Game Update 0.38 – Straight to the Core

Welcome and Core balances are live, the Sanctum has new cards, and there are fixes a-plenty.

We’re coming in hard with Game Update 0.38, seeing some important fixes to game functions and cards, as well as the balance tweaks to the Core and Welcome sets moving to the Beta realm.  

Balance Changes:

With this update, we see a flurry of balance tweaks to Core and Welcome set cards moving to the Beta realm. A bunch of you may have had your hands on these already when they made a brief appearance on the PTR last week, but now they are live and ready to be wielded competitively in Weekend Ranked.

Getting all mortals into the PTR and testing the cards early was something we haven’t done before, and it was a great success! As we’d already taken on and actioned feedback from the initial Reddit post, this was largely a test to see if we were able to use the PTR in this way. 

Going ahead, we aim to get these changes on the PTR alongside the initial post to give mortals a more hands-on playtest of changes, as opposed to just theory-crafting. We value your feedback and it works to make the game better – but keep in mind that, while all feedback is useful, not all feedback will or should be actioned. There are often interactions and other effects one point of view may be missing. 

From the Balance Team

A few words from VideoJames and the balance team around the latest patch:

“A lot around this patch was an experiment. Our previous process for releasing content was basically to just release it. This had its ups and down but was generally pretty obscured, which the community didn’t love. With this patch we decided to release it to reddit and let the community comment on it while it was still malleable. This process has led to a better patch, as we were challenged on pretty much every choice, which is a great thing for this sort of problem solving.

On the other hand, releasing a patch so early frustrated a lot of players in the community. Generally when a game team releases something they have been working on, it’s ready to go, or at least very close to it. This gives a false sense of speed to game development, which is an intensely murky process. I’ve received a lot of comments in the past, asking for more transparency, but that might have turned out to be some slightly cursed knowledge for the community, as now you are aware of the time it takes us (and any game) to both agonize over each change and to implement and test features.

I’m not happy with our process speed and we are taking action to improve it, but I am happy with our improvements to quality control. We still have improvements to make with quality control, but our improvements are worth celebrating!

One other thing we learned is that once you start talking about something, you have to keep talking about it, otherwise the community will think you aren’t working on it anymore. This is pretty obvious in hindsight, but we overlooked it. When we made the reddit post, we were really making a commitment to make many more posts. Which is time that might have been better spent working on actual content. To make up for it, this patch is pretty big on the balance side, with a huge number of bug fixes, which I think is worth celebrating.

There were a couple other concerns we wanted to address:

Some of you were concerned that the patch hurts free to play players (that’s players who make no or very little monetary purchases). Be reassured, even though this patch has some nerfs to key free to play cards, it has many many more buffs to common cards. Free to play is something that’s near to my heart as I think money should unlock new ways to play, not victory.

Some of you also rightly pointed out that there are many cards we didn’t touch, notably Shieldbearer and the god powers like Clear Mind. This is because we have much bigger changes coming down the pipes. The god power rework coming in the next expansion and a much bigger rework for core cards that I don’t think we’ve spoken about.

The only thing I’ll say about it is I just pushed a change to our internal system with over 600 lines of data changed, so it’s a big one. I’m not going to talk about it again until it’s ready and if you don’t see me talking about it, it means I’m trying to spend as much time making things better and less time working out how to properly phrase things in posts!

Thanks for sticking with us, here’s to a bright future for Gods Unchained – see you in Ranked!”

~VideoJames, Gods Unchained Gameplay Lead

Sanctum Shift

This update also sees the Sanctum being redrafted. The intention here is to move Sanctum management to be more of a skill, without being a requirement to play. Using the Sanctum well should give you an advantage, but we want that advantage to feel less like being hit by a sledgehammer and more like an extra throwing knife. The changes are as follows:

Answers

Defenders

Removal

Threats

Value

Fixes: 

Streamlining the source

This update saw over 50 cards refactored, removing legacy flowgraphing nodes from cards to align them with current design conventions. Doing so saves us a whole bunch of time in testing and in bug fixing going ahead. Work’s also been done under the hood to remove superfluous functions from the game itself, simplifying things to make the code more effective, and allowing for expanded game functionality down the line. 

Stuck cards begone!

Ever notice a card gets stuck on the screen when you use it, blocking the view of other cards? We know you have, because it’s been on our radar for some time. The problem was, replicating this issue in a testing environment was tough – and if we can’t replicate a problem, it’s hard to build a fix. The solution came from an unlikely avenue, and was discovered while we were building out Gods Unchained for mobile. We were testing a very particular sequence, and in doing so, we were able to find the source of this issue. It’s now fixed, and thank the gods. Our cards are damn pretty to look at, but they were overstaying their welcome.

Squashin’ bugs

We’ve built and implemented bugfixes on over 50 cards, this solves pesky card interactions such as those that were increasing the maximum number of cards allowed in the hand, as well as fixing card-related soft lock issues. 

Here are a few of the more notable fixes: 

  • The Trial Begins: Under specific circumstances, creatures being pulled to the hand by The Trial Begins had the chance of being destroyed by the end of turn. This is no longer the case.
  • Delve x turn timer: Playing two Delve cards and allowing your turn timer to run out without selecting a Delve option had the chance to automatically select no option on either Delve card. This is now fixed.
  • Hooded Doppelganger: Hooded Doppelganger had an interesting interaction. When the card is played to the board, it disappears, and returns in the form of another card that it is copying. This action wasn’t triggering the “on-card played” effect from cards like Aether Alarm, allowing this sneaky rogue to get away with more than they should. This has now been fixed, and as sneaky as they may be, they can’t get away with everything.
  • Switch Duelist: Stat effects applied to this card weren’t always being retained upon the stat switch. This has now been fixed, and you can once again happily switch your stats until the cows come home.

As always, give your feedback to us around the balance changes in the #balance channel in Discord

Enjoy your games, mortals!

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