Explaining Nerfs / Buffs / Alterations (Warning: Hel'a Long)


#1

There’s been a bit of obnoxious discussion which has been going around since the original “nerf” of Webspinner. Namely, the “Who’s gonna be nerfed next?!” comments. It’s apparently gotten to the point where some users feel the staff and other users of the site are strictly against having fun.

This is not the case. I do not find people offering suggestions to better balance the game as a call for posting “It’s the Nerf Police, cheese it!!”, nor have I found it particularly funny that any mention of a good team demands a “Ban it! Cut off all forms of play!!” comment.

People seem to have failed to understand why changes are made, as if the users of the site actually have any say in what does or doesn’t get hit. So I’m going to take the time to explain some the changes made to troops so far, and why they were necessary to improve gameplay.

I’ll be keeping to the biggest controversial changes so far, as they had the largest impact on the communities discussion.


The Silent One - I wasn’t initially around for this guy’s changes. But from my understanding he was an essential must-have on any team at one time, to the point that playing against and without one was suicide in itself.

The Change - Obviously he needed to be hit, as a singular dominating force excels at limiting gameplay, and drives a wedge between those that did and didn’t have 'em. The cast was increase, the spell slightly altered, and his stats dropped. A bit extreme? Perhaps. But for the time every change was necessary to continue progressing the game, rather than splitting players into two camps.


Sheggra’s Cutoff - Sheggra originally had the little bug (Yes, it was officially stated as a bug, meaning unintentional mechanics were in play, not a nerf) that allowed each of her attacks to continue on to the next target when 2+ skull matches activated at once.

The Change - Firstly, this was labeled as a bug, so if it wasn’t changed then, it would’ve been fixed eventually. This bug had a seriously bad impact on the game, it allowed Sheggra or another front troop to single-handedly eliminate the entire opposing team in one turn. Now multiple skull matches are only soaked up by the first troop, but will often make matches of four or five, allowing combos to often continue.


Webspinner Loop - This was already an issue before the release of 1.0.7, but grew into an unignorable problem with the release of Team Bonuses. Teams of 4 Webspinner’s had 13 green gems generation, Attack at a minimum of 11, and Health capable of reaching over 30 easily.

The Change - It took a couple tries, but the staff decided on a set ‘gem generation’ balance. With the ability of creating 9 and 9 gems only, Webspinner’s endless looping was stopped, saving everyone from the death of a thousand bug bites. Without this change, Webspinner’s would still be our overlords. Though it did lead to another change.


Gem Spammers - Troops utilizing gem generation all received a minor alteration to fit the new Webspinner. Troops like Venoxia and Celestasia were on rather tough teams, and once they started, they rarely stopped. The fact that particular kingdoms and troop bonuses got boosts to magic, gem spammers had 1-2 more gem(s) to spam, and it surprisingly made quite the difference.

The Change - Like I said, Webspinners was the catalyst that toppled the kingdom of gem spammers. With the new Kingdom Bonuses as well as Team Bonuses put into place with the coming of 1.0.7, these troops began skyrocketing in usefulness. They could often wipe half the board, guaranteeing an extra turn, and then play endlessly to victory. When a game turns into a one-sided wait for the win/lose, it’s no longer fun to play or watch.

On the plus side, many gem spammers got the added effect of a stat boost in some form. Like the Goblin Shaman… wait… oh noooo!


Goblin Shaman - This is apparently the straw that broke the camels back for most people. With the boosts from 1.0.7 in play, goblin teams really shined in their ability to play with eachother, rather than competing against for mana. With the near guarantee of +4 Attack and +10 health for almost any goblin team, it became quite the force to be reckoned.

Shaman however was unique, it had the ability no other gem spammer had from the Gem Spammer Change, it guaranteed an extra turn. Whether it was missing a 4-5 Green match or simply wanting an extra hit on top of things, it played into giving goblins and even some other unique teams 0 chance of loss when activating. Essentially doing what Webspinner now did, but better.

The Change - Shaman had his mana generation changed from 9 to 7. That’s literally it. Extra turn remained, health boost remained, just a -2 gem creation alteration. This allowed for less chance of 5 match mana surges, as well as covering the board in green for other troops to play off of. And while it was only a Rare troop, it had the most powerful guarantee of chaining that no other troop had the luxury of.

Some users believe either the staff or the members are now “nerf-happy” because Shaman now spawns 2 less green gems on cast. It’s still a powerful gem spammer, it can still chain well, it’s still a driving force in any goblin team. It’s just less slightly less spammy than other troops, as you’d expect a Rare troop to be.


The Controversy of Today - More than likely, if you’ve payed any attention to the forums as of late, you’ll know that some users have been a little bored fighting against Any 3 same Troops + Prismatic Orb. Prismatic Orb sucks up any remaining mana left unused by the 3x troops, as well as powering those same troops to cast. While not particularly spammy or unfair, it does create a rather stale experience for those few players that fight a lot of them.

The Solution? - Well there are a couple ways to “solve” such an experience, but I’m not actually going to suggest anything and instead end with this.

The staff members do, and have always had the final say. Users will complain and shine light on possible “issues”, but ultimately the staff will play test multiples of not ten’s to hundred’s of simulated battle with several possible alterations before finalizing any given change.

They are not children playing to the beat of the playerbase’s peer pressure. They test, retest, and finally reretest many possible solutions to a player’s spotlighted issue, and will change nothing if they see nothing wrong. This has always been this way.

It’s not impulsive to make a change. Honestly, it says that the team admits to their mistakes in incorrectly balancing/releasing troops or weapons. Every change is a confession, not a nerf or buff.

How many games will alter something they released a week ago, and practically admit the original release wasn’t ready? I can name only one, personally.


So what am I trying to say?
Something pretty simple, making a suggestion for a mechanic or troop alteration is not to be ridiculed, or laughed at. It is what it’s always been, a suggestion. Not a demand or request, but a possible solution to a probable problem.

In the end, what the staff sees is the final call to any spotlighted suggestion. If they see nothing of concern, then nothing it will remain. Complaining, whining, or stressing the opposite will change nothing, it does not darken the spotlight, nor sway the staffs opinion.

Counter-arguments, opposing sides, alternative outlooks, these make differences.
Make your point and stick to it, don’t just cry “nerf”.


This isn't about nerfing. It's about balance
Wishlist (Wall of Text)
#2

I still think you have some sort of connection to the devs. :smile:
I totally agree however.


#3

Jeez I wish I had time in my mornings for a more elaborate response to things like this, but a like and a “hear, hear!” will have to do.


#4

I can vouch for the devs being fun-loving - I know what other games they play, its basically the same as me.

Either that or we collectively have poor taste.


#5

Good post! Maybe the Silent One’s original stats should be mentioned though, as a point of comparison to why it got changed. Even though you say it was a “must-have”, I have no idea why


#6

The original Silent One was ‘Silence all enemies’ - so your enemies got silenced but you did not so you could refill his mana and as soon as the enemy became unsilenced you could silence them again! I know, it’s mad in retrospect. This was changed to ‘Silence all enemies and himself’. Initially the ‘silencing’ used to go on for far too long but that too was eventually addressed by the devs. I was the first to post a very long pouty post about this on the old forum back in Feb 2015 (google gow silent one lol) but I soon came to realise that the adjustment really had to be done. Since then I have never moaned about the changes the devs have made because in my opinion they have all been reasonable and pertinent.

I really like your post zelfore - good points well made !


#7

Great post. Although I do feel like perhaps being shot at a little bit for my snarky comments last night. To that all I will say is “Baby. Does. Not. Sleep.” and apologize, I usually try to be more thoughtful and less inflammatory.

To address some of your points:

Silent one - an actual nerf due to the extreme overpopularity. I didnt have him before the nerf hit so I cant really speak to it (he was one of my last troops to get). I WILL say that he was a problem when facing him yes, but not nearly as bad as webby.

Sheggra - As you mentioned, a bug not a nerf. This was really pretty fun to play with when it was live especially after the gloom leaf enhancement, but I didnt cry when the fun ended.

Webspinner Loop - This one was the big issue. It came at a point in time when the old guard all had many copies of her, and it became proof that only a fraction of the people that play comes to the forums. It might have been fun to play WITH, but was wretched to play AGAINST as anyone on here knows. This was a well needed nerfing. Webspinner was one of my all time favorite troops from way back when I first got her in the begining months of the game, but yes it was time for it to happen.

Gem Spammers - this was also a needed change, see; webspinner. It was a good idea to disconnect gem creation from the magic stat, but sadly, gone are the days of the “brian brian brian webspinner - change the whole board to green” ahhhhhh the good ole days. WHat this did was make it very risky to run gem spammers now as the change also made it so that the AI spawned with INTENTION of not instantly creating 4 of a kind extra turns. Of course it cant always do this especially when the board is covered in whatever color your adding, but it does it often enough now that you really have to be more strategic about when you pop off the power. This resulted in a HUGE decrease in gem creation units in the meta.

Goblin Shaman - This change came when the Green Slime was introduced, and it FELT like a way to curtail slime teams popularity even though the devs had been watching this troop for quite some time. By the time the change had come he had fallen out of my regular rotation in favor of green seer anyway, but in my goblin team he still feels powerful and a hug help. The major concern for him I felt however was not the gem creation but his unit type bonus, which we will talk about after.

Prismatic orb - The problem with this particular weapon is not necessarily in the weapon itself. As has been stated in other posts there is a big sacrifice in using the weapon; it does ONE thing gem creation, no added bonuses or attacks or anything pure gem creation which if your using a multi-color troop can be not as helpful as you want it to be. You also have to sacrifice having that 4th team bonus if applicable to use this weapon, so all those tasty 4x of the same troop type/color etc bonuses are significantly curtailed. The orb SHINES however when used in combination with single color teams, which honestly I feel like might have been it’s original intent. To allow for more diversity in team makeup.

Team bonuses : herein lies some of the issue.
Goblin teams were a perfect example, the city has the PERFECT synchronization of trrops to make amazing teams using only troops from that city, which ALSO happen to use mostly the same color and ALSO happen to be mostly the same type: Marauder.

Either this is the perfect example of what city troop make up should be, or its simply too powerful. Im HOPING that he former is true and not the latter, however for this to be the case MORE cities need to have troops either changed or introduced to make their team bonuses on par with the Goblins.

The other issue with team bonuses is allowing them to apply even for multiples of the exact same troop; leading into the burning pitchforks for the skeleton now. The troop was given an attack buff (tied to it’s magic) when it kicks off its power: Whats the problem with this? Well 3x khetar troops gives +1 magic, and 3x undead troops gives +1 magic. This gives the skeleton instead of a larger buff to attack then anticipated, coupled with the ability to create skulls and gain an extra turn. A very powerful combination of events.

Does this mean the skeleton should be changed now to make it weaker? Or should the conversation instead look at team bonuses? I just fought against a 4x hobgoblin team with 10 armor, 31 life and 17 attack. 17 attack right out of the gate.

With the meta shift to skull attacks over powers we are simply seeing the same thing that the meta in any similar game goes through, some decks get used more and have to have specific counters. This is nothing new.

Personally I LOVE the team bonuses and think they have breathed new life into the game by allowing for such a HUGE diversity of teams allowable. Did the pendulum swing a little too far? Maybe. I would hate to see a change that reduces this diversity though. On the other hand I hate to see us all pointing finger at individual troops or weapons and asking for changes to them when all that does is apply a bandaid to the whole of the situation.

tl;dr
Perhaps it’s not all the individual units or weapons we need to reconsider, but how team bonuses work. Lets consider ways to change that, without losing the new diversity of team makeups possible.


Hail Hydra :trident:
#8

I’ve been running a 4x Grosh’Nak Marauder team in defense with 20-22 base attack on everything. Up until today it was actually breaking even AFAIK. Marauders +4 attack, Grosh’Nak +4 attack +2 life. Sadly Gar’Nok spawns things without all the bonuses and makes things lame.


#9

tl;dr
Perhaps it’s not all the individual units or weapons we need to reconsider, but how team bonuses work. Lets consider ways to change that, without losing the new diversity of team makeups possible.

I really think this is the core of the problem we have been seeing recently. Overall I think the devs are actually quite good at card balance. However these bonuses have thrown a lot of that work out of wack. There has to be a way to keep the bonuses relevant without sacrificing innate card balance. I have a sneaky suspicion this is going to become even more of a problem when cards are allowed to be upgraded through rarities.

-Razlath


#10

I was around, and it was seriously dull playing PVP at the highest levels. The Silent Goit was in every enemy team - you had to use it to be competitive - whoever cast Hush first was likely to win - pretty easy to recharge him before the enemy recovered. I did feel (and still do) that the changes were a little harsh - the spell change is sound - but the stat changes I feel left him a little too weak. Hilariously, I understand that many players rage-quit the game after this long-expected, and much-needed, balance change. Grow up, guys.

Absolutely, this was a fix to a coding bug that meant skull-spammers could one-shot an entire team - I ran Keeper Of Souls for ages to exploit this. The bug (and it wasn’t little) was that if damage killed the first enemy troop, it didn’t just overflow to the next one but also repeated the damage (or something similarly arithmetically wrong). I’d note also that Sheggra’s mana cost was adjusted after this fix to keep her viable - and she still is a potent threat - but risky to use!

This is partly true, I feel - but slightly mis-states the situation - as the remaining gem-spammer that scales with the Magic stat (along with other hero weapons, but the Orb is the most powerful and flexible), it’s able to reliably get 14 gems onto the board (for example, in a 3x undead team) and that is verging on broken - the 8x8 board doesn’t cope well with that many gems being spawned - over 13 seems the tipping point whereby the likelihood of a 4 or 5 match is disproportionately increased - I looked into the combinatorics behind this, and it’s clearly non-linear (but I stopped as it got too hard for my aged brain, so I don’t have any formulas for it!).

It also feels odd that the hero weapons haven’t (yet) been capped in the same way as all other gem-spammers. I wonder if it’s an oversight, or maybe only a timing issue (most likely) - or a deliberate ploy to keep heroes in use…

Overall, great post. Cheers


1.0.9 Sneak Peek- Frozen
1.0.9 Sneak Peek- Frozen
#11

Another recent justified nerf was to Sunweaver.

Originally, it gave mana based on magic. When paired with a magic gain troop, like the Soothsayer that released at the same time, you could get it to give 13 mana and continuously cast on itself to instantly fill back up. You didn’t have to touch the board until a skull popped up, while gaining 13 stats every turn.


#12

Interestingly that wasn’t so much a nerf as a correction - Sunweaver was never supposed to grant mana that scaled with her magic stat - but for some technical reasons it slipped through at first… It didn’t take a genius to spot that could be broken easily… And was an obvious fix to be made…


#13

I apologize if it felt as if I was targeting you. This post was actually just as much in response to those who liked said types of posts as those who made them, but even more than that the community as a whole for whomever felt changes to troops were getting out of control.

There’s been a lot of balance changes as of late, mainly due to the coming 1.0.7 and it’s team bonuses.
With such a major player in stats now, such changes are necessary to be more frequent as determining every possible outcome for such a system with a small team of staff would be impossible alone.

This is why player feedback is always helpful. Whether you’re for or against alterations, offering a point to stem from can help the staff understand what changes feel should be made, and begin testing possible solutions, rather than ultimately ignoring the issue altogether.

In my opinion, I’ve nothing against the Orb, it’s a fine weapon that welcomes the Hero back into the setup. The issue is it’s the only weapon in play, and that’s disconcerting. While granted, yes, changing how teams play with duplicates would largely more-or-less fix the problem, it’s also a lot of work for the staff. And I do mean a lot.

Sadly, it’s not a simple or minor tweak to be made, it’s likely far more complicated to the point where the system would need to see near entire revisal to accurately understand duplicated troops. And obviously the staff would rather focus on the next big patch for us instead of remaking an entire mechanic.

So I’m torn on how to handle such a situation, possibly to only be further complicated by the release of the troop rank leveling, but that’s what we’re here for. We do what we can to help the staff, and they’ll help to better our enjoyment of their game every week. :grin:


#14

One thing, that might help against 3x combos would be to give stat bonuses ONLY for DIFFERENT troops of the same type, I reluctantly playing 3x skeleton.


#15

Nerf Prediction: Skeletons :wink:

Fix Prediction: All skull generating troops lose the ability to self buff attack :stuck_out_tongue:

I actually think it’s good that weapons are left alone from the general changes … The weapons are the only reason to include our Heroes on the team at the moment!!!

If there was a change where team buffs encouraged Hero use, then it would be fine to nerf the weapons, but there has to be some advantage to a level 1000 Hero over a fourth Skeleton in your line up :stuck_out_tongue:

7


#16

I don’t know why everyone one is griping about 3x combos with the Orb, it is a Legendary weapon so it should be strong and really when I use it I swear is a 50-50 shot of getting an extra turn or charging a skeleton, and if it doesn’t you leave the enemy team set up to wreck you. Then if you skeletons are wiped out you are worthless and have to rely on skulls to attack.

I don’t see this as big of an issue as goblin teams and worm teams, I see 10x more of those than Orb teams.


#17

That largely depends on your level. I have a mana surge over 50%, which means that with the gem creation of the Orb I get extra turns at least 90 percent of the time, PLUS it fills up the first Skeleton and often the second too. In about 30 percent of the cases it also fills part of the mana for the number three, Keeper.

Note: with all the Kingdom bonuses and the troop bonus, my Orb in this combo creates 13 gems… That sure helps. :smile:


#18

I get 14, which is even more powerful (not to say broken) :smile:


#19

Maybe this explains my “feeling” using this weapon that I posted elsewhere, since mine only gives me 11. I’ve been playing since the iOS launch, but since I’m a bit more casual than many, I have yet to hit level 200 (getting close though!).