Why random card generation in its current state is a problem and how I would fix it

#The Problem

Random card generation is a “fun” mechanic, unique to online CCGs, that is popular in many games due to it’s ability to add variety outside of card draw and random effects. It is generally considered a healthier form of RNG than something like random pings since it gives both players options in how to play with the card. Because of this I’m okay with it staying but not in its current form. Here are the most significant reasons why I think that it is a problem:

  • Card generation is competitively viable

Outside of draw RNG card generation is one of the few forms of RNG that makes it into high level Faeria play reducing the correlation between player skill and win rate. The main culprits here are bloomsprite and spellwhirl. A card like magda, which is more of a fun card, is not an issue.

  • Card generation breaks deck building rules

Even in Hearthstone, whose devs care so little about RNG they allowed yogg sarron to be a top tier competitive card, there is text saying where a card came from. This lets players know if there are still copies of a card left in their deck. Just looking at the hand and trying to see where a card came from is unreasonable.

  • Card generation has limited counter-play in Faeria

Only the player who generated the card gets to decide how it is used, they player on the receiving end can only react. Playing around a single card, generated out of a large range, isn’t reasonable or possible in most circumstance. Since there is no interaction on the opponents turn you have to preemptively play around their possible plays which requires and rewards a good knowledge of meta decks and what cards a player is likely to include. This skill is negated by RNG card generation.

All of this adds up to unsatisfying and frustrating losses where player skill is minimized and the loser feels like their time and ranking was wasted. It also makes tournament play less exciting and interesting.

#Potential solutions

###Don’t fix what isn’t broken

Just steal Hearthstone’s method of showing the source of the card underneath the card when it is played, moused over or selected on the action bar on the far left.

###Reduce the range of RNG effects or rework the card.
Reducing the range of possible cards makes it easier to play around a specific card. It also allows you to remove outliers from the card pool. This has already been done with egg of wonders which used to be able to generate any creature.

The alternative would be to rework the cards. Failed Experiment used to be called Unbound Evolution and read 2F 2L Transform a creature into one that costs 2F more. I think it is reasonable to expect similar changes if other cards become a problem. Here are some examples from when I made some reworks for most of the obnoxious RNG cards a while back.

###Reveal the cards.

This one is pretty simple, just replace every instance of “add a random card to your hand” with “add a random card to your hand face up”. I to would look something like this and the card would be selectable to see a large version of it, although you could blur out the Faeria cost and stats in case they are running bargain cards or handbuffs. Plus this would force the devs to fix the bug where the cards in each players hands move off screen…

I think that three wishes does not need to be revealed since the cards are not random and there is some decision making around how much of your opponents draw you want to reveal.

Making this change would give players the ability to play around generated cards and let them know when to expect deck building rules to be broken. Alternatively the cards could just be shown when generated but I consider this to be a cleaner looking and clearer fix for the issue.


I genuinely believe that any of these changes would drastically improve the health of this game. Even if the only implemented change is revealing cards in the opponents hand this would take the game in a much more fun direction and allow more card generation to be added in the future without making the game frustrating.

Don’t just take my word on all this. Here is ex-MTG and Hearthstone pro Reynad talking about the issue in Hearthstone and also our very own Luuu90 talking about changes he would make to the game (skip to around 50 minutes for RNG talk) where he makes similar points and references the Reynad video.

I don’t think the RNG in Faeria can be compared to the RNG in hearthstone. Currently in Faeria, there are two main cards that add a random card to your hand: Spellwhirl and Bloomsprite. Reynad’s rant I assume was in the context of the amount of RNG and bad types of RNG in Hearthstone. Hearthstone is a very swingy and snowbally game, or at least was when I last played. Which means RNG in the early game is much more impactful. In Hearthstone you could build a successful deck built around a random effect. There are more random effects by a long shot in Hearthstone than there are in Faeria. In my opinion, a certain amount of random effects, in small doses, can be good for the game. A random effect like bloomsprite tests an opponent’s ability to adapt to a situation, while a large amount of randomness removes the purpose of counterplay. If you think that Faeria has an amount of randomness that pushes it to the point of removing counterplay, I would ask you how you came to that conclusion. While randomness can reward people who do not deserve it, it can also test someone else’s skill level to deal with a situation. The amount of games random effects such as Bloomsprite will ruin is currently insignificant to someone’s overall winrate. And if you believe there should be no randomness in a game, you are playing the wrong genre.

There are so many sources of RNG flipping games (win to loss or vice versa) that IMHO the best way to reduce noise is to just play more games (which is why I want faster games, or simultaneous games, or something - and more games per tournament match). Random card generation can flip games, but far less IMHO than lucky/unlucky draws - and there’s all the random target stuff like hellfire/crackthorn/warlord/wild growth/steam forge/seed sower that often flips games.

I do think Faeria has a bit of available-but-difficult-to-access information regarding card draw time that could be addressed (or hidden). You can tell how long a card has been in a players hand if you watch carefully, so maybe we should just make it clearer - add a number underneath saying what turn it was obtained on. Then you could add symbols/card pics adjacent to the number to specify how it was obtained (draw, spellwhirl, etc). Alternately, if you want to hide that information you’d have to get rid of the watch-your-opponent-flipping-through-cards effect.

[quote=“prion, post:1, topic:7674”]The main culprits here are bloomsprite and spellwhirl[/quote]IMHO the worst offender is Ruunin’s Presence, because you’ve already spent lots of faeria to generate it - and you occasionally get a useless or situationally useless card (say god hunter, seedling), and sometimes a game winner (willow is great usually).

Spellwhirl and Bloomsprite are competitively viable, which is why I think they were called the worst offenders.

Ruunin’s Presence is unplayable because it has provides a buffed but entirely random card for 4 Faeria, which you often can’t afford (reducing it to a dead card), and Magda is unplayable in most decks as well (maybe a Wish deck?!).

I’d love to see all those solutions implemented, the redesigned cards were really great.

Personally, I’d like to see random card generation to some degree restricted, like having spellwhirl be only blue spells, or bloomsprite be limited in creature selection.

The biggest problem with cards like spellwhirl, is that it can give hugely powerful cards like frogify, cards which are so present in the game that you need to design your deck with them in mind AND play around them in-game (like aurora myth maker).

Randomly getting extras of these powerful cards extends the reach of your deck immensely, especially when it comes to answers (frogify), because hard answers take away your opponents agency.

They also really need to stop random pings from going face, or at least have it prioritize the board so it can’t hit face until it’s clear. That’s another aspect of swingy RNG which is so easy to rein in to a level where it’s acceptable.

If they can do something about those extreme swingy RNG results then the game will be much better for it. And the RNG doesn’t need to go away, it needs to be restrained so that it’s skill and not luck which wins you games.