Hello everybody, and welcome to another Fan Community Spotlight. Just a fair warning, it's about to get wild up in here. On this installment, I've got someone by the name of Woop here to interview them on their custom expansion, Stroll into the Wild West. As the name would suggest, this is a set themed after the wild west, so expect some of the typical wild west tropes. This will actually be the second wild west themed expansion covered on Fan Community Spotlight, as back in February of this year, we had Gunslingers of Westfall by Clukudurk showcased here (props to Shadows for taking that one over for me). It's Christmas season and nothing spells Christmas more than... dry, hot deserts? I guess this expansion takes place in the Southern Hemisphere?
This expansion features a new keyword known as Chamber (X). Chamber effects activate if you play it as the Xth card on your turn. So for example, a Chamber (3) effect will trigger if you play it as the third card on your turn. So let's talk to Woop and see what we can gather out of how this set was made.
What exactly is this set about?
Woop: "Basically, the set is a basic wild west spin on Hearthstone.
You got your traditional desert wildlife, sheriffs, cacti, etcetera.
I mostly got inspired by "Go West, Young Brode" which was also a western-based expansion.
Though I felt like it was kinda old and lacked the western flair a lil bit, as much as I like the set."
How long have you been making your own cards?
Woop: "I've been pretty much making cards since I first got into hearthstone, late 2015 (after League of Explorers I think).
Some of my super old designs got back into this expansion, like Travel Form."
Where does the idea for the Chamber mechanic come from?
Woop: "For the Chamber mechanic I was mainly brainstorming and trying to find a good keyword to fit with the whole western theme.
I liked the idea of timing your cards properly to get a special effect and the gun chamber/reload thing worked very well.
There are a couple cards that have multiple Chamber effects for versatility, like Desert Desperado or Basement Creeper.
I like Basement Creeper because it can become a token spawner or just a somewhat large but cheap minion depending on what you want.
There's a couple cards that interact with how Chamber works (Gamble-o-Tron 3000 for example), but I didn't want to oversaturate the set with Chamber cards since that's not the main focus.
The set also has a small focus on cheap minions, like Bronzescale Drake's 0 mana Whelps or Joyful Barmaid to make chamber cards stronger and easier to play."
Are there any other cards you wish to highlight for some reason?
Woop: "A card I'd like to highlight would probably be High Horseman the 5/6 that attracts Battlecries to himself.
I really liked the idea of a pompous knight guy craving for attention and a djinni-like effect for Battlecries is something I'd love to see in next expansions.
Wasteland's Wispers is pretty great too, I'm a big fan of Choose Twice and I think Choose One has a lot of potential as a mechanic."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you wish to share?
Woop: "For stuff behind the scenes...
I don't have a lot but I might have some early designs somewhere.
I had this as an early card for druid before I decided on an "Attack Druid" kinda thing. Decided to scrap it since it didn't have a lot of synergy aside from Pulsating Egg.
Quickdraw Sam's design was also very different, again changed because of Attack Druid and flavor/class reasons.
Scrapped Paladin card because it didn't make sense (and the Chamber pool is super small). Why would paladins have a gun? Stupid.
And finally, a disgustingly overpowered card to showcase that everyone makes at least one disgustingly overpowered card during their drafts (and it's Demon Hunter too)."
What design philosophies do you have? What advice do you wish to spread to future creators?
Woop: "For design philosophies I usually do ideas first flavor later for the first part of the set, then the opposite for the last cards.
So straight-forward cards like Mechanized Deputy and Booze Alemental were among the first cards made, but flavorful cards like High Sheriff Flint or the Keraton bunch were made during the end.
(and I just wanted an excuse to add in scarabs honestly)
For advice I'd mostly say...
A good card needs flavor, coherence and flexibility. If the art shows a big knight guy, don't make him a 2/1 for example.
You should also make it so that people can comprehend what a card does at first glance. This is a problem I faced when designing Mechanostrider, since the first iteration said "Battlecry: Discover a minion from your deck. Deathrattle: Summon a 1/1 copy of it."
Which would imply that you'd add the Discovered minion to your hand, which is bad. So I tried to flavorify it a little bit to make it clear that the Discovered minion is going in the strider.
Finally, flexibility is an important thing when designing a set.
When designing a class, I mostly focus on two different themes (Shaman focuses on overload and high health minions for example) but you shouldn't spend all 10 cards on those themes. Likewise, make use of neutral cards to support those themes without making it too obvious.
A great example of a flexible card would be Un'Goro's Fire Fly, which worked as an aggro minion, Quest Hunter minion, Quest Rogue minion, and Elemental trigger all by itself.
By making these kinds of flexible cards, you can inspire multiple playstyles without taking up space for each one."
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
Woop: "If I had anything else to share it's that I suck at making priest cards.
Every designer has their weakness lmao"
That does it for this week. Click here if you want to see more of Stroll into the Wild West, and let us know what you think down in the comments.