go out to the voice actor studio and we're like, "Okay, this is what this guy is all about. And he's doing this, he's in this situation, and he's pretty nervous right now. He got up in the morning, he's not feeling too good, and that's sort of what we want to convey." "So what does he say?" "He says, 'For the Kabal!'" "That's it?" We did the whole story for each one of these characters because it is important. When you know all this stuff you can talk to artists about it, you can talk to voice actors about it, the final product, everything feels like it fits together when you have all of that in the background.
Yong: That's why I really enjoyed our panel this year because we get to actually talk about what goes into building our worlds. I think some people can look at our panel and go, "What? You architected this map of this fictional city? You built architecture for each of the families? In the corner I see a couple tiny, little windows with light shining through. Why did it matter what that building was made of? Why do you spend so much time focusing on the architecture and their dress code and all that stuff?" But it's the little details that really come through.
I think that's what helps it really make it feel like you're not just looking at 132 boxes with numbers and text in it. You're like, "Okay, I'm going to go visit Gadgetzan." It makes sense. It's consistent. Everybody in Grimy Goons have their dress code, they have their attitude, and they're living in the same environment and that all adds up, right? I thought it was really cool to show that off and [Concept Artist] Jamaro [Kindred] did such a great job. He's so excited about all the stuff he works on.
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Guide
We've still got lots more to cover from our interview, but those aren't quite ready for your eyes yet. In the meantime, you can head on over to our official guide for more information on Mean Streets including all of the revealed cards, gameplay, trailers, and more!