Hero balancing and the early 2021 meta

It’s a topic that comes up in full force every year or so in the game, and I’m curious as to who the community still sees as severely underpowered respective to their legendary peers?

The emerging meta has seemed to set most of the ninjas (Onyx, Cobalt, Garnett) ahead of the rest—particularly when they’re able to get their family bonus—along with the Valhalla beasts (Odin, Frigg, Bera, Heimdall, Freya) and recent event and seasonal heroes (Finley, Jabberwock, Black Knight, Gazelle, Killhare, Vanda, Francine, Krampus). Then there are the longtime meta staples (Gravemaker, Drake Fong, Zeline), the newer HotM (namely Telluria and Vela), and classic heroes who’ve maintained relevance thanks to their costumes (the snipers, along with Vivica and the now-monstrous Kadilen).

To me, and it seems to the overwhelming majority of top spenders (cf. the team construction of all the top alliances), these heroes largely stand alone. There are some heroes, of course, who have great usefulness attacking or against titans whom we rarely see on defenses (Miki, Tarlak, Gefjon, et. al) and which I didn’t mention, but those aside… who do you think are the weaker of the legendary heroes in the game?

At the top of my list are probably Boss Wolf, Natalya, Noor, Perseus, Owl, Sargosso, Ares, Inari, Thoth-Amun, Victor, Jade, Aeron, Rumpelstiltskin, and Zulag. There are some others I’m tempted to add (like most of the classics without their costume bonus), but I’ll try to keep it to what I think are the absolute worst. I do also think it would be interesting to buff up a few middle-of-the-road heroes like, say, a Gregorion or Guardian Kong or Delilah, just to shake up the meta a bit via a re-balancing, but maybe that’s best left elsewhere.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that think it would be great to see the devs buff up the handful of heroes who were designed specifically as defensive tanks—who have no other real niche in the game—so that those heroes (specifically Guinevere, Yunan, and the uncostumed Justice and Horghall) can remain relevant.

Thanks for listening, and I look forward to hearing what you guys think of the current meta and the possibility of a future balancing update.

All the best,
Cpt.Ahab

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I haven’t fully thought through this suggestion but they could have a separate raid channel with temporary buffed heroes. The buffed heroes would change each month or so.

It’s a little amusing for me to see Guin as being requested as needing a buff, as she was loudly complained about being too powerful a year ago :slight_smile: . I agree that there’s a bit of power creep going on in the game, as is the natural course of things, but I also expect for there to be a very substantial correction one they have a handle on the new direction that they want to take some things. For example, some of the stack and charge specials weren’t technically available in the program two years ago; having the possibility for heroes now changes the way “balancing” is defined.

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I know the devs seem intent on releasing new skins and abilities for older, non-classic heroes, but I think they’ll destroy their player base if they roll out costumes to buy the way they did for the original legendaries.

Folks have spent enough time and money getting the heroes that they have. They don’t want to be forced to do it again to keep their cards relevant.

I’d love to see something like a “training ground” where heroes can be taken to get stat bonuses or new skins or abilities—but it shouldn’t be something left to one’s wallet or to chance the way the Masquerade has functioned. Maybe the heroes that can be trained can be selected from a certain list—heroes that have been in your roster for a year, say, or who are from a set list that changes periodically, or who are chosen based on their combat power. Players already have the heroes they take to the training ground, they just have to play through and overcome the training to get the new skin.

The training ground could come around every month, or every few months, and allow players a chance to give certain heroes they choose new appearances or stats or abilities.

There can be some monetized aspect to this, but it should be affordable—similar to the VIP cost—not the absurd cost of the Masquerade summoning, which isn’t even guaranteed to be beneficial.

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I’m playing another match 3 game where there’s a building that allows you to make emblems out of heroes you don’t want (it obviously also costs food and iron). The higher the hero is you put in, the more emblems you get out of it. I haven’t really used it yet, but it’s nice that the option is there.

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The Heroes In-Need of Balancing

(In my opinion)

Bolded are the most dire, and therefore should see the most [significant] changes; the ones not bolded are just ones I’d like to see get tweaked.

Season One

  • Azlar
  • Elena/C. Elena
  • Khagan
  • Richard/C. Richard
  • Isarnia/C. Isarnia
  • Thorne
  • Elkanen
  • Horghall/C. Horghall
  • Justice
  • Leonidas
  • Obakan
  • Domitia
  • Quintus/C. Quintus

Actually, if I had my way, most - if not all - of S1 would see the refresher that they so desperately need without being locked behind a pay-wall. However, since I’m not running the show, I’m just focusing on the most dire [here] - which in the end, are primarily the average/slow ones. The bolded really need more in order to not be obsolete, but the others would just be nice to see get something.

+ Costumes. There’s a few lesser ones (ie costume SS) that I wish would be rethought and/or reimagined - as there’s hardly a difference between the two - but the stat bonuses alone help make em not so inferior, so not nearly as crucial. & Since they’re all so new, I’ll give it time before I suggest any serious changes [thattaway].

Season Two

  • Mok-Arr
  • Inari
  • Misandra

+ Mitsuko’s reflect should be revisited; imo it should reflect all ice, always.

Season Three

  • Baldur
  • Norns

For the most part, all of S3 is still usable; as like with costumes, they’re all fairly new [still]. However, these two stand out the most as the least usable [of the bunch], but at least Norns has a purpose…

Heroes of the Month

  • Ares
  • Musashi
  • Thoth-Amun
  • Perseus
  • Natalya
  • Aeron
  • Gregorion
  • Khiona
  • Aegir
  • Anzogh
  • Margaret
  • Ranvir
  • Neith
  • Grimble
  • Vela
  • Jean-François
  • Noor
  • Zocc
  • Bai Yeong
  • Zulag
  • Glenda
  • Reuben
  • Bertila
  • Myztero

Some of these are already pretty decent, and usable, as-is - but I think there’s enough room [in there] for them to be made even better without veering toward OP territory. No need for em to be mediocre in every facet of the game.

Also, I do think gen one HOTM could use a refresher [in SS], so although some are not on this list (already long enough as it is), they could really benefit from a little added something (considering how truly old, and somewhat outdated, they are). Could be an elemental link, an innate ability, or something else entirely (as long as it’s similarly mild in comparison).

Seasonal

  • Sir Roostley
  • Rana
  • Yunan
  • Roc
  • Victor
  • Santa Claus

All of the seasonals are, at the very least, decent; again, most are still usable, but definitely have wiggle room in order to be made to be a bit more enticing to use/pull for. The older ones (especially) could use a refresher [in some way] - but preferably, without using costumes to do so…

Ninja

  • Jade
  • Mica

Not really dire, as these ninja heroes are incredibly new. These two just stand out mostly cuz they’re not insane :sweat_smile: but idk if I’d suggest much - except in Jade’s case.

Challenge Event

  • Morgan le Fay
  • Lady Locke
  • Captain Kestrel
  • Captain Sargasso
  • The Hatter
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Red Hood
  • Boss Wolf
  • Guardian Owl
  • Guardian Chameleon

Honestly, I think all of the old event heroes could use a refresher (even ones not listed like Guin, Arthur, Rumpel and Kong); compared to the newly released ones, they seem incredibly underpowered (in power, stats and SS). Whether that means just a stat boost, or an entirely new/different skill, would be dependent on the capacity at which people still use em [today].

In fact, I almost added all of the older ones to this list, but opted for a more condensed version, as the others still have a place [at the very least], but it’s growing increasingly more narrow every single day.

Please SG, I implore you to balance these heroes regardless of future costume plans; quit putting “balance” behind a pay-wall

10 Likes

Excellent post and I agree completely, but SG wont do it. Why? because it will not generate money. Money comes from selling heroes and developing them, hence why see power creeping amongst the new heroes/costumes.

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sigh

I’m afraid you’re [more than likely] right.

However, it won’t stop me from trying to push for these heroes to get some love. Balance is a necessity that I wish this game took more seriously; at the very least, it would breathe new life into these heroes - enticing more pulls to be made for em (which translates to more $$ into SG’s pockets and appeases players - so win/win, no?)

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I hear ya. But remember, Zynga is a public company and has earnings targets to hit. This means their focus is making money and getting players to spend, spend , spend.

I wouldn’t give up hope completely. They’ve put out several balancing updates in the past—and if I remember correctly, often in the spring and summer.

Unfortunately, they’ve tended to just nibble at the edges, raising a hero’s stats 5 or 10 points or giving them 10 or 15% more damage on their specials. Given the vast power of heroes like Frigg, Odin, Cobalt, and others, it’d be nice to see them put out an update that’s a little more bold.

The balance updates have always been extremely popular, especially for the less affluent and just as committed, dedicated fans of the game, most of whom were forced because of their limited resources to invest in heroes like Horghall and Perseus and Boss Wolf, not having any other options to ascend despite years of grinding.

I appreciate the detailed response. The only heroes on your list that I’d disagree with are Sir Roostley, costumed Quintus, Aegir, Margaret, Vela, Glenda, and Jean-Francois—I think they’re all strong heroes, if subtly so, with a definite niche somewhere in the game.

But as I said initially, I’m fine with average or mediocre-if-serviceable heroes seeing a boost up toward meta-relevance somewhere in the game, if that’s where devs would like to go.

I think it keeps things fresh and interesting and increases the variety of combinations and strategies open to players—as opposed to just feeling ripped off and unlucky because you didn’t have $300 to drop on new heroes or costumes for old ones.

Those who spend so much will obviously still have a significant advantage in the options available to them, particularly with their slew of level 30 troops and the variety of family bonuses open to them, but the difference will not be so pronounced between the P2P and C2P and F2P players—to say nothing of the many players who once invested heavily in their decks but have since seen the game pass them by.

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Surprised anzogh didn’t make your list

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Definitely an oversight. Anzgoh could certainly use a bump—maybe a small attack bonus, say, +25%, that triggers before he hits and only lasts a few rounds. As it is, his damage and his heal is negligible.

I often use him with boldtusk so not sure how an attack buff will help. Actually use with Wilbur and Tusk and he is useable with a level 23 mana troop but… There are better options if you get good pulls lol.

misandra needs a buff. I have written many times about this to support. this is the weakest hero 5*. The chance to deal additional damage is 40%. In fact, the chance is even less. the chance to deal 3 additional damage is even less. I think Misandra needs a buff. Who feels the same way? sorry for my english )))

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Maybe increase those % chances a little bit

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