Thursday, August 13, 2020

Balance Changes, 1.16 Season Pass, & Dev Stream Incoming

Minion Masters!

Balance Changes coming in Version 1.16

It's been a shorter season than planned, as you've no doubt noticed by now, but there's still been plenty of time for us to gather information on what balance changes to make! Here's just a few of the changes you can expect to see in the update:

Restless Dead
  • Undying Corpses now spawn randomnly within your arena
  • Developer Comments
  • Restless Dead has been quite a powerful card due to the exceptional value you receive from the Skeletons alone, allowing you to create formidable pushes. However, it also proved too strong when combined with Corpse Explosion, allowing you to create high damaging blasts that came with the added benefit of giving you some strong bodies down the line to push with. This change aims to hit both aspects of the card at once, while still providing you with the card's original efficiency.
  • Max Explosions 5 -> 4
  • Developer Comments
  • Simply put, Combustion was proving to be too good when comboed with units like Divine Warrior, as we observed in the recent Shadow Gaming Tournament. We are still fairly confident that the maximum damage of 200 will still be strong enough for the card to be worth playing.
Lone Wolf & Lone Scout
  • Now only considers units under your control
  • Developer Comments
  • This change is more of a "Quality of Life" alteration to enable the cards to be played effectively in 2v2, but we felt it was long overdue for making the cards viable in that mode.
Lady Infray the Spire Warden
  • Piercing Shot Delay 2 -> 1
  • Developer Comments
  • Lady Infray has just felt too sluggish with her special ability even with Mana Surge. Often times she'd miss the intended target due to how long it would take the shot to go off, while in other instances we've noted that she died in a situation where her regular attacks would have saved her simply due to how slow it was.

Season Pass Change for Version 1.16

We wanted to take the time to address a change to the upcoming Season Pass. As you're aware, the recent changes to this expansion cycle were primarily due to the game being "too free" and not sustainable in the long term.

The new system was a good improvement but we erred on the side of caution in some respects, trying and hoping this balance could work. Unfortunately we aren't quite where we need to be, so we have to make some difficult decisions to ensure that the game can be financially sustainable. We’ve tried many things through the years; focus on cosmetics, features like gifting, the shop and more. They’ve always been with the goal of creating a fair free to play model, but some work and some don’t. In the end it’s about one important thing; The game must be offering options to purchase that players want and are happy about buying. The oft discussed cosmetics unfortunately aren’t that, as they appeal to a rather small part of players. They’re really only balanced out if you have a large player base, and marketing is one of the hardest problems to solve, so it’s not a viable path. 

We believe the best place to find this synergy is in new content for two reasons; Firstly: If we were to monetize other elements, we would have to spend our resources on that instead of focusing on more of the game’s strengths. Secondly; It’s the next most valuable thing that players want in the game, right after power - and we’re not willing to cross that line.

The key to this is:
  1. Cards are power-balanced - meaning you can’t buy your way to something that’s intended to be more powerful, both for old and new content.This starts with the existing foundation of cards not having upgradable stats like many other games in the genre, and continues with a commitment to be diligent about balance through continued efforts of improvement and a willingness to quickly fix major issues.
  2. New content is valuable - which means the benefit you can pay for is that you get to play with it earlier and longer than others. This has to be an ongoing model, as we can’t rely on new influxes of users, or the game will quickly become unsustainable regardless of how many are staying in the game.

Despite all that it offers, we don't feel the factor that pulls you towards buying the Premium pass is strong enough at the moment.

Currently we're opting to move the Legendary card from each Season Pass to be only available on the Premium path, at tier 6, and have tier 49 in the Free Pass replaced with copies of a random Legendary card. It will still be craftable once the Season Pass ends as usual.

We’re still dedicated to avoiding “pay to win” elements with new cards, as we want to remain as the most fair “Free to Play” game on the market. We’ve had a lot of discussions internally about this decision and are aware of the dangers that come with it in regards to that, and as such we’re willing to carefully monitor and consider potential changes to new content releases to preserve this state - such as what we’ve seen with the Unholy Ground hotfix during Version 1.15. To this end we still want to hear your feedback about these matters and the new cards, as it’s more valuable than ever to us.

We understand this is a contentious matter, but unless we make these decisions for the game, it would be likely we reach a scenario where we have to scale back in various areas - We could be forced to reduce the development team for the game, reduce our ability to support Minion Masters E-Sports, and perhaps most significantly we wouldn’t be able to commit as much resources as we want into the generation of new content. First we focus on making the game financially stable, then we can expand even more on what makes Minion Masters the awesome game you’ve stuck around to play for all these years, with more Quality of Life improvements and extra features that are being suggested.

We wanted to be as open as possible about this change and the reasons behind it so that there can be a better understanding regarding these changes, and we hope we've been able to offer at least some insight into this decision. From everyone here at BetaDwarf, we sincerely thank you for all of your support so far and your willingness to communicate with us about the things you’re passionate about.

Developer Stream Incoming!

A new Expansion means a new Developer Stream, Masters! Community Manager That Sprite will be live on our Twitch Stream this Monday the 17th at 1900 CEST to show you through everything that Version 1.16 has to offer, including an exclusive reveal of our new Legendary Card! Make sure to stop on by and interact with the awesome Minion Masters Community!

And while you're here, why not submit a question for the Dev Stream? Send in your questions here and we'll select some to be discussed live with the community.

The Harbinger Challenge Season 3

Xbox Masters, The Harbinger Challenge is back for their third Season! With multiple weekly challenges with special rules kicking off on August 30th, it's the best place to be for competitive Minion Masters action on your console! Check them out and sign up here:

Cheers from BetaDwarf!