Hello everybody and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. Even if you're not a Warcraft expert or even played any Warcraft game before other than Hearthstone, I'm sure that almost all of us are aware that most of the series is set on the planet of Azeroth. Azeroth is a world filled with magical and dangerous things, but have you stopped to think about what's at the center of all of that magic? If you're particularly versed in Warcraft lore (like our lore expert, GoliathTheDwarf), then probably yes, but if not, then it's time that we answered that question.
Our set in question for today is Delve Into the Heart of Azeroth, created by a person by the name of Luke_Wait. This journey is a descent to the center of Azeroth, and as such, our keyword this time around is Descending. Cards with Descending reduce their Cost by (1) at the end of your turn if your maximum Mana Crystals is greater than or equal to the Cost of the card itself.
After a quick little introduction, it's time to descend through the article and read about Luke_Wait made the expansion. Let's go!
What exactly is this set about? What is the inspiration for the set theme?
Luke_Wait: "Delve Into The Heart of Azeroth takes place after The Dark Titan Sargeras impaled Azeroth causing the world soul within to begin to cry out for help. The set follows some of Azeroths most adventurous as they delve deep within the planet to locate the Heart of Azeroth. The inspiration for this set really came from me wanting to do some Journey To The Center of the Earth style of expansion, so I did some research and found out about this Questline in WoW that is called The Heart of Azeroth and decided to base the story of the set around that."
What is the inspiration for the Descending mechanic and how you use it?
Luke_Wait: "The inspiration for descending definitely came from the theme I had decided upon, I wanted a mechanic to represent the descent into the deepest parts of Azeroth and so that's where the idea of your cards descending in cost came from. To really push that idea I also decided to make a Legendary minion for each class that had the Descending keyword and have them be their own little sub themed group that I called the Legendary Descenders!"
What part of the set was the most fun to design?
Luke_Wait: "I love making deck archetypes for each class whenever I make a custom expansion and usually I will make 2 different archetypes for each class. This time however I decided very early on that I wanted to make a third little mini package of cards for each class that you could just slot into any deck you were making and have fun with this little mini Archetype. This lead to me making what I call the Fungal Package. It all starts with the Mimicking Fungus which is a Neutral Epic that transforms into a different type of Fungus based on which class you are playing, these different class fungus each have their own unique effect that generally synergizes with having more Fungus. To get more Fungus I also made an Epic card for each class that would provide each class with more of their Fungus, and Finally to CAP it all off (pun completely intended) I created a Legendary Neutral Minion called Fungal Keeper Kap, who adds a Mimicking Fungus to your hand for each Fungus you've summoned that game. Designing the different Fungus and Fungal Support cards was a blast for me. Also my personal favorite of these is %100 the Mage Fungal set, the Fungus itself is super fun and I got a good Book of Wonders pun in the Fungal Support card."
Interviewer's note: Mimicking Fungus is treated as a Neutral card and will show up as a Neutral card in the collection. Depending on your class, it will become into a certain form (in the case of Mage, Mystical Fungus), which are treated as class cards and are not collectable. Bottle of Wonders however will shuffle Mystical Fungi regardless of your class.
Are there any other cards you wish to showcase for any reason?
Luke_Wait: "Some of my favorite cards of the set are the Legendary Descenders, my favorites being: Aegwynn, Maven of Azeroth who is a huge play if you can hold her long enough, get that triple casted Pyroblast! Another awesome one is Preservationist Floop who preserves your hand and in 3 turns copies it through the magic of Gloop technology! Finally The Doctor is in the house to check Azeroth pulse (Electro Magnetic Pulse that is), its Task Master Boom, who when played will initiate Deck Boomage Protocall which after 7 turns will replace all cards in both players deck with Boomsticks. Fire in the hole!"
Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?
Luke_Wait: "One fun behind the scenes fact is that the keyword Descending went through many mechanical changes while designing the set, originally the cards started descending in cost as soon as they were in your hand, I thought this was cool but I also felt it would create a huge power spike for if these cards where in your opening hand or if you drew them super early so I decided to add the condition that you had to reach the amount of Mana Crystals needed to play the card before it began to descend in cost. This change also allowed me to make more powerful Descending Legendaries like Aegwynn. Another thing that was changed early on was the original druid set. At first the whole set was all about gaining Mana Crystals, the Quest being to gain empty Mana Crystals. After designing it all I liked the theme of the set but didn't like the mechanic, so I went back and changed it from gaining Mana to Refreshing Mana which I like a lot more."
How long have you been making your own cards? What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators?
Luke_Wait: "I have been making custom cards for about three years now and have a ton of fun doing it. Some design philosophies I would say, as much as people harp on it all the time, don't worry about balance too much, definitely think about it and definitely try, but I would say more importantly make cards that you think are cool design and would be fun to play in game. None of us have access to a group of people dedicated to playtesting and balancing our cards, so don’t worry too much about it, try your best by looking at the balance of cards that already exist and make something unique and fun. Also if you are designing a custom expansion specifically I do recommend making deck archetypes, I feel they really can help tie a class's identity to the theme of a set and they are also super fun!"
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
Luke_Wait: If you like this set, I tend to post custom cards I make on the r/customhearthstone reddit! I also tweet out bigger projects I make like this one on my twitter @Bionicdoor. Finally I want to thank you guys for the attention here. It's my dream to one day be able to join the Hearthstone design team, so to see someone reach out who liked my work means a lot to me.
We have reached not the center, but the end of our descent (although depending on how large the comment section is, it might still feel more like the center). Let us know what you think about the set down below, and be sure to check out the entire set by clicking the banner down below.