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Problems with staggered Deploy Time

GiorgakisGiorgakis Posts: 3,117Member
edited May 12 in Card Balance Discussion
Staggered deployment of Swarm cards was added back in June of 2018 with Minions and Minion Horde. I loved the change and since then, I wanted to see that with other cards (or rather all Swarm cards). Then on March of 2019, it got added to Barbarians, Bats, Rascals and Goblin Gang and two months later on Three Musketeers as well. However this produces a huge problem on the balancing of the game with True Red/True Blue being the biggest offender of it.

So far, all of the staggering has been used as a tool to nerf cards. It has worked with varying succsss. Why? Because staggering isn't a nerf in all situations.

Buff: More forgiving against prediction spells and when deployed on a spell

Nerf: Don't instantly get their DPS value and can be reacted to more effectively

Nerf/Buff: The focus always begins with the first unit, which sometimes cripples your DPS early (i.e. opponent's archers focus on killing one minion instead of targeting different two) and sometimes helps survive splash hits (i.e. if opponent's archers focus on one minion, but then he also casts a zap, there will be 5 remaining to be taken down instead of 4).

These are not only minuscule, but pretty much add up to a zero.

The main symmetries in the arena are two - horizontal through the river, vertical through the middle of the king. In a perfect world, these symmetries should work perfectly. Playing a card on the right lane should yield the same result as playing it on the left lane, as well as your opponent playing it on their side.

Every single card in the game used to respect both symmetries:

Your opponent's placements are flipped, i.e. why Rascal Boy always goes up front regardless of who plays it. Rounding errors were fixed, and the river symmetry is guaranteed.

Cards are symmetrical on the vertical, which on its turn assures that the outcome is the same on both lanes

Graveyard is an exception.

Staggering isn't symmetrical. Let's take for example Goblin Gang. In the old gang, all of the goblins deployed at once. However, because of the staggering, each of them has a different "weight" and so one side is more "heavy" than the other.

Generally 0.15sec delay doesn't make a huge difference in the long run, but it does change interactions with specific units on specific tiles. Also, unlike more severe errors in the past, it affects nearly every deck. More than half of the decks use at least one of the staggering cards. Let's explore these discrepancies: I'll show those with lone towers, not because all of them are relevant, but because they can be easily tested and don't depend on precise timing.

Minions & Bats: Nothing significant

Minion Horde: Gets 2 extra hits if approaching from the left, for both towers. Doesn't work on right or center

Goblin Gang: Up front split formation, the side with the 2 goblins and 1 spear goblin is inconsistent: on the left side the spear goblin lands an extra spear. Left and right bridge placements also deal different damage

Rascals: In normal split placements, the side with the boy deals more damage to the left tower

Barbarians: The side with three barbarians deals more damage on the left than on the right. Also, when splitting behind the king, you can't decide which lane gets 3 barbarians (rounding bug).

A possible solution to that is to make the weight dependent on which lane you place them. If you place them on the left lane or on the left splitting column, then the left units would start moving before the right ones. The opposite goes with the right lane where the right units will move earlier instead.

So because of this, in the left lane the priority for each swarm is:

Minions: Front, then bottom left, then bottom right
Minion Horde: Front left, then front central, then front right, then bottom left, then bottom central, then bottom right
Bats: Front, then central left, then central right, then bottom left, then bottom right
Rascals: Rascal Boy, then left Rascal Girl, then right Rascal Girl
Barbarians: Front, then central left, then central right, then bottom left, then bottom right
Goblin Gang: Left Goblin, then central Goblin, then right Goblin, then left Spear Goblin, then right Spear Goblin
Three Musketeers: Front, then bottom left, then bottom right

And on the right lane, it would instead be

Minions: Front, then bottom right, then bottom left
Minion Horde: Front right, then front central, then front left, then bottom right, then bottom central, then bottom left
Bats: Front, then central right, then central left, then bottom right, then bottom left
Rascals: Rascal Boy, then right Rascal Girl, then left Rascal Girl
Barbarians: Front, then central right, then central left, then bottom right, then bottom left
Goblin Gang: Right Goblin, then central Goblin, then left Goblin, then right Spear Goblin, then left Spear Goblin
Three Musketeers: Front, then bottom right, then bottom left

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  • MasterCalMasterCal Posts: 2,352Moderator
    I like the idea of making them weight-dependent. Excellent thread.

    I never thought of this before, thanks for bringing it up

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  • kitsune42kitsune42 Posts: 335Member
    With the actual mechanic do you have an advice to attack on the left or on the right lane first???
    I didn't think about this phenomenon. My favourite side is the right side.
  • ferrell34ferrell34 Posts: 1,437Moderator
    Noticed that too, especially with Barbarians.

    However, i couldn't figure out the best solution to fix such inconsistencies. Well thought :+1:
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