When designing custom cards, do you prefer to look to archetypes you know and love and try to bolster them at first, or are you the kind of person that imagines a hypothetical deck and builds an entire expansion just to support it? I remember being obsessed with the idea of Beast Priest for a while, for no particular reason; Dragon Hunter, too, was a deck I really wanted to happen long before it did. I think both paths can lead to some fascinating designs, but it's really fun when you can look at an expansion and see which way someone falls.
Conversation this time is all about the magic of friendship! Or maybe just magic.
We begin with a congratulations to linkblade91 for winning the last WCDC with their Looking For Group!
Look forward to next week's theme, decided by them!
A hazy vision appears before us - somebody really needs to fix those smoke machines before the next Spotlight. Anyway, it's a look at LarryMoments' "The Dawning Cataclysms" custom set this time, complete with a very interesting custom mechanic - Prophecy.
Prophecy is a fascinating mechanic to me, because its the kind of thing I'd be nervous to create myself; at first blush it seems so complex, but when you think about how smoothly it would play in the digital environment of Hearthstone, and all the ways it could be visually kept track of, it becomes a fascinating idea that I'd love to see in the game.
The concept of building up spells over the course of the game, combining multiple effects, is such a great idea. I think that the flavouring of it as a prophecy being told and eventually coming true was a great choice, as it feels like it fits the world of Hearthstone very naturally and really helps to sell the mechanic to the player. Too often custom designers can forget that the flavour of your mechanic matters a lot - pick something that doesn't resonate with your audience and you'll cause unnecessary confusion.
Magic: the Gathering ran into this problem recently during their return to Innistrad. They included a new mechanic called 'Cleave' which received a... lukewarm reception at best. By paying the Cleave cost of a card, you would ignore some of the text in the card's text box, indicated by brackets. "Destroy all creatures [with mana value 2 or less]." becomes a much more powerful effect when you Cleave away that bracketed text, for example.
Unfortunately the mechanic is fairly confusing when not playing digitally, and naming it Cleave was not helping players make the connection. Many felt that Cleave described an imprecise or wild swing rather than the technical excision that the mechanic implied, and others noted that years of use in various video games - including WoW - as a description of an ability that damages all enemies made the usage here feel wrong.
Next time you're designing a custom mechanic, take a step back and see if you're using the best word you can for it. You want to be more like Prophecy or Dredge, and stay away from accidentally making a Cleave.
Click the link above to foresee the interview, as well as find a link to the full set!
And Now For Something Completely Different
It's time to reinvent yourself in this week's Competition - or maybe someone else! Click the banner to get transforming.