complex games <3
So, valve has stopped dev on artifact for the 2nd time.
sadness, pure sadness, I put so much money in. Money, I shouldn’t have.
I liked both versions.
Anyway, so last year I loved 3 complex games, artifact, artifact 2 electric boogaloo, and 5d chess.
The story with each is the same I feel, an insanely steep learning curve with a first-order strategy that hurts the new players, into a decline in play base and this handful of theory crafters solving the high end of the game without the devs reacting to balance problems.
With artifact 1, it was red having the strongest heroes by a large margin and a very strong 1 card win condiction in a game where heroes weren’t random in a game with a lot of randomnesses. Red needed to be nerfed hard and quickly, the market valued ax at some absurd price because he was in both easy-to-play strong decks mono-red and ramp green red.
With artifact 2, I’m less sure I didn’t get an invite till late last year, but there’s a lot of agro black that’s quite tricky to survive…. it was less extreme mostly any theoretical player base hated valve. So no player base was picked up.
With 5d chess there’s a 3 move opening that exposes the king… when the king is very weak and the dev was too slow to add “princess” a variant where the queen is weakened to be rook + bishop and not the trigonally, quadgonally moving, “random” checkmate machine. That the queen was extremely strong should have been seen very early and I have trouble imagining that wasn’t something considered even prerelease. But it was quite late and not a first-week patch.
I kinda want to make my own “5d” game, but I have zero belief in my ability to balance such a thing when I clearly can’t understand other peoples perspective why they dropped these games, soooo, heres my advice for any such games in the future:
You can not be perfect information deterministic like 5d chess; with such a large attack surface and presumably the type of player who will find a clever degenerate stat. the criticism of artifact 1 about being too random doesn’t really apply, the heroes as big numbers i.e. the red heroes weren’t that random, any red hero would kill any blue hero so only really very high-level play saw blue existence.
You need a causal mode that removes details for new players to play new players, the hero draft of artifact 2 seems to be helpful here and maybe with it being free, there will be a player base for a while.
You need drastic balance levers you pull quickly.
Randomness needs all the dev talk on input vs output, and information horizons likely need to be skillfully done.
(So everyone take some nootropics/cocaine and stop leaving these types of games without playerbases)