As discussed the other day on stream, Heroic Gems are our latest feature to keep the game fresh and moving forward. Lycanthropy is part of that initiative - introducing new challenges and considerations for you to experience.
I think the framework that has been built around heroic gems and its integration to campaigns is certainly promising.
Unfortunately, Lycanthropy had a few issues on release, and for that we apologize; we’re updating our test plans here to better catch future issues like this in new features.
Can you be more specific as to what changes are being made to improve testing for such new features?
Now, onto the effect itself. Lycanthropy is a “transform” and, as such, it will act like other transforms in the game (e.g. Possessed King and Night Hag) with regards to stats and traits.
As pointed out above, this is inaccurate, because TPK’s transform also halves the level of the transformed troop, whereas lycanthropy does not.
Lycanthropy is a little bit unique in that it’s NOT an entirely negative status effect in every case, and that’s by design - we believe it’s great to be presented with tools that require a little consideration in their use - for example, cast on a powerful troop it can be debilitating to an enemy team if it triggers, but cast on a weak troop it can backfire and slow you down on your path to victory.
I agree that status effects (and, indeed, abilities) which require careful consideration before use are valuable and important to the game. Lycanthropy is not one such effect. You describe lycanthropy as a tool, as an effect that can be cast, which implies some form of control. This is inaccurate. A significant source of lycanthropy is from lycanthropy gems on the board. When matched, exploded, destroyed, or even removed, lycanthropy is triggered on a random troop. This subverts any strategic use that such gems may have because their target cannot be specified and because their trigger cannot be removed through most usual means. (Lycanthropy gems can indeed be removed inertly if they are overridden by created gems.)
In summary, the current implementation of lycanthropy (random, negative effect—bad) is at odds with its intended behavior (strategic tool—good). This disagreement will only be exacerbated in challenging or high-stakes content, such as pure faction delves and, presumably, next week’s guild wars. To this end, I propose three suggestions that attempt to align its current implementation to this purpose.
Allow lycanthropy to be cast on a selected troop when lycanthropy gems are matched on the board.
Allow lycanthropy gems to be removed, exploded, and destroyed without triggering lycanthropy.
Do not designate lycanthropy as a negative status effect. As you state, lycanthropy is not entirely negative, and its being lumped in with negative status effects (which causes it to be cast with EoE, Luna, or Magnus, for example) reduces the strategic decisions players can make with it.