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WCDC Season 2, Lessons from Season 1

  • KANSAS's Avatar 1110 2163 Posts Joined 03/25/2019
    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Today we are going to start the second season of the WCDC (weekly card design competition), and I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned about designing cards from the first season. Hopefully this list is useful to you, and I don't end up wasting my time writing this.

    1. Keep it Simple, Stupid! K.I.S.S. or M.A.Y.A. (Most advanced, yet acceptable) are good acronyms to keep in mind when designing cards. You don't want your card to be super bland and boring, but if it is too different and unique then people won't be able to connect with it. You want your card to be as interesting and different as possible while still being within the realm of possibility. Don't try to think of something brand new, try to think of a new spin you can put on an existing thing.
    2. Don't make too many cards. Sometimes people in the discussion thread create multiple cards and ask which one is best, and while this may seem like a good idea it usually isn't. All of your feedback will be split up and it will be hard to decide on which card is better. Just submit one card and if people don't like it then you whip out your second card. Don't bring out both cards at the same time and ask people to choose. 
    3. Presentation matters. This is both concerning art, and the text on your card. Make sure the art fits Hearthstone's theme and flavor. I know finding art sucks, but it is worth the trouble. Also make sure you have proper punctuation, capitalization, and wording on your card. You could come up with the most creative and innovative card in the world, but if you don't present it in a proper way then it won't get very many stars.
    4. The Customer is always right. If you want your card to do well, you should cater it to your audience. You may think your card is super cool and creative, but if nobody else agrees then your card will do poorly. You shouldn't make every change that people suggest, but you also shouldn't try too hard to defend your card when nobody agrees with you.
    5. Check the submissions before submitting. I can recall a handful of times when multiple people made cards with the same art/ability/concept/or whatever, and they never did very well. Your idea has to be unique if you want people to vote high, so check to make sure nobody else has made the same card as you before you submit.
    6. PUT YOUR CARD IN THE DISCUSSION THREAD BEFORE SUBMITTING! This is the most important thing you could do. Other people are smarter than you and might catch mistakes in your card that you didn't notice. I don't think a card submitted within the first 24 hours has ever made it to the finalists, let alone won. You have roughly 4 days to get feedback and make adjustments, use that time well. You don't get anything for being the first person to submit your card.

    That is my list of lessons I learned from season 1, hopefully this stuff wasn't too obvious. If you have any advice you would like to share I would love to hear it. One thing in particular that I am interested in knowing is your opinion on the description box, and what kind of thing you write in it. Sometimes I would write about the practical uses of my card and how it might be played. Other times I would talk about the design process of my card and how it got to where it is. And sometimes I would just write flavor text. What do you think the best thing to put in the description box is? And does it even matter, or am I over-thinking it?

    "Carrion, my wayward grub"

    7
  • Dermostatic's Avatar HearthStationeer 320 162 Posts Joined 03/31/2019
    Posted 3 weeks ago

    These are some awesome points, thanks for that KANSAS!

    In terms of the description box, I used it to post flavour text, followed by a brief-to-mid-length description of my thought process behind the card. In particular, I would use it to stress flavour. Oftentimes, I see a card and its effect and sort of get where the creator was coming from, but not really. This is especially true for cards that use existing WoW characters or creatures. I don't play WoW, and I know if I would choose to use a character from the lore, I would research it first and mention its connection to the card in HS.

    If I may add a little to your point about Presentation....

    Hearthstone exists within a particular universe. Although it has diverged from Warcraft significantly, Hearthstone is still rooted within its universe. The characters and critters that appear could feasibly appear in WoW or its lore in some form. One might be tempted to simply 'create a card' that would be cool in a card game, but remember that you're creating a Hearthstone (Heroes of Warcraft) card. You don't need to be an expert on it by any means, but having even a cursory understanding can help make your card seem extra realistic, especially when designing Legendaries. 

    Started playing HS in May, 2015. The bad news: I missed the excitement of 'Naxx out?' and GvG. The good news: I never met an Undertaker.

    4
  • cydonianknight's Avatar 180 16 Posts Joined 06/06/2019
    Posted 3 weeks ago

    One thing I always try and check is the presentation of the text box. I try and avoid having orphans (a single number or word on a line). It sounds pointless but honestly there are some cards that have really damn cool effects and art, but the text box is just so off-putting to look at. I'm gonna take heed on these lessons though, try and become a better card designer. 

    5
  • R's Avatar 315 91 Posts Joined 04/23/2020
    Posted 3 weeks ago
    Quote From KANSAS
    PUT YOUR CARD IN THE DISCUSSION THREAD BEFORE SUBMITTING! This is the most important thing you could do. Other people are smarter than you and might catch mistakes in your card that you didn't notice. I don't think a card submitted within the first 24 hours has ever made it to the finalists, let alone won. You have roughly 4 days to get feedback and make adjustments, use that time well. You don't get anything for being the first person to submit your card.

    Everything is correct, but I believe that the last point should be divided into two components. Sometimes someone puts in a card that does not comply the requirements of the current competition. Your card cannot be changed after you have placed it in the submission topic. So, double check the rules.

    0
  • anchorm4n's Avatar HearthStationeer 645 861 Posts Joined 03/13/2019
    Posted 2 weeks, 6 days ago

    Great idea, KANSAS! I would like to add a point for the discussion thread: If you are one of those super cool people who give feedback to their fellow card designers, you should read the thread backwards. Sometimes people change their cards or drop one of their ideas completely. You can also build on feedback others already gave if you do it that way.

    Double the pride, double the fall.

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