I would say I put enough investment into it to have a stake in my words.
The one key downside to E.Kura that needs attention is not related to the troop itself, but the Doomstorm mechanic.
Currently, a Doomstorm is very inconsistent with doomskull appearances and needs improvement. It doesn’t have to be a day 1 Doomstorm where everything popcorns, but I shouldn’t have a common situation where like 1-3 Doomskulls show up on a board refresh, making you doubt a storm exists. A bit more consistency would go a long way.
This is a universal Doomstorm issue and would improve the quality of life for many other troops.
As it is right now, this game mechanic makes E.Kura worse than it should be as an E.Kura cast can leave you with a bad follow up board because the Doomstorm didn’t actually kick in to do anything.
Another E.Kura change I’d like is a lower mana cost.
I actually don’t think filling 35 mana is a problem in this particular situation so much as I don’t think I’m getting 35 mana worth of value out of most casts. I’d like to see a lower mana cost, so my cast doesn’t feel as bad on a board with no Doomskulls, which is often.
The last thing it needs is an art change (actually serious). It really should not have the same art as a regular Kurandara, even if they have different borders.
Unless there’s some weird in-joke where Kurandara is always Enraged, it looks rather lazy where the ultimate boss has the same art as its original. It could use a shade more red or even just another demon horn, something to differentiate them.
I personally though the version of doomstorm we got after the first nerf was fine. The first/release version of doomstorm was ridiculous and was probably right to be nerfed, basically everything died if you did a board clear + keep the turn with it up as the norm and not an edge case, without having to use passive exploders to keep the chain going, regardless of who was doing the hitting, so it was a bit easy of a win condition especially in an era before everything had an empowered converter starting it. The first nerf/second version mostly fixed this, having a still high incidence of skulls and enough doomskulls to be very threatening and line up skull converters to keep the chain going, and multikill cascades without a passive explode engine (skull perma triplers/doublers weren’t really a thing at the time, webspinner change was the patch after the second doomskull nerf) were extreme edge cases. The second nerf/third version neutered it to the point where I pretty much stopped using Bloodhammer altogether, because it left me with such bad boards that it was prematurely ending my combos by both giving me fewer mana cascades and fewer alignment opportunities for converters… just overall ugly boards that felt more like I wasn’t using a storm at all in terms of gem balance, but some more of the normal skulls were just +5s. The second doomskull nerf was also patched in with the major exploder nerf and the package just ended up being tuned far too much in the other direction from where it started. For the niche setups that I used it in, I found myself preferring normal bonestorm.
Doomstorms don’t actually do much of anything. If you managed to clear the ENTIRE board, you’ll get about 4 (4.4) of them turn up, instead of the normal chance of 1 (0.9). You can practically pretend there’s no storm at all. Having said that, this small chance is about the same as that extra 2 magic from elite+ pass affecting a battle… so it might mean something to some people.
This would imply that “combo breaker” is no longer a thing, which is a widely known and admitted gameplay mechanic which is intended to only negatively affect AI skyfalls in certain conditions. When skyfalls and initial board state were talked about waayyyy back in 2016 (before the unity port even, so different codebase), it was heavily implied that the gem falls and initial boards are the same for everyone but conditionally manipulated in a different part of the code:
The storm implementation explanation makes sense, though, and brings to light why doomstorm currently feels so bad to use. The thing that kills it is having so few skulls in total that you are unlikely to get a match from a board clear compared to any other storm. If doomstorm can’t raise normal skull chances without raising doomskull chances because of the implementation of randomly replacing gem that would fall with this specific gem rather than actually changing how the gems are weighted then it would seem that they “had to” have a barely increased overall skull chance for doomstorm to not be ridiculous.
But this infographic only references the 3.5 doomstorm change. There were two changes, one in 3.5, and one in 4.0. The first one was still sort of workable. The second one killed it. Before the first change, a great majority of skulls that dropped were doomskulls, and skulls also dropped almost as much with a bonestorm out, so no idea what the coded implementation of it was at that time since it seemed like much fewer than 10.9% of total drops were “normal skulls”, since that would have meant close to 40% of total skulls were normal skulls, and that doesn’t align with the experience I had. After the first change, it seemed like still increased skulls but much fewer of them were doomskulls percentage wise.
The infographic seems up to date with reference to Electrostorm, so its probably referring to the current version of Doomstorm. Each of the nerfs was a noticeable change at the time and unlikely to just be a patch miscommunication.
(The quotes should contain links, if not, these are the original initial patch notes for those versions.)
Even if Doomstorm must spawn a barely increased number of Doomskulls to keep chain-reactions in check, having the number of matchable-gems being so barely increased. Nearly every match nowadays is played with the majority of it having a storm in play… this is the norm, the opposite is the exception. Triggering a doomstorm currently is closer to no storm than it is to having any other storm in play as a practical application on any team. Board clear without extra turn and skull countermeasures is unreasonbly risky to the person initiating, board clear with keep the turn even results in generally messy boards you can’t follow up on due to both lack of mana and lack of conversion openings (take Leprechaun into a fight versus Shade of Kurandara or any hero class with the doomstorm start without overwriting with your own storm). Where initial doomstorm either one of these was often a straight up first cast win condition, it now generally results in either a troop death or stall on the player who is initiating/attempting to capitalize off it. In its current state, I’d count triggering a doomstorm as generally a downside, even if you maintain advantage with an otherwise appropriate team, unlike every other storm, when the triggers for it (ie., it being on a legendary trait as an “on kill” storm trigger with every other color “on kill” version being a minor trait) clearly show it is meant to be an upside.
A sensible change here, if they believe too many doomskulls were falling to “chain react” and causing a insta game-end condition after triggered with a single board clear if they just increase doomskulls but while still making doomstorm desirable to have in your kit, would be to implement doomstorm as a dual color doomskull-skull storm. A ~7% gem replace check on skulls then doomskulls would bring it in line with other single color storms, which it should be treated as because skulls match with doomskulls unlike the gems from dual color storm and this would bring the total skull balance to just below what it would be on a normal bonestorm with what I would hope would be close to zero implementation overhead being that the “bones” should already be in place from other dual colored storms.
This makes sense to me. Agreed that Doomstorms leave messy boards after a clear, and as such their unpredictability can often be a downside for the player supposedly taking advantage of it.
Also agreed that currently, running a Bonestorm is much preferable to a Doomstorm, and it would be nice if I was roughly evenly-inclined towards either (without it being an insane insta-win-condition). I guess maybe a tough balance, but would still be nice.
I would imagine doomstorms are really hard to balance. Unlike other storms that merely match, they also explode causing chain explosions multiplying the chance of further extra turn matches, while doing a lot of damage for every match.
A single doomskull match inflicts damage that a skull damage would, but a simple 3-match also collects 3 mana (normal 3 match has an average of 5 mana including 63% surge before banners). The doomskull explodes and you get a further chain reaction. Anything close to a density that keeps your current turn (which seems to be what everone wants), even in conjunction with a doom/bone mix - will be quite oppressive. Much more than a regular colour storm.
Normal color matching storm - collect 3, 6, maybe even 12 mana towards your 24+ cost mythic.
Bone storm - immediate damage, 1 hit kiils are common with some kits, 2-3 is normal.
Doomstorm - too powerful if simply a bone storm with explosions
At this stage, I would probably prefer doomstorms are removed entirely from the game and swapped with other traits on troops/weapons/classes that have it right now.
The new dual storms however are something else - they are gated by being tied to specific troops that aren’t particularly powerful of themselves, but currently the only two cases are implemented as persistent storms - quite fitting to celebrate their power level.
For anyone wishing to investigate the effects of storms for themselves, you can use a team such as
Cedric/Egg Thief/King Bloodhammer/Greed
and do battles that won’t kill you, but have strong enough opponents to last a while (e.g. explore 5-6). Swap KB for any troop with the storm you want to investigate.
I just cast Egg Thief 5-10 times per game over several games with a doomstorm up… I think Eric’s percentages are holding up.
e.g. (pre-explosions, matches, etc. just the initial 64-skyfall count of doomskulls) 4,3,5,3,3,4,4,3,5,3,8,5,5,3,…
Neat storm discussion aside: I agree this troop needs something. Nothing about it is inspiring me to believe it’s as powerful as ZG.
When ZG first released, I forget how it was different but it wasn’t as strong. The devs eventually boosted it and I was against that move. I liked the idea that the reward for 8 power orbs was a trash bag. I’m a spiteful person!
Actually I hope at some point, the 8 power orb troop is literally a trash bag with OP abilities now. I’d slam some money into the game really hard for that.
I agree that E. Kurandara should either cost less than 8 power orbs given his current level of usefulness OR be worthy of that cost — ie, give the guy a boost somehow, or lower his mana cost (and for God’s sake PLEASE give his OWN artwork!), and make him worthy of the Boss type.
I say all of the above as a person without the troop, btdubs, and as a person unlikely to get the resources required for him anytime soon.