A discussion on buffing cards


#1

I was messing around reading about some more recent monthly patches, and something caught my interest. Tweaks, bug fixes, occasionally a nerf, but very rarely a buff.
I’m not talking about reworks or indirect buffs achieved by synergies with newer cards or meta shifts, i’m talking buffs by raw stats manipulation or by cost reduction.
The last time this happened was in Patch 1.63 in April, almost half a year ago, when Dioltas was changed to a 5/3, Abyssal Juggernaut became a 3/5(when the old Cass Creep was a thing) and Captain Dank Hart’s cost was reduced to 4 mana.
After that, only nerfs or reworks, and if a faction had any problems (looking at you, post nerf Vet), that was fixed with the release of new cards.

Now, let’s be honest, i’d be tempted to scream “Make Onyx Jaguar a 3/4, Sun Sister Sterope a 3/5, Lux Ignis cost 4 mana, make Astral Crusader great again(?)…” and so on, but that would go nowhere, those kind of posts have the tendency to end up in flame, and i’m no expert on game balance and design, like a lot of us on the forum that scream about something being OP or not.
I would instead talk about the preference of many card games towards releasing new cards over tweaking those that already exist.

  • What do you think of it and why you think is a thing?

  • What are in your opinion both pros and cons of those two systems in the short and long term?

  • “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”: does this philosophy preclude cards that are interesting designwise but not “good enough” from being played at a competitive level?


#2

I know in HS they have a policy to not buff cards. Ever. They only nerf cards that are strongly negatively impacting the game. I am aware that HS is not very popular around here, but they are by far the leading online card game. They do a lot of things many people disagree with(including me), but they are still on top.

In fighting games, my brother told me that they make certain aspects of a character broken on purpose. It is easier to balance a character if they know what things are going to be broken, rather than trying to make everything as fair as possible. I think a similar stance is being done with this game. Yes, in a perfect world, every single card would be viable in some type of deck but it just isn’t realistic. The devs have done a good job so far, and I have faith that they will continue to do so.


#3

Thing is, HS isn’t on the top because they have a good balancing team. If anything, it’s one of the most complained things about the game and for a good reason. Everyone who followed HS for a bit knows how Team 5 is absolutely dreadful when it comes to balancing the game.

System works because it makes the game easier to balance. And it’s bad because it forces players to keep buying expansion and essentially shits on the new players. It’s also probably more profitable, but not sure would that work in Duelyst as it does in HS. Blizz, unlike CPG, can exploit their players a lot more without facing any significant consequences. Either way, Duelyst is still a fairly young game so I’m not worrying too much about it. Especially seeing as the latest expansion has a single strong card that’s complained about and it’s not even that strong. Shows how, at least for now, their intention isn’t to powercreep.

Pretty bad example as people have found success with the card but I get your point. Just felt like pointing it out.


#4

I just came here to say this : profit.
It is more profitable to make new cards than to tweak older ones. The simple fact of making new cards makes money because people may want to get them, buying boosters to get them.
Tweaking cards does not. Players could already have gotten them before.

But that’s just my opinion, I’m no economist or whatsoever.


#5

I see your point, it makes sense. Providing a satisfying experience to your playerbase and not simply milking it for money, on the other hand, could have its own advantages, in my opinion customer trust pays too.
I currently give CP money becouse i’m satisfied about the current state of their game, if they adopt the “print and don’t look back” approach i’ll just stop throwing cash at them, and i hope i’m not the only one to reason like this. In my opinion they’d lose more than they gain from adopting the HS balancing method.


#6

It makes sense that some cards are simply better than other cards in duelyst. Hence rarity ratings of common, rare, epic, and legendary. While I realize the rarity isn’t a good indicator of how good the card is (kron Vs astral crusader) I think that shifting the rarity of the cards to match their usefulness might be better than hamfisting stats onto something. If you want to know the power of 1 stat point, look at taygete.

I don’t think the buff/Nerf hammer using rarity would change much, and most cards don’t need it as that would worsen the card pool for new players. But it just feels bad to craft an expensive card that turns out to be useless. if astral crusader or black locust were epic or rare instead of legendary, I think we would see them more often, especially in budget decks


#7

The more cards are useful, the more options the players will have and the more the players will want to have bigger collections in general, but there are other counter-forces at work here, the biggest among which are massive refunds on duplicate cards and the ready availability of super-budget competitive decks, both of which can actually cut into profits.

The trick is for companies to be capable enough to navigate these breakpoints.


Generally speaking, though, they are probably not going to turn a profit buffing anything less than an Epic. Really the perfect candidates are cards like Astral Crusader, if they haven’t been designed specifically as Hearthstone tribute/parody cards. =S They can suck quite a bit of Spirit off non-whale players if suddenly there are some good uses for 3x Astral Crusader.

Of course, only CPG has the player collection data needed to predict the specific financial impacts of particular buffs with high degrees of accuracy. Being a small company, though, they may not have the resources to put into actually modeling these impacts beyond a rather risky “just eyeing it.” =S


#8