Hello everyone! With this post, I want to share my general feedback about Faeria and as well propose some balance- and quality of life (QoL)-changes.
First of all, let me introduce myself: Faeria is my 3rd TCG, after a lot of Hearthstone (usually rank 5 each season) and some months of Scrolls. So you could say that the concept of TCGs isn’t new to me, however, I’m not an expert. That said, I like games (and decks) that give you a lot of options and, therefore, something to think about and to plan your strategy with.
I stumbled into Faeria during the steam summer-sale. When I saw the trailer, it seemed too good to be true: A
skill-based trading card game with a complex board- and resource-system. The game at least looked like it had taken most of the good aspects from Hearthstone and Scrolls while avoiding (most of) the bad stuff. When I read the reviews on steam, I was not so sure anymore. It seemed a lot of players quitted, because of “Faeria becoming more and more like Hearthstone”, meaning especially regarding the bad stuff: “A game that sells itself as a skill-based strategy game, while adding more and more rng-elements and simplifying the gameplay.”
However, I finally decided to give it a try, and for the time being, I didn’t regret it.
So here are my first few thoughts, gathered over my first month of Faeria. Oh, I also read some of the other feedback threads. I will link them, when there was a thread with a good idea I agree with.
I. Stuff that I like about Faeria (you can skip this paragraph, if you aim for the change proposals)
1. Cool and deep Mechanics
The board. – I love how it matters where you place your creatures and the fact you can (and have to) move them around. I liked this in Scrolls as well, but the board in Scrolls was split into two sides, yours and your opponents’ half; also the board was the same every game. The board Faeria uses, on the other hand, is much more appealing, because you actually have to place the usable tiles by yourself. This and the fact, that you can use different land-types as a resource, adds so many strategic elements that it would already be enough to make a game with, say 10 different creatures every game (similar to chess).
The Faeria wells on the side give you an incentive to not just build the shortest way to your opponent and hit face. (Though I see a lot of other (new?) players doing exactly this and – with yellow rush – having a lot of success. I’ll come back to this point later on.)
The trades – They are very similar to the ones in Hearthstone (and I imagine, other TGC’s except Scrolls as well), where a combat works the way that both creatures deal damage to each other. In Scrolls, only the attacking creature dealt damage to the defending creature. But guess what? You even combined the systems by adding ranged creatures that don’t seem too overpowered so far either!
2. Beautiful artworks, graphics and most the music
I think the Faeria-team did an amazing job regarding the graphics so far. They kinda remind me of another really great game, “Ori & the blind forest”. You have so many rich colors while being soft and soothing to the eye as well. Regarding the card artwork, I’d agree with this person (Faeria Cards Art - [Discussion]): The older cards with the pastel-color style are much better than the newer artworks (which are still pretty good, but, as he says, they lose a lot of their charm).
The music is relaxing, which I think is a good thing for this kind of game. It also fits with the graphics. I only wished there were more different tracks. Maybe in the future? Please?
3. The deck-building system / card system with hand-limit and fatigue
I like the fact that you can get 3 cards of each type into your deck, while having a deck limit of 30 cards. 3 cards of
each type is better than 2 (like in Hearthstone), because you can eliminate the big rng-factor of card draw to some extend (regarding your very key cards). On the other hand, you can use only one of each legend, which makes it possible to have some cards with super strong effects that would be way too op if you could have them 3 times.
The 30 cards deck limit also enables the possibility of a future fatigue or even mill-deck. I’m not sure, if I really would like to play against it in Faeria, but I always found this quite a cool deck idea from Hearthstone: “Survive your opponent until he runs out of cards faster than you.”
4. The system for collecting your cards.
First of all, I really, really appreciate the option to buy the full collection.
If you ever played Hearthstone without paying real money, you learn how niggardly Blizzard is with their ingame money and how hard it is to get enough cards to build even the simplest of decks. I played Hearthstone for more than 2.5 years now without spending any real money. I almost never missed a daily quest, played a lot of Arena (the equivalent to Pandora in Hearthstone) and got almost every free pack from the weekly Tavern Brawl. Still, I’m nowhere near a full collection, costwise not even half of it, because there are so many legendaries (and epics) and you get so few of them from the packs and even fewer ingame money for playing. You basically craft more than half of the epics and legendaries. Even if I’d spend money on Hearthstone packs, it would take hundreds, if not thousands of euros, until I’d have a full collection. This is pure greed, but I guess this was Blizzards (and to some extent, the general TCG’s) payment model all along.
In Faeria you get lots of gold from daily quests (60 compared to usually 40 in Hearthstone) and even per win (10/win compared to 10/each 3 wins). You also get much more epics from packs, which is a really good (and necessary!) thing, especially when you consider that you need each non-legendary card 3 times to get a full collection. I consider it much more appealing to open packs in Faeria right now than in Hearthstone. On average I got ~1 epic each 2nd pack and 4 legendaries in 67 packs total (I know, not a big sample-size and I might’ve been really lucky with the legends…?).
Personally I kinda like a fair (!) grind to eventually get a full collection. It gives me some incentive to play while I learn the game. However, it’s a good thing that everyone can choose to get the full collection for a fair price. The gold refund is a smart thing, since you can buy other stuff with gold as well and the player doesn’t feel scammed, if he chooses to buy the full collection later on. Thank you for that!
What I still miss though, is the opportunity to trade cards with other players (like in real TCG’s). I really liked that in Scrolls. I can imagine this wouldn’t work together with the option to buy the full collection, so I guess it’s okay the way it is.
5.Pandora (and phantom Pandora)
The mode in general – with some exceptions regarding the random effects and the matchmaking system. However, there is a lot to talk about Pandora, so I guess it’s better reserved for another feedback topic.
II. What I do NOT like about Faeria in general:
1. The way rush (= go straight to the orb) decks play out in Faeria
While I played Hearthstone, I always hated how boring games get, when you face (or play) rush (aggro/face) decks. If you play control or mid-range against it, you basically hope for drawing your counter-cards fast enough, otherwise you lose.
At least every second game your opponent plays a rush deck, just dumping his hand and you hoping to get your aggro-counter cards fast enough. Especially with a board in Hearthstone, where positioning is almost irrelevant, playing rush decks has nothing to do with strategy. You could basically place a monkey in front of you keyboard, he’d do as well as anyone else with a rush deck.
In Faeria it doesn’t feel as stupid to play vs or with a rush deck, since you still have some strategic decisions to make (where and when to place your land and creatures etc.). However, sometimes it feels even more (!) unfair: You play a mono or dual-colored (control) deck and your opponent plays rush. You can see it in his first turn, going 2 praeries towards your orb, and you already know that this won’t be fun. From turn 2 onwards you feel extremely pressured and split in the decisions you have to make:
Do you save the important positions around your orb with praeries (which leads to you not being able to play any of your (colored) cards)? Or would you rather place your colored lands and lose the positions one or two tiles next to your orb? (In the worst cases, this even leads to a situation where your opponent cuts off your land placement from the upper half of the board completely.) Most of the time, even with heavy prairie-placements in the first few turns, you can not stop your opponent from getting at least 1 or 2 of the important tiles.
Do you place creatures next to your orb, so your opponent has to trade first, before he can just hit your orb (which leads to you losing almost every possibility to get some extra Faeria from the wells)? Or do you rather try getting some (!) extra Faeria while hoping that your opponent won’t finish you within 2 or 3 turns?
Even if I survive like 6, 7 or 8 turns, it doesn’t feel like I’m finally getting the edge. Most of the times, for some reason, the opponent was able to harvest from at least one of my wells, while at the same time he prevents me from harvesting anything.
I might feel this way, because I’m still very new to Faeria, but I think this is the biggest issue: New players have no idea how to counter this kind of deck at all. If you didn’t buy the full collection, you might not even have access to the key cards you need in order to counter rush decks (I guess?). My first idea was to play some combination of red and green, because red has damage- and AoE spells/gift minions and green has healing and big hp taunt minions. When I wanted to build the deck, I had to notice that the Fire Elemental was not in the codices (and I haven’t drawn it yet), so I felt I couldn’t build the deck, because placing mountains AND forests without the tempo of the Elementals would probably be too slow to counter the rush. (I might be wrong in this point though and might give it some try soon)
So my next thought was: I play yellow rush myself in ranked and hope that I get to some sort of deck I feel heavily countered by. I climbed to rank 16 so far and the only decks I lost to with yellow rush was… well, yellow rush mirror match. Great! >_<
Maybe this changes later on, but right now it’s like at least 50% of the games I face yellow rush. If some of the more skilled players have some advice to counter this deck without a full collection and access to most of the epics, I would appreciate it very much!
2. Some of the RNG-elements
Well, the biggest rng-elements are bound to Pandora, which is supposed to be more random and entertaining than Battle… I guess…?
However, I think – in Battle mode – there are also different types of rng-elements:
Things like “give a random friendly minion +x/+x” are okay, I guess. It leaves you with at least some influence regarding the outcome, because you can, to a degree, influence which minions are on your board/in your hand. Especially the “buff a (random) friendly minion on board” gives the opponent a incentive to clear all or specific minions he doesn’t want to get the buff before.
What I rather dislike are the rng effects that place lands randomly. While Seed Sower is okayish, because the rng element is reduced to a random adjacent tile, effects like on Wild Growth or Vine Wall feel a bit stupid, especially on a multi-colored deck. Sometimes you have a huge tempo boost and sometimes it does next to nothing, because it just replaces some of your praeries on spots you don’t care about anymore.
What I also dislike is the fact that you get random legendaries from various sources. In Scrolls you could have only one legendary on each side of the board. – This would be too harsh in Faeria, I think, because legendaries already have the downside of the unreliable draw due to the “only 1 copy” restriction. However, usually legendaries are supposed to have some crazy effects (therefore the limitation of only 1 copy). If you allow legendaries to come out of nowhere due to “add a random [specific colored] card to your hand”-effects you either limit the potential of future legendary cards, or you indirectly buff the randomness cards with each powerful legendary you add in the future – which gives the deck building player incentives to add more such “get random cards” cards to his deck, reducing the skill factor to win while improving the random factor. This might also be the point for a lot of the negative steam reviews.
3. The missing chat system
Scrolls had it. You could chat with your opponent. It worked and it was nice and not the flame war everybody seems to fear. Make it happen in Faeria as well. Period.
Of course, there might be some stupid people who think of insulting others as appropriate behaviour. Well, if you happen to run into someone like this, give the player the option to mute him and everything’s okay. No problem there. If it gets worse, you could add a reportsystem (which is a lot of work, of course…) to keep the game clean, but I don’t think this would be necessary in a 1v1 scenario.
My experience with Scrolls regarding the “chat with your opponent” was very different, though. Most of the time – even in ranked! – we could chat nicely and congratulate each other on good moves, or even give a newer player advice after the game, etc.
I, for one, would’ve asked a lot of those yellow rush players for decks they had problems with so far, so I wouldn’t have to play yellow rush myself to find out.
And please, please do NOT follow the example of Hearthstone with the speech bubbles. It is entertaining the first few times, but mostly it’s used for sarcasm, provoking your opponent or spamming. Not an atmosphere you’d want to create in a strategy game like Faeria.
III. Change proposals regarding interface, quality of life etc.
1. Search-function / deck builder
Scrolls had a complex, yet amazing search function. You could basically search for everything on a card’s text, stats and name. You could as well filter all cards with X costs, < or > X attack, life etc.
I would also like a filter for “X amount of special land needed” and a general list of ALL cards for the more experienced players, so if you build a multicolored deck you can just search for the name of the card instead of first clicking on the color and then typing the name (or vice versa).
Also, please disable the “display mythic cards” by default (or save the settings) in the crafting menu.
Also, add a list with only a the cards name, text and stats: http://imgur.com/r/faeria/Qb6By9Q We all love the drawings, really, but sometimes you just want to build a deck quickly.
2. Enable chat (with opponent and with friends) - See above, II.3.
3. Enable daily quests to work with friends.
I understand that you obviously don’t want friendly matches to give 10 gold to the winning player to prevent exploits. But there is no real exploit regarding the 60/80/150 gold daily quests, since you can get them only once per day anyway.
4. Add replay and spectator mode
Faeria is a strategy game. Therefore, to get better, you need to learn. A lot.
You can do that by watching other people playing (thanks to the players who already post videos of some of their games here (I’m watching, Blackscape ;)). This shouldn’t be limited to youtube videos and streams. It can also be fun to play “together” with a friend, where you can help each other without the need to stream a game via e.g. skype.
You can also learn a lot from your own mistakes. That is, if you are able to see where your last game went wrong. Someone already mentioned this, but I think I’d pick it up again.
5. Patch notes
I know you do them already. For newer players, like me, there are a lot of cards they don’t know yet. If some of those cards are changed, it would be really nice, if you would tell us what the card what you changed (you already do that) AND what the card was like before (you only do this sometimes).
- While windowed and in the background, prevent Faeria from producing the sounds that my mouse makes from hovering over the menu buttons. X_x
IV. Change proposals regarding the game itself
9 cards hand limit wasn’t explained to me in the tutorial. It would be nice to know that I can burn my cards by overdrawing before it happens the first time.
More visible differences between events, creatures and structures. Right now the different card types look quite similar.
Explanations of some keywords I had to figure out myself:
“god” = your orb. (e.g. Ruunin’s champion); also used: “player”, “opponent”
“event” = card that is neither structure nor creature. I’m not sure, but if I didn’t miss it, it wasn’t explained to me in the tutorial.
“move a land” = move a land to an ocean tile…? It doesn’t work the way that you swap to adjacent land tiles, right?
“evolve” = you can attack with the new creature IF your old creature could still attack. It would be nice to explain this as a keyword.
“Gain a [specific] card” (e.g. Doomgate, Royal Judge, Day of the Dragons): If you are in a game and you don’t know the specific card, there is no way for you to get to know it other than to play it. It would be nice, if you could right click on the card (or hover your mouse over it), so you could see what card you will get. This is especially important for cards like Doomgate that give you other creatures/events/structures that don’t exist as a card of their own. I would like to know beforehand that my opponent has lethal on my 13 hp orb next turn, if he manages to get his gate to 13 hp and has a free line of tiles to my orb from anywhere on the board.
Clarity on card effects:
E.g. demon wrangler: “sacrifice a creature” actually means “a FRIENDLY creature”, where most of the other times “a creature” means either friendly OR enemy.
E.g. Possessed Ursus: “Power doubles” – what does that mean? The first time I read it, I thought it meant attack AND life. Please stick to only ONE keyword for each thing you want to describe. This way you don’t creature confusion and you also don’t miss the card, if you search for it in the filter.
Scaling actions + random card gain (e.g. Wavecrash Colossus, Ruunin’s Avenger). I’m not sure, whether this is intended or not (I sent a bug report already): If you gain a card (= that wasn’t in your deck or hand before) and this card has effects that scale depending on specific actions in the game (e.g. Wavecrash Colossus, Ruunin’s Avenger), the actions that happened previously to that card gain won’t count. If you want this as it is, I think it’s okay, BUT the card should then tell me so (“each time… (while this is in your hand or deck)” like on some other cards).
Right now, if you throw out one card, you can redraw it. So what happens is, that you first shuffle your hand into your deck and then draw a new one. To minimize the randomness for the starting hand, let’s draw 3 new cards first and then shuffle your old hand into your deck.
V. Stuff I really would like to see in the future
1. Challenges against the AI (with rewards), maybe AI daily quests
In Scrolls, there were several Challenges (from easy to hard) against a specific AI-deck with specific special rules for each challenge. Think of it as a puzzle you had to solve. You would gain gold for this and it helps new players to figure out some special rules on the game.
You already did this to some degree, for example with the Aurora deck, where Aurora had a starting hand with 2x Windfall and 1x Aurora’s Dream. Scrolls had some more extreme versions, especially with some specific board situations at the start of the challenge. Those were a lot of fun and would help to learn the game, cards and especially synergies.
2. Team-Battles, like 2v2 or 3v3. Like this: What about a 3vs3 Mode?
Of course this would be tons of work, but it might be some really big thing for some future patch. This is something, I imagine only very few TGC’s have and where you could really create something new and amazing. And if you make it, please add a ranked queue as well to take it to a competitive level.
So, if you followed me all through my wall of text to the end, thank you very much for your time. And happy discussing!