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Hearthstone: Why We Must Fight Back Against Bad Brawls

Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:00 pm

Even the most casual Hearthstone player has likely dipped their toe into the game's Tavern Brawl mode. It's a great idea, in theory.

http://www.pockettactics.com/news/hearthstone-why-we-must-fight-back-against-bad-brawls/

Neo42
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Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:09 pm

Plants vs Zombies: Heroes is my latest digital CCG obsession. It's multi-lane (5 lanes to fight in). Very interesting and seemingly balanced.

It's got"bounties". You can have 3 at a time. Every 3 hours you get a new one unless you're full. You can kick out bounties you don't want to do.

It has weekly challenges too. You try to earn between 1000 and 2000 points (and repeatable within that week) to get a promo card.

The cards are interesting and have neat subthemes and synergies to discover.

It's a freemium game but I spent just 2$ for the intro pack and I have earned all my further "gems" using the bounty system and sometimes add "watching".

The game also has a neat campaign to play as plants. Or you can play the zombie campaign. Or both.


It's the closest replacement to Solforge I have found. Solforge is dying. Maybe. They managed to keep the server up after their shut down date. But I don't know how long that will last. They say they are migrating it to a less capable server.

Neo42
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:09 pm

Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:10 pm

Oh yeah. And I tried Hearthstone but the 1 lane of combat bores me. Give me 5 lanes to deal with. Or at least 3 and I might be interested.

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marcnelsonjr
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Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:11 pm

Since I will never invest the time or money to become a serious Hearthstone player, Brawls, Solo Adventures, and Quests are the things that keep me playing. Now Solo Adventures are going away, and they're promising more "Heroic Tavern Brawl" (i.e. pay $10 to play Standard).

Quests have been improved, though, and adding even more and different Quests would be seem to be easy enough for them to do. I'd also really like to see a way to do some sort of organized play with friends.

TheVimFuego
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Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:08 pm

1) People try to make Hearthstone something it isn't. At heart it's a casual card game. The competitive scene is a tiny fraction of the user base oblivious to the drama of Lifecoach or whoever.

2) Brawls are meant to be ultra casual and RNG-based. We've had a run of good ones lately. At least the latest aren't dependant on the strength of your collection (good for newer players).

3) Yes the heroic brawl is pants and shouldn't replace the regular one.

4) Reno isn't "detestable". The card spawned a whole load of interesting decks to combat aggression. The support and promotion of mindless decks IS detestable.

The game has problems for sure. As a long term player I think the next expansion will make or break it. But in the end a bit of RNG in the brawls is a minor issue, if an issue at all.

Reno-Jackson
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Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:21 am

I agree with the above post. Reno is actually a really great card.

I mainly play Warlock and trying to predict your opponents max damage, while holding off on Reno as late as possible, is a very interesting and difficult challenge.

Reno is also very beatable - if you have a strong board presence and I can't clear after I Reno, I'm stuffed. Casual players thinks Reno is OP, they don't understand how hard it is to play correctly.

Reno also helped the meta shift from horrible, frustrating Zoo aggro decks, which has kept the game interesting.

I'm not sure I agree that Tavern Brawls indicate where HS is heading, why does the author think that?!

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biffpow
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Location: The East Bay, California

Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:44 am

Excellent use of the word "opprobrium", Matt.

Your notable vocabulary aside, I also enjoyed the article and agree that the Brawls have been pretty annoying these last 2 weeks.

Based upon what vague things we've heard so far about the next expansion, it does appear that deck-building and strategy are moving farther and farther down the priority list for HS card designers. RNG is their priority. It's senseless to me, and I agree with TheVimFuego--the next expansion seems make or break.

I hate, hate, hate that solo adventures are going away. The best part of the game, and they're casting them aside. The money must not have been there somehow.

And Heroic Brawl is just a terrible idea. It's an obvious money grab, meant to give the whales something else to spend their cash on. And it's the whales who support this game, clearly, so I can't really claim to be confused by Bliz's decision to create this game mode.

I think the reason so many people hate Reno so much is because he is played in a manner that makes it hard to tell if the opposing player is actually very strategic, or if they're weak-minded and playing him simply to bridge the mana ramp to play their more powerful, higher cost cards. Either way, it's very frustrating.

But the rise of Reno does call into question the universally popular wisdom that the best decks must always have pairs of most of the cards they use. I've never agreed with that wisdom myself (which is probably a key reason why I can't get above 10 in ladder play). Apart from it making your draws a bit more predictable, I don't see the point.

zot23
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Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:24 pm

Honestly, I have the opposite reaction to Tavern Brawls ;) I don;t mind the RNG pre-set up ones, I kind of hate the "construct a deck" variety. Simply because I want to click "Brawl" and go and deck building takes so damn long. Especially when it crashes 2-3 times (on iPad) while making the deck, so you have to start all over (it only saves the state of the deck when you exit the builder.) I would love, love, love it if you could pre-load one of your existing decks and just change a few cards for the Tavern Brawl. For example, in the death rattle brawl I could just use my Rogue N'Zoth death rattle deck and see how it goes. But I can't, I have to spend 10 minutes selecting all those cards again just to see if it works at all or not.

Otherwise, yeah the meta is getting stale. The Jade Golem mechanic was neat, but they didn't give players the mechanics to handle it. For example, why weren't these types of abilities included in cards to stem the horde of Sham and Druid jade mobs:

"Destroy all minions above 7 attack on the board"

"Take over your enemy's highest level jade golem"

"Destroy all Jade Golems but the one with the lowest attack"

"Subtract 2 from opponent's jade golem count (but not below 1)"

That's just off the top of my head, but there is NOTHING like that int he expansion. Huh? We needed something to head off the jade freight train once it gets rolling. I'm not whining as a loser either, I play Jade Sham a lot these days. But once I get that sucker up to speed mid-game, unless you get super lucky or are another jade deck, I'm going to grind you into dust. One of those cards would stop my deck cold (and wouldn't be unbalancing because if you're not playing against a jade deck it's useless.)

Blizzard seems to have this sort of oversight a lot.

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biffpow
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Re:

Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:20 pm

zot23 wrote: We needed something to head off the jade freight train once it gets rolling. I'm not whining as a loser either, I play Jade Sham a lot these days. But once I get that sucker up to speed mid-game, unless you get super lucky or are another jade deck, I'm going to grind you into dust. One of those cards would stop my deck cold (and wouldn't be unbalancing because if you're not playing against a jade deck it's useless.)

Blizzard seems to have this sort of oversight a lot.


I agree with you that Blizzard does not balance things well when they introduce new mechanics like the Jade Freight Train (renaming my jade deck to that!). But, at the same time, would anyone really give the JFT a try if they knew that there were cards out there that could easily derail it?

I'm not saying I agree with how they do that--I hate it too--I just can see why they do it from their POV. It lowers the barrier of entry for those strategies. I personally think it makes for a lot of lazy deck building. I mean, on a similar level, power-cards with Charge are the same thing. Anyone can throw a Leroy into any deck, drop him behind a Taunt and do lots of easy damage.

I suspect there will be JFT counter cards in the next expansion.

mattDP
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 1:04 pm

Re:

Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:13 am

zot23 wrote:Honestly, I have the opposite reaction to Tavern Brawls ;) I don;t mind the RNG pre-set up ones, I kind of hate the "construct a deck" variety. Simply because I want to click "Brawl" and go and deck building takes so damn long.


Oh sure, I've got a lot of sympathy for this. Being able to just hit a button and get a game of something that's a refreshing change from the ladder meta is a huge draw. But there's plenty of Brawls that have done this without using excessive RNG. Indeed the last brawl, with the "boss decks" from Gadgetzan is a prime example. So it's hard to see the constant fall-back on randomonium as much other than laziness.

Now, those of you defending Reno Jackson - read the linked piece. The TL:DR version is that Reno is bad because he creates boring games rather than because he's unbalanced.

Finally, I didn't expect this to turn into a discussion of the Jade Golem mechanic but this is a really interesting situation. The whole thing just didn't work as well as Blizzard were expecting. Druid is the only class that could pull it off to full effect, and the deck proved to slow for the meta, even though it looked like a mid-range deck.

Which raises a curious point. I've had the pleasure to interview staff from the Hearthstone team a couple of times and once I asked a question about how new cards for the game were balance tested. I had assumed they had algorithms running balance checks as well as users all over Blizzard doing what they could do break things. Not so: it's done by the designers inside the team itself as the other solutions are too impractical. So they're not much better at predicting meta swings than the rest of us.

That's understandable. But it raises the question yet again of why they're so unwilling to jump in and make badly-needed changes like the Bucaneer nerf quicker than they do.

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