CWA and OJ both interviewed Seth about various balance questions. It included cards that were changed, cards that were not changed, and the balance plan. If you want to see the full length interviews the videos are down below (they are two different parts). I will provide a summary (still long but hopefully not too long) below. I also posted something similar in the News Royale channel of the Community Royale Discord server.
Every few months, the team tries to focus on the weaker cards rather than the stronger cards, trying to buff them to get them viable. The Barbarian
change not only allowed them to get a weak card hopefully viable, it also allowed them to nerf the most used card (Barbarian Barrel) and the highest win rate for a win condition (Battle Ram). They had been hesitant to buff Barbarians because of their popularity on Ladder. Similar to Witch and Wizard, who are weak competitively but prevalent on Ladder, it could confuse casual players who mostly play Ladder if those cards they're seeing frequently get buffed rather than nerfed. Most people interpreted the change as a nerf to the Barbarians, but it's a 25% DPS buff which more than makes up for the HP nerf and staggered deployment time.
They had an Elite Barbarians
change planned for this balance update, but it got cut from the final patch notes. They figured an EBarb change would overshadow the Barb rework which was the main point of this balance update. They do have a rework/buff in playtesting that they like and should come out sometime this year. Like Barbarians, they are hesitant to buff/rework EBarbs due to their popularity. Not only are they used a lot, they are also one of the most upgraded cards in the game.
is one of the strongest win conditions across the board, however its win rates are not too high. The team prefers that a low skill cap card like RG isn't a top deck, so if it remains strong they might nerf it. The rework they did is considered by the team one of the most successful balance changes (individually, not as each balance patch) they've ever done.
is one of the best cards in draft mode, and also has one of the highest win rates at tournament standard. However, its use rates, particularly on Ladder, are lower because of the economy (it's an epic and it hasn't been in the game for six months yet)
is an annoying card because they can render the opponent's cards ineffective if they are working. Seth prefers cards like that (Freeze, Ram Rider) to be niche cards, viable, but low use rates. The card has win rates around 48-49% so it isn't terribly underpowered. The Barb rework could also help Zappies as another Fireball bait card. The Ram Rider
if it needs a nerf will probably have its crowd-control capabilities dialed down a bit. The team wanted her to be good on defense.
has been outclassed by virtually every splasher. They've tested a couple potential changes (adding a death damage or making it 2 elixir but dying to The Log) yet neither of those changes felt right. For the death damage in particular, it made the card feel like a suicide defensive fireball. Additionally, as a lower arena Common, it cannot be too complex for newer players to pick up and understand.
had okay use rates but low win rates. The buff isn't as significant as people think because since the building still lasts 40 seconds, it actually decays health faster. He wanted X-Bow to be a bit better against Rocket. He doesn't think the buff will substantially improve the card, but he did want to improve the HP-to-elixir ratio with the Mortar.
Since Seth joined the CR dev team, Three Musketeers
have consistently had a high win rate. Even when they nerfed support cards (Ice Golem, Elixir Collector, Minion Horde, Battle Ram) the card would still be atop the win rates. 3M was consistently a top 3 deck in the game. It is considered by the players as one of the hardest deck types to plan how to counter. When it got time to nerf the 3M, the team debated two changes, cost increase, and deploy time increase. Each had its drawbacks (cost change results in a bit of elixir leaked, deploy time gives slightly more time to build up a push behind the King Tower) and ultimately they settled on the cost change because players were still getting a bargain (10.6 elixir for a 12-elixir value card). To rectify the problem of leaking elixir, the team discussed bringing back the "11th elixir" feature that was in the game until Sept 2016? (I forget exactly when it got removed). However, for multiple reasons which are not mentioned, they decided against that. The card currently has a mid-30s percent win rate, which obviously isn't ideal, but that can partly be explained by people's mindsets that the card is trash. If the card gets up to a mid-40s percent win rate they'll probably keep 3M at 10. Otherwise, they might bring the cost back down to 9 elixir.
They feel that bringing 3M back down to 9 elixir won't make them OP again because they have buffed counters to 3M (Barbarians, Bomb Tower) and also Battle Ram cannot function as a lightning rod anymore. Seth feels that the current meta without 3M is the most diverse the game has seen.
The team discussed initially buffing Bomb Tower
's HP, but decided for a death damage. Instead of being a building that players try to distract units away from the tower, like Tesla or Inferno Tower, it can be a building that can be played right in the lane to kill a lot of units. Seth thinks that Bomb Tower could turn into an effective counter for the Bridge Spam archetype.
Seth doesn't think that Barbarians will fit into 3M decks because their role doesn't fit well in that deck. He does think that it will help other Fireball bait cards, like Zappies, Magic Archer, and Flying Machine. If Barbarian Barrel remains too popular and the "classic" Barbarians are strong, they do have a little room to further bring down the Barbarian's HP. He pointed out that in Clash of Clans, Barbarians aren't really tanky. CoC is also where they got the inspiration for Bomb Tower death damage. Additionally barbarians were functionally very similar to Royal Recruits in terms of HP.
girls spawn before the boy because they wanted to add a bit of a skill cap to the card. Now the card has to be played earlier on defense and the player has to be smart and protect the Rascal girls. Now you can't just plant a Mortar and immediately place Rascals in front of it.