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Powerful cards destroying long-term game balance?

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I'm wary of powerful cards getting designed. It might not be good for the long term health and playability of the game. Imagine after two years, given all the player cards available, the choices, synergies, etc available to players. Even with just mediocre conditional cards being released, it opens up more choices for players. More player choice is better/stronger than a limited cardpool. The end result is player decks will gradually increase in power, thereby throwing game balance out. Does FFG counteract that with increasing the game difficulty, with absurd threat levels, etc? That would just be power inflation then.

 

I don't want to see the state of the game, which after two years of expansions, the player cards available have become so powerful that Passage through Mirkwood, let alone Escape from Dol Goldur, becomes a walk in the park. I want them to be a little easier and have a chance of victory, but I don't want the game ruined because powerful cards gradually came out and ruined game balance.
 

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I came here expecting to read a post about Northern Tracker in The Hills of Emyn Muil :P

In any case, as players eventually have more and more cards and powerful combinations thereof available to them for deckbuilding, unless scenarios are indeed to become a complete walk in the park, like you put it, FFG naturally has to make quests more difficult to compensate somehow, whether that is purely by inflating numbers on encounter cards, designing more brutal encounter cards, and/or implementing novel, clever encounter card synergies.

Do a bit of Googling on "power creep" for card games like Magic the Gathering and you will come across quite a few interesting reads on this topic. It seems like it is pretty much unavoidable that if FFG wants to continue producing new, exciting content for this game indefinitely that eventually, the old will essentially be replaced with the new (with some likely exceptions, of course), and I cannot foresee the original scenarios presenting the same level of difficulty they did with only the original Core set cards.  In a lot of ways, we can already see this happening; for example, the combination of the new cards Dunedain Warning, Gildor Inglorion, and A Burning Brand, when combined with the classic card Self Preservation, gives players a brand new option for dealing with the Journey Down the Anduin Hill Troll (or really, any powerful attacker) that was never available to them before, should they be unsuccessful in trying to draw a timely Forest Snare.

It may be a long time before we see individual cards being replaced (i.e., Guard of the Citadel being replaced by a 1 Will, 1 Attack, 1 Defense, 2 Hit Point Leadership ally that also only costs 2), but we'll have to see.

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I think this is a good point but not neccesary something to fear. I admit it is a challange to make new more powerful cards without raising the quest difficulty which again will make it more difficult again in solo play. BUT I think it mostly depends on what your take is on the game; what's your expectations.

An example that just hit me is  this. Take any adventure/RPG cumputer game where you advance in level as you go on in the game. This also leads to stronger and more difficult enemies to beat and then when you finnally beat the final boss/creature/thing you have beaten the game/history/quest. Then 1 year later, or 2 or 10 depending how fond you are for the story in that game you wanna play it through again. Since many modern games let you play it through and then save and start the game over again but with all your curent earned streangt, weapons, powers and so on, you might have 2 choices. 1. Do that and walk through the game without any challenge or 2. start a new game all fresh and get a good experience once more even though you might know how it ends.

What is my point with this? Well, 2 years from now when we all have superoverpowertopdelux cards in our decks it won't be any challenge to beat maybe even Osgiliath or Anduin BUT then you have a choice. 1. Go through the old quests with this power deck OR 2. go back, pick up the cards from the core set and maybe some from the AP that belongs to this quest set, and play it through again without these new almighty cards. This will keep the ballance.

I can understand that some might not agree to this because they want a deck they can beat everything with and make it their master deck. Well, these people might find it boring in the long run or fear the future of the game even though this doesn't rule out having some "weaker" decks to play and have fun with. Many players uses one kind of cards in their turnaments decks but some other cards when playing casual just because they like whatever game they play. So you could just make a tournament-mean-buisness-I'm-going-to win-every-quest-you-throw-at-me-FFG deck AND a casual-take-it-a-little-more-easy-and-have-fun deck to just enjoy the game :)

What I wanna say with this "novel" of an answer is just that there's no need to fear the future of the game balance, 'cause it's not neccesary going to be a problem :)

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I would personally like to see more weapon options. Currently the dwarves and the gondor characters have weapons. They need to add Rohan spears, elvish bows and hobbit daggers. I have trouble beating both of the level 7 quest without stronger characters. happy.gif

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There is a chance (small but it exists) , that they will try to create different quests and every one of them will "check" your deck against other areas. So in the end, some quests will expose weakness in your deck and will make you change some cards. When you change, the previous quests will become a litttle bit harder.

A good example is Rhosgobel. My deck did not contain healing and did not contain ranged characters. I now play with Legolas and not with Gimli , so the damage dealing potential is now smaller. And also, I am more exposed to early game enemy attacks (you can let first attack go undefended, Gimli will get angry and defeat the opponent, with Legolas this is much limited). Additionally, I am using Radagast now as the only way to heal the eagle. Radagast is not great in other quests, so adding him made my deck slightly weaker in other adventures.

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 yes, that is, what I think, too! I think the power creep in THIS particular game will be very slow for several reasons:

1. we only get TWO cards for a given sphere per pack!!! (not unlike MtG, where an expansion comes out every three months with 200 new cards... btw I'm doing a 9-men draft with Innistrad tomorrow, yeeehah! :))

 

2. different quests can expose different weaknesses - and given that we can only use 50 cards in a deck means that you possibly can't prepare for all strategies... sure, SOMETIME in the future, maybe... 

 

3. the first quests will become maybe a bit easier, but not a lot! passage mirkw has already been easy, it has become a bit easier with cards as dunedain mark, warning, quest, but you still CAN fail esp in solo mode... 

 

4. ffg will look carefully not to boost the heroes too soon! while we are getting dunedain XY now, I think in future we will have more "race"/culture specific boni... e.g. only dwarf +1 (as in axe/mail) so we will have plenty of time, until all races get their buffers

 

5. there is only so much buffers you can get - as long as there is the 50 threat cap, 3 heroes cap, 1 resource per turn/per hero and 1 card (normally) - there is only so much a deck can do - compared to an encounter deck, which can get strong quicker than the good guys...

 

but eventually - with all the synergies and combos that will develop - there will be a power creep... as in any game! when you run out of variables that you can influence, than you have to increase stats! maybe there will be new rules and thus new "problems" we have to address... we'll see... I think the breaking point will be Khazad-Dûm - using all these cards and then questing the old core sets, we'll get a better feeling, how much easier a quest got...

I still think that dol guldur and catc/journey to rhosgobel (will be hard in solo-mode anyway...)

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I like that we haven't had any new cards that reduce threat.

Of all the new cards that ready characters, I feel they are far too weak because Unexpected Courage is far too strong!
It seems ludicrous to play Using Nor am I a Stranger and/or Eomund without already using three Unexpected Courage. With three Unexpected Courage, you can get 1-2 out some what frequently as it is.

We've seen it with Decipher's Star Trek and Lord of the Rings... when one card in an early set does something SO good, design has their hands tied behind their back for each new card they want to make that readies characters :(

(ie. either they're too weak compared to, and don't get played, or they have to be too strong compared to other cards in the game, to see play ahead/with Unexpected Courage.)

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 Power creep is something we all "fear". If you want, you can play those deck. but there is another aspect to this game I love. Themes... They always pose a challenge as there are certain restrictions you are placing upon yourself above and beyond what the game already does. so Keep faith in the fact that you can always find a way to handicap yourself and have fun doing it.

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The one thing that protects this game from power greep is that you don't sell new expansions via mega cards. New encounter decks are IMHO the main reason for getting new expansion! But with every new card, the posibility of making "better" player deck increases, so eventuall we will be there, but there is no so big rush to do it like in normal ccg format where new power cards are "the only way of selling more cards..."

 

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There are some interesting articles on this topic around. Somewhere I read that "power creep" (if done properly) is necessary, because it's the nature of us players to want more powerful cards to improve their decks... If done properly (and by properly I mean slowly and without breaking the game) it can be a good thing. And I'm not afraid of it, because it's a coop game after all. Which means: I can choose what cards to use and don't have to worry too much about any competition.

Of course it's tempting to include only the most powerful cards, but sometimes it's more rewarding to play with the cards you LIKE. I recently dumped my three Gandalfs and of course my deck would be "better" with them, but I enjoyed trying something different! Someone mentioned this kind of restriction before and I think it's one way to get the most out of this game.

I personally like to go back to play some of the older quests with the new heroes and player cards and of course it's sometimes easier, because there are more options to deal with certain situations. But does it stand in the way of having fun? Not at all.

Also: When building a deck for multiplayer I'm not only concerned about my deck and my combos and my best cards, I'm also trying to complement the other player's deck in the best way possible.

 

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Untergeher said:

Also: When building a deck for multiplayer I'm not only concerned about my deck and my combos and my best cards, I'm also trying to complement the other player's deck in the best way possible.

 

 

you sir understand the very nature of this game... compimenting each other... not only building uber-solo decks... the sum is greater than its parts! :)

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I think that you need to consider that this game is slightly different to what you expect in a card game. I mean no one complains that in a computer RPG when your level 100 you do not have a hard time beating the hell out of level 1 rats. I think asking them to make each new player card not increase teh power of the decks so that Journey Down the Audin is always going to be a challenge is unrealistic. I see no problem in the power level rising and more and more interesting quests as the game grows. You can always not use the cards form new expansions to play older scenarios.

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booored said:

I think that you need to consider that this game is slightly different to what you expect in a card game. I mean no one complains that in a computer RPG when your level 100 you do not have a hard time beating the hell out of level 1 rats. I think asking them to make each new player card not increase teh power of the decks so that Journey Down the Audin is always going to be a challenge is unrealistic. I see no problem in the power level rising and more and more interesting quests as the game grows. You can always not use the cards form new expansions to play older scenarios.

 

I agree 100%. As long as the power creep is incremental it will be acceptable to me. I can always play a sub-optimal deck if I want more challenge. Or just deal out more shadow cards or encounter cards. This game has inherent ways to scale difficulty that make it solid gold for replay value.

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 Exactly guys! You aren't forced to play any particular cards. Play what you want...theme decks and have fun. The game is only going to get cooler and more fun in my opinion. Plus, I am a collector of LOTR stuff (especially original artwork of any kind) and this game provides that aplenty! :)

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We certainly have more variety in cards as we get more decks.  And, that variety makes our decks better.  But do we actually have power creep?  The strongest cards in the game are all things that are in the core set.

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Bohemond said:

We certainly have more variety in cards as we get more decks.  And, that variety makes our decks better.  But do we actually have power creep?  The strongest cards in the game are all things that are in the core set.

Yes Bohemond you right. Most powerful cards in the core set. Heroes from AP is not as good as heroes from core set as well. First Hero in my opinion who is fit core set level is Boromir. But AP give us also some cards which is make players decks much more stronger then before. Its ok if the encounter deck also go stronger. But the quests level is still on pretty low difficult  level. From the beginning i scare about this. In June i has talking about this on this forum bu most of the players was not agree with me. But now i see more and more people start to realize.

What is the main part of the game??? In my opinion is quest and encounter deck. FFG should to make them more interesting and more challenge.

But i heard some rumors about Khazad-Dum difficult 3,5,7. Hey command it should be 5,7,9. We already now how to play now how to build up the deck, learn some strategy so give us some cool quest not difficult 3?????  Really this FFG have some many problems. But what i like now people start to talk about it more and more. So this give me hope everything will be ok. I love this game anyway.

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Bohemond said:

We certainly have more variety in cards as we get more decks.  And, that variety makes our decks better.  But do we actually have power creep?  The strongest cards in the game are all things that are in the core set.

 

I know that in CoC the core set still has some cards in it that are in most of the top tier decks.

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I heard the rumors as well that there will be a level 3, 5 and 7 quest. But dissagreeing with glaurung I can only say "YAY" Nice to get a level 3 quest. I will not go as far as to "command" and bitching about the level 5 and 7 quest even if I could say:

"WHAT!!!! Level 5 and 7?!?!?? COME ON GUYS. GIVE US A BREAK. Some of us is still having trouble with the Anduin and then you make a new level 7 quest again????  WHATS THE MATTER WITH YOU????Please just stay with the level 3,4 and 5. PLEASE!!!!!! You are making this game WAY TOO difficult!!!!!!!" and so on. But I don't. Because then somebody having it easy with the game would maybe get irritated and fear that I'd ruin the future of the game for him.  

Yousee, I respect everyones opinion here and the truth is that some need the level 3 quests, some level 5 and a few more experienced and super players (and player that have missunderstood the rules and therefor the game is too easy) need the level 7,8,9 quest.

So when it's a level 3 quest, GREAT! When it's a 5 also GREAT and even if it'll be a level 12 someday which I won't be able to beat in the near future ALSO GREAT! Some cards are only great for multiplayer games, GREAT, some best in solo eaqually GREAT.

And about the "what's the game about" thing, it varies from person to person; for some it's beating the qusts no matter what, some like the deck building the most, some wants a huge challenge, others like to just play casually. MY opinon is that it's all about the story of the game. The reason I like it is because it's Lord of the Rings. I love the books and the movies. This is a great way to get more story in my favorite universe. So I couldnt care less if ALL quests from now on will only be level 1 OR 12. As long as the story is there and all the quests differ in what to do (just like they have up till now) I will be a happy guy. Sorry if people are dissapointed or unhappy with the game; you could make it great if you just wanted to and give the tournament-stress some rest.

Have fun everyone :)

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@Glaurung: I think we all heard your desire for more difficult, more challenging quests, but think of all the other players who enjoy this game maybe not for its difficulty but for its other parts, like flavo(u)r or theme or the cooperative nature of it. I like a challenge as much as anybody else, but sometimes I want to relax and enjoy the experience without constantly worrying about dying heroes or near impossible threat management.

So I want both: I want more quests like Escape form Dol Guldur whenever I'm ready for a tough one and I want easier quests where the encounter decks are more forgiving and therefore making it possible to try something new, something different. I don't want to build an uber-deck to rule them all and I don't want to tinker with it every time I want to play another quest just to have a chance at it... I want to have fun experimenting with new player cards, with new heroes etc.

We also can't assume that the numbers FFG puts on the quests are anywhere close to the perceived difficulty of each and every player or playgroup. Maybe that difficulty 3 quest has some new mechanics that are going to counter the strategy of your best deck? We just don't know yet.

And there are a lot of opitons if you want to have a more difficult and challenging experience with the game: Toss out all your best cards and heroes. Make up restrictions like using only one copy of each card. Or play nightmare mode. Or something like this: Play one quest after the other, but you're not allowed to use cards in your deck that you used or played during the last one. I'm sure you can find a way. And you wouldn't have to worry too much about the difficulty of upcoming releases ;-)

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mr.thomasschmidt said:

I heard the rumors as well that there will be a level 3, 5 and 7 quest. But dissagreeing with glaurung I can only say "YAY" Nice to get a level 3 quest. I will not go as far as to "command" and bitching about the level 5 and 7 quest even if I could say:

"WHAT!!!! Level 5 and 7?!?!?? COME ON GUYS. GIVE US A BREAK. Some of us is still having trouble with the Anduin and then you make a new level 7 quest again????  WHATS THE MATTER WITH YOU????Please just stay with the level 3,4 and 5. PLEASE!!!!!! You are making this game WAY TOO difficult!!!!!!!" and so on. But I don't. Because then somebody having it easy with the game would maybe get irritated and fear that I'd ruin the future of the game for him.  

Yousee, I respect everyones opinion here and the truth is that some need the level 3 quests, some level 5 and a few more experienced and super players (and player that have missunderstood the rules and therefor the game is too easy) need the level 7,8,9 quest.

So when it's a level 3 quest, GREAT! When it's a 5 also GREAT and even if it'll be a level 12 someday which I won't be able to beat in the near future ALSO GREAT! Some cards are only great for multiplayer games, GREAT, some best in solo eaqually GREAT.

And about the "what's the game about" thing, it varies from person to person; for some it's beating the qusts no matter what, some like the deck building the most, some wants a huge challenge, others like to just play casually. MY opinon is that it's all about the story of the game. The reason I like it is because it's Lord of the Rings. I love the books and the movies. This is a great way to get more story in my favorite universe. So I couldnt care less if ALL quests from now on will only be level 1 OR 12. As long as the story is there and all the quests differ in what to do (just like they have up till now) I will be a happy guy. Sorry if people are dissapointed or unhappy with the game; you could make it great if you just wanted to and give the tournament-stress some rest.

Have fun everyone :)

I understand you point. Yes right players have different level of experience and different requests. Some players want more hard and some players want to have some easy quests. Me and you very good example in this case.

My pray is : please more hard i need  it, and your pray is : please more easy i need it.

So the best way is make the quest with opportunity to make themself more hard or more easy by some special rules or some special game mechanic.

the same quest can be very hard and very easy, like in video game where you can add or remove difficult level in game options.

The best what FFG can do is develop some kinds of rules for this case. Cose one day when you start to play better and your skill go up, you start ask the same thing from the game.And your pray will change.

With all my respect.

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Untergeher said:

@Glaurung: I think we all heard your desire for more difficult, more challenging quests, but think of all the other players who enjoy this game maybe not for its difficulty but for its other parts, like flavo(u)r or theme or the cooperative nature of it. I like a challenge as much as anybody else, but sometimes I want to relax and enjoy the experience without constantly worrying about dying heroes or near impossible threat management.

So I want both: I want more quests like Escape form Dol Guldur whenever I'm ready for a tough one and I want easier quests where the encounter decks are more forgiving and therefore making it possible to try something new, something different. I don't want to build an uber-deck to rule them all and I don't want to tinker with it every time I want to play another quest just to have a chance at it... I want to have fun experimenting with new player cards, with new heroes etc.

We also can't assume that the numbers FFG puts on the quests are anywhere close to the perceived difficulty of each and every player or playgroup. Maybe that difficulty 3 quest has some new mechanics that are going to counter the strategy of your best deck? We just don't know yet.

And there are a lot of opitons if you want to have a more difficult and challenging experience with the game: Toss out all your best cards and heroes. Make up restrictions like using only one copy of each card. Or play nightmare mode. Or something like this: Play one quest after the other, but you're not allowed to use cards in your deck that you used or played during the last one. I'm sure you can find a way. And you wouldn't have to worry too much about the difficulty of upcoming releases ;-)

About nighmare is very good idea. We start this mode  from this week and i will put my report about it. Maybe that what i need.

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DurinIII said:

Hey, not a bad idea Glaurung. That would be cool if they could somehow make a quest function as both easy or hard.  I am not putting forth how they would do that. :) 

for example, when playing down the anduin, put 2 trolls in the staging area instead of 1 :D

i wish they would release MORE quests. as people have shown, the cards available would allow for many quests to be designed, but they stick to one quest per AP. this would also satisfy people better who want easier/harder quests. they could easily make 3 quests per AP with different difficulty levels. as it is, the game has much potential, but only a fraction of it is used.

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letsdance said:

DurinIII said:

Hey, not a bad idea Glaurung. That would be cool if they could somehow make a quest function as both easy or hard.  I am not putting forth how they would do that. :) 

 

for example, when playing down the anduin, put 2 trolls in the staging area instead of 1 :D

i wish they would release MORE quests. as people have shown, the cards available would allow for many quests to be designed, but they stick to one quest per AP. this would also satisfy people better who want easier/harder quests. they could easily make 3 quests per AP with different difficulty levels. as it is, the game has much potential, but only a fraction of it is used.

The more quest cards they add, the less player cards we get. Personally, I want to see more player cards as the deckbuilding is one of the most fun parts for me, and currently the pools for each sphere is still fairly small.

What I would love to see is 2 full expansions, one consisting of 200ish player cards and one consisting of 200 encounter/quest cards.

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