Alright, constructive criticism time:
The Infinity Wars Team grows with 2 more Warriors
So we’ve got two new hands on deck to support the bug fixing efforts, and issues affecting the core player experience. These fine gentlemen will assist us in optimizing, polishing, and spraying those RAID cans everywhere.
Say hello to Du-z, and TheMoot. Both of them will be joining our client programming side of things.
With the inclusion of these lovely gentlemen, this frees up our processes a bit more. We get to work on bugs as well as designing at the same time….it’s like we’re in heaven! More info on THAT subject below.
Please welcome them into the fold, and look forward to their good work in the coming weeks.
More people, especially programmers = good. Welcome, Du-Z and TheMoot!
Oppression and Foundation set designs/concepts
Let’s talk about what’s happening with the Design aspect of the game.
Foundation Set: So the last time you heard about this was when we introduced the concept of “Rotation”, and we didn’t really give you too much to go on with what it actually means.
The Foundation Set is meant to keep cards and mechanics that we deem a “foundation” to the game in circulation at any given point regardless of what Chapter (Block) we’re in. Treat IW2013 as the first “Foundation” set of Infinity Wars, as Rise marks the start of the Rise “Chapter”.
Not all cards will stay, and there may even be some new cards in Foundation, but the primary purpose is to serve as a buffer for all future sets, along with assisting new players reduce the barrier to entry and allowing existing users to stay relevant in any Chapter.
Any card that is re-printed in a Foundation Set that you have an original copy of is something you can use. Consider it a legacy version of the card, but so long as it’s in legal circulation, you can use whatever version of it you own.
Foundation Set has been explained previously, not seeing a lot of new information, but more clarity/insight into the rotation process is always welcome.
200 cards in Foundation seems a little excessive from my first estimates. So, here's my wild guesswork:
200 Cards / 7 Factions = 25 cards or so per faction. I count 68 cards in Verore currently. Can't be bothered looking it up, but lets say Verore reaches 100 cards by the end of the Order block. 25% of the set is going to stick around. Can you even name 25 good Verore cards you'd consider foundation off the top of your head?
Considering the first foundation block is likely to heavily favor Core/Rise Block over order cards, I wonder how many cards we're even getting rid of.
Rotation sounded cool (and horrible at the same time) because it made me wonder how different factions could be without core cards? What if Genesis wasn't Lucca based? DoD without the sages? What if Flame Dawn was turned into a rush/mid-range hybrid faction and most of their early rush rotated out?
The idea seemed to be, we don't have to let old cards dictate what new cards we can add. If we're not even going to try throwing any old cards out, what's the point of even rotating? Just removing old garbage?
Oppression Set: The groundwork for your next full set of cards has begun in terms of design. Thanks to having a few more hands on board, designing a set of cards doesn’t detract from the overall process of day to day workflows. What does this mean for you? It means that we’ve been able to manage our time much more optimally to allow for re-iteration of our own designs.
It means we’re able to put forth designs, test them out, and if we feel we need to re-iterate on anything we have much more freedom and time to do that now. Then we can move into playtesting, re-iterate/tweak where necessary, and release to you a quality set of cards.
One other little note for both of these things. We’ve developed some new tech that allows our artists to have some more freedom with the artwork, as well as reducing the asset load of the cards themselves. So it means that not only will the Foundation Set introduce new artwork for cards you’re already familiar with, but it also means that both of these sets will mark brand new ways of bringing our cards to life.
New cards are always awesome. I have more faith in the Infinity Council than i've had before, I can only hope that the developers lean more heavily on them during card balancing. I found Order overall dissapointing, with the exception of Verore/FD.
Don't really care about art. I like the art in the game, but i'd play with black textures instead of art if the card game was good enough.
One other thing to be aware of is how we’re looking at the Global Draft pool as we move forward in development. It’s currently not in a place we want it to be with a bunch of cards that will pretty much never be picked in the pool just ruining some user’s picks.
With the advent of the Foundation Set, we wanted to let you know what’s happening with the Draft pool. The Draft pool will consist of Foundation, Order, and Oppression.
One of the first questions I’m sure you’ll have is “Won’t that make the draft pool ridiculously small?”. Well let me give you some info that’ll help you out. It’s important to remember that the primary reason we’re doing this is so we can more tightly control the draft environment and ensure it continues to be fun throughout each Chapter.
Now for that question of whether or not the draft pool will be ridiculously small. The Foundation Set will include around 200 cards consisting of mechanics and cards we felt needed to stay in the game at all time from sets that will eventually rotate out so that we can keep the game in a nice, even environment.
This gives us the control we need to make sure draft isn’t flooded with control cards or has one too many factionless in your lineups, etc. We’re hoping this makes the experience of drafting a deck much more fun for everyone, and we’ll continue to monitor it once this goes through.
I'm not a drafter, so can't really offer a lot of feedback. But I can't see how having a foundation set somehow stops factionless cards popping up, or too many control cards. Foundation seems like it'd add some stability in the long term to keep the card pool viable. But too many factionless, or bad picks seems like a problem that should be solved with programming/redesigning the rift system, not sets.
But I really don't understand so I could be completely off here.
New Player Pipeline and Core Player Experience
Lightmare is always looking at the best ways to improve Infinity Wars for the long-term. Thanks to the incredible amount of feedback the community provides us, we are looking at very specific areas of the game that we would like to optimize.
In the coming weeks, discussions internally will focus on (but not be limited to) the below topics. The discussions will involve large amounts of player feedback, design structures, and feedback loops for how we can assist all manner of players in better enjoying Infinity Wars.
*As a new player coming into the game, it’s important they learn things the right way. Infinity Wars takes a different mentality to play the game at a high level, and we’re going to take a look at those first 2 hours of a newbie coming into a brand new card game.
*There’s a big shift in play experience going from the Campaign out into the scary, frightening world of PvP. We want to look at how we can smooth out that experience and reduce the amount of shell shock, and help that first Mass Death that you didn’t avoid sting a bit less.
*As any card gamer will tell you, one of the primary driving factors is….well….cards. A collection is one of our greatest possessions, especially one that we can be proud of. One of the things we’re going to be discussing is the overall experience of building something you can be proud of. It’s a very open ended discussion, but an extremely important one.
*When you become a veteran player your mentality shifts. Your collection is satisfying, your deckbuilds get tweaked and optimized consistently, your friends list can get annoying. What keeps you logging in? What keeps you interested?
These are all discussions happening actively internally, and we wanted to make sure you knew what was going on with our processes there. Of course this isn't the first time these discussions have been had, but the discussion this time takes the role of getting the solution rather than simply identifying the issue. Once some development has come out of these discussions we’ll be able to let you know what that looks like.
One thing I’d like to point out, as I know there will be some questions on this front, is where “Feature” development is at. The word “Feature” can cover a wide variety of topics and I won’t touch on each one of them as it will mean something different to each one of you.
At present we would love to work on features and content, however we must be very real with ourselves. Developing features and content will pull more people into the game, and give all of you some more ways of enjoying Infinity Wars, however we can’t leave the player experience in it’s current state. Before we complete work on any new features or content, we need to make sure that the core experience of Infinity Wars works.
... finally. I'm glad that Lightmare's finally gotten around to working on this, but at the same time i'm extremely annoyed that it's taken this long, and that it's only in the beginning stages. There's not a lot I want to add here, we have MONTHS worth of feedback on improving player retention and quality of life, and i've got nothing new to add onto that.
Advertising is completely pointless with the level of player retention and burnout we're going through.
I will say though, I think more can be done to solve the issues outside the game, in addition to development changes. I still feel that there's room for improvement in growing/investing in the community from Lightmare. I'm not laying the blame on Teremus here, because he's busy with other projects, but if Lightmare has the time, I think focus needs to go into getting the community alive and active again. The forums seem dead compared to what they once were. Veterans keep leaving, community projects keep getting abandoned, and streamers don't really seem to be rewarded for helping spread the word.
Overall, what i'd like to know more about in these reports in the future is what the developers aren't working on. I know that sounds insane, but I've heard nothing about the 2015 client. Is it in development, postponed, cancelled? If the Order Balance patch isn't considered something the developers are in involved in, and hence relevant to these reports i'd like to know why. And if the patch is still being worked on, or worked on at all.
Adorabear has brought up Draft Leaderboard rewards before. It's not really relevant to me, but i'm sure there's people who would love to know if that's ever going back on the radar.
Maybe it's silly to expect to hear about everything that's not in active development. But Lightmare has left a lot of promises and projects hanging. Some of us would just like to know they're not actively being considered/pursued.