Welcome mortals to the first balance blog! From this patch onward when we make balance changes to Gods Unchained there will be an accompanying blog whereby we’ll aim to shed some of Thaeriel’s light on the reasoning behind why changes were made.
The balancing beta begins!
As this patch marks the beginning of the Genesis balancing beta I feel it is very important to note that the changes we have been making (including in this patch) have been preparing us for this event. Whilst we were able to obtain useful data from the previous metagames and were able to identify the especially egregious cards, the game was ultimately missing too many cards & god powers to make more nuanced and subtle changes when needed.
To everybody who has provided feedback in this time - we read every single one of your comments, your feedback has been immense and invaluable, we could not have got the game to the point where we were ready to begin the balancing beta without you. Thank you.
With this most recent patch we are now in a position whereby we can start balancing the game with the microscope that we need, and now more than ever, your feedback in the discord is not only welcome, but actively encouraged!
Changes going into 0.15
As this balance patch includes a significant number of changes and for the sake of brevity, we will only be discussing critical changes made to each god.
Aeona will see the most significant changes going into 0.15. As you all know, Nature has been quite a dominant force across the history of the beta. This is largely because the angles that Nature has been able to win games from are extremely diverse.
For example we have seen the following successful strategies: going wide with Flourish, going tall with buffs, out trading creatures with regeneration, controlling the board with removal, or, out valuing with Forage.
We are totally okay with Nature having a diverse amount of strategies as flexibility is part of the design of Nature. We have been less happy with how strong Nature has been at every single one of these strategies. Because of this Nature has been brought down in its overall power level at the commencement of 0.15
Below are some of the significant changes to Nature that we believe will help level the God playing field going into the balancing beta.
- Regeneration now only triggers at the end of your turn
We believe that the way regeneration previously operated was largely unintuitive, especially when compared to burn. This is evidenced by the fact that players often also reported it as a bug. Additionally it lead to some creatures such as Marsh Walker being simply too strong.
Accompanying this regeneration change is buffs to creatures with regeneration that didn’t need to be collateral damage in the regeneration nerf.
- Flourish changed to “Give two different random friendly creatures +1 attack.”
- Firewine now gives attack +2 instead of attack +3.
Going into 0.14 we knew Flourish would likely be too strong and part of the hypothesis as to why historically it has been too strong was that critical cards such as Tracking Bolt and Auric Rush weren’t in the game to help deal with those strategies.
So while we were waiting for those to be implemented we tested out Blastwave in a clearly immensely strong state to see if Flourish decks could still be effective in the metagame. They could. As such we have taken the approach of toning down some of the critical cards in that strategy.
- Wildfire now deals 2 damage instead of 3.
- The Hunt now costs 5 mana instead of 4.
Nature’s board wipes were slightly too strong and largely because of The Hunt. This leads to an awkward situation whereby Nature is both the best at going wide and dealing with go wide strategies. We want to avoid classes countering themselves and we believe this is a step in the right direction here. It's possible that The Hunt will still continue to be too effective, as such we will continue to monitor it closely - it is important to note that we don’t want to make cards and strategies outright unplayable when nerfing them.
Magic has clearly been a dominant force in the most recent patch, almost entirely due to Blastwave. Outside of Blastwave, we are largely happy with Magics individual cards and with the introduction of Pick One cards we will be able to start getting a better idea of Magics real strengths and weaknesses.
- Blastwave changed to “Deal 1 damage to the two highest health enemy creatures”.
Blastwave was always going to see a significant reduction in power level in 0.15 once we had seen how the dynamic operated with Flourish.
We want there to be a healthy dynamic between Magebolt and Blastwave where a player may want to speculate that their opponent is going for a wider strategy with 1 health minions and will choose to use Blastwave over Magebolt. We will be keeping a very close eye on Blastwave to ensure that it is seeing the right amount of play.
Ludia is in an interesting spot compared to the other gods as Deception is arguably our hardest god to play and it is also arguably missing the most amount of critical cards. We are excited to see how she progresses in 0.15 with the addition of cards such as Cutthroat Insight.
- Slip Blade now costs 5 mana instead of 4.
- Trap Door now costs 3 mana instead of 4.
- False Peace changed to “Return 2 random enemy and 2 random friendly creatures to their owners' hands. Reduce the cost of friendly creatures returned by 2 mana.”
Overall Deception’s removal has been heavily reliant on Slip Blade which is stronger than we would like it to be. At the same we would like to make Deceptions tempo based bounce removal stronger as it was currently too weak. We will continue to closely monitor Deceptions removal suite to ensure we have the right balance between deadly and bounce based removal.
Intense Training has been the focus of War decks recently, we have our top level players putting up extremely impressive results with Intense Training decks. We are closely monitoring the decks to determine whether they are too powerful or just the result of a positive Blastwave based metagame where going tall was rewarded heavily. As such we aren’t making any changes to the god power Intense Training in this patch.
However as part of our redesigning of some Neutral creatures we believe that the Intense Training decks are getting a reduction in powerlevel with the redesign of neutral cards Reflection Elementalist, Rampart and Portable Fortress.
- Onslaught changed to ‘Give a friendly creature blitz.’
The previous patch introduced sweeping god power changes which introduced a reduction in the power level of Onslaught. A large part of this stemmed from the interaction with Harvest Arachne. However since then we have redesigned Harvest Arachne, and based off of community feedback we believe that it did not need such a large downside.
Thaeriel is in a spot we are happy with as he has a diverse amount of strategies that revolve heavily around the themes of Light. Despite that, we are closely monitoring some Light cards, such as Papal Bull, which provide an extremely high amount of value in specific scenarios. There’s a fine line between a card being strong and overpowered and we would like to gather more data in a holistic metagame before making a move on those cards.
- Light’s Levy reintroduced at 3 mana instead of 2.
At 2 mana Light’s Levy was simply too strong at swinging the early game, we are testing it at 3 mana instead of 2 and will be keeping a close eye on whether or not the metagame is shaping around it.
We are really proud of the way the community has been creative with Death decks - who knew an Expectant Chicken would be so playable!
Death has largely undergone minor stat changes in 0.15. There has been a wide range of Death god powers chosen and a healthy level of diversity as far as creatures included in decks. We are keeping a close eye on Sacred Lore as it is an almost auto include in all death decks because it is deceptively powerful at refilling a hand and deriving value - however no changes have been made in 0.15 to it.
- Vile Mantis changed to gaining +2/+3 for each creature destroyed instead of +3/+3
Vile Mantis has proved to be slightly above the power level we want for a 4 mana creature. It is an extremely fun card that promotes a play pattern we want to have in Death, but getting the correct stat line on the Mantis is something we may need to tinker again with in the future.
Until next time, mortals!