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 Post subject: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 25th, 2014, 19:54 
Infantryman
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As with any new set, Waypoints has changed the status quo of the game in some fundamental way through both the addition of potent new mechanics and redesigned cards. What follows is my general impression as a non-competitive player, who at least generally understands the competitive meta. As such, I’m not going to go down the controversial route of discussing individual card balance, but instead will focus on a more general perspective of the features introduced in waypoints in relation to the game as a whole going forwards.

The Community
Waypoints has had double edged community involvement, in the form of a much smaller player base that has much more detailed understanding of the game; something which is enhanced by access to the test server each Monday. This has clearly been successful in providing valuable feedback which has caught a significant amount of the broken content, caused by either imbalance or programmed implementation. Of course, it’s arguable whether having more players to test would have improved the quantity or reduced the quality of feedback as a whole. Having the test server open each Monday has clearly been the right decision, but there should be consideration of when best to release patches in future, in order to minimise test server controversy while maximising testing.

Gold/Economy
As ever, there’s still too many people with more gold than they can actually spend. New character avatars have had little attention since open beta, crafting went some way to alleviating the issue, especially with the minor gold gains, but as of the time of writing there has been nothing in Waypoints to address this problem. As usual, dumping everything into explorer packs on the day of the live launch seems to be the only thing to do, which is a shame, but ultimately may not be a major priority. The black market offers an alternative to trade bots, though I can’t see this being too important because of the inflated prices caused by the 20% price cut taken. There’s the possibility of the black market being great for new players trying to build competitive decks, but the UI is too clunky, unattractive and frankly just hidden in the shop to make new players interested in using it. Some serious aesthetic work needs to be done to the shop to alleviate this.

Mechanics
Traits need to be able to have explanatory tooltips within card text and when reading effects from enchanted units. There are an increasing number of cards which have traits without any tooltips, so 3rd party websites and other cards with the traits are the only references of what those traits do. Of course, this is completely unintuitive to new players.

Idol strike is a completely redundant trait which only serves to overcomplicate a specific case of the pillage trait. Again, this is unnecessary and only serves to confuse new players, especially in conjunction with the issue mentioned above.

Regeneration seems unnecessary, but could be helpful if re-worded to clarify when the unit is healed, for cases with one health units that have regeneration and poison.

Flying has been changed to allow adjacent movement without a countdown increase, this is incredibly helpful in tactical movement and simultaneously more intuitive. Though an effect or animation could be helpful in showing when the flying ability has been used.

Magic armour is still as confusing as ever. ‘non-combat’ damage doesn’t accurately define ‘magic’ damage, which allows for unusual interactions with units that inflict ‘self’ damage. This needs to be clarified.

Lingering is an incredibly potent mechanic that allows for sudden shifts in board perspective which keeps long games fresh and interesting to play and watch. Especially in the change that means time is stacked, not potency, barring the bugs in the UI time display.

Sifting is effective for players, but there needs to be a visual representation of the chosen card.

Poison lasting infinitely should not reach live. There was no reason to change the old system, this means rebalancing old scrolls that were already balanced, for no reason whatsoever.

Abilities being able to be used multiple times per turn is much clearer and intuitive. Though there still needs to be some text standardisation among units with abilities, perhaps even an effect on the card to highlight when an ability can be used. The new effect upon using an ability is nicely minimalistic, which is clear enough to show what happened and why.

The new enchantment glow effect goes some way to more clearly indicating that a unit has actually got an enchantment, but more visual work is needed to describe the nature of the enchantment. Whether it’s a buff or debuff, perhaps even aggressive or defensive.

Uniques
The new approach to uniques is much more fitting. At medium costs, the unique trait serves to allow the units a much more game changing ability without being inherently overly powerful. These abilities serve as a focal point of their respective deck archetypes, bringing each deck together in a thematically both visually and mechanically cohesive way. I feel like this is much more successful than the previously dubbed ‘champions’ and look forward to this seeing design mentality in later sets. However, given the severity of the effect of uniques, I feel that more visual design needs to be dedicated to showing when these effects trigger, beyond the minimalistic feel of regular abilities.

The Factions
Order
Generally, this is a nice buff to the faction. There are a number of simply good cards which could fit in most order decks, something which may mean more midrange, rather than aggro, decks. The clear new archetype is the knight deck. Late game order has been revitalised with a lot of amazing card interactions which I expect to see a lot of people playing on live.

Energy
Gravelocks.
The gravelock archetype has gotten a lot of attention, there’s little else to say other than, I feel new players may have a clear path to a strong, even competitive deck, by simply collecting gravelocks. If you don’t play gravelocks, then good luck surviving the new power level established in the three other factions.

Growth
There are two clear archetypes established now, creature spam and enchantments. Creature spam seems very strong, since it’s so difficult for other factions to deal with currently, I can see this causing a shift to mass removal. Enchantment growth is difficult to predict, since there’s already strong enchantment decks that can only be bolstered by the new cards, but then there’s feedback jolt.

Decay
Although the undead archetype seems clearly viable now, there’s a lot of diversity in the Waypoint set, which means there’s a lot of potential for powerful interactions. I’ve already seen a huge amount of variation in test server decay decks, so I’ll be watching and waiting to see what emerges from the brawl on live.

Closing words
I hope that I haven’t caused too much controversy. I would really appreciate any criticism of my waypoints impressions, since I know there’s likely to be some wild variation in viewpoints while waypoints is still in testing and undergoing changes. I’ve tried to keep this as concise as possible, but I won’t hesitate to further explain the reasoning behind my statements if you have questions or arguments to make. Thanks for reading.
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 26th, 2014, 12:00 
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I completely agree with you on the poison change. It just seems stupid to me. They changed poison in a really weird way, supposedly to negate the indirect nerf it got from the introduction of Magic Armour, but it doesn't even change the fact that MA still completely stops it. And if they didn't change it because of MA, then why did they change it at all? Like you said, now they have to go along and re-balance every scroll that uses poison. If this change goes live it will be bad. They may have changed miasma well and blightbearer, but brain lice will definitely need a nerf (the card draw on top of poison was already good, but now is more reliable and better removal), not to mention tons of other scrolls. All they've done is make more work for themselves and changed things that were perfectly fine for no reason that I can see.

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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 26th, 2014, 13:36 
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I agree with pretty much everything you've written here.

What I'd add is the lack of any changes to wild, which will probably mean that mono decks will continue to dominate.
And - even though not a Waypoints thing - I hope they remove taxing from the game and just give the Scrolls that currently have that trait an appropriate cost.
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 26th, 2014, 13:51 
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CardNinja wrote:
Poison lasting infinitely should not reach live. There was no reason to change the old system, this means rebalancing old scrolls that were already balanced, for no reason whatsoever.


Having done extensive testing and seeing various decks being quite potent, I see no reason why they wouldn't change poison. The power level of all new scrolls in waypoints is really high and to compensate for that, I think Mojang felt that making poison last forever would be a welcomed change. Even if poison lasting forever hits live, it will still take some effort to increase the damage that would be dealt from it since miasma well has been changed to be more of a magic armor counter (haven't really tested it, but I would assume it does damage through the magic armor). In order to make a proper poison deck now, it would have to include various curse scrolls rather than having a structure that would indefinitely increase poison damage.

I don't really think poison got a nerf or a buff, just a re-balance that makes it appear more or less too powerful, but is actually fairly poor on its own.

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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 26th, 2014, 13:59 
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Overall, I agree with you, but I think the Poison change is a welcomed simplification of a mechanic that was in need of a buff as a result of power creep in Waypoints.
I tried building a poison deck on the test server and sadly that archetype is now defunct (primarily because of the change to Miasma Well, and how it doesn't interact with Infectious Blight.)
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 26th, 2014, 14:30 
Infantryman
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Squiddy wrote:
Overall, I agree with you, but I think the Poison change is a welcomed simplification of a mechanic that was in need of a buff as a result of power creep in Waypoints.
I tried building a poison deck on the test server and sadly that archetype is now defunct (primarily because of the change to Miasma Well, and how it doesn't interact with Infectious Blight.)

That was my point. The miasma well change was a result of the imbalance caused by the everlasting poison. The poison scrolls used were already strong enough, now they're arguably too powerful and we have an unnecessarily defunct archetype.
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 27th, 2014, 08:15 
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Good post, and I agree with most of it.

The Black marked is impossible to test on the test server, so I want to see how that preforms on live. I hope it will be a big step in the right direction towards a more stable economy.

And regardless of how clunky the current UI is - it's allot better than using text commands to a bot!
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 28th, 2014, 03:18 
Infantryman
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Good post, though I feel not much is being done for budding/new players.
I've only got time to farm about 1000+/- gold per day. N seeing how many scrolls there are now, I'm going to need a whole lot more farming to get the new set of cards as well as some of the older ones (eternal sword where art thou).
Veterans with 100's of thousand of gold have no prob. Like a rich player buying a whole box of booster packs at the local card shop. Where we new players but one at a time.
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 28th, 2014, 13:01 
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bakamund wrote:
Good post, though I feel not much is being done for budding/new players.
I've only got time to farm about 1000+/- gold per day. N seeing how many scrolls there are now, I'm going to need a whole lot more farming to get the new set of cards as well as some of the older ones (eternal sword where art thou).
Veterans with 100's of thousand of gold have no prob. Like a rich player buying a whole box of booster packs at the local card shop. Where we new players but one at a time.


Old players will be much richer- both in the form of gold and scrolls. We have been here for months, so our collection will be bigger.

But remember; We don't have a in-game advantage. Any meta deck can be built for ~10k-20k gold, so a new player will have the "best" deck much faster than the skill required to use it.

I think the improvement of the trading (Black marked) is a giant leap towards newb-friendlyness. Finding and using the trading bots isn't exactly user friendly, so many new players burn a fortune on packs.
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 Post subject: Re: Waypoints general Impressions
PostPosted: August 28th, 2014, 16:22 
Infantryman
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ArcProxima wrote:

But remember; We don't have a in-game advantage. Any meta deck can be built for ~10k-20k gold, so a new player will have the "best" deck much faster than the skill required to use it.

I think the improvement of the trading (Black marked) is a giant leap towards newb-friendlyness. Finding and using the trading bots isn't exactly user friendly, so many new players burn a fortune on packs.


True, the only real advantage vets have is skill from playing the game longer than us newbies.
Though I should add, that I find some form of joy in opening packs.

No one comes into a card game with sniper accuracy in their card acquisitions. I'm just going to buy this n that because its the meta and thats it. I believe we all would want to go through building our decks with that element of randomness in opening packs, rather than reading forums n cherry picking the current meta.

Perhaps because this is online/digital - devs have to make things more difficult else players would just plow through new content in a breeze; as I've read about WoW
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