Hearthstone: Murder at Castle Nathria devs reveal “hard” balancing process for Prince Renethal card

Lawrence Scotti
Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone: Murder at Castle Nathria, has been revealed and with it the free universal Legendary card in Prince Renethal. The card game’s developers shined a light on how difficult balancing his card was behind the scenes.

Murder at Castle Nathria is Hearthstone’s next expansion and will transport players to the dark Revendreth zone of the Shadowlands for a fancy dinner party hosted by its creator Sire Denathrius.

The night takes a major turn when Denathrius is murdered, turning the evening into a murder mystery party. The expansion will include ten Legendary Suspect cards, one for each class, and players will uncover potential motives for each of the would-be murderers.

As with each expansion for Blizzard’s flagship card game, players will receive a free neutral Legendary card upon logging in, but Murder at Castle Nathria’s card, Prince, Renethal, is quite unique.

Hearthstone Murder at Castle Nathria
Blizzard Entertainment
Murder at Castle Nathria is Hearthstone’s next expansion.

Hearthstone devs detail difficulties balancing Prince Renethal

Prince Renethal, known as the Dark Prince of the Venythr, is Murder at Castle Nathria’s free neutral Legendary minion. His card effects are powerful: upon the start of a match, if Renethal is in your deck, he grants your hero ten extra HP as well as ten more cards added to your deck.

Cora Georgiou, game designer for Hearthstone, opened up about how difficult it was designing a card which so much power, one that will be in the hands of every player.

Hearthstone Prince Renathal character
Blizzard
Prince Renathal will give your deck more health and more cards, but it’s not all good news for damage-focused decks.

Georgiou said it was “hard” to balance such an impactful Legendary. “Usually the Legendaries that we give to everybody are quite good. Blademaster Okani and Blademaster Samuro were very good cards, and cards you would see fitting into various decks. But, they aren’t usually cards that make new archetypes or are incredibly impactful. We’re thinking Prince Renethal could be very widely played.”

Georgiou explained that there were tons of internal playtesting and conversations about how Renethal could impact “literally every deck in the meta.” She says the dev team was “very cautious” when designing him, and that they actually tested what 60 and 50-card decks would look like for Renethal, but ended up scaling back.

Leonardo Robles Gonzalez, an Associate Game Designer on the Hearthstone team, shined a light on how some decks won’t run Renethal due to the increased card count making it less likely to get what you need on any given turn.

“This card is obviously very powerful because its effect just happens when the game starts, but if you’re playing a super damage-focused deck like Face Hunter, I don’t think you would want to run this.”

Gonzalez highlighted that decks will “lose out on consistency with having more cards that I think is what balances the card out.”

Hearthstone: Murder at Castle Nathria launches on August 2, and many players will certainly be using Prince Nathria on release.

However, in order to get the most out of him, players will have to theory craft a ton with their decks to figure out which 40 cards make the most sense from each of the game’s classes.

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