UPDATE: Blizzard has issued a statement, received by Kotaku, addressing the recent changes to card art:

The recent changes were applied to make those cards more visually cohesive and consistent with the art style of Hearthstone today. When Hearthstone first launched, we brought in a lot of artwork from the physical World of Warcraft trading card game. In the years since, Hearthstone has developed a look, feel, and personality of its own that distinguishes it from that of Warcraft—though we still love being a part of that universe. We’ll always be looking for ways to deliver on the game’s unique style, charm, and personality.

The problem with that reasoning is that there are still quite a few cards in Hearthstone that use the art from the World of Warcraft TCG, like Leeroy Jenkins, Edwin VanCleef, Tundra Rhino (which uses art from Woolly White Rhino), and Spellbender (which uses art from Siaranna the Fickle). Toss in the fact that Eviscerate received only the barest of changes, and it’s clear that if Blizzard’s intent was to change art to better reflect its artistic vision for Hearthstone and distance itself from the TCG — as opposed to changing a few cards that might have been offensive — it could have done a lot more.

ORIGINAL STORY: Yesterday, Blizzard announced the next expansion for Hearthstone, titled Saviors of Uldum. It also pushed out a patch that shifted some cards to the Hall of Fame and added new cards to the Classic and Basic sets.

But what has people talking today are the alterations that have been made to eight cards, which have seen their arts change to be less sexy or bloody.

Four of the cards — Succubus, Mistress of Pain, Windfury Harpy, and Secretkeeper — featured female characters and have been altered to make them less sexual. Succubus has been wholly replaced in name and art (to Felstalker), while Mistress of Pain was renamed Queen of Pain. Meanwhile, the other four cards — Eviscerate, Bite, Deadly Shot, and Headcrack — have been altered to remove blood (in Eviscerate’s case) or had their art completely replaced (for the other three) to less-violent images.

A Redditor compiled the changes, which you can view below. The original cards are on the right of each pairing.

Blizzard hasn’t given any official word on why the changes have been made, but most eyes are pointing toward China and its typically restrictive stance on sexual content and depictions of blood in video games. While Hearthstone has more recently been available in the country since launch, the Chinese government has been taking a harder stance on such depictions, including a long freeze on approving new games and more recent regulations regarding blood in general or proposed laws that would restrict female dress.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

6 COMMENTS

  1. censorship is a big turn off but many of the new designs look better but im salty they ruined secret keeper she wasn’t even that revealing wtf

  2. If an artist can not paint/draw or show how he or she feels in their work there is something wrong with the world and this restriction definitely has smell of china to buy about it.
    Gaming has created great freedom for art and would not be what it is today without these artists being able to freely express themselves.
    I think restrictions stink and they need to be looked at for over restriction!
    Let art be.
    I mean today you think, I ‘ll watch adult movie! +18 but, its not adult movie at all! a child could watch it! its that restricted! its crazy. I mean there a person employed to cover nipples with a pen for gods sake in any chat show! that’s how crazy restrictions have become! its all gone daft and over the top!

  3. so blizzard probably was threatened by some left wing idiot like kotaku..or pc gamer and they made there changes…so in other words like the brits they lost there spines..

    • “threatened by some left wing idiot,” OR, much more realistically, they made the changes to conform with policies in China regarding sexual content and depictions of blood/violence in video games; as is quite common, nowadays, as many publishers look to expand into the Chinese market.

  4. While silly, this doesn’t seem to be the end of the world. Heck personally think QoP looks better.

    Then again I personally don’t play hearthstone so I can’t fully judge how big of a deal this is to the community.

    • Literally is end of world if you see what’s going on globally. Even deepnet is getting infiltrated. You are being dumbed down, softened up, and completely sheepatized

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