The PAX preview thread (including game footage!)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Jon, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

  2. LightPhoenix

    LightPhoenix Orc Soldier

    Add me to the list of people who are surprised the gameplay is so quick. I'm not sure why, but I was expecting something more akin to a tactics-style speed. Very nice, can't wait to play!
  3. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

  4. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

  5. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

  6. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

  7. Roshirai

    Roshirai Goblin Champion


    I said I'd do a more complete write-up of my time with Card Hunter at PAX, and here it is!

    My first session consisted of a playthrough of the single-player demo. I was shepherded through the experience by Jon (who you may know from the forums) and Ben (whose voice you may know from this video). The demo consisted of two fights: one pretty easy one against a group of six monsters, and then a combat against a dragon, Greenfang.

    The easy fight mostly served as an introduction to the game mechanics, which all of you are undoubtedly familiar with at this point. A couple things worth pointing out anyway...
    • The game plays very fast and controls very smoothly. Even at this stage, there's a lot of small polish-y bits that make the game very fun to play. The character figurines bounce while waiting for you to select an action. It's super easy to play cards and pull up a larger view so you can read what they do, and stuff like health markers and status effects being directly on the characters make it no problem to get a good feel for the current game state. If you watched the gameplay video, you'll understand a lot of what I mean here. :)
    • This fight had six opponents, but still only three decks. The monsters actually only came in three types: one group of 3 (lizardmen?), one group of 2 (skeletons?) and one single "leader" type (I believe it was a lich). Each group shared a deck. From what I could tell (and I feel silly for not asking to confirm this), every member of a group got to move whenever they played a move card from their hand, but attacks and other actions only fired off once per group. This made for a pretty varied battle, as I got to take down the opponent's figurines a lot faster than I would in a "normal" game.
    I quickly defeated this motley crew, and was rewarded with a sword for my efforts! There was a brief introduction to your inventory and equipping gear. The Screw Attack video went through this pretty well, and it was mostly stuff we forum-goers already knew. One thing that you may not have caught: the Warrior from the demo had three Weapon slots, a Head slot, a Shield/Arms slot, an Armor slot, a Boots slot, a Race Skill slot, and a Class Skill slot. The Priest and Wizard had a similar batch of slots, though each traded the Warrior's third Weapon slot out for two extra slots apiece, neatly balancing the 6 lost cards from sloughing a Weapon.

    If I recall correctly, the Priest had an additional "Priest Item" slot or two, while the Wizard had Staff slots in place of Weapons, as well as extra "Arcane Item" slots. This makes sense if you think of those extra cards as part of the class' identity: the Warrior would just need access to more Weapons in order to have more options to hit things, while the Wizard and Priest would need to have special equipment with special cards in order to do magical things. This makes for some interesting speculation in the context of the ongoing Rogue thread. What would differentiate the Rogue from the Warrior? Would he trade one of the Warrior's Weapon slots for two special "Rogue Trinket" slots, or for a "Rogue Trinket" slot and a second pair of Boots? What about other classes? I could easily see a Barbarian equipping a fourth Weapon at the cost of their Armor and Shield/Arms slots. It's a pretty neat system, overall. :D

    At any rate, the battle then moved on to a melee against Greenfang! Neat bits from that...
    • Greenfang was the only monster, had twice as many HP as any of my characters, and he also drew a larger hand, too. Not sure the specific rules for that, but it's nice to know that single-player opponents will be able to have so much variety in their makeup!
    • It was alluded to in one of the video interviews with Jon, but besides HP, monsters and characters don't have any intrinsic capabilities: it's all in their cards! This was very important in the Greenfang fight. Greenfang had cards that let him spit acid and make dangerous acid squares appear on the board. Obviously, being a green dragon, he also had some Armor cards in his deck giving him protection from acid damage, but unless one of them was in his hand, he could take damage from the acid squares just like anybody else. Obviously, the demo party had ways to both remove Armor from an opponent's hand, as well as move opponents around the battlefield (Teleport Other FTW!). This was fun, and actually pretty tactically necessary in order to win. :)
    In the end, I was victorious, though my Warrior died right before the end. The battle was actually quite challenging, which bodes well for those of you hoping single-player will keep you on your toes! Farbs mentioned that they were tracking win/loss stats for the battle, and I'd be curious to know what the final win percentage was. Anecdotally, one of my friends who still actively plays competitive Magic failed in his attempt at the boss, and I heard rumors on the show floor of people trying multiple times to beat Greenfang and failing. :)

    One last part of the demo that I thought was really charming: if you managed to beat Greenfang, the game interface would roll a piece of loot for you... real-life loot! Everyone who beat Greenfang got a souvenir of some sort, ranging from a polyhedral die to a coveted Card Hunter cloak. I somehow managed to win a Card Hunter t-shirt, which was one of the cooler prizes. I will cherish it forever, or at least until I manage to loot a Card Hunter t-shirt with a better card suite. :)

    At any rate, this ended up a bit longer than I was expecting, so I'm going to stop here for now and will conclude my preview sometime soon with my experiences playing the competitive multiplayer!

    I leave you with a picture of Farbs from happier times, before Jon and I ground him into paste in the Card Hunter arena. :D

    Pixel, Zoorland, Althezel and 3 others like this.
  8. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Yay, sounds like great fun! Responses and questions:
    I think we knew this. The closest tidbit I can find is in this post, while I don't think we've been given a diary on minion groups yet.
    Ah, terrific! I agree, this is very easy to grasp, and also to extend in hypothetical class-related musings. And it sounds fun.
    So . . . you teleported a massive dragon boss into acid squares for damage? Awesome. Question, though: does the four-tile monster suffer, say, four times the acid damage for stepping on four squares? Or just one time for stepping on any number of squares?

    (I'm guessing we'd need Jon to tell us.)
    (Cough, cough.) Now, you wouldn't happen to be hinting something about corollary loot you attained WITH the t-shirt, would you?
  9. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Nice write up Roshirai, thanks!

    Here are some stats for you to chew on:
    • We had a total of 580 games played (including both battles), 303 of the first battle and 277 of the second.
    • The first battle was won 99% of the time, the second dropped to 69%.
    • The average play duration of the first battle was just under 6 minutes, the second was about 7 and a half. This is surprising, given how much harder the second is, but I guess most people know how to play by the time they start it. Both times are shorter than I expected they would be.
    • The first battle lasted, on average, 2.3 rounds. The second lasted 4.
    • Player characters had 75% of their health remaining at the end of the first battle and 29% at the end of the second (this includes zeroes for losses).
    • On average, the monsters scored 0.19 victory points in the first battle and 2.4 in the second.
  10. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Heh, we've been debating that in the team since we got back. Although it is fun making the dragon take quadruple damage from standing on four acid squares (as was the case in the demo), we think we should probably alter it so that each large monster can only take damage from once from each terrain type each round. Otherwise damaging terrain becomes too effective versus these kinds of large boss monsters.
    Ystin likes this.
  11. Althezel

    Althezel Mushroom Warrior


    Perhaps instead of taking quadruple damage, the monster could take an increased amount per tile that it was on. Think about it, if you have one foot in a pool of acid, it's going to hurt, but if you have both feet and both hands in acid, you're going to be screaming and miserable and probably fainting from pain. Quadruple does seem excessive, but perhaps there could be a special bonus (Depending on the kind of damage (acid pit, fire pit, unholy, etc.)) for each ADDITIONAL square a monster was on. That way the extra terrain changing would be more beneficial for those kinds of fights. It would be more effective, but the boss isn't going to walk around on every bad terrain tile it sees, and not everyone will be able to move it. It would give a bonus to players who could maneuver in such a way as to get a large monster into that kind of bad decision, but would not show any difference for those who couldn't.

    Take for instance the acid pit scenario: If the monster is on one square -> normal damage, but if it's on two or more squares -> all movement cards allow the creature to move 1 less square per extra tile it was on. It doesn't take more damage, but it still gives a benefit if you can get a monster in that position. It seems silly to have all this terrain, but the boss takes no penalty from being on multiples because then there's no need to put a lot down because they'll be unnecessary.

    The added nice feature of not more damage, but another effect of being on multiple tiles is that it will ONLY effect big creatures. All small creatures will never know the difference, so it won't be something that can be abused. This way you can't make your deck ONLY terrain altering for the final boss because up to the boss you have to fight 1x1 square sized monsters. You dig it? I think it would just add another dimension to the already challenging boss fights.

    And remember, not everyone will make those terrain decks, and unless you did all wizards, you probably won't have that many cards that can do it anyway.

    Same damage, more effects, more creativity and positioning strategy. ;)
    Ystin likes this.
  12. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Yes, I know . . . but unfortunately, there's another logical way to approach this that makes the proposed additions fall apart. Think about a one-tile character: you stand in the acid, and you're going to be screaming and miserable and probably fainting from pain. Four tiles underneath a four-tile dragon is no WORSE than one tile underneath a one-tile character: instead, it's EQUAL. So, any variation would mean LESS injury, instead of more injury and/or new play mechanics such as changes to movement.

    Now, those mechanics you describe could be cool. I just think they should be default mechanics written onto the "acid" card, applying to everyone. (Either that or some other card. You know. They have lots of cards in the game.)

    I believe Jon's idea would cause the fewest problems.
  13. LightPhoenix

    LightPhoenix Orc Soldier

    So close! It's in the dev diary linked in thread:

  14. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Well, yes, I like to think it's considered a part of my post by attachment. You know, like in legal contracts.
  15. Farbs

    Farbs Blue Manchu Staff Member

    This is really great. Since it's a CCG we want people to bounce between the battles and deckbuilding. Last year, from memory, our battles were taking 20-30 minutes, which seemed far too long between opportunities to deckbuild. Since then we've put a lot of work into streamlining the interface, and switched to playing against AI rather than another human, and it looks like that's all paid off. 5-10 minutes per battle seemed like an utterly unattainable target, but here we are.

    Ystin likes this.
  16. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    To trace this line of thought for new readers:

    This dev diary explains the basic urge toward brief play, as Farbs says. This podcast interview mentions a goal of 20 minutes per game, while this multiplayer matchup measured an average playtime of 28 minutes.

    So in the end . . . this is awesome. And it has implications in various ways. In another thread, we discussed how punishing it is to lose, such as in terms of lost loot and lost time. A quick quote:
    If you don't even break 10 minutes in a fight, that's makes losing minimally painful. People would fall off the e-horse and jump right back on.

    Again, Card Hunter is looking awesome.
    Ystin and Zoorland like this.
  17. Ystin

    Ystin Orc Soldier

    I definitely think that running with the shorter times is key to this game reaching it's full potential. Games like Call of Duty are addictive because the matches themselves generally don't take too long. The satisfying victories are satisfying, and the losses aren't too harsh.

    I also know that BM is looking towards tablets (and possibly phones) and the games that find great success there are usually playable in short bursts. I know I'll be grabbing this awesome game on whatever device I can. I second Sir Knight here, Card Hunter is looking awesome.
    Pixel likes this.
  18. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

  19. admin

    admin Blue Manchu Staff Member

  20. LightPhoenix

    LightPhoenix Orc Soldier

    By proxy :). The way it was worded I didn't think you caught it, and I thought the diary was fairly conclusive on the points. Sorry!

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