Incentives vs. Punishment

    • Incentives vs. Punishment

      I feel the efforts to balance PvE have been taken incredibly negatively by the community - but rightly so. The problem with balance in the way we've seen is there is an incredible number of ways people play a game as open as Hex. You have people who like the challenge of a puzzle, and you have people who want to solve the puzzle, those looking to make a quick profit to buy a card to make their deck more competitive outside of PvE, the person who just wants to clear the content - the completionist who wants to full clear the content with every class/race combo, the collector who wants to clear the content with every race four times for playsets of cards, the mindless grinders and so on and so forth. No one's going to be exclusively one of these categories - but the problem is when you see behavior in one group spread to the others and take action against that behavior.

      The reason this is a problem - first off you're punishing players which will cause them to respond negatively to the change, secondly your change can at most change one aspect of one playstyle - at most, and worse case is they find a substitution and carry on while everyone else gets punished. Most importantly Hex is a game, and games should be fun - punishments are not fun. Not to mention I have felt by and large Hex is a very creative and amazing endeavor - changing a card to make it worse feels like a super lazy solution to a problem you didn't even have. If players are going to speed through content and farm - that's just what they're going to do, a nerf will not stop them, it will encourage them to build a different deck - and there's not just one of us, we are many and we will find a deck that suits our playstyle. When "The" deck is nerfed, the search for the next deck leads to many many brews that culminate in more "problems". When the One card in a deck is all you can interact with your hands are tied - it's unfortunate it seems for the majority of players who would use that card as intended but it's just a casualty to the war for balance. If only there was another way.

      Another Way.
      Incentives are a powerful motivator - a convolutor - and naturally encourage interesting and dynamic gameplay. Speed running is a Huge aspect of gaming and discouraging it hurts your game, you don't need to reward it but disallowing it is a negative. They motivate players to meet goals, completing a task and being rewarded is a fundamental aspect of role playing games and at the moment the only goal we are given is to win - as you've seen disallowing players to do something is unfun, for example not being able to deal non-combat damage, or use constants or artifacts in an encounter will be met with negativity, however giving a Bonus reward for not gaining life would encourage the behavior without negating a fun aspect of the game. The reward doesn't even have to be something of value to be a motivator, achievements for example, or non-transferable rewards like sleeves or battleboards (for extremely challenging goals) would be great incentives. Rewards are a convolutor in the sense that the "solution" to the puzzle becomes harder to ascertain, the minimum requirements to meet a goal are obfuscated by numerous goals - there won't be a Best deck, provided the challenges are varied and engaging. All punishments should absolutely be Opt-In. You could for example after clearing campaign choose for a new character to Not have the ability to heal, or include artifacts in their deck etc. for a challenge - and upon completion a reward. Never get salty - we're not beating the game in ridiculous ways to "optimize the fun out of it" so please don't take it personally, you've created something that transcended your intent - be proud and embrace the absurd!*

      Furthermore it's not done yet - campaign I hope will become more difficult as more content is released, unless you intend for cards to become considerably more powerful as the game progresses don't be too upset when your early content is "solved". We put a lot of time, effort, and love into building our decks and the only response we've seen to that is nerfs, playing your game well is punished - more importantly investing in cards to play your game well is punished.

      If I could I would undo every nerf made to PvE, Xocoy's combat damage restriction, Ethereal Healer's diamond threshold requirement, the Vilefang Eremite equipment to trigger more than once a turn (provided the servers handle it in a way that doesn't lead to crashing), the Slaughtergear's blatant over-nerf, The Crowd Roars! cost reduction effects, all of it, even the warrior class gem change. To those who say "oh no this is too strong we can't have that mechanic in PvE where no ones feelings get hurt when we destroy the opponent utterly" - No, PvE isn't finished yet we're still in the "early game" and get over yourself - just because you don't like it doesn't mean everyone else can't have fun. If the content is too easy for the power level of cards - make harder content. Stop with this flat negation of archetypes even if it's just one encounter, stop making the AI cheat by starting with cards in play. You're better than that - I believe you can create something More interesting to solve the problems, if you want help I'd be glad to work with you to design interesting and engaging encounters but please stop making something great Worse. You cannot future proof everything, adding words like "combat damage" to triggered effects is not going to stop players from finding ways to break them, it's going to make the ways cards interact less interesting. We can make the game better, we can make the game more engaging, we can do better. Don't think we don't see the work you put into the game looking forward that's positive, by the way, for example "each opposing champion". You're doing good stuff, and I'm not angry about anything, my expectations are just based on what I've seen from you guys. I know what you're capable of and have great hope for Hex in the future :)

      Here's an example of an incentive system you could implement to encourage interesting gameplay, gold multipliers for - reaching turn X on this encounter, ending the game with a common uncommon and rare card in play, ending the game with an equipped and unequipped card in play, dealing enough damage to end the game with your opponent at negative life >= their starting life, ending the game with double your initial life total, not gaining life, not dealing non-combat damage, not playing a constant or artifact, not playing a troop, playing 10 or more troops, playing 10 or more non-troops, never blocking, block every attack. Dungeonwide/Tierwise rewards - doing any of those for the entire dungeon/tier (in FRA), complete every node in a dungeon, complete the fewest possible nodes in a dungeon, personal best clear time for a dungeon/tier, personal best clear Turns for a dungeon/tier, complete a dungeon/tier without any rare/legendary cards in your deck, with 4 or fewer equipment, with 2 or fewer equipment, without equipment, while Fully equipped, win a game without playing any cards, win without shards in your deck, win on turn 1, mulligan down to 0 cards.

      Consider this, seasonal PvE bans. Explicitly temporary bans in PvE to encourage deck diversity - we don't want our cards to become permanently worse, if it's a problem put it on an alternating banlist, if it's only broken With another card - have them alternate with each other, You can have Either slaughtergear's replicator or slaughtergear's reaver in a given season (as an example). They become worse - you're happy - we get to use our cards at full power - we're happy. On that note - there's no way the "intent" for slaughtergears was for the Uncommon to be the best of the set - with the legendary being the worst. The Crowd Roars! was an amazing action - that now can't be used in an Action based deck... Ethereal Healer? Even in a mono diamond health gain deck it can't be used in the way it was before despite the fact that it would be in the deck it was originally meant to be played it. Absolutely starting in play is a powerful effect, and an interesting effect, and an amazing example of how Hex is unique and interesting in a digital environment. It was everything that made Hex great! Don't ruin that!

      *For at least as long as it doesn't negatively affect other players.

      TLDR; Quick permanent solutions to temporary problems are lazy and boring, be fun and creative, make us not Want to optimize to absurdity, and even if we do, instead of saying "No." make it less profitable than playing the game the way you want. It will work, and we'll love you for it.
    • Artifaction wrote:

      for example not being able to deal non-combat damage, or use constants or artifacts in an encounter will be met with negativity, however giving a Bonus reward for not gaining life would encourage the behavior without negating a fun aspect of the game
      I disagree, I find it fun and rewarding when I win the "prevent non-combat damage" with a mono ruby deck


      Artifaction wrote:

      Here's an example of an incentive system you could implement to encourage interesting gameplay, gold multipliers for - reaching turn X on this encounter, ending the game with a common uncommon and rare card in play, ending the game with an equipped and unequipped card in play, dealing enough damage to end the game with your opponent at negative life >= their starting life, ending the game with double your initial life total, not gaining life, not dealing non-combat damage, not playing a constant or artifact, not playing a troop, playing 10 or more troops, playing 10 or more non-troops, never blocking, block every attack
      That's a nice idea, I like it, but it can't be instead of the "hate" mechanic we have because the "hate" mechanic is a puzzle and we need to solve that.
      The rewarding system is a good idea I think and can be in addition.

      By the way it's funny how everyone is "talking" about the puzzle of the Frost Ring Arena but not talking about the encounter of the Hexlantean king.



      Artifaction wrote:

      Consider this, seasonal PvE bans. Explicitly temporary bans in PvE to encourage deck diversity - we don't want our cards to become permanently worse, if it's a problem put it on an alternating banlist, if it's only broken With another card - have them alternate with each other, You can have Either slaughtergear's replicator or slaughtergear's reaver in a given season (as an example)
      And I'm sure that everyone who want to revert the nerf will cry out loud about this if this happend

      Artifaction wrote:

      I feel the efforts to balance PvE have been taken incredibly negatively by the community - but rightly so
      I disagree, we only see the one that complain. That's why I post because I like so far the work that is done for the PVE part. I hope AZ3 come soon but I'm ok with the time they need because I think it will be awesome.
      About the nerf of the differents cards I honestly don't care, their is more than enough card to play with and the card that was nerf are still good.

      Artifaction wrote:

      more importantly investing in cards to play your game well is punished.
      Hex never ask their player to buy PVE cards, you (or other player) buy them to other player. They can't know who buy what, they don't do it on purpose


      Overall I like the Arena and the campaign. I agree that some encounter in the arena need a little adjustment but I think it's a good "end game content" we have at the moment.
      I never feel punished for playing in the Arena (in fact I feel punish again Elite hogarth but that the only one) and enjoy it a lot.