This may not be the best place for me to dump my thoughts, I feel I’m going to let it out before it slips away. I may make this post its own topic if warranted.
Anyhow, while I do not think it feasible without a larger player base, I would love to see a game mode that allows players to select opponents, much like approaching a player at a game store.
What I envision is an option to make yourself visible to other players and let an opponent select to play you or vise versa. The hosting player would have their name, current/highest rank and deck name visible. Anyone looking to join a game can select their opponent from the list of hosts to challenge them.
When the challenge is received, the hosting player is told they are being challenged. They are given a pop up with the name of the challenger, their current/highest rank, and deck name. The host can then accept or decline the challenge (to prevent extreme skill or potential card library differences).
Queues would be expected to be rather long regardless, but I believe this would bring an interesting alternative to queuing for a ladder game. It essentially mimics finding an opponent sitting at a table at your local game store.
Options to improve the mode include:
-Reduced, but incentivized rewards.
Say something like once each day, you earn 5 gold for hosting a game and 5 gold for joining a game. To improve availability, perhaps a day of the week can be designated “casual day” (bad name, just go with it for now), where rewards are doubled or can be earned more frequently on this day only. This would be like going to the cards shop for Friday Night Magic (you expect to find more people to play with given the event on that day).
-Allowing the host and challenger to add a small message
Sometimes, seeing another player’s rank won’t do their deck justice. Someone could be intentionally playing below their level to try a more fun but less practical deck. It would make sense to allow a player to tell their opponent this, so not to scare away potential opponents.
-Revealing the 2-4 cards in the host/challenger’s deck
Like the previous idea, it helps their opponent understand the nature of what they’re going up against. Make it an option to allow the host to enable deck spoilers when hosting a game. If they do, selected cards would be revealed in their game information and an equal amount would be revealed from their opponent’s deck.
Players can choose to up vote their opponent after the match to indicate they were a friendly, good player. Also, maybe the number of casual games they’ve played would be an available statistic as well. Down voting would not be an option to prevent potential abuse.