Something needs to be done about stalemates

  • It's quite easy for two players to have spell decks that, if played properly, result in a stalemate during a duel. It doesn't really matter whether or not this is a problem at higher level because it's a problem at low level, and it shouldn't be a problem at any level.


    Player 1 (guessing Paladin or Druid?): Magic Arrow, Energetic Strike, Heal Light Wounds, Cool Off
    Player 2(Warden): Absorb, Drain HP, Pine Needles, Eneregetic Strike

    Result: Player 1 heals and cools off any time their HP gets low but otherwise attacks, which allows the Warden's Drain HP enough time to recover from any damage that gets through Absorb. This battle can go on literally indefinitely. The Warden is unable to spare any heat for a Pine Needles + Energetic Blast combo and the Paladin is forced to halt their assault to heal every time Drain HP gets low, ad nauseum.

    Suggestion: There really needs to be something preventing duels going on for 20+ minutes. Playing a game of boredom chicken to see who will throw the match first feels 100x worse than simply losing or the match resulting in a draw.

  • @peter-larkin Example: I dueled today with an Absorb-Magic Shield-Creeping Death deck. I got an opponent who has high empower, he healed all the damage from my poison and he couldn't deal any damage to me because of my Absorb. When he noticed that the battle will take forever, he immediately gave up. But I am afraid I will face more patient opponents with that deck.

    Discussion: That isn't a very rare situation and it needs to be fixed, but how? If the battles had a time limit, how could the system choose the winner? It's a hard problem to solve, I think.

    (English isn't my native language, sorry if I made any mistakes.

  • personally I think that Direct damage is to low when compared to Inflictions. Standard Direct damage spell need a boost. Its been a while since I was low or mid level but even with the healing nerf damage from non class special direct damage attacks don't out class infliction spells.

    Compare Infliction vs Direct damage
    Drain HP Vs Energetic strike:- Drain HP Effective SP 60 over 2 rounds (+heal effect) 3 hit of SP 20 Vs E Strike 1 hit at SP 70.
    From this E/Strike looks like its does better damage on the first round, but DHP gets a boost from Heal Ring and also Infliction ring, E Strike does not. So a player with legendary Heal and infliction rings will gain +90 Empower when using DHP that E. Strike will not.
    so a 50 EMP paladin vs 50 DEF monster would do 56 damage with DHP (3 times for 168 damage over 2 rounds) vs the 70 damage from the E. Strike. I know this is and extreme example and yes safe space and bark skin will ignor or reduce the damage).

    Cruching Void Vs Solar Spear
    using same eg as above.
    Crushing Void will do 100 damage (300 over 3 rounds) Vs Solar Spears 150.

    As you can see Direct damage needs either a direct SP boost or New Rings that offer the same effects and the heal + Infliction rings but only effect direct damage.

    Edited for correct buffs to CV

  • @antony-hollinsworth Well, I think inflictions should be nerfed instead of direct attacks being buffed. I can't beat a Gremlin without using Poison Cure three times whenever it uses Creeping Death. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or Tier II are normally this hard.

  • @wiwade Use bark skin vs. gremlin as it reduces infliction damage by 70%

  • @antony-hollinsworth I guess I didn't have an idea about what infliction is when I last looked Barkskin. It makes sense now. Thanks!

  • @wiwade chances are if it in the Dark Arts school and does damage its an infliction, along with Bleed and Crushing Void from Sorcery

  • @wiwade said in Something needs to be done about stalemates:

    @antony-hollinsworth Well, I think inflictions should be nerfed instead of direct attacks being buffed. I can't beat a Gremlin without using Poison Cure three times whenever it uses Creeping Death. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or Tier II are normally this hard.

    if they added an item that had the same effect as the infliction ring that effected Direct Damage then it would be more balanced, removing the infliction ring would just make the game harder than it has already become with the inclusion of Champs, and change to what quality drops you get from normal monsters. Champs are hard to beat even with legendary equipment.

  • I was actually thinking about making a post about how Inflictions are much stronger than Direct Damage in the PvE world, but are more balanced in PvP because of the counters available like Safe Space, Barkskin, and Cure Poison.

    Not only can you boost Infliction Empower via Tier 7 ring (and Tier 4 ring for Drain HP), but since they are continuous effects, you can further boost their overall damage with buffs and debuffs that do not need to be applied on the initial casting. My main PvE damage cycle for my Warden is fully Infliction based, with Crushing Void and Drain HP supported by Violent Poisons and Gaint's Strength. I keep the DoT's up as much as a I can along with keeping the buffs up as much as possible to boost both Inflictions' damage.

    I don't think nerfing Inflictions will solve the problem, if anything it makes the issue pointed out here worse since you will have even less damage being done by Infliction users, and its already low when you consider the available counters.

  • Tier V ring should be changed to Direct damage buff as invocation concentration is wasted now and unlikely to be used by anyone since the self buff auto hit change and only 3 spells in total are offensive in nature.

  • The solution is simple. When you come across that type of opponent you use different spells next time. For the Devs the option is to create a draw option where both parties can offer a draw. This will result in no points but the match is finished. Both parties will have to agree to the draw.

  • @luckychance Except that the "next time" might be an opponent against which your original strategy would have been the winning one. Due to the random nature of Duels redoing your deck to take out one particular opponent is not a winning strategy. This will be even more true if/when player population increases, meaning the odds of seeing the same person 2 or 3 times in a row will be very small.

    It's generally considered a sign of a flaw in a game if stalemates are a regular occurrence. For this reason Chess is actually a deeply flawed game, but it has such history and tradition behind it that it'll likely never change. But a large number of Chess matches end in stalemates. That's not satisfying for anyone involved or the spectators.

    I don't know what a solution would look like exactly but the solution I see in a lot of games is to have a secondary goal that is likely to only be reached during a stalemate. For example, healing should be a valid strategy, but if it's your only strategy, maybe a player should lose a duel if they lose a total of HP equal to 3 or 4x their life maximum. This keeps healing a valid strategy, but forces defensive players to still have some meaningful offensive options. Two defensive players would then be in a race to reach the 3x/4x cap rather than cause the other player to hit 0hp. But two blasty characters would result in a clear winner from hitting 0hp long before either player took 3x/4x of their HP maximum.

    I am not a designer for the game so, the above is just a possible solution. But there's lots of clever ways to prevent stalemates. Telling players "Well then don't do that" is the worst solution to a problem. The solution should be in the game design itself.

  • administrators

    You all made valid points. I am going to go through all this. That Tier 5 Ring truly is rather useless now. We also need to prevent 25 minutes long duels.
    We were thinking about a TURN cap.

  • @maguss A turn cap is certainly an effective way of doing it but it's not very satisfying to the player. Then again, an alternate goal of some kind is going to need clear messaging so that players aren't caught off guard when a duel suddenly ends. And, the alternate goal needs to be something players couldn't optimize their deck to reach before an aggressive player kills them the old fashioned way; it should only come up when two defensive/cautious players duel. So an alternate goal has its own challenges.

    My issue with a flat turn cap is that it actively encourages only one playstyle/strategy: all out attack. Why even risk reaching the turn cap since doing so would be almost as bad as losing?

    I have noticed there are some attrition spells in the game too. Paladins have a spell that does more damage each time it is used during the course of a duel and there's Extract Life Force which can slowly whittle down an opponent's Max HP. There's also spells which reduce or block healing, but the problem can be that when you're trying to survive yourself you don't have heat or spell slots to use them. So both players can get stuck in a sort of "survive first, attack rarely" situation. And getting stuck in that situation then ending in a Draw due to a turn limit would feel Super Bad™. :(

  • @peter-larkin Before the healing and Replicate nerfs, duels could become true grind fests with only those two spells you mentioned, Demon Sting and Extract Life Force, providing inevitability. I think the changes they have made have improved things, but from the sounds of it for your case, there is still some cases where things get grindy.

    Its really a matter of spell selection and knowing what you need to bring to the duel to win. Playing offense, you should bring anti-healing debuffs like Numbness and Fairy Fire, and in the same vein, playing defense you should bring anti-debuff spells like Willpower, Cleanse, and Immunity to provide a counter to the debuffs. It makes it more of a strategy game, with players trying to land a debuff to counter a heal, and being able to get out form under the debuff when you need a heal.

    Some classes, like Warden, don't have the luxury of all out offensive builds and play to their strengths on defense. I feel like adding a turn cap would cause a bit of an imbalance that favours offensive builds.

  • Yep. And I am playing Warden, lucky me. lol

    I am having some success taking the first round to buff/debuff and then going all out the next round. My high defense and HP allow me the luxury of a turn of setup before attacking. But that only works if I can bring down my opponent within a turn or two of my setup. Otherwise I am relying on Drain HP and Creeping Death.

    As I unlock more spell glyphs the situation will improve, for sure, but I still kind of wonder what Warden v. Warden looks like at level 50?

  • @peter-larkin Warden here too, don't worry you made a good choice :)

    I have yet to have a real level 50 Warden vs. Warden match in PvP, but I know that it would be a longer match and highly dependent on spell selection. In general, I would say the most important advice is don't go all in on inflictions, try to have at least 1 direct damage spell you can use if they bring anti-infliction buffs. Fumble is a good choice for this as Warden since you generally have more defense than empower so the hit back doesn't hurt as much.

  • @rollingcode Oh yes, Fumble. I do bad, bad things with that spell. I'm excited to eventually get Prismatic Burst, too.

  • @peter-larkin Fumble gets even better when you buff up the turn before and cast Magic Shield + Fumble in the damage turn.

    PBurst is good, I thought it would be an awesome counter to Demon Sting, but its hard to use effectively sometimes with the high cost. I haven't had a ton of chances to really try it out so far. One thing to note about PBurst is that it reflect exactly the amount of damage you take in that turn, so you almost always want to cast it when going last in case their big damage comes in the last slot.

  • @rollingcode How do I know if I am going first or second in the turn? That's a bummer, I thought PBurst used your own Empower stat. I was really hoping for a Fire Trap -> PBurst combo to punish aggressive players. And yeah, now that I have Fumble that's how I've been using it. It's also super nice in PvE since I can one-shot the mob and always start at 66% HP or so as long as I win.

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