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Blight - Discussion Thread

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Responsible members of the Skylords Reborn team recently met to discuss possible changes to campaign maps. What is outlined here are the proposed changes to the map Blight. These changes are not final and are only proposed. As a warning, other map projects such as more RPvE presets and Defensive RPvE have a much higher priority for our team. As such, these, or any campaign map changes, may not happen for a very long time. 

Some changes here are firmer than others, all italicized proposals have accompanying explanations for why we are considering them, but they are the most tentative of all the proposals.

Proposed Changes:

1.   More clarity for what each spell device does.

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  • WindHunter changed the title to Blight - Discussion Thread

I think there are various signs that maps have issues with either being unintuitive or uniquely vulnerable.

One such sign is when commonly advised tactics consist of outlier cards as crutches to easily overcome hurdles. These influence the progression in a round so heavily that runs with or without them become incomparable.

Another sign can be that people avoid interacting with certain aspects of a map entirely and instead circumvent them.

When the argument is that expert should be hard, then it completely undermines that point when those maps are rather broken in two. An expert map with half the enemies missing/not spawning or lots of its content not being engaged with no longer has a claim on being expert difficulty.

However, as initially mentioned, when expert maps are unclear, sometimes on top of being hard, then the entire thing is running into major approachability issues. Which in turn make players feel like they have to employ some exploit or meta strat, which curbs the creative process.

A big factor is also how easy a tactic that trivializes a map is to execute as well as how widespread it is. High-execution strats that are generally unsuitable or unknown for the broader playerbase don’t warp a map on a major scale. Meanwhile, low-execution tactics degenerate to “cheese strats” and make the content feel lame and unappealing.

It also creates the issue that people come to rely on meta strats and exploits to the point where even thinking about alternatives becomes unappealing. The perceived power gap between the established default strat and whatever they might come up with seems so big that it feels futile to even attempt something else.

The oppressiveness of meta strats and exploits erodes maps in multiple ways, effectively leading to a much shallower experience.

So I want to first look at what issues a map has. Then why they might occur and what parts of the map are getting undermined. Afterwards spitball some ideas on how these issues could be addressed. And finally various elements that could be changed to make these maps more approachable from different angles. Can also be possible compensation nerfs to maps in response to fixes that make them harder.

Main Issue:
Mana Wings trivialize the map by going for the camps soft underbellies and taking out spawn buildings.

The time pressure on this map is intense and the attacking waves are massive.

To avoid being overrun and being a burden to the team, players rather opt into not heavily engaging with the bases and simply taking out the spawn buildings with Mana Wings.

Move the spawn buildings into more heavily defended positions or add more anti-air, including CC.

Make the first camp less well defended so players can easier reach T2 and muster a defense if they don’t manage to clear T3 in time.

Grant players a small burst of energy upon taking a base so they can move on more quickly. Could instead add this to the small side camps.

Split the spawn for the attacking waves into two separate spawn buildings. One of them more in the front of the camp where it can be more easily accessed and destroyed and one in the back, more heavily fortified. That way players could at least try to rush one of the spawns, avoiding part of the attack wave and easing the pressure.

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There are two camps that currently serve no purpose or rather are completely ignored during gameplay, as the player has no incentive to push these with the time pressure they are put on.

Players rather push through to destroy the main camps or simply defend against the big wave from the second camps (mostly on Expert) if they fail to clear it.

An idea to encourage taking the detour would be to simply grant additional instant power upon clearing it in addition to these wells. The slow power gain from these two wells doesn't counteract the time that is lost to destroy the main camps.

Another one may be adding an Amii Device similar to those at the T4 camps, that either delays/resets the wave timer for all players for the first wave or acts as some sort of remote control for a spell to weaken incoming waves or cast a spell into one of the camps to provide a temporary edge like clearing all enemies in the first camp through a mass Eruption spell, so your two wells can actually have an impact in the long term instead of being a trap. I doubt a lot of players know these wells even exist.


Edited by Bini Inibitor
JarodDempsey and Metagross31 like this
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1: I agree with Bini Inibitor about the need to addvalue to those useless camps. Additionally for standrad and advanced I would consider this the 2nd hardest multiplayer map. The time pressure is fairly crazy to the extent that you really have to consider if it is worth it to take any extra well camps or not because the time constrants are so heavy. This level of consideration is excessive for the lower difficulties. If a camp with a well exists between two orbs then it should always be worth taking in the primary strategy of a maps lower difficulties. This is also why i think the other solo wells need to be buffed somehow to make the reward more significant. As they are currently most of the edge wells are not worth taking in the lower difficulties due to the need to destroy the next camp which is far from guaranteed such as the case with an expert player playing on expert difficulty who knows exactly which enemies are where and uses specific cards in specific positions to take the camp.

2: The defensive options on the lower difficulty are a joke without using specific niche combos. The spawned waves are far too large in most cases to defend with any general use defense given the time and power constraints. I've tried to defend the 2nd wave (me at t2 wave at t3). Using timevortexes bolstered by kobold lab and skyelfs in combination with some archers but was assaulted by 2 bandit snipers 2 soulhunters at least 1 bandit drake and 2 other fliers plus a few other adds. Short of rushing a couple northern keep or dedicating part of your deck to cards specifically for this instance there arent enough viable defensive strategies which should not be the case for and advanced (or standard) difficulty. I also once tried defending the 1st wave and it spawned so many banditos and bandit lancers I couldnt even count. Even after defending successfully my force was so damaged it could never catch up adequately before the next wave spawned. I've also defended the third wave using lost horrors time vortexes and elf sages and even though my defense was successful it required a huge power expenditure. I've run into similar issues using pure fire and pure shadow mostly stemming from the time pressure preventing adequate army size without requiring specific counters  and expert map knowledge (which shouldnt be required in advanced or standard).

Overall i think that giving large power bonuses after liberating side camps would solve both problems. This would give purpose and solid benefit to side camps while also helping to ease some of the time pressure that makes this map so difficult. Alternatively lowering the strength of defensive waves or the time at which they spawn could be considered.

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I also think this is one of the hardest maps (on expert)

The thing is: not only you have to have a good run in clearing 3 Caps + in time + in a row
But also your 3 Teammates. You can try to give spell support but often this could mean you would not clear your camp in time.

And if you don’t clear you camp in time, its almost game over.
Often you can’t switch that fast from your attack army to a defensive position.
(all power is in the void pool)
And even if you can switch that fast, I see no chance that you can clear the next camp in time
I never tried a full defense tactic but its maybe even harder than the attack rout.

I think a boost of energy would help a lot.
We could add more energy at the start (maybe as void and reduce the start wells)
So you have ~1 Unit/Spell more to clear the camp or help your mates.

I also like the idea of @JarodDempsey to get the energy ball roiling

JarodDempsey likes this
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