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Overall Game Balance


Squirrel

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Unheard of topic, right!? I'm going to break this down into an INTRO, PROBLEMS, and SOLUTIONS, and CONCLUSION.

 

INTRO: Let me be as objective as I can about this. I love balance, I love strategy and tactics. What I don't like to see is getting forced down a particular path or two, and having none other available to me if I want to use a competitive deck.

 

PROBLEMS: The problem existing right now I believe is two fold: (1) the absolutely over-the-top power of Pokemon EX cards and (2) the ability to cycle through your whole deck and take unlimited actions with item cards in one turn.

 

(1) Pokemon EX. Everybody knows they are over-the-top powerful. Anyone with knowledge about the game and being honest with themselves will admit this. They are a product of power-creeping negatively affecting the Pokemon card game. They are so powerful they are dictating nearly the whole meta (and I say nearly because there are the Nightmarch decks and Trevanant, plus minor others. Even development of Nightmarch could be contributed to appearance of Pokemon EX). Do I play a heavy EX deck, or an anti-EX deck?? When the only choices for winning consistently become these, the game is in a bad state.

 

(2) Deck cycling and unlimited item card usage. This is also a large part of why Pokemon EX are broken, as many provide insane card draw upon play (Shaman for example) or deck search. This also creates games composed of a few turns, that last several minutes each while waiting for one player to infinitely shuffle through their deck, fill their bench to max, and kill you. This isn't fun for anyone... it even gets boring for the player doing this to win! Just from a balance standpoint though, being able to infinitely play items makes possible OTK (one-turn-kill) decks and obscenely stupid-powerful decks like Nightmarch, which is one of the dominating meta decks right now. I'm not totally against the idea of OTK decks and graveyard decks like Nightmarch, but against the ALMOST GUARANTEED likelihood of pulling off the probability of them working. It should not be so easy.

 

SOLUTIONS: Going to list several possibilities for each. I think each one has its own pros and cons, but I'll let you decide for yourselves which would be best. You can see two of the solutions overlap both problems, so you can probably tell where I would decide to make a change.

 

Pokemon EX
A: Get rid of them completely. This could be done through a game mode where EX are not usable.

B: Serious balance changes directly to EX cards, including any of the following: HP reduction on EX cards, all around power reduction, stiffer penalties for losing them, or limiting decks to one copy each.

C: Introduction of more-potent anti-ex cards.

D: Limiting item usage per turn

 

Deck cycling

A: Limiting item usage per turn

B: Limiting copies of EX cards per deck to copy each

 

CONLUSION: I like Pokemon! I want it to stick around for years to come, but with the current state of things you can see where it's going to end up. It needs balance to be a sustainable, long term game, otherwise players will leave and the player base will continue to atrophy. Please share your thoughts! And please be respectful even if you disagree.

 

Thanks,

Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a great post imo, because it is worded politely, and OP is not whining for a ban on all EXs because they are too overpowered.

I must disagree that EXs take up most of the meta. The most cancerous decks at the moment are Vespiquen/Vileplume and Night March, neither of which run EXs other than the standard Shaymin-EX (which is what is responsible for this):

 

QuoteQuoteQuote
(2) Deck cycling and unlimited item card usage. This is also a large part of why Pokemon EX are broken, as many provide insane card draw upon play (Shaman for example) or deck search. This also creates games composed of a few turns, that last several minutes each while waiting for one player to infinitely shuffle through their deck, fill their bench to max, and kill you. This isn't fun for anyone... it even gets boring for the player doing this to win! Just from a balance standpoint though, being able to infinitely play items makes possible OTK (one-turn-kill) decks and obscenely stupid-powerful decks like Nightmarch, which is one of the dominating meta decks right now. I'm not totally against the idea of OTK decks and graveyard decks like Nightmarch, but against the ALMOST GUARANTEED likelihood of pulling off the probability of them working. It should not be so easy.




Here is my analysis and response to your suggestions.

Pokemon EX:
[**or]A: Get rid of them completely. This could be done through a game mode where EX are not allowed **]

This would be nice, if the power creep could subside, or somehow we go back to the olden days where there were no EXs.

First of all, just to clarify, this is an emulation of a Real life card game. Unless the higher-ups in Japan decide to remove EXs, they will not be removed in the TCGO.

A separate Game Mode banning EXs might work, but the queue times would be long, and it would face the same dilemma as Unlimited with Shiftry. The meta would become stale, subsisting of the most cancerous non-EX decks that already plagues Standard/Expanded.

B: Serious balance changes directly to EX cards, including any of the following: HP reduction on EX cards, all around power reduction, stiffer penalties for losing them, or limiting decks to one copy each.

This would simply not work, for the reason I stated above. While other games like Hearthstone can make balance changes on a whim, depending on the health of the meta game, PTCGO developers do not have the authority to change the game balance, the Pokemon Company in Japan has the entire say-so on what happens to the game. I won't deny that the meta is cancerous right now, but the Japanese devs dont read these forums, so asking for game balance changes here sadly won't work.

C: Introduction of more-potent anti-ex cards.

Thats what Night March was. Its a nightmare.

D: Limiting item usage per turn

This also wouldn't work, for the reasons I stated above.



Deck cycling
A: Limiting item usage per turn

See above.

B: Limiting copies of EX cards per deck to copy each

Also, see above.


I also love Pokemon, and want it to thrive for a long time, but the real life game is honestly in no danger of atrophying (Pokemon is right up there with MTG in the most popular card games, and the player base is immense).

Have a good day!
seminc

EDIT: placed asterisks around the first suggestion, due to the censor not allowing me to color it red like the rest of them.

 

EDIT2: The only thing more broken then the metagame is the profanity filter, am I right? ;)

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I really like this topic! Sure that its a little over said, but I think you did a great job in talking about some major points, EX's, and item usage. Now for my personal opinion, I have to agree and disagree with you :). (Wrote this while half-asleep, hope this makes sense! XD)

 

1) Yes I agree that some EX's are overpowered. They definitely surpass the traditional stage 1/2 game. But they also provide a means for strategy as well. Think about it, a lot of decks are based around EX cards but also a lot need a non ex to work. A great example of this is the extremely annoying Jolteon-Glaceon-Mew deck that people who are rich enough :P have. This deck requires Mew to work nicely. A lot of decks are like that. There are also a few decks (like you said) that don't need ex's. Garchomp, Vespi/plume, NightMarch, Weavile-Eggs, Toolbox-Sigilyph, to name a few well known decks. I myself play a Serperior deck on a day to day basis and demolish a lot of these EX based decks. There are countless other decks (throughout different formats) that don't utilize EX's as well. 

My point is yes, I do think that these are overpowered, but do I think they should be eliminated? No, I don't. EX's have been a part of this game for a long time, and I think they should be used instead of being discouraged.

As to your point on getting rid of them, I think it definitely would be cool to have a mode that does not use them but they should not be gotten rid of. They are strong, but every game has to have something challenging and OP about it. In this game, through the generations, Lvl X's were considered OP, then Legends were considered OP, then Primes were considered OP now EX's. If they were not here, everything would kind of be bland. Just the same basics with say 50 HP, stage 1's with say 100 HP, and stage 2's with say 150 HP. This applies for other games too. You reminded me of another when you said "graveyard decks like Nightmarch" I thought of another card game with OP cards like Exodia. having OP cards is what makes it fun.

 

2) I definitely agree with you that Items are used way to much with the standard number in each deck being around 25-35 but they are helpful. They add a flow to your deck which is very helpful in making decks consistent rather then having a 30 Pokemon 30 Energy deck. They are overused in my eyes though, its just utilizing resources to make your cards better. It's all strategy

 

Just my thoughts

WWhsdjhudj

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I can agree that the current power of ex's is getting a little too much, though at least in the extended format I've been able to take them down plenty of times with non-ex pokemon. The downside I see to them is that they normally take a few turns to attack and if you can get built up before that it can be difficult for them to recover. The new Delphox is a great card to dish out ex-sized power without the restraints, and there's plenty of anti-ex cards right now (though it would be nice to get a few more imo.)

 

As for the trainers, I'm in 100% full agreement that it's getting pretty nuts. I remember that a pokemon deck used to have a hefty amount of Pokemon. Now it feels more like playing Trainers TCG with a few pokemon thrown in there as the win con. I feel that was caused by the EX's now being basics. Oh how I miss the time when the EX was actually an evolution stage.

 

Oh, and sign me up for a EX-less format to go along side the other formats! It would also be a good format for new players to play while they build up a collection of powerhouses.

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Firstly, NM is NOT the problem with the meta. It's Vileplume and Tren. None of which are EXs. IMO we've passed the stage where EXs are broken. That was Next Destines with Mewtwo EX (so Awesome that whenever they release a Mewtwo card, they have to have more than one. They even released two identical promos!). Or Plasma-early XY with Vir-Gen where said deck went with 3/4 Masters Top 4 places at Worlds, including the winner and runner-up slots (the other place taken by a Mega Kangaskhan EX deck). The format has moved on since then, but while EXs may still be the most powerful on paper, other, better built decks are beginning to come up trumps. This is due to the overuse of Items that you complained about, and makes for a more balanced meta than we had 2 years ago. The 4 decks most likely to win Nationals:
NM (non-EX)
Tren (Break-based)
Greninja (Break-based)
Darkness (no longer EX based)
If this is not a sign that EXs are not broken, what is?

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I think that your argument about EX's was very valid and correct 2 months ago... But now? I don't think so. Let's take a look at some of the main meta decks currently: Night March/Vespiqueen. Trevenant BREAK. Greninja BREAK. Garchomp. None of which run EX's ***, most run Shaymin, but Shay is just 2 easy prize cards with a Lysandre anyway). There are of course good EX decks too. But right now in the meta, I would say well over half of the games that you play against a deck that could be considered competitive do not rely on EX cards to win. I do agree that the power creep in the game became more like a leap with really good EX's, high HP, then Mega's and BREAK's both in this era, but they have also provided plenty of counters to keep the game balanced. I really do wish that there were opportunities for more decks to be competitive, but that is not where we are at. This is a game about strategy, and sometimes the best strategy is to plan on facing the most common deck.

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First of all, just to clarify, this is an emulation of a Real life card game. Unless the higher-ups in Japan decide to remove EXs, they will not be removed in the TCGO.

 

This is all that really needs to be said - the PTCGO simply follows the rulings and cards provided by GameFreak/Nintendo. You can complain to the developers of the PTCGO until you're blue in the face and it'll do nothing.

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As a beginner I just wish I could find better ways to counter Mega Ex's than having one of my own or extending the game with something like Carbink that won't take any damage from EX's. I thought EX were OP at first but once I got a few of my own for a couple decks they weren't so bad.

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here is how i see it:

 

if your new, i think you should not have to worry about exs. a non ex deck full out. this way new players can have atleast a chance of winning. cause lets face it, unless they some how magically got a good deck. they have no chance against a ex.

 

like for example:

 

yveltal,lugia, mewtwo. well normal decks can barely keep em down that easy. (excluding the top meta decks and such). but lets face it, a gyarados deck would normally be good. but not against these types.

 

sceptile deck: it can be beaten with normal pokemon. but it can be hard to. not as hard as the one above.

 

tina/toad: well we should know what happens with this deck. any deck has a hard time against it. (for the ones who don't kow, its a complete lock deck. it can either lock items, or stadiums, special energies and tools).

 

then we got the other exs. which can be easier to beat.

 

oh yeah forgot about rayquaza colorless: that deck even exs can have a hard time beating. it doesn't need much to ohko that many poke.

 

other things i think seminc took care of. tho i will add:

 

item limit, why? they are more useful then supporters are.

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The whole point of the the Pokemon game is building up your Pokemon through evolutions. Where's the skill and fun in  an EX. If you're going to build a deck full of EXs then you are not playing Pokemon. It lame, sorry but it is. One EX is very equal to or greater than a stage two evolution and that one card out of a sixty card deck compared to the three cards to get to a stage two. So right there is already a huge advantage. Also the fact that all EXs are basic and easy to get on the draw.

 

I'm tried of building a deck that is fun to play only to go against some lame deck with nothing but EXs. Wow, a lot thought went in to that.

 

How about a new deck category, if you have an EX in your deck then you can only challenge other decks with EXs. Or have a limit to the EXs within a deck. The Theme decks that have an EX only has one EX and it is built around a theme to that EX.

 

This is why I don't do the tournaments anymore.

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The whole point of the the Pokemon game is building up your Pokemon through evolutions. Where's the skill and fun in  an EX. If you're going to build a deck full of EXs then you are not playing Pokemon. It lame, sorry but it is. One EX is very equal to or greater than a stage two evolution and that one card out of a sixty card deck compared to the three cards to get to a stage two. So right there is already a huge advantage. Also the fact that all EXs are basic and easy to get on the draw.

 

I'm tried of building a deck that is fun to play only to go against some lame deck with nothing but EXs. Wow, a lot thought went in to that.

 

How about a new deck category, if you have an EX in your deck then you can only challenge other decks with EXs. Or have a limit to the EXs within a deck. The Theme decks that have an EX only has one EX and it is built around a theme to that EX.

 

This is why I don't do the tournaments anymore.

as stated above, if people removed ex decks you'd only end up with nightmarch/greninja/trev/vespiplume to battle

 

nightmarch is probably more terrifying than the ex decks due to the fact that it can easily hit 180 turn 1 and only gives one prize.

 

Seeing that you run stage 2's i'm guessing that greninja wouldn't be a great matchup either (bench snipe with greninja means you can get one, maybe two of your pokemon out before they lock you down)

 

and trev and vespiplume? you do have to admit that item lock is more annoying than facing an ex..

 

I'm not trying to discourage you or anything (i do avoid playing top tier decks just so i can enjoy the game) but sometimes when you really want to win, you have to try something new.

 

I really want to play with only togepis in a mill deck, but it might not exactly do much.

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The whole point of the the Pokemon game is building up your Pokemon through evolutions. Where's the skill and fun in an EX. If you're going to build a deck full of EXs then you are not playing Pokemon. It lame, sorry but it is. One EX is very equal to or greater than a stage two evolution and that one card out of a sixty card deck compared to the three cards to get to a stage two. So right there is already a huge advantage. Also the fact that all EXs are basic and easy to get on the draw.

 

 

 

I'm tried of building a deck that is fun to play only to go against some lame deck with nothing but EXs. Wow, a lot thought went in to that.

 

 

 

How about a new deck category, if you have an EX in your deck then you can only challenge other decks with EXs. Or have a limit to the EXs within a deck. The Theme decks that have an EX only has one EX and it is built around a theme to that EX.

 

 

 

This is why I don't do the tournaments anymore.

 

 

That moment when you wanted a friendly stroll through the forums and you see something that you must reply to... Sigh.

 

 

 

Not playing Pokémon, eh? I'm sorry Pokémon TCG has changed in the last 20 years, but this IS the game now. If you want to sit back in 2000 and play with cards that actually have no strategy other than evolve and attach energy, have at it. No one is trying to stop you. But this is 2016 and the game actually requires strategy to beat other top tier decks now. If you are running a deck full of EX's, you are going to lose sooooo many games to the decks that Awesome_Guy mentioned. It's not even fair to run EX's against some decks. So why not ban these decks that make EX decks less fun? I simply refuse to go all out on deflating your hopes of a non EX format, because I have done that with the last 10 anti EX threads. So go read those instead. It's completely impossible and ridiculous to even want.

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I think Water Toolbox balances the game more than you know.

Water Toolbox has: Greninja, Manaphy-EX (which is not overpowered, but has a good ability,) Regice, and Seismitoad.

 

Seismitoad puts a stop to item cards.

Greninja with its free retreat and shadow stitching, and Shuriken, puts EXs on the defensive, and snipes from the bench. It is not over-powering, and once Manaphy goes on the bench, the "no retreat cost" factor is nullified from Greninja's value.
And speaking of anti-EX, nothing is better than AO-Regice, and you know that. With steel decks being killed (read: buh-bye Dialga-EX and Bronzong acceleration,) Regice will stand almost unopposed, and most all-EX decks have no way of dealing indirect damage to Regice (at least not enough to kill Regice.)

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Yeeeeaaaaah, because the game was so much better without EX cards *COUGH*Porydonk*COUGH*

EX's are not the problem with this game at this moment in time, we have so much EX hate that those ridiculous EX decks you speak of can never really become tier 1 decks as if they do they will be countered by the next tourney dooming them to be rogue decks at best. The only reason why people (myself included) play them is because they win so fast when they win that it is beneficial to play them to progress the ladder. If I play tournament though I go Greninja or Vespiplum every single time as those decks have better win ratio or some rogue deck I have built, but I never ever go with a deck whose wincons are EX cards.

Items though, that is really a problem, which the decklists from ye olden days proves is not an old problem. This has been the case since the early days of the game. Currently I try to have atleast 25 items in every deck I play. Either I pull down on Pokémons or energy. That is really the balancing "problem". This is however, part of the game and has always been and this is due to the fact that players only need 6 pokémons that can fight. The only way to solve this is something they have thankfully started to do again, giving pokémons really useful poképowers, farewell letter Unown and Vileplume springs to mind and it has worked, but it will take a time for the full effect of this change to take place, I would say in about half a year when this design philosophy has been in place for a while we will see a strong change. BW/XY until Breakthrough were clearly focused heavily on powerful EX's and itemspamming and the issues those sets delivered are still lingering over the game.

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