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View Full Version : Interview with Dev SimonV - New mechanics in Griffin Bane and more!



del170109032657
06-26-2014, 04:07 PM
Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with our Dev SimonV to discuss the upcoming Griffin Bane expansion. Here are some of the main topics we covered and a quick summery of his replies:

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Now that we've had some time to understand the Base Set 2 and HoN metagame, what are your thoughts on the current state of play?

It’s interesting to see what players come up with the break the meta. At first everyone was playing Necro but top players knew that Deleb was the real thing. Then came Hakeem, Acamas, and Kat. It’s a good sign when there’s a rotation in the meta like this. My only regret is that Haven and Sanctuary don’t see the same amount of play in top tiers.

How do you feel the addition of creature tribes worked out?

I think it’s a good start, I mean we haven’t done that much yet, but the basics are there.

Will there be more tribe specific functions coming over the next few months?

Always. All expansions this year will have a tribal mechanic included in some way or another.

What were your concerns heading into Series 06?

Haven and Sanctuary aren't played enough. We hit them hard in Base Set 2, but it was needed. Haven had two aggressive creatures that enabled rush in a faction that’s meant to be slow. Sanctuary had Ambush cards. Those were creating frustration simply because of lack of feedback. When we built Base Set 2, we took cards with abilities we were more likely to redo and Ambush wasn't part of that. As such, Sanctuary took a pretty big hit.

How will the Griffin Bane expansion help to fix these concerns?

When we started balancing Haven, instead of trying to make it win at all cost, we asked ourselves: “What does Haven need to be a threat in mid to late game?” First it needs to stand up to Dark. It also needs relevant threats in T3-T4 and T5. To detract it from becoming rush, its early drops needs to be more defensive or to get better with time.

Sanctuary is a tougher deal. The faction is not meant to perform rush strategies either. We needed to assign it another kind of play style and try to achieve it. It feels like it should be good in control decks and that’s where we put our focus. I think we ended up with some really good aggro-control decks.

We've had quite a few new mechanics added in prior expansions. Aside from just tribes, we've seen the addition of new heroes and even buildings! Are there any major mechanics planned for Griffin Bane?

Stacks! And Tokens! Stackable is a new ability that lets you deploy, relocate or move a creature with Stackable onto another creature with the same name. Let’s say Serpentfly has Stackable, you deploy the first one normally, then you deploy the second one on top of the first one, the size of the Serpentfly will go up by 1 and the 2nd Serpentfly card will go to your graveyard. Since your stack of Serpentfly is 2, it’s ATK is 2 and its HP is 4. If you deal it enough damage to kill 1 Serpentfly, the stack size reduces. There are stacks in GB that can go to insane numbers but dealing it damage is enough to reduce its threat level. A stack of 5 1/0/1 (thus a 5/0/5!!) on the receiving end of a Fireball, will see its stack reduced to only 1 (and thus make it a wimpy 1/0/1 again.)

Will these Stackable creatures be available only to certain factions or will there be cross faction capability?

Haven, Inferno and Necro all have tokens and Sanctuary has one Stackable creature. All factions have different takes on the mechanic. Haven has tokens that spawns on a building when you play Humans. Inferno spawns tokens when spells are played. Necro just plays A LOT of tokens... Skeleton army FTW!

Will any other balancing be done to other sets of cards to take stacks and tokens into account?

Swelling Breeder was nerfed because it was too good with the new Breeders. It was ok in the reality of HoN but had too much of an impact on Griffin Bane. The new version now giving Magic Resist to adjacent breeders. Also Djinn Cloudshaper and Enthrall got nerfed. Djinn requires 1 more Might and Enthrall costs 1 more. Puppet Master, as a result, also got nerfed to cost 7.

How will this impact the competitive and top level players?

It nerfs Hakeem and makes Dark magic users a bit more vulnerable to rushes. The problem with Dark wasn't necessarily its ease to destroy a creature... but also to steal it.

You mentioned that breeders would be receiving some love in Griffin Bane. What new Breeder cards can we expect?


http://i.imgur.com/z7B0HDC.png

This is the Breeder Matron. When we started the tribal theme, I knew I wanted to do breeders first. They are seen as really bad cards right now, which makes this an unexpected choice for the first strong tribal theme in Inferno. It’s an interesting challenge to bring these creatures to a better spot in the meta. Plus, since most breeders aren't played, it gave us room to create pretty much anything.

Matron is clearly only good if your board is full of breeders. There are other breeders in this set that spawns breeder tokens.

Any final thoughts on the direction of the game and this series?

It’s been wild balancing this set, but I think each faction has a new fun strategy to play with. It’s probably one of the most complex set we've had to date because of stacks and how they change the game. It’ll be really fun to see what decks players come up with.

Tholkor
06-26-2014, 05:52 PM
Also Djinn Cloudshaper and Enthrall got nerfed. Djinn requires 1 more Might and Enthrall costs 1 more.

I'm sold.

Stoneofhelp
06-26-2014, 07:03 PM
Stackable is a new ability that lets you deploy, relocate or move a creature with Stackable onto another creature with the same name. Let’s say Serpentfly has Stackable, you deploy the first one normally, then you deploy the second one on top of the first one, the size of the Serpentfly will go up by 1 and the 2nd Serpentfly card will go to your graveyard. Since your stack of Serpentfly is 2, it’s ATK is 2 and its HP is 4. If you deal it enough damage to kill 1 Serpentfly, the stack size reduces. There are stacks in GB that can go to insane numbers but dealing it damage is enough to reduce its threat level. A stack of 5 1/0/1 (thus a 5/0/5!!) on the receiving end of a Fireball, will see its stack reduced to only 1 (and thus make it a wimpy 1/0/1 again.)


What happens if a stack gets hit by a soul reaver or a enthrall? does it take away the whole stack or one one of the creatures in the stack?

del170109032657
06-26-2014, 07:17 PM
What happens if a stack gets hit by a soul reaver or a enthrall? does it take away the whole stack or one one of the creatures in the stack?

The spell will impact the entire stack. A stack acts as one creature when it is on the battleground. If you play Soulreaver on a stack, you kill the whole thing. Town Portal will return the creature card that was originally put in play into the owner’s hand. If the stack is made of tokens, they are banished instead.

Portios86
06-26-2014, 08:20 PM
The djinn nerf affects all academy, hakeem will be a lot weaker with both nerfs, djiin and entrhall, but the enthrall nerf is more than fine. Actually, Hakeem plays circle of 9, unlike other academy heroes like myranda and akane, it will hit them too hard in my opinion, I think a minimum cost was a better idea, like 1-3.

The stackable units sound funny, but I can see the complains about dark magic on them, we will see...

Haven needs 2-3 cost creatures way better than the drops we have, it doesnīt need to be rushy, ok, but make them as useful as rakshasa and lurker in the dark, something that doesnīt hit you hard but is annoying as hell to fight, I donīt understand why does inferno have better deffenses than haven with lurkers, bloatters, lilims, 2/0/4 shoters...

Jason, I have a very straight question for you: Do you think stall decks are healthy for standard meta (we already have a mass rage deck working quite well) with cards like revised tactics, night of the rising moon, tutors, and so on...? I ask you because I think itīs too easy to discard dead cards and to fecht for the cards you need, in a game with 50 cards to draw, hero ability to draw, and one extra "mana" each turn... I donīt want to see stall decks in standard, at least not at that level of strenght.

Also, I like the idea of breeders even if they are "ugly" :P but donīt forget to test it, you say breeders are weak? the breeders we have in standard are quite popular and strong in their respective decks.

Lastly, you focusing on buildings again. Do you know how insanely good is going to be (again) earth magic with fissure and the likes? I would never play a buildings haven deck with those spells out there...I hope you donīt balance the entire faction around buildings unless you work on those spells deeply.

Oh sorry, last question, will you guys balance the meta with patches if needed? I mean, before a new expansion is released and after GB.

Stoneofhelp
06-26-2014, 09:36 PM
The spell will impact the entire stack. A stack acts as one creature when it is on the battleground. If you play Soulreaver on a stack, you kill the whole thing. Town Portal will return the creature card that was originally put in play into the owner’s hand. If the stack is made of tokens, they are banished instead.

ouch, the only problem with that is that it gives dark magic a huge card advantage. Use one spell to economically get rid of a stack of three cards. Which as far as I understand is why creature enchantments are absent from the meta. Same problem. Now Hakeem will be even stronger O_o

I thought it might have been a nice answer for dark magic other than dark ward if it only affected one of the creatures.

budynzmajonezem
06-26-2014, 09:43 PM
The spell will impact the entire stack. A stack acts as one creature when it is on the battleground. If you play Soulreaver on a stack, you kill the whole thing. Town Portal will return the creature card that was originally put in play into the owner’s hand. If the stack is made of tokens, they are banished instead.So what determines the current number of creatures on the stack? Total amount of hp? What happens when you cast a spell that increases hp or heals? Let's say you have 4x 1/0/2 creatures on the stack so together they are 4/0/8. Now you increase their health by 3 - is it just 4/0/11 or maybe 6/0/11 - a damaged 6x stack? If it's 4/0/11, what happens when you deal 2 damage to it and what if 4?



ouch, the only problem with that is that it gives dark magic a huge card advantage. Use one spell to economically get rid of a stack of three cards. Which as far as I understand is why creature enchantments are absent from the meta. Same problem. Now Hakeem will be even stronger O_oIndeed it does if you play all the creatures from hand - normal creatures with stackable look rather poor to me (no advantage of being stacked and many disadvantages), but as free tokens it's only a tempo advantage for you.

Stoneofhelp
06-27-2014, 08:42 AM
So what determines the current number of creatures on the stack? Total amount of hp? What happens when you cast a spell that increases hp or heals? Let's say you have 4x 1/0/2 creatures on the stack so together they are 4/0/8. Now you increase their health by 3 - is it just 4/0/11 or maybe 6/0/11 - a damaged 6x stack? If it's 4/0/11, what happens when you deal 2 damage to it and what if 4?.


As far as I understand you cant heal a stack, those creatures die. And not only will a fireball now reduce the creatures hp by 5 but also its attack power. Before your creatures attack power would at least remain intact. Like you said, few advantages, many disadvantages from the description so far.

DoubleDeck
06-27-2014, 08:45 AM
So how will tokens work exactly?

Will they be similar to Boneyard effect?

del170109032657
06-27-2014, 06:44 PM
Jason, I have a very straight question for you: Do you think stall decks are healthy for standard meta (we already have a mass rage deck working quite well) with cards like revised tactics, night of the rising moon, tutors, and so on...? I ask you because I think itīs too easy to discard dead cards and to fecht for the cards you need, in a game with 50 cards to draw, hero ability to draw, and one extra "mana" each turn... I donīt want to see stall decks in standard, at least not at that level of strenght.

Of course it's healthy. We need a huge variety of deck types to keep the game fresh and enjoyable. If it was only aggro, only stall, or only control, it wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable to play. I'm all for it.


Oh sorry, last question, will you guys balance the meta with patches if needed? I mean, before a new expansion is released and after GB.

We have put in place a new system that allows us to balance cards on the go without an update/patch to the client. We will be able to react much faster than we were able to in the past. I wouldn't be surprised to see us balancing things as needed after the GB release.


So what determines the current number of creatures on the stack? Total amount of hp? What happens when you cast a spell that increases hp or heals? Let's say you have 4x 1/0/2 creatures on the stack so together they are 4/0/8. Now you increase their health by 3 - is it just 4/0/11 or maybe 6/0/11 - a damaged 6x stack? If it's 4/0/11, what happens when you deal 2 damage to it and what if 4?

Enchantments like a hit point buff will only impact the bottom creature in a stack. You'd have to destroy all other monsters on the stack before cutting into that extra HP on the bottom creature.


So how will tokens work exactly?

Which part? Tokens will be banished after being destroyed. There are cards that will add Tokens to the battlefield. It should become much more clear as we show cards from the set that deal with Tokens.

del170109032657
06-27-2014, 06:44 PM
Here's the full VoD of the interview on YouTube:


http://youtu.be/hkv-9SPIapo

Portios86
06-28-2014, 01:20 AM
I watched the whole interview, good job Jason, I like to see a haven player doing this interview :p
Simon seems really convinced about his job, thatīs good. ;)

MoritzBradtke
06-28-2014, 11:56 AM
cool interview more pls (:

Bazaltovy
06-28-2014, 01:21 PM
Oh, guys, you're gonna love Griffin Bane. ;)

ulpsz
06-28-2014, 01:40 PM
Simon seems really convinced about his job, thatīs good. ;)

Simon seemed realy convinced about a lot of things that they have done bad so far...

him being realy convinced is the least reassuring thing ...

fr33noob
06-28-2014, 03:18 PM
The take i have on this game right now for standard is that when the expansion came out necro looked really strong, one of the main reasons is because of all the removal cards they have. It kind puts people off the idea of having too many big monster cards if the other guy has an answer for it every turn by just droping one card down. Oh you summoned 10/10 creatures? Remove.
Best way to deal with that is rush, for example inferno with it's heavy emphasis on damage done indirectly damage to hero whilst rush heavy. Hence inferno became a thing.
This is why i think ariana is the best choice as necro, she can really hurt rush decks with the stat saping whilst having earth and dark magic for remove...She has a huge edge over other hero's in necro in terms of balance. Lets not forget she can remove towers but i know a lot of people don't like using it.
Orks, haven't been able to get a full handle on them, they look like the guys running the middle of the pack...with a good amount of tank fight.
Hakeem however, has removal...add the djinns in there, and you have a god late game deck. Few cheese decks on academy but outside hakeem i don't know what they do :D.

I can see how you are making hevan more relavant but it's still hard for them to deal with removal decks, and sancturay just seems weak to spells that do mass removal....for all the cards you put down to emphasis the next card...If you run low on cards whilst pumping out mobs of cards, double insect sworm will make you cry a lot. Hakeem will make you cry.
Problem with relying to heavily on honor cards, if you clear the board...or get board control...it's a real problem for a team that NEEDS board control to win. They look more rush heavy than control heavy. Outside the honor mechanic, something else could help. One hit wonder doesn't always win. Once i get rid of the unique and wipe the board it's pretty much game from there.

One thing i think sanctuary could do really well is combo decks. Instead of having to through 3-5 creatures down in your first 2-3 turns, perhaps 1 good combo in turn 4-5, whilst being a bit defensive. combo cards?

Alamand
07-01-2014, 12:56 AM
So stackable pretty much lets you turn a creature into a creature enchantment if you have a creature with the same name on the field... only it's worse in every conceivable way than an actual enchantment which are almost never played in the first place.I'm really hoping this isn't supposed to be the mechanic that saves haven or it sounds like they'll be even worse off than they are now.

The only way I could see stackable being a viable keyword is if it was changed to being able to stack on any creature with the keyword, or if there's some creature that does really insane things when it reaches a certain stack size or maybe an ongoing fortune that does completely broken thing when you stack like a doubling season effect maybe.

Either way, it'll need some insane synergy to be viable but their recent attempts to make creature enchantments playable (outside of OTK) and their general incompetence when it comes to haven for the entire history of the game doesn't fill me with much hope. Here's hoping they at least remove the win 5 games with haven daily.

Portios86
07-01-2014, 02:09 AM
As a haven player I understand your frustration Alamand, but lets give them another chance, the issues are deeply adressed, I suppose they are testing haven cards which were op in HoN, therefore unreleased with the expansion. I mean, this time we can think they are having more than enough time to fix the faction, it became something important for devs too.

About stackable haven creatures, it depends on if they are token or give some kind of draw advantage. I would risk a creature playing it like a enchant, but only if Iīm not going to empty my hand and pay too many resources. They are testing and they say haven is too strong, they are even nerfing but, this time I guess they will release the card op if necessary, we canīt have 2 factions so underplayed in standard, specially a popular faction like haven. I have no doubts, haven will work, if op or fine I donīt know, but itīs going to work.
Moreover, they will be able to modify cards without patches, so you canīt trust them this time, in a way or another, haven and sanctuary will work. In fact, Iīm quite worried about that new sanctuary creature with very nice stats and awesome ability.

malkorion
07-01-2014, 11:38 AM
Not sure how I feel about stacking. It just another bad mechanic that creates card disadvantage for you (a la Soulreaver, Enthrall, etc.). I don't think it will catch on.

Bomy99
07-04-2014, 09:28 AM
I think the stack mechanic is (to) strong. Yes u can remove the whole stack with dark magic, but I don't know if u seen the stream yesterday. Haven has angels that make al humans untargetable. I can see a massive stack (16hp) + this angel which makes the stack almost unbeatable on the battleground by creatures. Which u don't want as i thought standard mode should be more about creature decks and less stall decks.

In my opinion they will soon need to nerf the maximum hp of those stackable creatures (to 10hpMax or so) before it gets out of hand. But we will only know how this new mechanic will work after release! So interesting nevertheless :-)

Bomy999