Hello adventurers! Another week, and another blog post from us. This week, we'll be talking all things cards - and answering some of your questions!
Every player - and every monster - has a deck they'll bring into combat with them. As we've talked about in a previous blog post, your deck is comprised of two different sources - your Equipment Deck, and Ability Deck. Whilst your Equipment Deck is comprised of cards based on your equipped items, your Ability Deck is yours to customise - and that's what we'll be talking about today.
How many cards will we be launching with?
We're currently planning to launch with 313 unique cards available through booster packs! Lots of variety for you to pick and choose from for building your deck. We're planning for combat archetype to have 20 commons, 10 uncommons, 10 rares, 5 mythics, and 1 legendary - though, again, these may be subject to change.
For those that haven't had the opportunity to play the beta yet, here's a breakdown of the cards themselves!
Type: At the moment, we've got 4 different 'types' of cards: Equipment, Ability, Field, and Consumable cards. Equipment cards are determined by what you currently have equipped, Ability, Trap, and Consumable cards are added to your deck at the deck building station, with consumable cards having a limited amount of uses before you need to go and recharge them!
Cost: How much energy it takes to play a card.
Damage: How much damage a card does (before buffs and debuffs factor in).
Accuracy: Chance to hit (before buffs and debuffs factor in).
Duration: How long a card effect lasts.
Target: The target of the card.
Card Art: A cool picture to distract you with all its amazing glory so you forget to take your turn and the monsters kill you!
Since there's a lot of questions to cover on the subject of cards, we also thought that we'd throw in a Q&A from the dev team - answering some of your questions, and some of our own!
Q: Will there be Cosmetics for Cards?
A: Yes, we'll have 'foil' versions of cards which will be ultra-rare!
Q: Can I buy cards with real money?
A: Yes, we're planning to have booster packs of cards for sale. That being said, we're planning for all cards to be obtainable through normal gameplay - whether that's through booster packs or crafting.
Q: Can I trade cards with my friends?
A: We're planning for cards to be tradeable, yes!
Q: Are cards made with specific synergies in mind or is that discovered later?
A: There are tons of ways to approach card designs and it depends a lot on so many factors. For example, monster card designs often have very different goals than player cards. Also, not all cards are meant to be that useful, especially not all the time. That having been said, most of the time, I push for a pretty standard emergent design process, where the designer figures out on two things you could do with this card, maybe a thing or two that only 'advanced' players might think of, then we design other cards that are needed to facilitate those combos. Short answer: A bit of both, depending on the card!
Q: How do you come up with the initial idea for a monster?
A: Inspiration can come from anywhere, really. It might have been a random thought someone had, or it might be derived from a broader thematic concept we're playing with in a dungeon or general area. But sometimes it's the other way around, where there is some specific need for a monster that drops a certain kind of item, or a provides a certain type of challenge, and in those cases we start with the design goals (which are dictated externally from the design of the monster itself) and work from there. Top-Down and Bottom-Up design is a common way to put it. A top–down approach starts with the big picture, then breaks down into smaller segments. A bottom–up approach is the piecing together of systems to give rise to more complex systems, thus making the original systems subsystems of the emergent system. For example, for those of you who remember earlier versions of this game from when feathers were super scarce because only chickens dropped them, I had a specific design need (adding feather-droppers to increase the supply of feathers overall). And thus Mega Chicken was born.
Q: What comes first, the dungeon or the monster?
A: Very much like the last question, the answer is really, "it depends." The important thing is that the concept is cohesive as a single end product and the actual starting point isn't that important. Some of it starts with story and that creates a need for a certain dungeon, which creates a need for certain types of monster. Sometimes we just have a monster sprite we haven't really used and want to find a use for.
Q: How many revisions does a card go through before making it into the game?
A: At this stage of development, cards don't go through a ton of iteration. There are basically two approaches. The first is to develop a clear and concrete design for a card, define its identity within the game, and then see if our design accomplishes those things, iterating where needed. The other approach, which is the one we tend to use more often right now, is "this seems like it would be cool and we thought of 2 or 3 ways this could be used in neat combos" then we basically just bug test it then launch. There's a lot of "throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks" still, but as we move forward we'll be doing a lot more of the former than the latter when it comes to card design.
Q: Cards you want to make but know you couldn't get away with it (too broken, etc)?
A: I want so badly to make ridiculous effects that let you cycle between buffs that you have, or have some cool "buff roulette" type cards. If you're familiar with wild magic from D&D, I'm always tempted to have crazy stuff like that. The problem with cards like that are twofold: first, the cards tend to either result in you basically just winning a fight for free because of luck (or losing it for free because of luck) and that has some obvious balance issues. The second problem is that, even though it might feel really good to auto-win a battle because of some big huge awesome hit, it really goes against the more tactical and thoughtful play that integrates with deckbuilding in a meaningful way. The goal is that combats create interesting problems that can be solved through either deck building or tactical play (or other means, sometimes!) and as cool as it is to roll a high result and absolutely destroy something, that potential tends to undermine the gameplay a little bit. It means we have to be pretty careful with how it gets implemented so that it's creating situations that encourage tactical play rather than undermining it.
Q: Are you planning any secret, ultra-rare cards that you can talk about?
A: If they were secret, then I couldn't talk about them :P We do have higher-rarity cards in the works, though, and a few that are hopefully going to really change up the way your combats work when you run them...
Thanks very much for reading folks! That's all about cards in our upcoming mega-update, The Contest of Gimmicks.
As always, if you wanna stay up to date and be part of the conversation you can join us in the Discord! You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, and Patreon! if you're interested in joining the beta.