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Yoss
11-04-2013, 05:24 PM
I found a rather interesting article about MTG that should be quite relevant to Hex. I'll quote the relevant portion:

http://www.sirlin.net/articles/balancing-multiplayer-games-part-2-viable-options.html

Wheat from the Chaff

Here’s my favorite quote from Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style:

Omit Needless Words

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

FIVE mana for this [Chimney Imp]? Omit needless cards. Treat your game design the same way. Yes you should explore the design space, but omit needless words, mechanics, characters, and choices. Although your primary goal regarding viable options is to make sure you’re giving the player enough options, your secondary goal should be to eliminate all the useless ones.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has 54 characters, which is ridiculously many. How many are viable in a tournament? I’ll say 10, and I’m being generous. I actually call that a success because coming up with 10 characters in fighting game that are fair against each other is really hard. That said, it does look pretty bad to have more than FOUR TIMES that many characters sitting around in the garbage pile of non-viable choices. Compare this to Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo’s 16 characters, almost all of which are tournament viable, or Guilty Gear’s 23 characters, almost all of which are viable, and you see what a compact design looks like.

One genre of game is notable for intentionally creating an enormous number of useless options: collectable card games. Even though I claim Magic: The Gathering is one of the best designed games in the world, I’m judging the balance on an absolute scale of how many good cards/decks the tournament environment supports, not the ratio of viable to worthless. On that scale, we’d have to rate the game as a complete failure.

MTG’s Mark Rosewater defends the intentional inclusion of bad cards for design reasons, but this is only because the marketing department has brainwashed him into going along with their admittedly very successful rip-off scheme. Rosewater claims that bad cards are ok because they:

a) allow for interesting experimental mechanics that might end up being bad
b) test valuation skills because if all cards were equally good, there’d be less strategy
c) give new players the joy of discovering that certain cards are bad, as a stepping stone to learning the game
d) are necessary because even if they came out with a set that consisted entirely of known good cards from old sets, there’d still be only 8 tournament viable decks and the rest of the cards would not be used.

The solution to this problem is clear if we only cared about design and not rip-off marketing: print fewer cards. Reason a) is a great one, experimental cards that end up accidentally bad are fine. Reasons b) and c) are just silly. Saying the game would not have enough strategy if bad cards were removed is an insult to Mark’s own (terrific) game. Saying that new players need to discover the intentionally bad cards is even more silly because this comes at the cost of making sets overwhelming to new players and needlessly unwieldy for expert players. We all know the real reasoning here is to make players buy more random packs of cards to get at the few good ones.


Finally, reason d) is a blatant admission that the game should have fewer cards. Ironically, I’m not even sure d) is true. Maybe printing a large set of all good cards really would lead to more viable tournament decks than the game currently supports. If not though, they should stop printing all that chaff.

You could say that MTG proves that it’s really all about chaff, though. Maybe giving a few viable options amidst a sea of bad ones is good business when you sell by the pack. But we don’t see this in other genres and really we just haven’t seen anyone crazy enough to stand up to MTG on this issue and offer a competing card game that’s just as well designed but that eliminates all chaff.

So, basically, this guy thinks that a TCG (in a purist sense) should only publish playable cards. This is not to say that every card needs to be a powerhouse (direct competitive threat, Yomi Level 0), but that every card should have a purpose as either a competitive threat or as a counter to a primary threat or as counter to a counter and so on. In this example, there is no competitive situation where Chimney Imp would be the best card choice, therefore Chimney Imp should not exist in the game design.

For those who have studied Hex Set 1, would you say there are any Chimney Imps in the card list?

EDIT:
Here's a link to Post 14 of this thread, with MaRo's article on the subject, and my commentary on it.
http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=29664&page=2&p=315104&viewfull=1#post315104

HyenaNipples
11-04-2013, 05:36 PM
Isn't this an old and tired argument? Mark Rosewater put these concepts to rest a long time ago, and he did so quite eloquently. I think the guy who has designed MtG cards for around 17 years has quite a bit more clout than most anyone else.

the_artic_one
11-04-2013, 05:53 PM
That's fine for a game like Sirlin's Yomi where it's a single box game that never changes. But not for a game based around trading and continuous new content.

Basically he doesn't like TCGs as a concept and ignores the social advantages of the design because he's too focused on how good it is as a stand alone competitive product. He also ignores limited formats completely and other concepts like discovery and personalization.

If you want a game based on what Sirlin thinks a card game should be then play Yomi. Then get bored of it and leave it on a shelf forever after you try every deck a few times because it never changes. Sirlin might know a lot about competitive balance but he has no idea what "fun" is for people who aren't uber spikes.

Gulbech
11-04-2013, 05:57 PM
This all depends on, if the game build around constructed or drafts. In a draft you really need different kinds of card levels, and HEX is primarily build around drafting.

keroko
11-04-2013, 06:15 PM
^ this - there's times the chimney imp is just what you need, or the best you can get for that resource cost / color hole in your limited deck.

EDIT - all cards should have flavor text!

Zomnivore
11-04-2013, 06:47 PM
I don't think its wrong to want them to create only-usable cards.

The full context of that is, they don't need to be usable within a limited set.

If you create a bad card within a set, it should have some use outside of a set.

Look at the 6 cost Tyrannosaurus Hex, he can be bad in this set, but still have a use if later they expand on the Dinosaur label.

Stuff like that is very very interesting to me.

It could just very well be that "unusable" cards might not have to be a thing, or that they really really are needed. I don't honestly know if its non-toxic to the game's long term health to try to create long-term vision good cards, or how you'd go about implementing that wisely.

DanTheMeek
11-04-2013, 08:17 PM
I've always been a bit iffy about Mark's famous article on this discussion. He makes tremendously good points, but the problem for me is that, no matter how hard you try to balance every card in a set, cards will be unbalanced, so its better to try to balance everything, then to purposely make cards weaker then the rest, as the need for weaker cards that he speaks of will ultimately resolve itself.

I'd also like to note that one of my favorite things in card games is when a card that looked fun because of its unique effect, but ultimately proved too weak to be competitively played once the set was thoroughly played by the masses, would then be supported by cards in a future set to finally make it playable. By the game designers actively trying to find ways to make cards that didn't pan out become useful with new cards, they gave the player the feeling that no card is ever truly worthless, that they could just be a set away from being the key card in a top tier combo deck.

In free to play, single pay for everything, or single player card games I honestly don't care if things are unbalanced, getting better cards can be part of the sort of RPG feel, but in any game where I have to pay for every pack I open I never want to feel like my money was wasted, I want to feel like every card I get, if its not great at the moment, will likely be solid at some point, making my expenditure feel more validated.

Icepick
11-05-2013, 04:18 AM
This is the point of view of someone absolutely obsessed with competitive balance, and the bottom line is that isn't all most TCGs are about. Sirlin is very good at what he does, and that is creating very well balanced competitive systems, but his viewpoint is completely skewed by that fact, as his complete dismissal of Mark Rosewater's points proves.

You're never going to be able to please everyone, obviously, and you should certainly form your own opinions rather than taking everything either side says as gospel (I lean much further towards Rosewater's points, for the record) but the kind of perfect balance that David Sirlin strives for simply isn't good for the health of a long-term TCG.

Kilo24
11-05-2013, 07:42 AM
I personally quite dislike deliberately designing cards to be weaker than other cards, and agree with Sirlin. I'm not talking about cards which are weird and underpowered but have unique abilities (those definitely have uses even if they're not constructed-worthy), but strictly dominated cards like the Zombie Vulture shouldn't exist anywhere near the Vampire King. Give it a highly conditional ability, or, hell, even a downside that can be contrived into an advantage in hilarious but almost unplayable Johnny decks, but don't just make a card that is strictly worse than another one in the same set. Being of different rarities only excuses it in the formats where rarity matters, like draft.

ossuary
11-05-2013, 08:40 AM
The thing is, though, they've specifically said that the game IS balanced for draft... in which case, having cards like Vampire King and Zombie Vulture exist side by side makes sense and is necessary.

arastor
11-05-2013, 09:53 AM
I am inclined to agree that bad cards (not cards that are simply balanced for draft, but truly bad cards) should not be made. I never found Maro's arguments at all compelling, but rather find myself thinking about how those bad cards make people buy more packs.

That said, I really just wanted to post and say that, while I am sympathetic to Sirlin's point, I have to deduct a few hundred points for referencing Strunk and White. That pompous, bloviated, self-contradictory train wreck of a book has probably harmed college-level English Language education more any other factor I can think of. Which isn't saying much, I suppose, since I'm not an expert in all things that have harmed college-level English Language education.

HyenaNipples
11-05-2013, 10:07 AM
A useful rule of thumb:

If an argument begins by quoting reference material, you are on the express train to Pedantic Town.

Ebynfel
11-05-2013, 12:02 PM
A useful rule of thumb:

If an argument begins by quoting reference material, you are on the express train to Pedantic Town.

I prefer Semantics Town, much more logical place to be:)

Yoss
11-05-2013, 04:26 PM
Thanks for the replys everyone! I set out to answer each of you, but answering Hyena took all my time. Hopefully the article he alluded to, and my answers to it, will be interesting to you.

@ Hyena, post 2:
I believe you are referring to this article:
http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr5
(Provided for reference to others reading this thread.)

I'll go through MaRo's points one by one, but here's my summary up front. He doesn't explain Chimney Imp. He explains why some "bad" cards exist, but not why truly and intentionally bad cards exist.


"R&D cannot make bad cards that are secretly good without also making bad cards that are actually bad."
He makes this counter-intuitive statement but never backs it up. Well, I claim the intuitive reverse is true: R&C CAN make bad cards that are secretly good (or situationally good) without also making bad cards that are actually bad. There is no need for truly bad cards.

"All The Cards Cannot Be Good"
Stated differently (my words), given any two cards, one can always be ranked as better than the other. Taken over a set of cards, this means there exists a ranking of best-to-worst. I can agree to this. It explains why only the top 400 cards out of 1500 are Constructed playable, leaving 1100 lesser cards to fill out the pool. It does not explain why any of the cards at the bottom of that ladder needed to be INTENTIONALLY bad. (I read onward to see if there's a tie-in.)

"Different Cards Appeal to Different Players"
Before even reading this, I'm thinking Johnny, Timmy, and Spike. Let's see what MaRo's getting at. First, we take a bite out of the 1100 lesser cards to make an interesting environment for Draft and Sealed. Then older formats (Extended, Modern, Legacy, Vintage). Then multiplayer. Then the flavor crowd, then silly, then Timmy, then Johnny. OK, I'll buy all that. I'm not seeing how Chimney Imp is interesting to ANY of those MTG customers. Then there's the concept of a discovery curve, or, in Sirlin's parlance, learning the skill of valuation. A new player must learn to judge relative value, so MaRo contends that known-bad cards help them learn to discriminate. He thinks that a new player must know about Chimney Imp in order to discern between Stinkweed Imp and Rakdos Drake, and that furthermore that new player gets JOY out of discovering that Chimney Imp is horrible? I'm not buying it.

"Power Levels Are Relative"
Here MaRo talks about Lion's Eye Diamond and how it seems bad but is actually good. I have no complaints about this, but it does not explain cards that are bad BY DESIGN. Unless he's saying that R&D had no idea that LED was narrow-but-powerful and instead actually thought they were printing junk; can they really be that blind? A zero-drop gain-three-mana card (Black Lotus) is insane, and it could (maybe isn't at time of set release) still be insane even after tacking on a big drawback (LED). Could they really not see the difference?

"Diversity of Power Rewards the More Skilled Player"
I agree with the general concept here. Player A (the pro) will draft cards that are better for the Limited format, while Player B (the newb) might just draft by rarity. Player A gets an edge because of his valuation skills. Fine. But that's not what MaRo is saying. He's not saying Player B will draft Wit's End over Murder (a bad pick); he's saying Player B will draft Chimney Imp over Stinkweed Imp (a pick so moronic that I can't see anyone ever making it). Uh, no, sorry MaRo, try again.

"People Like Finding “Hidden Gems”"
Since the discussion is not about good cards that seem bad, this point is not relevant. The discussion is about why they print known bad cards. The key there is that they KNOW it's bad when they print it. Not suspect, not guess at, KNOW.

the_artic_one
11-05-2013, 04:39 PM
Chimney imp is likely explained by a point made in part 2 of that article: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ld/164

Specifically: Limited must be balanced
Chimney imp was probably printed to balance black in limited. They likely wanted black to have access to a flying creature at common but didn't want them to have a good one because black already had lots of other good commons in that set. Here are black's choices for flyers in mirrodin: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&set=[%22Mirrodin%22]&color=+[B]&text=+[flying] this was probably done intentionally.

Cory_Jones
11-05-2013, 07:12 PM
I think people would be shocked to learn just how much work goes into making limited formats work; it’s a HUGE challenge and frankly one of our core competencies (one of the things that separates a real TCG development house from “places that want to make a CCG”)
We spend 1000s of man hours on draft alone, and when you balance a SET for draft many elements need to be considered, if you look at our sets moving forward from that lens I think it becomes easier to understand why we made certain cards

Shaqattaq
11-06-2013, 01:00 AM
I once lost a few hundred dollars tournament winnings at a professional-level event to a 2/2 flier for 4 that could give himself first strike for R1 that had two enchantments on him. The 2/2 barely playable, the two enchantments considered not playable. On my side of the table sat a dragon and I had the best 2-card limited combo in the format in my hand. My opponent made those cast-off cards work and while sad I didn't win that money, I was at the very least charmed that my opponent found such an ingenuous way to win.

Eierdotter
11-06-2013, 03:12 AM
In my opinion each card with a special effect is automatically not a bad card, it may be overcosted and not prefered to play, but it has a place somewhere.
A bad and useless card would be something insane like a 1/3 for 5+ cost and no other effect (shitty art and without flavour text).

As mentioned in the article there is no way to create only good cards, since good has to stand in a comparison to something that is weaker. if you want only playable cards it would end up in something like 8 different cards per color, where some work better with color A and others better with color B. There is no variety and therfor no fun...


I think people would be shocked to learn just how much work goes into making limited formats work; it’s a HUGE challenge and frankly one of our core competencies (one of the things that separates a real TCG development house from “places that want to make a CCG”)
We spend 1000s of man hours on draft alone, and when you balance a SET for draft many elements need to be considered, if you look at our sets moving forward from that lens I think it becomes easier to understand why we made certain cards

i can not imagine how hard this balancing is but i am shure these 1000s of hours are understated.
i mean balancing just one set in a vacuum seems to be hard enough, but you guys have to consider future sets and possible combos too, otherwise it would limit the creativity in future sets too much.

if you are looking from the outside at something, it always looks much easier than it is, because you can not see the details, that consume the most effort. (real life example: Chair. seems quite obvious what it should look like, 4 legs and a back mayba armrests, not hard at all to build one. But if you consider, it has to look great, be comfortable, economical material use without limiting stability, easy manufacturing, space saving storage maybe to pile up, and it should be a cheap buying price)

Pseudoradius
11-06-2013, 05:35 AM
Short dismissal of the "There should only be good cards!" statement: Please provide a universal definition of what a good card is.
Competitive viability isn't the only measure for what makes a card worthwile to have in a game or good.

As was already pointed out, there is no mention of limited and it needing to be balanced at any point, but when I look at the arguments he provides, there seem to be some strawmanish things going on. Probably more because of the arguments for bad cards are being presented in a very simplified form than actual intent but still. The ad hominem-"You just want to grab more money!" in there also doesn't help his point.


b) test valuation skills because if all cards were equally good, there’d be less strategy
[...] Saying the game would not have enough strategy if bad cards were removed is an insult to Mark’s own (terrific) game.
This is basically saying "No, that's wrong." without any backup whatsoever.
Not wanting to sacrifice strategic diversity aka not wanting to have less possible strategies is a sound and valid design decision, even if those strategies are bad, gimmicky or niche. Sometimes players just want to have fun and one of the easiest ways to do so is to just do something silly like digging out cards that noone uses and building a deck with them.


c) give new players the joy of discovering that certain cards are bad, as a stepping stone to learning the game
[...] Saying that new players need to discover the intentionally bad cards is even more silly because this comes at the cost of making sets overwhelming to new players and needlessly unwieldy for expert players.
This point is framed in a very negative if not misleading manner. I think something that describes what the argument is trying to say better would be "Give new players a startig point for learing to judge whether a card is good or bad."
There is no joy in discovering bad cards, but there is joy in learning and getting better at a game. When figuring out what is good or bad, having both sides of the spectrum available is very helpful, because the bigger contrast makes traits of good or bad cards more visible and therefore easier to learn in general.

However the main thing the author doesn't realize is, that using competitive viability as the single measure for whether you include a card or not is only a good decision if you want to make a game which focuses on competitive play. If that's what your game is supposed to be then that's totally fine, but in this case, MtG is a different game for different people and they try to design cards for all of them, not just for the competitive guys.

Edit: And I agree with Cory, there is also no point in his article where he even considers how much time it needs to balance out a set of 400-something cards, which should make it blatantly obvious, that having only good cards in there is only a theoretical possibility because practically you will not get it done within a reasonable amount of time.

mudkip
11-06-2013, 11:13 AM
I once lost a few hundred dollars tournament winnings at a professional-level event to a 2/2 flier for 4 that could give himself first strike for R1 that had two enchantments on him. The 2/2 barely playable, the two enchantments considered not playable. On my side of the table sat a dragon and I had the best 2-card limited combo in the format in my hand. My opponent made those cast-off cards work and while sad I didn't win that money, I was at the very least charmed that my opponent found such an ingenuous way to win.

You should have flipped the table, imo.

Cory_Jones
11-06-2013, 11:34 AM
You should have flipped the table, imo.

+1

Yoss
11-06-2013, 11:34 AM
I think people would be shocked to learn just how much work goes into making limited formats work; it’s a HUGE challenge and frankly one of our core competencies (one of the things that separates a real TCG development house from “places that want to make a CCG”)
We spend 1000s of man hours on draft alone, and when you balance a SET for draft many elements need to be considered, if you look at our sets moving forward from that lens I think it becomes easier to understand why we made certain cards
Thanks for the response! So far, I have not heard anyone say that there are any "dead" cards in Hex. Some are weak, sure, but I haven't seen any that are universally unplayable, and so far no one has answered my question about whether Hex has any Chimney Imp equivalents.


I once lost a few hundred dollars tournament winnings at a professional-level event to a 2/2 flier for 4 that could give himself first strike for R1 that had two enchantments on him. The 2/2 barely playable, the two enchantments considered not playable. On my side of the table sat a dragon and I had the best 2-card limited combo in the format in my hand. My opponent made those cast-off cards work and while sad I didn't win that money, I was at the very least charmed that my opponent found such an ingenuous way to win.
Volcano Imp?
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=26368

I'd agree with the assessment "barely playable" and would add that "barely playable" is still playable.


Chimney imp is likely explained by a point made in part 2 of that article: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ld/164

Specifically: Limited must be balanced
Chimney imp was probably printed to balance black in limited. They likely wanted black to have access to a flying creature at common but didn't want them to have a good one because black already had lots of other good commons in that set. Here are black's choices for flyers in mirrodin: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&set=[%22Mirrodin%22]&color=+[B]&text=+[flying] this was probably done intentionally.
I totally understand that a card can seem bad without being unplayable in certain situations (especially Limited). I said as much in post 14 under "different cards, different players". Yet Chimney Imp is never playable, even in Limited. Even if I grant you that black needed a flyer at common that wasn't too good, Chimney Imp is still way too far off in its cost. (And by the way, black already did have a flyer: Nim Shrieker.) You'd be better with an extra Swamp.


In any case, I have not seen any truly terrible cards in Hex yet, and I hope it stays that way.

ossuary
11-06-2013, 11:46 AM
I dunno... I haven't been able to figure out a scenario in which Comet Strike could save you or prove useful at all versus any other card. I'm sure it will be usable in some weird decks (especially after a few sets come out), but taken on its face, that card appears to be largely useless, especially for the cost. As they often say about Magic, if you have 10 mana and you haven't won already, you're not going to. Not to say Comet Strike COULDN'T save you (say, with a board wipe of your opponent's superior position, with too many of his good cards used up), but there are much better things you could do with the same 10 mana in pretty much any given scenario. But I admit it has the potential to be a moderately amusing card to play in a Johnny deck.

Shadowelf
11-06-2013, 12:00 PM
Cards with unique effects like comet strike's tend to find a place in casual formats though Oss; best example Commander in mtg which could as well be implemented here (it is in a way in pve by playing hard mode in dungeons) and many among them rival pretty expensive cards in constructed concerning market value. Yeah this card appears to be pretty weak for competitive constructed but i wouldn't rule it out just yet from casual formats or pve (its equipments seem powerful enough to at least deserve a test ) For reference Comet Strike (http://www.hex-datamine.com/cards/Comet-Strike/263)

Zomnivore
11-06-2013, 03:39 PM
If your enemy is sitting on their card filter/draw, and has their threats in hand while they dismantle your board....discarding could be ok, if you screw that up for them.

Still don't honestly know how you'd get it to work in a deck.

Honestly it seems like a pve good card, and a pvp bad card.

Which means it still has a use, and a function and its not wasted money if you find it in a pack...which will be rare, because its legendary.

ossuary
11-06-2013, 03:44 PM
True. If nothing else, you can make them use up a counterspell. ;) But with a 10 mana cost, it's doubtful you could then do anything else in response. :)

Baigan
11-06-2013, 04:01 PM
I wouldn't want to try playing the deck, but Comet Strike doesn't have the same disadvantage if you've already triggered Time Bug's effect that turn.

Shadowelf
11-06-2013, 04:57 PM
In Commander each player starts the game with 40 life, and you have one copy of each card besides lands in your deck. This makes it pretty possible that cards like comet strike can be 'hand cast'. Also in a deck of 100 unique cards (a commander deck must be 100 cards), i bet that this card could find a place (http://mtgcommander.net/rules.php). As for pve comet strike socketed with 'Armageddon' can possisbly single handedly win you an encounter. I agree that it is rather weak/slow in competitive pvp constructed matches though

Yoss
11-07-2013, 10:01 AM
Comet Strike is definitely not in the Chimney Imp category of junk. You might not ever use Comet Strike, but it's at least possible to dream up scenarios where you might possibly maybe think about using it (like 100-card Singleton or Commander, as SE pointed out). I am often shocked by the sorts of cards that are "good" in EDH; they look like junk to me, yet their price tag suggests that someone is using them.

No one is using Chimney Imp, unless it's just to goof off because of the meme surrounding it. ("Chimney Imp is the best card evar!")

Bidoof
11-07-2013, 10:47 AM
Comet Strike is definitely not in the Chimney Imp category of junk. You might not ever use Comet Strike, but it's at least possible to dream up scenarios where you might possibly maybe think about using it (like 100-card Singleton or Commander, as SE pointed out). I am often shocked by the sorts of cards that are "good" in EDH; they look like junk to me, yet their price tag suggests that someone is using them.

No one is using Chimney Imp, unless it's just to goof off because of the meme surrounding it. ("Chimney Imp is the best card evar!")

Now if you really wanted to win, you'd use storm crow.:cool:

Malicus
11-08-2013, 09:42 AM
I kind of like chimney imp but I have a soft spot for underdogs.

When I first read the Rosewater article I had gone into it trying to reject the notion that some cards needed to be bad but I found myself agreeing with all the points made and recognising in myself those learning moments when I first started recognising that a card was bad and then the next level moment when I realised that even though this card is worse than another card I have seen in the right context it is good.

If not all can be good then some must be bad. If some must be bad then some must be really bad or all bad cards are really bad because without a scale you are looking at 1s and 0s or 1-10 and 0s but either way I can't imagine how boring the game would be if all cards had the same power level.

I would also argue that it is important in a game where you open random packs to have those tragic opens as well as the dream opens since in order to truly appreciate the highs you need the lows.

ossuary
11-08-2013, 10:07 AM
I would also argue that it is important in a game where you open random packs to have those tragic opens as well as the dream opens since in order to truly appreciate the highs you need the lows.

I remember one time when I was quite young, saving up my money for a couple of weeks, and buying 3 packs of revised. Swear to god, two chaos laces and a lifelace. I was crushed. :p

Norious
11-08-2013, 11:08 AM
One of things we all must consider for HEX as opposed to Magic is that Hex is being designed as a PVP and PVE game. This is easily the biggest reason why it can seem some cards are useless. It is because you pros are viewing through your competition glasses. HEX is more. Soothing Breeze may be invaluable for dungeon raids to keep the team alive. Mind Games may be a monkey wrench type challenge a boss throws at you that must be dealt with. Heck , maybe the only way to finish a world boss off is spam Comet Strike every other turn. This, to me, makes HEX above and beyond what I have seen in these types of games. I think Cory and his team don't throw out cards for the sake to fill a box set, because all is digital. They don't have to fill a box to roll it out for sales!

Ertzi
11-08-2013, 03:16 PM
No matter how bad Chimney Imp is... Wood Elemental is worse.

Although, now that I think of it, you might actually come up with a combo of some kind with it, as it actually does something when in enters the battlefield. But sacing lands is always pretty miserable.

Just to participate involving HEX, I can say that I am going to enjoy building many a stupid and useless decks (measured in PvP worth). I like competitive play, but I love fooling around with crappy and weird cards. My favorite format in Magic is Crappy-Cards Cube. Like, really crappy. Fun games when everyone has to utilize normally unplayable cards. I accept that I am in the minority :)

Lawlschool
11-08-2013, 03:57 PM
I don't really get the article's argument in OP's post. I mean, I understand what he's getting at, but it's not a good argument. Whoever that author is is basically saying he dislikes how TCGs work and that he thinks they should work differently. Which isn't really an argument so much as it is personal opinion. Plus, his entire argument revolves around the tournament scene, which makes even less sense since that's only one aspect of competitive games.

The Marvel v. Capcom analogy shows a major flaw in his thinking; even if only 10 characters are viable in a tournament, that doesn't mean the other 44 or whatever aren't fun to play. I played fighting games all the time growing up, and "who was the best character" was less of a concern to me than "who was the most fun to play." Same with TCGs. I never played to be "the best" especially since I was never in a position to enter tournaments. I played casual games with friends in my neighborhood, and tried to use my limited pool of cards to find the most interesting combos I could.

The "TCGs are rip-offs" argument also is just a personal preference. Sure, some cards are worth more than others, and some boosters will have cards worth more than the cost of the booster, some worth less, but that's kind of the whole point of a Trading Card Game. You want to have cards worth more than others, because that's where the trading / collectable aspect comes in. Buying boosters is basically gambling, and I fucking loved that as a kid. There's value in the excitement of opening a booster. Getting mad at boosters for not providing optimal value is like getting mad at a casino for not giving you more money than you gamble.

He also totally ignores the value of the secondary market. Yes, buying boosters over and over to try to get the card you want does not make any financial sense. But, you can always sell (or trade) the cards you don't want and buy (or trade for) the cards you do. Someone mentioned that it was crazy to have Zombie Vulture when Vampire King exists. This is true strategy-wise, but there are great reasons to have lesser cards. As has been pointed out multiple times, draft is a huge reason for "lesser" cards. But another reason is that not every player can afford to buy 4 copies of a legendary card. Hell, not all players will want to do so (see my point about there being more to games than winning tournaments). Having a less powerful but more common version of a card is a huge boon to casual players, or people who just don't want to drop tons of money on a game.

Granted, you could argue that the rarity system does drive the cost of playing competitively up and for the sake of fairness all cards should have the same rarity and value or something like that. But then you'd have a completely different game / business model at best, or the cost of running the business would be too high and the whole thing would stop or never have existed at worst.

I get the argument that you shouldn't have an explicitly bad card (e.g. if the Dingler was a legendary troop), but that's not really what the original quoted article was saying (and so far isn't relevant to Hex at all). And even if that is all the article was trying to argue, he spent way more words arguing that proposition than was necessary, which kinda makes the whole thing ironic.

Ertzi
11-09-2013, 03:38 AM
This is not a counter-argument to anyone, but let's face it, Magic kinda turned to the rip-off method when they added Mythic rarity and introduced planeswalkers. I can't see the reason being anything else than getting people to buy more packs. The game was fine as it was, but suddenly you had to buy only newer cards. I am totally used to equipment now, but even that was a shock at the time. What, they stay on the battlefield? Incidentally, that was when I started to distance myself from the game a bit. The constant power creep during the years is pretty lame.

If the general level of cards would have stayed on the Homelands & Ice Age level (crappy, I know), then I would not even use the word rip-off, but I believe Magic has gotten a bit greedy. And hey, that's a business model and they can do whatever they want, but those realizations are a big reason why I'm a HEXite now. I was just jonesing for an alternative.

Unhurtable
11-10-2013, 03:25 AM
I don't really get the article's argument in OP's post. I mean, I understand what he's getting at, but it's not a good argument. Whoever that author is is basically saying he dislikes how TCGs work and that he thinks they should work differently. Which isn't really an argument so much as it is personal opinion. Plus, his entire argument revolves around the tournament scene, which makes even less sense since that's only one aspect of competitive games.

The linked argument in the OP's post is that TCGs intentionally argue for the design of bad cards because it benefits them economically, not necessarily because the playerbase prefers it but because it will require the playerbase to buy more packs in order to get the cards that are actually good. Consider this:
Would Wizards make and print bad cards if you actually had to buy them piece by piece instead of through booster packs?
Now I understand that these days there are marketplaces for cards where you can buy singles, but when a new set is released the booster packs are essentially the only source.


The Marvel v. Capcom analogy shows a major flaw in his thinking; even if only 10 characters are viable in a tournament, that doesn't mean the other 44 or whatever aren't fun to play. I played fighting games all the time growing up, and "who was the best character" was less of a concern to me than "who was the most fun to play." Same with TCGs. I never played to be "the best" especially since I was never in a position to enter tournaments. I played casual games with friends in my neighborhood, and tried to use my limited pool of cards to find the most interesting combos I could.

I agree that the MvC analogy has its flaws, but the major flaw that I see is the different economic models. Buying MvC allows you to play all characters, making balance a less important issue than in lets say League of Legends.


The "TCGs are rip-offs" argument also is just a personal preference. Sure, some cards are worth more than others, and some boosters will have cards worth more than the cost of the booster, some worth less, but that's kind of the whole point of a Trading Card Game. You want to have cards worth more than others, because that's where the trading / collectable aspect comes in. Buying boosters is basically gambling, and I fucking loved that as a kid. There's value in the excitement of opening a booster. Getting mad at boosters for not providing optimal value is like getting mad at a casino for not giving you more money than you gamble.

Cards will ultimately always have different values to different players due to preferrable playstyles and whatnot, but the linked argument in OP's post is essentially arguing for that cards shouldn't be made bad on purpose. They can still have different worths, and the trading / collectable aspect won't disappear just because all cards are on a more even playing field because their percieved value will still be different.


He also totally ignores the value of the secondary market. Yes, buying boosters over and over to try to get the card you want does not make any financial sense. But, you can always sell (or trade) the cards you don't want and buy (or trade for) the cards you do. Someone mentioned that it was crazy to have Zombie Vulture when Vampire King exists. This is true strategy-wise, but there are great reasons to have lesser cards. As has been pointed out multiple times, draft is a huge reason for "lesser" cards. But another reason is that not every player can afford to buy 4 copies of a legendary card. Hell, not all players will want to do so (see my point about there being more to games than winning tournaments). Having a less powerful but more common version of a card is a huge boon to casual players, or people who just don't want to drop tons of money on a game.

You could still have a secondary market even when "all" cards are perfectly viable in competition. How is having a less powerful but more common version of a card a huge boon to casual players compared to the hypothetical situation of the linked argument in OP's post that would allow players to have strong decks without investing lots of money due to essentially all cards being powerful?


Granted, you could argue that the rarity system does drive the cost of playing competitively up and for the sake of fairness all cards should have the same rarity and value or something like that. But then you'd have a completely different game / business model at best, or the cost of running the business would be too high and the whole thing would stop or never have existed at worst.

The game / business model could essentially still be the same. Buy boosters to get cards, use cards to win games. Cards could even have different rarities in the linked argument in the OP's post.


I get the argument that you shouldn't have an explicitly bad card (e.g. if the Dingler was a legendary troop), but that's not really what the original quoted article was saying (and so far isn't relevant to Hex at all). And even if that is all the article was trying to argue, he spent way more words arguing that proposition than was necessary, which kinda makes the whole thing ironic.
The original quoted article was arguing that there shouldn't be explicitly bad cards. I'm curious as to why that is ironic.

Lawlschool
11-10-2013, 09:29 AM
The original quoted article was arguing that there shouldn't be explicitly bad cards. I'm curious as to why that is ironic.

The irony is in how that point is argued. He uses an S&W quote about being concise in writing, which the author is not. If his argument is that truly explicitly bad cards are unnecessary (e.g. my Dingler example), that shouldn't take hundreds of words to argue. Hence, I find it ironic that an article about unnecessary additions uses so many to make his point.


The linked argument in the OP's post is that TCGs intentionally argue for the design of bad cards because it benefits them economically, not necessarily because the playerbase prefers it but because it will require the playerbase to buy more packs in order to get the cards that are actually good. Consider this:
Would Wizards make and print bad cards if you actually had to buy them piece by piece instead of through booster packs?

Fair points, and this would be absolutely true if constructed was the only way to play TCGs. But again, as others have pointed out, Limited is also a very popular format. Hell, the whole format of limited is designed around having to buy packs to play, so even if you managed to "eliminate the chaff" you'd still need to constantly buy packs to play Limited formats. I might be going off on a tangent here, but there's an interesting interaction between Limited and Constructed formats, in that one feeds in to the other. You could probably play Constructed competitively simply by buying single cards left over from those who resell them after playing Limited. From what I've read, it's rarely a good idea to randomly open boosters and instead you should play Limited formats to get experience and the cards you need for Constructed.

The main problem I have with the argument is that it doesn't really address everything needed to make its point. The article completely ignores the Limited formats and the complex balancing issues that go in to designing a set around that. He makes pretty harsh accusations of money grubbing and brainwashing without really backing them up or expanding on them (beyond a really basic paragraph dismissing RW's points). The argument that crappy cards are there only as booster filling does make sense if you're only in to playing Constructed competitively, but again ignores Limited, and ignores casual play.

I think the article's counter to RW's point about having only 8 viable tourney decks really undercuts the whole argument:



d) are necessary because even if they came out with a set that consisted entirely of known good cards from old sets, there’d still be only 8 tournament viable decks and the rest of the cards would not be used.... Finally, reason d) is a blatant admission that the game should have fewer cards. Ironically, I’m not even sure d) is true. Maybe printing a large set of all good cards really would lead to more viable tournament decks than the game currently supports. If not though, they should stop printing all that chaff.

As a Johnny type player, this would fucking suck. If the game only had cards to support 8 different decks, that really limits the creative aspect of the game. His argument requires us to agree that the only reason to plays TCGs is to win tournament games, and that the only cards that should be in a set are the best of the best, the cards most likely to win games. But even that has its own problems. First, even among those cream of the crop cards there will be some better at winning than others, so even then you would have more cards to eliminate until you had the "ultimate" cards, but even then you could possibly eliminate more, etc. etc. until you're left playing chess (alternately you could argue only the best cards for their archetypes should be kept, but then you're just playing rock-paper-scissors). Second, if only the best cards at winning games are to be included in a set, how do you create new sets without making old sets redundant or useless? How do you support mixing sets without making some cards from each set pointless as a result? Or, if the best cards are already in existence, how do you create cards that are better than the best?


I'll try to wrap this up because I'm probably rambling at this point. Here's what I think his implicit argument is:

If the point of playing TCGs is to win Constructed tournaments, then the current business model of TCGs makes this more difficult than needed and makes it unfair to players who can't afford to pay for the numerous boosters or the secondary market prices necessary to be competitive.

In that context the rest of his argument makes sense. Playing competitively is fucking expensive and maybe there is some value to making competitive play more accessible (which I think Hex is definitely trying to do). But, as I and other have pointed out, winning Constructed tourneys isn't the only reason to play a TCG. I don't think his argument works in the context of Limited. You could possibly argue that Limited would still be viable without the "chaff" cards but a) most of us (myself included) probably don't know enough about set design to intelligently make that argument, and b) that still doesn't address the booster-buying business model of TCGs.


TL;DR I still dislike the original article because IMO it's poorly written and poorly reasoned. His argument makes sense if you think the only reason to play TCGs is to win tournaments. It completely ignores Limited play and the difficulty in designing a set around both. There's a bigger global argument that TCGs could be designed differently, but that's self-evident. The argument he doesn't adequately explore is why they should be designed differently. There might be some value in the argument, but ironically it seems to be buried in chaff.

Yoss
11-15-2013, 11:30 AM
I still dislike the original article because IMO it's poorly written and poorly reasoned. His argument makes sense if you think the only reason to play TCGs is to win tournaments. It completely ignores Limited play and the difficulty in designing a set around both. There's a bigger global argument that TCGs could be designed differently, but that's self-evident. The argument he doesn't adequately explore is why they should be designed differently. There might be some value in the argument, but ironically it seems to be buried in chaff.

I agree. I also have yet to see why explicitly, intentionally, bad cards need to be designed. A card like Chimney Imp does not help Limited; it is still crap no matter what format you're looking at.

stiii
11-15-2013, 03:25 PM
There is pretty much no card so bad no one will put it in their limited deck. People have put chimney imp their decks before. Having cards at all levels allows all levels of player to demonstrate their skill. If a bad player won't play chimney imp but a really bad player will these gives the bad player the ability to use their skill to defeat someone.

Lawlschool
11-15-2013, 05:34 PM
I agree. I also have yet to see why explicitly, intentionally, bad cards need to be designed. A card like Chimney Imp does not help Limited; it is still crap no matter what format you're looking at.

My guess would be that the card didn't "need" to be designed, maybe someone trying to meet a deadline just slapped together that shittastic card and called it a day. It's gotta be really difficult to design new sets three times a year (or whatever the release is, twice a year?), it's inevitable they fuck up once in a while.