Attention! Deployment Rule Change for your Consideration / Feedback


#1

The game has been online for a few months now and a few players have large collections. These players can deploy some very good starting decks and the game is becoming too easy for them.

I feel that allowing players to simply deploy 6 or 8 card armies onto the board before the game even starts, while fun to do, will ultimately make the game less fun for everybody.

Penny and I have discussed a number of different new rules we could add to the game. We talked about adding new resources and additional casting costs for each hero but we felt that it would make the game more complicated and have quite a lot of UI changes.

As a trial, I’m going to implement a new deployment restriction as an option you can turn on when starting a new MP game. If we like the changes after testing them we can roll them out to everybody.

Under the new restricted deployment rule, you will only be able to deploy one card in any one settlement, every 6 hours.

The card will appear right away, but the settlement will have a dot that shows a new card cannot be deployed at the settlement.

At the start of the game you will only be able to deploy one card, and recruit one army. Then as your empire grows you will be able to deploy more heroes simultaneously, but never more than one in a settlement at a time.

I think this will make the game significantly harder.

  1. Your expansion at the start of the game will be much slower.
  2. You will no longer be able to drop large forces of troops into a town moments before a battle to save it. You’ll have to think ahead more and move your troops into position. You’ll have to think ahead more.

Ultimately I hope this will mean there is less difference in play style between new players and those with lots of cards.

The missions themselves might need balancing again afterwards, so we might need to move on this idea quickly.

Things like banners might need some more thought, but we’ll do that after we make sure we like these new rules.

Please give the idea some thought before commenting, but then your feedback would be welcomed.


#2

Haha… my posts on these type of topics always seem to turn into essays. I’d hate to think that I could post so many words without giving it much thought. Here’s my opinion -

EDITED For Formatting

TL:DR version - Do not Like

Wall of words incoming…

A few points -

  1. More pressure to check in very frequently. If you can only train one unit at a time per settlement, there’s going to be more importance on checking in regularly. Right now I check in a few times a day anyway, but I do that on my own schedule. I expect Blight to be a game I play in 10-20 minute chunks in my free time. I like being able to queue up some movements and know that if I don’t check in for 12 hours I’m not going to set myself back significantly.

  2. Gold/Population already serve the purpose of deployment control. Every game I play, I try to maximize use of my starting resources, usually this is 4 or 5 cards. The only time this isn’t true is when you draw into cards that extend your deployment options; cards like Snake Charmers, Gold Miners, etc… Based on the comments you made, I suspect this is one of the more major points. To me this is a power/balance problem; changing the way deploys works isn’t going to get rid of the problems with most of these cards, it’s just going to mute their effect a bit. Something I might recommend doing is putting some powers on cool down when the card first comes into play.

  3. The slower start you’re talking about. One of the major discussions that has happened in the past is how to improve the end game.The comment has been made that the game already starts off nicely and builds to a strong middle game point, but ends on a bit of a slow note. For me at least, this speed change introduces the same problem to the start of the game - there’s no quick build to the action; the game would start slow and end slow, with a peak somewhere in the middle.

  4. Getting to a solid base in the game for resource production and population currently take ~2 days. The starting 1,000 gold is enough to hold over until the players production base kicks in. With the deployment restrictions this phase is likely to draw out to 3 days or more.

  5. The game has a very solid card collecting mechanic. When I started playing the game, every time a player played a new card I hadn’t seen before I would get a little excited. It would make me think about the ‘cool’ ways I might be able to use it to improve my strategy. Something like the Tangle Mage, Bridge Witch, Turtle Warriors, and Brute combo (525 Gold) popping up early in the game would get me encouraged rather than discouraged. It drives me to want to collect those cards to be a better player. Muting early game gambit plays like this kind of dulls this sense of wonder. If Hero’s/Unit’s were meant to be their most effective regardless of what other units they are paired with this might not be such a problem; but in several cases I want to drop 2-3 cards at the same time which complement each other well.

That’s just a few of my thoughts, spent just over half an hour now writing this post now, I may add more later after others have had a chance to contribute as well.


#3

Good points thanks Eshal.

Here are some things that occurred to me while reading your feedback to alleviate a starting boom is that would could reduce the starting gold, and add a “summoning sickness” so that gold and mana producing units can’t activate their spells for a while after they are deployed.

A summoning sickness would also prevent you from dropping 5 cannons into a dwarf town and decimating an oncoming horde.

Summoning sickness would not prevent you from dropping 5 orc armies in a town that was in trouble. We could fix that with some kind of “training time” for cards from your deck, but then you lose the instant gratification of deploying cards.

This is my biggest concern. We could consider taking away some pressure by allowing two or three simultaneous deployments , but that only reset every 24 hours. We could even consider making the rest time dependant on the hero deployed there.


#4

Oh boy. I also read this and wasn’t happy. I rattled off almost half a dozen comments to Eshal in voice chat and now I have to try to collect those into something streamlined and coherent for the forum (let alone remembering what I said).

  1. I still complain about the deck building for the game now compared to how it was because it means I never take any niche cards with me, so there are a lot of cards that I never play. This is going to decrease the burn rate of my deck even more causing to me to use even fewer cards causing me to decide to only take the absolute most useful/powerful cards I have (which incidentally, might cause situations like you wanted to correct even more since I don’t have the moderate cards to play interspersed with the powerful cards to balance me out).
  2. The current deck system forces a lot of fluff cards in my hand that I often don’t want and have to burn through when I get enough gold to draw what I do want. This would prevent me from being able to burn through those forced cards (in any reasonable time frame, and using up my spawn-time resource in the process) to get to what I actually wanted to bring (and then not be able to play it when I do, because my spawn-time resource has been used up too, let alone my gold and population).
  3. The games are short enough now that I often only get to play half of my deck or less (because of time and resources), which I find disappointing. While this will lengthen how long games take, I foresee running out of this new spawn-time resource and therefore being able to play even less of my deck than I can already and being even more disappointed that I don’t get to use what I brought.
  4. There a lot of games where I don’t get to grab many settlements; I have to make due with maybe at most 6 by the end of the game. There are a number of other games where I collect a dozen settlements (or more). In the former games, I would be a big disadvantage compared to those who are doing like in my latter case and getting a bunch of towns. Usually the smaller number of towns comes because I do so well at controlling the zombie outbreak, that I can’t get enough valour to capture the towns. It would encourage me to let more zombies spawn now. Also, when I play as dwarves I get a lot less towns. Their towns cost a lot of valour so that starting 20 valour nets me many fewer towns than any other race. With the speed problem on top of that, I often can’t get to enough battles to gain a large amount of valour. If I did manage to somehow collect a lot of valour, it takes me half of the game to move around to the settlements to claim them anyway (because of the slow speed again). In games as dwarves, I like to make money and spend it on getting out a lot cards to maybe make up for a lack of speed by being everywhere (or to increase my mana and gold production instead of spreading out) or to send the gold to other players. That’s going to be hugely hampered now since I won’t be able to play many Gold Miners or Crystal Miners to have them pay back on their 10% odds (as an example). (For clarification, I’m in a game now where I have used these abilities multiple times and come up empty each time; to have these cards make a profit instead of being a sink, I need a lot of them to balance out the odds.)
  5. Being able to deploy a lot of cards at once is helping out a lot in the Watering Hole game I am on. The other side of the map had a couple of weak players (including one mostly AFK) so it got out of control over there. I finally managed to get over and grab a town about half a day away from the action. I spawned in a lot of cards that I had been hording for just this situation using gold I had been hording for this situation and then marched them to the front line. I did not drop a lot of cards to last-minute defend something, but to get a good army going far away from my base. I would no longer be able to do that and have to instead just be a spectator for the next 4 days on this map if this rule was implemented. That is very bad for the level of fun a game brings (and takes away the payoff of having the foresight to send a unit way far away at the beginning or to actually save some cards for bad situation instead of just dumping them as fast as I can so that I stand a chance of getting them in the game at all.)

Also, I agree with all of Eshal’s points.


#5

All great points Dex. Thanks very much for taking the time to jot them down!

Penny is about to launch into the new Righteous and Corrupted cards which will be a new 200 cards. Allowing a full 12 different cards into a deck is already on the todo, but i have been thinking about adding more.

Penny and I have talked about having MP maps with no compulsory cards, but I was just thinking we could make a rule where there are no compulsory cards in hard and nightmare difficulty.

Can I ask how many cards you normally take in a deck?

Yes, I think we should indeed take into consideration the fact that some races just find it harder to expand and capture settlements. Dwarves and Trolls will find it hardest. Elves and Goblins easiest.

This will just get more difficult, not impossible. But yeah, I do understand that it was fun to see that army appear.


#6

I want the Compulsory Cards as an option for Hard/Nightmare. I’m still fairly new, and my friends invited me into a Hard all-Elves game… when I had no Elf cards aside from the defaults.

As for others’ complaints… what if you kept the “1 deployment per settlement every X hours” rule, but had players start out with 2-4 settlements instead of just one? That would let you finetune the size of the initial deployment per map and generally cap players at deploying just 2-4 units to start.

Of course, that would also give players more starting income and reduce how many resources are spent claiming settlements close to the start, but the former can be massaged/balanced and the latter seems to just distract from the primary goal of “claim the front lines ASAP” anyway.


#7

I am very wary of this for most the reasons mentioned my understanding is its to fix 2 problems, and I wonder if that leads to a bad solution to both

problem 1)

I’m unsure that this is a problem at all, the opportunity cost in not using the cards and gold is high in the first place, I haven’t personally seen anywhere I have felt this was a problem, the summoning sickness idea though might work well as a separate idea anyway

problem 2) overpowered decks at the beginning
I fear this has multiple problems if trying to limit it via number of cards dropped and each time I try to think of a solution I end up with a bigger problem, this could be exceptionally long so I will try to keep it brief, if you want more details ask

  1. I’m unconvinced its total number of cards is the problem - are we honestly saying 10x enchantresses at the beginning is a problem - if we slow down the total card deployment I think it will hurt the weak decks as much as the over overpowered decks - the scenarios will be rebalanced to account for weak decks developing slowly, which will also mean the overpowered ones can get to the same point but just delayed (the same amount as the weak decks)

2)I’m concerned it may limit cross race decks, I’m finding a lot of fun in merging multiple races, it would become far less practical if I have to either grab multiple towns of a different race or wait days to get the cards out

3)for non overpowered decks I think the early game at the moment is good, I think this will destabilize that.


#8

If the objective is to limit initial card deployment, why not just start on zero Gold instead of 1000?

I like dropping a large force in at the last moment…it is one of the few reasons I can sleep well.

You want players to have some advantage from paying and collecting cards…if the game is too easy for them, they should be playing Hard and Nightmare games. Maybe you could restrict cards in Normal games - 12 card maximum start, or maximum of 3 of any unit type?


#9

Seems like everyone is kinda in agreement… I also don’t like this idea, as it fundamentally changes the way the game is played.

I really really really like blight, and mainly because of the ‘deckbuilding’.

What I would love to see is some deck building rules.

  1. Perhaps each card has a deck cost. Easy game, no limit. Normal Games you can have a 200 point deck. Hard a 100 point deck, and Nightmare a 50 point deck. (Also note… I think the difficulty in games should reward different amounts of coins, [Let’s Farm all the Easies!])
    – This cost lets you balance the cards a little so you cannot put 10 copies of a certain powerful card in it, and you can do card balance adjustments without changing the cost/effect of the card, just the ‘deck-cost’.

  2. Next option is limit the quantity of cards in a deck. In Magic the Gathering, you can have 60 card deck, but no more than 4 copies of each card… Obviously that is too big of a deck for Blight, so maybe a 20-30 card deck maximum, and only 2 copies of each rare, 3 copies of each uncommon, and unlimited commons. etc… (again to the deck maximum.)

Overall I think there are options to help alleviate the problem of mass card deployment without changing the entire way the game is played.

P.s. I’d love a way to create decks, and save them, so I can load them up for a game.


#10

I can’t help but wonder if the problem is the ‘wish for more wishes’ cards and rather than trying to sort them out we will end up with a bandage like this that wont fix the root of the problem.


#11

TL;DR
I love the idea, but I’m not sure rate-limiting is the right way to implement it.


All right; I’ll be the first to disagree and say that I like the idea of being unable to play so many cards at the beginning. It’s just always felt strange to me, especially in MP games where I can see what a huge benefit it is to those who have put in the time/money to make really great decks (note that it’s not that I’m envious of those decks–if anything, it makes me look forward to owning those cards myself). It also never felt very flavorful: “this is your starting town; every third civilian is a superhero.”

I think that slower starts would actually make the early game much more exciting. If everyone has to spend their limited movement to race for the frontiers, it seems to me that it adds tension to that early phase, as players would have to choose which objectives to pursue, rather than simply “deciding” to send one hero to everything.

However, I’m not sure that limiting the Hero deployment rate is the best way to go about it. Like some of the others, I don’t necessarily see a problem with being allowed to drop a bunch of cards in a border town as a last-minute defense. There’s a high cost associated with hoarding all those cards and money, and there’s really a lot to be said for not having to wake up at 3am to deploy another hero because the zombies arrive at 10:00 and without two more cards, the town will fall.

Constantly worrying about the state of the game is one of the primary reasons I play Neptune’s Pride so rarely these days. Blight does a good job keeping that same feel without introducing a massive mechanical disadvantage overnight, and I worry about the player base if a timing were to become such a critical part of the game. It’s especially true with Team Maps on the horizon, where dropping more cards every six hours will give your team a noticeable advantage over other human players.

It seems to me that dramatically reducing starting gold would be an easy way to accomplish the main objective of eliminating gigantic starting armies, while not causing additional trouble in other phases of the game. Starting gold is pretty much just used to drop loads of heroes, so why not just have less of it? Again, this provides more meaningful player choice. Do I drop my Dealer first, to allow me to play more total cards in the first 24 hours? Or do I spend all my gold on a set of Knights to race for the frontier? Do I stack my deck with low-cost heroes for an early-game mobility advantage, or high-impact troops for crushing zombies in the midgame?

Another thought I had was that maybe the card restriction goes away after the first 24-48 hours (by this time, all citizens recognize the threat of the Blight, so the Heroes start coming out of the woodwork…). But this still introduces a timing problem in the early stages of the game. I also like Wismac’s thoughts about deck-building rules. As a MTG player since I was a kid, that seems like the natural way to balance cards that are extraordinarily strong when you can consistently get ahold of too many of them.


Summary in easy-reading bullet-point form:

  • Slower starts create more meaningful player choices. Meaningful player choices are a Good Thing.
  • I don’t see what the problem is with being able to dump cards into a border town for defense if you’ve saved the gold and cards to do so.
  • Rate-limited card deployment gives a large advantage to players able to be online every six hours.
  • Individual player advantages will become much more problematic as Team Maps roll out.
  • Reducing starting gold to just enough for a single hero should have a similar effect to rate-limiting card deployments in the early game.
  • Introducing deck-building rules seems like a viable way to control for extremely strong card combinations.

#12

I’ve seen this point a couple other times now, and I just wanted to add that I am against this particular idea. In general I’m against most changes/suggestions that place restrictions on the player. The 1,000 gold is exactly the right starting amount for me; generally its 4 or maybe 5 cards upfront. Just enough to get you thru day 1 while you build your production base; by day two you generally have a sustaining income.

IMHO, limiting the starting gold doesn’t produce a more interesting game; for me it does quite the opposite. It’s not going to be a matter of making interesting decisions its going to be making the same limited decisions at the start of every game. In general I have trouble picturing a situation where if I were limited to deploy one card, or maybe two, early on I would be compelled to do anything other that try to capture more towns.

Right now, I’m happy to have the ability to pop or 4 or 5 cards; at least depending on what I draw I might have something interesting to do which would affect my strategy.

A problem I’ve seen a lot of newer players make is they think that they have to train all of their units; they don’t understand that hero’s can be deployed and start moving right away. Hence I’ve seen newer players play in exactly this way…

  1. Train a unit.
  2. Head to the nearest town.
  3. Start training 2 units now.
  4. Head to the next nearest 2 towns.
  5. ETC…

They kind of miss the point of the game all together IMO, I definitely don’t want to see Blight head in the direction of this being standard game play. It’s certainly wouldn’t be a very compelling game for me any more.

I really wish I understood better what the design intention is here; what are the real problems that are trying to be solved. It might help in making suggestions to improve the game.


#13

Seconded, to me this is a card balance problem, not a core issue with the game mechanics.


#14

Sure; that’s the first option, and clearly a compelling one. The argument against this is that while you’re setting up your economy, the zombies get to expand significantly. I think the early game is much more interesting if there’s an actual tradeoff between building a fast economy and slowing the spread of the blight. As it stands now, each player calmly sends one (maybe two if the situation is bad) hero with crowd control to the biggest threat, and four or five others to claim towns. I have trouble seeing how that’s a more interesting scenario.

It could be interesting for players to start with more towns, but little gold (and less Valour depending on what additional towns you get). It reduces the meaningfulness of the choice, though.

+1 to this.


#15

I mostly agree with DrBwaa on this, and feel like you guys might be overthinking the solution. I would simply reduce the starting gold, increase the gold cost to deploy hand cards, or a combination of both.

In either case, I think you should really consider increasing the cost of cards relative to the cost of training a unit in town. I find I very rarely train normally unless I’ve either run out of cards or have an excess of gold. Almost any hero is more useful than a regular unit of human swordsmen (or whatever), and most of them are cheaper and deploy instantly.

Edit: That being said, I think you might seriously consider a larger overhaul of the card system. It seems like a collectible card game has been grafted onto the original Blight and it doesn’t really feel like a cohesive design. Furthermore, I think it kind of misses what makes collectible card games compelling and fun. I hope I’m not coming across as mean here; I’ll write up something a little more constructive later when I’ve got the time.


#16

Really it’s the only option… About 90% of the cards in the game cost more than 150 gold… If you’re a Troll, Elf that’s all you’re going to start with. Orcs and Humans get 300 (of course most of their cards are 200+). Only the Dwarf and Goblin have a significant gold base to start (600). So think of it this way, After 24 hours I can deploy one card, if I don’t claim a second town IMMEDIATELY I’m going to have to wait another 24 hours before I can even hope to train a second units.

If I’m really lucky, and I check in routinely every 6 hours, I might be able to claim another 3 settlements in the first 24 hours, for a Troll or Elf that’s going to be a total of ~300-400 gold, so now you can deploy 1.5 units. Humans and Orcs have it slightly better, they might be up to 600-700 gold base (2 maybe 3 cards). Dwarf and Goblins are probably the best off under a new system like this.

Now think about this real carefully. You have 1 unit, and you won’t be able to train a second one for 24 hours… what do you do?

A. Send your only unit into combat.
B. Send your unit to a front line town 18 hours away; you’ll only be able to deploy 1 unit for a second day now, and quickly overrun if zombies are anywhere close by.
C. Claim as many towns as you can as quickly as you can.

See right now, most of my units head straight to the front lines. The 1,000 gold is more than enough that I can put off waiting the 18 hours to reach the front line towns and I actually have enough force to defend them; long enough for me to grab as many other towns near the front as I can and get a gold base going.

Here’s my recommendation… go try this on a single player map and let me know what you think afterwards.

EDIT: Make sure it’s not one of the tutorial maps, pick a real map where the zombies start off with 3 or 4 blighted towns.


#17

(Sorry for length… TL;DR I tried a low-gold start in SP and it was harder, but interesting. I didn’t feel forced to spend the first two days grabbing towns.)

I actually just played Lowgarden (Elves) this way, because I was curious how much harder an arbitrary SP map would get. RNG started the zombies with three towns and a Nightmare Lord. I played my first card (Tree Whisperer, 225g) and then considered 775g “zero” and never spent beyond that.

I sent my hero to the font lines to buy time at the Ent groves, while claiming a couple more elf villages on the way. My starting archers went east. After twelve hours, my hometown and one village had paid out (+199g), so I was able to hire a Dark Forest Witch on my way to the front line (I wasn’t going to be able to claim mana pools anytime soon). I grabbed a Spider Web with my starting troop of archers (something I rarely feel the need to do), and sent Spiders at the biggest armies until I established a front line.

Eventually I got my hands on a couple of the eastern Goblin towns, which gave me enough of an economy that the rest was fairly straightforward. I ended up losing one Ent grove and a fair chunk of the north, but still scored 73%.

I’m not saying reducing the starting gold is the perfect solution; it’s not even clear what the right reduced value would be. There are clearly still some things that could be done to make the approach smoother (Make starting cities generate more gold than normal? Start with two basic units instead of one? Start with no gold, but one of your cards already deployed?). What I am saying is that, for me at least, it gives the early game a more interesting feel. It might very well make Nightmare mode totally impossible, though.


Low Starting Gold Test Results

  • Certainly more difficult than using the full thousand starting gold (obviously).
  • I felt poor for the first day or two, but honestly not poorer than I typically do early on in a normal game.
  • The beginning was certainly slower than usual.
  • Beginning was less one-dimensional than usual; I was taking more care with my movements because it was necessary to maximize each unit’s effectiveness against all futures.
  • I was pressed to use different strategies than I typically do (though this is probably correlated more closely with general difficulty than the specific scenario).
  • This is probably not the best map for this comparison, as it’s somewhat linear and not very complicated in general. I’ll try to do some more testing in different SP scenarios soon.

Finally, I’d expect the difficulty increase to be somewhat lessened in MP, especially on maps with clear “support” roles (e.g. Watering Hole). Here the flank players could rush to the frontiers while the supports spend their first day or two building an economy. Communication and sharing of resources is key!


#18

Assuming I have any time/energy tomorrow I will have a go at

  1. a normal game
  2. a game with minimal starting gold
  3. a game pretending I cant recruit more than 1 card in a 6 hour block

I will dig through the single player to try to find a map which will showcase the differences the most - for me that isnt low garden as

  1. it isnt a map which I will want multiple race cards (which I think will be weakened), and will lower the interesting combinations to me
  2. I dont think that map would be altered that much for me - 1 advanced scout, followed by units to mop up towns, its just the mop up crew will be later

#19

That’s about the experience I had–I may have some time this weekend or some night this week to find a more suitable map for the comparison. I only did Lowgarden because that happened to be the most recent SP map I’d played.


#20

Yeah, that map is on the easy side…Try the Orc map FireTribe.