FRA Roguelite

    • FRA Roguelite

      I believe that taking mostly existing tech already in the game, and combining them in a specific way, HxE can create a really rich and fun roguelite dungeon mode that will really appeal to a lot of players. The idea has been thrown a lot around here but I wanted to really formulate in detail what this can look like in Hex.

      So the core shell of the game will be similar to what we have with Frost Ring Arena. The major exception being your starting deck is given to you and that you get upgrades to your deck/character after key intervals.

      Step 1: Choose Your Champion
      When you launch a new run (there's a small gold or plat fee to enter), you will be given be given the choice between three different characters to play with. These characters basically are champions and decks that come with them, obviously following some kind of theme or archetype depending on the champion. Already for PvP champions we have something like 100+ options already available from the start. If you have Mercenaries in your collection, they also get added to the pool of possible champions/deck you can play with. The decks are optimized with rares/legendary so you get to play with all the best cards. Decks may have equipment applied to them if approapriate/necessary. The decks themselves are 40 cards decks with the core essentials that define the archetype.

      Replayability #1: 150+ different characters/prebuilt thematic decks to play with. With other ones added and potentially unlocked/earned when you play this mode. We have an existing history of top tier PvE and PvP decks so coming up with a varied list should really not take long.

      Step 2: Choose a New Passive
      After defeating the second encounter in the first tier you're given the choice between three new passive abilities. These abilities will really drastically change how you play and will have various levels of implications depending on what type of deck you chose in Step 1. While the pool of passives that you can get selections from is technically limitless, here are a few that I think will be interesting choices for a wide range of decks. I'm mostly choosing abilities that have already been programmed (from existing cards) in hopes this eases implementation. Here are a quick 20 to give you an idea (passive would be textbox):

      - Lord Blightbark
      - Shamrock, The Goldfather
      - Angel of Agony
      - Hap'ie, the High Hero
      - Hatchery Malvoker
      - Sylvan Performer
      - Blight Knight
      - Adamanthian Scrivener
      - Arena Regular
      - Highlands Shinobi
      - Periwinkle
      - Cyclone Shaper
      - Emberspire Witch
      - Wretched Brood
      - Sanctum of Suffering
      - Cerebral Domination
      - Arcane Alacrity
      - Academy of Cerulea
      - Zombie Plague
      - Twisted Fate

      Replayability #2: A new passive power will make sure that even if you're playing with the same deck/champion, it's going to be a whole new experience and it's unlikely you'll ever get to play with the same combination.

      Step 3: Add New Cards
      After defeating each mini boss in each tier, you get to add 4 cards to your deck (and extra shards are automatically added behind the scenes) from a selection of 3 choices. This essentially modifies the archetype to make it more balanced, more aggressive, has more finishers, or maybe you want to include some cards that would normally go to the reserves. So if you progress all the way through, you get to increase the deck size from 40 to 60 with your choices.

      Replayability #3: Besides allowing players to upgrade their decks, this provides alternative approaches to all the different decks and highlights how even a set archetype can look different based on deckbuilding approach.


      Step 4: Choose a Secondary Champion Power
      If you get to defeat the 2nd encounter in the second tier, you once again get 3 options, this time it's a secondary champion power that could really come in handy in certain encounters. Again, using existing cards that have already been programmed for these. Another 20 examples (champion power would apply the textbox, not the rest of the card):

      5: Brosi-Buk, Mischief Master
      6: Sophro's Gatekeeper
      8: Titan of Voktar
      4: Genesis Pool Leviathan
      Quick 4: Hyperborean Huntmaster
      3: Sight of the Sun
      8: Heartbreak
      7: Citadel of Adamanth
      5: Paired Power
      7: Drag to the Depths
      5: Something Borrowed
      5: Yetigeddon
      5: Mastery of Time
      7: Jubilant Desinty
      5: Parallel Realities
      6: Candlelight
      5: Primal Dawn
      4: Playtime
      4: Parallel Evolution
      5: Spirit Dance

      Replayability #4: So besides a new deck and new passive power and new cards, a fresh champion power allows even more new permutations, and gives room for truly crazy runs where you get very syngergetic effects and get to live the dream. It's like a potion of sorts that perhaps won't be useful in every encounter, but might get you out of a sticky situation.

      Step 5: Choose a Player Buff/ Opponent Debuff
      After defeating the second encounter in the third tier, you're given a choice of three buffs or debuffs for the opponent. These can be anything to modifying basic rules, to starting with a card in play, to changing some meta rules, to pretty much anything you can put your mind to:

      -Increase starting health by 5.
      -Start the game with one extra card in hand.
      -Start with 2 charges.
      -Opponent spells cost +1.
      -You get one free mulligan at the start of games.
      -A random card in your starting hand has cost -1
      -A random troop in your starting hand has Speed.
      -You always go first.
      -You start the game with a Daybreak in play.
      -You start the game with a Nightfall in play.
      -You start the game with a Captain's Parrot in play.
      -4 random cards in your opponent's deck get cost +2.
      -You get an extra life.
      -Start the game with a Cerebral Fulmination in play.

      Step 6: Choose a Second Passive
      After defeating the second opponent in the fourth tier, you get to choose from 3 new random passive mentioned in Step 2. Here perhaps you have a chance to receive more powerful passive (basically textbox of more expensive cards get added to the pool of possibilities).

      The above bonuses (passive, champion power, general buff/debuff) can technically be repeated and the run can be extended for as long as you'd wish, although I think it's probably wise to end it after 20 encounters to ensure it can be completed in one sit through and players can be put in the cycle of starting new runs frequently just like normal FRA.

      Rewards
      Since we are taking an entrance fee, the rewards should be quite substantial, especially if you managed to complete a run (for example can include a random PvP rare). Characters should drop here that give players access to new decks in the initial pool.Even finishing with no wins should reward the player with something - again, we're fine giving out cool prizes liberally as there was an entrance fee.

      Encounter Variety
      To keep encounters quite varied, we need a ton of different decks. For the earlier stages we can pull from AZ encounters and Sieges with low win rates. For the later stages we can take FRA 2.0 elites, dungeon bosses, Sieges with high win rates etc. Hexpvptools uses a specific way to group different decks (75% of the deck is the same) and maybe some kind of filtering like this can be done when generating the run, so opponent types can be varied. Maybe the 4th tier can be player-decks that actually completed this mode in the past, along with the passives that they had gotten.

      Progression
      Besides unlocking new characters, you also have the overall objective to try to beat the mode with as many characters as possible. Some basic stat page somewhere can track how many characters you've beaten the mode with. Once you defeat the run with a character, its removed from your starting pool. Can grant certain reward at certain milestones (completed with 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 characters/decks).

      What This Accomplishes
      -Highly replayable
      -Monetized PvE (100 plat entry or gold equivalent) seems fair
      -Easy to jump into (no complex deckbuilding screen or messing about with AH)
      -Can play with expensive cards and optimized decks (great to get a quick sense of all that's available).
      -Trying to complete with every character is basically a huge objective that would keep players busy for a looong time. And you can always add more.
      -Ideal to play on all platforms.
      -Introduces all the cool decks in the game, and teaches you deckbuilding for them.
      -Can appeal to fans of roguelite/roguelike games as well as players who enjoyed similar games like HS Dungeon runs/Slay the Spire.

      Not saying this is a 'build it out in a weekend' type of thing, but the idea is really to re-use a lot of existing tech to create what is essentially a whole new PvE game altogether. Something that is standalone and not overly confusing to get started with, and that could even have been launched on consoles as a 'new game'. For example Nintendo Switch is a particularly good place for roguelites and releasing this part of the game there for a fixed price ($40) and no entrance fee could be a neat way to market the game and get it the reviews/coverage it desperately needs.

      By taking the whole breadth of cards, decks, systems, loot, and different tech developed in Hex and congesting it all into a simple yet highly addicting mode...it can really provide a rich and easy to understand/digest experience not available anywhere else.
    • It's definitely a good idea. The similarities to Hearthstone's dungeon runs are obvious, and it's a really good game mode.

      I think you are underestimating the amount of work involved, though. In HS, all the starting decks and their 'card pack' bundles are tightly curated for a couple gameplay archetypes, which means that even their 9 champions (or 4 with the new Monster Hunt mode) are carefully tested and balanced. It'd be impossible to do the same thing for a larger number of champions without committing serious time and effort. Based on that, I wouldn't start off with special decks for every champion and/or mercenary. We're probably looking at 8-15 decks as a realistic starting point. New unlockable champions (and mercenaries) would be cool, but a significant addition to development time.

      Little worried about power disparity between various decks if we're pulling from existing content (FRA, campaign, PvP decks), but it should be possible to test and curate them into different tiers of difficulty. Takes a bit of time, but not an impossible task.

      Otherwise, though, yeah. Having a repeatable dungeon run is a good idea. FRA almost got there, but missed the mark because it allows players to play the same deck over and over. It's a better testing ground for deck construction than a PvE experience. Not sure about entry fee. I think I'd rather see it open play with rewards focused on expanding the content (like your suggested champion/merc unlockables), but that also would be more time consuming to develop. I'm just sick of seeing things gated behind entry fees, like I somehow need to earn things to make it worth my time. If HS's dungeon runs cost gold, I never would have gone back to do them. (In all fairness though, I haven't spent money on HS since before Kobolds & Catacombs came out, so maybe it's not a good business model :P) The way I see it, we paid to get the cards to play Hex with, so I don't see why PvE content should ever have an entry fee. (Alternatively, I'd be fine paying to unlock modes of PvE too. Did that with Hearthstone, even though their price per content was pretty much outrageous.)

      There's a lot of cool things that could be done or implemented with this idea, but unfortunately they'd all complicate the core concept and burden it with extra development time.
      Old username: Aradon | Collector backer | Starting a guild for Newbies -- "The Cerulean Acadamy" -- Taking applications once guilds are implemented
    • It's a clever core concept. I would suggest simplifying the initial implementation. Look at Slay the Spire, it got super popular off of only one champion. Not saying Hex should scale back that much... but...

      For initial I would suggest picking at most 6 options for starting champ.

      One for colourless, and enough different options to represent archetypes. Each shard SHOULD be represented within at least one of these. There should be at least one mono and at least one multi-shard.

      But... overall I really love the concept.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • You are also underestimating the difficulty of FRA. Only a very small amount of decks can fare well.

      Bootlace wrote:

      following some kind of theme or archetype depending on the champion
      This is where it will all fail. Apart from the Collector decks (and perhaps the D/R Ardent Valor deck) there hasn't been any thematic or archetypical deck in Hex. There is no "150+ decks" that can even beat FRA and most Sieges.

      Bootlace wrote:

      The decks themselves are 40 cards decks
      You don't mention anything about scripted encounters. Unless that happens, any mill encounter will be almost impossible.

      Bootlace wrote:

      After defeating each mini boss in each tier, you get to add 4 cards to your deck (and extra shards are automatically added behind the scenes) from a selection of 3 choices. This essentially modifies the archetype to make it more balanced, more aggressive, has more finishers, or maybe you want to include some cards that would normally go to the reserves. So if you progress all the way through, you get to increase the deck size from 40 to 60 with your choices.
      I trust that every card comes with all its equipment, right? Is it implied? Or are we only given a choice of cards that have no equipment?
    • Vroengard wrote:

      You are also underestimating the difficulty of FRA. Only a very small amount of decks can fare well.

      Bootlace wrote:

      following some kind of theme or archetype depending on the champion
      This is where it will all fail. Apart from the Collector decks (and perhaps the D/R Ardent Valor deck) there hasn't been any thematic or archetypical deck in Hex. There is no "150+ decks" that can even beat FRA and most Sieges.

      Bootlace wrote:

      The decks themselves are 40 cards decks
      You don't mention anything about scripted encounters. Unless that happens, any mill encounter will be almost impossible.

      Bootlace wrote:

      After defeating each mini boss in each tier, you get to add 4 cards to your deck (and extra shards are automatically added behind the scenes) from a selection of 3 choices. This essentially modifies the archetype to make it more balanced, more aggressive, has more finishers, or maybe you want to include some cards that would normally go to the reserves. So if you progress all the way through, you get to increase the deck size from 40 to 60 with your choices.
      I trust that every card comes with all its equipment, right? Is it implied? Or are we only given a choice of cards that have no equipment?
      The encounters won't be the same lineup as FRA 2.0 (explained in encounter variety). Also you're getting a powerful passive, additional champion power, and another buff.

      You can make 150 decks, they don't need to all be super unique or anything. Mercenary decks can all have their own twist, there's a ton of interesting decks in the FRA Tier list Nico is maintaining, and we have so many different decks from Hex's PvP history (think of how many different Standard decks we've had in Hex's history...they all can qualify even if they were some Block 1 constructed deck like Darkspire) . Some of these decks will have equipment, some won't - it'll likely depend on powerlevel of the deck and whether the deck needs the help or the deck needs the equipment to be functional.
    • Well, deck variety is going to be limited by a few factors. First off, mercenaries have deck construction requirements that could be flaunted by adding extra cards, sometimes in significant ways, like Corinth. Second, many mercenary decks are decidedly limited in what *should* be included in decks, making it difficult to present random card choices to them that would be a boon rather than hindrance. Third, deck size can be a big factor in how significant the evolving deck process is. Starting with 40 cards and working up to 60 or 80 is a good idea, but it doesn't exactly work with Jankbot or Corinth. And if a deck starts higher than 40 cards, adding cards to it becomes a less significant building process. It gets complicated when you introduce variety into a carefully constructed environment.

      I also think that card equipment should be rewards for various checkpoints. It's a PvE mode and everyone enjoys powering up their cards.
      Old username: Aradon | Collector backer | Starting a guild for Newbies -- "The Cerulean Acadamy" -- Taking applications once guilds are implemented
    • Obsidian wrote:

      I also think that card equipment should be rewards for various checkpoints. It's a PvE mode and everyone enjoys powering up their cards.
      Great idea.

      Also referring to your first post which I just saw, yes the deck balancing and upgrade paths would take more time to create than I probably let on. I was thinking perhaps this is an area that the community could help with. I'm thinking the weaker decks have more pieces of equipment and stronger upgrade cards (like Herofalls instead of Reaps for example). As you and Eraia said, probably wiser to start with a smaller pool of characters and slowly build up.

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

    • Good stuff Bootlace, some similar ideas that I had for Game Mode Idea: Endless Arena - Hex definitely needs to put something like this together, it would really be good for the game and would improve player retention with increased replayability, especially by leveraging player-made content from sieges and whatnot.
    • Actually in terms of balancing the pre-made decks, they don't need to be balanced against each other. The encounters need to be balanced against the specific deck you chose. So when pulling random encounters, it can pull tougher ones if the deck you chose is considered at a higher power level. This way many more decks (low tier/casual decks) can see the light of day and actually be enticing choices.