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knightofeffect
01-20-2016, 12:11 AM
I like giving myself design challenges, and after hearing Cory kinda officially confirm today that they are re-imagining some of the concepts of the doublebacks, I figured it would be a fun challenge.

What I've strived to accomplish is to create a system that retains several of the important aspects of doublebacks, maintains an approachable and fun experience for the player, and lends itself to a rather simple implementation in both the design space and coding.

I'd like to start off with one thing that should be maintained from the other system without modification before I really get into the meat of the concept, and that the trophy case. Just like Cory's example on the PC Gamer stream, you should absolutely record special victories and other accomplishments (more on that later) in a "trophy case" of sorts on the doubleback that persist even when trading; IE for people that aren't familiar, if a pro wins the Hex World Championship, every special, shiny card that was a part of that deck receives that trophy and will forever hold that distinction and therefore obviously affect its rarity and purchasing power on the secondary market.

But we already know all about that, so how am I proposing the system change...

The Basis: A Deck-based Experience Model

The concept is really pretty simple and draws directly from the trophy concept. Every event that you enter a deck in earns the deck experience. The level of the event applies a multiplicative modifier to the total experience gained (similar to PP points in that other game or the K-value of a tournament in elo). For instance, the following ordered list from lowest event level to highest could be a good starting point for Hex:

Hex PvE Dungeon Encounter / Frost Ring
PvE Dungeon Boss Encounter
PvE Raids
PvP Limited & Gauntlet
PvP Scheduled Events
PvP Qualifiers
PvP Major Events


The list is by no means exhaustive, just off the top of my head, some more things that could fit somewhere in that framework: random rare PvE encounters IE Uruunaz, PvE triggered world events, holiday events, PvP prerelease events, you get the idea.

But wait, there's more opportunities for modifiers/multipliers. Accomplish a particular task or event in a spectacular fashion? Well have a multiplier for it. Accomplish that spectacular feat for the first time? Have another multiplier.

Simple example: Beating the Front Ring earns your deck 1000xp, perfecting the arena gives a 1.5x multiplier for a total of 1500xp, perfecting the arena for the first time adds a trophy to all the deck's cards for that personal achievement as well as a 2.0x multiplier for a total of 3000xp

But why stop there, let's just start Oprahing these multipliers... Top 8 at a major event or qualifier? You get a trophy and accompanying multiplier. Accomplish a PvE world first? You get a trophy + multiplier. Win your first draft? You get a trophy.multiplier.

So now we've got a basis for the varieties of magnitudes of experience that a deck can earn, but how does that get to the actual cards? Well I have thought of three possible distribution systems, each with separate resolutions:

Consideration: Deck XP Distribution


The Simpliest - Distribute the total deck xp earned evenly across all non-basic-resource cards in the deck
IE If a 60 card deck with 36 non-basic-resources earned a total of 3600xp for an event, then each card would recieve 100xp
Issues - Unfairly penalizes larger decks. It deck size multiplier is added, then the system unfairly incentivizes larger decks
The Pro Rata - Distribute the total deck xp across each card based on how many times that card was played during the duration of the xp-earning event
IE IF you played a card 10 times during the xp-earning event, the xp it would recieve would be (10/total_num_played)*xp. So for a 1000xp event and 50 total played non-basic-resource cards, a card played 10 times would receive 200xp.
Issues - Does't really capture the impact that playing a card has. What about cards that are impactful, or would be, but you simply never drew them? Tough luck?
The Categories - The most complex version I'm proposing is grouping cards into actionable categories and distributing xp based on how impactful that card was to its respective category.
IE - Potential categories: attack dmg troops, utility ability troops, defensive troops, ability dmg troop, dmg spells, utility spells, non-basic resource shard production, constant triggers, constant ability uses, artifact ability uses, etc, etc, etc. Some of the categories would simply have a times-used counter as the tracked state as in the utility spells or utility troop abilities, while others like attack dmg troops or dmg spells could track total dmg. The xp would then be split among the categories ranked by the most impactful categories and then similarly pro rata down to the most impactful cards in that category
Issues - The complexity in both the design space and coding, while not as ambitious as the initial implementation, is still what we are trying to get away from.


Personally, I think I prefer the middle option with the caveat that trophy-granted bonus multiplier xp be distributed evenly across the deck. IE for typical events (ala the regular XP grind, the xp is distributed as detailed in the middle option, but for spectacular events, such as personal firsts, or a major event top 8 (which would surely foil a card outright =P), a significant portion of the bonus xp would be applied to all cards in the deck as all cards would receive the trophy regardless of how much they are played.v

Kinda a fun side effect of the above systems, is the result it could have on less-than-ideal cards. With even rudimentary play-tracking such as the middle option, it would be harder to gain experience on lower power-level cards, and even harder yet to earn trophies on them; thereby increasing the rarity and novelty of some of the more unique foils and trophies on "bad cards". Anyone that has played that other game has probably had a similar experience where they really loved a Chinese Portal Three Kingdoms Armageddon or the like =P.

Consideration Redux: Public vs Private Trophies?

Another point to consider is if we want all of the possible trophies to be persistent on trade. Another way to state the question: Do we want the concept of private vs public trophies?

Let's say you perfect an entire dungeon on hard mode for the first time using a valuable legendary and receive that trophy and xp boost that finally unlocks the foil. The day comes where you want to trade/sell that card, does the recipient really care that you perfected a dungeon with it for the first time? Or do they just care that it is foil?

Higher exposure accomplishments like major events and PvE world-firsts among others would definitely be candidates for public trophies that would persist through trades.

Again, not something I've really thought enough about to decide one way or the other, but just something to think about

Super Eloquent, Wordy Conclusion
So anyway, those are just my thoughts on a fun and more simple way to implement doublebacks. Let me know what you guys think and what your ideas are!

tl;dr
PvE HYPE!!!

PS - I think talent tree re-rolls would be a really cool lootable, tradable, consumable. Long live the commodity markets!

Monkranos
01-20-2016, 12:35 PM
I like the idea, and the multiplier aspect would make things less grindy, which was something that I think was mentioned on the PC Gamer spot as one of the things holding them up.

knightofeffect
01-20-2016, 01:44 PM
Thanks for the feedback!

Just a couple of clarifications:

I didn't go into any detail on what acquiring XP on a card would do. Obviously the implication was that it would unlock foils, or their equivalent (the animation dream), but there is more potential in that space.

One possiblity is that cards level just like characters, in the sense that higher levels require increasing amounts of XP and unlock various features. Perhaps foil is level 10, perhaps animation is level 25, perhaps a special border is level 5, perhaps a sleeve of the EA is level 50?

Heck, just pushing a card to a really high level in itself could add value to it, even if the super high levels don't give any appreciable reward (yet).

I really wanted to focus on the mechanism of how to earn the XP as it seems thats where the difficulty lay. The separate issue of what perks and unlocks to give is another fun design space and I'm sure Cory has an abundance of ideas on it. What are some of yours? :)

Voormas
01-20-2016, 01:56 PM
I think just make double-backs work on a per-card basis rather than per-singular-card basis, because achievements / etc all seemed like they would be pretty fun - you lose out on some of the really cool stuff Cory had planned and also would need some other road to foiling cards but you still retain the core of the idea

I guess you could also move achievements to whatever future Trophy-case type system we end up with and scrap double-backs, but that would make me sad

Monkranos
01-20-2016, 01:59 PM
I can think of a few possibilities that would make them something to reach for:

% gold increase for including the card in a deck
one time rewards of stardust (either matching rarity or otherwise)
one time gold rewards (would have to be substantial in my mind)
special themed dungeons that require certain levels of certain cards (maybe a dinosaur one for getting a dino up to the required level, story wise would be one of your troops has caught the attention of someone or something)
packs (normal or primal, maybe normal through progression and a primal at cap, or even special packs that have certain cards cards based off the type of card levelled)

Like you said, there's lots of ways you could reward it, it just depends on how generous they want to be with it.

knightofeffect
01-20-2016, 02:26 PM
@Voormas I think one of the main issues they were having was the approach of having individual tracked stats for cards, not tracking the stats per each singular card. Keeping it on a singular card basis is very important for the T in the TCG of Hex, any implementation of rewards purely for the player that do not affect the tradability of the card would be more in a CCG vien. I think the achievement idea was great too, but probably too impractical in the design and coding space to implement, aside from the playability issues they ran into. Hopefully by expanding the achievement concept to broader, game-based achievements that are rewarded as trophies to the cards of the deck that accomplished the achievement would be a fun, suitable, and doable replacement :)

@Monkranos
Awesome ideas! I really like the possibility of having end-game rare PvE encounters that only have a chance to trigger when certain card level requirements are met. That would be sweet!

fido_one
01-20-2016, 02:37 PM
I love your suggestions knight, but I still have problems with the doublebacks, which never set well with me to begin with.

One of the things that I always saw as a barrier of entry for this is number of cards. I have 100 and something burns. I don't want or need to track what burns I use in what decks so they can get their stats, no way to make that fun. Some of your solutions mitigate that, but not entirely or not without some substantial losses in having each card names have specific rewards. I like the idea of getting a trophy for playing 1k pack raptors, for example.

But whatever the solution, I want to do zero managing of cards to make sure my burns get their doubleback rewards. It's another process I have to go through in deck building (oh god, going through our existing decks and making sure the specific burn is applied with the rewards I'm chasing? Super un-fun and super frustrating when I invariably accidentally choose a burn card I haven't been playing).

So I think rewards need to be bound to card names in general (you did 25k damage with burns, you get a burn trophy). BLAM that trophy goes in a trophy case and is associated with all of your burns, flip any of your burns over [twice] and you'll see that 25k damage trophy. Did 50k damage? You get another 25k trophy (see below, it stacks like equipment), and a single 50k trophy. I'm assuming that if you manage on a card name level, the database gets a lot simpler on the back end (as it no longer has to track this information on 100 different Burns that I use and I don't have to track which of my 100 Burns are racking up stats). Level up your burns? You can apply a foil to one of them, or possibly have a 'foil' trophy for the rarity you can sell on the AH (not bound to the card name though, I think that would be too confusing).

Then you can basically treat trophies like equipment, sell them like equipment and trade them like equipment. Yes, we lose the individual card tracking, but we have 1k unique cards and that number will climb steadily with each year, so I think we have to give up the ghost on tracking individual cards, there is simply no way I can think of where I'm not pulling my hair out tracking which card is supposed to be in what deck to get whatever trophy I'm chasing.

EDIT: For those that really want them on one particular card, you could bind your trophy, after you earn it, to a card in question (kind of like unlocking extended art). But still, that will make navigating the AH a big ol' mess. I can't even imagine how you would filter for a specific card with a trophy without having a newbie's head explode.

knightofeffect
01-20-2016, 03:37 PM
Thanks for the input fido!

I agree that the individual tracked achievements would be awesome, but you would have to create and implement them for every single card, which would kinda be a nightmare. It was one of those things during the kickstarter that gave me a little pause because I didn't see how it could reasonably be accomplished. Releasing over 1200 cards per year across PvE and PvP along with 2 equipment and 3 achievements per card seem pretty daunting simply from a design perspective let alone the coding. I think they additionally realized that the card-specific achievements led to a feeling of unfulfillment when you were unable to met some arbitrary goal of achievement progression during a match, which would in turn distract from the fun and purpose of winning games.

Thats not to say that you couldn't implement the occasional card-specific trophy into the system I outlined, but that would merely be a multiplier or bonus instead of the foundation.

I do agree emphatically that the system for managing individual entities of card would ha e to be significantly streamlined. One such improvement would be a toggle to automatically use the furthest leveled individual card in any deck that uses that card. Another could be an option that automatically switches out your cards once individual cards reach a certain XP or level threshold of your choosing.

Perhaps individual tracking will prove impossible or impractical, but I feel there are far too many advantages to not try the hardest to make it work.

DrakarT
01-21-2016, 06:28 AM
I like fido's idea, you could get the throphy for "win a tournament" without worring that the card that you are leveling up is on your deck.
if it is still to hard to track all the throphies of every card... it could be only for rares/legendary and most used common/uncommon cards.