In the second entry to our series revealing the backstories of supporter's Divination Card designs, we asked Jmatt to talk about the friendly rivalry that culminated in his Divination Card - The Fool.
Let me start off by saying that it’s nice to see that a lot of Divination Cards created by the community represent something that is very meaningful and emotional to the creators of those cards. This, however, is definitely not one of those.
My journey into Path of Exile started near the end of the Alpha back in 2011. After finally getting a key from the randomized lottery on the main site me and a few buddies started playing the game on and off throughout the phases of the Beta until we finally started taking the game a bit more seriously in Nemesis League. This was the first time playing an ARPG in hardcore and there was something strangely addictive about losing your character over and over while slowly learning more about the game in the most brutal way possible. Something from there clicked and we would find ourselves putting way too many hours into the leagues over the years from then on.
One of these buddies, let’s call him Tom, took the game quite seriously. Even though we were playing the game cooperatively he would always somehow manage to sneakily push the game into a bit of a competition. We found ourselves racing for higher levels, pushing for more challenges, and seeing who could do more content than the other. We would never actually address this competition directly, but it was definitely implied through back-handed comments and subtle bragging league after league after league.
Although I trusted my superior Path of Exile ability, I needed a way to one-up Tom permanently so that this madness could finally be put to an end so I decided to go with the most obvious thing I could think of. That of course was spending a bunch of money to put him into a Divination Card that makes fun of him.
The title of the card is a homage to Tom that I think captures his personality quite accurately. I think most people that know him would describe him in a similar fashion. The artwork of the card is based off of a real picture of him I submitted. Although I never got a chance to thank them, GGG’s artists did a wonderful job converting it into Divination Card art. I was quite impressed seeing the finished product.
The card reward is a combination of two things. It is leftover from a different idea I originally had for a card where you would get a random amount of Chance Orbs (between 1 and 40) by turning in the set but this wasn’t feasible at the time. I stuck with Chance Orbs because I just really like Chance Orbs as I am somewhat of a gambling man. Also, there were no other Divination Cards at the time that solely gave Chance Orbs so I thought it would be a nice fit for the game. I considered thinking of some kind of item or currency that fits the joke better but I still wanted to make a Divination Card that is at least somewhat useful.
The flavor-text of the card is self-referential as it is describing Tom's downfall of being put into his own Divination Card. The “Learned Man” part is questionable but apparently Tom actually has a PhD in real life. I myself question the authenticity of it, to be honest.
The specifics of who ended up winning more of those competitions we had in Path of Exile over the years are irrelevant to the story. Please stop asking. The only thing that truly matters is that I came out ahead by cementing him into an embarrassing Divination Card. This was worth every penny.
Friendly competition aside, I still occasionally play Path of Exile with Tom and we actually flew to New Zealand last year and explored ExileCon together. There will probably be more back-handed comments and subtle bragging for a long time to come. Even though it was somewhat of a joke Divination Card it was quite an enjoyable experience creating it with GGG’s help and it was very fun to leave my small mark on the game.