Super Hero Squad Online:

Check it out!  Neat Unity3d in browser MMO.  I do love me some X-Men, its like all of my childhood in one honeyed internet extravaganza.  Kid/Family friendly too, so it is extra-relevant to my interests.

Anyway, they just added a CCG in game.  This is the feedback I sent them:

The new card game system adds an interesting new dimension to SHS.  However, random damage and ‘lucky blocks’ really sap all the strategy out of the game and seemingly reduce it to dice the player cannot influence. 
It is not fun. 
I understand the intent is likely to reduce the disparity inherit in a strategy game based on player skill and the depth of each player’s card pool.  You are potentially dealing with a wide age range and that does require consideration.  There are already several cards in the game that boost damage based on other cards in the players deck, hand, or result of coin flips.  These cards add entropy to the game in way where the player can weigh the risk/reward of playing such a card.  They add a nice degree of tension, as opposed to wondering if you’ll simply get screwed everytime you lay a card down.
It is extremely frustrating to whittle down Dr. Octopus after a long game, deplete his hand and then throw the killing blow against a defenseless opponent only to have him ‘lucky block.’  Despite all my efforts as a player to win against a stacked opponent (greater deck size, starting ‘keepers’) my victory is snatched from me by sinister machinations I can’t see or impact. 
The ‘lucky block’ system really seems to overlook the fact that the game is already random based on the pre-game deck shuffle.  I certainly feel like I have lost games because I just couldn’t catch the cards I needed but that is to be expected in a CCG, and it is not something you expect to happen often so you are never too dissappointed.
I can imagine some game wide mutators could be added to keep changing the game if a high degree of entropy is really a design goal.  Mutators could alter power levels, change suits (blues count as purples), all Fantastic Four cards get a buff, etc.  There are a lot of options here.  If both players contribute a certain number of mutator cards to a neutral deck you’d still have a little control over your destiny but remain at the mercy of an additional neutral shuffle. 
This adds a whole layer of education and management the player has to wrangle but its not much denser than say bakugan and that’s right in this demo’s wheelhouse.  Alternatively they could just be location/arena/opponent based (or always the same for simplicity) and change anytime two tails appear in subsequent start-of-turn coin flips, something that keys off existing events.
I appreciate the time and wish you all continued success with the project.  Thanks.


Filed under: All TalkGame Talk

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