I just want to respond to a couple points on what you’re saying:
- My suggestion to run the report was not so that it would be shared here on the forums, but so the team could see how extreme the meta has gotten on console. I honestly believe that the results would show it is worse (meaning more monolithic) than it ever was on PC, even during the height of the BD meta.
- Tweaking and balancing the gem spawning algorithm on PC, and then rolling those changes out to console on 3.1 is not going to solve the Justice problem on console. Since the two versions are running different AI’s, we are still playing two different games. What you are proposing to do is more likely to ever-so-slightly reduce the problem on console while summoning a Justice-storm on PC/mobile. Once PC has an AI that won’t reliably take skulls to break its loop and has customizable mana preferences, this team will run wild, even if the gem-spawning has been adjusted to be fair.
- From what I understand (based on anecdotal reports of the effects of the updates on gem-spawning), the tweaking that the team is doing is mostly around how random the gem-spawning is. Personally, I find this to be a little unsettling. My preference would be for gem spawning to be random and for spell effects to be balanced by altering the number of gems created (which is what we always thought was happening). If a combo-breaker override must exist, it should only kick in when random streaks have gotten out of hand, not be constantly intervening in subtle ways to prevent random streaks, or to fight against unbalanced gem spawn numbers.
The proliferation of the Valk/Justice/Mab teams on console is not just about Justice not-overwriting existing blues when it casts. It is a combination of that, plus the standard AI being relatively smart about choosing which secondary colour to choose to maximize the likelihood of extra turns, plus AI preferences allowing players to fine tune colour choices, plus the AI not breaking its own cycle by taking a 3-skull match over a spell-cast when given the option, plus the base AI tending to cast Mab only when it will get an extra turn. This combination allows this team to loop, which because of the synergy between Justice and Mab creates an unstoppable juggernaut once Justice is able to cast once. ONCE. Some minor adjustments to gem-spawning won’t significantly change this combination.
One additional issue which is widely believed but so far not conclusively proven is that something funny happens with normal gem refreshes from matches. This is the ‘skydrop’ or ‘cascade’ problem. Maybe this is real, maybe it isn’t. I honestly don’t know, but when we feel the effects of this problem (real or imagined) when facing these VJM teams, it is extraordinarily frustrating. A player can end their turn in complete control of a match, with the enemy team having literally zero mana, only to have a simple three match cascade twice to fill Valk or Justice, triggering a loop that leaves the player with no chance to win. It doesn’t happen that often, but every match against that team runs a risk of that happening.
I don’t go in for hyperbole. I don’t believe that the game is unplayable and don’t buy into the numerous conspiracy theories that pop up when people complain about the state of the game. I think I’ve been very calm and reasonable over the last number of months as this Justice situation has worsened, but I am ringing the alarm bell now. If the report I asked about is never run on console, and none of the devs play on console, then it seems that no one in the dev team is really aware of how bad the situation is. It is going to be a problem if gem spawners are balanced on the current PC platform and then those changes are released at the same time that PC/Mobile gets the upgraded AI. The balancing needs to be done with the future state of the AI in mind (that is, the current state of the console AI), or you’re just going to be in the same situation again after 3.1, plus you’ll be dealing with a host of new bugs and issues that will keep the team from focusing on this.