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  1. #1

    The state of the Hex competitive scene, suggestions, and much more.

    Hello all,

    It's been a long time I wanted to post something like that so here it is.

    I came to Hex around mid-November of last year (so a bit more than 3 months) after a friend of mine told me he's just won a slot for a tournament with a prize-pool of a PT... I've played MTG for around 10 years, 5 of them competitively, so I was pretty enthusiastic about this "new game that looks like an upgrade of a game I've liked for so long"... Even though it seemed strange to me that I haven't heard about it previously.

    Anyway, I've downloaded and played Hex and if we exclude the way too many bugs, I have to say that the game felt awesome to me... Also there were some IQs left, so that was a great incentive to play even more of it.

    But now that the IQs are over and since we don't know what's planned and what's not regarding the competitive play/scene, I tend to feel like I'm wasting my time here...
    I've been grinding events (DE/PE/MOCS/PTQ/etc) on modo for years but there always was an event to prepare for (QT/GP/PT), there always was a goal to reach, something worthy and something nice to try and obtain, that hundreds of hours of testings would help to achieve.

    But let's be a little bit more precise.

    To start with, I would like to say that if I am currently writing all my thoughts for you to read, this is only because I feel that the game is great, has a lot of potential and deserve that time of my... In order for it to improve and become the major player it should be.

    Anyway, on to the main points.

    1) Low player base :

    => Issue : I'm not going to lie on this one, queuing for a draft that might only fire half an hour later always makes me feel like I'm wasting my time and that "nobody play that game anyway"... It is unfortunate but true that the waiting times to play any PVP game is way too long. And since there's too much waiting time, people tend not to bother queuing and here comes the vicious circle.

    => Offered solution : As I said previously, I've been playing TCGs for a decade and not having heard of Hex is somewhat significant of how not enough focus has been put on marketing. I do think that the product is great, but it's not sufficient to have a great product to have a successful business, you also need people to be aware of it... Because otherwise, no matter how good it is, the guys out there won't be buying it since they don't even know it exists in the first place.

    2) PVP is dead :

    => Issue : While the fact that the current number of players is low is certainly on obstacle to have a good and living PVP scene, this is not the only issue. Call it how you want, but I would summarize all the things that makes PVP a dead thing as "people are lacking incentives to play PVP".
    Yeah I know set 4 is coming (and that will definitely be a relief). I also know that many players like to say that they are "waiting for set4", but is that the only thing ? Isn't that just a part of the problem ? An excuse for them not to play because they simply don't want to (anymore) ?

    People tend to be bored easily nowadays, and for sure the waiting time between set3 and set4 has been too big, but what's done is done and I tend to think that if there were other incentives than a new shiny set, people would still play a lot of Hex PVP.
    While the draft/sealed format has clearly been solved by many, the constructed format is far from being solved.. We see plenty of new decks every week in gauntlets and 5S. That, let me tell you, would definitely not happen if the players have had put enough efforts in constructed (but I'll come back to that later).
    Soooo, people are no longer playing drafts because they are bored of it, and people are not playing constructed to some extent because they are bored of it, but there's stilll a lot of room for improvements and innovations here, so I would say that they tend not to play constructed because they are simply lacking incentives to do so.

    => Offered solution : People have to have something interesting to gain while playing (talking mostly about constructed), they have to have a reason to play... Grinding the points to be able to play in IQs were definitely something like that, but there is room for other incentives to be implemented.
    I know that on modo the grinders used to be rewarded by a yearly highly prized tournament for the top100 constructed and the top100 limited (in qualifier points)... Now that would be something that you keep in mind and make you want to play some PVP... You know, that kind of "just doing an event or 2 today and got some points so I'm better placed for the race" feeling people would have.
    I've heard people were talking about a HS-like ladder, I think this is clearly bad (at least the way HS does it) and a ranking system based on points earned by doing tournaments like I said would give that impression of laddering without the same feeling as the HS people have to "ladder pointlessly".
    The player of the year race as I presented it would be something cool, and would definitely gives more incentives for people to play on a regular basis.

    3) Competitive PVP is dead :

    => Issue : Now that the IQs are gone, there is literally no incentive for people to play serious PVP. People will still play it a bit, but casually... You've seen all those fancy decklists ? Yeah I've been playing random decks as well, just because there is no incentive to play seriously, so I joined the bandwagon and brew some crap of mine to "at least have fun, even if the deck is awful".

    => Offered solution : There is no real secrets here, for people to be willing to put the efforts in trying to solve the meta and optimizing their builds, there need to be one or several large (in terms of prices) tourneys to be planned... And I'm not talking about 10k plat, I'm talking about 100k$ tournaments.
    While the 5 shards tournaments are fine, they are not competitive tournaments, they are more like FNM where everybody comes for free with whatever they feel like playing and that's it (which is cool for PVE guys that want to softly put themselves into PVP -- but not for people looking for a challenge and prizes).

    => What we actually need is something reliable and planned... Let's say 4 (or more) invitational like tournaments per years with the same prizes, now I am fairly sure that we would be able to get plenty of players (grinders) to come from other TCGs and play Hex... And let me tell you, those guys would not be willing to spend countless hours on PVE to grind their way up, they would come and put the cash on the table to get access straight away to what's better in PVP to playtest with and start preparing for those big bad tourneys.

    I am talking about the grinders, those guys are really good clients for TCG because they "pay in advance". They tend not to pay too much after (they will then "go infinite"), but it's balanced by the fact that they are constantly and actively promoting the game and bringing more competitive players.
    To sum it up : We need Pro Tour, we need World Championships, we need it big, bad and Shiny.
    Last edited by Wuggalix; 02-26-2016 at 08:41 AM.

  2. #2

    4) Random other things that I'll just leave here to discuss :

    - Twitch : Well, I really hope that you manage to get the Invitational live on the Hex official website... Twitch is cool and all, but it should not be the main channel when someone want to follow the main Hex tournament. I mean, if we don't manage to get something on the official website, it will feel a bit underground, which is a shame because the tourney is big enough to justify the hype around it.
    - No offense to anybody (as I've only tuned to like 5-6 channels), but again, developing the competitive scene would provide more twitch channels and better ones... It is funny to compare it to HS on that matter. HS has no tournaments in client (which is totally awful) but they have plenty of very good streamers (both on the entertainment side and the competitive side). I've watch plenty of them and often enjoyed it because they played well... Same regarding magic (even if it was recorded most of the time, talking about CF website), some guys like streamers who play crappy but fun brews, others like watching pure good plays and tier 1 decks... Whatever, it would be beneficial to everybody if we would have more streamers (and would also be way better to current ones because more people would tune at every moment).
    - Please stop the single elimination 5 shards, single elimination is awful and does not reward consistency, it just gives a higher variance to the result, and makes pairings matters way more... To sum it up, that's a tournament structure that punishes well rounded decks, and rewards gamble choices.
    - Please do fix all the bugs, they are a pain and a scarecrow for every player who wants to play actual tournaments. If you're playing PVE it's annoying but you can just do it again, but when it screw a tournament in PVP it's way more annoying (even if I have to say we have the nicest support I've seen around).
    - Primal chests should be listed under primal on AH... They currently are not listed anywhere (not even on legendary as the "know bug" thread suggest. The only way to see them is to click twice on "min bid" and then search through the pages.
    - One word on campaign : I have played it and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would have. For someone like me who's here for competitive PVP, the fact that I've played campaign that much definitely means that it was a success. Gratz to everyone.

    Last point : regarding prizes of current tournaments.
    => In order for the constructed scheduled tournaments to be interesting people has to get about 2-3 times their entry fee when they do 3-1, so around 9 packs, no need to put prizes if you're doing 2-2 because you know, 2-2 is not a good result.
    => People are doing a bit of constructed gauntlet because that literally is their only option, but the EV is really poor and would love a boost. That would very likely bring more player to it and therefore diminish the waiting time, wich will also be another incentive for players to play (virtuous circle this time).
    => For the next Invitational like series of events (because I really think there should be others), the prizes does not need to be that high, they were way too high IMO... I'm not complaining I've gotten too many packs for those I've been playing in, but it was not necessary, definitely. Only prizes for top16 sounds good to me, with a decently high prizes starting at top8, and something like a sleeves for everybody, that was cool.

    Thanks for reading, I'm really hoping this will help things to change... And of course feel free to discuss any point, that's the point.

    Until then, take care.

    Last edited by Wuggalix; 02-26-2016 at 08:53 AM.

  3. #3
    I have to say I was very shortly away from doing such a post myself. It's always good to stirr things up a bit and voice criticism. Lets hope we can have a serious discussion about the problems (sadly there are many people who will defend just anything hxe does to all ends). Wuggalix, me and others who sometimes voice criticism care enough about the game to even do so (just to keep that in mind). the issues:

    The single biggest issue I see is the low player base. I realy hoped that pve and the official release would be the turning point. It is too early to realy tell but for me personaly I can say I would have hoped for more. The game is good. PVE is good. People who play it say it's good. What the game needs is marketing. What I feared with the surprise release sadly has come true. The "release" (and the quotations sadly are in order) has fallen completely flat. One of the most important ways to get people to know a new game are gaming websites. One and a half months after the release we still have only three official reviews. Not even enough to get an official score on metacritic. I am not sure who is at fault here and I cannot judge without knowing the backgrounds. But I will say that for me as a passionate player that is very disheartening and concerning. I played Infinity Wars and they also made a silent release from one day to the next. Same thing happened. It fell flat. It would have been wise to set a date in like a month after the initial pve patch.

    I am not sure how to solve this problem. Set 4 will help to bring back a portion of old players who had been inactive. But what we need is a real push for new players. Digital cardgames can be realy popular (Hearthstone has proven that with over 40 million accounts). Of course HEX can never get anywhere near that number and it doesnt have to. But Cory wrote in his end of the year letter that there are 120,000 monthly active users. That was before the pve patch. I gues that number would be more than sufficient to keep a game going. But I have to admit that I have problems believing this number. Maybe I have some misunderstanding but its true that drafts fire roughly once every half an hour. Scheduled Constructed or Sealed tournaments dont fire at all (altough they have the best payout). The only way to play constructed is gauntlet and its pretty much the same names you see all the time.

    Which brings me to the next point:

    Constructed PVP)
    I agree with Wuggalix. Right now there is little incentive to play constructed. I know that some kind of ladder or ranking system is supposedly coming with or shortly after set 4. That should help (as long the potential playerbase is big enough). The details of that system are worthy to discuss but since we dont know anything about what they have planed its also kind of pointless at this point. As to the pro-tour-like proposal. I'm all for it. The thing is I dont know anything near enough about the situation with HXE and Gameforge. Big tournament series are important to keep very dedicated players engaged and they are always something for new players to aspire. Wizards was always aware that the pro tour was expensive for them. They understood it as investment. And it always was a good investment. Such tournament series are always something to aspire after for all players even if 99.99% of them will never get there. I have to admit I have my problems with Gameforge. They haven't prooven to be the best publisher for games in the past. The communication between HXE and Gameforge looks broken from the outside. As examples I can give the set 3 release celebration announcement or the ESL series. There is not much we can do as players. And it's a bit pointless to speculate about such internals. Nontheless I still wanted to at least voice my concerns (and leave it with that).

    I realy hope we will have another Invitational style series soon. About how the qualifying process can be improved upon is another topic (my suggestion would be to have a certain number of slots awarded by overall performance througout the complete series). Best case another such series will be announced at the invitational. Wuggalix said it right. Players need something to look for. Right now there is nothing except the community tournaments. Those are great but just not enough longterm.

    I will close with the following: Right now I lack a bit of longterm goals and communication about that. We dont have any timetable for Set 4 except the info from many months ago that it is basically done. The letter Cory wrote at the end of the year was good (even though I have problems with the 120,000 figure). Maybe this kind of statement can be made like every 3 or 6 months. I understand we have the weekly news articles. But I have to admit that those have been a bit dissapointing in the last weeks and months. The overall communication is good...dont get me wrong. Certainly better than most gaming companies handle that stuff. But communication for a tcg is highly important also.

    There are many other things that could be improved (e.g. the ingame introduction is still far from perfect since there is no introduction into stardust or the use of the auction house or the handling of the currencies or introductions into pvp). Since I have gone long enough I will leave that for another time.

    So..thats about it for now. Feel free to disagree. I just wanted to voice my opinion. I care about the game and hope it has a bright future. The potential is there. I am afraid it might fall flat though. That's why I do write this. My outlook might seem a bit bleak for some and I am sure that many disagree. Nontheless..I am glad I finally voiced my concerns.
    Last edited by Metronomy; 02-26-2016 at 11:01 AM.

  4. #4
    I never understood the PvP Grinder. So are there a lot players who have ~0 chance to win the 100k tournaments, but dump a bunch money into PvP just because they exist? I am one of ~0 but the only thing I like about the IQs was that they caused Scheduled Constructed to launch for a few weeks, once that stopped I stopped caring.

    The Scheduled tournaments originally only gave prizes on 3-1 +. Didn't change much.

  5. #5
    I think it would help if you could go play PvE while waiting on a tourney to fire, and it would just save your state while in the tourney.

  6. #6
    Master Theorycrafter
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    The only big problem right now is the lack of Set 4, but with today's announcement that it will be playable for attendees of the Invitational it would look like that won't be a problem for much longer

  7. #7
    hardly, set 4 wil be only temporary boost for pvp.
    Proud Champion tier backer

  8. #8
    To whoever decided to move this thread to the feedback section: Yes, technicaly it belongs there. It is still a bad move though since its just a fact that here this thread will reach a 10th of the players it would reach in the general section.

    On another note: I reached out to a gaming website (gamestar) and JoeLePaul reached out to like 10 gaming websites. The goal is to make them aware of the games existence and suggest to make a review. I am aware that the issue we dont have any coverage probably is not because those people dont know the game exists but that they dont feel any need to give it coverage. One way or another contacting such gaming sites cannot be bad and I suggest others to do so as well.
    Last edited by Metronomy; 02-26-2016 at 04:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Metronomy View Post
    To whoever decided to move this thread to the feedback section: Yes, technicaly it belongs there. It is still a bad move though since its just a fact that here this thread will reach a 10th of the players it would reach in the general section.
    It doesn't need to reach the players. It needs to reach the devs. That is the whole point of providing feedback/suggestion.

    Also, each thread has its place. If it technically belongs here, it belongs here. If you don't use it where it belongs, then you reduce traffic even further in the section it should be and clutter sections where it shouldn't.


    As far as PvP is concerned, yes, it's a bit stale at this point but you also have to keep in mind, there's a lot less cards in this game compared to another that has been around for over two decades. Even theirs is stale to a point but because of the amount of variety and formats, there's always something to do - not to mention fairly consistent releases. However, consistency will come to HEX as the game slowly polishes and features are finalized. Right now HEX is in a state of flux, it's trying to do several things simultaneously and there is only so many resources available.

    As far as the low player-base is concerned, that could be attributed to HEX being in a state of flux. Right now, there is scarce little to do and while the card pool seems large for a starting TCG, it's actually smaller than it is due to the usefulness of cards and very limited formats (no multiplayer, only a handful of competitive formats that are limited by set, etc). Once a player has exhausted what they feel is fun for them, there's little reason to keep checking in until more variety becomes available.

    In my opinion, the two biggest things hurting HEX currently are: 1. Card pool expansion is slow. 2. No casual formats such as FFA, 2HG, 3HG, Emperor, Commander, and more.

    The average TCG player is not a hardcore competitor, they just want to play with cards and have fun. PvE fits that to a point but it's like playing Solitaire, playing by yourself is only fun for a time. PvP seems to be ignoring the casual players completely (for instance, VIP is only particularly valuable to competitive players due to the VIP tournaments for AA cards).

    Granted, word is that they will be adding sandbox features down the line but unfortunately that will take time and there are a lot of priorities ahead of that.

    The only thing we can do is wait but my feeling is that HEX is on a bit of a clock. They can't push too fast and overextend but they can't be too slow or become stagnant. It's a tricky situation.

    That being said, I'm sure HEX can pull through. Their foundation, albeit not massive yet, is fairly solid for what it is. As more parts come together, they can be polished further too. It should be good.

  10. #10
    Its not only about reaching the devs but having a discussion within the community...but anyways..

    The points you raised Kami are all pretty much all true but what I think the biggest issue is, is the lack of marketing and general product awareness among the gamer community. This is what realy concerns me especialy one and a half months after the release. I do have concerns about the content intervals and lacking game polishment. But those are all (as you say yourself) fixable over time. With a new game it gets harder to bring in new people the older it is. People rarely go to play small unknown games that have been released for over a year. The release is the make or brake for most games. I dont see where a huge push should come from if it doesnt come this year.
    On that note: the 120,000 figure (monthly active users) just seems not realistic in my eyes...does it to anybody else ?

    As to new players not joining in the pvp experience. I want to elaborate a bit further here on the point that the ingame introduction is still lacking. New players often dont know what a draft is or what constructed means. There is just no transition from pve to pvp. It is all: Go find out about it yourself. And do your own research when you dont know anything about how the different tournament types work. As a new player you can play through the whole campaign and not know that there are pvp tournaments, an auction house or an extended art feature.

    How to solve this: It was proposed before I believe. Have those functions be introduced within the campaign. Have an npc in the cities that opens up the auction house tab and give a first time explanation how to use it. Same can be done with stardust.

    As for the pvp tournaments: I proposed it before a long time ago and I propose it again. Have a one time reward that brings players to pvp. Beating the last dungeon should award a free draft ticket. It has to be a one time only and one per account thing of course. I dont think one free draft for a completed campaign per account would destroy the market too much. What it potentialy would do is hook up people to play pvp. Right now there is no transition. The tournament tab is even hard to find if you dont know it exists. That transition is especialy important once people are done with the pve part. PVP is where money can be made. You would the same time need to explain how a draft works and what a sealed is and so on (skippable of course).
    Last edited by Metronomy; 02-26-2016 at 04:47 PM.

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