A Deeper Analysis of The state of the Game Part 1
by, 11-18-2016 at 01:07 AM (1421 Views)
You probably don't know me.
In fact I almost guarantee you don't.
But I have been quiet about the state of the game for a long time, and that needs to change.
For a little context I've been involved in high level gaming for nearly 2 decades and Dice Masters since it was just Marvel Dice Masters.
In my normal life I analyze trends and contextual data for major corporations.
So when I say I'm appalled by the level of data that was gathered by Wizkids for there most recent major rules change you know I have some experience on the matter of data points.
Let me first start by saying I personally never felt like first turn advantage was as serious of an issue as it has been painted. More over I don't think that it is an issue with the way the game is structured. In true point of fact I have for a long time favored the knowledge and context granted by going second, which was the initial trade off of the tempo for going first. In recent iterations of the game the first turn of the game has become increasingly relevant, though again I stand by the belief that it is not going first its self but what the tempo plus the types of cards that exist in the game (I'm looking at you PXG and Elf thief).
Our game exists on a level apart from most similar game and as such needs to be approached from new angels. Fair warning I'm going to be drawing a lot of comparisons to MTG for this but most of these principles are true across all card games. Lets start with the base game as it was:
Each player has the same number of resources and acceleration to them at all stages of the game with some often less efficient options.
Each player knows or can with a 100% accuracy calculate how many of what dice are where.
Competitive events are single games in which player 1 is determined randomly
The only truly imbalanced aspect of the game was the tempo advantage of going first.
Now lets look at how most other games handle this tempo change
The player going first skips a step most often drawing that limits their options early on in the game, by a small amount, though is often a tiny percentage, increasing by the number of cards to draw from, IE in a 40 card deck that one card not drawn means more than the the 1 card not drawn in the 60 card deck.
Competitive matches are comprised of best of 3 games with an option between games after the first to change a small number of cards previously set aside to clear up some match ups.
Both of these have interesting dynamics in dice masters, and the obvious answer is not the right one, which I imagine we will come to find out over the next several months.
In Dice Masters one would likely equate drawing cards in other games to drawing dice from your bag. This is not the case. The number of dice rolled is more like the Mana produced by land in MTG, it's a resource used to fuel progressing to the next stage of the game, and if Wizkids would like to see longer games, like they have implied. Stifling one players early acceleration will lead the other player to dominate the game far more quickly than even before the change.
You might then ask well what is the parallel to drawing cards? Is there one?
Yes there is and the answer could surprise you. It's the Prep area.
Yes that magical zone for knocked out characters and PXGed sidekicks. We grow our resource pool by cycling characters and sidekicks around our prep area and our bag. In fact one of the defining skill measures is how well a player manages there bag. It's how we minimize variance, by placing unwanted dice in to the Used pile instead of clogging the bag and how we move to purchase our bigger characters, or our smaller characters and PXG more sidekicks to make sure we get that new die.
The second solution that other games use is multiple games in a match. What this does is mitigate just having a bad game, because lets face it those happen and losing out on prizing because you don't get a second chance sucks. The other side of that is the side board or what I would call in this case "The 11th card" a small pool of cards that can be switched around for various match ups. In a game with as few cards as Dice Masters it couldn't be more than 2 and that is even pushing it.
A number of people have asked me "How would you go about fixing the First turn advantage issue" and my first answer is always : I wouldn't I would remove that cards that make it an issue from the game, banning cards are much easier to do and undo in the future than completely rewriting the rules."
I suppose it all boils down to one thing, Prep area manipulation early in the game is what causes first turns to be so impact-full not going first its self, and if Wizkids had spent the time to analyze why FTA is a thing, they would have learned that. Instead after 100 games of testing the belief that it comes from the number of resources you start with. Its like playing MTG with 3/4 of a land on the first turn, I can't use this and I will never be able to catch up.
My solution Ban PXG and assess other possible bannings. Its easier to unban a card than rewrite a game... again.
Check back soon for the rest of this analysis, including inconstant rulings, Why Bard is not the most powerful card in the game but currently can't be equaled, A new Judge training program, and the reason players are avoiding the game. All this and ways I'm looking to fix them and how you can help.
PS: adding a rule about dice note being placed in the prep area on either player's first turn would also work.