Philosophy / direction / life-cycle of 'deck-building' games like E&P

Player base wants game balance

So after looking at all the buff and nerf threads (latest one that popped up was ‘buff Thoth’), it’s clear that a large section of the player base believes in some degree of game balance.

In an absolutely perfect world, this elusive concept demands that all heroes are roughly the same power.

Of course this is not going to happen and, try as hard as a developer might, you are not going to get all cards at roughly the same power. Even if the intention is there, it’s really hard.

Lets face it, Starcraft vanilla was not an easy thing to come up with.

Protecting the value of your investments: Old HOTM

A modification of the game balance philosophy is that all the old HOTM need to somehow be protected or endure the test of time.

Another way of saying this is that a particular player’s investment in say a 2017 HOTM or old event hero needs to be preserved, such that the new 2020 heroes do not totally outclass the heroes of old.

And that’s why you go back in time and ask for buffs to Boss Wolf, Thoth, etc.

Not asking for a free lunch

This is not to say a developer can’t make new heroes and this is not to say that the worth of a hero cannot decline over time.

But what players are really saying is they still want SOME use for their old heroes in the new meta.


SG’s perspective

On the other hand, if you look at it from SG’s perspective, they are not exactly in the business of Magic: The Gathering, are they? They are in the business of maximising profits.

The philosophy of maximising profits is, on one view, very much at odds with any concept of game balance because if everyone was happy with the heroes they pulled, why would you bother to spend on new heroes?

In other words, if new heroes were weaker, the same or not radically different to existing heroes, there would be no incentive to spend money on new pulls.

And SG knows that not everyone is going to hang around for 2-3 years, so one question they might ask is: why bother with making the 2017 generation happy?

They might think instead: “Let’s make better stuff for the current generation and milk them.”

How long are we talking about here?

On the other hand, time frame is an important issue here. If you want to create a game to stand the test of time (and hence ensure profits for years to come), you need to make sure the player base is happy.

That is where game balance comes to play.

The fact that SG nerfed Telly and Vela is in of itself a kind of proof that SG are (somewhat) concerned with game balance.

The fact that the next few HOTM are sort of underwhelming (Raffa included) is also another sign that they want the game to live a bit longer or that they want to please the older players.

However, if, for example, SG or Zynga had another game picking up the pace (hint hint: imagine Puzzle Combat getting established, or some other project), there might be a greater temptation to forget about the long-term viability of E & P: meaning milk as much money as you can and then just watch it sink and burn as the your new game or games come to life (“end-life stage”).


All games have life cycles.

I don’t know what is the average life cycle of an established gatcha mobile phone game as I suspect we are in a new era of gaming.

While I don’t think E & P has reached the end-life stage mentioned above, we know that nothing lasts forever…




Yes, yes… obviously not going to be balanced…

Old HotMs? Still don’t have most of them myself, don’t see why they’d be buffed now considering how incredibly difficult it is to pull them…

Etc. etc. etc.; yes, they want us to buy new heroes… that’s what it’s all based on…

Milking current generation… yep, checks out…

Other games… life cycles…

Uh oh.

Damn. I was hoping this was supposed to be an uplifting type thread. Not one that basically confirms most of my pessimistic suspicions. :confounded:





If you want to look at the big cheese of deck builders you go to MTG…they get so big on bloat that they just embraced it and release new stuff all the time. I don’t play it but the core is the same with the pack buy to get the better cards and they end up with piles of “3*” as well. The players with big pockets can buy all the OP cards from the secondary market and the rarity determines the value. There may only be 500 of a certain card on circulation.

MTG continues because of the combinations I think. You may run up against a big spender at a tournament who’s deck is stacked with foils. And those players who “paid to win” (seems familiar :thinking:) are given the sort of stick the big spenders in this game are.

I see similarities between games as models so if Tragic can still be going after all this time and so many new OP cards then I think E&P will be around for a while yet


Cookie Settings