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View Full Version : Capitalizing on digital: What is ok and what is not ok with us?



jgsugden
06-30-2013, 07:37 AM
The digital format gives Crypt the chance to do things that other card games can't do . However, I'm curious which of the things they can do are things we're open to seeing? (Examples are not intended to be balanced, but merely to demonstrate concepts)

Advanced/complex math: How would people feel if some of the numbers generated on a card required some pretty advanced/complex math? Advanced/complex could take two forms:

1.) College track math might be considered advanced. Although some percentage of us would be able to understand it, few of us would be able to casually look at the math and know right off the bat what the exact answer would be.

2.) Complex math would be math that uses simple techniques, but doing it in real life would take a little bit of time, such as calculating averages from a series of dozens of numbers, etc...

History: How about using information from earlier in the game?

For example: "If you were the first player in the game, draw a card. If you were not, take an extra turn after your next turn."

Or: [i]"Players gain 1 life for every card that they've lost to the void this game."

Real World Information: What I the deck turned to the real world and gathered information from the internet /your account to decide how a card works? These would likely be better for PvE cards...

For example: [I]If played during fall or winter, exhaust 4 troops. If player during spring or summer, gain 1 life for each creature in play."

Or: [I]All troops you control gain +1/+1. If the current world champion used an Orc Champion, gain +2/+1 instead."

Thoughts? Other digital-only techniques you're wondering about?

Avaian
06-30-2013, 07:49 AM
If played during fall or winter, exhaust 4 troops. If played during spring or summer, gain 1 life for each creature in play.

I like this idea, and could easily see it being part of the game, most likely a PvE card.

Any cards they do implement, I feel they would need to be balanced to affect any player equally.

The possibilities are limitless, as long as it will be fun for the players and balanced.

Icepick
06-30-2013, 07:53 AM
I dunno about that real-world information one, as that radically alters the value of a card based on factors completely beyond your control, which just isn't fun.
Besides that, I'm pretty open to most things, as long as they avoid effects that succeed or fail based on a random number.

Tathel
06-30-2013, 08:23 AM
I'm also not sure about anything that gather's data from the outside world.

It might be kinda neat if like 'snow-covered' land only worked in winter and would really effect the meta, and seasons last long enough that maybe this would work. Anything that is more like 'on tuesdays this is +2' is probably a little too fickle.

Might be funny to have a Santa card that is more powerful at Christmas or something, but i dunno if it'd be useful.

I think things like averages "X is the average power of creatures you control" work well digital but are too slow in RL.

I think if you make decks to condition specific, like "if this has occurred at some point in the game." It's not unbalanced per-say but if it isn't done exactly right you end up with more potential for rock paper scissors in the meta game.

Shadowelf
06-30-2013, 08:48 AM
For example: [I]If played during fall or winter, exhaust 4 troops. If player during spring or summer, gain 1 life for each creature in play."


Cards with seasonal effects have been used before; there was a quest way back at wow tcg, with a christmas theme and an enhanced effect if used during December; I can see this happening at hex as a holiday promo for example

funktion
06-30-2013, 10:32 AM
Can you give me an example of a card that would involve complex math? I'm not sure I understand that one, but the rest are all interesting ideas. Could be for "holiday" cards or something.

Showsni
06-30-2013, 10:37 AM
Yeah, cards that change in effect depending on the date certainly aren't unique to digital games.

http://pokebeach.com/scans/Wizards/Pikachu%20World%20Collection/24.birthday.pikachu.pwc.jpg

What do you mean by more complex/college track maths, though? Something like "This card does damage with a normal distribution, mean of 5, standard deviation 1.2."? That seems unnecessarily complicated...

facade
06-30-2013, 10:49 AM
Opinions on using outside data
I agree with the sentiments that cards based on gathering real-world data would likely be best used only in PvE. PvP is based around metagaming and a significant aspect of metagaming is that the cards remain known entities (find the thread that discussed nerfing vs. banning for further elaboration). Granted, this is slightly different in that the cards are printed with known (yet varying) effects, but it would seem incredibly arbitrary if there was a "best deck" that only exists if some condition outside the game is satisfied.


However, I wholeheartedly support seeing entire dungeons with cards that morph based on the time of year, or that might be affected by the number of faction cards in winning tournament decks, or that are affected by the number of players that have lost to your keep. It could even be as simple as a dungeon that gets harder as the size of your collection increases (i.e. for every thousand cards you own, the enemy draws an extra card per turn). This might actually be a very interesting design space for different dungeons and PvE cards.

Elaborating on complex math
The first point of the OP probably refers to functions beyond what you would learn in algebra. For example, what if a troop had power calculated by a sine function, such that the attack value fluctuated vs. time, but might not necessarily be as straightforward as max on my turn, min on your turn. Or maybe a card that changes its effect based on which quadrant the solution to a polar equation falls in.

The second point probably refers to simple calculations that are easy but become unwieldy if you have to do constantly. A good example posted in the thread already is a troop with attack equal to the average attack of all troops in your deck. Averages are easy, but imagine having to recalculate the attack value every time you drew a troop card.


My opinions on complex math
Regardless, I consider the design space for the first point to be minimal. I can't imagine many cards that use advanced functions that can't be reduced to simpler mechanics. At that point, advanced math would only serve to alienate the audience, even if they never actually had to solve any math to play the card. Then again, this is really just like the suggestions in the OP's other two major categories that have cards refer to outside information. In this case, the outside information is just a math function. I have nothing against this use of math, as long as the cards remain well designed.

The second point is more manageable and I have really no arguments against it (or really any arguments for it). As long as the card is clear on what it does and it does not cloud the tactical game state with excessive numbers, I don't really see any major problems.

Dralon
06-30-2013, 12:40 PM
I actually love the idea of seasons and holiday events/ cards in PVE. That very much fits with the MMO spirit they are trying to go for with the PVE side.

PVP....no. Balance must be much more carefully weighed.

Gorgol
06-30-2013, 12:40 PM
I think with the pve side of things they can maybe try more weird things like this and simply watch and see what happens and how people use/don't use it and then can maybe implement similar but more balance versions into future pvp sets? The seasonal idea seems pretty neat though. I don't think anything should be outright denied though as ideas.

wayne
06-30-2013, 02:41 PM
Something they have already done, but only scratched the surface of, are cards with effects that are percentage-based. For example, a new creature ability might look something like this:

Critical Strike Whenever this troop deals combat damage, it has a 5% chance to deal double damage instead.

In magic, chance based cards were essentially reduced to some number of coin flips. Imagine all the cards that might be possible to balance in power now. Say a certain chance effect is too strong at 50% chance. No problem, we can rebalance it at 33% and not have to worry about flipping X number of coins to make it happen.

Xintia
06-30-2013, 02:50 PM
As most people have noted, there is a lot more potential on the PvE side of things for things like this. I wouldn't be opposed to conditional effects based on things like time of day, months or seasons. I also wouldn't be opposed to percentage based effects like the one Wayne gave an example of. The whole "advanced math" thing strikes me as unnecessary though. Just because you COULD have a card based on a quadratic equation doesn't make it a good idea. :p

Tinuvas
06-30-2013, 04:18 PM
Absolutely mind blowing possibilities mentioned here. Can you imagine a series of cards (Desert Hulk, Yeti, Sea Serpent, etc.) that played different based on current weather conditions based on your current geographical location? You'd have to check the weather before playing your deck! Or perhaps there is server weather that changes how the cards work. Crazy possibilities!

More relevant to PvP can you imagine cards that have attack value based on the number of creatures in your deck/graveyard/both, etc.? For power balancing, make the number divided by 2. You start getting into slightly more advanced math here, but I think it's still more than doable.

I agree that the eccentric ideas should stay PvE, but WOW the design space that's available in digital still blows my mind.

Shadowelf
06-30-2013, 04:28 PM
Yeah the possibilities are endless; effects based on day/night cycle , temperature, dates....the list really grows long the more u think about it

jgsugden
06-30-2013, 04:47 PM
OP here.

When it comes to advanced math, I'm talking about things that a person that has completed Algebra I would not understand.

I'm not a math wizard, personally. I took calculus once upon a time, and have a pretty good grasp on the statistics that go into most board games / card games... but that was a long time ago. I can't come up with great examples here. However, if you look into the guts of some MMOs and other video games, there are sometimes some advanced math being built into the way that you calculate damage (or calculate other game effects). Would you be unhappy with a card that said that the troop had a strength determined by a formula you did not know how to calculate, but that for which you could see the end result?

One potential example (which is actually probably under my post Algebra I threshold) would be a card that looks at the number of cards in all graveyards and runs it though a formula that results in a bell curve result which represents the damage it deals - so that the card is most effective when there are 60 cards in the graveyards total, but least effective when there are 0 or 120? (or most effective when there is 40 in the graveyards total, but least at 0 or 80).

You could go crazy with digitial design.

"This troop is +0/-1 if your turn takes more than a minute." - Meaning it gets weaker as the game goes along - and encourages fast play on your part.

"If this card is in your graveyard and you have used less than 10 minutes in the match clock, it is shuffled into your deck."

Imagine a series of NFL sponsored Champions (not tournament legal, but great for fun play) that get stronger when the NFL team is on a win streak. Or NBA, MLB, MLS, etc...

Imagine if you tie the different areas of the game to different real world locations. Then, when the weather changes in those real world locations, it has an impact on cards.

Crypt could create a charity and then put into place a PvE card that gets stronger for you for a while after you donate to that charity.

Lots of things they can do, especially in PvE...

goblin
06-30-2013, 05:14 PM
Games need to, above everything else, feel fair. If the math on the card is too hard for the majority of people to understand, then it's my feeling that it'll be impossible for people to use that card strategically, because they won't be able to predict the results. I think things like percentage based critical damage is better, since it's easier to get your head around what will happen, when you play a card. I think that if you implement a set of rules for a card, and you end up with this totally, entirely unpredictable creature, it might be *interesting*, but it would be hard to say how much serious play it would get outside the most casual of decks. I mean, look at Goblin Test Pilot!!! :)

More than strictly speaking incomprehensible math, I think that understandable but complex-because-of-scope cards, or complex cumulative effects would be much better received, and more fun. Take Coat of Arms (http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=191314), for example:

Each creature gets +1/+1 for each other creature on the battlefield that shares at least one creature type with it. (For example, if two Goblin Warriors and a Goblin Shaman are on the battlefield, each gets +2/+2.)

I played this card in EDH, and it totally changed the battlefield. tiny creatures could all of a sudden take on massive tank creatures. But it was such a pain to calculate the damage totals for any single attack that somebody destroyed the artefact a few turns later just to speed to game up.

That's the sort of card you could play digital, and have all those calculations made for you, instead of slowing down the game so much it's not fun to play any more.

Tinuvas
06-30-2013, 05:45 PM
OP here.

When it comes to advanced math, I'm talking about things that a person that has completed Algebra I would not understand.

I'm not a math wizard, personally. I took calculus once upon a time, and have a pretty good grasp on the statistics that go into most board games / card games... but that was a long time ago. I can't come up with great examples here. However, if you look into the guts of some MMOs and other video games, there are sometimes some advanced math being built into the way that you calculate damage (or calculate other game effects). Would you be unhappy with a card that said that the troop had a strength determined by a formula you did not know how to calculate, but that for which you could see the end result?

One potential example (which is actually probably under my post Algebra I threshold) would be a card that looks at the number of cards in all graveyards and runs it though a formula that results in a bell curve result which represents the damage it deals - so that the card is most effective when there are 60 cards in the graveyards total, but least effective when there are 0 or 120? (or most effective when there is 40 in the graveyards total, but least at 0 or 80).


I thought I had a good line to draw here, but I don't. Good question. I would love more advanced math, but maybe set the limit to the minimum age of the target audience (7th grade math max maybe???). I really don't know. Fascinating question, especially with the depth of design space available.

Turtlewing
06-30-2013, 05:56 PM
More relevant to PvP can you imagine cards that have attack value based on the number of creatures in your deck/graveyard/both, etc.?

I'll just leave this here http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=2576

Hatts
06-30-2013, 07:36 PM
I almost hesitate to mention this as I may be asked for the exact interview and time stamp , but I will anyways. Cory said in an interview that he would love to do holiday themed PvE cards that have special effects / increased stats at that time of year.

On the other ideas, advanced math is not a good idea, it will alienate people. Historical and real world tie ins are good ideas IMO.

Hmdrake
06-30-2013, 08:01 PM
I do worry about having card effects localized when dealing with a glibal card game. Even seasonal cards get wonky when you have a Canadian player and an Australian player. As for advanced math, as an Engineering major who has a heavy background in math, I'd probably veto it. It's fun to calculate the meta, but when a player doesn't understand why their card is changing, or how it will change over the next few rounds, it can be very frustraying for them.

MercuryMonkey
06-30-2013, 09:25 PM
I don't think complex math in card mechanics is a good idea. If certain card mechanics are hard to understand they will be ignored by some players and those same players will find it frustrating when those mechanics are used against them. It is more important that things are approachable and understandable than mathematically complex. Complicated mechanics that are not math based can be annoying too ("They need to add the Banding keyword ability!" said nobody ever)

History based mechanics can be interesting as long as the information is available to both players somewhere in the interface. There are plenty of examples of this already that don't require the digital aspect of the game. Again understanding why something happened when a card is played against you is the difference between learning and frustration.

Lastly I don't think real world information belongs in the game to drive anything. For pretty much the same reasons as above, a player does not necessarily know the reason for an advantage or disadvantage because it is not part of the game world. A minor change to that idea that would improve it is have events in Entrath drive changes in cards. These could notify the player on login or other means in game that way it is both available and transparent to everyone. Sure these events could mirror real world events but they wouldn't require me to know (or care) about events in the real world or assume regional/cultural knowledge.

Hibbert
07-01-2013, 01:27 AM
Complicated mechanics that are not math based can be annoying too ("They need to add the Banding keyword ability!" said nobody ever)

They need to add the Banding keyword ability! I'm being complete sincere; it's a fun ability.

Banding isn't that complicated, the main issue is that it's not something that can easily be parenthetically explained like every other keyword in MTG nowadays("Defenders can't attack" or "You may play this spell from your graveyard for the flashback cost, if you do so, exile it").

In Hex, there could easily be a "More Information" popup on a card that could explain a more advanced keyword like banding, without having to clutter up the card itself.

Atomzed
07-01-2013, 02:36 AM
Hmm...I don't think that you should put in a card that is hard to describe. Using the example given by the OP, that a card power may follow a normal distribution based on the number of cards in the graveyard... I don't know how CZE is going to word it!

However, if the cards mechanics can be explained in a clear and simple manner, I'm all for more mathematically advanced cards.

We already have an example in the 6 cost human troop whose power is determined by the number of human troops in the deck. (can't remember the name off hand).

Some possible examples are:-
1) Dwarven troop. Cost X. 0/0.
When played, it gains X/Y where X is the number of artifacts in your deck, and Y is the number of artifacts in your opponent deck.

2) Neurotic ally. 5 cost. X/3, where X is the difference between your hero current HP and your opponent current HP.

3) Human ally. 5 cost. 1/1. When played, it gains X/X for every 3 reputation point with the Void Society, to a maximum of 6/6.

4) Coyote ally. Cost 2. 1/1. Troop has Flight when the total number of troops on the field is even.

The Maths is a little more advanced, but is clear in its description. This makes it easier for the player to ascertain th effects.

Hmdrake
07-01-2013, 03:24 AM
Atomzed gives some great examples. I'd enjoy seeing all of those in at least pve play.

MercuryMonkey
07-01-2013, 08:10 AM
They need to add the Banding keyword ability! I'm being complete sincere; it's a fun ability.

Banding isn't that complicated, the main issue is that it's not something that can easily be parenthetically explained like every other keyword in MTG nowadays("Defenders can't attack" or "You may play this spell from your graveyard for the flashback cost, if you do so, exile it").

Actually I agree with you in that it is a fun ability, my dislike of Banding had to do with playing magic when I was 12 reading that miniature rulebook without internet and a nice wiki to explain such things. An ability like that can benefit greatly from a digital version because the UI can guide you through its usage. I think I am pretty much okay with any level of complexity as long as the UI and card descriptions do a good enough job of making them understandable.

Showsni
07-01-2013, 11:46 AM
Banding is awesome! It's not really that difficult to explain, either. (And it completely hoses Trample!)

Vorpal
07-01-2013, 12:20 PM
Can you give me an example of a card that would involve complex math?

Certainly

http://imagehost.vendio.com/a/35053760/aview/49b87b4510ced_74061n.jpg

ossuary
07-01-2013, 02:28 PM
I want a troop with Pi toughness, or the ability to give a troop i to its attack rating until end of turn. ;)

It would be neat to have a troop that uses averages for its power or toughness, but keep in mind that if you had two of those troops in play at once, it would cause an infinite loop. They would have to be designed to ignore ALL troops with average stats, not just itself.

Also, there's already a diamond troop that has power and toughness equal to 1/3 of the number of humans in your whole deck, so CZE is already experimenting with this kind of stuff.

Hatts
07-01-2013, 02:50 PM
@Vorpal That's not complex math, it's simple algebra.

Vorpal
07-01-2013, 03:37 PM
Complex math is math involving complex numbers.

Needless to say, that expression can result in a complex number, as it can have an imaginary part (square root of a negative number)

djlowballer
07-01-2013, 05:20 PM
I do worry about having card effects localized when dealing with a glibal card game. Even seasonal cards get wonky when you have a Canadian player and an Australian player. As for advanced math, as an Engineering major who has a heavy background in math, I'd probably veto it. It's fun to calculate the meta, but when a player doesn't understand why their card is changing, or how it will change over the next few rounds, it can be very frustraying for them.

I was about to post the same thing. Winter in NA/EU is Summer in Australia. What about SEA where these seasons are divided into "Humid and Rainy" and "Humid and Slightly More Rainy"?

Avaian
07-01-2013, 05:26 PM
If they did seasonal it would be based on the hemisphere with the highest population density.

Bossett
07-01-2013, 05:43 PM
Can you give me an example of a card that would involve complex math? I'm not sure I understand that one, but the rest are all interesting ideas. Could be for "holiday" cards or something.

I'm all for complicated interactions.

Some things are relatively straightforward to understand, but hard to figure out. 'Inspire' would be a huge one - if you're building a deck around particular Inspire mechanics, working out what effects are likely to be on any given card you play is pretty complicated; but you can get an intuitive 'feel' by just playing a few hands.

If the complexity comes from the interactions and not the cards - it can make particular 'styles' with high synergy viable once the metagame has matured a bit.

Luckily, the format encourages card stats that can fit on a card - so I think that'll be the limiting factor.

fitzle
07-01-2013, 05:44 PM
My brain kind of hurts just from reading this thread. I better stick to playing orc cards. :o

djlowballer
07-01-2013, 05:52 PM
If they did seasonal it would be based on the hemisphere with the highest population density.

Not all places in the Northern Hemisphere experience seasons in the same way. It would also be confusing for players from Aus or a place with different seasons when playing against each other.

Aus Player: "Played during winter, +5/+5 to all characters
SG Player: "Uhh its 30 Degrees outside"
US Spectator: "Its actually spring guys".

Bossett
07-01-2013, 06:00 PM
Not all places in the Northern Hemisphere experience seasons in the same way. It would also be confusing for players from Aus or a place with different seasons when playing against each other.

Aus Player: "Played during winter, +5/+5 to all characters
SG Player: "Uhh its 30 Degrees outside"
US Spectator: "Its actually spring guys".

It would be awesome if we could just get themed tournaments or tables, optional in PvP, that would have effects that were play-area wide. Like 'Desert' which causes your units to take damage if you don't spend charge to give them something to drink or something like that.

djlowballer
07-01-2013, 06:07 PM
That would be pretty cool, sort of like permanent stadiums in Pokemon TCG. Seasons could be done based off the seasons in the world. IE each set marks the change of season and the passage of time in the lore. It could be a rational way for dividing block play.

Bossett
07-01-2013, 06:14 PM
Would be a good way to soft-retire certain cards in at least some formats too: Add an extra reward if you play constructed in the current 'season' setting, and have newer cards that cope better. Something like cards of 'Artifact Type XXXX' cost 1 more to play, and have no 'Artifact Type XXXX' in the new set.

Avaian
07-01-2013, 06:28 PM
Not all places in the Northern Hemisphere experience seasons in the same way. It would also be confusing for players from Aus or a place with different seasons when playing against each other.

Aus Player: "Played during winter, +5/+5 to all characters
SG Player: "Uhh its 30 Degrees outside"
US Spectator: "Its actually spring guys".


Because of the colder temperatures during the run-up to spring observed in the predominately continental climates north of the equator, the common (but not universal) convention in temperate climates of the Northern hemisphere is to observe the later-arriving astronomical seasons: March Equinox instead of March 1 (Spring), June Solstice instead of June 1 (Summer), September Equinox instead of September 1 (Autumn) and December Solstice instead of December 1 (Winter).'

It is a poor idea to base things on the minority, you don't want to forget the minority but you don't want to base things on them

djlowballer
07-01-2013, 07:14 PM
I don't know how common that actually is because the northern hemisphere covers a lot of the planet. "Seasons" where I live and the surrounding countries are not tracked by anybody because its 28-32 degrees from Jan to December. Even places further north in the region only have 2-3 seasons (Summer, Rainy, and occasionally winter). The concept of seasonal cards mirroring real life is neat but has no place in an online TCG not constrained by geography.

Bossett
07-01-2013, 07:28 PM
Advanced/complex math: How would people feel if some of the numbers generated on a card required some pretty advanced/complex math? Advanced/complex could take two forms:

1.) College track math might be considered advanced. Although some percentage of us would be able to understand it, few of us would be able to casually look at the math and know right off the bat what the exact answer would be.

2.) Complex math would be math that uses simple techniques, but doing it in real life would take a little bit of time, such as calculating averages from a series of dozens of numbers, etc...
I was thinking about this - I actually don't think I'd mind if certain cards had 'diminishing returns'; so a card where it's strength is something like roundup(5/(# of creatures you control right now)).

Or a card that gains x/stength of it's strength each time it attacks or something. Hard to keep track of in real life; but easy in a digital format. Because the 'x' will have to be some fraction to make it work nicely - you'd have to hide it behind some keyword. In fact some sort of 'sprint' mechanic' would be awesome. Imagine a troop that comes out at 2, gets to 6 in 2 turns, then falls back to 2 in the next turn.

Aldazar
07-02-2013, 08:01 PM
It would be awesome if we could just get themed tournaments or tables, optional in PvP, that would have effects that were play-area wide. Like 'Desert' which causes your units to take damage if you don't spend charge to give them something to drink or something like that.

This is an absolutely awesome idea! Seasonal or otherwise, themed tournaments or tables would be a lot of fun! They could be optional for people who aren't interested in such frivolities, but I'd definitely enjoy them as a way to spice things up and keep things fresh!

Aldazar
07-02-2013, 08:10 PM
I probably wouldn't go with the super complicated (note: not complex as in involves the square root of a negative number) math route except for the odd "fun" card like the one posted previously by someone else... Unless it adds materially to the gameplay, why make things overly complicated and confusing for those who aren't that great at math? I think the game will have a ton of depth and complexity as it is at launch given the multi-dimensionality (is that even a word?!) of the digital format enhancements already announced/proposed...

I am, however, definitely a big fan of "fun" cards that may be PvE or PvP or both, but would probably be excluded from major or "ranked" tournaments due to balance concerns... They might do something crazy, or have some crazy mechanics that don't really make sense in the broader (balance) scope of the game, but are funny or amusing or fun in their own right or in special contexts... Again, they'd be banned from pro-type tournaments, but there's no reason not to allow them in casual PvP or even have special themed tournaments and the like to showcase them.

Possible example - at Christmas, you could have Santa Claus, a bunch of elves, and some reindeer (not to mention Santa's sleigh, bag of toys, etc). They could do crazy things if put together in certain combinations, but would only work during Christmas time or something... You could have special seasonal quests that drop these cards or give them as rewards (they wouldn't be found in boosters because there would surely be some people who will b*tch and moan that this is reducing their EV by putting cards that will be useless out of season in their boosters which they paid for blahblahblah)... Random, not well thought out, but just throwing the idea out there...

One of the reasons this works is that there is a relatively lower cost to "produce" these crazy cards and implement them into the game compared to physical TCGs. You could even have it such that after a certain period, like once the festival is over or something, they stay in your collection but become unplayable. Then, once in a while, you could have crazy "unlimited" tournaments where you can use absolutely any card in your collection and the results would be nuts! You'd see all sorts of crazy combos, things would be totally unbalanced, but that'd be ok, because it'd just be for fun!