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 Post subject: Personal Balance Document
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2014, 08:00 
Infantryman
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Posts: 23
Location: California
In-game name: jeffry44
The following doc was just thought up by me in my spare time and is essentially how I would balance base cost scrolls if I were the dev. It's a lot different than how scrolls works now, and probably has no relation to what will actually happen with scrolls unless the devs completely rework the entire balancing system.

But anyways, read with caution if you dare.


CREATURES ARE BASE:

Consider that in a normal modern ccg creatures are the most common and effective way to move towards an end condition. In scrolls creatures are the easiest way to deal damage to

idols and win the game. Therefore, creatures must be considered the basis of all balance choices.


BASIC STATS:

Continuing with the assumption that creatures are the base of balance, the initial values of creatures cannot be arbitrary. In scrolls the base stats of creatures are almost

arbitrary, and their power levels fluctuate dramatically. For instance, relating standard values for effects and abilities of creatures, it would not be unreasonable to say that a 3 2 4 for

3 would be balanced. However, while the math determined by the power of specific abilites seems to point to this conclusion, a 3 2 4 creature would most definitely be overpowered in

practice.The problem seems to stem mostly from the arbitrary value that is added each step represented here (these power levels based off of relations between different abilites etc):

1 cost: 4 power,
2 cost: 5+ power,
3 cost: 7 power,
4 cost: 8 power,
5 cost: 10 power,
6 cost: 12 power,
7 cost: 15 power,
8 cost: 18 power,
9 cost: 20 power.

As is quite obvious, the gaps in power between each level vary from 1 to 3 and in the case of the jump from 1 to 2 cost the jump doesn't even have an integer value.
This system means that accurately producing ability values is almost impossible.

To produce an accurate power scale there have to be goals that that scale must achieve. The power levels of the scrolls scale seem to show intent to fulfill 3 goals.

1. The base unit of every cost level must be able to survive an attack from a basic unit of lower cost.
2. lower cost units must be useable, and so must be more powerful early game compared to higher cost units. (this goal also seems to signify the inherent value of a card)
3. higher cost units must become exponentially more powerful to make up for their inuseability early on.

Considering this, I have created goals that I would prefer over this system.

1. The base unit of every cost level must be able to survive an attack from a basic unit of lower cost.
2. The base unit of every cost level must be able to one-shot a basic unit of lower cost.
3. Cards must have an inherent value that exists before its cost is taken into account.

The first goal is a necessary goal for cost progression, making the value of a higher cost unit easily apparent. The second goal I feel is necessary so that the value of health and

attack can be compared directly, if the value of attack for a higher level unit is not consistantly able to destroy a unit of lower level there is no baseline for the relation of health and

attack to be based off of. The third goal does several things; it makes lower cost units more viable in all situations, gives value to card draw, allows token creatures and abilites that are

produced without using a card to be compared to creatures and abilities that are, and causes higher value units to become exponentially less valuable compared to the value of creatures of

lower cost ensuring that high value units do not become rediculously overpowered. The base value of a high cost creature will always be worth it to play, simply because of the first two

requirements, and because with a higher pool of potential "power points" higher cost units will always have more complicated and effective abilities in addition to their inherent efficiency

(having more health and damage per tile).

The formula that fulfills these requirements looks like this:

C+cost*X = power level.

C being the initial value of the card, and X being a number that describes the difference in power between levels. The value of C and X are determined simply by how fast the

developer feels the game should be, and how much more value they feel higher cards should have over lower cost cards. I settled upon a value of 4 for C and 1 for X.

That formula looks like this:
4+cost*1 = power level.

Continuing with this formula, the relation of power between cost levels looks like this:

0 cost: 4 power.
1 cost: 5 power.
2 cost: 6 power.
3 cost: 7 power.
4 cost: 8 power.
5 cost: 9 power.
6 cost: 10 power.
7 cost: 11 power.
8 cost: 12 power.
9 cost: 13 power.

To me, this system looks a lot cleaner.

After this, if I assume a few things:

1. 1 health is equal to 1 power.
2. 1 move is equal to 2 power.
3. 1 attack equals 2 power.
4. power attributed to attack is devided by countdown.

My base stat creatures will look something like this:

0 cost: 4 power
A potato: 1 attack, 2 countdown, 1 health, 0 move.
1A+2Cd: 1 power, 1H: 1 power, 1M: 2 power. total power: 4.

1 cost: 5 power
Noob: 1 attack, 2 countdown, 2 health, 1 move.
1A+2Cd: 1 power, 2H: 2 power, 1M: 2 power. total power: 5.

2 cost: 6 power
Shotgun Camper: 2 attack, 2 countdown, 2 health, 1 move.
2A+2Cd: 2 power, 2H: 2 power, 1M: 2 power. total power: 6.

3 cost: 7 power
Nerd-Jitsu user: 2 attack, 2 countdown, 3 health, 1 move.
2A+2Cd: 2 power, 3H: 3 power, 1M: 2 power. total power: 7.

4 cost: 8 power
Troll: 3 attack, 2 countdown, 3 health, 1 move.
3A+2Cd: 3 power, 3H: 3 power, 1 m: 2 power. total power: 8.

etc...

Although this scale looks quite similar to that of scrolls (and it is), instead of arbitrarily jumping between attack and health values, every step yields the same power points

compared to it's previous level, although because of the initial value of every card the ratio of power from one cost to it's previous cost goes down (5:4, 6:5, 7:6 etc). This also takes

into account the value of a 0 cost unit more accurately than scrolls where the base value of card draw fluctuates between being a 1 and 2 cost ability. Here I have set the standard for card

value as 4 power, and in doing so have also set the standard for increasing resource level at 8 power, which, oddly enough, also relates to gaining 4 current resources.


INSTANTS AND INSTANT VALUE:

After creature power values are settled and power levels are constand between cost levels things like instants and enchantments become easier to fool with. In scrolls focus is set at

a value of 3 attack for one turn, With that in mind I set out to make a relation that relates instant, temporary enchantments to the value of the creature. The simplest relation would be to

assume that a value of one instant attack is equal to one power, which would set it to the value of one attack on a creature with 2 countdown or to the value of one health. However, that

assumption would mean a one cost focus-type instant would grant 5 temporary attack to a unit, which did not fit. However, assuming instead that the value of one instant attack is equal to

the value of one point of attack on a 1 cd unit, the same focus-type spell would grant 2.5 temp attack instead, which was seemingly much more accurate. This relation would also indicate that

a 1 cost instant would also relate to 2 instant attack and 1 instant health, 1 instant attack and 3 instant health, and 5 instant health, which, when compared to potion of resistance and

fungify, seemed to be fairly reasonable.

So, the base instant spell chart would look something like this:

0 cost: 4 power.
Lunch: +2 temp attack.
2 instant attack: 4 power. total power: 4.
or
Fanta: +1 temp attack, +2 temp health.
1 instant attack: 2 power, 2 temp health: 2 power. total power: 4.

1 cost: 5 power.
Sharpen blade: +2 temp attack, +1 temp health
2 instant attack: 4 power, 1 instant health: 1 power. total power: 5.

2 cost: 6 power.
Dinner: +3 temp attack
3 instant attack: 6 power. total power: 6.

etc...

What was far more interesting, however, was the correlary that the value of 1 instant attack was equivalent to the value of 1 attack on a 1 cd unit.

The deeper indication seemed to suggest this:
The value of instant power is equivalent to that same power delayed by 1 turn and applied every turn after that. Additionally, that meant that the value of instant power would be

equivalent to double the value of that same power delayed by 2 turns and applied every other turn.

This seemed to indicate another type of spell who's chart would look something like this:

0 cost: 4 power.
Meditation: +2 attack applied after 1 turn
2 delayed attack: 4 power. total power: 4.

2 cost: 6 power.
Nap: +2 attack applied after 1 turn, +2 health applied after 1 turn
2 delayed attack: 4 power, 2 delayed health: 2 power. total power: 6.

etc...

ENCHANTMENTS AND POISON:

This relation gave way to a lot of additional ideas. The simplest of which was the relation of spell damage to poison. If 2 instant attack was equivalent to 2 attack applied a turn

after and continuously every turn after that, then that relation should also apply to spell damage. Assuming this, a spell that deals two damage should have equivalent power to a spell that

deals two damage every turn but starts a turn late. This style of spell was obviously surpirisngly similar to a poison type spell, the only difference being that a poison type spell also

deals damage the same turn it is applied.

So, the relation of spell damage to poison damage became this:
Poison damage is equivalent to 2*the value of instant damage. Because if poison damage was a combination of instant damage and continuous damage applied after 1 turn and both had

equivalent value, then poison would be the equivalent of two times the value of instant damage.


If this were true, then the almost impossible to balance enchantment would be balanceable, because enchantments worked the same way in relation to instant value as poison does to

instant spell damage. It applies the first turn and continously after that turn.

This seemed to indicate that the power of an enchantment was 2*the value of it's equivalent instant.

So a chart indicating the required power for enchantments would look like this:

0 cost: 4 power.
Earth armor: +2 health.
+2 health: 4 power. total power: 4 power.

1 cost: 5 power.
Balanced stance: +1 attack, +1 temp health.
+1 attack: 4 power, +1 temp health: 1 power. total power: 5 power.

2 cost: 6 power.
"YOU CALL THAT A KNIFE!": +1 attack, +1 temp attack.
+1 attack: 4 power, +1 temp attack: 2 power. total power: 6 power.

etc...

NEGATIVE EFFECTS:

After figuring the relations of enchantments, instants, and continous effects I continued on to make assumptions about the value of negative instants. The simplest assumption was

that if an instant gave a friendly unit +5 health an instant of equivalent cost would give a unit -5 health. This, however didn't seem at all accurate.

If this was true the scale of negative health effects would look like this:

0 cost: 4 power.
The common cold: -4 temp health.
-4 temp health: 4 power. total power: 4.

1 cost: 5 power.
Brain fart: -2 temp attack, -1 temp health.
-2 temp attack: 4 power, -1 temp health: 1 power. total power: 5.
or
Atrophy: -5 temp health.
-5 temp health: 5 power. total power: 5.

etc...

This seemed completely off, I did several tests on paper following the potential turns of two imaginary players, one who only played creatures and another who played creatures and

negative temp health buffs. In every scenario, although the temp health buff often caused the player to use more cards and lose card advantage it also happened to make the player almost

unbeatable when claiming the board. So, the initial assumption that negative effects carried equivalent value to their posotive counterparts was thrown out the window. Only after an

enlightening lunch did the alternative come to me.

Simply, reducing an opponents health is equivalent in battle to increasing the attack of a friendly unit by the same value. What this meant, was that instant buffs and debuffs had an

inverse relationship rather than a direct relationship.

So, the scale of negative instants would actually look like this:
0 cost: 4 power.
The common cold: -2 temp health.
-2 temp health: 4 power. total power: 4.

1 cost: 5 power.
Brain fart: -5 temp attack.
-5 temp attack : 5 power. total power: 5.
or
Atrophy: -2 temp health, -1 temp attack.
-2 temp health: 4 power, -1 temp attack: 1 power. total power: 5.

I was very happy with this relation, but there was still one problem. Focus cannot destroy units on it's own, it simply causes the attacking unit to be more effective against the

enemy by a value of 3. Basically, focus only empowers other attacks and cannot destroy units by itself. So, it would have to be assumed that any unit that has health reduced should not be

able to have health reduced to 0 or lower or the relation of instant buff to instant debuff falls apart.

SPELL DAMAGE:

Up until this point I still have yet to assign any power values to instant damage spells. However, if we consider that dealing damage to a unit is the equivalent of putting a

negative enchantment on that unit, then spell damage has the same relation to instant debuffs as enchantments have to instant buffs: value*2.

So, a chart of spell damage would look something like this:

0 cost: 4 power.
Mind spike: 1 damage.
1 damage: 4 power. total power: 4 power.

1 cost: 5 power.
Siphon life: 1 damage, -1 temp attack.
1 damage: 4 power, -1 temp attack: 1 power. total power: 5.

2 cost: 6 power.
Shrapnel burst: 1 damage, -1 attack.
1 damage: 4 power, -1 attack: 2 power. total power: 6.

3 cost: 7 power.
Thunder punch: 1 damage, -1 attack, -1 temp attack.
1 damage: 4 power, -1 attack: 2 power, -1 temp attack: 1 power. total power: 7.

4 cost: 8 power.
Burn?: 2 damage.
2 damage: 8 power. total power: 8.

etc...

And, continuing working with the relation of instant damage to over time damage we get this chart:

0 cost: 4 power.
Getting old: 1 damage at the beginning of your turn.
1 damage continuous, delayed: 4 power. total power: 4 power.

1 cost: 5 power.
Slow cook: 1 damage at beginning of turn, -1 temp attack.
1 damage continuous, delayed: 4 power, -1 temp attack: 1 power. total power: 5.

2 cost: 6 power.
strange poison: 1 damage at the beginning of your turn, 1 damage every other turn delayed by 2 turns
1 damage continuous, delayed: 4 power, 1 damage continuous every other turn, delayed: 2 power. total power: 6.

3 cost: 7 power.
Weakening poison: 1 damage at the beginning of your turn, -1 attack, -1 temp attack.
1 damage continuous, delayed: 4 power, -1 attack: 2 power, -1 temp attack: 1 power. total power: 7.

4 cost: 8 power.
Compounding poison: 1 damage at the end of your turn.
1 damage continuous: 8 power. total power: 8.

etc...


CONCLUSIONS AND THOUGHTS:

I was incredibly surprised at how simply everything seemed to fit togethor after I was done. Definitely an interesting endeavor, a few of the outcomes really surprised me.

There are still a few things that I am a little iffy about:

1. Introducing instant death effects completely destroy the entire system because they defeat the purpose of cost progression. So if I was using this system for base unit values I

would have to remove those types of abilites.

2. I was unsatisfied with the outcome of the spells. By these standards a 4 cost instant damage spell apparently has damage value of 2, where a 3 cost unit has 3 health. I toyed with

changing up the difference in power between cost levels and found that in some instances increasing the difference in power level caused spells to become more effective. I believe it has to

do with the breakdown of health that comes with adding only 1 point of power each level.

In this system, for instance, every other cost level basic creatures gain one health, but spells go up in damage every 4 cost levels. If going up in cost level meant gaining 2 power,

creatures would gain health every cost level, and spells would go up in damage every 2 cost levels. Proportionally the health to spell damage value is equivalent, 2:1, but with the 2 power

per level system health increases linearly compared to spell damage, and in the 1 cost every level system health increases in big increments every other turn making spell damage either very

effective or ineffective depending on which incremental step it is on.

But even with my dissatisfaction at the power of the spells, mathematically the value is accurate to how much it should really be. If, however, every unit attacked every turn, base

damage for creatures would be worth half as much, and the effective damage of spells would be doubled.

3. There are definitely still some arbitrary values floating around out there, I toyed with the idea of having move be worth 1*its value but I think giving a unit +6 move for 1 cost

is a little hilarious, although at 2*value you still get +3 move for 1 cost, which is almost like having full board movement. However, comparing that to the lack of use of the original RBP

and new orders it might actually be balanced. Additionally, the C+cost*X formula has two arbitrary values. Although the value of X doesn't actually change the math of the system it can

affect how the game is played. The same applies to C, but C also changes how fast the game is played by giving more or less value to low value creatures and 0 cost cards.

4. This system neglects to add any kind of exponential ramp for big units, in fact because of the base card value system big cards are less effective proportionally to their lower

cost units. Even though I complain about it I think this is how the game should be played, and I think that most of the reason that big creature cards are so ineffective on the field when

played in scrolls and other games is because those games give solutions that disregard cost progression, mostly insta-kills. Interestingly enough, I think the system actually balances itself

somewhat, because there is faster faloff in the power of spells than there is in the value of big units, making big units less susceptable to spell damage (at least from big spells).

5. Because the difference in power between cost levels only differs by 1, there are simply less numbers to work with when creating more complicated effects. I think if (and probably

when) I continue on with this system, but try to describe more complicated effects I will end up with effects that have decimal values. This could be changed by increasing the power

difference between cost levels (which as explained before has no effect on the math of the game, but some effect on it's gameplay) but that might make the system far more complicated and

potentially harder to work with. Plus, it's far harder to make plans for how a game will go if every unit has a complicated value associated with it, which is part of the reason I dislike

might and magic: duel of champions.


I imagine that it would be very hard to read all of this and understand what is going on, so as a final note here is a scale chart of units I think are representative of my basic

balance system:

0 cost: 4 power.
A potato: creature: 1 attack, 2 countdown, 1 health, 1 move.
Mind spike: spell: deal 1 damage.
Weak poison: spell: deal 1 damage to target creature at the beginning of your turns.
Meditate: enchantment: target gains +2 attack at the start of your next turn.
Sharpen knife: instant: target gains +2 attack until the end of your turn.
Broken weapon: instant: target has -4 attack until the end of your turn.
Delayed illness: enchantment: target gains -2 health at the start of your next turn.
Strength potion: enchantment: target gains +1 attack.

2 cost: 6 power.
Shotgun camper: creature: 2 attack, 2 countdown, 2 health, 1 move.
Broken fingers: spell: deal 1 damage, target has -1 attack.
Strange poison: spell: deal 1 damage to target creature at the beginning of your turns, and 1 damage at the beginning of every other turn.
Fiery blade: instant: target gains +3 attack until the end of your turn.
Potion of weakness: target has -3 attack until the end of your turn, target cannot have less than 1 health.
Rhythmic power: target gains +6 attack at the beginning of every other turn, starting in 2 turns.

4 cost: 8 power.
Kinfolk Brave?: creature : 2 attack, 1 countdown, 2 health, 1 move.
Ice lance: spell: deal 2 damage.
Quick poison: deal 1 damage to target at the end of your turns.
Plague poison: deal 2 damage to target at the beginning of your turns.
Healing crest: target gains 2 health, target gains 4 health at the beginning of your turn.
Wasmack : deal 1 damage, draw a card.

etc...
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 Post subject: Re: Personal Balance Document
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2014, 08:46 
Infantryman
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014
Posts: 23
Location: California
In-game name: jeffry44
I just now realized that every spell in this system is based off of creature stats, which have a direct impact on the health value of idols. So, I imagine those spells would have to either be evaluated from another angle or apply directly to idols as well.
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