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.
###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.