Raid thoughts

    • Raid thoughts

      I was cleaning the house yesterday and reorganized my WoWTCG collection and leafed through Magtheridon's Lair and Icecrown Citadel raid decks again. I thought about the fundamental differences in such a raid experience and what we are likely to get PvE wise.

      I remember early on there was discussion of, "Don't worry about Sliver of the Immortal Spear trivializing raids! Some CAN'T be killed by damage!"

      Boy. Sliver of the Immortal. I haven't won with that one in forever. But have you SEEN the bidness out there now? The speed and ferocity of these decks? Terrormill alone. Cripes.

      Will all raid bosses have damage per turn caps? Unmillable? Stages? How do you beat terrormill and shaper mill and enter the dream and monoblood? Is sapphire going to come up against uninterruptibles nonstop?

      One of the things that made WoW raids work so well was the synergy inherent in the classes and cards. There's not really any heal all friendly players or each ally cards. I think those are more important for raids than each opponent. My Draenor Shaman brought mad heals to the group and we had a mage DPS, but there's not really any crossplayer interactivity. We are very much MTG geared over WoW.

      So how do you balance a raid to not be trivial but also not be an unmillable, armor 20, spellshielded broken passive effect beast with 10 copies of path through oblivion in their deck? There's so much groundwork to be laid before that even becomes feasible to transition. WoW gave the feeling of boss vs. group. As it stands, it's going to be boss vs. three high powered single player decks.
    • Well one way to make raids more interesting would be to include goals beyond just killing it.

      Maybe killing the raid boss gets you some gold and experience, but the loot is attached to different conditions that means you can't just steamroll the boss with completely non-interactive gameplay styles. Think of the Hag encounter in AZ1. It's pretty easy to kill the Hag, but if you want the loot, you have to revert the frog at some point during the fight.

      There could even be some sort of achievement checklist. Where the only way to get the best loot is to completely check off every item on the list. And you can make it such that it is impossible for a single deck to get all the checklists. In which case, you will have to coordinate with your friends to figure out who will try for which goals. A possible list of conditions that would be impossible for one deck to achieve, but would be possible with teamwork:
      • Win the game with less than 10 life
      • Win the game with double your starting life
      • Win the game without having played or summoned any troops.
      • Win the game with 10 troops in play.


      Overall, with particular goals in mind beyond killing it, something like this would encourage deck diversity, communication among raid partners, and actually engaging with a boss while you achieve those conditions.
    • Those are some very valid points Arcanyx but it would also completely negate the boss vs. group feel Monthieu was talking about.
      At the moment I don't really know how PvE can be redeemed without redoing it from scratch.
      Some of the lvl 15 campaign heroes are already unstoppable grinding machines that either win any encounter by turn 3, gain so much live they'll never ever care about even blocking and so on. We are only in AZ2 and already encounters need to have some wacky hard counter mechanics to be even remotely challenging.
      And that's really the mess HXE is in as well - they put a lot of effort into designing those adventure zones, they are very polished with cool and interesting encounters only to get steamrolled the day they are released...
    • Some bosses having their own deck grids could be interesting. Maybe different deckbuilding rules for raid bosses could be neat?

      I mean, I've been thinking about my Vennen cleric. I can crap 200 spider eggs into a deck and gain 100 life in 4-5 turns. It's highly effective, but...it's not playing a cleric. Maybe blessing could have wording changed to target ally gains life. That'd be nice.

      I like Arcanyx's challenge ideas. They're neat. I'd very much like something like that just to add a bit more to the experience.

      I feel that maybe a raid encounter would have to include multiple stages, maybe even with player board wipes in between. Maybe not even hard wipes, just like I remember when Magtheridon breaks free in that raid deck he's got this 10 damage universal nova countdown that is real effective in setting things back in his favor. And there's things you can do to keep it from going off. It's like its own mini-quest during the raid.
    • It would add another layer of deck building complexity, but the solution I thought of could be interesting.

      Have the raid only be playable with pre-constructed decks, like the dueling grounds on the PS4.

      Then, either through wins against raid bosses or some sort of Stronghold Experience system, you can upgrade to swap cards in the pre-constructed decks.

      Enough upgrades and you can bring your own deck in.

      Maybe even make it so that the number of swapped cards is proportional to a decreased amount of experience for gaining new upgrades, if you want to keep it worth playing the original challenge.

      The fixed decks can be explained in the Lore by having the raids be us reliving ancient battles and events. Either through Entity shenanigans, Coyotle magic, or some other distortion. The upgrades are us learning to alter the fabric of reality to bring ourselves through, rather than inhabiting another being.

      Edit: Conversely, instead of a debuff to experience for each swapped card, grab a buff to rewards for each swappable space NOT used. That way we can try and make the most efficient decks while still keeping the raid challenging.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Darklight: I dislike game mechanics that punish, rather than reward. ().

    • ReluxTheRelux wrote:

      Darklight wrote:

      Have the raid only be playable with pre-constructed decks, like the dueling grounds on the PS4.
      Actually this could be interesting if these pre conctructed decks were some kind of loot that could be traded/sold too.(cards in the decks would only affect raid and not be added to your collection)
      And what do you use the rest of your pve collection for, I assume at some stage one would get to create any deck they wanted?

      Restrictions are nice for some, they like the challenge but for others that want freedom to do their own thing it's not so good...
    • Back when I kickstarted this game, I assumed Hex knew how they were going to handle this. Now I assume I was wrong. I don't have a good solution, but I think deck building restrictions and a variety of harsh environmental effects can create a small number of raids. Things like forcing a singleton deck construction can make a deck much less dominant, and environmental effects like, "Spells cost +2 to cast" or Mad Aradam's "50% chance to put spells back in your hand when cast" can strongly interfere with a single player's ability to reliably handle a fight.

      There are only so many things you can do to hamstring decks, though, and a generic checklist of 'hard-mode penalties' that are applied to all raid encounters isn't good design (considering someone will find the deck that can beat any given parameters anyways). I don't think there's a good solution to this problem, not with the power level that Hex is pushing, especially in PvE.

      Biggest thing I can think of, though, is that the most oppressive decks with the highest potential are combo decks that reuse the same pieces a lot, so enforcing singelton deckbuilding requirements for best loot is almost guaranteed, in my opinion.
      Old username: Aradon | Collector backer | Starting a guild for Newbies -- "The Cerulean Acadamy" -- Taking applications once guilds are implemented
    • I have this weird thing that would be neat but would never happen do to the need to implement it, and I'm trying to think of the game I saw it in...

      Guild of Dungeoneering! There it is.

      Okay, what if the equipment was our deck? Like, say that Conflagration handguards puts 4 burn, 4 crimson clarity, 2 burn to the ground, etc. into your deck until your deck is made up of what you need. 6 equips at 10 each? Synergy bonuses? And it could create like raid specific cards. Like group heals or group buffs and that sort of thing. No need to shoehorn it into AZ packs and you can get the right raid level.

      The equipment synergy idea seems to have been abandoned early. I'd like that kind of deal. Half precon, half collection.

      EDIT: Also, let's you get raid specific equipment loot so you can chase those oranges? And it gives out normal campaign/arena PvE awards for as to why you would do the raids. Maybe best to just make it its own mode instead of trying to bend things around it?

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

    • This is also probably an unpopular opinion, but I think that raids should have a limited entry per day/week/whatever. Even if raids are significantly difficult, eventually players will find the deck/combo/process to win, and will then farm it to oblivion. If we want raids to feel special, their loot should probably be limited artificially. Perhaps players could get loot from dungeons that let them buy more entries. (Maybe craft? But that would grant a way to simply buy more entries, which I would like to avoid.)

      Or maybe have a regular version, and an epic version with some serious difficulty modifiers, with the real loot behind the epic version. At least that way people can get unlimited multiplayer PvE for fun, and also practice lots of parts of the encounter without giving up their opportunity to get the good loot.
      Old username: Aradon | Collector backer | Starting a guild for Newbies -- "The Cerulean Acadamy" -- Taking applications once guilds are implemented
    • If you have fixed raids, the encountered will get 'figured out' pretty quickly and some min-maxed net decks are going to blow through that just like they have through the 'semi-fixed' FRA 2.0. The solution to this is offering encounter unpredictability. You can't specifically tune a deck against a certain encounter if you don't know what you'll be up against.

      That's why I think if they manage to setup the player generated Keeps idea, they can eventually make a version so players can also craft Raid encounters (and people who wanna raid are given a random Raid encounter amongst the thousands generated). There will be a item/slot in the player generated Raid decks that allow them some very powerful effect like: "At the end of turn, each opposing champion sacrificies a troop" or maybe some passive like "Each opposing player may only play one card per turn" or "1-Shot: if you would die, instead gain 20 life, draw 7 cards, destroy all troops, each opposing champions discards 6 cards". You have enough of these type of effects, added with all the other customization, and players will be forced to make balanced decks to handle all situations and this will result in a much more exciting planning/cooperation/gameplay experience imo.
    • I think player Keeps will be really cool, but I really don't believe in Hex's AI sufficiently to take a player-built deck and run it effectively. Anything players build will be no worse than FRA, in my opinion.

      I suppose you could make a player 'qualify' a deck first by making it run through the FRA undefeated or something similar, so that you have to bring a generic deck to a Raid, though I'd prefer the raid itself be decoupled from the qualifying process as a prerequisite or that gives you some kind of 'entrance ticket for X deck' rather than a pre-event test.


      I guess they could also adopt a rotating or ever-growing ban-list for that raid, but that just rewards players who have the initial period available and screws everyone late to the party. Might be a neat mechanic for one specific raid boss though, like a Borg raid :P
      Old username: Aradon | Collector backer | Starting a guild for Newbies -- "The Cerulean Acadamy" -- Taking applications once guilds are implemented
    • The AI is my big concern. I have a LOT of great, fun decks that I'd like for people to play against in my keeps. I have 3 the AI can handle. AI doesn't know how to properly value things in every deck. We'd need like a...FFXII Gambit style system to program our own AI. And like hell they'll get that in the game.
    • Monthieu wrote:

      The AI is my big concern. I have a LOT of great, fun decks that I'd like for people to play against in my keeps. I have 3 the AI can handle. AI doesn't know how to properly value things in every deck. We'd need like a...FFXII Gambit style system to program our own AI. And like hell they'll get that in the game.
      Can you seriously imagine the current AI trying to properly play decks made by us? Therein lies a big part of the problem with PVE and a (the?) probable reason why it's been delegated to retention rather than bringing in new players, it's just not good enough and realistically cannot be with the depth of even the current card pool let alone what else will be added in future. I honestly believe this is why PVE is what it is and FRA 2.0 is the only direction HXE can go (questionable AI with big perks/starting bonuses) as a result....the smart AI (most advanced TCG AI ever created - kickstarter) that can play the game properly and provide a real challenge can not and will not exist in Hex.

      I'm wrong, right?