Friday, July 9, 2021

Wild Cards update


Wild Cards have been one of the most widely criticized features within Minion Masters over the years. With 2.0 coming we've decided it's time to take a good hard look at the feature and try to discern what the issues with it are but also what it contributes.

We want our players to continuously have fun and challenge themselves for years to come. For a long time, we've felt that Wild Cards added to that main goal, at least for most players.

We've heard the argument that it disturbs the overall balance of the game and we agree. It is undeniably harder to find and maintain a great game balance with Wild Cards making decks more unpredictable and extreme, adding to a more rock-paper-scissors experience.

So far we have maintained that the feature also allowed for more creativity in deck building and in most cases for more fun. It's no secret that Wild Cards somewhat limits design space when it comes to the more unique and bombastic designs. We've seen several of these cards become problematic over the years when wildcarded (I.e. Thelec, Wolf Among Sheep, Black Hole, Brutish Betrayer, Guardian, to name a few).

Earlier this week we ran a survey asking you all, what you think of the current state of Wild Cards. Through this survey we found that:

  • ~60% of players like Wild Cards
  • ~36% of players vote to keep Wild Cards as they are; ~31% ask for a change; while ~32% want them flat out removed.
  • Generally, we see the call for removal mostly with high-rank players as around ~70% of the Remove votes came from players in Master rank or above.
  • We also see that while the positive impact of Wild Cards is more widely spread than the negative, it does seem to be less intense.

You can see the results of the survey here

What happens now?

Despite the majority of players telling us that Wild Cards are good for the game, we're going to go out on a limb. We believe that the time is right to try something else.

We wish to do a test in which we will remove Wild Cards from the game for a full season. That will be this upcoming season starting with Patch 1.27.

After that season ends we will be asking everyone again to see what your feelings are after having tried the game without Wild Cards for a bit. We'll naturally also be following your feedback on Discord, Reddit, and the Steam forum so do share your opinions as we go along.

Why Now?

When Wild Cards were added to the game, there were a total of 77 cards and deck choices were far more limited. Today is a vastly different scenario with more than 220 cards and several new mechanics. This also means that many cards have alternatives that perform similar duties in slightly different ways. For instance, instead of playing with a Cleaver, you could play with a Brother of the Burning Fist. Instead of Whirly, you could play with Fergus, Plasma Marines → Crystal Archers, Scrat Horde → Skeleton Horde, etc.

Therefore, we believe that the time is right to try and reevaluate this fundamental feature of the game. We believe that we have a broad enough variety of cards as well as several options for most functions that Wild Cards are no longer needed in order to create fun, interesting decks. At the same time, the incredible amount of combination possibilities is also making it substantially harder to fully consider Wild Cards with every balance patch. We now believe that the negatives outweigh the positives.

What happens in the long term?

What happens to Wild Cards after the test, we cannot say yet. We will have to see how the test goes and look at the community response as a whole before we make any long-term decisions.

IF we decide to remove Wild Cards permanently, we do have plans to look into the design space that is created in their absence. There are several ways we can make cards that emulate the Wild Card mechanic and we hope to use this to reintroduce the good parts of it in a more controlled manner.

In Conclusion

We'll be removing Wild Cards in Patch 1.27 and most likely remain removed in 1.28 as we go over all the results.

We hope you're all ready and willing to give this a go and that you will share your thoughts with us so that we can make the most well-informed decision when the test is finished.

If you haven't already, join us on:

From everyone at BetaDwarf, we thank you for being such a passionate and amazing community. Without you, all this could never have been a reality and for this, we are eternally humbled!