A Brief Introduction
I would like to propose five new heroes that allow us to have some control over the color of the tiles on the board. They would do this by increasing the chances of a certain color spawning, rather than each color having an equal 20% chance.
A mild disclaimer: I am not in favor of guarantees on the board. I am discussing probabilities. That’s why there are quotes in the thread topic.
Why? What does this bring to the game?
Often times, players will find themselves in situations where they want to use tile damage, particularly when there aren’t enough open columns to collect mana easily (i.g. titans, raids/wars with tough tanks).
Currently, we mainly do so by choosing strategic color compositions. We may also bring mana-controlling heroes to increase the number of tiles an enemy can take before their special skill is fully charged. It’s not uncommon to use a mixture of strategies.
Unfortunately, these strategies depend heavily on a lucky board. Often times (especially at high levels), it feels like a game of chance rather than a strategy game.
However, what if we had some control over the colors on the board? Any hero that can manipulate these probabilities would be a must-have for any player. It’s an entirely new game mechanic that many players would experiment with and perhaps use regularly.
How do you justify probability in exchange for stats?
There are already examples of this in the game. Consider Wu Kong and his Gambler’s Stance. He offers a great damage boost in exchange for decreased accuracy. This classic, popular hero is trading stats for probability. The stat increase outweighs the accuracy debuff in the long run, but this may not occur by the time Gambler’s Stance runs out of turns. That, and the fact that Wu is a little squishy, keeps him pretty well-balanced. The new heroes would need to be balanced in a similar fashion.
Board control? Wouldn’t that be overpowered?
I believe it’s possible to balance these new theoretical heroes. Many recently-added heroes, as well as classic heroes, are equipped to deal with barrages of tiles (i.g. counterattacks, spirit link, statuses that benefit from hits, strong defense buffs, elemental defense buffs); however, I would like to explore self-balancing strategies for the new heroes.
What stat weaknesses would accomplish balance?
While it might make sense to have to spend a lot of ascension items on such a hero, I believe making this a 5-star hero gives it too much of a stat advantage. I don’t believe this mechanic should be accessible for no ascension items either, even with lower stats—so 3-star is off the table as well. I believe creating a 4-star hero provides a fair balance here.
Some heroes, such as Wu Kong (mentioned above), are given somewhat weaker stats to make up for a particularly interesting special skill. This should be considered carefully (read on to see why I believe these don’t have to be super nerfed).
The special skill can also be designed solely for the purpose of the new game mechanic. A player may hesitate to throw it on their team if all it does is change a probability—it isn’t even guaranteed to work out as intended, and could waste a precious slot for a hero with a better special skill. It could even debuff the player, like Squire Wabbit or Jack O’ Hare, though most players shy away from these.
Lastly, the mana speed is important. Since this hero is designed to be used in low-mana situations, it’s only fair to make its mana speed Fast or Very Fast. This can be countered by decreasing the duration of the special skill.
How well would they perform?
Let’s pretend I’m using the blue version of this hero, which increases the chances of blue tiles spawning.
On offense, I would take this against red tanks (i.e. center heroes), with one or two more blues. If I get a board with few blue tiles, I would be in trouble even with a Very Fast version of the hero; however, with sufficient blue tiles, any red heroes would be completely obliterated in the 6x damage and increased probability. Even non-green heroes, in the increased likelihood of blue cascades and 3x damage, might not stand a chance. Overall, it doesn’t exactly make poor initial boards easier to handle, but rather makes great initial boards even more overpowered.
On defense, the special skill doesn’t seem to help very much. The enemy is more likely to get cascades, and this may also put any red heroes on your defense at a huge risk. It could be intelligent, however, on a defense team with two green heroes and zero reds, since the the enemy will be getting blue tiles when they really need red tiles to defeat your green heroes. Interesting effects, but probably not worth it.
I decided to change the colors…
The hero just seemed bad—not well-rounded, and loaded on stat disadvantages. Rather than a blue hero spawning blue tiles, I decided to try a blue hero spawning red tiles.
Continuing the pattern results in…
Blue hero w/ red tiles | Red hero w/ green tiles | Green hero w/ blue tiles | Yellow hero w/ purple tiles | Purple hero w/ yellow tiles
How well would they perform now?
On offense, I would take this one against green tanks, with two or three red heroes. If my initial board doesn’t have sufficient red tiles, I may try to charge my blue hero. It may not be intelligent to hit the tank while doing this, since I’m using a weak color; however, if I get to use my skill, I may be able to use my strong colors against the tank. Offensive abilities are more balanced than before.
On defense, the hero simply makes it more likely that the attacker with get stuck with weak tiles against it. This could be an interesting tank or flank (position 2 and 4) hero with it’s mana speed. Would do best with two blues (including itself) and zero greens on the defense. This time, the hero itself is actually included in the 2-type count, so it doesn’t take up as much precious space on the defensive team as it did before. Defensive abilities have been improved.
What else is effected by the color change?
Being a weak color on offense is a built-in stat balance (taking a blue hero against green enemies isn’t the best idea… but our new blue hero increases red tile chances). Because of this, we could go a little easier on the nerfing mentioned in the first balancing section.
The hero’s special is kind of self-sabotage as well. The hero, for example, might require blue mana to use it’s special skill—but when the special skill is used, red tiles begin to appear frequently, making it more difficult to use the special skill again. This may help justify the Fast or Very Fast mana speed, and may justify also allowing the effect to last one more round than before (I’m thinking 2-4 most likely). This really depends on how much the skill actually increases chances of spawning red tiles, and would have to be balanced in similar fashion to Wu Kong.
How much of a chance increase would the hero give, anyway?
I don’t believe in simply adding a flat number to the 20% Consider the following formula:
Red: 20 | Blue: 20 | Green: 20 | Yellow: 20 | Purple: 20
The sum is 100. Very easy to see 20 is one-fifth, so 20% chance each. What if our hero “doubles chance for red tiles for 3 turns”?
Red: 40 | Blue: 20 | Green: 20 | Yellow: 20 | Purple: 20
The sum is 120. Red is now one-third (33% chance), and the others are now one-sixth (17% chance). What if our hero “triples chance for red tiles for 3 turns”?
Red: 60 | Blue: 20 | Green: 20 | Yellow: 20 | Purple: 20
The sum is 140. Red is now three-sevenths (43% chance), and the others are now one-seventh (14% chance). What if we have the “triples chance for blue tiles for 3 turns” hero on defense, and uses it’s special skill at the same time?
Red: 60 | Blue: 60 | Green: 20 | Yellow: 20 | Purple: 20
The sum is 180. Red and blue are now one-third (33% chance), and the others are now one-ninth (11% chance).
I like this system because increasing the chances of one color properly decreases the chance of others. This balances itself out. It also means these heroes can interact with each other as the red-tile and blue-tile heroes (actually blue and green) did above.
This is significantly better than tripling (or doubling, whichever ends up being most balanced) the beginning 20% chance… It’s impossible to have red and blue both be a 60% chance, afterall!
Who would these heroes be? Where can we get them?
I haven’t thought about this or any character designs yet. Since there’s a fistful of heroes, it might be possible to create an event for them. They would do well thrown into the normal hero pool as well. This part is totally open for ideas!
I want to encourage criticism and discussion in this thread. I will be introducing an entirely new game mechanic below. These cannot be created by one mind. Please leave an opinion or idea below. Thank you.