Father of Hearthstone, Ben Brode, spoke on Twitter about some of Hearthstone's original heroes and why we ended up with the 9 heroes that were chosen. Although it has been some time since Ben has been on the Hearthstone team since he left Blizzard to start Second Dinner, it shows he still has valuable knowledge about the history of the game.
Now, about those heroes. To start, Ben said that they wanted to make sure the heroes had a balance of genders and races. It was also important to have iconic characters for each class. I can't say we disagree there! Here's what Ben had to say about each of the classes he mentioned.
- They really wanted a Hunter that could use beasts and a bow but none of the famous Hunters did that.
- The original Hunter hero was Hemet Nesingwary.
- They settled on Rexxar and "hoped nobody would notice" when he had a bow.
- Jaina and Kael'thas were both the original Mage heroes when the game had both Horde and Alliance heroes.
- Jaina won over Kael'thas due to the breakdown of Horde vs Alliance.
- Tyrande was the original Priest hero and it was that way for most of development.
- Tyrande is also known for using a bow, riding a tiger, and casting Druid spells which wasn't very flavorful.
- The team wanted a Priest that used both Holy and Shadow, which isn't in lore.
- Anduin became the Priest hero due to him casting Mind Control during a quest in an upcoming World of Warcraft expansion.
- Art was commissioned for Anduin to be equally Holy and Shadow, the desired portrayal of Priest.
- Edwin VanCleef was the original Rogue hero.
- They decided to go with Valeera instead because they had too many humans.
- It was a fun class because there were a lot of "cool" Warlocks.
- Cho'gall was the original Warlock hero.
- They had a conversation about Gul'dan and were worried about him because he wasn't alive at the same time as some other characters.
- They were torn between Magni and Garrosh for the original hero.
- Garrosh possibly hadn't "gone bad" yet in Warcraft so he was still able to become the Warrior hero.
We wanted a balance of races and genders, and we wanted iconic paragons of the class. We also wanted to use iconic characters where we could. Thrall was easy. We were torn between Magni and Garrosh (Garrosh hadn’t gone bad yet IIRC) for warrior.
Paladin seemed pretty easy too. Hunter was really hard. We wanted a hunter that could use beasts and a bow - none of the famous hunters did that. At first our hunter was Hemet Nesingwary. Eventually we settled on giving Rexxar a bow and hoping nobody would notice
Warlock was fun because there are a lot of cool warlocks. We ended up having a long conversation about whether we could use Gul’dan because him and some of the other characters were never alive at the same time and we were worried about what that meant for the timeline.
For a long time Cho’Gall was the warlock hero. Rogue was Edwin VanCleef for a while, but we had too many humans so we used the fairly unknown character from the WoW comics, Valeera.
We used to have Alliance and Horde versions of each hero, and for mage they were Kael’thas and Jaina, but Jaina won out because of where we ended up on the breakdown of horde/alliance
Druid was easy. Priest was the hardest. We used Tyrande for most of development, but she’s also well know for using a bow, riding a tiger, and casting Druid spells. There weren’t any priests in the lore who were a blend of holy and shadow (which is what we wanted to portray)
We spoke with the WoW team and found out that in the upcoming expansion, Anduin was going to cast Mind Control during one quest. We said “Good enough!” and commissioned a piece of art that shows him using holy and shadow in equal amounts.