Hearthstone Battlegrounds’ Master Nguyen pays tribute to fallen original Hearthstone team member in a touching way.
The Hearthstone Battlegrounds revamp and the introduction to the Hearthstone Mercenaries game mode is fresh in the minds of players. However, among the excitement is a humbling tribute to one of the Hearthstone team’s very first members—Dan Nguyen.
While Master Nguyen is a Hearthstone Battlegrounds hero, he is also a tribute to Dan Nguyen, who has passed away.
The meaning behind the artwork
The artist behind Master Nguyen is former Blizzard employee Ben Thompson, who was commissioned for the memorialization. Artist Laurel Austin helped Thompson with the creation of the artwork as well.
Over on ArtStation, Thompson shared the story and meaning behind the artwork.
The Pandaren hero’s attire is reminiscent of the fighting game genre that Nguyen loved, according to Thompson. As for the staff, it is positioned behind the hero, meaning that his and Nguyen’s fighting days are over.
“He wears an orange sash in reference to the color worn by monks at Dan’s funeral, and the stone on his waistband is Dan’s birthstone,” the artist explained. “He has set a satchel down next to him to indicate that he has set off on a journey, but is pausing for one last game and a bowl of BBQ with friends before he goes.”
Players of Hearthstone Battlegrounds may also notice the clouds on Master Nguyen’s sleeves, floor, and wall. These are a reference to the western heaven, according to Thompson. Meanwhile, the cherry blossoms mean rebirth and the spring season.
“Dan was one of the kindest souls I ever had the privilege to work with, and the team and I agreed it was important that the game he loved [remembers] his dedication and spirit in a meaningful way,” Thompson wrote.
Hearthstone continues to change and evolve over time. From the old days of the Curse of Naxxramas adventure to the current United in Stormwind expansion, various characters from World of Warcraft’s Azeroth and Hearthstone’s very own universe earned a place in the spotlight.