Converting F2P PvE to P2P: Hell's Pit

    • Converting F2P PvE to P2P: Hell's Pit

      As we’ve heard Cory mention recently, Hex Ent. is not converting F2P players into P2P players at the desired rates. I think that’s largely due to the 2 game modes that are meant to bridge the way for F2P/new players into the P2P side of the game, namely EVO Sealed and Ladder, are not accomplishing what they are intended to (F2P/new players getting destroyed by veterans in both modes). My proposal below will not address the Ladder (Constructed) side of F2P to P2P (for which there has already been many ideas like the introduction of more casual formats such as EDH and Pauper & variants, as well as coming up with ways in which new players only get matched with other new players). Instead, I will focus on transitioning the F2P/new player into the Limited side of PvP with a new Game Mode that will not only fill the large gap between PvE Campaign/Frost Ring Arena and EVO Sealed mode but also monetize PvE-play by itself, namely Hell’s Pit.

      Lore Intro

      Located within the fires of the massive Volcano on Entrath’s South Pole, Hell’s Pit is holy ground to the worshippers of Malignous, the Primal of Pain. The most fearsome, twisted and sadistic creatures of Entrath have gathered here throughout history to inflict and endure pain, all the pain, in order to please their most revered God. Its mound tainted red by the blood of the countless fallen, a fight to the death is the only fight that takes place on Hell’s Pit. It’s no surprise that very few adventurers ever dare approach it, let alone be foolish enough to challenge the Champions of Hell’s Pit.

      The more warriors you defeat the higher the treasures and glory, but also the deadlier your next opponent to be. Just how far can YOU go before being crushed by agony?

      Come now… show Malignous what you’re made of!

      The Game Mode

      Hell’s Pit is a PvE mode in which players open a set number of PvP Booster packs which they get to keep after the mode ends (pertaining to the current Limited format) and are asked to construct a 40-card deck to challenge varying AI opponents. If the entry Booster requirement is to be kept low, common/uncommon cards from the current set can automatically be added to the pool similar to how EVO sealed works. The encounters start off relatively easy so even the new players can get a few wins under their belt. But with each win, the AI opponents become better and play better cards until the latest stages where they play with many Rare/Legendary cards, perhaps with Equipment. The slow but steady difficulty ramp will ensure even Hex veterans will find it challenging (and sometimes impossible) to defeat every encounter. The FRA has 20 encounters with 3 lives but this might be too much play-value compared to PvP Limited modes. So 10-12 encounters with 2 lives might be more reasonable. Game/board modifiers could also be randomly added to make each encounter a unique experience.


      As this is a PvE mode, the prize pool is made up of entirely PvE and account-bound things (Sleeves, Battleboards, Equipment, Mercs, PvE Cards, Dust, PvE AA, etc). Your prize pool increases depending on how many opponents you defeat. The chance to drop items of Rare/Legendary rarity will be significantly higher with more opponents defeated (to make sure people finish their run instead of farming the first few encounters only). The EV should not be anywhere near the PvP Limited EVs (so infinite/best PvP Limited players aren’t ‘forced to’ play this mode instead of PvP Limited modes for greatest value).

      Optional: AI Decks Made by the Community

      The Hex community no doubt has many talented deck-builders. Why not hit 2 birds with 1 stone: engage the community while also outsourcing a lot of the work to them by having people submit AI decklists using existing champions from the campaign/FRA (with whatever rarity/shard-grid restrictions HxE deems appropriate). Perhaps even require each submitted deck to have 3-4 versions with varying power levels so the encounter can come up at multiple difficulty stages of the Hell’s Pit – highly increasing the game mode’s replayability. You can further encourage participation by crediting people’s creations with their IGN somewhere in there.

      Optional: Leaderboards

      What better way to encourage players to spend countless hours playing Hell’s Pit than Leaderboards that come with full bragging rights. PvE players can get competitive too but currently have no system/ranking to showcase their abilities. This would be a good start. Having some kind of anonymous API feed (like PvP modes) could also give way to sites that show player-deck and AI-deck stats (showing the Hell’s Pit ‘meta’).

      The Benefits

      • F2P/new players have somewhere to practice learning deckbuilding and playing Limited (with the same PvP cards they will eventually use if they choose to transition to PvP Limited modes) all without the very daunting & discouraging task of facing more experienced/more skilled players. The feeling of getting crushed repeatedly while being farmed by the veterans will cause anyone to quit a game forever. So this mode will help retain these newer players and monetize them while they make the transition to PvP. Even if they never transition, it’s ok – they’re paying for Booster Packs!
      • The PvE-only players (which some players just are even if they’ve gotten really good at the game) finally have a way to open PvP packs and get some value out of playing with them. These players are never interested in PvP modes but want to enrich their collections just as much as PvP players. Hell’s Pit is the perfect Limited mode for them. They will most certainly buy more Booster Packs than they do now.
      • As new PvP sets come out, the packs that are opened in this mode change - keeping things fresh just like the PvP modes (and unlike the stale FRA mode). If AI decks are made by the community, the AI encounters can also be updated/added periodically without requiring much resources from HxE staff.
      • As the first ‘monetized’ PvE mode (due to requiring Booster Packs), HxE will finally have a metric for PvE spending and how it compares to the existing PvP Limited modes.
      • If HxE wants to create another great Gold sink, they will have the option to add Gold as an entry fee on top of the Booster requirement.
      • When Flashback Limited events are made available, the same Boosters can be used for Hell's Pit, further increasing hype and mass appeal around Flashbacks events.

      What do you think about having such a PvE Limited mode? Compared to the other existing game modes, would you play this along or instead of them? Do you think new players would play this before getting into EVO Sealed and would it help with player retention?
    • I like the op's idea, more casual formats are needed if hex wants to gain more players. Problem is that a roll out like that should correspond with new pve content, like strongholds.

      You should advertise, hey guys we have new pve content and a new casual limited format. What Hex did completely stupid with gauntlet draft was say "hey guys we have new pve content with even less casual limited format".
    • Excellent post, as always. Many merits to the ideas within, my particular favorite being the simulation of a limited format environment.

      My own story to add some anecdotal evidence that might help with the broader issue of incentivising f2p'ers to drop some $.

      I backed for the campaign/rpg/mmo stuff. Never played a tcg before. Back in Alpha, we had access to all the cards and I jumped into the HTP tourny series. Got routed for the first couple. But the puzzle/competitive aspect had me hooked.

      Kept working at it and I finished 9th in one of the later ones, basically letting go of the 3rd game because I had to head to work.

      That experience changed me completely. I've spent a lot on the game since then. I don't regret any of it and have been rewarded with many hours of fun and value for $ entertainment.

      TLDR: Give players the ability to taste success from having access to a level playing field and that will incentivise many to continue replicating that feeling.
    • Chocmaw wrote:

      TLDR: Give players the ability to taste success from having access to a level playing field and that will incentivise many to continue replicating that feeling.
      Hm a 1 week event of unlocking all cards for all players could be interesting
      - no idea how hard it would be to implement&reverse
      - might cause resentment when it ended
    • I'm not that interested in PvP (if I wanted I could always go back to HS for that). I can imagine paying to access later chapters in the campaign or attempt some dungeons with draft packs, but otherwise there is little incentive for me to get into another mode just for the PvP uncommons.
      "Winning with terrormill is not fun? Try losing with it"