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The game is too easy to break

The game's community balance team discusses card changes here.

The game is too easy to break

Postby Glizdka » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:03 pm

Hello my fellow spellweavers. I understand that the concept of card games is to find the best combination and the greatest synergy between cards to assure your superiority over other decks while minding the consistency your combinations have - but the more I play this game the more I feel that in case of Spellweaver it's more about breaking the game as much as possible instead of finding legitimate, fair combinations. It's very easy to break the game with very few of the cards which effecively reduces the variety and amount of successful strategies.

Why is this an issue? Spellweaver has one strong selling point - combat mechanics including speed which is unique and cannot be found elsewhere, which allows for indepth deck building strategies: a faster creature can outmanouver stronger yet slower creatures, compromizing strength minding your agility. However, in current state, there's almost no place for standard army building decks - near to every deck in ranked matchmaking is a heavy control lategame deck with one overpowered, broken combination that wins you a game after you ramp enough. This means near to zero diversity and not having to balance your deck according to different builds you encounter - you simply ramp and pull off your combo. Moreover, it discourages new players - they come, they try building a deck, they see these broken combos they can't keep up with without breaking the game themselves, they don't have the cards to do so, they quit.

I consider myself to be a card game veteran, I've played many of them and have seen multiple ways which game designers use for reducing the potency of cards for game-breaking intentions. I am quite new to this forum but I saw there are lots of active members in this community and a team aiming to balance it so I thought I could give my insights and, hopefully, help you guys fix this issue.


Cards with passive abilities activated whenever X happens
There are cards with powerful abilities activated each time the condition occurs - the problem is that the condition is very ordinary and there is no cost for activating it. A great example would be Aezerthis, the Burning Agony.

I'm sure we've all seen it - they play a Voidtouched Subordinate, use Parallel Evolution to turn your creatures into a milling factory and then play Aezerthis which clears the board and damages you every, single, turn.
Such strong effects should not be possible to be activated multiple times, a simple "this effect can only occur once, during your turn" should solve it without making Aezerthis unplayable, it would keep her intended interaction, just would make it impossible to break the game with her.

Reanimating creatures you wouldn't be able to play without reanimating them
This is probably the most unfair thing among broken things: the fact you can play cards from your graveyard without meeting the requirements.

The strategy goes like this: you put a ton of overpowered creatures that require high levels, like Antriel, into a deck that doesn't even have shrines for playing them, but you don't care since you can reanimate without meeting any of these strict, high requirements. A simple solution would be to just add "you still have to meet the level requirements for the cards you wish to play" and it would be fair.

Legendary creatures are just common, run of the mill, overpowered creatures
There are many card games with "legendary" creatures - they have strong, unique effects, are generally stronger than what they should be considering their cost, but their amount is somewhat limited.

These legendaries are meant to be strong, extraordinary, but limited in quantity, unique. The fact you can only have one in play, but still four of them in your deck like any other creature is not enough to justify their straight up overpower value for cost. Card games are about controlling the board, a single creature is not meant to survive many turns (otherwise you've already lost anyways), so you aren't even expected to have multiple creatures of one kind on the board. A usual creature is played, does a thing or two and dies. The same goes for legendaries... which you can then summon again because you've got 4 copies of them - so much for being legendary and unique. A special mention goes to legendary creatures that have strong effects when played - you don't play them for their body, you play them for the effect, you don't care if you already have a copy in play because all you're concerened about is the effect they have when played - you can play Elinor when one is already on the board and not care about it being legendary because you just want the effect of recycling your spell.
Most card games have the concept of "legendary creatures" whose appearance is limited: it's usually limiting the amount of copies you have in your deck - 2 copies seems like a reasonable amount. Might & Magic, Duel of Champions (R.I.P. one of the best card games killed by its creators) had one of the best "legendary creature" limitation I've seen - you can only have 1 copy in your deck and when it's destroyed it is removed from the game entirely - it doesn't go to the graveyard, you cannot recycle or bounce it - it's gone, you'd better thought it over well before you played it.
This is also another thing that discourages new players - legendary cards are of high end rarity rating, and if they are just as common as normal creatures while being straight up more powerful it means this game is "pay to win" - therefore it is not noob friendly and paying for booster packs to get these rare legendary overpowered cards is the only way to go.

Strong active creature abilities without limitations for subsequent uses
The fact it's very easy to add energy on creatures makes spamming strong creature abilities is very unfair:

The idea behind creatures with energy is that you can use their abilities multiple times during one game, whenever you find it useful. However, if the ability is powerful there should be a limitation for using it multiple times in one turn, especially since it's very easy to add energy to creatures. A simple "subsequent uses of this ability in one turn costs you additional energy/mana each time" would solve it.

These are my general insights. I'm not trying to aim for specific card changes, just trying to highlight the general possibility of abusing certain types of cards in order to break the game. I hope it was of any use.
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Re: The game is too easy to break

Postby Ravignir » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:57 pm

So now You started playing Spellweaver? :D

These cards look strong only on paper, in fact rush/midrange soldiers decks wreck everything else. Don't expect anything Duel of Champions like.
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Re: The game is too easy to break

Postby Glizdka » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:53 pm

↑ It was just a comprasion/an example of how to realize the concept of "legendariness" in a card game, not a "I used to play DoC but now that it's gone I expect Spellweaver to be it" rant. I could have brought other examples like Gwint or even Hearthstone which also managed the "legendary" concept better than Spellweaver. Please don't cherry pick a given example and assume it's the core of the entire article.
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Re: The game is too easy to break

Postby ivko » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:19 am

Thanks for your feedback, it is much appreciated.

It is hard to draw the fine line between making new cards that are exciting (and induce sales, because after all we need to pay our bills), and what can be considered "breaking" or "abuse" of mechanics. It is certainly true that there are a lot of strong combinations in Spellweaver.

These strong card interactions were even more prominent in the past.

We are going to make a "rebalance" patch somewhere in the relatively near future, but not until the dust settles after the mobile release. So if you are still around, we will me more than happy to have your insight in our discussions then :)
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Re: The game is too easy to break

Postby Lord_Xenon » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:22 am

To Az+Snake:
The evolution broke this combo. Not themself. Yeah snake trigger every turn, but the enemy needed to attack (and get blocked) by the snake to get a snake onto his side. So Az was restricted to your own passives(vulture/ the 1/1/2 decayer) or the direct attack = decayed cards one. But thanks to evolution, the snake got changed AND made it somehow way easier to get this combo rolling. Else it would be just a 'handy' killer of some sort, not more.

To reanimate: This thing can brake indeed the level requirements, so I don't know to handle this.

To legendary status: I don't know magic, but currently it's relative easy to remove creatures from field. If they would be just limited to 1 or 2, all those without direct impact on the field(except just 'body') would be even more devalued due the fact, that the enter the field ones are most times 'not for their body' played.
Second: I don't know if it's possible to steal creatures from your opponent, but there are some ways to do this in SW. And so you would render the 'legendary' status even more complicated in this balancing regard(I just have to think about Despina...)

To the effect multiple uses ones: It would make the handling complicated, the text way longer for hardly any impact. Normally you don't have the means to use something more than 2 times, except you got a combo running, but then you are more against this combo than this or?
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Re: The game is too easy to break

Postby Carjan » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:55 pm

Welcome, Glizdka! Some good observations.

First off, I agree that speed is a rather unique aspect of Spellweaver and it seems somewhat undervalued in deckbuilding because of strong control decks. It's been almost a year, I think, since I played ranked but Trigon of The Pact and decks that ramp-ramp and blow away anything you dare to play on the board made me lose my appetite.

Not sure at all if Legendaries are overpowered but I tend to agree that the Legendary tag does not mean that much in this game. It does not feel very limited let alone unique. I've seen games being decided by casting a second copy of a Legendary card just for the effect indeed - and the discussion came up during the Harbinger and Dark Portal balancing. Even if the player spends a card and mana, it does not feel totally fair as the opponent is also investing resources himself/herself in dealing with the body that remains on the field. Sure, some Legendaries are the core of the deck and in practice few decks have 4 copies of a Legendary but a stronger restriction would not seem like a bad idea. Or, if the devs want to keep the mechanic, remove the Legendary thingy under the card art and put it as a (possibly different) keyword in the card text. It is a bit misleading.

Good point on the newcomers too.

Also, side note. In general, 4 copies of any card does feel a little too much at times. Cruel_Tek already alluded to this in a post here. You can build a deck with a mere 10 or 11 different cards. Once, I sampled the amount of different cards that were in a deck by going through the decks of several Masters. The result was 14.5 on average, skill shrines included. That's rather few, less than Gwent, for instance, with it's 25 card decks.
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Re: The game is too easy to break

Postby ripDreyla » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:28 pm

It was one of the more weird things that Spellweaver let you put 4 copies of one card into a deck coming into this game couple years ago. I think that as the card pool grows, perhaps it won't matter so much because there will be many more cards to put in a deck. But if the power level is too distinctive, then people will continue to put 4 copies of the most valuable cards.

My suggestion on this aspect of the game, is to create a minimum amount of diverse cards to put in a deck.

So that you can still add 4 copies of some cards, but you can't do it for as many. So for example, cap the amount of cards that can be 4 copies in a deck (for example only 3 cards can be 4 copies or something like this). This would definitely stimulate more interesting deck building.


Regarding the power level of cards, i do find at times that 20 life is insufficient compared to how much damage can be generated so quickly. I feel the life pool of the heroes should be higher such as 30 and heal condition increased to 50.

Some combos are super powerful, and the issue is that some are virtually unstoppable unless you have the one hard counter. So more diverse ways to deal with various threats are needed imo.
Disclaimer: Please don't be offended by these words, they are just food for thought and not intended to offend you. So read at your own risk of being offended
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