Some thoughts and suggestions for the devs about special gems

TL;DR: The key problem of special gems is that they can be triggered for both sides. So creating special gems and not keeping the turn would only let the massive gem destroyers and exploders on the other side to backfire on yourself. Please realize that and take it into account before making new troops based on the new special gem mechanics.

Since the introduction of special gems, they are controversial in the community. Many players hate them, some like them. Triggering these new gems usually either grant effects (Lycantropy, Burning, Curse, Gargoyle), or give mana (Potion, WIldcard, Elemental star, Wish, Bomb) to troops.

There are two new kingdoms that are strongly based on special gems: Nexus with Elemental star, and Hellcrag with good/evil Gargoyal gems.

Many troops that have the ability to create / transform new gems and have the spells that are scaled with these new gems on board.

The problem of the mechanics of these new gems, in my opinion, is that they are by design neutral to both the player and the opponent, since they are created on the board and both parties can trigger them. This leads to the fact that those new troops that create new gems, many times are working for the opponent rather than the player.

If we look at all the new troops with special gems and try to find those who are considered useful, most of them can control the extra turn, such as Centuragon, Flaming Oni, Hatir & Skroll, Celestial Flask.

This is of course because if you can’t trigger those gems immediatly or control the turn, the opponent will trigger them and you will be defeated by yourself. It feels stupid, and it is stupid.

The worse part is that some troops’ spell are designed to scale with the number of special gems on board, which means if you want to ultilize their spell’s potential, you want more special gems on board. Now if you don’t have the ability to keep the turn, more special gems on board is equal to more disaster when the opponent trigger them. And if you want to trigger these gems asap, the scaling modifer is useless.

Let’s use Xenith as an example. Its spell creates Doomskulls with the number scaling with evil gargoyle gems on board, its trait creates evil gargoyle gems when matching 4/5. In my experience, it doesn’t feel safe to use his spell without at least 4 evil gargoyle gems, and if it fails to get an extra turn, you are doomed. And once I cleared the board with Doomskull explosion or something else, I need to wait for another 4 evil gargoyle gems to (kinda) safely cast him again. Meanwhile the opponent can cast thrall or leprechaun easily and put all status effect on me and let me wait longer for the gargoyle gems.

I was trying to test a good Xenith team and in the end, the most reliable way is just casting Chalcedony again and again and only use Xenith when you are absolutely sure, and once you cast it, you again use Chalcedony again and again to get enough gargoyle gems. I am tired of Chalcedony in the 3 weeks of Hellcrag. It’s a pity that so many troops are designed around gargoyle gems but the best way to play is with one troop that has nothing to do with gargoyle gem.

Xenith is still a better troop in those scenarios since it does have the potential to get extra turns. The Werestag needs more Lycantropy gems to safely cast and you have to pray the opponent don’t trigger those gems during the waiting time. Kalika’s damage is boosted by Elemental stars, which is a kind of gem that can be matched easily without gem destroyers, and she doesn’t have extra turn potential, so you either cast her without much damage boost, or cast and see the opponent get all mana. Same with Tourmaline. I’m not even talking about Sparkinator who creates 10 bomb gems and explode one random gem, it’s like you have 50/50 chance to benefite the opponent when casting a 22 mana cost mythic troop.

To be fair with the devs, I think they have realized this point somewhat and try to make special gems unmatchable with other normal gems, like the recent ones: wish gem, bomb gem and gargoyle gems. They are improving: Lycantropy is the worst since no matter being matched by you or the opponent it’s a loss for you, potions once being matched just keep looping, wildcards / elemantal stars can be easily matched, wish gem can be bad for both and bomb gem is kinda useless so who cares it’s triggered by whom.

But I want to remind them, who are probably testing the game with arena-like battles (no offense): Massive gem destroyers and exploders exist and are very commonly used, some of the best among them have very low rarity and easy to get: Leprechaun, Thrall, Mountain Crusher, etc. The opponent don’t need to match those special gems, they can easily trigger the whole board. There is still no room in most battles to let special gem numbers grow without the ability to control the turn.

Please take that into consideration when you design new troops and new gems. The introduction of new gems just make the ability to “control the turn” even more vital.

There are all the low rarity new troops that has a chance to create / convert few special gem in their trait or spell, only to be triggered by a leprechaun cast by the opponent. But the number of special gem involved is less, so the damage is less. But Mythics and Legendary troops that require or create more special gems, you gonna to be more careful. It takes longer to fill them mana and we expect a cast of their spells to be useful, not useless or harmful.

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I appreciate the thought and time that went into writing this, but I’m still left wondering what the point is you’re trying to convey, even with the TLDR. Heroic gems increase randomness by not accounting for other game mechanics, like exploders/destroyers? I thought that was deliberate on their end and has been the overall trajectory of the gameplay loop for the past couple years.

I pretty like all the heroic gems, it gives new abilities then new kind of troops, new mechanics and new strategy to develop your win and board control.

Now i cant thinkin a board with only 6 colors, without also the stone block, really boring.

Less type of gems, more zombie playing for my pov.

Some of my hot takes:

  • I do not see the problem with Lycanthropy gems? I believe they still grant +1 Purple Mana when matched, and the only complaint is the potential Transform effect right?
  • Mana Potion gems can be very powerful from their potential to cause a Mana Surge (2x mana yield and Extra Turn). Abilities that passively trigger them might need some rebalancing, but I don’t have any specific ideas.
  • I hate wildcard Gems. HATE. Even moreso than Mana Potion gems. They are supposed to count for every color they match (usually one, sometimes two, but theoretically up to four) AND they have a minimum of a 2x multiplier? It’s literally a walking Mana Surge, minus the Extra Turn. Maybe drop all the multipliers by -1 (i.e. 1-3x instead of 2-4x), or just drop the multipliers altogether?
  • I’m actually fine with the Elemental Stars, though I don’t fully understand exactly how they work (still). +1 mana for each of their four colors isn’t broken, removing gems in an X shape is interesting and unpredictable, but I am less fine with Nexus troops always creating more gems with every turn (not as vicious as The Great Wyrm -based teams, but still).

Self comment to bring this post back in before the massive complain about web gems.

It’s still the same old story and old problem since the introduction of many special gems in the past two years:

You make a troop that creates special gems on board but can’t guarantee to keep the turn. Next turn the opponent’s mass gem destroyers/exploders will use all the special gems that you just created against you.

It’s only going to make “keep the turn” more important, and risk to lost the turn more unbearable, which has already become a hundred times worse since the introduction of Elementalist.

Night spider and the rogue team will be yet another failure added to the long list because of this core issue.

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I have to add Burning Gems to the list of things that I don’t like.

Why do Burning Gems affect the entire enemy team instead of a single troop? Literally every other status-ailment gem (Web, Curse, Freeze, and Lycanthropy) only affects one opponent per Gem. And Curse is arguably the weakest effect of the lot, as its main utility is highly dependent on the opposing team having access to status buffs (e.g. Enchant/Blessed) or immunities (notably Impervious) to begin with.

I can see some argument for this being a feature – that the new Gems are double-edged in that they benefit whichever side can match it, independent of who created it.

But I agree that it just feels bad to have special gems created at random only for the other side to turn it against you. Much like shuffling the board without getting an extra turn to exploit it.

My pet peeve with the special gems is a level of inconsistency.

For example, Lycanthropy gems and Giant Purple gems and Purple Dragon gems and Web gems are all considered purple gems… for the purposes of computing boosts based on Purple gems – Mother of Darkness comes to mind given the changes to Night Spider and the Rogue “meta” that some people employ on occasion – and when generating mana from gem matches. But when it comes to spells that generate gems, one sort of “purple” gem can overwrite another sort of “purple” gem.

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Given that I think the latest is just the final straw - Shows up in a Merlantis battle (the spider purple) and ONLY 1 Troop in the Merlantis team is immune to web, IRKED me to no end. Here’s me trying to complete the Campaign - explore at 8 with a Team from Merlantis and that thing shows up. 60 turns later I am finally able to win.

NO… lets stop this battle crasher introducing a new special gem as well releases. OR at least look how that will impact a Campaign team or the Events team – JUST A PIA

Adding to this - I normally don’t recommend nerfing something - but this new ‘Gem’ needs to be nerfed or rethink it as a Battle Crasher.

IT is too powerful, given that preventing web is not common attribute - 45 troops and most of them NOT Monsters or Merfolk – BAD week to introduce this Battle Crasher btw.

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There’s not really any inconsistency there. Generated gems will overwrite any other gem, even if it’s exactly the same one.

Having used things such as Flammifer and nauseum, I can confidently suggest that this may be incorrect :thinking:

e.g. cast Flammifer and see the number counter for red gems on the left increase by 10 every time, as red gems generated do not overwrite red gems.
:sweat_smile: :vulcan_salute:

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That feels like it might be an interesting research topic. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen created gems replacing the same gems already there, I couldn’t name any example though. Maybe I’m remembering wrong, or it might depend on the details of how the gems got created.

Core question would be, if gems get created, has anybody observed them replacing a gem that is exactly the same (e.g. red → red)?

  • As part of a troop spell (e.g. Goblin Shaman, create 7 green gems)
  • As part of a weapon spell (e.g. Flammifer, create 10 red gems)
  • As part of a weapon affix (e.g. Warm, create a red gem)
  • As part of a trait (e.g. Bone Feast, create 2 skulls when my turn begins)

Bonus question, if they don’t replace the same gem, has anybody observed them replacing a gem of the same match family (e.g. purple → web gem or web gem → purple, both count as purple for the purpose of matching)?

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are several flavors of “create”. :thinking:

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I have, thus my peeve and my complaint. I can’t video and/or screenshot it for the forums – I play on PS4 and I access the forums from my desktop PC – but I’ve seen it happen often enough.

And to clarify, my complaint isn’t when a dual-color creator – e.g., Stonehammer, Wild Queen, the dual-color trolls, et cetera – has an amount of overwrite when created gems of color “A” overwrite existing gems of color “B” and vice versa. It’s when a single-color creator such as the bullet-pointed list you’ve thoughtfully provided does so, because that (to me) doesn’t fit the definition of the spell.

EDIT: Also, I know I’ve seen an AI-controlled Fire Spirit (Fire Rift) convert Red Gems to Flaming Gems by choice of that spell.

Double-edged feature can be a fun idea theoretically, but the implementation in reality just ends up to be annoying.

Like why would one use a troop’s spell, which needs to fill the mana first, or trait some troop, to create some double-edge feature instead of simple pure benefit like damage to all.

The worst part, imo, is that there are some mythic / legendary troops, whose spell scales with number of double-edged gems on board. And in practice you want to trigger those gems asap to not get backfired, thus these scaling just can’t work as intended.

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Nope. If you generate blue gems they do not replace blue gems, if you generate skulls they do not replace skulls. Even if you have a troop generating both blue and skulls the skulls may replace some blues and blues may replace some skulls but neither replaces themselves.
But special gems do replace all other types of gems even if they give same color mana.
Only possible exception might be doomskulls and superdoomskulls replacing each other, not sure about those.

Another problem with these gems is they are annoying enough when they mess regular gameplay and give the AI team even more extra turns and ways to TPK player teams, but all the troops designed around using them are useless in Arena because Arena troops do not have the trait to create them nor can you select your team so it includes both a gem creator and the troop that scales with them.

Another push to front to let the devs see, since spirit gems again can be destroyed and exploded and they can be very annoying.