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Dear Design Team, let's talk about roles...

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I've always been on the "Free Role" camp right from the beginning. I feel like locking roles for a particular clan doesn't have much merit and encourages lazy design. Let's look at all the justifications for role locking.

1. Keeps the meta shifting and exciting.

See, that's a lie. Release of new cards will shift the meta. If they wanted to keep the meta exciting, they wouldn't go for this "X packs in X weeks" release model where they dump a bunch of cards in one go and leave you with the same deck locked in a specific role for the next x months. Do the 1 month 1 pack model of typical lcgs and see the meta shift monthly. If that doesn't happen, design has failed to give new cards with new and exciting interactions for different clans to try out.

2. It acts as a deterrent for all clans from picking the current strongest role.

If this happens, it's because design has done a piss poor job of spreading the love in other roles and maintaining balance. Everybody and their dog playing Seeker of Fire in a tournament? How about we lock roles for each clan! No. Design better cards for unchosen roles and see people deviate from everybody else to try other interactions offered by other cards locked in other roles.

3. It gives winners an interesting and enticing prize to do better in the competitive scene.

Polarizing storyline choices. Player designed cards (within reason). Name a character. Swords(!). There's a plethora of options. Don't just go for something that is obviously not well thought out, cumbersome, and an obvious last minute prize addition. I understand trying to make the product their own, to add some personal touch. Think it through first. Especially not something that is open for sabotage.

4. It's only for competitive play, you can play casually with your preferred roles.

How bout we declare 3 battles instead? Or how bout we instill a "Rule of Presence"? Nothing is sacred in a casual format. We can play with 14 fates a turn for all they care. People play games for varying reasons. I try to play competitively but can't go to the US for completely different reasons. Doesn't mean I don't want to play with the best. So my second best alternative is making decks and sharing them. An exercise in deck building. If people try it out and they do well, then I can atleast think that if I were there, I would have done well as well. People won't try it if you're building a "casual" deck (not role locked). People play role locked decks outside of competitive play because they wanna play within the bounds of what a typical competitive player would and see how they stack up.

5. Offers interesting and wide deckbuilding choices.

No. Lcgs in general already have less cards, and with it less options, than typical ccgs. Would you like to further decrease those number of cards by printing cards you don't know if you'll ever get to sleeve? More cards available, more options. It doesn't mean that you forego role locked cards, it means now players need to factor that restriction in their deckbuilding decisions. I wanna play this card, but it's locked in this role. I could try this role and build a deck from there.

Now, if you like the current system, that's perfectly fine. To each their own. Let's just give rational and logical explanations for our reasons for a healthy discussion.

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There needs to be another reason to be competing at worlds because at the moment, there's some possessiveness when it comes to the Champion and their supporters vs others. People being called on sabotage and others being called for not knowing the game competitively very well. I believe this is happening because it's affecting the mechanical game state based on decisions. 

Teri's hyperbole aside, "playing casual" is not a valid excuse. Casuals follow the rules more so than some may think and grumble being trapped in a role.

Champions want to win something and their efforts recognized, which there are other ways to dole that out. If it was some patch of land in the Lion provinces being taken hostage by the winner as a prize, that doesn't affect the rules of the game.

There's a slight embarrassment of riches to allow the champion to get first pick of their role too. I'm for role locking but losers should get first choice.

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Actually if my clan doesn't get the role I want for the next season, I will probably choose and play the non-standard role.  Some of the clans got some good element specific cards , and I would be disappointed not to get the chance to play with them.  I know that at least some of the local tournaments don't enforce official role choices (Not that we don't usually play them), so it appeals to me to play the interesting cards. 

The big issue with the role stuff is really that people aren't getting to play their clan's cards, or cards that work well for their clans.  Crab really wants to play with Fight On, and Crane really wants to play with Soul Beyond Reproach.  The fact that another clan could actually deny either clan good cards just by making choices that might not matter to them (or by choosing something decently good for themselves) is a little disconcerting.

 I agree that it is a massive balance issue if everyone ends up choosing seeker of fire, but the problem isn't then with seeker of fire, but the individual cards being too good.  Then just saying "this one clan" can use these cards doesn't get rid of the balance issue, it just powers up that one particular clan.

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I was in favour of role locking, I am still in favour of role locking.

I do think the design team is learning from role cards and we will see some issue crop up, and better design over time. The new provinces, being different depending on your role (funnily, being stronger if you don't play the right role) are a good start. I also would prefer if the design team would stay away from Dynasty (clan cards) that are role locked. These card may effectively be locked away for 1-2-3 years. Printing and selling coaster is definitely not cool.

I do admit however, that I would prefer if 2 roles were given to each clan. This would allow for some variety, while maintaining the role locks (Which I really like). Having each clan with 2 role could also help represent different factions within each clans and could potentially affect the story. Which I think would be cool.

 

 

Edited by Seawhale

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On 7/12/2018 at 2:49 PM, Saibot said:

Fair, but ideally that problem would be solved as the card pool increases and all roles are roughly equally good, even if they are different and support different deck types and counters.

The problem being solved by a larger card pool isn't really a solution because it does nothing to ease the frustration of players in the current environment. If people become frustrated enough they leave and it doesn't matter how "balanced" the Roles are at that point because there has already been an exodus.

The Role locked cards are actually great and encourage difficult deck construction choices, but Role lock clans ignore one of the fundamental reasons people play CCGs which is individual deck construction.

There is a definite feeling among FFG LCG players that GoT is the best of the remaining LCGs because of how open it is with deck construction in addition to play being slightly more streamlined for play. I think one L5R podcaster said that playing GoT was simply more "fun". That's not to say that L5R isn't good, on the contrary it is very good. But so much of the game relies on piloting skills because there is almost no room to experiment with deck construction due to role lock. This really hurts the game for new players because they feel railroaded into certain decks in addition to L5R having a steep learning curve. So not only can they not feel like they can build a deck for the clan they want to play that is "fun", they have to play a game where there is sometimes there very little to point towards correcting and being a better player to eventually win games. They end up getting frustrated and just playing something else.

FFG should strongly consider #FreeTheRoles, especially as a tie in to the last Elemental Cycle pack "Elements Unbound". The move would really revitalize the game for players whose clans are struggling in addition to really unlocking players' ability to brew and mess around with deck construction.

Edited by Danwarr

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1 hour ago, Danwarr said:

The Role locked cards are actually great and encourage difficult deck construction choices, but Role lock clans ignore one of the fundamental reasons people play CCGs which is individual deck construction.

This is the crux of things right here, and the point of this whole discussion. Folks bein' all like "I actually like the role-locked cards," that's not the problem. I think we've all pretty much agreed that the cards are fine. It's the idea that one dude who did well at one tournament gets to say which of those cards I get to play for the next year. That's the problem.

Now, I'm not part of the #FreeTheRoles movement. That would negate a lot of work that FFG has put into the process, and it's not a horrendous idea. But having two main roles to choose from, along with all the other "Support of the [Clan]" roles we'll be getting, and who knows maybe other fun roles too... that'd be nice.

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Simple answers are best..

Role Locked cards only apply to out of clan cards and neutral cards [including provinces]

Meaning Unicorn can play Unleash the Djinn no mater what role they have. But they Must be a Seeker in order to play Pathfinder Blade.

Simple and Easy. And requires no alteration of current cards and requires no change to how the organized play functions.

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I agree with @Danwarr. I didn't min locked roles for Clans in the beginning but the more stuff is released the more I'm in doubt. Now with role locked cards it's a bit absurd. So much stuff locked. When we talk about lists in chat everyone is playing basically the same lists with a few cards out /in. I know the pool is still limited but all these locking doesn't help. "hey! I'm gonna assemble a new list..." 10 min later... "meh... No point. Already playing all the optimal choices".

I think letting ppl chose role to add diversity in deck building would improve the game.

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Also each clan should have access to 2 separate roles. Much like a cycle of cards.

We have our current roles.

Then at WORLDS we choose our second role.

Then at 2019 Worlds we choose our 2nd role, at the same time we then lose access to our role from 2018 worlds.

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Maybe more of a carrot solution instead of a stick?

Anyone can use any role, but the text past the keeper/seeker/elemental traits is only active if it's your clan's role. So you don't get the extra province, fate generation, extra influence, etc if you want to use a off-role for your clan, but if you stick to roles you get a bonus? 

That frees up some design space as well, where you could do strongholds that... say... can't be used with specific roles. (No Air roles, for instance.) 

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I personally think that role locking is good. To my eye the problem is that the role does don’t change often enough. How about changin role four time a year? There Are 10 different role combinations, so within 2 and half year every clan would have had all roles available for 3 months. 

Or something similar if 3 month is too short period for spesific role.

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22 minutes ago, Hannibal_pjv said:

I personally think that role locking is good. To my eye the problem is that the role does don’t change often enough. How about changin role four time a year? There Are 10 different role combinations, so within 2 and half year every clan would have had all roles available for 3 months. 

Or something similar if 3 month is too short period for spesific role.

They did mention that Roles are eventually also supposed to have narrative impact (e. g. the Scorpion Clan as Keeper of Void would make different decisions than as Seeker of Fire), so 4 times a year might be too much for the Story Team to stay behind on that.

But as a practical game-mechanical thing, I think role changes twice a year would be a good number.

 

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19 minutes ago, Saibot said:

They did mention that Roles are eventually also supposed to have narrative impact (e. g. the Scorpion Clan as Keeper of Void would make different decisions than as Seeker of Fire), so 4 times a year might be too much for the Story Team to stay behind on that.

 

Seriously doubt that. Heck even choice at worlds has had very little consequences 1 year later. The Matsu released Kuwanan and we just received a piece of fiction about that... And that's all. No cards, no investigation... 1... year... after... I was hoping choices would matter more and that the story would progress a bit quicker (at least the part related to player's choices). 

Edited by Shosur0

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15 hours ago, PMAvers said:

Maybe more of a carrot solution instead of a stick?

Anyone can use any role, but the text past the keeper/seeker/elemental traits is only active if it's your clan's role. So you don't get the extra province, fate generation, extra influence, etc if you want to use a off-role for your clan, but if you stick to roles you get a bonus? 

That frees up some design space as well, where you could do strongholds that... say... can't be used with specific roles. (No Air roles, for instance.) 

While well-intentioned, that is still a bit needlessly complicated. The simplest solution is to just let players pick whatever Roles they want, but it's going to take a decent amount of humility on the part of FFG to admit that the original system was a mistake, especially given that criticism of the Role system basically started before the game was even officially released at Gen Con. The Sunk Cost fallacy is real and will definitely be at play in FFG's future decision-making for better or worse.

Edited by Danwarr

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I still think it's too early to 'admit a mistake.' Half the posts in here are people saying, "I think it'd be better if we had two roles." I'm not sure if they mean all the time, or are just unaware that there will be a second role choice (coming up soon? Thought it was supposed to be halfways through the year.) So, maybe people will warm up to the roles once the Elemental roles roll out.

Not to say the system couldn't use some iteration, but I wouldn't call it a mistake. The best and easiest compromise is probably to just keep the Elemental Role choice for the full year until the next Elemental Role tournament, so there are always two roles available. (I think it's supposed to expire with the Winter Court role choice.)

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5 minutes ago, AradonTemplar said:

I still think it's too early to 'admit a mistake.' Half the posts in here are people saying, "I think it'd be better if we had two roles." I'm not sure if they mean all the time, or are just unaware that there will be a second role choice (coming up soon? Thought it was supposed to be halfways through the year.) So, maybe people will warm up to the roles once the Elemental roles roll out.

Not to say the system couldn't use some iteration, but I wouldn't call it a mistake. The best and easiest compromise is probably to just keep the Elemental Role choice for the full year until the next Elemental Role tournament, so there are always two roles available. (I think it's supposed to expire with the Winter Court role choice.)

I am aware of the second Role coming up, but it sounded like it would only be out until Winter Court.

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The second role choice will only apply for Worlds and one other in-store event, not for Kotei. Really having a second role might make things a bit better, but 1) it's not happening yet and 2) I doubt it'd be enough. #FreeTheRoles

Quote

At the 2018 Winter Court World Championships, plus an associated in-store event, players may alternatively use the second role awarded to their clan as part of the Kotei Series. The Clan Standings of Elemental Points determine how these additional roles are awarded at the end of the Toshi Ranbo Season.

 

Edited by Khudzlin

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2 hours ago, AradonTemplar said:

I still think it's too early to 'admit a mistake.' Half the posts in here are people saying, "I think it'd be better if we had two roles." I'm not sure if they mean all the time, or are just unaware that there will be a second role choice (coming up soon? Thought it was supposed to be halfways through the year.) So, maybe people will warm up to the roles once the Elemental roles roll out.

Not to say the system couldn't use some iteration, but I wouldn't call it a mistake. The best and easiest compromise is probably to just keep the Elemental Role choice for the full year until the next Elemental Role tournament, so there are always two roles available. (I think it's supposed to expire with the Winter Court role choice.)

I used to think giving each clan access to a Keeper and a Seeker role was a fair compromise, but the more I thought about it, the more it just seems better to open up everything and just remove any confusion or barriers to entry. Explaining the Roles to new players is genuinely more of a turn off to the game than it is a positive.

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On 7/12/2018 at 10:11 AM, HamHamJ2 said:

Also, rewarding the strong clans with the chance to pick the strongest roles seems counterproductive.

This is indeed an issue with the system- currently, my only issue of substance.

Role-locked cards? A great design choice. Seriously. It allows for design to ccome up with cool stuff without worrying quite as much about monster-nightmare-combo-from-**** they didn't see coming (still possible, but...)

But... Providing what amounts to a mechanical reward to clans which are already experiencing mechanical success is a bit... well. Ouch. Moreover... every meta tends to have someone at the bottom (right now? Sorry Unicorn, we TOLD you that foreign magic was bad for you...)- and by having them pick DFL, it puts them even further on the back foot. If we're going to continue to role-lock Clans between major tournaments, we need to find a more equitable way to it, because with six other clans picking before you, it's not hard to imagine a general lack of enthusiasm for the remaining choices.

"Oh sweet, we got a couple of cards that might, just might, help with our horrible matchup with the Flying Purple Hippo Clan!"
"They're role-locked, and both Water roles are gone. No dice."

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31 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Wasn't the Scorpion pick also chosen to prevent them from being to dominant?

Nope.  Scorpion had Seeker of Void pegged for their choice since gen con of last year which is why they took Seeker of Air to keep the Void choice open for worlds.

There was a Dragon player that gave up hatamoto to play scorpion so he could prevent them from getting a keeper roll as he was worried about Backhanded Compliment dishonor decks making the environment no fun..... And I still agree that the environment would have been worse if that was the Sorpion deck we had to face.  

I think the role system is fine, but,it suffers from there not being all the clan packs out yet to open up all the support of roles.  When there are more options then the role selection isn't as impactful.

Opening all the role choices I think is too much and ultimately gets us to the same point where the metagame gets solved and some clans are on top and other clans are on the bottom.  Opening up all the roles does not create any sort of parity, which I feel is more I.portent than expanding the options

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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