I guess my first response to this thread was hostility. The way it’s presented reads as a nasty, “I’m not winning enough, someone as important as me shouldn’t be losing so much, I’m really jealous of the people who are winning and OBVIOUSLY they’re cheating because I’m smarter than they are” etc.
The game isn’t out to get you, awryan. The devs have a hard enough time tackling visible game issues I can’t bring myself to believe they have a custom-written module that sabotages the RNG against specific, hated players and gives favorable RNG to a chosen few.
It’s more likely the people you are chasing have figured out an unintuitive tactic that is very effective at producing wins. It could be as simple as, “I play 1 trophy matches more than you think”, letting the sheer volume of games played push them above people who play less reliable 3t matches for fewer hours per day. It might be some great speed team you just haven’t thought of. You are a leader in the community, and a well-recognized person who built one of the top guilds. I bet if you reached out to some of these people and tried to make legitimate friends with them, they’d eventually reveal their secrets to you. It’s a careful balance. If you look like you plan to ditch them once you learn their magic, it won’t work. It helps to project a kind of niceness and urge to be friends with anyone, saving your sharper tongue for certified jerks. I’m working on that, too.
But I think there is a salvageable topic here: this game has too much of its outcomes based on variance, and not even pleasing variance.
Part of why having so much variance in the game works is most matches are very low-stakes. I don’t give a flip if I lose a bunch of PvP games, so long as I lose them fast. I just want to match gems and get rewards. I’m not aiming at those leaderboards so my win rate is an afterthought. So things like Goblin Teams or occasional losses to huge cascades don’t bother me there. Even in pet rescues, the scaling stats are unfair but manageable because I can try again for a whole hour without penalty.
But it isn’t so fun when there are stakes. In Raids/Invasions, sigils are on the line. In GW, a loss can be a serious setback for your guild. These are places where high variance bad things are exceptionally frustrating when they hit.
Yesterday, in GW, I was trying out a new team. Discussing my teams with my guild made me feel like I had some weaknesses in my Blue team, so I made some adjustments. I made one match on a bad board. Then the CPU proceeded to make 12 4 matches (no skulls, no cascades) in a row. Umberwolf fired off. I made a single 3 match. BOTH death marks triggered, leaving me with 2 troops on turn 3.
That’s some bad dang luck. It’s happened before in PvP, I’m sure, but in a GW I’m not playing like PvP: I’m thinking about every move, double-checking the board, etc. By turn 3 in this game, I’d already lost. I had zero options to retaliate. This is the kind of game people pretend Ubastet creates every time.
Other behaviors that are frustrating as heck when they happen to the CPU, and I notice especially in GW:
- “Oh look, Death Mark/silence only lasted 1 turn!”
- “Oh look, I can go 9 turns without Death Mark triggering or dropping!”
- “I’ll just have silence wear off immediately, make 6 cascades into a 4-match, then cast anyway.”
That’s what I see in awryan’s complaints. He hit a streak of bad luck. In PvP, it happens, and we all kind of shrug it off. But he’s put a lot of dang work into his guild and represents himself as an expert on the game. Taking a handful of GW losses at the hands of “bad luck” rather than “bad strategy” makes him feel like he looks bad. He doesn’t want to look bad, and probably deep down feels like blaming “bad luck” makes it seem like he’s hiding insufficiencies. He’s not. I find a lot of GW defense teams focus particularly on these high-variance gambles, because GW offense teams can typically obliterate any lower-variance defenses.
I want to repeat that. I think a lot of GW defense teams rely on death mark and devour over more reliable tactics like damage/instakill because it pays off. The best PvP meta is likely to go 0-7 or worse week after week. Put something like Umberwolf with a really low chance of 2 instakills at bat, and you’ll see it more like 1-6 due to the people who had bad luck.
I don’t know how to fix it. I do think we should, as a game, move away from effects like Death Mark. I prefer effects like Poison or Burn that at least have Cleanse as a counter. I also think, in sigil-based modes, free turns should be limited to 1 with the exception of abilities. I think it’s fair that one 4/5 match per turn should give you a freebie. I think it’s fair that if your team has “gain an extra turn” abilities you should get those on top of the match-based turns. But unless a team is specifically built around free turns, I don’t think any GW team on offense OR defense should be able to cast Infernus 3 times on one “turn” as awryan described.
I’d be pleased as punch to play GW without free turns at all. It is still a heck of a turn to have Ragnagord blow the entire thing up and fill 3 of your troops. It’d be nice if you actually had to worry about what your opponent does in response, instead of knowing it’s statistically likely you get to shoot them with a giant troop first.
We have game modes that act like this is a game of skill. It is still, largely, a game of luck. That’s why awryan is mad.