Blizzard made changes to the artwork on 8 Hearthstone cards yesterday (and changed the names of two of them), and the response was not so much positive. Different posters in this Reddit thread, for example, speculate that the sex and violence was dialed back so as to be in accordance with Chinese regulations. That would not be extraordinary: China’s gaming sector is vigorously controlled, and Blizzard has recently made changes to World of Warcraft visuals in order so as to conform to guidelines.
For this situation, in any case, China had nothing to do with it. Lead mission designer Dave Kosak disclosed to us that in the wake of evaluating the full Hearthstone set, Blizzard chose that the art on some of the cards just didn’t satisfy its standards, and that Blizzard “wouldn’t print those same cards today.”
“We returned and extremely just brought everything up to our standards,” Kosak said. “It wasn’t on the grounds that we were looking at ratings, or Worldwide [regulations], or anything like that. We extremely simply wanted our artists to feel good about everything in the set.”
The changed cards are:
- Succubus (now named Felstalker)
- Mistress of Pain (now named Queen of Pain)
- Windfury Harpy
- Deadly Shot
Succubus underwent the most complete change: The details and impact are the same, however the sexy cruel demons who “slake their lust with coupling” are out, and pack-chasing “demonic beasts” are in. Mistress of Pain (presently Queen of Pain), Secretkeeper, and Windfury Harpy have likewise had the attractive factor dialed back, while Bite, Eviscerate, and Deadly Shot are currently less graphically violent.
Kosak affirmed that some of the changes were aimed at toning down the portrayals of sex and violence in the game (despite the fact that designer Liv Breeden noted that one card, Headcrack, was updated in light of the fact that it was just excessively dark and hard to read) however emphasized that the decision was driven not by external forces,yet “only sort of bringing it up to the standards we felt great about today.”
This won’t really be the last batch of Hearthstone card art to be changed: Kosak said that Blizzard doesn’t have any quick plans, that it is “continually assessing the set and looking at it.”
You can see all the changed cards below: