Designing new cards for digital card brawler like Hearthstone isn’t easy, and changes are bound to happen before the final release.
It turns out that the whole Jade Golem idea used to look a lot different. In its final form for December’s Mean Street of Gadgetzan expansion, certain cards for the Rogue, Shaman, and Druid summon a Jade Golem. The first Jade Golem is a 1/1 minion, but the second one would be 2/2, then 3/3, and so on. But it didn’t always work that.
GamesBeat interviewed senior game designer Peter Whalen, and he talked to us about a very different version of this Jade mechanic.
We iterated an enormous amount on it. We had an idea early on that as you played jade cards, jade cards got better. The very first version we had was — you had a jade count on your hero, and you had a bunch of cards that cared about your jade. Jade Lightning was deal damage equal to your jade count. Maybe it was three damage plus one for each of your jade count. There was a card that summoned a 1/1 Jade Squirrel for each of your jade count. As you played each of your jade cards, your count went up, and you made a bunch of squirrels and did a bunch of damage. You had to figure out how you wanted to sequence that.
The problem was it was very complicated. All these cards did different things, and your jade count meant different things in different spaces. Then we said, what if you just made minions, and at five jade count this minion gets taunt? Or this minion gets divine shield. We tried a bunch of things in that space. It just made more sense to unify it. We could make cooler cards that did a thing, and the Jade Golem always got bigger. The Jade Golem was a unifying part between the cards, and the actual card mechanic was what made them cool. Gain a mana crystal and get a Jade Golem. Do some damage and get a Jade Golem. That was the evolution of it. We started out with lots of ways to use the jade mechanic, then we went to different ways of using minions that used the jade mechanic, and then we just made jade things with cool effects to go on top of them.
Sounds neat but complicated. I’m glad we got the Jade mechanic that we did.