So I haz a lot of feedback. . . The IP Cap (from combat)
I know there are planned ways to gain more IP beyond this, but limiting the amount of IP you get per day in any way can discourage players from playing more than required to "complete the daily." Most games use dailies to get players logging in frequently for the bonuses. IW's system, as it exists now, promotes the opposite by diminishing the value of prolonged play.
I currently hit the cap in 30mins or less without much effort. I don't know how much more the campaign will have beyond present, but I completed it in a couple of hours. This tells me that roughly a week after launch, I'll be left with PvP matches and PvAI test matches for basic deck functionality. This isn't a complaint, but players will eventually burn through the campaign to find themselves faced with the 600 daily cap.
If you're against completely removing the cap, a possible compromise is to increase this cap every time a player gains a level. The more they play, the more they can earn in a day. Free to Play Viability
The Conscripted Militia starter deck is a good way to introduce players to the game, but it has no lasting value when it comes to PvP. The deck is shut down by a handful of single cards like Burning Prejudice and Mass Death. This means that new players MUST expand their collection to reasonably handle PvP matches.
The current scenario rewards are promising, but they don't do much beyond push players to spend money. You might be thinking "what's the problem with that?" but I liken it to a closed fist. You can hold more with an open hand than you can with a closed fist. You want to give players good cards early on so that they get a true taste of what each faction is about. Let me break down all of the rewards to illustrate this:
Shikana > Killaroo > Cartographer, Field Engineer, Mortar Cannon
Shikana is a perfect fit for the deck, but Killaroo can't be used unless it's a commander and Cartographer has no purpose until the player obtains a location. There are three problems with this:
- Only the Warpath rewards synergizes with the Killaroo
- Only the Warpath rewards gives a location for Cartographer
- None of the other factions are represented by these rewards
So coming out of the tutorial, only 3 of 5 cards have value for a newer player unless they make a Warpath deck. WP Rewards:
Pack Leader > One of Many > One of Many [x3], Caretaker of the Young, Breeding Grounds
Probably the best batch of rewards as [Cartographer|Caretaker|Pack Leader] lets you immediately make use of the beast theme by fishing Breeding Grounds for double breeding. GI Rewards:
Secluded Constructor > Unending Drone > Unending Drone [x3], Secluded Constructor, Extended Operation
Another solid batch of rewards due to the Defense Golems from the starter deck, but not as strong as Warpath with so few Unending Drones.FD Rewards:
Flame Dawn Footman, Flame Dawn Aspirant, Flame Dawn Aspirant [x3], Stumble, Flame Ram
I consider this the worst reward set for a starting player with very little synergy. Nothing about this says "fast!" and the best option is to make Flame Dawn Footman a commander for the turn one hit. Giving the player Call the Crusade instead of Stumble and Sacullas, the Final Hammer instead of Flame Ram is a better option for immediate use.CV Rewards:
Death Ray, Verore Death Worshipper, Verore Death Worshipper [x3], Death Ray, Heat Wave
This is a rather odd batch in that it's not bad, but it's not exactly amazing. Trading Veroria, the Lone Keep for any one spell would give the player a good reason to use Cartographer AND allow them time to actually get the destruction cards (including Assassinate/Winds of War). The location's purity requirement supports a [Cartographer|Worshipper|Worshipper] setup to make the low Worshipper count tolerable.DD Rewards:
Glorious Warrior > Invincible Defender > Invincible Defender [x3], Balanced Warrior, Sage Spell 3
This is slightly better than the FD rewards in that they bolster defenses allowing the Militia to attack. Sage Spell 3 is an awkward choice given that you can't support the Morale theme without more DD cards. Sage Spell 1 would be a much better fit for the Militia/Defense Golems.
Overall, these rewards should allow a solid commander setup AND immediate synergy. Warpath's reward set is the best example of this with so much utility from so few cards. If players can't properly support a faction's theme with these rewards, they will feel forced to purchase cards before being able to properly play the game.Building a Collection
To me, Unlimited cards are like lands from MTG. After you've built the core of a deck, unlimited cards pad it out. For this reason, the way cards are currently distributed fosters a strong pay to win environment.
Right now, Unlimited cards count as Commons for booster packs. I consider this a rather annoying restriction as it makes it hard to get enough without starter decks. After purchasing one of every starter deck and 25+ Super Booster Packs I have 25-35 of every Unlimited but Zombies. For Zombies, I have 5 Endless Hordes, but 3 Aleta, Queen of the Damned, 10 Infected Pack Leaders and 11 Infectious Zombies. I understand what RNG is, but obtaining Unlimited cards shouldn't involve RNG at all.
If you look at the math, you can really see how hard it is to get these somewhat mandatory cards through IP:
Normal Booster = 2 consecutive days for 2 commons
Super Booster = 9 consecutive days for 11 commons
Starter Deck = 22 consecutive days for 15/16 faction specific Unlimited
With optimistic draws of one Unlimited per Super Booster, it'll take 90 days to get ten; 45 days at two per. That's absolutely insane and no F2P player is going to do that. Instead, they will either trade better cards for Unlimited (which shouldn't be encouraged) or buy a Starter Deck. This isn't a good thing as the purchase is likely to be resented. The easiest way to address this problem is by rewarding any one Starter Deck after completing ALL of the previous mentioned scenarios.
By helping players quickly make their first faction deck, the enjoyment that follows will inevitably lead to larger purchases. If players feel like they MUST buy cards to win, they will resent the system rather than appreciate it. League of Legends is an excellent example of this where they allow you to earn as much IP as you want AND provide bonuses for consecutive games, wins and dailies. There has been mention of avatars, skins and card sleeves, which are excellent methods for monetization, but players won't have a reason to purchase them if they don't have the cards to use them on.Purchasing Options
Getting an early Starter Deck will help players get into the game, but the previous difficulty of acquiring Unlimited still makes moving to the next deck very frustrating. You can fix this by adding purchasing options to the store:Normal [FACTION] Grab Bag
= 3 Cards (2 Unlimited, 1 Common; ALL FROM [FACTION]) Super [FACTION] Grab Bag
= 9 Cards (6 Unlimited, 2 Common, 1 Uncommon; ALL FROM [FACTION])Normal Booster Pack
= 3 Cards (2 Common, 1 Uncommon+; NO UNLIMITED)Super Booster Pack
= 15 Cards (11 Common, 3 Uncommon+, 1 Rare+; NO UNLIMITED)
Grab Bags can't have better than Uncommons, but offer guaranteed Unlimited to those looking for "staples". By removing Unlimited from Booster Packs, they gain longterm value as players flush with Unlimited don't have to worry about "wasted" Commons. Also, only cards from Booster Packs have the chance for a higher rarity.
With these adjustments a player might open 5 Booster Packs and get a rockin' epic/legendary. Wanting to use the card, they pick up a few Grab Bags and can start playtesting!IP Hoarding
I don't know how often you plan to release new cards/sets, but assuming 1-2 times a year, active players will have plenty of time to build up IP regardless of an IP cap. This is especially true for those that paid to get into the beta. If IW launches 2 months from now, I'll have around 35k IP if I play 30mins every day (not unreasonable with smartphone). That's 2-3 Starter Decks or a Starter Deck and 4-5 Super Booster Packs. I already have a lot of multiples (3 Zombie Aleta. . .), so after buying any new Starter Decks, I don't anticipate much trouble trading them to complete my set. This means I don't have a reason to invest money unless I want aesthetic features.
I will likely purchase LP to support the game anyways, but this will become a detrimental cycle. Earn IP over 6 months for roughly 100k IP (assuming daily IP cap without planned extras), have more than enough to purchase all the cards you need and never invest money unless it's for aesthetic features. From a F2P view, this sounds amazing, but it's bad for the game. A similar game called PoxNora has a wonderful way of addressing this: a rarity that can only be purchased through earned currency (IP).
For Infinity Wars, this rarity would be above Legendary. An example of how that might work:
Rarity - Avatar (Limit 1 per Deck, MUST be a Commander)
Avatars are always Characters and each Faction has one per set. They don't need to be the most powerful cards, but their unique abilities enable specific deck themes not available through other cards; 15k-20k IP being an example pricing.
Adding this addresses multiple problems at once:
- F2P Players are more likely to invest money if they buy Avatars
- P2P Players have something to spend IP on
- Diminishes "pay to win" as only active players will be able to purchase Avatars
Given that the game specifically mentions a Fortress, I suggest changing Morale to Supplies. Why? Because how, exactly, do you break the Morale of a robot or zombie? The attrition-based play promoted by DD mechanics makes more sense with Supplies than Morale.
Wealthy Noble (I've seen the thread) could be changed to "Exhaust: Recover N Supplies." It makes sense as a factionless card because any aggro deck will spit out more creatures that can burn through supplies. It also allows the proper time for countering as its ability does nothing until you actually lose supply.
Furthermore, "Supplies" is easier to build around, conceptually, than Morale:
- Live off the Land: recover 1 Supply for each character you have in the defense zone
- Wildfire: all players lose X Supplies
- Bribe: pay X Supplies, destroy target character with cost = to X, opponent doesn't lose Supplies
- Ritual of Death: sacrifice a character, recover Supplies = to its cost
- Mercenary: pay X Supplies at start of turn or can't attack/block
- Pillager: deals Supply damage instead of Health damage
Of course, Resources and Supplies are rather similar which could blur their definitions for newer players. Personally, I'd vote for changing Resources to a better name as well such as Spirit, Essence, Energy or anything else along those lines.Counters and Control
With so many burn and destruction cards, I'm surprised by the lack of control and counter cards. For example, there is only one card that restricts attackers (CV Location), two cards that return characters to hand (both FD) and one card that exhausts characters (also FD).
Reactionary counterspells don't seem like a good fit, but preemptive ones work right into bluffing/meta-gaming. For example:
- Spirit Ward: the first ability your opponent plays next turn fails
- Null-Magic: creatures in the same zone gain untouchable
- Scapegoat: abilities can only target this character while it is on the battlefield
You can't prevent anything from happening at any time, but you have more options for handling abilities outside of running FD for Fiery Resolve.
I'm bound to have more feedback down the road, but we'll leave it at this for now