Hello mortals, welcome back to the balance blog! For this week’s discussion I’d like to talk about something that the design team has been focusing heavily on.
We have spent a large amount of time looking at how to evaluate neutrals and what we want to get out of them.
You may have noticed that we have been tweaking the numbers on quite a lot of neutrals, so we wanted to give you some insight into the thought process behind it.
What should a neutral card be in Gods Unchained?
Let me preface by saying none of these are hard rules, they are just guidelines. For example, a Legendary card is likely to violate these guidelines because they are complex and unique by nature.
We want our neutral cards to avoid feeling like a spell. This is not to say we don’t want to have any neutral spells in the future. It is certainly something we might explore. Rather all our neutral cards right now are creatures and therefore should feel like a creature.
From a balance perspective this means that we want some of the value of a neutral creature to be attached to its body, not just to its effect.
Some examples of this are our recent changes to Dart Maniac and Solemn Lecturer.
Dart Maniac changed from 2 mana 1/1 ‘Deal 1 damage to two enemy creatures. You may select the same creature twice’ to 2 mana 1/3 ‘At the end of your turn, deal 1 damage to a random enemy creature.
Dart Maniac functioned as a two-mana removal spell; the body was almost totally irrelevant. The newer version makes the body relevant by increasing its stats and changing the effect to care about the body being alive.
Solemn Lecturer changed from a 1 mana 1/1 ‘Roar: Put an enemy to sleep.’ to a 4 mana 2/4 ‘Roar: Put an enemy to sleep.’
Solemn Lecturer functioned similarly in that the body was almost entirely irrelevant. By increasing the stats, the body is now a relevant threat on the board that is accompanied by a nice effect.
2. If you want to go outside what your god can normally do, then the effect will be worse.
We want our neutral cards to dip into class effects. However, we want those effects to be worse than what a god card can do. The purpose for this is to help build the flavour of our gods and to preserve their design space.
Our end goal is to have the player be able to correctly identify which card belongs to which god just by looking at its mana cost, stats and effect.
A great example of this dynamic is how hidden operates in neutral. Cards that have hidden should only be hidden for 1 turn. A card that is permanently hidden is something that belongs very much to deception and therefore should not be encroached on by the neutral cards.
3.They should be able to fit into multiple decks across multiple different gods.
Our neutral cards are designed so that they may fit into more than one god. If a card is something that only one god will ever want to use, then it should belong specifically to that god.
An example of diversity across gods is tribal cards such as the Vikings. We want the ‘meat’ of our tribal cards to exist in neutral to allow any class to dip into that tribe.
However, we want the different god-like payoffs to exist as god specific cards. For instance, even though Vikings are heavily tied to War, we have the card Gleeful Pillager which uses Deception exclusive mechanics but can slot nicely into a Viking tribal deck. Therefore, it makes sense that both Deception and War should have access to Viking cards and so most Vikings are neutrals.
Adapting more cards in the future.
The process of converting neutral cards to match these guidelines is an ongoing process and I’m sure there are some in game currently that egregiously violate them. If you see something that you think violates these guidelines, please mention it in the #balance channel of our official discord! I read every comment and am super grateful for all the passionate feedback.
Similarly, if you have any topics you would like the team & I to write about please mention so in the same place.
Until next time mortals – Petrify!