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7theye

Concerns about trends in the game

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Hi all,

 

Long time player but first time poster here. 

 

To give some background I have played in order all the quests upto the first part of of Against Shadow cycle. Have all the other stuff sitting in a closet so will get there slowly.

 

I used to love this game - I played about 3 games each night with my wife screaming in my ear to stop. Lately though, I find myself concerned about some trends in the game design that have made it hard for me to remain optimistic about the health of the game going forward.

 

For all the good things that come with a co-op LCG, the one bad thing is that it is much more affected by powerful player cards. In a competitive game, if you and your playgroup decide that a card is simply too powerful, you can all omit that from your decks and pretend it does not exist. In a co-op LCG, the designers need to make encounter decks that acknowledge and remain a challenge to all deck types, so if you omit all the powerful cards, the encounter deck will start stomping you sooner or later.

 

The 3 main problems have been the Dwarves, Glorfindel, and Outlands.

 

Dwares with Dain are too powerful, and I find that after I left the Hobbit I had lost all interest in running with essentially amounts to a deck type to make sure you have Kili or Fili in your openign hand and run to 5 dwarves and call it a day. The fact that Boromir (leadership) only pumps up allies with attack versus Dain who pumps up all charcters with willpower and attack speaks volumes to how stupidly he was designed. I cannot believe they have not changed this. At least they changed the stupid battle master that could be played with 5 attack to start without a single ally in play. I find that they are trying to regin this in, but they need to errata Dain.

 

Glorfindel (spirit) is another card that it too powerful. The problem is that to beat scenario its pretty hard to exclude spirit from your decks. It offers too much cancellation and willpower to be replaced and is very hard to beat most quests without a spirit hero. The problem is that the spirit allies aren't anything great, so most folks run 1 spirit hero. When you consider Glorfindel, it makes no sense in the world to run anyone else. With LOV you get essentially a free action with his massive stats, insanely low threat and good pool of hit points. However, the card that really makes him bonkers is his horse attachement that lets you clear out locations. Most quests needs location management, so you almost have to run him in order to clear out locations. The game basically forces you to use him, as without him you cant clear out locations unless you run a bunch of Northern Trackers or something, and even then you cannot laser in on locations like Glorfindel can. Its just stupid design to force you to run one hero.

 

Finally we get to Outlands which honestly feels just lazy. Whats the point here? Run 1 hero, slap on a steward and just draw and play allies mindlessly until you overpower the game. Sigh.

 

I totally understand the consensus that says just dont use these cards, but if I choose not to run Glorfindel or Outlands or Dwarves, can I really beat any of the modern quests without  bashing my head in? Because of the co-op nature of the game I have no choice, the designers will have to up the difficulty to account for players using these cards. Its just making the game boring for me and less fun then it used to be.

 

I really hope they errata Dain, add some other way to clear out locations, and change Outlands so you get only one boost in willpower, hitpoints etc no matter how many of the same allies you have played. Otherwise, I just feel sad that what started as a great game seems to be going down the tubes.

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you asked: can I really beat any of the modern quests without  bashing my head in?

 

all i'll really address is this: yes.

 

i've not run dwarves nor asfaloth in ages and i still manage to beat all of the quests. i also don't use glorfindel as much as before - and i think he's less important the more players you add to the game (i.e. he's strongest in solo or two player games).

 

i'm sure many more will chime in here, as you've stated a lot, but i don't think these 3 things are "breaking" the game in any real way.

Edited by Dain Ironfoot

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Your concerns are valid, as it is an incredibly tough ask of designers to create scenarios that challenge overpowered decks like Dwarves/Outlands/etc., while still being approachable for new players and more thematic decks. I remember this concern being very prominent when Heirs came out. However, the rest of the Against the Shadow cycle and Voice of Isengard has seen the designers take the foot off the gas, as all of these quests are largely manageable for non-power decks, and I think the main danger seems to be quests being too easy rather than too hard at the moment.

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hi all.

 

thanks for the replies much appreicated. I feel it may be more anxiety as I am really just start Against Shadow and coming of HON quests felt that i would be stomped if I didn't use the power decks as listed above. Good to know that a fun, themaetic deck can still be used and the game is strong for the next few cycles at least.

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quick question: is this the same for the nightmare modes as well?

 

I have no interest in ever using outlands or full dwarve decks or glordindel again so i probably won't spring for these if I can't beat them without using one of these. Should I just avoid these and stick to the main releases?

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I haven't gotten to this point yet.  I understand all these concerns though.  My answer is just this:

 

The same way that competitive players can decide to strip out cards they'd rather not play with, co-op players can do the same thing.  In this game, an easy way to do this is to pick a theme for your deck and try not to stray from it.  Dain may be inappropriate in many Dwarf theme decks, so don't play him.  Outlands wouldn't logically be involved in Mirkwood, so don't use them for those quests, etc.

 

I'm still slowly working through the quests chronologically and I'm just going for a victory first.  After I've run through all available quests, I'll likely go back to old ones and try to beat them with theme decks or other conditions.  Basically, I'll create a challenge for myself and enjoy the difficulty.  Can the Hobbits take down the Balrog?  Can I make a monosphere deck to beat scenario x?

 

Heck, knowing me, I'll probably make a PC app which randomizes challenges for this game so I can try out some unbiased situations.  Sounds like fun to me!

 

I'm not making light of these concerns though.  I didn't cry over the Battle Master's errata, and I wouldn't cry if Dain got some similar treatment.  I'd actually make Glorfindel raise threat anytime he quests (not just when exhausted).

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quick question: is this the same for the nightmare modes as well?

 

I have no interest in ever using outlands or full dwarve decks or glordindel again so i probably won't spring for these if I can't beat them without using one of these. Should I just avoid these and stick to the main releases?

 

They can be beaten without Outlands/Dwarves/Glorfindel, but to be honest, you'll have a more limited range of options if you want to win. In other words, you'll need to load up on power cards and throw theme out the window. Still, you can do it without the deck types you mentioned (I didn't use Outlands or Dwarves, though I did use Glorfindel).

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I used to be in camp of overpowered cards being detrimental to the game. At this point I don't care anymore, since I am pretty much playing this game by myself, and any tournemnts can set their own restriction, players playing together can also set therir own restrictions. Players can make decks any way they want, but cards that are powerful are way more usedul then cards that are medicore to flat out bad. In fact I am starting to think that all cards should lean more towards the powerful side of the spectrum, that way players have more options to beat challenging quests, also each quest can be more challenging since plyaers will have a big tool box to work with. Deck building in those terms would be a lot more interesting. I realize this perspective will be the minority, but I get disaponted getting cards that are destined to fill up empty boxes, and never see the light off day.

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I totally hear you on this, 7theye, because I sometimes feel the same way. I feel like I'm being "punished" for wanting to try something other than Spirfindel or Dwarves. 

 

To give you an idea of how much I don't like dwarves, I sleeved my "Dwarf" deck with entirely different backings, with the idea that it was its completely separate entity away from my "real" decks. I personally never play it; it's always the "2nd player" deck for someone else if they don't have their own deck to play.

 

Part of the issue two is, how do you copy a card's effects, like Asfaloth, without "cheapening" the effect of the original card, or necessarily making the new card to replace it either A) demonstrably better than the original, or B) weaker than the original?

 

Either the original card falls out of favor and gets replaced by the "better," newer card, or the newer card simply isn't equal to the original, and no one uses it.

 

I don't think everyone wants cards that do exactly the same thing, only with different traits attached. 

 

Yet to make "thematic" play really work, there will ultimately have to be some card effect overlap. For example, why isn't there a Noldor equivalent to Steward of Gondor? Most players use Steward of Gondor in Leadership decks, regardless of theme, because it's just too good of a card not to. Yet if I want to play elves thematically, I end up having to throw in a Steward of Gondor for the resource generation.

Edited by FeloniusBard

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I used to be in camp of overpowered cards being detrimental to the game. At this point I don't care anymore, since I am pretty much playing this game by myself, and any tournemnts can set their own restriction, players playing together can also set therir own restrictions. Players can make decks any way they want, but cards that are powerful are way more usedul then cards that are medicore to flat out bad. In fact I am starting to think that all cards should lean more towards the powerful side of the spectrum, that way players have more options to beat challenging quests, also each quest can be more challenging since plyaers will have a big tool box to work with. Deck building in those terms would be a lot more interesting. I realize this perspective will be the minority, but I get disaponted getting cards that are destined to fill up empty boxes, and never see the light off day.

 

Totally agree. Deckbuilding is the core of the game, if all of the cards we get are useful we'll be able to build more diverse decks (and I mean useful cards, not necessarily power creeps). It's right to print cards that are race specific or "combo" specific, but sometimes we get cards that do things we can already do, and we can do better (see unexpected courage vs steed of the mark or the gondor attack and defense booster attachment vs things like dunedain signs, gondorian shield, weapons and so on). We even got cards like taking initiative or path of need...and I'm a great fan of underrated tactics, always have...but in this case it's suicidal tactics. All you do is build around a fun concept using those cards (tried so many times), but all you really do is lose over and over again (even against the easiest scenarios), unless you get extremly lucky and draw the perfect hand. If instead of those cards we had gotten something like fighting threat reduction for tactics, decent draw for leadership outside of outlands (even very spendy or maybe with conditions to satisfy) or anything to break the unbreakable frailty of spirit we'd (really) be able to use monosphere...just an example, or to use secrecy (unless you want to use aragorn+glorfindel or elrond+glorfindel endlessly)...

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I think that the Dain, Spirifindel and Hirluin "O.P." cry must stop, i mean is really geting old. Legolas can put tonnes of progress without even questing, with Hama i can feint endlessly, Beregond can block  anything, Eowyns will power can go crazy, Loragorn combined with doomed is super and the list goes on and on, so what ? nerf them all ?

Edited by iznax

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Yet to make "thematic" play really work, there will ultimately have to be some card effect overlap. For example, why isn't there a Noldor equivalent to Steward of Gondor? Most players use Steward of Gondor in Leadership decks, regardless of theme, because it's just too good of a card not to. Yet if I want to play elves thematically, I end up having to throw in a Steward of Gondor for the resource generation.

 

Thematically and true to the lore, a card as powerful as Steward of Gondor, would never fit a Noldor, Silvan or Rohan theme (but could fit a dwarven one). Steward of Gondor is an overpowered card that will fit in any deck because it's play value. It's thematic value according to lore is almost 0, because there's only 1 Steward of Gondor: Denethor. If you want a thematic deck (and true to the lore) you should be playing Steward of Gondor only on Denethor.

 

Yes, thematic and lore licenses are required to play. Thematic building should be another fun factor for experienced players, not one of frustration. But that only depends on player's will.

 

so what ? nerf them all ?

 Please don't do it!

Edited by karagh

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Part of the issue two is, how do you copy a card's effects, like Asfaloth, without "cheapening" the effect of the original card, or necessarily making the new card to replace it either A) demonstrably better than the original, or B) weaker than the original?

 

Either the original card falls out of favor and gets replaced by the "better," newer card, or the newer card simply isn't equal to the original, and no one uses it.

 

I don't think everyone wants cards that do exactly the same thing, only with different traits attached. 

 

Yet to make "thematic" play really work, there will ultimately have to be some card effect overlap. For example, why isn't there a Noldor equivalent to Steward of Gondor? Most players use Steward of Gondor in Leadership decks, regardless of theme, because it's just too good of a card not to. Yet if I want to play elves thematically, I end up having to throw in a Steward of Gondor for the resource generation.

 

This.

The only way to make player not use cards like Test of Will and Asfaloth is to create more cards that achieve the same goal.

Having other treachery cancel with a different price and/or condition would not make Test of Will an average cards, mind you, but it will allow people to beat scenario with different deck. Deckbuilding / Thematics is half the fun and what is done is done. People restraining themself to not use overpowered cards by giving them replacement that are more thematics and/or encourage deckbuilding by their mechanics is the best solution.

Balance is the key. I'm sad when they release poor cards I'll never use, but I'm also sad when they release power cards.

Outlands lake mechanism, but dwarfs are ok, only dain and we are not idle give an outrageous boost, the mechanics based on the discard is great and should be more exploited in the future when we will lake dwarfs. Silvan are getting their mechanic (jump), rohan have two (staging area and sacrifice) and gondor are somewhat cheap, ranger have traps, eagles a mix of all, hobbit have low threat and isengard have doom. But outlands... outlands have nothing.

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