In Search Of A “healthy” Meta-game: Summary Of The Report Of The Supercell Game Designer At GDC 2017

Producer Towards Mars Gregory Radovilsky published in his blog a summary of the report of the Stephen Enblom responsible for the balance of cards, the game economy and system design in the Clash Royale. Stream presentations were made in the official Supercell in Twitter account. Game edition DTF has prepared a translation with commentary of the author.

Even a simple (probably by rarity — here and below approx. Author) cards there are a lot of options. Nice to have a lot of functions to “twist”, but that creates problems with balance. I wonder what kind of balance there, except math. Either I have too bad English to lead these broadcasts, or they are so steep that distinguish the balance of progress on the game and any “balance”.

The relationship between the maps are stored on the growth of their levels. There is a caveat. Shown in the picture “Archers” and “Goblin” is two and three respectively. But the damage to the “Archers” are shown as double, and the health of the “Goblin” is the health of one Goblin of the three.

It is logical that both archers shoot one of the goblins, kill him and move on to the next, or that Archer generally have to do three shots to completely kill the card of the opponent. There is an additional complication for understanding the balance of cards and in General all of what Stefan says. He stops on one aspect, creating the illusion of simplicity. Maybe Im exaggerating, everything is clear and additional review is not required.

“Rarity” cards given to a fairly simple correlation with the level. On the slide, by the way, noted that tournament-level cards (No. 9) is selected, and because the first level “legendarok” corresponds to the ninth level of simple common-cards. The more rare the card, the more it additional mechanic. “Rarities” only four.

But, given the fact that in tournaments, the cards in the same equilibrium level, “legendary” still be more valuable, as they have more functionality. The main purpose of the balancing process is to create a “healthy” meta-game. A healthy meta-game, judging by the illustration, consists of “joy”, “diversity” and “novelty”.

Meta-game, according to Stephen, is a set of cards, their combinations and strategies that a majority of players considers effective. Accordingly, a healthy meta-game is the lack of unused functions. For example, cards. Stefan focuses on the community of players.

He says that the developers do not form a meta-game, and use the balance for the direction the meta-game created players. For example, I define meta-game as everything that is not related to the main gameplay, but it takes considerable playing time. Collection, clans, rankings, Championships, management of characters, etc. The players, of course, use (or not use), but they can not create a meta-game. Yes, the developers goal was a balanced game in which the players use all the functions.

But they still can not create anything. A more intuitive definition of the meta-game Stephen in the next section, is derived from the description of the process of balance. Meta-game is like a diet, says Stefan, and it must be balanced. Some bad example of balance on the slide.

Of course, its better when “all green” than when “red”. But the developer is usually faced with the dilemma of “quick-cheap-quality” and at best can keep in the green area only two parameters out of three. It turns out that would be better if all options were in the yellow zone than one or two in green, and the third in red. But I probably pick.

The first and key principle of balance, Stephen — the feeling “perekonnast” (make everything feel overpowered). On the one hand, each card initially has some “superhuman” and it seems that she alone can win the match. On the other hand, should be quite a lot of ways to prevent it. And contrcat or strategy, in turn, will consist of “pumped” cards, which in this or other situations can bring victory.

Each card — your “moment of glory”. The game should create enough situations where even the most simple card brings the player to win. For each card there is contrcat. For each strategy, the counter line.

So developing meta-game. “Elite barbarians” added as a very “pumped” map, but the players quickly found contrarty among existing ones. Obviously, it is understood that the developers are aware of the combinations which may confront the new map. Meta-game is an independent search of combinations of players.

The following principle. New maps should make sense. Not yet implemented meaning you can try to look for gaps in the gameplay. The game lacked the equivalent of “Skeletons,” kill “Discharge” (Zap).

After added “Ice spirit”, there was more sense to leave the “Category” in the deck. Sometimes the meaning is not enough existing cards and you can create one by adding a new. However, “Discharge” is given at the fifth stage, and “Ice spirit” — on the eighth. Dont know how important this is. Im stuck on the fifth, and probably should not meet opponents with “Ice Spirit”.

The last principle of balance. Dont break the old. It is necessary to ensure that meaning is preserved in old maps.

Balancing game is a constant work. Clash Royale, the developers decided to release balance updates every month. First, the players protested, but then got used. Meta-game requires time to develop. It allows you to find the best compromise between fixing errors and irritating bugs.

Given that meta-game Stefan calls the understanding of players of the whole game content, I suspect, we are talking about the fact that users need time to understand the innovations. Another important principle — it is better to rock (“bupati”) than to cut (“nerf”). The gaming community perceives better improvement of characteristics of characters in the result update balance than cuts. I suggest that its not so simple.

The situation largely depends on the number of cards and the prospects you see for project developers. Its one thing when you add one card every month or even more rarely, and quite another when it comes to delivering new sets every six months. New cards should not kill the sense of old. So just add a card that has a unit attack more than the old one, not. This can be overcome, for example, physical rarity — “legendarnoi”.

In any case, when all spaces of the game process will be closed, will have to invent new mechanics with the same parameters. It is also important to create a sense of “percutaneously” and “moment of glory” for each card. On the other hand, when “nerve” can be difficult to find all affiliated cards and strategies for both players (meta-game) and for developers (the overall balance). It is very important communicate with the players.

Manage expectations — explain the causes, reasons and context of the rebalance. In the game 70 cards. How do you know which to change. Stefan says you have to listen to players, look at game statistics, but without the insight not to do.

Developer needs to know your game to make decisions. The study of the gaming community allows us to understand what are the players, and keep abreast of. This is especially important when the project “Matures” and the developers cease to be the best players. The first championship was won by the user with a deck, which (supposedly) no one never used.

Championships can promote the deck. Just do not understand why it has grown in popularity, and as soon as she slept. And anyway, it gave the game. Why is it that people never used the strategy that was winning the championship. Statistically it seems impossible.

In any case, the Championships is an important part of the meta-game Clash Royale. And how the developers approached their implementation and balance, quite interesting. As parameters for the balance sheet uses the values of card usage (use rate) and wins (win rate). Clearly, if the map wins (which is part of the winning deck), and it is used.

Well, on the contrary, the value of the “wins” will always be below the “use” But the attitude between the first and second value — thats interesting. The utilization rate says about the state of the meta-game, and reflects what the players see. Its about the fact that player matches have to face with all the cards, know about them, understand how to resist them, and why are they dangerous. But it really only works if the matchmaking does not “feed” the player centraladmi, as some of the players.

Do they make a card with a high utilization rate and low value wins?. Indicator wins allows you to define “dormant” cards, says Stefan. But will this card use even less?. Of course, he does not insist on the use of these indicators by all developers.

You have to know your game to find the matching parameters. Stefan brags 9,5 billion possible decks. The average value of use of cards – 11.4%. The developers have a few dipsaci cards.

One of them is “spicy”. In fact, it is a measure of the complexity of the use of the card. Cards that have high win rate low level of usage, these are called “acute”. Accordingly, the “simple” cards are used more often.

This is only one set of indicators used in the Supercell when dealing with balance. Stefan recommends to understand the more complex aspects of the behavior of the player. Other indicators that developers: The use of elixir (calculation of mana that the player always had the advantage over the enemy for the price in mana).

Defense and counterattack on the same line. An attack on multiple lines. Interaction maps. Selection of best strategies based on the available cards. Archetypes of decks. Starting moves. A set of actions, which should be more efficient (mana and cards) enemy action in the opening draw when the player maximum mana.

Rotation of the deck. The “drain” cards to find what you need. “Extortion” of the opponents spells to activate the card, which you can also counter this spell. “Kite” enemy units. Distraction characters, to destroy them without damage to the tower (extortion to the center, or simply blocking “Skeletons”). The pros and cons of flying creatures. All of the above describes the behavior of the player, not directly related to parameters of the cards or even with their choice for decks (of which followed the indicators of victories and use).

In conclusion, here is a list of useful sources: If you want to write the material for the rubric “the Market” tell us about the development of your game or in case of its growth to send the material on [email protected]

Leave a Reply