Author Topic: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms  (Read 1192 times)

Offline PopeShine

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Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« on: March 08, 2017, 08:27:28 AM »
After having played with and against the recent re-balanced cards I’d like to voice my concerns as an IW player.

All but one of the balance changes I saw as good improvements. And while it didn’t make every buffed card playable it at least showed an understanding of where certain cards went wrong.

That being said the Marina buff and the subsequent bug are very troubling. Marina was borderline playable before her change so I was surprised to see her get a buff. I felt Marina would be a card that may shine with new sets and a slowed down meta, but I guess that wasn’t the plan for her.

The issue I have is that in her previous design she was a value card for control decks, with her new design she’s a value card for aggro decks. And with the bug it’s super-value. Just my opinion, but aggro gets way too much love as it is, so it really bothers me that another strong tool has been added for that strategy. She currently acts as a un-interactible counterspell for removal which is devastating given how IW’s mechanics work. With the bug the Untouchable stays so it can permanently counterspell all single target removal.

If we assume spot removal is a comeback tool vs aggressive commanders then Marina completely shatters this dynamic. The tempo loss, card disadvantage, and lack of board presence as she negates removal is huge. And of all this for 2 resources (reduced from 3 btw).

Added to this was the acknowledgment that she is bugged and not working as intended with the new design. A hot-fix was apparently released to address the problem but had no effect. It’s been about a week since then and nothing more has been done. It’s even somewhat unfair to evaluate the card if this is not it’s true power level, but we’ll never know that until the bug is fixed.

Marina hasn’t taken over the meta and I’m not saying she will but it shows me that the balance team and the devs dropped the ball on this one. Whether its a lack of seeing potential card interactions, knowing the meta, lack of playtesting or just not paying attention to detail I’m not sure. Mistakes and oversights happen but the mark of being a great game is not making the obvious ones.

Not fixing the bug shouldn’t be forgotten in all this. If IW is to be taken seriously as a competitive game then bugs like this, especially on competitive cards, need to be fixed as soon as possible. The competitive spirit and integrity of the game is heavily compromised as long as these bugs persist.

I hope this reaches the eyes and ears of the right people. I still have faith that things will get figured out. Just please keep in mind design issues like Marina before rolling out the next set of balance updates.

Would love to hear what the balance team (who is on the balance team btw?), the devs and other players think about the Marina and the balance changes now that we’ve gotten to play with them.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 08:31:03 AM by PopeShine »

Offline Benionin

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 04:06:16 PM »
I concur that the Marina change is concerning. For a card that was reasonably playable, I was surprised that she was changed at all (compare Liand, who was "fine"). Likewise, she was the only card that received a significant change other than maybe Firestarter, and Firestarter doesn't seem that much better to me.

So Marina, a factionless legendary who didn't really need a buff, got a massive buff. Big deal, right? Well, except for those two descriptors: factionless legendary. Having chase legendaries or epics or whatever in the game is fine, it sells packs, I get it, but having them be factionless and therefore playable in every deck--and a card like Marina is good enough that almost every deck will want to play her, much like Martyr Golem--brings on allegations of "pay to win." Now, IW isn't pay to win, not yet anyway (and hopefully never) but this development is troubling. Recently MtG banned Smuggler's Copter and Emrakul, the Promised End from Standard because they were powerful cards that were colorless and could be played in any deck--such powerful cards that if you weren't playing them, you were inherently disadvantaged. Emrakul was the best top-end card out there, better than anything else, meaning playing other cards was a mistake. Likewise, Smuggler's Copter was an insanely good low-drop. Both were colorless and were warping Standard to such an extent that WotC made its first standard bans since Jace the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic. In much the same way, having top-end cards be factionless threatens to remove diversity from IW, since those cards can go in any deck and crowd out faction-d cards. People have said in the past that Calamity and Martyr Golem are OP and pay to win cards--adding Marina to the list of high-value factionless cards will not help IW in the eyes of its accusers.

And the bugged nature of Marina! Even with her "over-buffed" by the bug that fails to remove untouchable upon her death (which, as I just checked, is still there), I would be more or less fine with the change and would willingly wait to see what happened if the devs would at least disable the card until she got fixed. Yet as you said its been a week, the hotfixes don't appear to be working (if they're there to fix Marina), and she's still bugged and still enabled. The fact that she hasn't been disabled from play is, in my eyes, one of the most disappointing aspects of this whole affair.
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Offline TameRlane

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 01:21:14 AM »
+1 to both of these posts.

There's nothing more i can write to elaborate on this balance change, except to reiterate the idea that Marina was fine beforehand and it seems like her buff was/is unnecessary as she was already quite playable. 

oh well... Much love to the Dev and balance teams i mean no disrespect.
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Offline Adorabear

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 01:31:23 AM »
I feel missled, this thread is entirely about Marina :P
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Offline Hiding

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 01:56:13 AM »
Soooo hows about that aberion eh?

Offline PopeShine

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 05:31:07 AM »

So Marina, a factionless legendary who didn't really need a buff, got a massive buff. Big deal, right? Well, except for those two descriptors: factionless legendary...

...In much the same way, having top-end cards be factionless threatens to remove diversity from IW, since those cards can go in any deck and crowd out faction-d cards. People have said in the past that Calamity and Martyr Golem are OP and pay to win cards--adding Marina to the list of high-value factionless cards will not help IW in the eyes of its accusers.


Thanks for bringing this up. It's a point I didn't touch upon and I absolutely agree with.

I'd prefer a design approach where Factionless cards are not on the same or stronger power level as Faction cards of the same rarity. Over time it incentivizes all decks to include Factionless bombs because of their flexibility. And like Benionin said this will lead to deck/meta homogeneity.

It also affects the ability to "read" your opponent's hand to a negative degree. With Faction cards you have a mental checklist of staple single, double, and triple purity cards to look out for. With Factionless you can never truly read your opponent if they have 2 resources open for Marina or 5 resources open for Martyr Golem. If you play into those cards it usually results in a blow out. Some might say you need to be familiar with the decklist your playing against and know they'll always drop a Martyr Golem on 5. But to me that's poor gameplay. Knowing the limitations of the opponent's card pool and making plays based on what you "know" they'd have available is much more rewarding. One of the subtle beauties of IW's design is the purity theme and having OP Factionless cards kind of takes away from that.

Additionally, these blow out scenarios with OP Factionless cards are exacerbated in draft formats like Rift Run. In draft the ability to "read" and knowledge of the card pool should be your biggest advantage but again OP Factionless makes that more difficult.

I really enjoy the design of cards like Vandalize and Rift to the Old World. Overcosted sideboard/tech that gives tools to Factions that are lacking a specific ability. Agent Coyle, Alpha One is a good but not OP Factionless legendary. Slightly overcosted but threatening and the opponent has the chance to interact with it. This is where I feel the power level of Factionless should be.




« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 05:41:44 AM by PopeShine »

Offline PopeShine

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 05:56:19 AM »
I feel missled, this thread is entirely about Marina :P

I didn't mean to make the topic misleading. While the discussion is largely focused on Marina she's just being used as point of reference for what I feel are design and development concerns.

I'm hoping a larger discussion is to be had about power level, Factionless design, bug fixing and everything else that could improve the game.

I didn't elaborate on the other re-balanced cards because there were no issues with them. Most of the changes were stat buffs and cost reductions which on the whole are very welcomed. The 2 function changes were with Firestarter and Marina. Firestarter's change I really like. It's a flavorful tool that is trying to address a problem Flame Dawn has with support zone camping. The Marina change I really dislike as it seems like an unnecessary OP tool that strengthens an already dominant strategy.

The other reason to focus on Marina is the development concerns. Marina and Firestarter were both reported to be bugged and the response time to fix those bugs has been disappointing. I am a paying customer of this game and for my money this hasn't been good enough.

The balance team did a very good job with 99% of the cards they chose, but it only takes one to spoil the bunch and her name is Marina.

Offline Hiding

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 06:55:33 AM »
If we ever wanna add purity to marina, make her OoS or DoD they need her the most and are rather underpowered at the moment.

Offline PopeShine

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 08:34:59 AM »
If we ever wanna add purity to marina, make her OoS or DoD they need her the most and are rather underpowered at the moment.

Marina's ability as a Faction card makes sense to me. DoD would be safer than OoS. If the ability were given to OoS as is I'd probably make it at least double-purity and increase the cost a bit.

Offline InvertedEye

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 08:49:35 PM »
I am pretty curious what the thought behind the marina change was. Even as someone who used to be on the balance team I can't imagine the discussion that lead to this card.  ???

Offline antideath

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2017, 05:56:44 PM »
just stating i am totally fine and Love that factionless cards can have as much power as faction cards. marty calamity, and now marina....i see nothing wrong with them being factionless.

in reverse some tactics FD maybe should be more factionless oriented i think  they have too many tools casuing No counter play..

Should they be careful yes
. once we sort out marina's final stage of evolution...

just some thoughts...nothing more.

Offline Hiding

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2017, 02:41:55 AM »
just stating i am totally fine and Love that factionless cards can have as much power as faction cards. marty calamity, and now marina....i see nothing wrong with them being factionless.

in reverse some tactics FD maybe should be more factionless oriented i think  they have too many tools casuing No counter play..

Should they be careful yes
. once we sort out marina's final stage of evolution...

just some thoughts...nothing more.

The post already explained the major problem with factionless cards being too powerful and versatile- the fact that they can and will be used everywhere therefore becoming a must have in all decks. This makes it so if you dont have it, you cant compete with those that do making the game more pay 2 win.

Now if it were a powerful factionless card that benefited only certain decktypes then that would be fine.

Giving FD mechanics to all factions just means other factions with stupid mechanics will have even more stupid mechanics. Each faction already has their own mechanics to deal with FD making them unique. Giving them FD mechanics doesnt help one bit.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 09:07:17 AM by Hiding »

Offline PopeShine

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2017, 06:03:17 AM »
just stating i am totally fine and Love that factionless cards can have as much power as faction cards. marty calamity, and now marina....i see nothing wrong with them being factionless.

in reverse some tactics FD maybe should be more factionless oriented i think  they have too many tools casuing No counter play..

Should they be careful yes
. once we sort out marina's final stage of evolution...

just some thoughts...nothing more.


Could you explain in more detail why you love the current state of Factionless design? I really want to hear if there are points I'm missing or not understanding.

Also your comments about FD could use more explanation as well. I agree FD's toolset needs some looking at it. It's not exactly a varied toolset, just the tools they have are extremely resource and tempo efficient. However, spreading the their tools to other factions is not an ideal solution. Factions should maintain unique identities and tool sets. Part of the fun of IW is figuring out how to leverage your Factions' advantages and limitations against other factions.

I'm taking your comments seriously as I want to have a real discussion. However, without more explanation your stance seems like a troll to me.

Offline antideath

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2017, 05:25:07 PM »
How is my thoughts on them being a troll (i actually posted this to only just state my basic thoughts , that perhaps not all players agree (me) in this case with in that they are not terrrible or toxic or P2win..that is all.

"The post already explained the major problem with factionless cards being too powerful and versatile- the fact that they can and will be used everywhere therefore becoming a must have in all decks. This makes it so if you dont have it, you cant compete with those that do making the game more pay 2 win."
I 100 percent disagree with this statement , but i respect it as yours thoughts on the subject. Much as loved your dod post.

That said here are my responses 
Mainly FD cards are so well made the synergy is execptional, to a degree not all other factions feel as powerful or have created such a larger card pool as exceptional? sound right? as it does in my overall view. (if all other factions were as good as this one feels well it would be awesome! GI comes close really strong in all cards work really well, well other factions maybe be  a little unfinished in comparison? kinda  I do agree with you dont take FD tools and give to  other factions,, rather give the other factions a better synergy, hiding made a great card that counters FD push back by locking there defense in zone and does fit there faction very very well.....yes THIS is what we need.)

the marty calamity debate is a old one...,,we dont mention the coyle which i LOVE its versatile to many decks.,... we nerfed the noble and the game really changed at that time., and marina is getting alot of heat i dont think her controversy warrants nerfing the factionless to oblivion.
Factionless cards and can help create some unique decks and i enjoy that feature, some ideas only work because the factionless aspect. i am having fun expirementing with marina within each faction to make a fun deck.. i really never had a problem about factionless cards. i never raged over it in game or lost a match and realized it was unfair.....the new factionless card that stops initiative is a great card for factionless and a tool for decks that struggle against certain Combos many factions have.....my 2 cents. factionless can be used in any deck thus expanding the creativity and fun of creating decks that may not be the ordinary.





« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 05:28:10 PM by antideath »

Offline PopeShine

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Re: Balance Changes and Development Criticisms
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2017, 07:32:50 PM »
How is my thoughts on them being a troll (i actually posted this to only just state my basic thoughts , that perhaps not all players agree (me) in this case with in that they are not terrrible or toxic or P2win..that is all.

"The post already explained the major problem with factionless cards being too powerful and versatile- the fact that they can and will be used everywhere therefore becoming a must have in all decks. This makes it so if you dont have it, you cant compete with those that do making the game more pay 2 win."
I 100 percent disagree with this statement , but i respect it as yours thoughts on the subject. Much as loved your dod post.

That said here are my responses 
Mainly FD cards are so well made the synergy is execptional, to a degree not all other factions feel as powerful or have created such a larger card pool as exceptional? sound right? as it does in my overall view. (if all other factions were as good as this one feels well it would be awesome! GI comes close really strong in all cards work really well, well other factions maybe be  a little unfinished in comparison? kinda  I do agree with you dont take FD tools and give to  other factions,, rather give the other factions a better synergy, hiding made a great card that counters FD push back by locking there defense in zone and does fit there faction very very well.....yes THIS is what we need.)

the marty calamity debate is a old one...,,we dont mention the coyle which i LOVE its versatile to many decks.,... we nerfed the noble and the game really changed at that time., and marina is getting alot of heat i dont think her controversy warrants nerfing the factionless to oblivion.
Factionless cards and can help create some unique decks and i enjoy that feature, some ideas only work because the factionless aspect. i am having fun expirementing with marina within each faction to make a fun deck.. i really never had a problem about factionless cards. i never raged over it in game or lost a match and realized it was unfair.....the new factionless card that stops initiative is a great card for factionless and a tool for decks that struggle against certain Combos many factions have.....my 2 cents. factionless can be used in any deck thus expanding the creativity and fun of creating decks that may not be the ordinary.

Thank you for the reply. Sorry, if my troll comment was a bit much. It's sometimes hard to know when members of the community aren't being sarcastic.

In regards to the power level of FD, I think we both agree that their toolset isn't the problem. And the solution is to bring up to the power level of other Factions (or to bring down FD and GI).

I had a thought today about what makes FD and GI synergy so strong. I believe it's an issue of critical mass. FD has more than enough high damage Charge characters that can flood the board at every turn on the game. There's never really a moment when they miss a beat. The consistency of their draw is excellent. There are FD decks that run Calamity and then drop a load of charge characters on the board to push through the last bit of damage. That kind of shows me they have too much Charge if they can play it up to turn 12 and not run out of gas.

With GI they now have a critical mass of buffs between Lucca Combat Mechanic, Lucca Ascended, and Taiga. After turn four their value game is very strong and can essentially 2 for 1 the opponent on every combat trade.

Perhaps what the other Factions are missing is a critical mass of their key win conditions. CoV is getting close with Death Blast variants, but coupled with FD it's already there. Warpath will be there soon with Beast synergies and the Hermit Deck is a strong showing of a critical mass strategy. OoS is a watered down version of FD's gameplan, they probably have enough flyers but aren't as fast as FD. Sleepers is a very watered version of GI but is way slower and Graveyard dependent. Exiles is a mish-mash of random effects and they're far from having consistent and good discard outlets for their namesake mechanic "Exile". And DoD doesn't really have anything except high health characters and that's not a great strategy for closing out games. Triple DoD does have the Avatars which are powerful but too easy to remove.

If critical mass is the reason for the success or failure of a Faction's strategy is that best for the game? I'd probably say, no. But that's a hard one to tell. The meta might become something like tribal-syngeries vs. good-stuff decks vs combo. Hmmm, maybe that would be better...I dunno...

Now onto Factionless design. I understand your point about Factionless opening up a few deck archetypes but I think in practice it actually has the opposite effect. Cards like Marina and Martyr Golem take away from creativity in deck building. No matter what aggro deck you build Marina will be an auto-include. Martyr Golem is the same. The value these cards provide is substantial to aggro strategies. Decks not running these cards will be putting themselves at a disadvantage. The only time you won't see them in aggro is when a deck has a degenerate strategy like Sacullas in RoboHammer (but Marina may even sneak her way into that list).

And while I respect fun decks and build them myself, the game is balanced around competitive decks. The more OP Factionless cards get made the more it warps competitive gameplay.