PDA

View Full Version : Bidding health to choose who goes first.



EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 02:25 PM
While if win percentage numbers were ever made public, I missed them, I think it's pretty clear now that the developers agree with the general player perception that going first is an advantage. The fact that every PVE encounter they choose to go first if they win the coin toss is a very telling sign.

Obviously the goal should be to keep the win percentage as close to 50-50 overall as possible, and there many ways the game could address them. However, card set and even champions will come and go. New mechanics will be added. So even if they add something to balance it for the current game, it could end up uneven again in the future.

So why not let players bid health at the start to choose who goes first? Whomever bids the highest gets to pick and has their bid deducted from their starting health. You could rebid every round adjusting based on what you learned about your opponent's deck.

This would:

1. Add an extra layer of strategy to the game and reduce randomness.
2. Allow players to figure out the balance for themselves and automatically adjust to any changes to the game, keeping going first vs going second close to even.

magic_gazz
02-17-2016, 03:09 PM
If I am playing a control deck I want to go first but I don't want to give up valuable life points.

If I am playing an aggressive deck I want to go first and would be willing to pay a lot of life against a control deck with little way to close the game fast.


Basically your suggestion only helps one style of deck.

hitchslap88
02-17-2016, 03:15 PM
There are a few problems with this idea. Firstly, the fact that champions now have varying starting health gives some an unfair advantage. Secondly, the randomness of going first/second is actually a positive, since it allows players to blame randomness for losses while not being so influential that the game seems determined by it. Thirdly, bidding health would be incredibly intimidating for new players in a game that's already incredibly intimidating for new players.

Khazrakh
02-17-2016, 03:33 PM
If I am playing a control deck I want to go first but I don't want to give up valuable life points.

If I am playing an aggressive deck I want to go first and would be willing to pay a lot of life against a control deck with little way to close the game fast.


Basically your suggestion only helps one style of deck.

My Orc Warrior Aggro deck has 18 starting health and I could hardly afford to bid any health because I use health as one of my main resources.
My Necrotic Warlock Control deck has 26 starting health and I wouldn't mind paying 5 or even 10 health because of how resilient it is.

Anyway I don't really like the idea, the randomness of going first is healthy for the game and like somebody came up with for that other game the difference between play and draw actually only is 53% - 47%.

Saeijou
02-17-2016, 03:36 PM
i think first thing should be to mulligan once and then your opponent gets priority and decides if he wants to mulligan, before you are able to mulligan again...
if you have to mulligan to 5, it changes the view of your opponent quite a bit!
(although sometimes it's helpful... one more than one game, where i mulliganed to 5 and my opponent was then stuck on resources)

EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 03:43 PM
If I am playing a control deck I want to go first but I don't want to give up valuable life points.

If I am playing an aggressive deck I want to go first and would be willing to pay a lot of life against a control deck with little way to close the game fast.


Basically your suggestion only helps one style of deck.

Hardly. The way I envision it, you would see your opponents hero before you bid, so even in the first game you have some idea what their strategy may be, and even more in the second. If I'm playing a slower deck and I suspect my opponent is going to be playing aggressive, it's easily worth a number of health to me to make sure they don't have the first turn to hit me fast before my deck has developed.

On the other hand, spending too much health for an aggressive player can destroy the whole strength of the deck. The strategy is often kill before your killed with those decks, and if you've given up too much health and have to hold troops back to defend against even modest attacks from your opponent, you're giving them more time to develop their own decks.

Is it going to be perfectly even for every strategy, and have no impact on the meta of the game? Obviously not. But I hardly think it's going to dramatically shift it in favor of aggressive decks.

funktion
02-17-2016, 04:07 PM
If first turn advantage is something you consider significant and also something worth solving I don't think this is the right angle to take. While an interesting idea, in practice it is only going to add more clutter to the game and slow it down without adding significant strategic impact.

What if neither player wants to bid any life? Then it goes back to coin flip I would assume? Even if it is blind bid there is still opportunity for a tie. Obviously the coin flip contributes to variance much like other aspects of the game, but in this case it is a 50/50 with no player being favored which is the main reason I don't think this is an issue.

There probably are spots within the system that could be tuned, but personally I would like to see any tuning done not slow the game down.

Finally, the one thing I would add here is this change would have MUCH MUCH more potential to negatively impact novice players than it would for experienced players. In a vacuum that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but this would be in such a way that I consider pretty unhealthy for the game.

EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 04:09 PM
Anyway I don't really like the idea, the randomness of going first is healthy for the game and like somebody came up with for that other game the difference between play and draw actually only is 53% - 47%.

I would have guessed that number would be larger, but even at that value it means the person going first is 13% more likely to win than their opponent, which is far from trivial and easily large enough that I think some effort should be made to change it. Thinking it over, maybe it would be better to just bid on the first game and then go back to loser picks (while charging the health penalty for all games.) That would reduce the potential impacts of certain decks benefiting overly from the change.

Also, I disagree on the randomness being healthy for the game. Especially as they're really pushing for the competitive gaming side of things. Whether you want to attract competitors or viewers, I can't imagine shifting the scale in away from randomness in the skill/randomness balance would be a bad thing. Even for casual gamers reduced randomness is generally a draw.

What's one complaint you see posted over and over again across many genres of video games? Bad luck. Failing in the goal due to aspects completely beyond your control. Very little is so frustrating and while you can improve your skill you can't do anything about the random number generator.

Gwaer
02-17-2016, 04:12 PM
Neat idea, it's different enough that I actually have to give it some thought before I can really suss out all of the potential pitfalls. My gut agrees with funktion, but I like the uniqueness of the suggestion.

Also, I agree that mulligan's should alternate between players until one player presses keep, then the other player can mull continuously.

Edit: I disagree a bit with the post right above mine, randomness is definitely healthy for the game in some circumstances. A game devoid of randomness is solvable, and that's not what we're looking for here. Randomness like cards resolving in a random order rather than a fixed one or selectable one, I would place in the distinctly bad column for competitiveness. Randomness of who goes first in game one, I would say has no impact on the game being solvable as such, but also isn't inherently non-competitive, that's how most sports determine who goes first/starts with the ball/whatever.

Xenavire
02-17-2016, 04:21 PM
Question: what would be the ripple effect if both players started the game with 0/1 and no thresholds?

Off the bat it lets the drawing player play a 2 cost card or 2 1 cost cards, but the starting player will reach 3 resources faster. Would this tamper too much with the meta? Would it speed things up (more aggro) or slow them down (more control)?

(And yes, I did kinda modify the idea from Hearthstones mana crystal thingy.)

EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 04:32 PM
While an interesting idea, in practice it is only going to add more clutter to the game and slow it down without adding significant strategic impact.

I think you're underestimating the strategic impact. Granted, there's no a whole lot of strategy with picking your bid, (unless you're playing mind games in chat or something.) However, when building your deck, you have to consider the potential different levels for you and your opponent. It adds an extra level to that complexity as well as sideboarding.


What if neither player wants to bid any life? Then it goes back to coin flip I would assume? Even if it is blind bid there is still opportunity for a tie. Obviously the coin flip contributes to variance much like other aspects of the game, but in this case it is a 50/50 with no player being favored which is the main reason I don't think this is an issue.

If I were designing it, only the winner actually pays health. Ties go to a coin toss and again, just the winner pays. If both players bid 0, coin toss again. However, in that case, either the players misplayed the bid, which is their own fault, or they both correctly realized that at that state of Hex, there is no significant advantage to either of them going first. Again, it allows players to self-balance the system even as the game changes.


There probably are spots within the system that could be tuned, but personally I would like to see any tuning done not slow the game down.

That's a lot like complaining about abilities where you pay X slowing down the game. I assume this would use a similar UI system. So it would add 5-10 seconds/game. Or 5/10 seconds/round if you only bid once? I can certainly understand wanting a faster paced game, even if I love the long, drawn out, back and forth games more than anything, but I believe it would be pretty trivial in this case.



Finally, the one thing I would add here is this change would have MUCH MUCH more potential to negatively impact novice players than it would for experienced players. In a vacuum that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but this would be in such a way that I consider pretty unhealthy for the game.

I believe this is easily your most valid concern. One of the biggest pros for high levels of randomness in determining winners is an inexperienced player can beat a much better one on pure luck, and even the occasional win can keep them engaged. Still, I'd like to see a day where we have a constant influx of new players and a ranking system for matches so the new players can play games against others of a similar skill level. And to be fair, the game isn't quite so random they'll be racking up a lot of wins as things stand anyway, especially in best of three matches.

wolzarg
02-17-2016, 04:39 PM
I would have guessed that number would be larger, but even at that value it means the person going first is 13% more likely to win than their opponent, which is far from trivial and easily large enough that I think some effort should be made to change it.
53-47 am i missing something here? I mean i dislike the idea you present profusely already but the fact that you are using missleading numbers to make your point is making it worse. Its cleary a 6% difference meaning the person going first is winning 6% more games.

Not only that but every player should even out to 50% playing first and 50% playing second making the point almost moot.

EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 04:50 PM
Edit: I disagree a bit with the post right above mine, randomness is definitely healthy for the game in some circumstances. A game devoid of randomness is solvable, and that's not what we're looking for here. Randomness like cards resolving in a random order rather than a fixed one or selectable one, I would place in the distinctly bad column for competitiveness. Randomness of who goes first in game one, I would say has no impact on the game being solvable as such, but also isn't inherently non-competitive, that's how most sports determine who goes first/starts with the ball/whatever.

I'm not calling for an end to all randomness. I just think that from where the game currently standings, shifting away from the randomness would be good for it.

Now the rest of this post is going to be a tangent on game theory unrelated to the discussion, so skip it if you're not interested :). Technically, a game would not necessarily be solvable even if all randomness were removed unless you also have perfect information. That said, even with games that haven't or can't be solved, randomness serves a very important aspect. Namely, avoiding stagnation in strategies and increasing variety in gameplay. It's very hard to achieve a game with a wide variety of valid interesting strategies without the aid of randomness.

Still, I personally have a strong preference for reduced randomness. The variety of games like this can be fun, but this game already skews further toward the random side than I would like even in a game like this (although the PVE experience more than makes up for that to make in the top overall card game I've played.) So I'm obviously going to always be pushing to tone the randomness down where I can.

And if they actually had the genius to develop a Hex system with all the wide variety of matches you get in Hex today while having no randomness whatsoever, I might have to give up playing other games completely. :P

Halsey
02-17-2016, 04:50 PM
53-47 am i missing something here? I mean i dislike the idea you present profusely already but the fact that you are using missleading numbers to make your point is making it worse. Its cleary a 6% difference meaning the person going first is winning 6% more games.

Not only that but every player should even out to 50% playing first and 50% playing second making the point almost moot.

He's working with 47 vs 53 and taking the standpoint that as the second player 47 out of 100 is your 100%, so the 53 out of 100 your opponent has is 6 points more than you, 6 being roughly, though not quite 13% of your 47. It's why I hate, as a general rule, expressing most things as percents, what you use as your 100% mark allows you to 'play' with the appearance of the result.

Gwaer
02-17-2016, 04:53 PM
And if they actually had the genius to develop a Hex system with all the wide variety of matches you get in Hex today while having no randomness whatsoever, I might have to give up playing other games completely. :P


http://prismata.net/ should check it out, I hated it because it was too far in the non-random direction for me. But you might enjoy it.

EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 04:55 PM
53-47 am i missing something here? I mean i dislike the idea you present profusely already but the fact that you are using missleading numbers to make your point is making it worse. Its cleary a 6% difference meaning the person going first is winning 6% more games.

Not only that but every player should even out to 50% playing first and 50% playing second making the point almost moot.

A common confusion between percentage and percentage points that I've even seen made even in many a respected journal. It's a 6 percentage point different but a 12.766% difference, which I round up to 13.

To make it simple with those numbers the player wins 53 games going first compared to 47 going second. 53/47 = 1.12766. So 53 is 113% of 47 or 13% larger.

wolzarg
02-17-2016, 05:01 PM
There is a reason i said miss leading instead of incorrect. That said i admit to adding to the confusion with the fist part so i don't blame you for your assumption.

EccentricFan
02-17-2016, 05:20 PM
There is a reason i said miss leading instead of incorrect. That said i admit to adding to the confusion with the fist part so i don't blame you for your assumption.

And I apologize on my end. I'm not trying to be deliberately misleading. The whole percentage point thing has always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and I always use percentages instead. While it's possible someone who was half following the conversation could have been mislead by my numbers, one of the reasons I so anti-percentage point is a feel percentages are less misleading.

Even when the difference is less extreme with two numbers close to 50%, I think people more naturally grasp the difference in size when you say something is 13% larger than when you say there's a 47% to 53% difference. At least my brain wants to look at it and say "It's only a difference of six! They're practically the same."

Miwa
02-17-2016, 05:45 PM
My Orc Warrior Aggro deck has 18 starting health and I could hardly afford to bid any health because I use health as one of my main resources.
For my low health deck (my Orc Warrior Aggro has a crapload of health), I'd certainly still pay to go first on a number of the PvE encounters.

Going first means a whole extra turn before Bad Things(tm) from the AI. That can easily be the difference between something spiraling out of control, and an easy walkover. Or being able to cast removal on the AI's first attack, because you have 2 resources (or 4 charges by then), etc.

hitchslap88
02-17-2016, 06:28 PM
Still, I personally have a strong preference for reduced randomness. The variety of games like this can be fun, but this game already skews further toward the random side than I would like even in a game like this

I think Hex occupies a great spot between its major competitors. It's more random than the overly-simplistic Hearthstone with its guaranteed mana and less random than Magic with its lack of thresholds and champion powers.

If you reduce randomness too much you end up with a game like chess. Chess is a great game, but there are reasons it's played competitively by relatively few people: total lack of randomness means that,

1) when you lose in chess it's purely because you were worse than your opponent,
2) you can never stop trying to plan your moves and anticipate your opponent's, and
3) the game entirely lacks surprise for non-masters,

each of which is a massive disincentive for casual, and even many hard-core, gamers. The only randomness in Hex is the deck, really. First/second turn is a factor that can sometimes determine the winner of a match, but consider that some players win games because they went second due to cards such as Extinction, Heat Wave, Yesterday, Countermagic, Brown Fox Scout, etc.

Xenavire
02-17-2016, 06:52 PM
I just want to comment about Hearthstone and randomness - the Hearthstone devs backed themselves into a corner (and they have basically admitted as such with their balancing attempts) when it came to their card design. The more powerful cards had to be more random to compensate for them being able to be cast on a specific turn (because no chance of flood or screw) which has lead to some strange situations of high end games being all about RNG and little else.

It turns out they just shifted their problem, but it still exists, and in some somewhat detrimental ways.

So I wouldn't say Hex suffers worse than HS on the random scale, we are just measuring it in different metrics (screw/flood vs abilty working right.)

noragar
02-17-2016, 09:43 PM
In Chess, White has more than a 53-47 advantage over Black.
In Tennis, the player serving has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Volleyball, the receiving team has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Basketball, the home team has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Poker, the player on the button has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Euchre, the side that's dealing has more than a 53-47 advantage.

All of these games have survived. They do so by balancing things out so that the number of times you're playing with the advantage is roughly equal to the number of times you're playing with the disadvantage so that in the long run it evens out.

Clawdius
02-17-2016, 11:17 PM
Reminds me of Battletech, Clan star commanders bidding who can get the job done with the least tonnage.

Biz
02-17-2016, 11:23 PM
bidding is the best way to balance 1st turn advantage in basically every game

but life points as the only currency is not the best idea for Hex specifically
in a card game, the best currency would probably be something related to the cards (quality or quantity)

I don't think +1 card is an unreasonable counterbalance for player2 in limited, but there are some impossible games in constructed because of being a turn behind
the card balance also doesn't help things. must-answer cards like phenteo/periwinkle/vamp princess shouldn't really cost 3.
tunneling-aside, set 1 & 2 were much fairer for the player1/player2 balance since most of the power was at cost 4+

wolzarg
02-18-2016, 06:37 AM
bidding is the best way to balance 1st turn advantage in basically every game

but life points as the only currency is not the best idea for Hex specifically
in a card game, the best currency would probably be something related to the cards (quality or quantity)

I don't think +1 card is an unreasonable counterbalance for player2 in limited, but there are some impossible games in constructed because of being a turn behind
the card balance also doesn't help things. must-answer cards like phenteo/periwinkle/vamp princess shouldn't really cost 3.
tunneling-aside, set 1 & 2 were much fairer for the player1/player2 balance since most of the power was at cost 4+
I somewhat agree but feel that its even worse because phenteo is must answer in theory only since technically you could go a entire game without drawing a terrortula but if you draw one at a bad time you could instantly lose. Puck is probably more must answer than periwinkle honestly and he isn't from set 3 but yes they added a lot of things that do a little too much for a little to little forcing answer early.

That said if that was their intention then they clearly did a good job and a lot of those cards do make for interesting plays.

EccentricFan
02-18-2016, 07:32 AM
In Chess, White has more than a 53-47 advantage over Black.
In Tennis, the player serving has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Volleyball, the receiving team has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Basketball, the home team has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Poker, the player on the button has more than a 53-47 advantage.
In Euchre, the side that's dealing has more than a 53-47 advantage.

All of these games have survived. They do so by balancing things out so that the number of times you're playing with the advantage is roughly equal to the number of times you're playing with the disadvantage so that in the long run it evens out.

In many professional sports, from a business perspective the home field advantage is a good thing. It encourages fans to buy tickets to help contribute to their team. Other games, like chess, there's no easy way to even out the advantage without making a major change to the game that would completely change the way it functions. Adjust even one piece and every opening/strategy previously used is out the window.

On the other hand, games like Go with its point scoring system is able to easily balance the first player advantage without changing the play of the game at all, so they did, and they've continued to adjust it to try to keep it as even as possible. Because they understand that even if the game will survive and remain popular with a first player advantage, it's better for everyone to keep each individual game even.

Bottom line, if you can reduce the advantage without doing more harm than good to Hex in other ways, it should be done. You could argue as others are that my proposed system doesn't do that, but I don't think you should argue that there's no reason to even try to even it out.