Friday, May 12, 2023

Game rule changes results

 We have an update about the game rules changes for you.

After receiving the results of the survey; analysing the response breakdowns, reading through the stacks of responses, then discussing and thinking about it for a while we have decided to keep both of the proposed changes to the rules.

  • Minions cannot be played directly on bridges.

  • Minions with summoning sickness cannot be pushed on to bridges.

Therefore both of these will remain in effect.

The primary basis for this decision is naturally the response breakdown which looks like this:

If we entirely ignore the people who did not notice or didn’t think they had sufficient experience(though some of these people still wrote good responses) there is a significant majority in favour of the changes. Even in the second closer poll there were a full 33% more people in favour than there were against.

When reading the responses it became clear that at least to some extent the changes actually had the positive effects we were hoping for with very few immediate negative effects. Though there is evidence that we may have somewhat overestimated the effects these changes would have, the general consensus is still that the effects were positive for the game.

There were however also valid objections to be found in the responses, as indeed there were valid objections raised in the discussions around this elsewhere.

Some central concerns that were brought up frequently can be summarised as follows:

  • Over time these changes might have the effect of pushing the game further towards a rock-paper-scissors style of balance. This happens because the game has cards and strategies that require very specific counters, and there are few universal counter cards or strategies that are versatile enough to deal with a broad spectrum of threats. And these changes weaken one of the strategies which could consistently get wins against a broad spectrum of decks.

    • This is a challenge the game is facing anyway, and we have some decisions to be made in the future about how we want to balance the game to address this. In fact you could argue that, even without these changes, if we didn’t find a way to address or at least mitigate this, we would still get rock-paper-scissors style balance, except one strategy would be noticeably stronger than the others. We don’t have any concrete decisions on this yet but one potential avenue could be to increase the relative strength of cards that don’t require specific counters and/or creating cards that are versatile without being difficult to counter.

  • These changes have buffed the big units, causing decks to have higher mana cost averages and less card plays per match, which in turn reduces the amount of opportunities for skill expression. 

    • We tried to pre-empt this with nerfs to some big units, but with the Mordar change high cost decks were all over the place. To address this we have nerfed several of the highest performing Mordar decks, and we are looking into design space for more skill expression in the future (think of more interactive low cost cards, alternative master perks you can pick during the match or alternative ways of winning a game (feedback on preferred ways to introduce more skill expression in the game is always welcome!)

  • These changes removed a form of skill expression by reducing the importance of placement and timing.

    • While it is true that backcapping has been (partially) removed, and that takes away that form of skill expression, the hope is that we did not remove skill expression as much as we moved it to another place, whereas you will have to do more fighting now, which could be ignored a lot more in the past.

Along with the nerf to high health minions we had also planned to increase the strength of low cost cards, but the stats have kept telling us that they are still strong, so we have not pulled the trigger on this. We are still observing, but for now it seems like, even with these rule changes, there are enough situations in most games where having a cheap card to capture the bridge is highly valuable. Because of this, their cycle efficiency, and generally being versatile traders, cheap cards are still stronger than average.

Thanks a lot to everyone who filled in the survey and contributed to this debate. We are dedicated to improving the game for years to come, so expect more initiatives to improve the core gameplay in the future!

<3 from the Minion Masters design team.

Removing premade Mayhem

In the upcoming patch we will also be removing the option to play Mayhem in premade teams. There simply are not enough premade Mayhem games being played to justify keeping it around, since it’s effectively splitting the Mayhem player pool in two and creating longer queues for everyone.

This is a triage solution, and we would love to be able to bring back premade Mayhem if/when Mayhem player numbers increase to the point where it is one again reasonable to have two separate queues.