Monday, December 23, 2013

SolForge: Tournaments

SolForge recently patched in tournaments and I gave them a bit of a spin over the weekend. A constructed tournament costs 3 event tickets to join and a draft tournament costs 7 event tickets. You have a chance to get a ticket from each of the daily chests (log in, win a game, win 3 games) and it seems to average out to be about one per day. So if you stay on top of logging in and winning 3 games every day you can draft for free once a week. That's not so bad, especially since you get to keep the cards and are guaranteed to get at least one card of the second highest rarity per draft.

My brother let me know they have trading planned at some point and have an interesting setup for collection management. It turns out every object in your collection is tagged to show if it originated from a free source or a paid source. So all the cards you get from daily rewards and all the cards from packs in the daily rewards and any prizes/cards drafted from tournaments entered with free tickets will all be tagged as untradeable. Anything you paid money for gets tagged as tradeable which I would think has to eventually increase the value of them. At least for the most rare items, anyway? At any rate if at least one of the tickets used in the entry for an event is paid for then all of the drafted cards and all of the prizes get tagged as paid for.

I'd picked up 4 tickets from 3 days of daily rewards and was itching to draft. I'd played the game for 88 hours according to Steam and while some of those would have just been open in the background idling hours I have definitely played the game a lot. So I figured I should give them some money. It would accelerate when I could draft and it would tag the drafted stuff as tradeable should that ever matter. Unfortunately their pricing scheme sucks. They have the standard scheme of costing things in terms of 'points' instead of actual dollars, and they have the standard setup of giving bonus points the more you buy at once. $4.99 will get you 1300 points or $9.99 will get you 2750 points. Tickets costs 260 points each, or 10 for 2500. So you can get 5 tickets for 5 dollars, or 10 tickets for 10 dollars with 250 points left over. That's the one I went with since I figured 10 tickets with the 4 I already had would give me a couple drafts but now I have 250 points kicking around and it feels terrible. I can't buy anything of note for 250 points and have no way to get the 10 points I need to top up to get one more ticket. The smallest amount I can buy is that $4.99 package and it buys an exact amount of tickets... I'm stuck with this terrible uneven value and it feels awful. Especially since I know they did it on purpose to keep tempting me to pay more to 'fix' the bad number. If they sold points on demand I'd only need to pay about 4 cents for the 10 points I need and I'd do that in a heartbeat but they're trying to get more than 4 more cents and I hate it.

Anyway, I did get some tickets, and I did a few drafts. They were fun enough but the initial assertion of how easy it was to 'go infinite' from my brother seemed a little off. Part of the problem there is the rewards for winning are random. Going 2-1 could be worth 4 tickets, or 6 tickets, or possibly more. You also win packs along with the tickets but you can't do anything with packs except open them up. It felt like my rewards with smaller than expected tickets had a higher number of packs but that didn't make me feel much better since packs mean practically nothing and tickets mean more drafts. This reward scheme feels terrible the same way the point rounding does. It feels like it's set up to let people think they 'could' go infinite if they just put a little more money in and stop getting 'bad' rewards, and to occasionally make people feel great when they hit an awesome result. It's like a slot machine in a casino. Designed to keep people pumping in money!

I also gave constructed a shot despite concerns from my sister that I'd be up against a constant stream of legendary filled decks. My first game in my first tournament was just that. His second turn was two copies of the phoenix! I think he played one card the entire game that wasn't a legendary. My deck does have 8 legendaries itself and has pretty good synergy among the rest of the cards so I felt like it was pretty good. I ended up beating that super legendary deck because he didn't have a lot of thought behind his cards and had some bad draws in the 3rd age. My next two opponents didn't seem to have a legendary between them and got truly smashed. I went 3-0 and got a whopping 4 tickets and 2 packs. Not bad for an entry fee of 3 tickets, but not a big gain in terms of being able to draft again. I then went 2-1 also for 4 tickets and 1 pack. I did a few more and eventually went 0-3 for 1 basic pack and no tickets which made me very sad. I ended up running into a bunch of people with more legendaries and well built decks and it felt like I couldn't do much to beat them. A lot like those guys with no legendaries where I felt like I couldn't lose. So playing constructed feels very much like a crap shoot with play skill having very little to do with the outcome. Do I randomly get matched against people with better decks than mine or worse decks? If it's worse decks I go infinite. If it's better decks I just throw tickets away. Neither is terribly fun. Mostly I was doing it to try to get back up to enough tickets to draft.

Overall I feel like drafting was fun enough, but the cost and annoyance factor is pretty high. I liked constructed to get a feel for where my deck stands... But unfortunately my conclusion is that my deck is only flawed in that I don't have as many legendaries as other people. In both cases it feels like I really need to spend more money in order to play the way I want to and that feeling sucks. Drafting was fun enough that I'll probably set up a dummy deck and try to farm tickets for a while in order to draft every now and then but I'm not terribly happy about it. I hate those 250 points sitting on my account and I suspect I'm eventually going to end up needing to pay more money to use them up or quit in disgust. I hope I quit.

1 comment:

Caspur said...

So I've been trolling around on their forum and it turns out they nerfed prizes after 2 or 3 days. Probably the day you started playing.
Kibler said they flattened the payouts and shifted value from tickets into packs.
There were about 50 posts complaining about the change and 2 people happy so they pulled a 180 and asked for feedback on a 4 round draft with better prizes. I think they also changed daily rewards to be pretty close to 100% tickets, so you now get 3 free tickets a day.
I know I should be avoiding drafting until they change the system to 4 rounds but it's so fun! I drafted an Echo Wisp yesterday