The Creep Paradox: Why rotation will set balance on its side forever


I realize that, but it’s still somewhat helpful nonetheless


it seems really odd to me that most people say they would prefer “wild” mode because in hearthstone streams there is basically no audience for it. top competitive streamers will get legend in standard on multiple different servers rather than play wild at all. even the bigger non-tryhard streamers never play wild.


I’m saying that cards are made bad on purpose to artificially lower Orb quality, and that’s all I said. For a third way example: games that don’t want/need to do this might make all their cards viable instead of pulling most cards back and then pushing a handful over the top.


To be fair, there is no good card without bad cards. Also, the mechanics in this game are so simple that the design space is somewhat limited: it’s hard to come up with 100+ cards which are all inventive, balanced and fun to play.

I think that having a few bad cards in the expansion is fine, what I would avoid are boring legendaries and cards which are at the same time boring and unplayable. Everything in between looks reasonable to me…



I tried searching your name in the relevant thread and couldn’t find it, I don’t think you were around for this one, but I made a thread five months back where I spent post after post arguing against the very idea of no good cards without bad cards. It would in fact be entirely possible to balance the vast majority, and eventually all, the cards in the game to be roughly of equal quality for cost. Getting literally all of them would be a colossal undertaking, but still doable given that time and resources weren’t a factor, and getting the majority would be entirely realistic.

Perfect balance should be the goal every video game strives for, because even if it’s never reached, just the act of trying to reach it will make your game better and better.

…And Counterplay doesn’t do this.


You can probably formulate this as a formal game theory problem and I’m pretty sure you could find an equilibrium for it. But unfortunately, the real world sucks and just like any other company CPG has to respect budget constraints and minimize time to market. It’s not like CPG is any kind of strange beast: literally, none does what you suggest for a number of reasons. To the best of my knowledge, Duelyst never had long time frames where the game was horribly balanced. The game has mostly been balanced since when I started playing and CPG always cared about balance.

Can this improved? Obviously yes. I don’t disagree with many comments here and I also think slight buffs to under-performing cards would be desirable. But I also know what it is reasonable to ask to a company given the global landscape…


Time and resources ARE a factor though. And balancing the majority really depends on how many there are. Without ban lists or rotation, the number of cards that qualifies as the majority goes up and up. If balancing “literally all of them” isn’t possible now with <1000 cards, balancing the majority of them (>=50%) 5 years from now when there’s 12-1500 more cards won’t be possible then. It’s the same number of cards.


you started out arguing devs put bad legendaries in the game to “make the process of collecting Legendaries through Orbs more arduous by diluting the pool with trash” as a business decision. now you suggest the situation would be improved by making all cards good? wouldn’t that only make the process of building a relevant collection more arduous and therefore be a better business decision?


The question was: “Why do bad cards exist in Duelyst?”
I answered: “Because cards drop from Orbs randomly having bad cards mixed in with good ones means players will on average need to get more Orbs to get good cards, meaning they’re more likely to spend money on them.”

If all cards are good you can play a good deck more easily because you’re getting more cards that you can actually play successfully. So no, making all cards good would not make building a relevant collection more arduous, quite the opposite.

I was just giving @unreason my take on a large part of the reason why these cards exist in Duelyst, not arguing that CPG are just being cruel or arbitrary in making them. F2P games need to monetize, and diluting the card pool is a tried and true method to keep players gamblingtrying and spending.

@tsevech There are a bunch of cards where you can argue that they’re fine and their time just hasn’t come yet, and I agree that practical constraints would limit what CPG can and can’t successfully balance, given those constraints. For me, the real discussion centers around cards that are obviously bad. Some people will excuse a card like Indominus (assuming no other reveals change that assessment) with the “it’s still playable in Gauntlet” argument but at that point you just lose the ability to even discuss game balance when it comes to underpowered cards.

Indominus could’ve very easily been a playable-to-good card (fingers crossed that this’ll happen anyway, substitute it for any number of bad cards if that happens) if its effect was an OG or if Lyonar had access to a symmetrical board nuke (like a bigger Tempest) that Indominus lets you survive (for example). Trash Legendaries are especially egregious because they’re so rare, often cap off whole archetypes and usuaully get the most impressive sprites that you and I want to see in action!


It may be less fun to watch wild in HS.
That could be a factor.


I started some polls near when the rotation announcement and discussions began. Here are some links to my results at the time.

First Poll (most votes):

Second Poll (made after, less traction):


So over all 3 of these polls it seems that wild is the preferred option


My opinion on this matter has changed a lot, the reason why is because I play exclusively standard on SV so I’m going off on that logic.


Indeed. Although @elPatoPoderoso is more or less right in how this is most likely a negligible statistic, it’s still something to keep in mind, as it refers to the more active users (assuming forum-goers are the more active type of Duelyst player).


Of course. Some opinions are bound to have changed in that time.

This is simply an answer to the question of whether polls were created prior; I remember my part then well and proceeded to gather the links to my polls.


It wouldn’t be that much time or energy, relatively speaking, to make small, simple changes to a handful of cards every couple of months. Like, can we try the wind shrike out as a 4/4, since it’s proven it’s non-competitive as a 4/3? The change itself isn’t hard to make, if they just had an internal process set up for suggesting and implementing small change batches on a semi-regular basis things like this would be very realistic. There are lots of over-and-underpowered cards that could be tried out with one-point stat changes, or number changes to the effects they have. What I’m saying here isn’t insane.


Blizzard does this. They balanced Starcraft I pretty thoroughly before eventually leaving it alone, and although a couple of units could have used more work, the game still endured so long that the only thing that could kill it was Starcraft II.

Starcraft II is, I believe, still receiving balance updates. It’s been out for years and years.

Diablo III started out riddled with problems, but since then has been fixed and reworked and balanced until it barely resembles the originally released product, and that’s a good thing. I think it’s still being balanced.

Overwatch has been balanced a bajillion times since release. Perfect example: Soldier 76’s pulse rifle damage was boosted from 17 to 20 because Blizzard felt he wasn’t competing well enough against other damage dealers, then backed off to 19 after a while because they decided it was a little too good.

What I want is both doable and has been done. Making Duelyst better than it already is is just a matter, for the most part, of tweaking numbers.

@elPatoPoderoso, hey again. I remember we debated this topic in my big thread those months back.

It’s true that the more cards exist, the harder it is to balance the majority of them. But that in no way means it’s not a goal worth working on, or that they can’t work on it. It’s less effort to balance a card than it is to make a new one, since new art doesn’t need to be created. If they just start steadily balancing cards, perhaps two to four balance patches to every one expansion, each patch changing fifteen to forty cards, all changes being minor, and some cards being balanced more than once over time, they’d make fine progress.

While they rate at which cards get balanced may never outstrip the rate at which new cards are made, it’s also true that not every card needs to be balanced, quite a few of them are just fine as-is, and not every card may get balanced, but the game will still get better and better. Strive for perfection, and even though you don’t achieve it, you’ll achieve something worth while.

Also, from a business standpoint, balance changes create renewed interest in the product, though not as much as new expansions, and doing this sort of thing would create a reputation for Counterplay as a company that cares deeply about the quality of their product and is always trying to make it better.


The problem is I don’t think there are that many minor changes in duelyst. The difference between 2 and 3 hp is huge. It’s not until 5-6 that 1 hp is a minor but significant change. Im not sure that the changes you’re talking about are feasible without doing something drastic like tripling every stat in the game. Like changing generals from 2/25 to 6/75, player 1 starts at 6 mana gains 3 per turn until they hit 27, healing mystic is a 6/9 that heals 6. Then you could make minor changes.

Regarding your list of games blizzard balances, I notice hearthstone isn’t on it. That’s the blizzard game most similar to duelyst, so you can’t just list their other games without addressing its absence.


Yeah, thats a problem I am having with the suggestion of “tweaking the game”, there just isn’t enough of a disparity between weak and strong cards that you could close it without making everything completely homogeneous.


Tweaking games like Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 might seem similar for the fact of balance, but what you’re forgetting is that CCG make their money off of these cards, whereas you pay upfront for the former two games.
Were you to constantly attempt balance and rebalance, the mets would have a hard time settling, not to mention the confusion this might add if cards constantly changed.


@elPatoPoderoso, besides attack and health, mana cost can also be adjusted, and numbers on abilities, and if necessary the abilities themselves can be changed, though that takes more work. There are a lot of different possibilities. And I didn’t mention Hearthstone because I have very little familiarity with it. I know all the other Blizzard games better. And I’m not interested in learning more about Hearthstone because, hey, I have Duelyst. But if they don’t apply the same balancing logic to it they apply to their other games, then that’s a shame.

@phoenixtoasches I flatly disagree that this is true. Two cards being of roughly the same power level and being similar in function are two different things. I think you can get most cards to a similar power for cost while keeping their functionality diverse.

@jukeboxery I’d like to think that by continuously improving their product, they could increase player loyalty and playerbase growth via positive word of mouth. As for the meta settling, it’s not good to leave it alone for too long, which is part of what factors into the rate at which expansions are released, I think. But there does need to be some stability, so probably no more than one balance patch per month, at absolute max. Maybe one every two to three months.