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Gems of War Jumps the Shark

I think it may be over. If what I’ve heard coming is true, I actually regret paying for the current Campaign Pass.

For those who don’t know, “Jumping the Shark,” usually refers to TV series who start putting crazy things in their scripts in a vain attempt to recover viewers after their ratings plunge dramatically. The phrase comes from the show “Happy Days,” which literally had Fonzie jump over a shark on water skis.

In my opinion, there’s three things reportedly coming or already here that qualify as Jumping the Shark in Gems of War. I may have heard wrong, and I hope the true ones get changed ASAP, but there we go:

  1. Banding
  2. Lycanthropy
  3. A new Gem colour/type

All three of these speak of a sense amongst the designers for a need to add new things when they don’t actually have any good ideas left. At least, none that they feel are big enough and will fit the schedule.

In my opinion, they would retain far more players, both veteran and brand new, by fixing all the dumb stuff in the game: the GUI issues, weird design choices and other “non-bugs” that have been ignored for years.

Banding

Someone pointed out that Banding is far too weak for a third trait. It’s also hard to understand, hard to build a team around, and completely redundant. Why redundant? Because it’s essentially a much weaker version of Pet bonuses (and team bonuses, in general).

Lycanthropy

This is a huge troll. It’s sole usefulness will be in Guild Wars defence, to randomly hope to mess up a strong attack team using a very weak troop. Even then, it will only be relevant to the most competitive brackets. Finally, because it has no reliably positive effect when inflicted on the enemy, it’s a huge nerf to Essence of Evil. (And it’s both very buggy and hard to debug. In other words, it was an enormous waste of time to program.)

If Lycanthropy were simply a trait on a particular Delve Room or Faction’s Troops, that would be fine: an interesting mechanic in a limited context. But because it can be applied by Essence of Evil (and some other troops/weapons that are very rarely seen), it’s basically going to be interpreted as a humongous F You to all the long-time, competitive players.

A New Gem Colour/Type

I so hope this isn’t true.

On any game – or any software project – there are always certain elements that are so core to the behaviour of the software that they absolutely must be decided right at the beginning. Any attempt to retrofit these kinds of things later on in the process inevitably result in disaster, and huge amounts of work. Not only that, because the remedial work is both rushed and not catered for by the existing design infrastructure, it always ends up being poorly integrated and very buggy.

Adding an extra colour to the game absolutely qualifies as this type of change.

I want to emphasise that, while adding an extra colour or gem type may not have huge technical implications, it would certainly have enormous design and balance implications. That’s because the entire game is designed around 6 colours plus Skulls.

Here’s two examples why a seventh colour cannot work:

  1. The game currently has nearly 1000 troops and 350 weapons. Not one of those uses the new colour, nor interacts with it in any way. Even fast-tracking 20 troops that use the new colour would have no significant impact on the fact that a new colour would make it hugely more difficult to get mana for essentially every useful team in the game. The new colour might as well be Stone Blocks, except they regenerate.

  2. Comparing Gems of War, Puzzle Quest and Puzzle Quest 2, it’s clear that the skull and damage mechanics are completely different in the three games. Suppose the attack gems from PQ2 (which are used solely to fill your weapon) were added to Gems of War. They would serve no purpose, because GoW doesn’t have weapons to fill. Similarly, adding an Attack Skill to PQ would require deciding what the attack skill numbers were for every troop in the game, in order to know how much damage a Skull match did (it’s currently 1 point per skull, plus modifiers).

  • What I’m saying here is that, even though the three games are very similar, certain mechanics cannot be moved from one game to another. I believe the same is true of adding a new gem colour/type to Gems of War.

Conclusion

None of these three changes appear to fit the existing game. None of them seem to be well thought out. Two of them are dramatic in their likely impact on the game.

The number of players in any game depends on:

  1. How easy the game is to find – GoW is never marketed, so it’s incredibly hard to find.
  2. How much the game pulls players in, both initially, and later on – GoW is average on this point, because it’s not especially addictive, but it does have a nice community and fun game-play.
  3. How much the game pushes players away – GoW is not good on this point, because it’s hard to learn, and none of the pain points ever get fixed.

If 505 want the game to grow, or to maintain its player base, they need to work most on points 1 and 3, especially because point 3 tends to be cumulative over time.

Instead, whoever is making the decisions seems to believe that adding new things to the game – especially major new things – is the only way to maintain players’ interest. This is a huge fallacy. Even if it weren’t, it is definitely the most risky approach, simply because you can never tell how successful a major change will be in the wild. Much better to stick with a winning formula and improve the little things that otherwise push people away – for one, it’s a lot less work!

Sadly, I’m completely certain that the people making these decisions are so caught up in their own little bubble with their own, small-minded preconceptions, that I just completely wasted almost an hour, writing this. :rage:

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Well as far as I can tell the new gems (for now) are Lycanthropy gems which, you guessed it, makes me feel like vomiting because chances are that it will combine the worst latest gimmick with another horrible, horrible idea, as outlined by you above.

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I don’t think it will be a brand new color, like White, or Black, or anything. It can be a “joker” gem, which you can see in “Puzzle Quest”: something that matches with any other color, but not with skulls, XP or Gold. Or it may be a “color bomb” gem, which behaves like a Doomskull, but matches with some color, not skulls. But yes, they both will significantly change the current gameplay.

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Banding is indeed pretty useless at the moment and another one of those ‘eh, whatever’ mechanics like reflection, stoneblocks, … they never did much with.

Just throwing new mechanics at the proverbial wall, quickly turning around and shouting ‘I don’t even want to know if it stuck’ is not improving the game. They did say it themselves though. More new content sells more, less new content sells less. This does have implications for the quality of the game as a whole of course.

However, they do seem to want to introduce ‘teaming up’ mechanics.

Flank Attack: […] If Ulf Harrigan is on my Team, inflict 2 stacks of Bleed on them.
Spirit Augury: […] If there was already a Dragon Spirit in my team, explode 10 Gems.

(Quite possibly another crippling blow to F2P)


As for lycanthropy gems … I just assumed they’d be limited to the Maugrim campaign’s World Events or possibly a new game mode or one-offs.

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You have to know by now that anybody posting in “feature requests and game feedback” are wasting their time yeah? I doubt they even read them. Those days are long gone. Nowadays devs are just gunna do as they are ordered by the fat cats who pay their salary.

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I would also say, if you post an idea there, you can be sure it will never find the way into the game :thinking:

Is anyone able to find the last player idea that found that way?

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The reordering of arena troop picks from higher to lesser rarity was player feedback. Think that’s the last one.

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Maybe trait ascending like the card ascending like a rare give plus 2 life to all but once ascending to mythic it give 8 life to all but for a troop thats already base is mythic can give 10 life is a good example of improving on a good mechanic

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Can someone explain Banding traits to me? I didn’t realize it was a thing until the community started talking about it. Isn’t it just a random, useless trait like many weak troop traits are?

Unless I have a team of four troops with a Banding trait, meh who cares. This is just like the other trait thats “Gain X life for each <kingdom|color|type> troop.” If you want to maximize that trait, you need to have your other troops match whatever the restriction is.

Not sure why Banding is a concern.

I don’t see how any “gain x for y allies” trait can be related to pets personally. Pets dont take up slots on the team.

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The assumption is that if you have that traited troop in your collection, it will give you the bonus without you having to equip it, like a pet.

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That is quite an assumption!

And, your ideas would require that the company has an employee tasked with determining the return on investment for any work being done for the product. I’m fairly sure that they do not.

Devs: We see you don’t know how to build teams, so now we’re just going to build them all for you!

Us: …

Devs: Oh, you like it so much, you’re speechless! But isn’t it great?! We can tell you love it!

Us: sigh

Your Warbands are bad. Your stream teams are bad. Literally every team you have ever otherwise hand-crafted for us, is bad.

These troops are bad.

Stop making bad things only to then point out how shiny and amazing they are, as direct evidence of being out-of-touch with the competitive player.

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Now THIS would make it pretty dang powerful. Never would I have assumed this is the case. Is that how banding works in other deck-building games?

I really doubt, even if so, that that’s how it will work in Gems. Easy to test: does the lizard get his stuff triggered if the smith-elf is traited but not on the team?

Testing, testing, be back soon (and sorry for the double post, just got excited)

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Are you sure? No other trait works like that, and the wording here doesnt hint at that. It is the exact same wording as other gain x stat for y troop traits we have had for ages.

Not sure what answer I am hoping for. If @blindnighto is right, Banding traits make more sense. But if he’s wrong, I can make fun of him. :thinking:

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Definitely doesn’t work as suggested above.

4 Bahir started with 110 life.

1 Bahir with 3 BANDits (lol) started him off with 104.

So I guess he doesn’t even count himself, which is worse than I thought it would be :laughing:

EDIT: also tested a mixture. 1 Bahir + 1 Forgemistress = 106 starting life for the former

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The reality is that it just seems to be based on your team. Traits like Stone Spirit grant its troop +1 Magic for each ally that uses brown mana, traits like Banding Armor grant its troop +2 Armor for each ally with a Banding trait. That makes the legendary troop Ulf Harrigan in two weeks an especially sad victim of bad design, because his unique legendary True Banding trait allows him to gain at most +4 to all skills, when used in a ramshakle team with zero other synergies.

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So my original question remains… Why does anyone care about Banding traits? :woman_shrugging: It is the same as every gain x for y allies traits we are already used to

Also, Bahir is including himself. 1 Bahir with 104 life means four Bahir would add 6 life, to 110. If he wasn’t traited, hed have 102 life.

Saw the rumor about it just being in collection and hoped. Because otherwise it’s just the “Gain 1 or 2 stat for each ally that satisfies X condition”, which we already have under other names. Although, we’ve had plenty of traits that do the exact same thing but are called something different.

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You know, you’re right: I assumed 104 base, not 102+2, but the latter is no less likely than the former and is actually way more probable just because of how all other similar functions work in the game :sweat_smile:

Also banding is something people are mad about (I think) not just because it sucks, but also (and primarily) because it’s 3rd-trait-sucking.

Which ruins legendaries and (God forbid) mythics of the future. And also makes cards of lesser rarity less likely to have good traits overall because so few second-traits are worth much in lesser-rarity cards (like Accursed, for instance — it sucks as bad as banding, maybe even worse because it’s random, but at least it’s a second trait that still gives me a chance at having something good as a third trait).

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Let’s also not forget that it fails to cater to any target group. It isn’t useful for any advanced rosters, because the bonus is just too insignificant at that point. And it also isn’t useful for any beginner rosters, because just buying a single Banding trait does next to nothing. You have to buy Banding traits on other throw-away troops as well, with scarce resources best spent elsewhere.

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