Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan is apparently the man behind another game innovation, this time for Blizzard’s mega hit card game, Hearthstone.
In a video by Ars Technica, Hearthstone Director Ben Brode unearthed some facts and trivia about the game. The video is a great watch for Hearthstone fans who want to dig deeper to the game’s history, but probably the most important part of the video is the reveal of who’s the man who helped developers from Team 5 realize a new feature that would reshape the norm among card games.
When a long match ends to a pointless mechanic
The fatigue mechanic is a feature that deals escalating damage dealt to players after attempting to draw a card with an empty deck. This feature wasn’t available in the earliest version of the game which was played by the Overwatch Director during a play test.
Brode explained how ‘Papa Jeff’ – as the community memes about him made the feedback that would eventually become the mechanic players are all used to.
“We were doing a playtest and we asked Jeff Kaplan to come over and try the game,” Brode said. “And he got really into it, he started playing minions and attacking, he was having fun figuring out what cards to play. He had never played it before, he was excited to get into it. And he was very close to winning, and then the computer he was playing against passed the turn. It said ‘Your turn, you lose!’ And he was like, what?”
Prior to fatigue, an empty deck in hearthstone works similarly among other massive TCG games such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering – you run out of cards, you lose.
“It didn’t matter what decisions he made during the game, he was just going to lose because he ran out of cards… So we designed the fatigue mechanic so that it ratchets up the damage every time you try and draw a card but your deck is empty,” Brode added.
The addition of fatigue not only helped the game to become more exciting and fulfilling for players, it also helped them create a meta that would favor long matches and control-centered decks.