Feedback Response to Upcoming Balance Changes

11/12/2020 9:13:39 PM


https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/615997904968220715/776551192196022282/Untitled-1.png


Feedback Response to Upcoming Balance Changes

We have a rather large balance patch coming on Monday and over the last few days we've collected feedback from players in Discord, Reddit, Twitter, and the rest of our social media fronts. This patch is very ambitious and, understandably, brings a fair amount of uncertainty with it. In a change to our previous process, we posted a preliminary list of changes a week early to give time for community feedback and also to allow players some extra time to prepare for the upcoming tournament. Based on that feedback, we’ve made a few edits to the balance patch (listed below).


Note that the scope of this patch is pretty unheard of. We fully expect that there may be some bumps, so a live tuning pass a week or two after should be expected.

Jade Puma

There has definitely been a lot of concern over the buff to Jade Puma. We've decided we will still be shipping the proposed change to Jade Puma and will keep an eye on it in the time following the patch.

For some context to this decision, the data shows that Yellow/Purple as a color pairing is not cracking the top 10 in pick rates and has rather low win rates as well. This problem further shows itself in Mythril+ play, where its win rate drops even more. All of this while about one third of Yellow/Purple decks actually play Jade Puma and their win rates drop when doing so.

As we have before with cards like Weapon Check, should we find this card's impact is leading to significantly worsened play experiences, regardless of statistical representation, we can use the live balance system to revert this change. Given the numbers we have now though, we feel okay with pushing this change.


Academy Recruitment

Original Proposal: Create 1/1 Cadets… → Create 2/1 Cadets…

Revised Change: Create 1/1 Cadets… → Create 1/1 Cadets with Focused 1…

Given the abysmal near-30% win rate of this card and the inherent weakness of 1 health minions, we don't think a buff to 2/1 is likely to push it over the top. However, given the amount of concern expressed by the community, we're okay with easing into a buff to Focused 1 here as an initial stab at bringing it back into consideration.


Shinobi of Fire

Shinobi of Fire holds the distinct honor of being the least played Shinobi (yes even behind Wind). It partners that with a win rate well below 50%. As with Jade Puma, this is a card we'll be paying especially close attention to in the fallout from such a large-scale change to the card pool.


Samosek, the Living Sword

Original Proposal: DUR: 9 → 8

After an enemy minion deals combat damage to a player it takes… → Before an enemy minion attacks one of your unoccupied lanes, it must first take…

Revised Change: DUR: 8 → 6

After an enemy minion deals combat damage to a player it takes… → Before an enemy minion attacks one of your unoccupied lanes, it must first take…

Moving Samosek's total durability to 6 will mean that even with no other damage dealt to it, it will destroy itself after 3 activations. This card has historically been rather frustrating when it's too good and is one we will monitor closely. We will be offering a refund for Samosek.


Herald of Famine

Original Proposal: When opponents burn a card, they take 1 damage and the card is Banished instead of going to their deck.

Revised Change: When opponents burn a card, they take 2 damage and the card is Banished instead of going to their deck.

There were a lot of very mixed (polarized) opinions about our proposed change to this card, which incidentally also matched our internal thoughts as well. Hopefully, something in the middle will put it into a good place.

Five Spirit Gate

REVERTED

We've heard plenty of feedback and concern over the power level difference this change brings to this card. A closer look into our data showed that there was no real need to buff Five Spirit Gate. Thanks for helping us catch this one early!

Herald of Conquest

REVERTED

Herald of Conquest is in an interesting spot. In lower ranked tiers, this card really does not do a whole lot. The higher up the tier data we went, however, the higher the win rate climbed. With fairly high win rates in higher tier play, we've chosen to revert Conquest's proposed buff and leave it as is.

Shopworn Bull

Original Proposal: Draw a card. Then, pick one to put back and reshuffle the rest. → Draw a card. Then, pick a non-Ephemeral card to put back and reshuffle the rest.

Revised Change: 4[R]R → 3[R]R 2/5 → 3/4 Draw a card. Then, pick one to put back and reshuffle the rest. → Draw a card. Then, pick a non-Ephemeral card to put back and reshuffle the rest

With the removal of Shopworn Bull's ability to "free draw" by shuffling a token, we're going to try moving it back to a 3-drop and adjusting its stat line a bit.


Macheri Blade Dancer

REVERTED

After weighing some more concerns around the draft format, we've chosen not to buff Macheri Blade Dancer. The proposed buff was not likely to move the needle in constructed formats but would push Blade Dancer's ability to enter play and 2-for-1 just a bit too high.


Magpyre Enforcer

Original Proposal: Armor 2 → Armor 3 Slayer 2 → Slayer 3

Revised Change: Slayer 2 → Slayer 3

We chose not to buff the armor of Magpyre Enforcer after hearing concerns about how hard the card already is to remove in draft formats. We are keeping the buff to the Slayer ability as a way to help Enforcer combat larger minions a bit better. A look through data on this card suggests that we could move it to Armor 1000 and it wouldn't move the needle in constructed. This should be a nice middle ground for a better card that isn't going to be harder to remove in draft play.

Lantern Colossus

Original Proposal: Removed Overrun

Revised Change: 5/7 → 5/6

We were going to remove Overrun from Lantern Colossus to reduce the amount of reach purple had in the midgame of draft formats but with nerfs to Immolation Cloak and Adamant Pearl already impacting this point of the curve, we decided to keep Overrun on Colossus.


Magnus Thorsson

Original Proposal: 5[B]B → 5[B]BB

Revised Change: 4/4 → 3/3

Rather than making Magnus have the exact same impact on the game but less often on curve in some specific situations, we're going to reduce the power of the body left behind. This is similar in approach to the change we're making to Armageddon Angel and we will monitor this closely.


Twin Blanque/Twin Junah

NEW: Tokens cost 0YY

Moving the tokens generated by the Twins to having a gem cost associated with them requires a much heavier yellow saturation to actually play 2 minions on 6 outside of mono-yellow decks.


Chort Stag

Cannot take more than 3 damage in combat. → Cannot take more than 4 damage in combat.

This change to Chort Stag pushes it from dying in no less than 3 attacks to no less than 2 attacks. This should ease the pain of removing this rather big boi.


Minitaur

REVERTED

Unfortunately, internal testing showed Minitaur at 2/2 was way too powerful and we can't in good conscience ship such a change. Jokes aside, this is a change that's happening for technical reasons. There's a section of the onboarding process that involves Minitaur in a way that this change would require reworking. That particular section is accompanied by voiceover work so this just isn't feasible at this time.


Tree of Life

0/5 → 0/4

There was concern around the size of the new minion that Turn of Seasons gives the player through the Pursuit buff. We've toned this down a bit before releasing this new Pursuit and will keep an eye on it moving forward.


Incubation Chamber

Minions created here have Armor 2 and… → Minions created here have Armor 4 and…

A buff here should allow for a higher likelihood that a minion on Incubation Chamber actually gets to incubate.


Conclusion

Some players wondered why we didn’t buff certain other cards that don’t see much play and/or have shown themselves to be under-powered. There are a host of reasons for this: 1) the goal here isn’t to make every card equal in power -- our ultimate goal is to make the game more fun. 2) not every change requires the same amount of work or carries the same amount of risk. Given just ~3 days in our schedule to implement the balance patch (which is 2 days more than we normally have), we had to pick our battles.


Another question that was expressed was “Why make this many changes at all? Other digital CCGs only make a handful of changes at most.” At the same time, other players were elated that we were going bold and shaking things up. Ultimately, we have to do what we think will be fun for the most people, weighing the downside risk of creating imbalance vs. the potential to generate fun and excitement across all levels of play. Obviously, the live tuning system we put into place a few months ago factors into it as well. Individual player preference will clearly influence how this set of changes is perceived. Something we thought about in regards to all this: a giant game published by a big publisher would never do what we’re about to do. Clearly, there are players that will appreciate the occasional (not too frequent!) sweeping change and the instability that it brings to the meta. It’s something that can only be found in an independently-run game. Rhino Games will never succeed by trying to exactly emulate the behaviour of a Blizzard or a WotC. Our path, and our hearts, simply don’t lie in that direction. So our hope is that some number of players will also be interested in coming along with us on what will for sure be a unique, fantastical, and never stagnant ride.


We want to take a moment and thank you for all of your feedback over these last few days. Balance changes of this scale are very scary both for us and for our players who are seeing so much change at once. We appreciate the passion our community shows for our game and we're excited to see what everyone comes up with in this new patch.