I am usually quite accommodating in term of patches, fixes, rebalancing, etc., but this arena update is terrible. I gave it a chance and went though it once and I am pretty sure I will not do it again unless needed for the campaign.
I am a late-comer to the game and I have spent some money as I have no problem supporting something that I enjoy. However, I think I will put a hold on spending because updates like this lead me to doubt the direction and future of the game.
That said, I will thank the devs for giving me GoW-free weekend once a month or so.
@Saltypatra Any change to seals gained for winning an arena run?
If we invest time playing the new arena, we should at least be rewarded with some seals (like it was before they were taken away waiting for the rework)
So, Arena rework…more timesink and more monetization with less actual rewards that matter (fyi, trophies don’t ‘matter’ as they can’t be used for anything). Gotcha.
Thank you for fixing background game speed while viewing a troop. That’s literally the only good news I see in this entire patch.
I’m calling it now, the Treasure Map rework is going to require sigils or shop tiers or something to limit how much we play it and there will be some sort of related weekend event. Also, Gems will be removed from the reward table and replaced with Trophies, and completing 5 Treasure Hunts will give you a Flash Offer/discounted Flash Offer.
Sand Cobra. Stuns, poisons, and diseases a random enemy. Troops don’t have traits, so stun is worthless. Disease and Poison, take too long, and a random enemy? Not an option.
Giant Toad. 5 dmg. Pulling an enemy to the front can be useful at times. I considered it.
Ghoul: 8 dmg. Exploding gems to help fill my team (but set up 4 matches for ai team)
I don’t remember the other two, but Mermaid was really the only option.
I mean, I selected Snake Charmer. How good do you think the other two were? Looks like I might get Sand Cobra after all. Hooray. At least I didn’t pick Toad, or this bustah would be blocked on both colors.
Epic Troops (In name only)
Sylfrostenath: 6 dmg to all enemies and freeze one. MVP
Lady Garnetia: Red/Blue, 10 dmg to one enemy, plus Armor bonus, but I thought she’d lose armor and become less effective.
Bone Biter: Red/Blue. Single dmg, might devour an Undead.
Rngesus really wanted me to have a Blue Team…I HATE Blue Teams. Naturally I face a Vodyani. x3 dmg vs Blues. Barely won that match. I lost match vs Enchantress. She cast x3, enchanting herself twice. I did win 6 matches. Whatever.
The new arena is really almost totally predicated on what the opponent gets, and the curve is much worse without a weapon.
Forget what you get in your team for a minute.
Here’s what I got against me;
Zhenniao (it’s a troop I’ve never used ever)
Zhenniao did in arena, 6 damage and poisoned the target, then creates 7 green gems… It is 8 mana cost and green… Poison is quite effective as a couple of ticks and it brought troops into range of it.
See where this is going…
Paladin 1 shot 1 troop. Played around a bit moved a few colours. FT cast, entire board of green, Zhenniao - 6 damage, refill, cast again, 6 damage, refill, cast again, killed a troop, refill, kill, refill, cripple, refill, kill, etc.
Game over very swiftly and Gluttony didn’t devour on cast for first time like ever
Next battle Baby Yaga - disabled and killed everything in 3 goes.
Don’t mind giving a chance, but it’s not going to be somewhere you will gain anything of value.
It’s a complete waste of valuable gaming time imho.
Yep I got another Weenie Wyvern but as always only got 1 copy of the same pet on the Wednesday pet rescue…(surely if it’s all an day affair we should get a minimum of 3 copies of the 24 hour pet?)
Some impressions after my first run right after the update hit:
I want to build my team around the strongest member, the epic troop. The draft sequence is common, rare, ultra-rare, epic. Please reverse the order, or, even better, show me all the troops I’m going to be offered prior to locking them in.
Opponent teams felt pretty weird. Maybe I mostly encountered randomly generated seeder teams. Do we even fight teams of other players any longer or is this now possibly entirely handled by the Explore battle generator?
With the hero gone, it can be quite challenging to outdamage a healer in the opponent team.
Received roughly half the rewards as prior to the rework. Couldn’t this have been neutral rework for once, without taking so much away?
The special offer at the end felt useless, nothing I needed, way too overpriced even at 10% discount. Couldn’t this at least always show me something I still need, like pets for kingdoms currently blocked? Or possibly some weapons I’m still missing, at a very high gem price tag?
New Arena: A game mode that emulates fresh level 1 account with zero benefits.
Also: a game that is built on upgrading your troops & kingdoms & heroes, using a mix of troops & class & weapons to build cool synergies --> and new arena throws everthing out the window.
Old Arena: slow dull boring waste of time that didn’t reward you class xp for the time spent on it.
New Arena: even slower, more dull, complete waste of time that doesn’t reward you for the time spent at all. And it’s forced on you in campaign & a new weekend event, when I personally rarely play the game on weekends, because I’m occupied with other things then.
One of my big issues with Arena isn’t fixed. I rarely play this game mode and that won’t change with this update. But I regularly accidentally click on Arena in the Games menu. When I enter the troop selection screen there is no option to go back to the Ganes menu without selecting troops which I really don’t want to do. It happens about twice a week and only a reset of the game fixes it. It is really annoying.
That’s a really baffling one. We’ve got tons of needless extra clicks in Explore and Campaign, the devs even said they absolutely want to keep it this complicated. And yet Arena is happy to pocket those 1000 gold entrance fee without any confirmation and throw you right into the draft screen. I usually keep my reward uncollected to not accidentally start a new run.
Mm you miss a thing MTG is a pvp mode against real people and yes you have a challenge. The draft mode is tricky because if you cant do a good pick for you, you can take a card for destroy the enemy synergy, example if the opponent ara picking blue-green, you can take a good blue-green card for destroy her synergy. In gow you have 4 random pick, you start always as first and you play vs a brainless AI, it is just dont let skull and 4x in the board and charge your troops, finish.
The complaints I have most often heard about Arena were that it was too slow and the rewards weren’t worth the time expenditure required.
Your solution was to make it even slower and lower the rewards, well done.
So, I’m going to focus on the gameplay and the system itself rather than the rewards. I may or may not do a comparison on the rewards right now, but I think the system itself could be much better with a few improvements and this iteration does not really deliver on what it say it is supposed to (according to the patch notes).
So theres this:
Highly recommend this just becomes a feature just built into the interface rather than just deemed a bug. The information horizon here is catastrophically close. Drawing it out to see all my choices would help toward building a synergistic team out of the draft choices, however…
I don’t feel like this rework solves any of the problems it is billed to solve. It claims to bring the focus to “team building” by removing “overpowered hero weapons”. Instead, we get troops that are balanced for the main game that are not even remotely balanced for the type of play present here. Balancing troops for the arena seems silly, and having arena exclusive troops seems like too much work. But with what we have, this is not about “team building” in any sense that I would call it. Its more about having singularly powerful (for the arena, due to either their scaling mechanics or status effects) picks within your draft pool and hoping you picked the most synergistic choices before them. So its sort of like having an “overpowered” weapon on your team, except you don’t have the knowledge to intentionally build around it and its random if you get it or not. Teams that have to “fish for skulls” or “nickel and dime” the opponent to death just aren’t going to be as effective as stuff with board effects and especially boosted off board effects with modern boost ratios are. If you don’t have a draft with a win condition, your best bet is to immediately press the retire button and start another run.
Worst still, by removing the hero weapons, not one by two very important choices have been entirely removed. The first is the lack of always having a fall back win condition or strategy on the plate, which was admittedly largely due to the weapons that themselves were deemed “overpowered” here and centralized the play around the hero. However, the other important choice is color coverage and synergy. I’ve already had arena drafts where this would have mattered greatly.
I’ve done a few runs so far, the most miserable one by far is when I had Wild Knight as my most powerful troop. Even by force closing the game and attempting to build around him as best I could, however, I was limited to four colors on my team and very little in the way of pokes. Although Wild Knight was powerful enough to grind down the opponents eventually, it still required the “skull fishing” tactic which is generally the opposite of fun. (Side note: certain event runs have this similar problem) Nearly every opponent team had one or more troops that could one-shot opponents with their spells. I didn’t because I wasn’t offered them at all this run. Even though I won all six battles, the average match time was probably over two minutes and there was one particularly protracted battle with summoners:
This is not how a sensible drafting system works. I can’t even begin to potentially think about counterplay a certain because I have no idea what is coming up in my own choices let alone what opponents I will be facing, even in a broad sense. And, as pointed out, the choices is more about getting lucky with something that can put out enough damage to function as a win condition and cramming your team with as many of them across as many colors as possible. A much smaller and known draft pool without so many extremes would balance it out a bit, but would also make it extremely boring, much worse than it already is now, so that is probably not the way to go.
But there are a few things that could be done to make choices more to the forefront, and smooth the experience out a bit:
Intentionally, through an ingame button, allow the player to pick from their drafts in any order or know every draft before making a choice. The current single-run through, picking what is usually your weakest troops first before you can even guess what your win condition might be just doesn’t work. I’m not sure if offering them in reverse rarity order would completely fix the issue, but it would probably be preferable to what it does now. Note that, as mentioned, you can currently see all your draft choices by picking three then force closing the game after you have seen, but not picked, the fourth, but I very much doubt this is intentional.
Bring in some kind of “sideboarding” system. If the mode really is supposed to highlight “team building” over singularly powerful one-offs, you should be able to react to what your opponent throws at you by tweaking your team. An example of this would be during the draft round to pick the troop you don’t want (or be offered much more choices, and pick two from these), then between each battle you have a moment to switch out one or more of your troops to their equal-rarity counterpart. It isn’t perfect and it would be very limited if we stayed with three base choices, but if we had, say, show 5-pick2 (with better color diversity algorithm), theres probably something in there that would be usable and a troop or two you could use versus other popular choices.
Offer a repick, for some portion of the gold entry fee, on each draft round. Yes, this encourages just repicking a round if you get garbage, possibly many times until you get one of the “overpowered” options, making it more likely for an “arena meta” to form, but the system already heavily encourages just retiring and repicking due to not every draft offering something that can be used for a win condition and trying to slog through the battles with an “honest” team is just a miserable experience that will be weeded out a lot of players that aren’t retiring and repicking within a matter of weeks once the novelty wears off, if not days. Again, this is absent having some kind of curated arena pool or arena specific balance that doesn’t affect the main game, both which would require a lot of work.
If you must, you can do this and maintain an “arena bans” list, but there is a razors edge here between what is something that can be used as a win condition and something that is truly “too powerful for arena”. And this categorically does not mean banning entire categories of troops (“underworld troops”, “godslayer troops” etc.) as their applicability and “power level” in this content varies as wildy from troop to troop as in any other situation. This is something that should be carefully curated and used as a last resort.
In the end, this is never going to be mode for everyone, but I think the problems that are resonating with the people that do like the “equal playing field” premise focused on building a team around drafts rather than a singularly powerful would be better served with just a bit more choice that at least points to a way to always dig up one moderately powerful option and build around it. Right now, it doesn’t really seem to be serving that purpose.
Arena update does not actually fix any of arena’s claimed problems (instead focused on randomly getting a singularly powerful option rather than bringing one in from your weapon roster, and hoping your previous picks were synergistic/covered colors instead of picking into that synergy/coverage)
The following would improve this and bring draft choices more to the forefront for a complete team:
the ability to run through all previous draft rounds after all choices have been seen (or preview all draft rounds before choices have been made)
5+ choices each rarity, pick 2 of each, the second choice can be swapped in for its rarity alternate between battles
offer repick draft round option for a portion of the gold entry fee, rather than just the retire option after the draft is over to repick everything for the full gold fee (minus the zero win/one win reward)
if arena bans do take place, there needs to be a balance between having the ability to draft a win condition and weeding out stuff that is actually overpowered/toxic here. I don’t think anybody would want to play an arena where the power cap is roughly two-shot single target spells without board mod, but damaging and/or healing summoners are pretty miserable to fight against if you can’t bring counterplay (especially with arena summons coming in at max level always).