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dmar314
02-05-2015, 09:26 PM
I just did a perfect clear of the frost ring arena, so I feel like it's a good time to write a long feedback post. I did it on my first try with no equipment, and it took me about 8 and a half hours of play, which includes the downtime. Most of that time was spent waiting for the server lag to move through all the priorities. I don't want to post my deck and ruin the fun for people, but I will say that my deck was mid-range and included everyone's favorite OP white cards (angel of dawn, soul marble, living totem, solitary exile).

Here's an image of the rewards I got for the perfect clear:
2849

Comments:
I had a blast doing arena, but I was a bit disappointed that I could clear it without having to use equipment or a super-specialized deck. I really like the flavor of all the monsters (and especially bosses!) and the passives and charge powers they all have. I think difficulty could be increased, especially in the third and fourth tiers. I do understand that I had a much easier time than I hopefully will during live because the AI had many flaws to exploit.

In terms of difficulty, I thought the first two sets of 5 were pretty much perfect. The first set was pretty straightforward but could produce some challenging moments (like when the gobbleglade witch played two honeycaps in a row). The first boss was a lot of fun and quite strong. The second set had some rough opponents like the blue/black sphinx thing and the emberspire witch, and the boss fight against zoltog was the most difficult boss fight in the whole run for my deck.

However, the difficulty of the third and fourth sets was pretty lacking. Throughout the games, my experience for the most part was that if you get an angel of dawn or living totem out, the AI pretty much can't do anything. That's because I saw almost no flying troops (with the exception of eldritch dreamer's deck) and almost no removal. I brought stoneskin in my deck but there were actually no situations where the AI actually targeted any of my troops with removal (it did use time ripple and bucc a few times). This combination of almost no flying troops and almost no removal outside of combat tricks means that the AI decks in the third and fourth sets could probably be improved. I noticed the AI tended to hold on to a lot of the cards in hand and play nothing even when it had a high max resources, so maybe the AI is holding onto removal but not actually casting it.

My last two boss battles were against Uzume and Eurig, and they had great flavorful decks, but Uzume had pretty much nothing against angel of dawn (angel could block and win the trade against any of Uzume's small creatures so the AI held everything back) and a similar thing happened with Eurig, although I had to exile Eurig's damage gem theorycrafter. I honestly think that as high level bosses they should have even more innate advantage to make up for the fact that the player will always play better than the AI. Maybe Uzume's passive could also give shin'hare skyguard and Eurig's passive could give worker bots flight. Or add turbulence/pheromones and pterobot/burn to the ground respectively into those decks.

I think that the enemies should be more "unfair" in general in the last two sets to compensate for the fact that players' decks will be much more streamlined and their play will be smarter. I suggest a buff to passive abilities to give benefits only to the AIs (currently they all give an equal benefit to the player) and in many case an improvement to the passive itself. For example, there was one really weak sea monster enemy that had the passive "whenever a champion gains a charge, they have a 25% chance to gain an additional charge". Since this encounter is on the 4th set, it ought to be brutally difficult. I would suggest a buff to "whenever YOU gain a charge, 50% chance to gain an additional charge." I want to really struggle and get nervous when I'm facing even the normal opponents in 3rd and especially the 4th set.

I really liked the challenges, especially ones that gave a large advantage to your opponent (prosperity challenge). I would love to see more of that! I found the ivory pawn challenge very strange because it actually gives the player an advantage towards winning. I got the pawn challenge in the 4th set, which probably shouldn't be happening. I think the pawn challenge should be kept to tier 1 or 2 or maybe also give your opponent a pawn so it doesn't confer a large advantage.

I think that the reward structure could use some tweaking. I noticed that I got 5 sacks and 2 chests for clearing the first set perfectly, and 5 sacks and 3 chests for clearing each other set. I completed the optional challenge on every set. If the rewards are approximately equal for the sets like they appear, then that would encourage just grinding set 1 with a rush deck, which is no fun. From the rewards, it's hard to say if the chests from Eurig were "better" than the others, I got 2 uncommon equipment and a rare pve card. 16k gold for the entire run is about 2k gold per hour (haha). I'm joking of course since most of that was lag, maybe an actual run would take about... 3 hours with my reasonably fast deck, which makes about 6 hours for enough gold to spin a legendary chest if I remember correctly. Just giving you some points of reference for the future economy, I wouldn't be able to say if 16k gold is too high or too low. That's about 80 plat at the current exchange rate of 200 gold for 1 plat. Is 80 plat a good rate for 3 hours of a f2p player's time? Who knows.

My favorite normal monster decks were emberspire witch, sphinx-like monster, darkspire, and avalanche giant. Emberspire witch almost beat me with inferno and a surprise 8 damage heroic outlaw when it was at 5 health left. Sphinx-like monster had a great blue/black extinction control deck that was sadly grossly misplayed by the AI. Darkspire had a fun passive, but nothing against flying. Avalanche giant that I saw in set 4 was the only monster that was properly unfairly brutal and had me thinking I was going to lose. It had a turn 1 gas troll and turn two and three 2/2 speed gem snatchers, which quickly grew out of control before I could get any troops out. I may have only won that one because of a timely free angel of dawn and the AI using demolition on itself (lol) and never using its charge power.

Yoss
02-05-2015, 09:44 PM
Note, the enemies after T1 are random, not assigned to tiers. Good write up.

Xenavire
02-06-2015, 05:08 AM
Good write up, but the later tiers are a lot easier now than they will be later (equipment etc.) Plus the AI is lacking some vital skills right now.

malloc31
02-06-2015, 06:28 AM
I noticed the AI tended to hold on to a lot of the cards in hand and play nothing even when it had a high max resources, so maybe the AI is holding onto removal but not actually casting it.


in a game I played I had a vampire lord out and the AI had 7 resources yet didn't play his Clear Sky Stormcaller giving me a free vampire. So the AI is definitely holding cards for no reason or choosing the wrong cards to try and bluff with. Hopefully improvements to the AI will correct this.

FlyingMeatchip
02-06-2015, 07:50 AM
Yeah the AI is a bit of a potato head.

nickon
02-06-2015, 08:31 AM
Yeah the AI is a bit of a potato head.

Potato head AI boss confirmed!!

TheSwallowsNest
02-06-2015, 09:15 AM
Some stupid AI tricks:

Didnt play a card at all on his turn, but when I attacked with vampire king, he had a inner conflict in his hand that he had the resources to cast.

In another game, the board was completely empty. The AI then discarded a troop it could have played because its hand was full even though it had the resources and thresholds.

stuntbum
02-06-2015, 09:25 AM
AI killed my Mentor of the Wind instead of my The Transcended, because I attacked him with the Mentor and not the Transcended.

theghost32
02-06-2015, 10:01 AM
I cleared it on my first try as well was using wild ruby and most of the ai couldn't deal with eternal guardian i found that the ai some times was too aggressive that i wouldnt have won games if it held blockers back instead of attacking.

Axle
02-06-2015, 10:17 AM
I don't really care about how hard the arena is, as it's mostly for new players or running against it with t2/t3 deck strats, but I hope the dungeon enemies have more removal to stop cards like Eternal Guardian or cards that in general are too strong without the threat of removal.

funktion
02-06-2015, 10:50 AM
I like that the early tiers are really easy. Thought that does take away from the replayability of the Frost Ring for me since they aren't really challenging they can be a bit monotonous.

-I have no way of knowing if this is already the case but I'd like it if there were some chest rewards that are only available to the third boss and even further some that are exclusive to the fourth.
-Once you clear the dungeon entirely I'd like there to be a harder difficulty where the lower tier bosses no longer lose health and their decks are actually optimized (while staying on theme) etc so that even tier one is a challenge. This hard mode would reward chest drops / equipment that are exclusive to it.


Obviously much of this wouldn't matter until the AI is actually optimized. The AI could definitely be pretty beast mode and that would make everything a bit more interesting.

Right now my biggest concern is that many players would play the frost ring once or twice and lose interest because it isn't very challenging. Kinda like "well that was pretty cool, but I'm not sure if I wanna play it again." Also given the ease of a full clear currently it just isn't that entertaining to watch others do it since it isn't a huge accomplishment.

negativeZer0
02-06-2015, 11:15 AM
funk - Equipment is a game changer. You can have the same arena with multiple difficulty levels just by adjusting the amount of equipment they use. Harder difficulty uses all equipment slots. I don't think they will have trouble coming up with ways to make the arena challenging even for those with huge collections. Fixing the AI however needs to come first because i doesnt matter how good you make their deck if they don't even play cards (seen multiple times where ai just passes without playing anything even thought they can).

Regarding AI- It is my understanding that the current AI we have is still extreamly basic with almost no time dedicated to improving it (compared to time spent on other things in the game). From what I have read and heard about the lead AI designer I have every confidence he will blow us all away when we see the final AI.

Axle
02-06-2015, 11:30 AM
also

Apparently there is a banlist for PVE? Someone in chat said Subtle Striker was banned. So some of the troublesome cards that AI can't possibly account for could be banned with that and that helps there be less exploits.

negativeZer0
02-06-2015, 11:34 AM
I still can't believe they made Subtle Striker. He is the single worst designed card in the game. (striker should have made charge powers cost more instead of flat out blocking them)

Subtle Striker is not overpower (pvp) and I'm not even trying to hint that he is. A flat out block on champion powers just isn't something that should be in this game (especially on a card so low costed). Again it's not overpowered but it is anti fun/enjoyment and anti skill which is worse than being overpowered.


Ya subtle striker would be cheat mode in pve. I could defiantly see a list of pvp cards being banned.

funktion
02-06-2015, 02:54 PM
funk - Equipment is a game changer. You can have the same arena with multiple difficulty levels just by adjusting the amount of equipment they use. Harder difficulty uses all equipment slots. I don't think they will have trouble coming up with ways to make the arena challenging even for those with huge collections. Fixing the AI however needs to come first because i doesnt matter how good you make their deck if they don't even play cards (seen multiple times where ai just passes without playing anything even thought they can).

Largely in agreement with you, AI is definitely the biggest gap currently in difficulty. Once that is optimized it will be totally different. As for just adding equipment... I'm not sure that's enough. Some cards are going to be suboptimal regardless of equipment (wild child). There are also cards which are in decks that don't entirely fit the theme of the deck OR could be replaced with a rare which fits it even further.

Khazrakh
02-06-2015, 03:50 PM
Largely in agreement with you, AI is definitely the biggest gap currently in difficulty. Once that is optimized it will be totally different. As for just adding equipment... I'm not sure that's enough. Some cards are going to be suboptimal regardless of equipment (wild child). There are also cards which are in decks that don't entirely fit the theme of the deck OR could be replaced with a rare which fits it even further.

You could always just do AI-only equipment.
Something like "When this enters play, it deals 2 damage to target troop with flight" for the Wild Child would suddenly make it a powerful troop helping the AI deal with its biggest weakness so far.

funktion
02-06-2015, 04:18 PM
You could always just do AI-only equipment.
Something like "When this enters play, it deals 2 damage to target troop with flight" for the Wild Child would suddenly make it a powerful troop helping the AI deal with its biggest weakness so far.

I really like this idea actually. I hadn't given it much thought but it also does a VERY nice job of dodging relentless corruption and also making some cards' power level quite high.

Yoss
02-06-2015, 04:26 PM
I've said before that cards like Zodiac Shaman could become absolute bombs in PvE if Hex wants them to be. All it takes is some strong equipment and suddenly the card can be at virtually any power level they want.

Could be totally OP if they want:
"As long as this is in your hand, deck, graveyard, or in play, you cannot lose the game."
"When this enters play, choose 5 cards from your deck and play them for free."

ossuary
02-06-2015, 04:27 PM
That's not a bad idea, but it would take extra coding work to add yet more equipment with yet more effects to the game. But I really do like the idea of making normally bad cards powerful in ways that don't help someone running a relentless corruption or izydor/mancubus + filk ape deck... it could be worth doing, once more of the base functionality is in. :)

negativeZer0
02-06-2015, 04:34 PM
Largely in agreement with you, AI is definitely the biggest gap currently in difficulty. Once that is optimized it will be totally different. As for just adding equipment... I'm not sure that's enough. Some cards are going to be suboptimal regardless of equipment (wild child). There are also cards which are in decks that don't entirely fit the theme of the deck OR could be replaced with a rare which fits it even further.

Ya, this goes along kinda with what I was trying to get at. You can adjust the difficulty with small changes. Easy is sub-optimal deck with little to no equipment, up to the hardest difficulty with full equipment and replacing sub-optimal cards with stronger cards. (You are ight both would be necessary)

But my point was more that from a programming aspect nothing has changed (assuming AI knows how to use the new cards) and it becomes simple to create multiple levels of difficulty without creating any new content. You don't need an entirely new champion with a new ability new art and new deck just to increase difficulty.

Yoss
02-06-2015, 04:54 PM
Relevant to the difficulty scaling:

I see absolutely zero reason why Hex wouldn't (eventually) add a smorgasbord of Hard Mode checkboxes and radio buttons to select from after you've beated Normal Mode. Things like:

Singleton
Large Deck (100 card minimum)
Pick: (1) Pauper (commons only), (2) Moneybags (rares and legendaries only), (3) Normal
Prismatic (all 5 shards)
Pick: (1) 15HP start, (2) 10HP, (3) 5HP, (4) 1HP, (5) Normal
et cetera

As a checkbox system, it would be cumulative, so you'd eventually hit a threshold that's nigh impossible, which is fantastic for replay value. Think you can beat Prismatic Pauper Singleton with 1HP start and 100 card deck size?

Once implemented the first time, it would forever more function as "free" extra content from a design standpoint. And they could still add custom hard mode options for specific content areas that are thematically linked in addition to the generic ones.

negativeZer0
02-06-2015, 05:09 PM
1 hp would be impossible just due to kismet, but ya otherwise excellent point