Max McCall Talks About Charge and Taunt - Concerns, Experimentation, and Execution

Max McCall Talks About Charge and Taunt - Concerns, Experimentation, and Execution

Our friendly neighborhood Game Designer, Max McCall, was out on the forums this afternoon responding to concerns regarding Charge and Taunt. He had this to say:

  • Taunt allows players to defend themselves and add minion to minion combat.
  • Charge can be problematic due to one-turn-kill combos, usually through cheap Charge minions.
  • We'll see more charge in the future when they find safe ways to use the mechanic.
  • Currently, experimentation is underway  with more expensive minions that are harder to use in combos.
  • The Hogriders in Gadgetzan are the first example of different ways to use the mechanic in a non-degenerate way.

What would you like to see out of the Charge Mechanic? Can you think of any cool cards that could work like Leatherclad HogleaderSpiked Hogrider, or Tanaris Hogchopper?

Quote from Max McCall

Neither taunt nor charge are inherently bad for Hearthstone.

Taunt is great. Taunt minions let players defend themselves and their other minions and add a lot of depth to direct minion combat.

Charge can be problematic, though. Minions’ ability to directly attack other minions means that a player who achieves control of the board early will tend to snowball their lead. When you control the board, you can arrange for minion trades that further cement your board control. Minions with charge are a useful tool for allowing players who have fallen behind on the board to catch up. Spells are a good way to catch people up as well, but cards like Stormwind Knight can kill a 3/2 and establish a board at the same time. Different ways to catch up when you’re behind gives the game more texture, and offers more strategic choices.

Charge becomes a problem for Hearthstone when you use it to kill your opponent out of nowhere in one turn. Playing Druid of the Claw as a 4/4 charge for 5 is good gameplay. Playing Bluegill Warrior, casting Power Overwhelming on it twice, then copying it with Faceless Manipulator to attack your opponent for 20 isn’t. In that example, charge is only a problem because of how efficient it makes converting minion buffs into direct damage. We could make more charge minions if we made minion buffs worse, but minion buffs have more design space than charge minions. Minion buffs are also fun and also enable you to catch up with weaker minions your opponent hasn’t gotten around to trading off yet.

Note that it’s specifically cheap charge minions that tend to cause problems, because they’re easier to combine with buffs and Faceless Manipulator. No one uses Reckless Rocketeer or King Krush for evil. We’re cautiously experimenting with more expensive charge minions that are harder to use in degenerate combos. The Hogriders in Mean Streets were the first example of this, and it’s reassuring to see that no one is using them to one-shot their opponents. We’ll do more charge stuff in the future as we figure out what’s safe.


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