“It was horrible. Absolutely horrible,” responds DaddyKibler, highlander mage player and traumatized victim of the demon hunter catastrophe. “I had managed to remove that… that thing that had awakened and killed my whole board. I was at twenty life, so I was feeling okay. And then… and then…” Daddykibler chokes back a sob. Tears run down his cheeks. “They drew three cards for negative four mana. And that just sort of broke me. I’m broken now. And so is Illidan.”
Other Hearthstone players around him pick their way through the shattered rubble of the game they once loved. How could Blizzard do this to us, they wonder? A better Ragnaros for seven mana? As a rare? Surely not. Surely, the developers must’ve known. Surely…?
“I just don’t see what all the fuss is about,” remarks Hearthstone designer Dave Kosak, after taking a moment to adjust his blindfold. “Demon hunter’s weakness as a class is single-target hard removal. If you’re having trouble beating them, I suggest running some big taunts. Just make sure that they don’t kill you before you can play them. Or silence your taunt and draw a card. Or play the card that lets them ignore taunt. What was I talking about again?”
Unlike the devastation outside, life in the Blizzard office is calm and tranquil. Developers chat happily, blindfolds firmly affixed around their eyes. Occasionally, one of them will bump into a wall, or design a two-mana spell that draws two cards. “Does this look fine?” he’ll turn and ask the woman next to him. “Sure,” she responds. “Probably. I can’t see a fucking thing.”
“Oh, the blindfolds? Yeah, I don’t remember whose idea that was,” states August “Dean” Ayala, senior designer and part-time month. “Just a fun experiment. Really makes you feel like Illidan, y’know? Anyways, now that the expansion’s out, I should probably take this off—oh… oh God. That can’t be right. Please… please tell me we didn’t ship that. Three damage Moonfire with lifesteal? May Brode have mercy on our souls…”
Ayala’s panic begins to spread through the office as developer after developer removes their blindfold and looks upon the horrors they had wrought. The screams. The sub-50% win-rate of every other class. Mountains of salt, mined and unceremoniously deposited at their door. “Where were the playtesters?! Please for the love of God tell me the playtesters weren’t blindfolded!” a frantic Dave Kosak shrieks at a cowering intern. “Oh man, this is bad. This is really bad. We need to nuke this shit from orbit! Activate the Galakrond protocol!”
As the frantic developers rush to grab their nerf bats and band-aids, one lone playtester slips out the back entrance, taking care to hide his face from the other designers. The hunched silhouette carries a cane and walks with a slight limp. “So they finally noticed,” he mutters to himself. “Fools. I wished only to reward those who followed me faithfully: those who longed for the glorious days of Kobolds and Catacombs. A one-mana 2/1 that draws a card? Who else could it be but me?”
“Ah, but it matters not. Illidan serves the Legion now, just as we all do, in the end.” The shadowed figure pauses for a moment, tenderly regarding the joyful face of a young warlock player as they play a zero-mana Assassinate that gains five life. A smile cracks the figure’s wizened green lips. “I suppose,” Gul’dan whispers, “That it was time… for a Plot Twist.”