Hello everybody and welcome to the final regular Fan Community Spotlight of 2022. For this week, we've got a tune playing as we're looking at Goodwills Orchestra, which is a music-themed expansion part of the fan-made "Year of the Angler" made by LarryMoments making her third appearance on the series in this article, all three of which have been in the span of this year alone.
While music-themed expansions are a standard concept for custom Hearthstone sets, the topic of music is one that is so broad that there are so many different ways to design it. This is much akin to food-themed sets, which I've seen and covered a lot on this series, and yet they all feel very distinct from each other. Music sets are the same way.
The set contains two new keywords. Elusive, which is the unofficial but highly widespread term for the Faerie Dragon effect, is keyworded in this set (something Team 5 could do any day now). Additionally, an entirely new mechanic called Score is in play here. Cards with Score list various attributes, and as long as you play cards in the order in which those attributes apply, you will active the Score effect.
Score effects can come in the forms of triggered abilities and ongoing abilities. In the case of Freeform Interpreter, it simply raises a Corpse as a 3/2 Ghoul with an effect based on the Rune (Lifesteal for Blood, Reborn for Unholy, or Spell Damage +1 for Frost) and you can repeat the order to trigger the effect again. Choir Boy has an Ongoing Score, which stays active after you complete it, and as long as you keep completing it every turn it stays on the board, you will keep triggering its effect.
Each class in this expansion is based off of a certain genre of music, and they all get their own hero cards as well.
Now I hand the mic over to LarryMoments and let her take the center stage.
What was the inspiration behind the set idea?
LarryMoments: "I simply wanted to make a music set, as simple as it sounds. Music has been an important part of my life for a few years now, got me through the hardest moments of my life and gave me some mighty blisses, which is why I wanted to make a set about music. Nowadays its something that helps me get through the day, and has forever marked and made a difference in my mortal life.
I was aware that there was already a music-like set from a long time ago, Wynnstock Festival (by maysick and some other people, check it out here), which I had read by the time it came out (but didn't remember much) which was one of my main things I had in mind. Not make something like it, but try to make something different to stand out from the crowd, there were some obvious musical arts that I could have used but I did not want to use them. [Glances at my +620 pin folder for goodwills]
Next part was the theme in general, besides "music set", at least the atmosphere that is. I went through multiple sets and did my research, wanting to do something light-hearted rather than intense and dark in comparison to my last set. Which is why I took Scholomance Academy and Darkmoon Faire as my main inspirations for the tone of the set, with a bit of Karazhan in between."
What is the inspiration for the Score mechanic and how you use it?
LarryMoments: "This was by far the hardest part, and the reception wasn't as good as I expected, but the Score mechanic went through multiple iterations that I can't remember well, however one that stuck to me was Spitelash Siren, going back and forth and creating a beat with different elements.
And then there was a sense of coordination, as part of a member in an orchestra, if you mess up or your instrument starts breaking down, everything starts falling down. You can't fix a mistake or error in the middle of a rehearsal or a score, you gotta do it all over again to make it perfect, to make it flow well.
As for how it works, there are two types of Scores, triggered Scores and ongoing Scores. Which will be explained after this part. Its a bit complex, so buckle up, you'll be reading through my possibly botched explanation.
When a minion or spell with Score is played, the Score will be open to be played. If you want to get the effect of it, you need to play certain cards in a specific order, written in parenthesis in the minion's score, these Scores often range from 1 to 4 cards. When you play all of them in order, Score activates.
However if you play a card that doesn't meet the requirements of the score (as being another type or cost less), the Score will reset, and you'll have to do it all over again.
A minion with a triggered Score, like Snapping Stranger, will draw you a Stealth minion when you play a Shadow spell and a minion. It activates and you can activate it again.
A minion with an ongoing Score, like Passionate Conductor, will have an ongoing effect written down in it, and to activate it, you have to play the cards. The Score will remain active until your next turn, however you can keep repeating its Score to keep it active. Cards like Upbeat Shrooms go infinite as long as you can complete its Score.
And now for a more... unorthodox example, lets take this card from Demonxz95's Time Traveller class, specifically from the latest expansion. (Axxy)
Now an effect like this would be a bit hard to word with Score, but the essence is there, you need to chain battlecry minion into deathrattle minion, and deathrattle into battlecry, and you cant play anything else in between, otherwise you lose on the discount until you can keep the chain going again."
I would totally plug my class here right now, but I wouldn't want to take the spotlight away from LarryMoments and her set.
How does it feel to design for Death Knight?
LarryMoments: "Actually really good! There were so many options I could go for with the little stuff we had, it was amazing, to be honest.
The theme would've probably been kinda hard to figure out if it wasn't for a card I scrapped, which was about 2/3rds into the set. I needed more Scores as I hadn't done as much as I wanted.
And it nailed! Blues Death Knight it was, as blues originated from tragedy and expressing oneself. Unholy was the perfect candidate for the tragedy, as the death and corpses that they live only serve to fuel the passion and pain inside their hearts.
Cards like Somber Performer, Tragedy Martyr and Heartstruck Visitor were some of the first designs for the class that stuck into the final product, with the exception of the first one as it had a name change (and a buff).
If you wanna see another example please check out my previous set as its been updated both main and mini-set with Death Knight cards here! (link) Alright I won't shill the previous set anymore, lets keep this orchestra going!"
What part of the set was the most fun to design?
LarryMoments: "Everything with the exception of the last stretch, haggling this with college in my back made me suffer from a lot of burnout, having a few cards remaining and being unable to come up with something interesting for them, mainly about half of the hero cards.
Common themes in the set and hero cards, finding art, research, I did a lot to make this set make you feel like you're rocking or swinging to the latest track. Having assigned themes for each hero before starting to design cards for them.
With temporary cards being one theme across all classes and the set, kind of introduced in Nathria with Door of Shadows. Timing is key, but so is listening to the composition, not everything lasts forever, and a song can not go for eternity, and thus, has to eventually end.
Hero cards came a bit into the making of the set, but its fitting, really, famous figures in the music industry, represented as cards, the conductor and driving force of each theme. With the first ones being Boozart and Sinestro, can you guess who they represent? It's right in their name...!
Now themes for each class, now here is when I wanted to not do the obvious and assign the obvious theme to each class, again, a few exceptions, Jazz was way too perfect with Rogue. I had a blast establishing the theme of each class, fueling themselves with passion as I did some research into them to check terminology, other songs or history, or activities related to it, which is why cards like Kinryu ended up existing.
Plus, a Priest rapping the bible was such a fucking funny idea to me, I had to do it, no regrets. Even if a few people thought they'd have another theme assigned."
Are there any other cards you wish to showcase for any reason?
LarryMoments: "Why yes, but now with lore!
I wanna showcase Peep-a-Pum, which is even more complex than the regular legendary and was in development hell for about a month or two before I could finally finish it. Different art, effects, but the idea remained there. Peep was one of the last cards I finished, and finally, now you can be Patapon in Hearthstone!
Professional Sensor features another trigger that was seen in a card in Conspiracy Under the Cracks, Black Market. Initially I wanted to make an archetype based on that for goodwills, but the card stuck. The fact that its a spider is based off a research in Massachusetts that spiders can make music with their webs, and they can also detect music created from their own silk!
Stammering Jukebox was peak top-down design from me, even if effect came first. The game they play is called musical chairs! And every time the turn ends or the music stops, someone is out. And when there is only one person left, they are declared the winner. Musical chairs kind of plays like a delayed Brawl when you think about it, kinda fucked up.
Oh and a last one that I wanted to show, Blocked Artist, we've...struggled at some point in coming up with something, being writing, art, or even cards (heh), for this girl, she decided to instead steal an idea to get inspiration. Her effect is a shout-out to Wynnstock Festival, lending the same trigger as Harmony. Which can also be interpreted as a me "not having any ideas left" but I wasn't suffering from them at that point.
Any from you that you'd want to showcase or catches your eye, Demonxz? We are filled with musicians and workers with various skills to show!"
Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?
LarryMoments: "Not much this time, only one case in particular that I wanted to mention, The Voice of Others. Flavorwise it gives a voice to those who cannot yell or speak (without Battlecry), allowing them to express themselves, but I had difficulty figuring out how to word it or a good effect.
In the end, my good friend SlippB (who also helped a bit with ideas and feedback throughout the making of this) helped me make it better not only with a statline, but the better idea.
In fact, I realized that the first one was the better version since its introduced in the same set as new hero cards, perfect chance to use it, I said. Sacrifice your old hero power for your minions and play a hero card to get it back or give your beefed up one to your new minions, but have no hero power for the foreseeable future? Your choice, its your voice after all."
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
LarryMoments: "Yeah I do! Well, do look forward to the Talent Show mini-set for Goodwills, we'll have lots of different skills besides music showing in these folks, presented upon the might of hollywood and judgemental folks!
Remember the year of the angler? The thing I showed off with Conspiracies? Well it is the next thing im going to be working on, I might work on the Talent Show and the year of the angler simulaneously. But once both of them are finished, the last set for the year will come, won't tell anything about it yet.
And then I might not make a new set for like a year or a bit more to rest my mind, I plan on making this year coexist in standard with Voyage-Nathria-March and next year's sets, so it do be a good break for me. Probably.
I'm not sure when this comes out, but Merry Christmas in advance! Songs are a good thing to have in life, and you should have some of that spirit too!"
[The crimson curtains close as the function ends.]
And we'll be taking an intermission, but we'll be back with the mini-set in the next act. Until then, you can check out the entire set by clicking the banner below. Next week's Fan Community Spotlight is something very special and different, and if you're a long-time reader of the site, you'll know exactly why.