1. #1
    jkk89's Avatar First 1700 ELO! Hooah!
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    Dragonís Crystal OPOP nerf plox?

    About 1st/2nd player change

    Hey guys I would like to say smt about the new system, because there is lot of players that dont understand this change. Lets start from the beginning: why was this system change? In the old system 2nd player had a huge advantage. It was comfirmed by actual game data and by community itself. Some top players claimed that they have 90% win ratio starting 2nd while only 60% win ratio starting 1st. I am among those players. The difference between 1st/2nd was higher in the top level of play (as ppl do less mistakes, the starting position has bigger impact), but it was present for all player base. Ubisoft data proved that 2nd player was in fact favored and he was winning close to 60% matches.

    While we (we = DEV team + VIPs) wanted to fix this we need to figure out what is causing this. For most of You it is obvious, but to be sure I will write it down. In the card games (in fact in all turn based games, even in chess) there is a thing known as „1st mover advantage”. In turn based games with equal resource system this matters less, but in the games with growing resource system it matters more. Duel of Champions is a turn based game with growing resource system. In card games there always have to be a player that has more resource. There is no way to do this so resource system is equal for both players. Resource has to grow on the chosen turn and the player that on his turn resource go up is always in advantage.

    Now I would want U to try to remember our previous resource system, I will write this down:

    1st player 2nd player
    ...1
    ...........................2
    ...2
    ...........................3
    ...3
    ...........................4
    ...4

    In previous system we had chosen the 2nd player to have advantage in resource. Well, not really „advantage” in meaning that he had more resource, but advantage meaning that on the 2nd player turn the resource go up. 2nd player was first to have 2 resource and he was first to have 3 resource and so on. I think this part is obvious for everyone, but now I would want You to notice what 2nd player didnt have. Well, to begin with, the 2nd player didnt have 1 resource turn. U can clearly see that 2nd player start right away with 2 resource, while 1st player had the 1 resource turn before him. Also, while both players start with 6 cards in hand and both players were able to rise their stats on their 1st turn, it was 1st player, who was always 1 card and 1 stat point ahead of 2nd player.

    So, to be more specific 1st player had advantage in the numer of cards in his hand and in the hero actions available to him (rising stat), while 2nd player advantage was just the fact that on 2nd player turn resource go up. Knowing that 2nd player was highly favorable against 1st player we could conclude that:

    1 resource >> 1 card + 1 hero activation

    It was pretty obvious for us that 1 resource advantage is more important than card advantage and stat advantage. Our original line of thought was that we wanted to give the 1st player „The Coin” (there is no point hiding it -> we wanted to use Hearthstone Coin in our game):

    1 resource <> 1 card + 1 hero activation + „The Coin”

    The problem was that our resource curve was really strange. I mean, 2nd player start with 2 resource instead of 1 and by giving The Coin to 1st player we would just practically make all 1 drops worthless. Thats why we want to think about some other way of implementing The Coin and in the same time to make sure that 1 drops will be still played. That i show we think about reversing the curve. And in fact, our current resource system is just reverse version of previous resource system. Current resource system is more elegant. Both players are starting with 1 resource and resource go up on the 1st player turn. Lets try to visualize our current resource system:

    1st player 2nd player

    ...1
    ...........................1
    ...2
    ...........................2
    ...3
    ...........................3
    ...4

    Now, lets try to compare our current resource system to previous one. U can see that while 1st player resource income is exactly the same, 2nd player has 1 less income every single turn. This means, that in current system 1st player has the resource advantage.

    Some of You try to argue why we forbid 1st player to use his hero abillity and draw a card. Well, the answer is simple here. We knew that previously the 2nd player had 1 less card and 1 less hero activation and he was still favored, so we figured that if we give the resource advantage to the 1st player we need to take away from him the card and stat advantage. And in case if somebody is asking: no, it is not possible to make both players to have same amount of card draw and hero activation. This is turn based game that means always 1 player will be ahead in something. We chose that 1st player will be ahead in resource and 2nd player will be ahead in card draw and in hero activation.

    Now, the famous question about the „Dragon’s Crystal” and why we gave it to the 2nd player. Well, if we didnt, than current 1st player would have same advantage that previous 2nd player had. From our previous experience we knew that:

    1 resource >> 1 card + 1 hero activation

    So we basically had to add something to the equation so the 1st and 2nd player is more equal. We give „The Coin” to the player that had disadvantage, but we made it slightly different from HS Coin and we called it Dragon’s Crystal. Now the equation is:

    1 resource <> 1 card + 1 hero activation + 1 dragon’s crystal

    The only question remaining is that if Dragon’s Crystal is enough to make up for the resource disadvantage that current 2nd player has. Our initial testing had proven that current system is more balanced than previous one and for most of the VIP players it was actually hard to chose which player is favored in new system. While some of You may claim that is better to be 1st player, others will claim that is better to be 2nd player. In fact, it will be largely depend on Your deck. You will have to learn how to build deck proper now. Some of You might feel like current system incentivaze player to put more 1 drops, but I will tell You that is not true. In fact, I would say that 1 drops had lose some value and value of a 2 drops had risen. I will spare You another lecture on how I came to that conclusion and in fact we all need to just test what is working and what is not working in current system.

    Oh, and I would almost forgot. Some players are furious when they can not do anything on their 1st turn, while starting 1st. Well, what would You do if we just take that 1 resource turn away from You? Oh, wait a minute, wouldnt it be exactly the same as we used to have? Well yes – the previous 2nd player start right from 2 resource turn skipping his 1 resource turn entirely. And he still had huge advantage. Just imagine that in this new system the 1 resource turn, when U start as 1st player is basically a „bonus turn”. And if someone has still hard time to visualize all this, well what if I would say to You that current system is just as old system in which 1st player has access to The Coin, but the 2nd player gains the extra 1 resource turn? So only question left – if The Coin („Dragon’s Crystal”) is really THAT OP?

    Dragon’s Crystal – what it does? It has 3 different options to use it, but in 90% case scenario You will use it as „gain 1 resource” which is in fact, nothing esle but Gold Pile. The other options („deal 1 damage” and „draw a card”) are sometimes usefull, but their are mainly just for flavor. The main use for Dragon’s Crystal is to gain temporary resource boost. Other options, as they are substantialy worse, does not create any imbalance.

    Some of You also had questions why Dragon’s Crystal is a fortune. Well, why not? It is a card, it need to be something. The fact that it can be discarded or that it is affected by Week of Taxes is a thing and You need to coupe with that. It is not affecting game balance. In HS they have the same system and it is working for tchem. They have 52%/48% win ratio for the 1st/2nd player. I guess we will have to wait for our own thata to prove if the system is working for our game or not. But from my experience it is good enough and way better than what we used to have.
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  2. #2
    npavcec's Avatar Senior Member
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    I have to say that I agree with most of the points you presented, JK. I've made some suggestions in the Card Balancing & Feature Discussions sub-forum which are related to the topic which should alleviate some of the problems detected after the global release of the new battle starting system.

    Originally Posted by jkk89 Go to original post
    Some of You might feel like current system incentivaze player to put more 1 drops, but I will tell You that is not true. In fact, I would say that 1 drops had lose some value and value of a 2 drops had risen.
    That is because plenty of 1 cost drops are unplayeable on most of the heroes while starting 1st. Therefore, I propose this:
    1. http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php...equirement-fix

    Also, one more idea on adding 4th ability to Dragon Crystal:
    2. http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php...Dragon-Crystal
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  3. #3
    Nice summary of the thoughts behind the design. I didn't realize until now that simply giving player 1 a 'dragon crystal' would in fact lead to no one-drops being played. I'd just assumed that dragon crystal was perhaps a little bit too powerful so that player 2 was given a small half-boost and at the same time changed the order around so that the second player 'gets the obvious advantage' - like how 2nd player gets the coin in HS or the extra draw in MTG.

    Still, I think the best way to get people to understand is to put a tldr; that emphasizes how 1st player and 2nd player swapped places, with former 1st player given the dragon crystal and former second player given a turn zero.

    I will spare You another lecture on how I came to that conclusion and in fact we all need to just test what is working and what is not working in current system.
    I think I saw this in another thread but I don't mind a lecture. :P

    So far, I feel like I'd prefer to be player 2 simply because 1-drops are inconsistent and player 2's dragon crystal (1) smooths the curve in case of weird drop distribution and (2) allows player 2 to seize the tempo half the time.
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  4. #4
    Very well explained.

    The "problem" with turn 0 is quite annoying. It feels awful when you canīt play anything, or when you play a collector but you canīt play a 3 might 3 cost creature in your 2nd turn.
    Until you understand why does the 0 turn suck so hard.

    I donīt know the data, but Iīm quite happy with the change.
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  5. #5
    Xyx0rz's Avatar Senior Member
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    Jkkk, could you perhaps touch on a few related points?

    1. Why does the Dragon Crystal have the 1 damage mode?

    2. Why wasn't Lava Spawn changed? It seems way too good now that it's basically free half the time.

    3. Why weren't Newborn Vampire and the new Ancient Ghost changed to work with their respective heroes (Sveltana and Fleshbane)?

    4. Which decks are favored by going 1st? Rush?

    5. Who do you think is favored now, on average? 1st or 2nd?
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  6. #6
    Thanks for the detailed explanation jkkk. It felt like I was one of the few sane people in a mad world.

    Originally Posted by jkk89 Go to original post
    Oh, and I would almost forgot. Some players are furious when they can not do anything on their 1st turn, while starting 1st. Well, what would You do if we just take that 1 resource turn away from You? Oh, wait a minute, wouldnt it be exactly the same as we used to have? Well yes – the previous 2nd player start right from 2 resource turn skipping his 1 resource turn entirely. And he still had huge advantage. Just imagine that in this new system the 1 resource turn, when U start as 1st player is basically a „bonus turn”. And if someone has still hard time to visualize all this, well what if I would say to You that current system is just as old system in which 1st player has access to The Coin, but the 2nd player gains the extra 1 resource turn? So only question left – if The Coin („Dragon’s Crystal”) is really THAT OP?.
    I had basically posted this paragraph in one of the QQing threads, and it got ignored.

    The only thing I'd like to people to chime in is what they think about aggro rush decks that actually take advantage of the bonus turn - notably Deleb and Xorm with Lava Spawn.
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  7. #7
    jkk89's Avatar First 1700 ELO! Hooah!
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    Originally Posted by Xyx0rz Go to original post
    Jkkk, could you perhaps touch on a few related points?

    1. Why does the Dragon Crystal have the 1 damage mode?

    2. Why wasn't Lava Spawn changed? It seems way too good now that it's basically free half the time.

    3. Why weren't Newborn Vampire and the new Ancient Ghost changed to work with their respective heroes (Sveltana and Fleshbane)?

    4. Which decks are favored by going 1st? Rush?

    5. Who do you think is favored now, on average? 1st or 2nd?
    ad 1) It was decision made by the head guy and we didnt know the reasons. Still, we didnt object as all of us knew that the "gain 1 resource" part is the part that really matters. But I guess there were 2 things behind the design of Crystal: a) it should be somewhat different than Hearthstone Coin and suit more for our game enviroment, b) it should give equal boost to the rush player, control player and combo player. While I do believe that gain +1 resource in normal circumstances is the best option for every non-combo deck, some control deck might actually prefer to deal 1 damage and most combo decks will prefer to draw a card. This way we make sure that we create equal game enviroment for all deck archetypes. Personally I very like the design of the Crystal as it is very hard to use proper sometimes and I see 90% of player making bad plays with it -> in other words: it rewards skill.

    ad 2) Actually it was changed. But other way around. Right after we implemented the new system it turns out that Lava Spawn was not possible to be played on 1st player 1st turn (the 1st turn of 1st player was programmed that way as 1st player already used his hero abillity). Some of the tournaments that we played show to us that Inferno rush decks had very poor results if not able to play Lava Spawn on 1st turn. Of course, we debate how we could change Lava Spawn, but in the end DEV team decided to not change it. We agreed that we will rebalance all 1 drops if the new system proves to be working. We couldnt knew at a time if 1st player or 2nd player will be favored in new system.

    ad 3) I dont know, I guess in this game there is nothing obvious. Like, I guess U would expect that someone will chose to play Titans in Masfar and Beastman in Nahla, but at the end of the day is actually the other way around. Is it bad? I guess, game is build around idea to not give player easy choices. That U cant just build Your dream deck, that U have to make atual choices in deck-building process.

    ad 4) I think that all-in rush decks with 8 1-drops are indeed favored going 1st. If U can consistently play a 1drop on Your 1st turn and then follow up with 2-drop or 2 1-drops, U want to start 1st. I play almost 100 games with Xorm in Open right after the patch and my data shows to me that I had higher win ratio starting as 1st player. U could also say that decks with low max-out prefer to go 1st as they will prefer that resource advantage over stat development.
    Initially, I thought that control decks should prefer to start 1st as control deck need to have resource advantage to be responsive, but I am not so sure atm, because control decks are also the ones which has high max-out.

    ad 5) I honestly dont know, I didnt played enough decks yet. From what I have played I did prefer to start 1st.
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  8. #8
    Bomy99's Avatar Junior Member
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    I agree with Jkk that the game is more elegant now.
    The fact that both players now play: 2drop - 2drop and 3drop - 3drop... is a great change (before it was 2drop - 3drop and 3drop 4drop...).

    If you would be so kind to explain when to use 1 drops and when not, that would be nice. ( Cause you said : "...it will be largely depend on Your deck")

    Bomy999
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  9. #9
    jkk89's Avatar First 1700 ELO! Hooah!
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    Originally Posted by Bomy99 Go to original post
    If you would be so kind to explain when to use 1 drops and when not, that would be nice. ( Cause you said : "...it will be largely depend on Your deck")

    Bomy999
    Basically, put 1 drops in Your rush decks and keep them out of control decks. So it doesnt really change that much, but the thing is, since we dont have any combo deck on the horizon currently, U can abuse that fact and put 4 week of knowledge into Your control decks that dont use 1 drops.
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  10. #10
    Kimundi's Avatar Senior Member
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    Thank you JKKK for this comprehensive article This explains a lot! I will share it and even ask if we can post it officially on our channels
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