FRA 2.0 Review - Initial Thoughts

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      This witches deck worked, got to the end. Was an easier run, opponents-wise, but still did better than I thought it would. Wishing well witch is the goal for turn 1, fall backs are Scourgecrag and Mightsinger. Could be much improved with more glimmerfly and sharpshooter, still does pretty well with Scourgecrag pumping the Wishing well witch once they block.

      First couple of runs through I was putting big troops in/crocosaur, but that is a mistake. A 7/7 2-cost creature on the end of turn 2 is what you're really looking for.

      Tried again with what I thought were troops with more synergy (second pic), but didn't get through tier three. It's very variable. Hogarth just crushes this deck.



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      Eraia wrote:

      NicoSharp wrote:

      That's sad to hear @Taleisin. I'm purposely making silly decks to see how far I can get, and tweaking them until they are note worthy. It requires a little extra effort, but is effectively the same feeling as it was before, with 1 requirement not asked of the playerbase that I think should have always been asked of the playerbase... "Diversify your collection"

      I think it's really good for PvE player preference to require collecting to the level of tuning required for the arena, because the mentality that all pve free-to-play can be completed with random cards and a smile, is not good for the long-term health of the game being a successful business, so we can still play it years from now. Sure that may turn off casuals that refuse to invest for PvE, but hopefully the draw of the campaign, and content releasing soon can continue to cater to that audience.
      The problem is that is not what's being asked here. What's being asked here is 'build a terrormill deck and all will come to you'.
      that isn't even close to what we are saying eraia...are you even reading what we type? we are saying the same thing Nico is, though I admit he is much better at saying it.
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      NicoSharp wrote:

      That is absolute bullshit Eraia. People are beating it with everything right now. Give people some time to tune and share. It's just low hanging fruit now that has been widely shared.
      I believe you misunderstood what I meant.

      The arena has an extremely efficient counter that beats everything reliably and cheaply... whereas most strategies are extremely unreliable due to hard counters or expensive due to high cost cards like optimatron or marauder.

      As a result, if anyone gets frustrated with it, there's nothing to encourage them to broaden their horizon. What they're encouraged to do is go make a terrormill deck and never think of the difficulty again.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
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      Welcome to any pve content, in any game, ever. People will optimize something that trivializes content, no matter what game you play. It does not trivialize it to the point that nothing else is comparable. That is why what you said is bullshit. Creativity is hindered by what people think they know. Several other conclusions would have been drawn, if you did not have these forums as an outlet for 'knowledge'
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      NicoSharp wrote:

      Welcome to any pve content, in any game, ever. People will optimize something that trivializes content, no matter what game you play. It does not trivialize it to the point that nothing else is comparable. That is why what you said is bullshit. Creativity is hindered by what people think they know. Several other conclusions would have been drawn, if you did not have these forums as an outlet for 'knowledge'
      Uhh... that is an absurdly inaccurate generalization and an extreme exaggeration.

      Most games I've played ensure that the 'easy counters' are unreliable and inefficient, and the 'efficient counters' aren't easy(and often have severe weaknesses or limitations). Additionally, it is very frequent for games to ensure there is no 'I win' button that counters everything in the game.

      Some games avoid 'easy and efficient counters' entirely through game balance, but I've gathered that this community doesn't want that so I won't jump down that rabbit hole.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
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      If it's not too hard, then it's too easy. Where is the middle ground with people?
      Let's fault HEX for designing an Arena that is too challenging for casuals.
      Unless you play deck X, then it is so easy that we call it an "I win button".

      It really paints an unfair picture for the developers to have fair feedback to improve their game.
      "Arena is too hard, but PvE combo X is too strong." "Nerf both."
      This leads to more pve interactions, that are generally well balanced to change to a point of unplayability, typically. Then content, like a challenging arena, potentially being dumbed down, so other PvE cards, and equipment stand a chance of being the next pieces deemed too powerful.

      The strength of PvE cards and equipment is something to look forward to, and explore in their own space.
      If you want HEX to avoid Easy and Efficient counters made by players creating decks featuring cards and equipment, you just push arena further to "Harder" zone, and further hinder the same people complaining about the experience they already lost with Arena 1.0. Cards and equipment are not going to be appropriately balanced for all factors, and angles by HEX before they leave the gates, and new cards and equipment will further challenge this space all the time. Giving these cards and equipment room to breathe in client for a while, is a necessary evil, because expecting it to be balanced around prior to wider play, is a very tall order in comparison to how other games are balanced. Test servers, or larger QA teams, are unfortunately not a realistic expectation for HEX either now, because it simply isn't that big yet. Chicken and the Egg.

      It's helpful when people that understand what is a problem, pinpoints it, and exposes it directly. Not just paint a wide brush on "Arena" or "Terrormill". Like Burly Botanist Passive, or Spirit of Retribution Feet equipment, or Field Medic passive.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by NicoSharp ().

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      Alright. The Arena doesn't seem as bad as it did at first. I'm learning how to fight these turds better and I've brewed a few new decks that I enjoy and have good success with. But what really allowed me to have fun again was changing my expectations. Playing with the old decks expectations changed from - (FRA 1) 'This deck is going to clear the Arena again.' to (FRA 2) 'This deck is probably going to get destroyed somewhere along the way again and after my dishonorable death, I'll see what I can do to make this deck better.' I'm enjoying messing around and making changes to the old decks and having fun and triumphs with the new brews. So now I'll grab a deck and say, 'OK, let's try to make it to the 3rd tier this time', or 'This deck beat the end boss last time, I'll pray to all the gods I know and let's see if we can do it 2 runs in a row.' And now I'm enjoying the arena again... mostly. I still can't stand the challenges at all, and a couple of those thugs could be taken down a notch. And the gold payouts are still chump change unless you beat the end boss. But ya, I'm tickled. I was beginning to think that I would never have fun in the Arena again.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Spit ().

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      NicoSharp wrote:

      If it's not too hard, then it's too easy. Where is the middle ground with people?
      Let's fault HEX for designing an Arena that is too challenging for casuals.
      Unless you play deck X, then it is so easy that we call it an "I win button".

      It really paints an unfair picture for the developers to have fair feedback to improve their game.
      "Arena is too hard, but PvE combo X is too strong." "Nerf both."
      This leads to more pve interactions, that are generally well balanced to change to a point of unplayability, typically. Then content, like a challenging arena, potentially being dumbed down, so other PvE cards, and equipment stand a chance of being the next pieces deemed too powerful.

      The strength of PvE cards and equipment is something to look forward to, and explore in their own space.
      If you want HEX to avoid Easy and Efficient counters made by players creating decks featuring cards and equipment, you just push arena further to "Harder" zone, and further hinder the same people complaining about the experience they already lost with Arena 1.0. Cards and equipment are not going to be appropriately balanced for all factors, and angles by HEX before they leave the gates, and new cards and equipment will further challenge this space all the time. Giving these cards and equipment room to breathe in client for a while, is a necessary evil, because expecting it to be balanced around prior to wider play, is a very tall order in comparison to how other games are balanced. Test servers, or larger QA teams, are unfortunately not a realistic expectation for HEX either now, because it simply isn't that big yet. Chicken and the Egg.

      It's helpful when people that understand what is a problem, pinpoints it, and exposes it directly. Not just paint a wide brush on "Arena" or "Terrormill". Like Burly Botanist Passive, or Spirit of Retribution Feet equipment, or Field Medic passive.
      There are three problems:

      1) A few crazy outliers. Don't have time for specifics, but you know them better than I do so why list 'em.
      2) Lack of strategic tools. We have one deck. That's all. So that deck has to be such a generalist it can handle everything.
      3) Extreme hard counters in stead of encounters that are simply strategically difficult. (Botanist is easy if you have no constants or artifacts, for example. Absurdly easy.)

      Minorly toning down some outliers, adjusting some of the counters, making the hard counters have a bit better decks overall but ones that are slightly less narrow in challenge, and giving us additional tools that aren't simply OP cards.

      Right now, what they've created a place that - by design - inhibits creativity at every turn. Not saying you CAN'T be creative in it, but the design of the arena does not encourage creativity in any way, and often does the opposite. Since the decks have extreme hate for certain archetypes but less so for others, and we have no strategic tools, and there're a few decks that are both extremely easy and efficient... it just means most people won't bother to be creative because there's no reason.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
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      At this point I feel that a successful deck needs to have some quick solution against starting bonuses of elites, with that I have added Morphology for tactical removal in my mill deck. This is a card that can be used creatively in many ways, but in the budget range this is the obvious and only choice for this purpose. So the format can be limiting even if players try to be creative.
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      It was just a matter of time before more decks that can finish the Arena popped up. As everyone had been saying from the start, honestly. Glad to see "muh Terrormill narrative" being shot down.

      Now people should be careful not to hurt their backs while they move the goalposts. I see it has already started.
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      Wolzarg wrote:

      there are plenty creative people in this thread.
      I never said there weren't, what I said is that the current design of the arena discourages creativity. And I don't know that it is possible to argue that without simply denying reality.

      Creative people will always be creative, but well designed games encourage that. Poorly designed games punish it. Right now, we're leaning towards the latter with the current arena.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
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      @Eraia
      I disagree what you said about restricting creativity. Most of the time, I feel like people restrict their creativity themselves and it is not the game's fault. A game can encourage creativity, but people would just stick to the easy solution because well, I guess they just want an easy win. From my observation, "terrormill" exists in almost every games out there and like NicoSharp said, people are going to use the easy solution most of the time unless they self choose to experiment, which is not often done as far as what I have seen.

      The only game genre I am sure you have played is JRPG so let's look at some games there. Persona 3's Reaper, I look at GameFAQ and Youtube and 98% of what I see/read are the "Odin stunlock", the "terrormill" method to defeat the boss. I see no encouragement to explore other options. Dark Souls' early dragon by the bridge, again, 98% of what I read is to get a powerful bow and comeback to snipe that dragon to death in brainless fashion, sounds "terrormill" to me. FF12's I forgot which but some kind of end-game, optional boss(One of the Weapons, I think), I see most guides tell me how to find this powerful weapon(a spear I think) as early as possible and use some kind of method for an easy kill.

      I have more examples but I think I have made my point. Gamers look at easy solution most of the time. The arena can be as creative and as free-flowing as a freestyle rap, but people who don't care about those things are going to just run terrormill anyway.
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      Goliathus wrote:

      "terrormill" exists in almost every games out there
      I don't know what poorly designed games you're playing... but I've NEVER played a game that had any sort of persistent element that had an easily accessible solution that was fast, efficient, and nearly 100% reliable.

      Every time a strategy that was like that was found in any such game I played, it was nerfed to at least lose one of the four: Ease, efficiency, speed, or reliability.

      Some solo games with no market component suffer from this sort of problem, but it's okay for people to have insanely broken, easy solutions in games where your performance has no impact on others(in this sort of case it's basically just a way for people to get the story without needing to be good at the game, which is okay for that sort of game). In a situation where you have a market or other persistent element, doing so is not healthy. Which is why comparing solo JRPGs to this is not viable.

      Edit:

      Of course some people will always look for the easy solution... but in a game with a market, having an easy solution with no drawbacks is bad for your game. Games with persistent interactive components must be treated differently from solo games.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Eraia ().

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      @Eraia Wait, have you tried the Terrormill in the new FRA? Not the most expensive iteration, mind you, I haven't played that myself either. But the average terrormill, in terms of how I'd rank it according to your 4 characteristics would be:

      Ease: 8 (I'm assuming "Ease" to be the complexity of the strategy involved in achieving a win) / 7 (If "Ease" means "Easy to build" since some cards/gear is pretty expensive)
      Efficiency: 10 (I'm assuming this to be "How good the deck is at achieving its goal". Mind you, every deck in the suggested decks forum thread is at least a 7+, because we have good deckbuilders in charge. Anything lower than that is probably a bad deck)
      Speed: 7 (The whole burying thing is actually slow. And gets even slower with bad RNG, not finding the bury cards or not hitting eggs)
      Reliability: 6 (I consider Terrormill to be heavy influenced by RNG. Not finding eggs and not finding bury cards is awful, especially since there's almost 0 interaction with the opponent other than 4 Contract Killing, and not even that in some versions)

      I'm really interested to hear people's evaluation of their versions of Terrormill.
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      Vroengard wrote:

      Reliability: 6 (I consider Terrormill to be heavy influenced by RNG. Not finding eggs and not finding bury cards is awful, especially since there's almost 0 interaction with the opponent other than 4 Contract Killing, and not even that in some versions)
      If I were to rank reliability, I would rate it as a scale of 1 to 10 with each mark being worth 10% successful(successful, not perfect) runs in the current environment when played well on average, since a lot of decks can't even achieve any. I would say terrormill is probably way better than 60% success rate...

      As far as speed, 7 seems reasonable.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
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      NicoSharp wrote:

      If it's not too hard, then it's too easy. Where is the middle ground with people?
      Let's fault HEX for designing an Arena that is too challenging for casuals.
      Unless you play deck X, then it is so easy that we call it an "I win button".

      It really paints an unfair picture for the developers to have fair feedback to improve their game.
      "Arena is too hard, but PvE combo X is too strong." "Nerf both."
      This leads to more pve interactions, that are generally well balanced to change to a point of unplayability, typically. Then content, like a challenging arena, potentially being dumbed down, so other PvE cards, and equipment stand a chance of being the next pieces deemed too powerful.

      The strength of PvE cards and equipment is something to look forward to, and explore in their own space.
      If you want HEX to avoid Easy and Efficient counters made by players creating decks featuring cards and equipment, you just push arena further to "Harder" zone, and further hinder the same people complaining about the experience they already lost with Arena 1.0. Cards and equipment are not going to be appropriately balanced for all factors, and angles by HEX before they leave the gates, and new cards and equipment will further challenge this space all the time. Giving these cards and equipment room to breathe in client for a while, is a necessary evil, because expecting it to be balanced around prior to wider play, is a very tall order in comparison to how other games are balanced. Test servers, or larger QA teams, are unfortunately not a realistic expectation for HEX either now, because it simply isn't that big yet. Chicken and the Egg.

      It's helpful when people that understand what is a problem, pinpoints it, and exposes it directly. Not just paint a wide brush on "Arena" or "Terrormill". Like Burly Botanist Passive, or Spirit of Retribution Feet equipment, or Field Medic passive.
      People are very binary, which is where most of communication issues stem from (Think of any political discussion - it's never which parts of Liberal plans are right and which of Conservative plans are, it's simply "one of you is wrong"). That said, this does feel like one of those issue that could be solved by catering to the binary nature of this argument:
      • Give us back old FRA options. I enjoyed playing slow decks. You cannot play slow decks in FRA2. Any Elite will immediately smash you if your deck requires any kind of set-up. I'm totally down with the new content that isn't stupidly difficult.
      • Leave the "new" FRA in as an Elite option. Give it a few unique rewards over the base one (Sleeves, or cards, or something). This will allow the people who only want the challenge something to butt up against.
      I agree that a little bit of time is needed to evaluate cards (Especially in something as big and open as Hex's PvE). I don't think that applies to FRA2 at this point though. There's no more deliberation needed about it - unless you enjoy the masochistic difficulty, you're screwed. Until they have time to figure out how to "smooth out" the encounters, at the bare minimum they can throw in the option for FRA1 alongside FRA2.
      Never shift in to reverse without a backup plan.
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      All this shit is my opinion. I have no inside knowledge.

      Where I am now with this conversation is thinking about the power variance of decks/deck archtypes and asking myself the question, "what level of power should be reasonable to have a 50% chance of clearing FRA 2.0". Archetypes will wax and wane depending upon card injected any individual set, but should an archetype simply be non-viable? Well, I don't think that Control as an archtype is viable and really hasn't ever been viable in HEX, so I guess that answers that question (thankfully, I hate playing against control).

      Terror mill is an extreme case of this and I immediately throw it out of the calculation. Terror mill is broken. My guess is that terrorantula's will be identified as the broken piece of that equation, and the "Deploy: destroy target troop" will be removed. This will cause people to lose their shit because it impacts the PvP Phenteo Card. Phenteo Commander will have special terrorantula's that retain this ability, much like Periwinkle has Voice of the Ashwood with speed. The alternative would be for HEX to make a staple of PvE decks a card that wipes banes (possibly part of a two in one that also destroys constants).

      And that train of thought brings me to this question - at what point during the arms race between FRA opponents and new set pieces does even a (post FRA 2.0) strong deck's chance of winning or losing simply fall to the RNG of which opponents you pull. RNG determining whether I make it to the end or not seems very unsatisfying to me. Having the ability to swap in another deck seems crucial to the health of FRA. It puts the power of winning or losing back in the player's hands.

      Second, completely unrelated, I've been thinking about "match challenge". The fact that all of these are "WIN" implies that they have/had intended for some challenges to be "DO THIS and get another piece of loot". I'm hoping they are able, at some point, to add those sorts of things.
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      I am baffled by the low scores given to Terrormill, a S ranked deck in NicoSharp's deck list, and this is coming from someone who is not a fan of Terrormill and has been driven to make his own deck by Terrormill. I just randomly go for 2 runs with my "budget and not even complete" terrormill and clear them easily 14-1 on both times. One of the time it would be 15-0 if I didn't just spam F10, went over my defense phase and did not block a lethal attack.



      Ease: 10(Brain-dead strategy, I can Netflix-FRA with it and I don't even think for more than 5 seconds on every turn, most of the time it's instinctive what to do. Also, you can always think when all the phases are running anyway)
      Efficiency: 10
      Speed: 9[10 for full version](I track my time with Google stopwatch and I get 36m45s67. The full version, according to KotoTheMage, can achieve <30 min farm time per run and I have no reason to disbelieve it. I have tried the full version by borrowing cards from friend but I have not track my time with it. The key is to not shove 30 eggs into the opponent's deck just because you can, that is a huge waste of time.)
      Realaibility: 10(RNG doesn't really affect it the deck too much. The deck is full of bury cards and there are digging tools to find them rather consistently. Pheoteo's Gift is an afterthought unless I get it early or need it to kill opposing troops. I put Morphology and Spirit of Retribution as safeguard and alt win con because well, adapt!)