Hello everybody and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. Today, we're taking a trip down memory lane and covering a project that I already covered before. A little over 3 months ago, I covered some Elden Ring characters made into heroes for Hearthstone's Duels mode made by MrRhapsody. Ever since that article went up, the project has seen some considerable updates, and is "finished" as of the date of this article. The last article to cover this project only had 3 heroes, and the project has been updated to include 6 more, of which you can find a thread that includes the entire project.
This time we've got double the heroes to cover, so we've got a lot to talk about. Let's get to it!
Quite a lot has happened since the previous interview, and we've got some new heroes. How about giving us a run-down on how you ended up with the designs that you did for each of them.
MrRhapsody: "Indeed, a lot has happened both in my virtual and real life, I really thought I would drop the project in the middle, gladly it was one of the most fun projects in my fan creations life, and I was able to finish it with pride and joy. In our last interview, I said I wanted to give a deep insight for each hero, but I'd rather not to save space, well, I guess this is the said space, so now I'll give a deep insight for each of the new heroes (and if you reader want to know more about Malenia, Ranni and Radahn and the project in general, be sure to take a look at the previous interview!).
Let's start with one of my favorites, Mogh, Lord of Blood, by far the easiest and funniest to make. As I stated here many times, Warlock is my favorite class, and he can be considered one within Elden Ring's flavor (Which I'll call "ER" here to save space), he's hella evil, twisted, wicked and ruthless, and also has power over blood magic, the perfect Warlock, and along with his worship to the grim Outer Goddess known as The Formless Mother, and also his cult known as the Bloody Fingers (Cult which White Mask Varré participates) he ended up as a Warlock/Priest. When we think about blood magic, I can safely say that everyone thinks of two things: Lifesteal and health manipulation, and that's exactly what he does in ER and in Duels, the main difference is that in Duels he uses his own blood and the blood of some minions, while in ER he relies on completely in the blood of the Formless Mother. About his treasures and Hero Powers, I want to highlight two: Unus! And Nihil! In Mogh's boss fight, he counts from three to one in Latin (Unus, Duo, Tres) his countdown is very iconic, and although it doesn't have Lifesteal in ER, what comes after it has, and that is his most iconic move, Nihil!, NIHIL! NIIIIHIIIIIIIIL!!! A super powerful attack with lifesteal that restores all his health and forces you to waste at least 3 health potions to survive, there are other ways to deal with that move, but that doesn't come to the case, all that matters is that Unus, Duo, Tres and Nihil is very iconic within the ER community.
Morgott has a unique class combination, Paladin/ Demon Hunter, he was quite interesting to design, Paladins and DH's have nothing in common, both gameplay and flavor wise, but trust me, those two classes fits like a clove for him. He's a noble king that fights conjuring light weapons, but despite being of noble blood, he lived all his life isolated in the sewers due to his curse, curse which he uses in combat when the light weapons don't do the trick. I'll highlight Margit, the Fell Omen, The Omen King/ Blessing of the Last King, and Regal Omen Bairn/Cursed Blood Noble. Margit is ER's first big boss, and is a projection of Morgott which he conjures in the early game to put your will to keep the journey away (in others words, to make the noobs quit the game) Margit has the same moves as Morgott, put less potent and precise, represented by the Hero Power triggering. DH is a class that could benefit a lot by buffs, but sadly it's not part of their identity, however, it is Paladin's identities, so the Omen King and Blessing of the Last King brings a very welcome buff synergy, so DH's can turn their Lady S'theno and similar into a monster. And Regal Omen Bairne/Cursed Blood Noble was my excuse to put Discover effects in DH, which fits perfectly with Outcast but is not part of their class identity.
Rykard's was a bit embarrassing to make, he's a Warlock/ Shaman, but ended up with almost no Shaman's mechanics, a bit of a regret in that department, but what is done is done I guess. His main gimmick is eating people to gain power and immortality, and then shoot their souls away as fire spells. As for highlights, I'll say Storm of Rancors and Immortal Serpent. Storm of Rancor is super iconic, he basically opens a crack in the sky, which is basically a belly portal that summons hundreds of souls eaten by Rykard at once, souls that track you and explode with contact, all of that while the whole arena burns and an EPIC OST is playing. Immortal Serpent represents the fact that in ER, Rykard is basically immortal, and the only way to properly beat him is using the Serpent Hunter, a weapon create specially to kill him, and just like in ER, the Serpent Hunter screws Rykard in Duels, leaving him Hero Powerless for the rest of the game.
When designing Godfrey, I was trying to create a Barbarian/ Berserker class in HS, and Warrior/ Druid was the perfect combination for that, he may not summon roots and trees to fight his opponent's, but his bestial side fits a Druid perfectly, and his giant axe alone is enough to justify his Warrior side. He's a super strong and fast warrior, capable of making earthquakes with a simple stomp, and is always being guarded by his spiritual beast Serosh. The highlights here are Regal Roar, Axe of Godfrey and Hoarah Loux, Warrior. In his boss fight, there's a moment where he stomps the ground, dealing damage to the whole arena, and then he gains a ton of different moves, that's exactly what Regal Roar does in Duels as well. About Axe of Godfrey, I want to give attention to the random Honorable Kill put here, he may not be an Alterac Valley hero, but I still wanted to give him a card with Honorable Kill, since in ER he's one of the few bosses that has legit honor and don't underestimate your character. And now one of my favorites treasures here, Hoarah Loux, Warrior, the first Hero card as a treasure. In his boss fight, there's a moment where he kills Serosh and absorbs his spirit, becoming a complete Berserker lusting for battle, and that is represented in Duels by making him "sacrifice" his Druid side (Serosh) and becoming a full Warrior again. Thinking about that treasure now, it should cost less, Hoarah Loux deserves to be broken, he's just way to awesome.
Maliketh was one of the hardest ones to balance, he started as a Warrior/ Druid like Godfrey, but I realized that Warrior/ Priest was waaaaay more fitting for him, since he became a LITERAL priest after "Retiring". In ER, Maliketh is the guardian of Destined Death (Perma Death) And is feared by mortals and gods alike, his blade is imbued with death itself, and when it was at full power, could put a god to rest forever with a simple touch, sadly that time has passed for Maliketh, and he's but a simple clergyman now. Balancing the Destined Death mechanic from ER was a HELL! Since its attacks deal percent based damage, I tried my best to translate it to HS, but It always ended up too weak, too strong or simply bullshit, so I had to completely scrap the percent based damage and focus on the Health limitation. For the highlights, I'll say Black Blade, Maliketh's Black Blade and Beast Clergyman Gurranq. The Black Blade is his signature weapon, and while at full power could easily kill gods, but now the best it can do is limits one HP, and while in ER the limitation was temporary, I decided to make it permanent in Hs. Maliketh's Blade is similar in concept, but instead of imitating the HP, it prevents HP recovery and gaining, just for the sake of variety. That weapon went through a loooot of different variants and was a hell to balance, but I'm quite satisfied with the current version. And Gurranq is the Priest identity of Maliketh, and spends all his days eating Deathroot and mourning. Since Death is Maliketh's thing, and he's half Priest, deathrattles was a no-brainer for his gameplay, and honestly I kinda wish I did more deathrattle synergy for him now, but as I said in Rykard's thread, what is done is done.
The final and most tricky hero of the thread class wise, he started as a Paladin/ Warrior, then Paladin/ Mage/ then Pure Paladin and ended up as a Paladin/Priest, and trust me, all of those combinations makes sense within his lore. Radagon is a mortal promoted to god, and share's body with two other beings, Marika and the Elden Beast. Marika is the guardian of the Elden Ring, and the Elden Beast is the avatar of its creator, the outer god known as the Greater Will. Honestly I think Radagon ended up as the most boring hero here, but there are some treasures and Hero Powers here that I'm quite found of, and that is Body Sharing, Radagon's Soreseal and Queen Marika, the Eternal. Body Sharing is the main secret of Radagon and one of the game's biggest plot twists, no one knows if he's Marika or just shares the body with her, it's a big mystery, but here I decided to go with the theory that they were always different persons that fused together, so in Duels, whenever he gives stats to a minion, Marika comes and give some extra stats. And speaking of Marika, Radagon's other half, is the second hero treasure, and shares a mechanic with another one of my projects, the forms from the Shapeshifter class, which were temporary hero cards which lasted while you had armor. Her hero power is also interesting, Marika's Soreseal is the counterpart of Radagon's Soreseal, in ER, the soreseals are talismans which boost your status but increases the damage taken, the difference between them is that Radagon's increases physical status, while Marika's increases magical ones. Initially they were Passive Hero Powers that always doubled the damage to your hero, but in mid of the process I decided that a permanent Cursed Blade is not cool as a Hero Power, so although it doesn't make the damage received always increased like in ER, the option to decide when you're willing to take the extra damage makes them a very interesting Hero Power."
What has it been like to design a huge amount of custom content for Duels, and how do you think its affected your card design overall?
MrRhapsody: "Fun as hell! Making cards around stuff that I like is my favorite thing to do when making custom content, in all of my previous projects, there was always a reference to another game, or a song, or an anime or whatever, on this project I just went nuts with references, just like I did in Rock in Azeroth , which is maybe my second most enjoyable project to make. Another great contributor to the fun factor was the fact that this is a Duels project, which is quite a casual mode for most of the community, and its casually contributes for the fun factor, since people won't be too critical about, they will look at the heroes and think "Yeah, that's cool", and not "Too OP, pls nerf" or "That's boring", people tend to have more fun in making/ looking at Duels custom content and be less critical, and honestly, this is what think its right regarding custom content, it' not always a competition guys, just enjoy the show! And about how it changed my design philosophy, two things changed for me, that now I care even more about flavor and even less about balance. When making the treasures, I tried my best to represent the character's skill, weapons and companions in HS, and for that I decided that the treasures should tell a story, and that mindset carried to my general card making standard, and those who know my from the WCDC may have noticed that, and balance wise, I was always a fan of high powerlevel and silly interactions, and got pointed out for that constantly in my projects for that, I tried to lower down the power of the cards progressively, but all I got for doing that was getting the fun sucked out of me and make me quit making cards for a while, but while making the Elden Ring heroes, I remembered how fun it is for me to make powerful cards with silly interactions, and I recovered the joy in making custom cards. So a tip for my fellow creators is: Do whatever the hell makes you happy and satisfied."
Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?
MrRhapsody: Yes! The power went off while writing this and I forgot to save it, so I had to write the whole thing again from the start, it was a lot of fun, and I'm super happy :). But seriously, regarding the project, there were some heroes that were considered to enter the thread but didn't make the cut, those heroes are: Godrick the Grafted (Neutral or Warrior/ Neutral), Rennala of the Full Moon (Mage or Mage/ Priest), Dragonlord Placidusax (Paladin/ Shaman), Fire Giant (Shaman/ Mage) and Lichdragon Fortissax(Warlock/ Paladin). There were three reasons to not include them: 1- Not enough fan art 2- Not a lot of ideas and 3- Some of them don't truly fit any of HS classes.
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
MrRhapsody: "I'll try to resume the Year of the Wolf project next month, and was also thinking of making Bloodborne or Dark Souls heroes for Duels, but no promisses! We'll problably meet again soon, but until there, thanks for the spotlight and for the readers, good bye, and go play Elden Ring!"
And that concludes this lengthy installment of Fan Community Spotlight. This is a huge project that is absolutely worth your time to check out, especially if you're a fan of either Duels or Elden Ring (or both!). You can check out the entire project in one place by clicking the banner below. I hope you enjoyed this showcase, and I hope to see you all in the next one.