Thursday, March 27, 2014

More SolForge Bitterness

SolForge has been making some changes recently, and they haven't been making me happy!

I'm not sure when the first change came in but they added the ability to quickly flip through games that are waiting for you to act. Instead of having to leave your current game, go back to the menu, and pick a different game where it's your turn you get a handy button in the corner to jump to the next game waiting for your attention. This sounds good except they still haven't added a proper mechanism to easily see what happened on a previous turn so if you want to pretend that the game is a real strategy game you need to play it in real time to see what gets played. But plenty of people have built decks full of legendaries that don't care what their opponent does, and they don't care if they lose any given game to a silly mistake if they can play three times as many games in the same period of time.

What does that all mean? It means some people with awesome decks just create a lot of games and have a worse winning percentage than they used to. Which means they get paired against me, and that they take a minute between turns because they're flipping through the rest of their games. I spent something like 5 hours trying to get my first online win of the day! Every game was slow and against people with better decks. It was not fun. I didn't want to do it, but if I won an online game I would have enough tickets to draft. I still like drafting, and I hadn't figured out the problem, so I kept pounding away at it. And getting more and more bitter.

The next day I had my tickets for a draft. I don't get to draft constantly and I need those first online win bonuses to keep going. The way I make sure that happens as often as I can is I partition out my three draft games. Play one game the day I draft, win it. Stop. Come back the next day, play until I win. This way I can get multiple 'first win of the day' bonuses out of a single draft. This is not the way I want to play, as I want to just draft and play a bunch, but it's better than having to play constructed ESPECIALLY after that first change.

Everything went according to play. I came back the next day to discover that there was a new draft queue in the lobby for 4 games instead of 3. Ok, sounds like it's a good thing, but I have my current draft to finish up. Play a game... My opponent played a card I'd never seen before. It turns out they'd also released a new set and they'd decided the best way to deal with existing drafts was to make me play against the new stuff. This is ridiculous for many reasons!

  • Pretty much by default in a CCG the new cards are better than the old ones. They can't be worse or they wouldn't sell any packs!
  • In SolForge in particular the way drafting is set up the better cards show up less frequently because people learn to take them highly and the algorithm adapts to that. This means that my deck has a bunch of legitimate 5th picks in it because I was forced to pick between two terrible cards in all six of my packs. A new set has no such data and therefore the commons in that set will show up more or less randomly. This means a deck drafted right after a new set is released rates to be significantly better than a deck drafted at the end of a set's lifecycle.
  • I had no idea what cards my opponent could be showing up with and therefore couldn't possibly play around any of his tricks.
I lost both of my remaining games with that draft deck, which was actually a pretty good deck for the old set. I was destroyed repeatedly by multiple copies of the same powerful common against both opponents. I'm sure in a month no one will be able to draft as many of those cards in conjunction with a high powered deck. If I'd been able to play that draft deck out under the conditions I drafted it I would have likely earned 7 tickets and could well have earned 12. Instead I got 4. And no first win of the day.

So I can play some more terrible constructed to get a chance to try out the new set and the 4 game drafts... Or I can get fed up and quit. I'm going with door number two for now, at least while I have puzzles to solve, FFX to play, and Path of Exile maps to run. This game is so very frustrating. It could be good and fun but they make so many stupid decisions. If they'd announced anywhere in the game that a new set was coming out I could have saved my tickets to draft then, not right before. Or I could have played out all my games. Maybe I could have read about the new cards instead of being thrust into a game against them without even knowing that they existed. And they really need to have a significantly shorter time limit option for constructed games so I'm not stuck waiting a minute between turns!

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