Red wrote on Dec 10, 2013, 14:53:
Devinoch wrote on Dec 10, 2013, 14:46:Isn't arena mode supposed to address the balance concern? At least in the sense that your deck is equal relative to others' decks because everyone is playing from a random pool instead of a pay-to-win collection?
Hearthstone has potential, but...
Arena mode has its own special collection of problems. The way the system works is you're picking one of three random cards to add to your deck. The first problem is that the normal "2 of any card to a deck" rule doesn't apply, letting players get 3-4 of some incredibly powerful class cards. The second problem is that many of the cards are designed to be combined with others, and on their own, they aren't very good, so many times you'll be going "man, I wish I had taken that other card four picks ago" when you're drafting. The third and final problem is that I'm fairly certain that Arena players are getting put up against any player looking for a game (although I don't know this for certain), meaning you'll end up playing against preconstructed decks now and again.
Also, keep in mind, you're also stuck with picking one of three randomly selected hero classes at the beginning of an arena run. And the classes are NOT well balanced right now. The class abilities are disproportionate to a fault - the Mage's ability is better than everyone else's, the majority of them have an immediate impact on the game, with Paladin's being the least useful and Shaman's right in at second least useful (because Shamans summon things at random!). This is also pretty true for card pools - things like Flamestrike are a Mage COMMON, as is Fireball meaning they're pretty much guaranteed to see a heavy amount of removal during a draft, where, say, a Priest may only see some of their targeted removal at the same time as a great creature, because they're rare cards.
And, like any thing when you're drafting from a pool, some pools are way better than others. Sometimes I'll end up getting a draft pool with 8 rares and a legendary, most times I'll end up with a pool of 5 rares, and in many cases, the worst possible rares. Also, when you're drafting in, say, Magic, you have 8 people, and a pack has more than 8 cards, so when you take your first card, you know you're going to see another card from that same pack, and can plan a bit around that. It also contributes to knowing what you're going to get in packs two and three, because the information you give to your drafting neighbors is relevant. Here, all drafting is done in a vacuum.
Balancing eight different classes and a "neutral" pool is a pain in the ass, and I don't envy them the job, but right now, it's pretty radically clear that some classes are way better than others.
I'd love to see their data, because right now, I'd wager the three top classes are, in order, Mage, Priest, Hunter, and the bottom three classes are, in order, Rogue, Paladin, Shaman.
Shamans rely on getting better than average results on random cards, as well as not overcommitting (Overload is a mechanic that double punishes for mistakes...), Paladins have the least relevant class ability and very limited removal, and Rogues, well, Rogues apparently used to be awesome and then got nerfed to the ground because they were out of control, but I wasn't in the beta at that point. Compare that to Mages, who can trigger their own enrage characters immediately, pick off smaller creatures, whittle away at larger creatures, or repeatedly just wipe the opponent's board.
When I pick Mage from the arena pool, I usually win 4 to 9 games. When I see a choice between Rogue, Shaman and Paladin, I sigh and prepare to go 0-3, regardless of how well I put a deck together. The basic class commons for Mages, Priests and Hunters are just significantly better than the class commons for other classes.
Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcasthttp://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/