Reworking Racial Starter decks to kick major butt

    • Reworking Racial Starter decks to kick major butt

      Should the Racial Starter Decks be reworked? 72
      1.  
        Yes (63) 88%
      2.  
        No (7) 10%
      3.  
        Other (post below to share) (2) 3%
      Hi Guys,
      I challenge HEX to make the game more enjoyable for new players by reworking the campaign starter decks.
      The reason is with all the great added mechanics, it would be awesome to wrap them up with a pretty bow and deliver it as a package to new players to give them a taste of what HEX has to offer.
      Also, give everyone a better building block to start with - equipment to see, a deck that can win throughout almost every encounter in AZ1 without tweaks.

      Here is my proposition:
      • 20 Common non-resources
      • 16 Uncommon non-resources
      • No more than 2x of a single uncommon (Shard Grid Restriction) (Promotes trading for more)
      • No more than 2x of a single common (Shard Grid Restriction) (Promotes trading for more)
      • 20-26 Troops (roughly)
      • 2-6 Constants (roughly)
      • 8-12 Actions (roughly)
      • 18 basic resources
      • 6 common non-basic resources (2 Coins of each threshold, 2 Primal Prisms)
      • Racial Focus
      • 3 Equipment pieces for cards in the deck (at common/uncommon rarity)
      • Only PvP cards - No PvE cards - They can earn those to have fun with deck tuning
      • Unique interactions that encourage collection expansion (like Conscript / Random card creation)
      • Tuned deck around themes
      • Some Combat Tricks
      • Curve matters deckbuilding (appropriate 1,2,3,4,5+ drops)
      • Only sets 3-6 - Constructed Playable
      • Shares the complexity of HEX early on, in easy yet deep decks mechanically
      • Teaches players familiarity with the deck and various mechanics. More properly ramping them up for PVP experiences
      Overall, the idea is to find out what, and if new players are struggling with the current decks, and if they "feel" right. Is the progression or lack of explanation of how they are expected to progress such a limiting factor, that new racial starters should be designed to nudge them further along?

      Here are my deck concepts for all races:
      Ardent:
      Coyotle - Conscript Prophecy
      Elf - Ramp Valor
      Human - Tricks and Evasion
      Orc - Rage Aggro

      Underworld:
      Dwarf - Dreadling Artifacts
      Necrotic - Sockets Shift
      Shin'Hare - Conscript Scrounge
      Vennen - Spider Control

      Now is the right time: HEX knocked it out of the park with Set 6, and we finally have robust enough mechanics and synergy to easily make this happen.

      The post was edited 5 times, last by NicoSharp ().

    • Hi Nico, while I think the concept is intriguing, I would also say that one has to take care not to overload and confuse a newbie that just started HEX with tons of different mechanics. Sure, you can highlight some unique mechanics but I wouldn't just stuff 9 different card mechanics into a newbie's deck. Maybe 2-3 different mechanics should suffice.
    • i dont think they really need a rework.
      i mean, you can easily go trhough the encounters you have to fight before editing your deck.
      you have all what you need for a deck, troops, actions, combattricks.
      okay the racial focus could be better, but how do we manage this for all 8 races with only 200 cards?
      I dont know if hex wants to give much more new cards to everyone just starting.

      I agree with largashbur, too. Too many mechanics arent good for guys, who are playing there first TCG ever!
      sometimes less is more Nico ;)

      An when you make the decks much more better than now (so i can make the whole az1 with it? oO), noone is learning to improve his deck.

      Yes i think equipment could be added, but also here i think it would be too much input for newbies.
      We already get free equipment at several points in the campaing that fits perfectly to you racial cards you have in the deck!
      Here you are at level 2-3 and learn how to use equip, its okay or not?
      Why should be everything avaible from the beginning?
      Dinglers are the best race on Entrath!
    • Largashbur wrote:

      Hi Nico, while I think the concept is intriguing, I would also say that one has to take care not to overload and confuse a newbie that just started HEX with tons of different mechanics. Sure, you can highlight some unique mechanics but I wouldn't just stuff 9 different card mechanics into a newbie's deck. Maybe 2-3 different mechanics should suffice.
      This is a reasonable point.


      I am 100% in favour of reworking the started decks. They are in desperate need of it as they do an AWFUL job of showcasing what makes Hex special. I do think they need to be kept fairly toned down in terms of the mechanics they focus on.

      For me, I'd say:

      Human:
      Inspire, Diligence and Mobilize(those three work so well together in my eyes)

      Dwarf:
      Plans and Diligence

      Necrotic:
      Shift and Crypt Interaction

      Coyotle:
      Prophecy, Mobilize and Quick

      Vennen:
      Spider Eggs and Deck Destruction




      I also think one thing that would go a HUGE way to making the starter dungeon experience more fun.... have your 'escort' character enter the fray automatically on turn x where x is their resource cost during each encounter of the dungeon.
      (ex. Gareth enters at the start of your third turn, while Zilth would be at the start of your fourth turn)

      Sure it'd make it easy, but we're not looking to challenge people with the STARTER dungeon. We're looking to give them a fun TCG experience and show off some of what makes the game special.


      Amostephil wrote:

      you can easily go trhough the encounters you have to fight before editing your deck.
      You can, but the decks are REALLY boring. Like, absurdly. They are the #1 reason we get a lot of people who play the game for an hour, go 'oh it's just a copy of MTG' and quit. Because, from your first view looking at the starter decks... it IS a copy of MTG. When we give people cards like 'Frigid Buffalo' and then say 'oh look how unique the game is'... of course people aren't going to believe us!
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • All solid feedback.

      I thought some more about this, and have some additional things that should likely be considered as well when building these decks:
      • Another reason and need is that constructed has rotated, the playable pool for standard has changed, the new racial starters should be playable (although horrible) in constructed. So, a new player can get their feet wet, without investment, in any game mode.
      • In regards to mechanics - not everything I mentioned, specifically for the Dwarf Starter, was a "unique set defined mechanic", some of it was synergy with the sum of it's parts. Now, giving players vanilla cards with very little text is fine, but for the most part, they are going to have to read the cards anyways, and as long as the deck functions as a whole, the purpose is served. I like the suggestion of a Human deck focused on Mobilize/Diligence/Valor. (Inspire would have to be cut because its set1/set2)
      • We have to remember that some classes were not heavily featured across set 3 and set 4, for example, ignoring rarity, Human only has 12 playable cards. 7 after taking out legendary and rare.
      • Clearing PvE content should be more about the players familiarity with the deck early on, and not to force them to edit the deck. Frankly, there are not enough in-game supporting tools to make it easy for all free players to learn how to trade and improve their deck. Giving those players a stronger base would be beneficial.
      • The alternative to avoiding set1 and set2 in the Racial starter decks, is to use the cards from the racial starter decks to make 3-4 solid constructed playable decks from the card pool granted for free. This could easily morph into a supported Yotul - Orc (B/R), Josephina - Ardent (D/R), Ivan Slagpot - Dreadling (S/W), and Kagulichu - Shin'Hare + Vennen Control (B/W)


      Overall, the idea is to find out what, and if new players are struggling with the current decks, and if they "feel" right. Is the progression or lack of explanation of how they are expected to progress such a limiting factor, that new racial starters should be designed to nudge them further along.

      Are we discounting the intelligence of new players joining to try the game? Should we limit the interactions they get to read and experiment with early?

      Here is a rework of a more limited less interaction human build "concept":
      hex.tcgbrowser.com/#!/deck=206078
      For the purposes of discussion, why do you think I use this combination of cards for the deck? There is a specific reason for each card here, as both an education tool, and to show off fun cards and mechanics in the game the player may not otherwise see. What cards show which? I'm not spelling it out, but I want people to see why I am deliberately thinking this way.

      Again, thanks for your input.
    • NicoSharp wrote:

      Are we discounting the intelligence of new players joining to try the game? Should we limit the interactions they get to read and experiment with early?

      Here is a rework of a more limited less interaction human build "concept":
      hex.tcgbrowser.com/#!/deck=206078
      For the purposes of discussion, why do you think I use this combination of cards for the deck? There is a specific reason for each card here, as both an education tool, and to show off fun cards and mechanics in the game the player may not otherwise see. What cards show which? I'm not spelling it out, but I want people to see why I am deliberately thinking this way.
      It's not so much that we're discounting their intelligence, rather that Hex is an extremely complex game, and there's a LOT to digest right off the start as it is. Giving them an extremely complex deck, could be a bit of a turnoff given that.

      That being said, I like that deck you've built there. I think it's got a very clear focus and it will teach a lot.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

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

      You can, but the decks are REALLY boring. Like, absurdly. They are the #1 reason we get a lot of people who play the game for an hour, go 'oh it's just a copy of MTG' and quit.
      Ah, but there's the rub. Starter decks aren't really made for people that have played Magic before. They need to be simple enough for someone that has no TCG experience at all.

      Take that first Human deck that Nico posted, for example. It's a noble effort, to be sure, but there are zero blank troops in that deck (that is, troops with no text. Others might use the term "vanilla" here). Learning the basics of how to play cards, or how the different card types work, or especially how combat works can be daunting enough without also throwing in a bunch of card text to learn. Even past the tutorial, a good starter should have a decent number of blank troops in it to make sure the player can focus on learning those basics, as well as understanding the handful of cards that do have text. Oh, and all the PvE systems. There's that to learn too, I suppose.

      Now, that's not saying that the player should never be able to get their hands on a more complicated deck. It's just something that should happen down the road, after the player has gotten more familiar with the game. Interestingly enough, HEX has the potential to do this in a very, very cool way, but it's an approach that would likely take some amount of engineering and UI work, and that doesn't exactly grow on trees.
    • okay nico, they dont look bad, every deck with a theme and very racial.
      but now we are above the 200 cards HEX wants to give new players to start with, i dont know if we can expect to expand the amount of free cards everyone gets?

      And coming with this not many cards are in more than one deck, so you have to learn every race a whole deck new! Is this good?
      At the moment you can play elves, shinhare and coyotl and know the half of the cards from the race before.
      Is it good to show so much new ones every race? For TCG veterans for sure, for TCG newbies? i dont know :(

      And than the card Lyric chanter: i mean, is it really good to have a card in starter deck, that can give you cards you can never play? I mean, how will the newbie feel if the chanter gives him ALWAYS the diamond/blood or sapphire chant and he never see the prism?
      But thats the only real problematic card i can see right now, perhaps i need more time to look at it ;)
      Dinglers are the best race on Entrath!
    • Amostephil wrote:

      okay nico, they dont look bad, every deck with a theme and very racial.
      but now we are above the 200 cards HEX wants to give new players to start with, i dont know if we can expect to expand the amount of free cards everyone gets?

      And coming with this not many cards are in more than one deck, so you have to learn every race a whole deck new! Is this good?
      At the moment you can play elves, shinhare and coyotl and know the half of the cards from the race before.
      Is it good to show so much new ones every race? For TCG veterans for sure, for TCG newbies? i dont know :(

      And than the card Lyric chanter: i mean, is it really good to have a card in starter deck, that can give you cards you can never play? I mean, how will the newbie feel if the chanter gives him ALWAYS the diamond/blood or sapphire chant and he never see the prism?
      But thats the only real problematic card i can see right now, perhaps i need more time to look at it ;)
      I'm of the opinion that yes, we should be showcasing the difference between races right off the bat. Make people feel like the pve really is an rpg, of sorts, that just uses cards in stead of other stuff. Since we don't have distinct starting zones(as content is the hardest thing to produce), distinct starting decks that actually play differently is a really good way to do that.

      And I think it is actually primarily for completely new players that we should be doing it. A TCG vet may understand that they don't want to give away too many cards, but a brand new player who steps in is going to EXPECT that when they pick a different race things change significantly. Right now, they don't. The colour of the cards changes, but the actual effects? Not much. We get a lot of similar cards with different art.

      I do agree that Chanter is a bad card to give to a new player for exactly the reason you spell out though.


      TheGreatLionII wrote:

      Ah, but there's the rub. Starter decks aren't really made for people that have played Magic before. They need to be simple enough for someone that has no TCG experience at all.
      Not exactly. Starter decks are what everyone sees as their first impression of the game(since it's a fairly safe assumption the majority of people who play the game will try the free PvE first). They kind of need to do three things:

      1) Teach a player how to play.
      2) Show a player what makes the game special.
      3) Give people room to grow.

      Right now, they kind of do #1, and they DEFINITELY do #3. But they absolutely do not do #2. It's possible that Nico's concept decks are reducing #3 somewhat, however since the shard grid will change as they level and pve cards will become a part of their collection, I don't think that's the biggest concern. Nico's decks definitely do #1 since they're very thematic and have only a few different mechanics to pay attention to per deck, at least the ones I've looked at. They do a great job of #2 since they show off a lot of the unique mechanics that make Hex special. And I think #1 and #2 are far more important, in a lot of ways, than #3.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • Maybe Chant themed was a bit too ambitious for Elf - With swapping exactly 6 cards, I can convert it to Ramp + Valor easily. (4 chants/2 chanters)

      Vanilla cards might be great for other games, but are few and far between in HEX. Looking across all cards in set 5 and set 6, there are only a few handful's of cards completely free of any text. The complexity and interactivity of HEX should be a highly marketed selling point.

      A starting 200 cards was simply an early selling point, but is just an arbitrary number. We don't grab new players for the long haul by giving them a sub-par 200 cards they can not even play with any longer in constructed. Even if every-single card was unique in the decks I created, you would still only be giving players:

      12x Common non-basic lands
      160x Commons
      128x Uncommons
      0x Rare
      0x Legendary
      0x Promo

      A total of exactly 300 PvP cards.

      I want to get this conversation started, and try to promote it as much as I can ASAP, because I feel like this is severely lacking now, and HEX is in a great position now to retain new players.
    • I think the basic theme of each deck will also set people much more into the character. A bunch of vanilla cards may be simple to use but why would vennen a deceptive and generally physically weak race have a bunch of vanilla beaters?

      The whole theme deck idea for all the races is genius if you ask me and if i was a new player it would grab me as opposed to making me feel like there are no playable cards in the entire bunch of 200 i get now. I mean its hard to sell people on the fact that the game is in fact f2p friendly when the base decks are so painfully bland and apathetic that you should probably swap out almost every single card as soon as possible.
    • Just a note that I spent a lot of time on this, and am trying to plug it because there were 3 brand new players complaining in general chat about how hard the PvE was and how the decks and cards they got did not feel useful to help them progress. They were also complaining about the frost ring arena, which I feel these decks also give stronger jumping points to beat that content as well. I strongly feel, the core of the decks I presented can breeze through all of AZ1, even with answers for Wiktor built in (I think all have answers for Wiktor Spitfire).

      I challenge people to present their own starter deck concepts and builds. Maybe if we do the leg work for HXE, we can see a change happen faster, that new players will enjoy and hopefully grow our playerbase.
    • One game introduction that I think worked well and might be possible to use here is the introduction to the game Mardek. The very first thing that happens in the game is a dream sequence of the main character as a child - In the dream you are as powerful as you will eventually become for long enough to hook the player in. Then you wake up and you have all the equipment/experience you would expect to have at the start of the game. I don't know how this would play out differently, but the Gnoll fight in AZ2 shows that something like this is possible.
    • NicoSharp wrote:

      Just a note that I spent a lot of time on this, and am trying to plug it because there were 3 brand new players complaining in general chat about how hard the PvE was and how the decks and cards they got did not feel useful to help them progress. They were also complaining about the frost ring arena, which I feel these decks also give stronger jumping points to beat that content as well. I strongly feel, the core of the decks I presented can breeze through all of AZ1, even with answers for Wiktor built in (I think all have answers for Wiktor Spitfire).

      I challenge people to present their own starter deck concepts and builds. Maybe if we do the leg work for HXE, we can see a change happen faster, that new players will enjoy and hopefully grow our playerbase.
      I mean, I've commented on this issue for years now, I'm glad to see more people starting to recognize it, especially someone with as much 'clout' around here as you.

      The starter dungeon is painful to go through, and the starter decks are so boring that I have never wanted to use one for even a single encounter.

      Thank you for bringing this up - it's a discussion that really DOES have a lot of value.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • I would definitely like to see these changes made as the starter decks we have right now are just painfully bad and don't do anything to draw the player in. I am not sure if how well I would do trying to make my own versions but I will play around with it later and if I like what I make I will post it :)
    • It seems a fine initiative to me, though I would say that as well as agreeing with all the above perspectives (how decisive! ^^ ), I think the 3 biggest factors for the starter decks need to be:

      * Manageable complexity - some interesting mechanics, but also some vanilla cards.
      * Clear 'win con' cards - the biggest drag when farming racial cards was how many starter decks stall the match out waiting for auras.
      * Some cards that interact with the opponent i.e. basic common removal - the other limitation of the current starters.

      E.g. Quickly thrown-together Necrotic deck

      Troops
      2 x Chimera Guard Fallen (uncommon)
      2 x Corrupt Harvester (uncommon) (win con)
      2 x Deadeye Slicer
      2 x Deepgaze Acolyte
      2 x Dusk Scout (win con in all but 1st early match)
      2 x Duskwing Maiden (win con)
      2 x Duskwing Priest
      2 x Duskwing Scavenger
      2 x Risen Lancer
      2 x Shadowblade Assassin
      2 x Spiritbound Spy
      2 x Stern Infinitor (uncommon) (win con)
      2 x Wailing Rider (win con w/ evasion)

      Actions
      2 x Butcher (interactive)
      2 x Call the Grave
      2 x Force of the Tomb
      2 x Kill (interactive)
      2 x Preservation (semi-interactive)

      Resources
      12 x Blood Shard
      12 x Diamond Shard
      2 x Necropolis Coins

      Not exactly a masterpiece, but maintains enough Shift to keep Iddi relevant while also piling on evasion (for the castle matches) & introducing basic control and crypt interactions.
      Member of The Unnamed Council - the Hex TCG PvE Guild
    • In line with what Jvulso said, I think it would be cool if in the tutorial part the new player got to play with a more powerful deck. To give them an idea of what is possible and what their deck can become with modifications.

      I always thought that it would have been better if the rewards earned in campaign were not random, but tied into the race/class of the player. So if a new player chose Elf/Warrior they would get rewards that correspond to that character. I guess the racial rewards kind of do this but that is only one card out of all the rewards they get. This would give players a better sense of progression. It could be per-determined for the first part of the campaign and would be a really nice teaching tool about cards and equipment. Just throwing a bunch of random stuff that they might not go into their deck is very overwhelming.

      I also really like the work Nico has done. The starter decks are so boring, if that was a new player's first and only experience with the game it does not do justice to what Hex really is.