Balancing Cards

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IsenBirch
Balancing Cards

Hey, new player here. I was just thinking, after scrolling through the forums, why does GANZ use the nerfing and buffing of cards as their only way of balancing the game? Why don't they try limiting cards like yugioh currently does? The limiting of the number of copies a player can bring into the game will hit the card's consistency, and greatly reduce its impact on the metagame.

Idk, just my personal thoughts. Feel free to tell me why you think this is a good/bad idea.

Vasseer

Rule #1 of ccgs/tcgs don't be influenced by yugioh :P but seriously buffs are imo a terrible way of balancing the game, bans are much cleaner and don't aren't nearly as polarizing (don't have people who love the change vs people who hate it)

IsenBirch

Yeah, I was also thinking that since it takes less time, changes could be made to balance the game more frequently, which would lead to a healthier metagame imo.

cewen

I would say this is a good idea. And I think you should email GANZ_Karl (through forums) and see what he thinks.

Im only saying to email him because KCCG forums have recently had a terribly attack from spam bots, so most forum posts don't get seen, even extremely fresh ones. But in this case I think this is a very good idea, and should infect be discussed.

SlavoK

+1 for bans and restrictions instead of buffing/nerfing

Dr.Bojangles
Dr.Bojangles's picture

Why would that be a superior option to simply changing the cards? I can understand when it is a format specific issue but otherwise it seems like the best move is to make the card better overall.

IsenBirch

I'm not saying this should be the only option to changing cards; I think when a card truly is too bad to be played, something should be done to fix it. However, when a card or card combo is just dominating the metagame and limiting other deck options, enforcing restrictions on number of copies of said cards might be a better option.

The advantage I see with banning or restricting cards is that it would work better with the general powercreeping of the game. Also, this would nerf the competitive viability of a deck which is currently dominating the format instead of just outright killing it because the cards' texts have changed.

Oncus
Oncus's picture

Unfortunately, it would also mean you break any other combo with the card by addressing just this one deck.
I am strongly against banning and restricting cards because of some decks make it OP. I believe that most cards can be nerfed in such a way that they are not killed for use. Sometimes it's necessary to nerf many cards, but just by a little, to weaken the combo, but not destroy the individual cards in the process. Such is the situation RTG + paragon combo.

IsenBirch

Can you perhaps explain why you think banning and restricting cards will make some decks OP? And I'm not sure I understand the first sentence in your reply.

I get your point for the rest of the sentence but I feel like restricting cards will be better for card combos in general. When you want to nerf a combo, you would have to fundamentally change the reason for its strength which would actually change the cards so they cannot be played the same way. However, if you just restrict the number of copies you can run of those cards, for example, if RTG + Paragon was changed to 2 copies each, then people who still want to play those decks can, but it will be less consistent in general. Basically by restricting cards, you don't kill the combo by fundamentally changing the cards, you hit its consistency only.

DiarrheamazinG

While I personally think the crowd would prefer bans over restrictions. I completely agree with everything you're saying. It just makes more sense, saves time and is more fair to everyone involved.

The only prob with "Restrictions" and allowing players to still run 1-2 RTGs is that it still leaves players the chance to draw the cards and use them. Which will inevitably still result in the sort of players who don't like those sort of cards to feel cheated when it does happen and continue to requests nerfs and further action.

Oncus
Oncus's picture

Can you perhaps explain why you think banning and restricting cards will make some decks OP?
I don't. I was saying that you shouldn't ban/restrict a card over one deadly combo.

And I'm not sure I understand the first sentence in your reply.
Baning/restricting cards you may inadvertently destroy non related combos that aren't OP.

You don't need to kill a card to destroy a combo. Quickdraw cannon can be still useful. QDC decks though? Dead, or dead enough.

Also when addressing an OP combo, you don't need to focus all your nerfs on one card. Combos consist of many cards. Make slight nerfs to a few of them means you make the cards combined effect weaker (so the combo isn't OP anymore), without making any cards unusable for other decks.
Connecting to the qdc combo example, the change to qdc card alone didn't necessary kill the combo by itself. Both scrollmaker and, more importantly, gift of mystics were also nerfed. All of the cards are still usable.

Is banning/restricting comparing to nerfs and redesigns time efficient and easy? Yes. Is it economical and improves gameplay? No, not in the long run. You limit deck diversity, you aggravate players that can't play the card anymore (or as many of it), and sometimes it doesn't address the problem at all. Justice is still broke the way it works now. Banning simply repositioned the problem in another area.

IsenBirch

I was just thinking if the only way we deal with combos is to constantly change the card texts then the message that is being sent is that the game hates cool combos and alternative win conditions. Also the point of banning and restricting cards is so that those bans and restrictions can be lifted some day when the eventual inevitability of powercreeping makes those cards balanced. Not really sure how that would affect the long term.

Oncus
Oncus's picture

Most part of your post applies wholly to banning/and restricting, even stronger I would say.

"f the only way we deal with combos is to constantly change the card texts then the message that is being sent is that the game hates cool combos and alternative win conditions"
Banning/restricting cards explicitly says we don't like what you're doing. Actually we hate it so much, you can't even use some cards even if they are not part of the combo. Wheres, nerfs/redesigns can kill the combo without making the card useless or disabled to play.

"Also the point of banning and restricting cards is so that those bans and restrictions can be lifted some day"
I would say the point is to adress combo issues. Lifting bans isn't something that will necessary happen. Also, I don't see how that doesn't apply to nerfs. Overnerfs can be fixed either by changing stats or emphasizing some other card's strengths/designing new ones.

Long term effects is that you are demotivated to buy 4 of a kind, just because it may be restricted to fewer copies, or banned in your favourite format. Strong nerfs that kill cards have the same effect.

DiarrheamazinG

Oncus wrote:
Also when addressing an OP combo, you don't need to focus all your nerfs on one card. Combos consist of many cards. Make slight nerfs to a few of them means you make the cards combined effect weaker (so the combo isn't OP anymore), without making any cards unusable for other decks.
Connecting to the qdc combo example, the change to qdc card alone didn't necessary kill the combo by itself. Both scrollmaker and, more importantly, gift of mystics were also nerfed. All of the cards are still usable.

No offense, but your logic here seems off on a lot of points. Or at least you're overlooking a lot of things.

What good would "Making slight nerfs to a few of them" be in a combo, when only 1 card in the combo is trouble?

Gift Of The Mystics was a perfect example of exactly why this ISN'T a good idea. It's just a card that got sucked up into a mass nerf because of this same skewed and flawed logic. A simple ban to QDC could have answered all the problems.

Should we have nerfed Deep Thoughts too? Make it cost 4? Make it so that you only draw 2 cards if you haven't played another spell that turn? It was a big part of QDC.

The same effect is happening to Fae Paragon now. People want RTG nerfed and now they're just throwing Paragon under the bus too for literally no logical reason other than they got scared when RTG drops 3 of them.

What threat is Paragon if RTG were banned/nerfed? Why would it be any stronger than any other useable card? What about Paragon by itself warrants any sort of action? Nothing, it's just another case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater that's so rampant with nerfing.

Oncus wrote:Is banning/restricting comparing to nerfs and redesigns time efficient and easy? Yes. Is it economical and improves gameplay? No, not in the long run. You limit deck diversity, you aggravate players that can't play the card anymore (or as many of it), and sometimes it doesn't address the problem at all. Justice is still broke the way it works now. Banning simply repositioned the problem in another area.

Again though, comments like this make me think that you simply don't have a good understanding of what you're talking about.

You say "You limit deck diversity, you aggravate players that can't play the card anymore".

Aaaaaand what do you think nerfing does? A nerf has the potential to destroy a card in EVERY format. Which "limits deck diversity and aggravates players that can't play the card anymore". And it does so across every format, not just one. Which is THEE main reason why I so strongly suggest bans over nerfs, or no nerfs/bans at all.

How is it not "economical"? Do you know what that word means in this context? Is it not drastically less "economical" for Ganz to have to wade through emails of people wanting returns and having to essentially give away cards to players because they nerfed the ones they like?

And again, no disrespect but you're just not doing it right if you think Justice is still a problem outside of limited. It was barely a problem in Limited and that was already answered. In standard, Justice literally doesn't have a chance outside of fluke/lucky wins. At best, at VERY best Justice would just be a slightly below average standard combo deck. It auto-loses to Devroth or Noran. Struggles against aggro if it's too fast, struggles against burn if it's too fast, loses on the spot to Archmage (which is in just about every standard deck), dies to mass polymorph, abyssal dragon, undead doomsayer, spirit bender, and a number of other cards. And here you don't have the go-to excuse of "Um, but....those are all rare/epic and....uh....STILL TOO GOOD IN LIMITED!!" That's already been answered.

DiarrheamazinG

I totally mean no disrespect. But I still don't understand why this is so hard for so many people to understand.

Bans as at least a few people are slowly coming to realize now, are cleaner, faster and more fair to players on both sides of the issue.

With a nerf a card can easily be registered unusable in EVERY FORMAT. Including formats where the card may not have even been a problem. Now the card is ruined, possibly forever.

Nerfs also require much more effort and time. Playtesting needs to be done, new ideas of how to nerf the card need to be discussed, potential trade-ins need to be done. All this time that could be otherwise used to work on more positive changes for the game is wasted on a now archaic and convoluted solution to something that may not even be a problem outside of one area of the game.

Bans require none of that. They answer the cries of the people who want the card out of the picture by simply removing the card where it's a problem AND they allow the card to continue to be used where it's not.

Many of these cards that are on "the watch list" are indeed "format specific issues". While I won't get into specifics as to not just drag the thread into debates over specific cards. It's pretty clear that there's a HUGE difference between what's "OP" in Limited and what's too much for standard. Many (not all) of the currently complained about cards simply aren't all that big of a threat in Standard and could easily be answered by a simple ban in limited. Which would again, answer the problem for those that feel the cards are OP whilst not destroying the card completely in every format.

I do hope that in the future we can take advantage of format specific Bans more often and not rely so heavily on nerfs.

hopeprevails
hopeprevails's picture

Personally I'm not a fan of bans. What's the point in having cards if you can't play them? Make cards better instead of just removing them.

Earthconstruct

My 3 cents...

1st.
You need to categorize "card nerfing" just to NEW cards only. It is bound to happen since it is hard to capture issues in beta test if you have 20+ heroes and each hero can access all the cards except for 1 kingdom only. That's the reason dev is offering something back if you bought a card and got nerfed.

Yes, printing new cards to counter the OP cards is one way of providing a solution but it is a long term solution. You need to nerf a card to provide a quick solution and then consolidate again if a new set will be released containing the counter cards.

2nd.
Format specific games is itself already indirect card banning as it limits already your card choices. There's no need to ban cards here. If there's a deck that's OP, look for the newest card or change, more likely thats' the cause.

Why not change into another format? Instead of limited, try singleton arena or think of something creative. Banning a card is a quick solution too but it is WAY TO EASY. It is rather an escape than fixing the problem.

3rd.
There's a notion that if you nerf a card, it will now be useless. It just means the nerf itself is NOT well designed. Simply you need to rethink the nerf idea again.

Bottomline, if you clamor for buffing of poorly designed cards, you should have no issues in nerfing overly well-designed cards. =)

GANZ_Karl
GANZ_Karl's picture

Just to chime in here. I really don't think that its an either-or situation. We have the following options to us when we see a strong issue in the meta-game:

1) Nerf/Buff: Ultimately I agree with Earthconstruct here. There will be times that you think you've got an okay card, but time proves that you're wrong and you've warped the meta. Nerfing - subtly if possible - can open up more play style and more card options, without removing the card completely. D...G is correct as well - nerfing does take more time, is delicate, and has the potential to go too far. Overall though our nerfs haven't really knocked out too many cards. And as we did with MCW, I'm not against pulling back nerfs as the meta changes.

2) Format Specific Banning: This is a valuable tool as well. I stand by my decision to ban Justice from Limited rather than nerf the card in all formats completely. Arguably, banning Raise the Guard from Standard, and leaving it in Limited would be a good option, as you only have 2 Epic slots and so few rare slots that you can barely make it an issue, while in Standard it is what it is today. But I do suspect that would be highly unpopular.

3) Printing Solution cards: This is a very good solution but unless we do more "Tribes 2" like micro sets, this means that months will go by with a dominating deck ruling the meta. By the time Realm Champion was released to the world, QDC had already been heavily nerfed. I like making solution cards (Woodland Sentinel, Circlet of Wisdom, Deepwood Druid, Final Verdict, etc.) so you WILL see more in the future.

4) Changing format definitions: This hasn't really been done, but it is an option. We could remove Legends from Limited altogether. We could reduce the number of Kingdoms that can appear in a deck. We could reduce the maximum number of copies of a single card. These would be huge core-game level changes at this point, but again, they should never been ruled out.

As for Birch's original suggestion - that is possible, but like Yu-Gi-Oh would need a list maintained somewhere, because it is so specific - 3 of this card, 2 of these other cards, only 1 of these cards, and these are banned. Not the easiest to make clear in a simple deck building interface like ours. Personally I'm not a fan of this sort of balancing, but theoretically it could work.

cewen

Why not just add in cards to "Tribes 2"? Whats literally holding this back? means we don't need to wait months for simple solutions. I mean, Realm Champion could have been stuffed into tribes 2 and called an "extra" and prices for it could have been halfed so everybody who needed a counter could get 1 quickly and cheaply.

I just see absolutely NO reason to why tribes 2 should not be updated , and why it should stay the small bundle of cards which is the same, never changing. If a perfect counter needs to come out, why not through it into tribes 2?

Yes, with some cards like QDC, I don't think realm champion could have held its own against it, even with all its abilities. It would just be corroded, and destroyed. But with the situation with dreadful return, just put Final Verdict into tribes 2, slap a "Brand new" sticker on it, and let ppl pay gems, to pay for the counters, would go great!

Example, a counter for shamans:

Tree of Life (or something)
mana cost 3 or 4 or 5 even
rare
Mystical
0-6 resist 3
Creature (barrier)

This card cannot attack. If an ally creature or hero would be delt magic damage; Re-direct the damage to this card. On your turn, gain 1 mana.

Im sure if a card like that was slapped down into tribes 2, 15-30 gems per copy, it would be big, and the percentage of acornos/shaman decks would begin to go down.

Unless im mistaken and its somehow completely impossible to simply add cards to sets, then I see no reason how its bad or can cos any harm in any way whatsoever and would fully support this happening in future case's.

GANZ_Karl
GANZ_Karl's picture

Cewen - Realm Champion can't corroded or destroyed. QDC would need to start packing Disintegrates to deal with it, reducing the effectiveness of the deck.

Sarastro

don't really know what heroes go with qdc these days - but noran, wilo and thania wouldn't be packing anything elemental :)

Dr.Bojangles
Dr.Bojangles's picture

Yea I don't see banning a card from standard but not from a more limited format being a good idea. The rationale for banning from limited is that limited generally lacks the high rarity tools needed to deal with certain cards. The flip side would have to be that you believe certain epics to be too strong when used as a full 4 pack rather than with only 2 copies.

It seems to me though that this situation tends to be far more likely to be indicative of actual imbalance rather than any real format issue.

DiarrheamazinG

But why isn't it a good idea to just ban it in Standard? How come now there's only 1 criteria for banning a card from limited? I was told there were multiple reasons for bans/nerfs, but now there's just 1?

It sometimes feels like to support nerfs, a lot of logic and reasoning gets changed and/or removed entirely if said logic contradicts the nerf.

Why is the fact that Limited can only run 2 epics and less targets for RTG suddenly not an argument anymore? Why? Why are we suddenly disregarding that logic?

t3a6ag
t3a6ag's picture

Do you seriously think that if RtG got banned in standard people would just think "It's fine I'll just use it in limited"? People would go crazy if they weren't even given the chance to use a nerfed version which, let's remember, would very likely still be playable.

I really can't be bothered to write an essay with the same arguments that have been had in chat but for someone who doesn't play standard much at all, you seem to have very strong opinions on what should and shouldn't be done.

DiarrheamazinG

Much thanks for the response Karl! And I do agree with most of what you're saying.

My only gripe is that we offer all these alternative solutions but still seem to look at them as "Eh, still not as good as a nerf". And I don't necessarily think that's true.

Banning RTG in Standard is a perfect solution. It's something I suggested myself the moment RTG began to get talked about for a nerf. Why would banning it there upset people anymore than a nerf would? Again, nerfs can ruin a card in every format. Bans just one. It answers the people who feel the card is OP, while not taking the card away from people who don't or are using it in other formats.

If micro sets would help offer fast solutions to problem cards, why not do it?

Changing format definitions is a good option. I also think we could even make entirely new formats. I've suggested the idea before of a "restricted format". Something along the lines of having the Standard rules but also having an extensive banned list that would cover the cards people don't like playing against. Or if we want to go more heavy handed on the existing formats and ban/restrict there. Bans give us the option of then making a new format WITHOUT cards being banned/restricted. Nerfs don't leave that option.

I do hope that we can start to consider and make more use of all these alternative options to nerfing and start to move away from what feels like an often heavy handed, far reaching and knee jerk reaction to nerfing cards. I still feel KCG is thee best online CCG out there. And the recent price drops and upcoming new content is wonderful! But it can be really defeating to have to constantly worry that any card you enjoy using might be taken away from you.

whade
whade's picture

Isn't that a great idea, let the player draw cards from packs that they are then not allowed to use.

I'm much more for making all cards usable. Offline CCGs ban or limit cards because they have no choice. There is no way to recall or change all physical copies of a card, only reprinting an improved version and banning the old. Online CCGs have access to better solutions and should exercise them.

ffarr
ffarr's picture

Open beta test for experienced players should limit the possibility that you print something that kills the meta.
As for past cards: only little "adjustments" can work, since
we don't have as many cards as mtg to create more than 2 formats for now.
In magic a lot of cards are banned or limited, depends on the format.
Focus on the future Ganz, gathering a good team of testers and designers. With such team cards like Raise the guard would have not happened.
Btw I am sure that Endless evil will be the next problem.

Earthconstruct

Just expanding to my 2nd cent above =).. I think we need to know each format's purpose first and how it relates to game saturation.

Standard arena.....
It is the ultimate arena in which you can use all the cards you want, all the strongest cards you have. Eventually, you will only see 2-3 strong decks in a certain meta structure especially when the game design is near saturation. ( I'll discuss more on this on limited arena ). Hence, you will not achieve the same widespread result in limited format.

As for the bans, I understand at some point banning cards here will be inevitable as the game reaches saturation. Thus, standard arena will start to evolve to pseudo-limited arena.

But in the case of RTG, it is just good design but was used for unintended creatures. Im sure the intention is to have a holy card that makes holy kingdoms strong, not other kingdoms. With that in mind, we should just change the card to deliver the intended outcome.

Limited Arena......
In general, we have a 40 card deck which paves way to less reliable deck and includes a luck factor. In limited, we restrict the cards more, why? Mainly, I believe to give new players a fighting chance since you are allowed only 8rares/2 epics. It will pave way into even lesser reliable deck and increased luck factor.

However, as I see it, the game is saturating. Just an example, old meta has 8 haste creature, then every release you end up increasing them. At some point, you are making your haste deck more reliable as you can draw haste creatures in an increased probablilty. This is what happened to Justice as you introduced the new holy charm card. You have so many life gain in common/uncommon rarity, it is just easy to get justice and triggering it at the same time. What's the use of justice having 10 health when you can trigger on the same turn it was played.

Bottomline, eventually there will be need to restructure limited arena. Banning cards is not the way to go in limited. It needs more stricter parameters like using 3 of kind or using a 50-60 card deck, so we can reduce reliable decks and increase luck factor again. As for standard arena, it is bound to only have 2-3 strong decks. The solution is to make standard arena seasonal. It is about time to have 2 restricted formats in one season.

GANZ_Karl
GANZ_Karl's picture

You're actually correct about RtG: the original text on Raise the Guard was "Holy creatures" not "Light Alliance creatures".

Earthconstruct

Oh, I just felt it was the intention since holy that time is weak and boring to play with. Over designing it made other kingdoms stronger, hence, holy kingdom is back where it was again. And worse, it saturated the game too fast.

LnDRash

Edit: sorry wrong thread