FRA 2.0 Review - Further Reflections

    • FRA 2.0 Review - Further Reflections

      After a week, I had started another thread that had a pretty good discussion going which was enjoyable to read from both sides of the fence (so to speak). However, it's a bit off topic now and I thought I would do a "upon further review" review.

      After a few more weeks and really grinding, I like the new FRA2.0 even less. Here are some main thoughts:
      1. As a puzzle rather than a sandbox, someone will invariably solve the puzzle. Now it's just net-decking and proceeding. This couldn't be more awful and boring to me. I don't play Hex to net-deck. I play it to be creative and to level my characters. And yes, I still spend a fair amount of cash on this game (I've always been VIP and was a $250 level backer and still continue to play tournies for new cards). Cutting off an entire way of playing is a real step back and quite disheartening. I know Nico thinks this new FRA is vital for the long-term health of the game, but I simply disagree. If someone wants to net-deck, that is where PvP shines! Let PvE be the creative side. Make interesting (rather than punishing) encounters in the FRA. Most (not all) of the FRA 1.0 encounters fit this bill. It was fun AND a struggle. I was always making choices that were interesting.
      2. Made worse is that I am grinding the FRA for new cards and equipment, but where can I play them? Generally not in the FRA (obviously there are specific cards that rock in the FRA, but by and large, I don't think this is true). I can use them in the campaign, but that seems far too limiting. The FRA allows me to creative any amount of decks that I want using all of the PVP champs. So many knobs and gears to turn here, but not anymore.
      3. With all of the new cards, my mind is bubbling up with new deck ideas. Since my BEST decks of yore (one thing I didn't like about the previous thread was too many references to throwing cards together, but I was referencing my very best decks in the FRA) were all now terrible in FRA2.0, I don't think newer themed decks will do much better. In fact, most of the decks that I can and could make with the cards I own (fairly vast collection, but not exhaustive) are just going to be too slow and get destroyed.
      4. The new decks in the FRA (and old tweaked decks) are simply punishing rather than strategic. I also have found that there are a fair amount of "out-of-theme" cards in some of the decks. These cards are simply added to make the encounter more grueling instead of fun.
      5. Not sure what I think yet about the change in not using equipment. In FRA1.0, there was certainly a tension that build throughout the levels. If you caught a particularly dastardly foe early without their equipment, you would utter a "whew!", but if you caught that foe late, you knew what you had to avoid and playing against that foe was different. Now, I think the "Elite" foes are supposed to capture this same feel, but it doesn't quite do that. However, not making them all so punishing might just make this part fun again.
      In the end, I think I can sum up my thoughts as "Too punishing rather than interesting." It's not fun. Someone will solve the problem/puzzle and the grind still takes place. However, the outlet for the grind is greatly lessened. I can't make a ton of new decks with each release because there is no point. If there is no point, then playing Hex becomes worthless to me. This is a direction I do not want to see taken with this AWESOME game! If I - as a Hex veteran - am quite disheartened by this change, what will new folks think? I think it is simply a turn-off. The Campaign points you in very specific directions with races and classes. The FRA NEEDS to be the "sandbox".

      So, please Cory and the the development team, please reconsider what is happening to the FRA2.0. Please make it fun again. Who cares if folks just grind away, that happens in either version! Make it fun and new folks will then have more enjoyable places to play in the client.

      Thanks for reading,
      Sad Panda now,
      Taleisin :(
    • True fact, I've been having more fun playing the AI in the deck builder practice mode than I have been playing FRA 2.0. At least there I can make something like a conscript deck that goes off a little later than usual and have fun playing the deck against an AI on an even playing field rather than watch everything I own get swept away by the AI's welfare powers.

      I think my main pet peeve against FRA 2.0 is how the AI gets handed everything for free while I have to work and struggle and swear angrily at the shuffler for every shard I get. Why should the AI get EXTRA free powers that aren't apart of his champion card? And free resources, free shards, and free troops in play? And why don't I ever get any of that crap? Except for maybe an arena brawler if the winds are right. Of course, I'm not arguing that these quirks of the AI should be stripped entirely from them, but if the AI wants to wipe the board it should pay an appropriate cost for it! getting free board wipes, free crypt voiding, free troops, free cost lowering cards, free transmog of constants, these should probably not be champion powers but cards in the champions deck that they draw and cast or at the very least charge powers that they can use.

      I've said elsewhere that the best solution would be to bring back the old FRA as a normal mode and keep the new FRA 2.0 side by side as a challenge mode and I stand by that. I want both the sandboxy element of original FRA and the new puzzle element of FRA 2.0 but I would also appreciate the ability to sub in different decks in 2.0 if the puzzle solutions are going to be wildly different from each other in one run.

      Or at the very least, if FRA 2.0 isn't going to change and this is what we have going forward I would like the PVP champions handed out to players as mercenaries so I can play my papa goot decks in PVE and still make decks around pvp champions and have a place to actually play them other than the practice AI.

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

    • If you don't want to net-deck then don't net-deck. It is that simple. There is nothing stopping you from making your own deck and running through the arena until you die then making changes to weaknesses you found in the play through. This is completely normal for making your own decks as original ideas and builds take time to make. Just because the arena has a single hate encounter in it does not mean you cannot do perfectly well with a deck it targets. To me, it seems that you are making a mountain out of a molehill.
    • PlatinumDeTwenty wrote:

      Sukebe wrote:

      There is nothing stopping you from making your own deck and running through the arena until you die then making changes to weaknesses you found in the play through.
      Make enough changes and you'll be running terrormill!
      Terrormill (and variants) is objectively the best option for Arena all things considered. For the AI, maybe just replace their T0 bonuses with Power cards added to their decks/starting hands.
      "Winning with terrormill is not fun? Try losing with it"
    • PlatinumDeTwenty wrote:

      Sukebe wrote:

      There is nothing stopping you from making your own deck and running through the arena until you die then making changes to weaknesses you found in the play through.
      Make enough changes and you'll be running terrormill!
      only if you want to. I don't know about you but I assume people who are asking for the sandbox back value fun over gold per hour. If this isn't the case then should stick with gmg anyway
    • PlatinumDeTwenty wrote:

      I just don't know why things like avalanche giant's "troops that damage players get +1/+1" can't be a 1 cost 1wild/1ruby threshold constant or something instead of a free power he just gets.
      It all boils down to the AI and it's inability to play the game with any degree of intelligence which means the only way to challenge us as players is by giving it an (often) overwhelming head start in both cards in play at the start of the game and the AI only cards in the decks it plays. The game is super complex and there is often more than 1 correct play for any given situation when you look ahead a turn or 2 and/or take the cards in hand into consideration neither of which this AI is capable of doing. So, much like the resource issues the game 'suffers' from you need to just accept that it is what it is and there isn't much likely to change in the AI space....take the losses that almost no opening player hand can ever hope of beating and move on whether it be to the next match or another game entirely.

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

    • I'm a bit torn on the new FRA. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's insanely frustrating. While I can, and do, build decks that do very well, sometimes you just get run over by the AI and when that happens it just feels like I've been cheated. Sometimes the AI just explodes into an insurmountable lead and deals lethal before you can even get to turn four. Here are the things that bug me:

      1. Some encounters are overtuned. This has been covered in other threads.
      2. Some encounters are too explosive. Starting with cost reducers in play, or free resources, can lead to utter blowouts if the AI's hand is decent.
      3. The new challenge system isn't very good imo. While I don't have a problem with the increased difficulty, I really hate that you aren't aware of the challenge when you are deciding to mulligan or not. Knowing the AI is going to get an extra turn, or start with a powerful card like Might or Coffins or Goo, can affect if you want to mulligan or not and we should have that info when deciding.
      4. I don't like the encounters that basically say "you don't get to play your cards". I'm talking about Hoggarth, Sly Huntress, Cory elite, and Botanist (against certain decks). These encounters are all beatable, but they just aren't fun.
      Overall I'm having fun with the FRA, but I also get pretty frustrated when I feel like the AI just decides I am going to lose. Sometimes it's like nothing I would have done in those situations would have mattered because the AI's start was just too good. That isn't 'challenging', it's annoying.

      And no, I'm not asking for it to be easy, just less aggravating. If they tweak things a bit, I think it will be pretty enjoyable.
    • I am one of the people who suggested to redo the Arena as an interim solution while we wait for the promised more interesting modes (Stronghold? Raids?). I didn't figure this would be sold as "new PvE content", but still...

      The new FRA feels much more punishing than the old one, and even with my Set 1-5 collection I am having a hard time to get something decent going by myself instead of reverting to Terrormill or net-decking one of my guildmates decks.

      For new PvE players, starting with Campaign and then going into FRA for a change of pace just has to feel punishing and I wonder whether that's intended.
      Dungeon Crawler / Collector / Raid Leader (when is that going to do anything?)


      AstaSyneri of Keep Hibbernathy - Member of The Unnamed Council- the Hex TCG PvE Guild @HexTUC
    • Generally, I agree with your post. I enjoyed FRA 1.0 a lot more because of the points you made. Even though I had a netdeck to farm the FRA1.0, I brewed some new decks from time to time to see how hey would play out. In FRA 2.0, I only netdeck terrormill. However, regarding point 2 you made:

      Taleisin wrote:

      Made worse is that I am grinding the FRA for new cards and equipment, but where can I play them? Generally not in the FRA (obviously there are specific cards that rock in the FRA, but by and large, I don't think this is true). I can use them in the campaign, but that seems far too limiting. The FRA allows me to creative any amount of decks that I want using all of the PVP champs. So many knobs and gears to turn here, but not anymore.
      I still make decks from time to time because I got some new cards from an evo run or the new FRA, and run those in the campaign. It always brings me joy to beat the act 2 dungeons with a fresh deck, and then tune them a bit to make then better. Those are not nearly good enough to run in the FRA with a PvP hero, but I still get the 'sandbox' feeling you're talking about. The only cards that are impossible to 'playtest' in the campaign are the 5 threshold cards, which is indeed a shame.
    • The problem for me comes down to the specific ways they chose to increase difficulty...

      Obviously, the encounters that are just plain too strong(peri elite, archon elite, etc.) should probably be adjusted a bit. But they're not the real problem.

      The real problem is that the way they chose to increase difficulty in a lot of cases was to create mechanics that simply say 'don't play the game'. Which basically forces every deck to run spirit of retribution with equipment... or do some form of mill... if they want to have a good chance.

      Additionally, the sheer number of hate decks means that certain strategies are just straight up not viable since there is the chance of getting 3 near-0% victory encounters. This is not a good thing. Sure, you theoretically CAN run the deck and just bank on not getting those encounters... or you can add a bunch of non-thematic OP cards... but then you might as well not be even running that strategy.

      When I am able to play something other than Terrormill or crazy aggro and actually am able to make it more than a few encounters into the FRA without relying entirely on Spirit of Retribution... I have fun. But it seems like the current iteration of the FRA doesn't really let that happen often.


      And yes, I can just enjoy the 4-5 fights I get with one of my fun decks... but then I'm making no progress, because the FRA is SO backloaded in rewards, that the first encounters give you virtually nothing... so it's not only a quick loss, but it's also a feelbad because I get next to nothing for my wins.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • Yasi wrote:

      FRA2 kinda need to keep its things otherwise there will be decks that will clear it within 20 minutes. Bring back FRA and keep FRA2 as a challenge mode seems okay.
      Too late. Terrormill is not far off that when things go well.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • PlatinumDeTwenty wrote:

      Sukebe wrote:

      There is nothing stopping you from making your own deck and running through the arena until you die then making changes to weaknesses you found in the play through.
      Make enough changes and you'll be running terrormill!
      I totally agree, we cant play other deck than terrormill ...


      Mono Wild deck stompy, 0 PVE card, equipment matter a very little, 19/20



      "MonoAritfact" deck (with 5 ruby cards), 4 Entrath Settlers as PVE card, equipment matter a lot, 17/20 --> The lost to botanist was du to crocosaur and not his passiv


      MonoSapphire "draw" deck, 8 PVE cards, 2 Empress, equipment matter, 18.5/20


      Wild/Diamond Big Life deck, 0 PVE card, equipment matter a very little, 17/20


      MonoDiamond "Aggro", 2 Form Ranks, equipment matter a lot, 17.5/20 (I really love to play this deck)


      Wild/Ruby Aggro/Midrange, 4 Hired horn Cutthroat, 4 Rune ear Hierophant, equipment matter a little, 18.5 --> The champ can be upgrade


      Ask for more PVE content, AZ3 and so on.
      The Arena is fine as "End Donjon"


      Edit : I have 0 Acorn
    • Eraia is exaggerating a bit, but he's ultimately right. Most Elite enemies and Hogarth aren't playing Hex.

      They're playing a game that shares some mechanics with Hex, but they're not playing the same game as us. We still have to play resources, draw cards, pay for cards, etc. They don't.

      So to beat them, you have to go non-interactive. My Illuminate deck wins by suddenly having 40 damage worth of Candlekin on the board for a single lethal swing, rather than attacking/blocking/trading like you'd actually expect to do.
    • No offense vic... but I could theoretically make the worst deck ever and have one successful run.

      Telling me you made it to 18 out of 20 doesn't tell me anything except that you got lucky one run with that deck. I want to know how that deck AVERAGES. How many times did you have to run that before you GOT that 18 out of 20? Was the 18 out of 20 your 400th run and the rest died before the end of tier 3?


      I had one deck, a transform deck, that I thought was doing well 'cause I made it to tier 4 and then had bad luck losses a few times and ended. But then I tried it a bunch more times and it ended in tier 2 each time. Guess it wasn't so good. But hey, I had a single 11/15(skipped tier 1) run with it so that's good enough right?

      The arena has some serious design flaws, even as an end dungeon.


      If WoW's hardest raid had two encounters who, each, had an ability that had the effect: "Kill all warlocks." that they used 25% of the time. That'd be bad design, even if everything else was good. I don't care if people who don't want to run warlocks love the encounters. They're still bad.

      That's basically what these hate encounters are. They're saying 'you have a % chance each run, if you choose to use x mechanic, of just auto-failing'. That's HORRIBLE design. It's just a mistake. Flat out. I don't care if people who don't want to do thematic decks that are the 'hated' types like the encounters... they're STILL bad design.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

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