The Elder Scrolls

Tomorrow: where we’re going; today: where we are now

TheElderScrolls5 - Tomorrow: where we’re going; today: where we are now

As I’m flying out to Boston to showcase what’s coming up for Legends, I wanted to take this time to reflect on where we are now.

One of the things I love most about card games is that they are constantly changing; they present new puzzles to solve, directions to explore, and challenges to overcome. The lack of change in Legends over the past year has been really rough. We've been in the same environment for far too long; everything has been fully explored, and the best decks have largely been figured out and refined. For my part in that, I’d like to apologize. While much of the content drought was out of my control, FrostSpark and Isle of Madness were, and they didn’t create the novelty and impact they should have. There’s excuses for that, like design for Isle being mostly completed before Houses of Morrowind even released, but ultimately I had the ability to affect much greater change with these releases and I failed to. But change is coming, and I’m stoked to be able to start sharing some of what’s to come with you tomorrow.

Speaking of significant change brings us right into the hot discussion topic, three-attribute. From my perspective, three-attribute was a huge success. It was the big new thing that Houses of Morrowind brought, and we wanted to make sure that it was appealing and popular. Our goal was for three-attribute and two-attribute decks to see roughly equal amounts of play (meaning for each individual House to be played twice as much as each two-attribute class), and that is almost exactly what came to be. Just before patch 2.8, classes were just slightly ahead of Houses on both play rates and win rates, across all ranks of play. I believe that Houses have successfully expanded the diversity of decks you play against on ladder. The lack of new content, on the other hand, has led to consolidation in the most popular and successful decks, and I think three-attribute has received some misplaced blame for that. My stance is that Houses of Morrowind withstood 9 months with no new content far better than an expansion which hadn’t so fundamentally changed the game would have.


That’s not to say everything about three-attribute is perfect. The main advantage that Houses have over classes is that we tend to make multi-attribute cards more powerful than single-attribute cards, and Houses are able to include a higher concentration of multi-attribute cards and thus can have a slightly higher average power level. The big advantages of classes are more consistent access to key cards and combinations between cards. As such, "goodstuff" decks primarily concerned with playing the most powerful cards are generally going to be best in three-attributes, while higher synergy decks or decks built around important payoff cards are going to want to be two-attribute. I don't see it as a problem that three-attribute is stronger for goodstuff decks, but goodstuff is stronger and more popular than I'd like relative to highly synergistic decks. In the future you can definitely expect to see more powerful synergies and buildaround cards, as well as cards that function best in 50 card decks that even goodstuff will be interested in.

Tribunal specifically is problematic. The high percentage of removal Tribunal control typically contains, and the resulting attrition-based strategy, is not net fun. I want to be clear here that control is absolutely a strategy I want in the game. But the way I want control to function is to primarily use creatures to fight for board control, and try to stall into powerful late game effects that win the game rather than winning through exhausting the opponent’s resources. Removal is also an important and healthy thing for the game to have, but I want removal to be chosen to solve specific problems rather than be universally effective, and to be used judiciously on key targets to break up what your opponent is trying to do. None of that describes what Tribunal control is about at all. That said, I don’t want any more Mantikoras dying for Tribunal’s sins unless necessary, and Tribunal simply hasn’t been troublingly popular or winning. It is seeing an uptick in play since 2.8, but I expect that trend to sharply reverse with . Our general approach to attrition strategies has been not to make the cards in them weak, but rather to create a variety of cards that are strong against such a strategy to limit its viability – cards such as Tulius’s Conscription and Wilds Incarnate. That continues to be the plan, but if we do find ourselves in an environment where attrition is succeeding, we will be quick to take action (probably by nerfing Mantikora again, it takes up the most space on the dart board).

One final note: I read just about everything on this subreddit, and really appreciate being able to get feedback from all of you here. I rarely engage, because I don’t have the time to do it well, and I believe it’s better to say nothing than to do it poorly. But I do hear you.

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