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View Full Version : Thoughts on card design - discussion welcome



Quantius
08-10-2015, 05:54 AM
So far Hex is a pretty awesome game and it still has mountains of potential, there are just some curiosities that make me wonder how power/threat value is determined.

Certain effects seem a bit too slow for what they are.
SHOT /SHIFT effects - I think the problem with these is that they cost an additional 1 to move over or to use. You have a card like Storm Cloud which is really strong, and then you have Sepulchral Stalwart 4(DD) for 3/3 shifting steadfast ... So for DD and 5 resources you get a 3/3 and make something else have steadfast. However, a card like Mistlord shifts a really powerful effect which is very worth it. I like the mechanic overall, one time use stuff and transferring abilities, but costs need to be thought out, either the body needs to compensate or the cost to use needs to go.

Cards like Gront's Gift - I love this card, but 4 resources to play, another 4 to activate for a 2/2. Yes you can do tricks with the zombie like revert it to fatty for a pseudo re-animator style deck. But it's basically asking for you to devote all your resources and two turns for a 2/2 that has a shard power. It's a bit over-costed again, it makes me feel like there's a fear of allowing non-troop cards to be stronger than they are (with some bizarrely powerful non-troop cards Titania's Majesty, it's pretty lopsided). Another waaay overvalued card is Army of Myth, it's built to work in an imaginary game where there's lots of fast resources, this is not that game, and I don't see the intent to go in that direction based on current resource generators. 3XX (RRDD)!!! And then it's random uniques to top it off. With this cost it needs to be tempo shifting / game winning card. It's very obvious that there's a fear that control and combo would be too degenerate if allowed. Maybe if it was Random Unique Troops with cost 5 or greater. Then it would at least be scary if someone cast it. Right now you get an assortment of nothing special, with the occasional godly luck cast where you drop a couple dragons, but the amount of resources dedicated to casting this is insane. At that point I could just hardcast literally any threat I want and not be faced with RNG that I might get a Princess Victoria and a few other weaklings.

You guys are very tentative when it comes to resources, card draw, recursion and interrupting. Necropolis Tablet costs 6 and requires each threshold! Come on. But if it's on a troop, you don't have a problem with card draw, like Cerulean Mirror knight which needs to be removed asap otherwise it just generates a ton of value. The game is fast, troops are dominant - T4 / T5 kills easily, who is getting to 6 resources with 1 of each threshold just to draw a card, let alone being able to use it multiple times?

There's plenty of examples, nearly every non-troop card that isn't a removal/burn is valued pretty highly without providing an effect worthy of it's cost. Personally, I feel it limits archetypes to variations of aggro and midrange which seems to be the thing with every CCG out there these days, somewhere somehow people decided that troops/creatures/minions/monsters were "interactive" and everything else was "unfun gameplay". I'd like to know what others think, please share.

tyra
08-10-2015, 05:59 AM
What exactly is your problem? The powerlevel of cards will always vary. And you are comparing apples and oranges. There will always be good cards and bad cards, it is impossible to have every card as impactful as another. Some cards (such as the Stalwart) are obviously designed for limited play only (Sealed/Draft).

The relevant question is: Is this environment with the current top decks healthy or is it not? It is way too early to tell, but I think it's ok. We've got strong aggressive decks, control decks and combo decks. Yes, the latest combo deck MIGHT be a problem, but we don't know yet.

Verdant
08-10-2015, 06:17 AM
Gront's Gift is a legit bomb in limited. True, it doesn't have any flashy effect and does require some resources, but the amount of board control it provides is insane. And don't even get me started on its possible synergies with Anana or Ovo. Whereas Titania in limited isn't nearly as playable as in constructed. And nobody overvalues Army of Myth. It's a fun card with a side effects of pulling something really good. Think Zakiir's Whim, but on a different level. And Exiled Bard makes it even more fun.

PureVapes
08-10-2015, 06:23 AM
http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr5

http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ld/164

http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/218

As for the relative power of troops and actions, Hex may not have the meta we deserve, but it's the meta we need right now.

Quantius
08-10-2015, 07:15 AM
What exactly is your problem? The powerlevel of cards will always vary. And you are comparing apples and oranges. There will always be good cards and bad cards, it is impossible to have every card as impactful as another. Some cards (such as the Stalwart) are obviously designed for limited play only (Sealed/Draft).

The relevant question is: Is this environment with the current top decks healthy or is it not? It is way too early to tell, but I think it's ok. We've got strong aggressive decks, control decks and combo decks. Yes, the latest combo deck MIGHT be a problem, but we don't know yet.

My problem is not that there are good and bad cards, though I think the "these are for limited/sealed" is a dumb excuse/reason that should be abandoned as a thought process for set design, the problem is that entire swathes of card types are overvalued compared to others. As I stated, card draw, interrupt, recursion, resource acceleration are all overvalued. And certain mechanics like the SHOT/SHIFT mechanic is overvalued. While troops are generally undervalued, meaning that CZE isn't afraid of creating really strong and fast troops often with abilities that overshadow non-troops card.

I'm not asking for equity between each and every card, that is impossible as you said. I'm pointing out that there is heavy favor for troops. Which is the heart of my question to the community because it's not just HEX that's doing this, it's ever CCG right now, they're all about troops/creatures. Are people all happy with that? It's fine if you are, I'm just wondering if I'm in a niche of people who like playing troopless / or mostly troopless decks?


@Verdant - players aren't overvaluing Army of Myth, the card design is overvalued in the sense that CZE is clearly afraid that it would be a broken card despite that it barely even makes it into the 'decent' category.

@PureVapes - Yes, I'm very aware of those, I'm a long time CCG player - but that doesn't mean I agree with those and with each new game is an opportunity to change the mindset. Are those hard and fast rules or something? HEX is doing a lot of new things, which is very cool and one of the reasons I really enjoy it, but like I said above it's not just some cards, it's certain card types that are being short changed due to what I see as perceived fear of creating overly dominant cards. MTG had to do a major course correction because they didn't understand that drawing 3 cards was stronger than gaining 3 life and they've been paying on that mistake ever since and are constantly trying to find a way to create those cards without introducing more broken ones which will just be paired with the old broken ones into a mega-deck. CZE has the gift of hindsight here and is developing in a genre that has been around for decades now, but they're still a bit timid for fear that they will create something like what existed 20 years ago. I think it's unfounded and it would be great to see less dependance on troops - unless that is what everyone likes in which case that's fine and I just have to accept that people like putting bodies on the field and having a slug match.

tyra
08-10-2015, 08:02 AM
though I think the "these are for limited/sealed" is a dumb excuse/reason that should be abandoned as a thought process for set design, the problem is that entire swathes of card types are overvalued compared to others.
It really should not. Set 1 draft and 2/2/1 were excellent draft formats and they only could be that awesome because there were cards that would never ever have an influence on constructed play. I am not sold on set 3 yet, but the shift mechanic (for one) is super fun in limited. Yes, there don't seem to be obvious Shift cards that influence constructed, but it also took a while for the Tunnel troops to be relevant, so there might still be hope



As I stated, card draw, interrupt, recursion, resource acceleration are all overvalued.
You mean overpriced. I disagree.
Card draw: Pact of Pain, Arcane Focus and CMK are incredible. Then there are other solid draw cards. Yes, the 6 cost artifact sucks is not one of them, but card draw in Hex (especially considering only having 3 sets so far) is very solid
Interrupt: This is a difficult one, because the mechanic is SO disruptive if done wrong (see Force of Will, Mana Drain or Mana Leak in certain times of magic history). I am fine with Countermagic and Verdict
Recursion: Again, if done wrong, super disruptive to an environment.
Resource acceleration: Are you kidding me? Just in the first set, we got a one cost troop with acceleration AND a permanent 2 cost action. I don't know if you really want better acceleration than this



While troops are generally undervalued, meaning that CZE isn't afraid of creating really strong and fast troops often with abilities that overshadow non-troops card.
I would not say undervalued. It's true that troops are very good and they should always be an important part of the game. But we have good removal and good other cards. The problem is that once you have an environment were troops cannot do anything, it is done for.



Which is the heart of my question to the community because it's not just HEX that's doing this, it's every CCG right now, they're all about troops/creatures. Are people all happy with that? It's fine if you are, I'm just wondering if I'm in a niche of people who like playing troopless / or mostly troopless decks?
I can only speak for Magic, where the developers decided that creatures needed to be stronger. In my opinion, they overdid this and for the most part, I don't like the direction it is going.
But Hex is not Magic and we have cards that Magic players like me would kill for right now (Extinction?).
I don't think Hex is going the same way.
There are troopless/nearly troopless decks in Hex and they might even become stronger now that Combo is such an important part of the environment.

Quantius
08-10-2015, 08:51 AM
You mean overpriced. I disagree.
Card draw: Pact of Pain, Arcane Focus and CMK are incredible. Then there are other solid draw cards. Yes, the 6 cost artifact sucks is not one of them, but card draw in Hex (especially considering only having 3 sets so far) is very solid
Interrupt: This is a difficult one, because the mechanic is SO disruptive if done wrong (see Force of Will, Mana Drain or Mana Leak in certain times of magic history). I am fine with Countermagic and Verdict
Recursion: Again, if done wrong, super disruptive to an environment.
Resource acceleration: Are you kidding me? Just in the first set, we got a one cost troop with acceleration AND a permanent 2 cost action. I don't know if you really want better acceleration than this


Pact of Pain is actually good, but needs a deck to support it.
Arcane Focus is also good healthy step, but it's not card draw. I actually like how HEX is handling search. Peek is very powerful while being a mid-late search tool.

CMK is a troop and is truly incredible, but that's part of my concern. If Oracle Song was QUICK would it really be a broken card? Obviously epiphany would need to do something more like +1 charge, but that's more along what I'm thinking - I'm not saying, we need crazy cheap card draw. I just feel that they're okay and people mostly think of them as good enough, whereas troops are generally amazing.

Yes, interrupts can be devastating and terrible. But again, years and years of hindsight are available, they can play the middle of the road and not go to such extremes.

Resource accel - again one is a troop (only reminds me that troops are not a concern) and the other is good and color appropriate. Sylvan Duet - 4 resources W threshold gain 0/2. This would be great in a slower game, and if CZE decides that troops are overtuned and slows things down, this becomes a great spell.

Anyway, I get the hint. I'm sure CZE will just make troops with all the effects I want anyway.