Welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. After coming back from not having one for 3 weeks, it would be an absolute crime for me not to do one the next week. In this particular installment, we're going back to a familiar place from quite a long time ago, because we are Return(ing) to Gadgetzan's Streets.

*cricket noises*

I'm trying my best here. If you haven't figured it out yet, we're taking a look at Return to Gadgetzan's Streets from a member called Pokeniner. As the name suggests, this set takes place in Gadgetzan and is in many ways, a callback to the original Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion. The cards in this set all use the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan watermark, but the set itself takes place in a fictional year known as Year of the Hunt.

Does that mean we're going to have gangs back? Yes we are. Sadly, only two of the gang leaders, Kazakus and Aya return, as Patches is nowhere to be seen (joke). Oh yeah, Don Han'Cho is here too. But while they original gang leaders are still here, this set focuses on three new gangs, each of which are made with one class from each of the original three gangs, and all govern a minion type:

  • Elemental Mining Co. - Mage, Paladin, Shaman
  • The Dragon's Guild - Priest, Rogue, Warrior
  • The Exotic Beast Trade Federation - Druid, Hunter, Warlock
  • And no Demon Hunter.

In the midst of keeping new gangs afloat in the city, some members are a little less experienced than others and thus, need to do a little bit of learning. Learn is the new keyword added to this set, focusing specifically on the gangs. Play a card with Learn, and generate a card from your gang with the specified parameters. Here on Fan Community Spotlight, I believe all of us can learn something from reading the thought process behind what goes into the sets they make. Maybe by the end of the interview, you'd have learned something of your own.

So, what exactly is this set about?

Pokeniner: "This set is mainly about Gadgetzan becoming a more honest working society free from the major corruption that Noggenfogger enforced during his time as mayor (though there is still signs of crime with cards like Black Market Guide. You are told of the olden days where Gadgetzan was a criminal hub for the world by Talan Noggenfogger, and how Dalaran was looking for lost criminals and found criminals running rampent instead, so they helped round up the gangs. Now Gadgetzan is low in crime and high on sales with businesses rising to Fortune 500 status in the lack of threats to their business, giving rise to the new streets of Gadgetzan and the 3 main businesses run. The Elemining Coalition, The Dragon's Guild, and the Exotic Beast Trade Federation. Here's a few examples of my favorite business cards.

The Elemining Coalition:

The Dragon's Guild:

Exotic Beast Trade Federation:"

How long have you been making your own cards?

Pokeniner: "For about a year now, I started playing HS right before the Year of the Dragon shift and a lot of my cards became wild without me knowing. When i heard bout custom card making, I thought it would be more fun as I had to spend time rebuilding my standard collection. I eventually started getting cards featured including Fishing Trip in my expansion and decided to work more into them. I think what kept me in the creating state were the friends I made in the custom card community and their encouragement."

Where was the inspiration to go back to Gadgetzan?

Pokeniner: "It was honestly to the fact that I never got to experience the Gadgetzan era, and how much of it was terrible (Patches meta). I decided I wanted to make Dalaran focus there to clear up the criminals and give the city a new identity in the Hearthstone universe, one that is free from it's old and painful memories. An example of this is the expansion's lore is Don Han'Cho Jr. who made a business meant to teach those who know of the terrifying power of Drakonid Operative, and explore the wonderful and majestic side of Dragons free from the Kabal."

Explain the idea behind the Learn mechanic.

Pokeniner: "I couldn't really make the expansion possible without making this mechanic. During the first 2 weeks of storybuilding, I wanted to make Triclasses return, but old Triclasses just coming back seemed a bit stale or dull for this expansion. So I thought about what I could change, and looked into class synergy. Something I recognized as a constant were the classes ability to not have 3 classes share tribe similarities: Mechs are mainly Hunters and Warriors, Murlocs are Paladins and Shamans, Beasts are mainly Druid and Hunter, Elemental are usually Mage and Shaman, and Pirates are mainly Rogue and Warrior. The only tribe I could find that did more than 3 were Dragons w/ Priest, Mage, Warrior, and Paladins. I decided to make each Triclass a mix of 2 Experts and 1 Beginner to make the Triclasses thematic. I then thought "Wouldn't it be cool for Paladins to get help from a Mage of Shaman with some Elementals? or a Rogue to get help taming their dragons? And eventually the Learn mechanic was born. Each of the Learn cards: Beginner InfuserBeginner BurnerBeginner Bat, and New Patron all are made to help players get into a style of the class's playstyle (Paladin being Heal, Rogues being Miracle and Spell play, and Warlocks being Zoo)"

What was your goal with each gang?

Pokeniner: "After bundling the classes together, I thought about what businesses could be made from their talents. The goal was to make their businesses have the ability to be profitable without the need for illegal shenanigans. One of the ideas were Mining or Water-sourcing, which I did with the Elemental Triclass. I thought about how Dragon riding and training could be very helpful with all the drakes that live around Azeroth. Each business was built around a source of surprising successful businesses. Underground Exploration for Elements (An example of this is Cave Rapids Explorer), Zoo and Rescue for Beasts (Natural Habitat is another example), and Thrillseeking Adventures for Dragons (with Map of Scales being an example as well)."

Are there any other cards you wish to showcase for any reason?

Pokeniner: "There's not many cards that didn't make the list because most of the cards were discussed long before we made actually copies of them. There are cards in this set that I wish got more support before their predecessors were removed from the game, these cards being Shadow Force and Bright Drake. I always loved the card Shadowform, but there was never any try to make it somewhat viable to play. I was going to have Priest get more Shadow support in my custom year, but I'm unclear on that now."

Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?

Pokeniner: "As a matter of fact, a big change that happened behind the scenes was the small change that was reverted back in the middle of creating. My friends and I were talking about Murlocs and we thought about changing Mage to become the Learning class to become more Murloc centered seeing Paladin and Shaman were already big Murloc players and not many other classes got Murloc support. However, in the long run, we had no good way to tie Murlocs into the Gadgetzan experience and returned to the old Elemental idea. But here's a few scraped ideas we made during that time."

What design philosophies do you have? What advice do you wish to spread to future creators?

Pokeniner: "Rule #1: Ask Questions: Would you see the card being fun? Is it worth crafting to have fun with? Are there any cards existing that remind or inspire you for the card?
This allows you to see the basic way of how Hearthstone is run. Most people will craft cards for 3 reasons; 1: They wanna NetDeck. 2: They wanna have fun with the card. and 3: It gives them a nostalgic feeling whether through WoW or HS.

Rule #2: After making a card, reworking is imminent. Never settle for a one and done idea. Look up silly combos, watch out for broken OTKs, make sure your card has a chance to be fun and silly if you pull it off in a casual game.

Rule #3: Compare. Compare. Compare. If there is one thing new creators should do, it's compare cards. This will give you the best information for balancing your idea. Even if there's no similar card, effects are your main objective to compare. A spell saying "Reduce the cost of all cards in your hand by (1)" has no comparison spell in game beside a broken adventure card. But Thaurissen gives you the idea it should cost 1-2 mana for to power he can give constantly.

and Rule #4: Have fun. This is a game we all play, and in the end we're just sharing our thoughts on what we'd love to play against our friends. If the card you make is enough to make you and your friend smile, I'd say it's well-designed."

Do you have anything else you wish to share?

Pokeniner: "I'd love to share my next expansion in my custom year, but it is currently unfinished. If you wanna check out my other stuff, I'll be rotating custom stuff on the descreption part of my posts. So feel free to check 'em out! Otherwise, here's a funny card just for you all to see :)"

Thank you all for reading the interview. Be sure to check out the full set and let us know in the comments what you think of it.