July 19, 2019 August 1, 2019
Beastmoon Hunt Thoughts
The Beastmoon Hunt is a brand new special event introduced in the 2019 Summer test realm. Of course, we had to jump into a few matches right off the bat to get some first impressions. These first impressions were overwhelmingly positive. Granted, the whole event could use some tweaking, but overall it was quite enjoyable.
To sum it up, this event is essentially a casual version of team PvP. There aren’t any barriers to entry and you don’t need to spend hours (or days, or weeks) to make a perfect deck and figure out how to spend your training points. Just jump straight into a match and have some fun.
New Turn System
I think we can safely assume that the turn system is the mechanic that Kingsisle is testing for implementation into ranked PvP. To be completely honest, I personally have mixed feelings about this. It looks like a really good mechanic for the Beastmoon Hunt event, but I’m not sure if this success would be the same in ranked PvP.
So, how exactly does it work? There is no more going first. Instead players/teams changes who goes first each round. Basically, the turn order looks like this now: A-B ; B-A ; A-B ; B-A. In multiplayer battles this alternating system is applied down the line. So for example in a 2v2 where Team 1 is A-1 and A-2 and Team 2 is B-1 and B-2 the turn system looks like this: A-1, B-1, A-2, B-2 ; B-1, A-1, B-2, A-2.
And speaking of turn based mechanics, check this great post from Ideas086 on Wizard101 official forum. S/he nicely explained the differences between the current and Beastmoon Hunt turn system as well pointed out another issue that comes with new system.
Why it isn’t a good system for PvP…
Let’s check 1v1 first. Even though players alternate going first and second, this system still doesn’t solve the action and reaction problem. Both players choose the card at the same time, so hitting into a shield or through an Efreet weakness is still going to be an omnipresent issue. But this isn’t the biggest problem.
The real problem lies in double turns and the unstoppable combinations they provide. Off the top of my head, here are some potentially overpowered combinations:
- Shadow hit into shadow hit
- Shrike into shadow hit
- Dot into stun into big hit (on the stunned turn)
- Big dot into small dot (to prevent triage)
- Medusa would give you 3 rounds (Medusa (A) – hit (A) – stunned (B) – stunned (B) – hit (A) – hit (A))
- Sanctuary into Satyr (for jades).
And there are probably more unstoppable combinations. Overall, I’m really scared that this turn system would only bring more problems in PvP.
Team based PvP is different story though. There would still be the problem of two consecutive hits from one team, but this is already happening today. But alternating turns between the teams makes this less of an issue. While this would most likely make team PvP more popular, I don’t think it’s worth the risk in 1v1 PvP.
Predetermined Decks and Stats in Beastmoon Hunt
My initial thoughts about this were “no freedom for card or gear selection – this is horrible!” But after giving the event a few more tries, I noticed that it’s actually not that bad. This is because strategic play is very limited in this event. You can’t really outsmart your opponent or apply any creative strategies due to a low amount of health. Usually, it’s just easier to brute force it and go for a kill.
But on the other hand, that’s a great thing for the playerbase at large. We need to keep in mind that the advantages of no entry barriers would be quickly negated if sophisticated strategies came into a play.
But everything is not that nice and shiny. I’m sure that stats and cards were carefully designed to make fights exciting. But that just happens in theory – I noticed some design flaws while testing it out. Some beasts complement others and counter opposing cards. However, that would be in a perfect world. The reality is bit different, since we have random beast vs. random beasts, which often results in not so enjoyable fights:
- Using cards with additional effects doesn’t make sense, because team mates or opponents doesn’t play the moves you need to best complement your moves.
- Too many defensive beasts on the field can make battles too long and tedious.
- Too many hard hitting beasts on the field can end a fight before you’re even able to check notifications on your mobile phone.
- New icons on cards can make things hard to understand. Combining this with low hand size ends up with players throwing up random attacks, with no concern for strategy.
Okay, we all know that new things are often confusing and take some time to get used to. But we can easily avoid some things and make the experience more comfortable in the Beastmoon Hunt.
Let’s start with the aforementioned card icons. I didn’t notice any new mechanics (could be because of things stated in previous paragraph), but my initial reaction was that all the cards have weird new icons. We already have icons for positive and negative charms and wards, so why change it up and confuse the players? This thing stuck in my head until I finally realized that these are all flat damage values. It eventually become clear, but maybe we could receive some kind of heads up what certain symbols mean?
The next confusing thing are battle rings with their player limitations. You’re struggling in a 1v3 fight now, and next minute you can’t join your team mate in 2v2? What’s happening?! You can find the answer to this question, but it’s only in an optional help section There should be some kind of clearly marked indication about the size of the circle (whether they’re 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4).
Figuring out how to unlock certain beasts are tricky as well. It’s far from being intuitive and it takes some time to figure it out. This last two things kinda remind me of things that were looked into for FTUE. These things are easy enough to decipher eventually, but they’re not very newcomer friendly.
Team Play Oriented
Positives and Negatives
The emphasis on team play has positive and negative effects. First and foremost are the obvious concerns with greifing and boosting. Griefing is when a certain player enters the match and plays badly on purpose. While this isn’t widespread in Wizard101, we’ve all been in a dungeon (or other boss fight) when our team mate suddenly left. It’s not far-fetched to expect similar things to happen in the Hunt. And chances are higher here at Beastmoon Hunt, since teams can be twice as big as they are in regular fights.
Second is boosting: AKA queuing with 2 or more wizards simultaneously. Then you simply don’t do anything with other wizard in order to drastically increase the chances of winning on your other one. You could imagine a scenario where someone uses many accounts to boost one of his teams. Just imagine 5v5 battle where one person controls 2 wizards, each on one team. He stay afk with one and essentially turning 2v2 + 3v3 fights into 2v2 + 2v3 fights. It’s not 100% the same as PvP boosting, but at the end he would still make his team win, while bringing down other players on the opposite team.
But let’s not just write about negative sides. Big teams bring a lot of fun on the table. Having one big field with a lot of players playing against each other is much more interesting than soloing and doing stuff by yourself. Besides, there is one even more important and often overlooked thing. Reaching objectives is based on good practice – working together. This event basically pushes players to cooperate with each other in a fun way. It’s slowly changing their mindset that working together is better then going alone. I really hope this can nicely transfer into boss fights in the game.
I have two concerns when it come to strategies with such big teams. First one relates to big and random teams. While players know that they need to work together, it’s still really hard to organize or lead a large team. Problems already start right away – when some players just rush and pick their favorite beast without thinking how this would work in tandem with the rest of their team. One huge plus here is chat. It’s team only chat and it isn’t limited by the distance between players. You can see what other players are typing, even if you’re on the other side of the battlegrounds.
Next up are players who work together via voice chat. Right now, it’s pretty hard to choose your team and I really hope that there won’t be an option to queue with friends. While queuing with friends can be a lot of fun, it’s simply too big of a balance risk. Just imagine 8 players in voice chat vs 8 random ones. Let’s leave that to more serious things – PvP. I see this mainly as a casual, fun event and it should stay like that.
Balance Issues in Beastmoon Hunt
This is probably the biggest minus in my book for this event: Uneven teams. 1 player difference is already big enough to make a difference between winning and losing or living and dying. Both teams need an equal amount of players – period.
Next one is just speculative. It’s still too early to talk about this, but it still popped into my mind. I’m not exactly sure how matchmaking works. So theoretically, you can have one team, who are all only level 1 and tier 1 vs a maxed out team. Even having only a maxed out healer or tank can make a big difference in a fight. As I said, it’s still too early to talk about that, but it’s definitely a thing that Kingsisle needs to keep in mind.
Faster animations – great addition. It does take away some charm from the game, however. It’s perfect for Beastmoon Hunt, but I have mixed feelings about using shorter animations in the rest of the game. Sure, it’s true that fights would be less tedious, but this length is welcomed in longer and tougher fights. It’s nice to give players some time to work on strategy and make plans for the next round, which can be done during spell animations.
Next thing is speed vs strength and the ability to obtain extra pips. My initial thoughts were that slow and strong beasts are way too powerful. Following by gathering extra pips is way too powerful. But when you see the bigger picture, you notice how these things complement each other. Faster and weaker creatures have a much easier time gathering extra pips, which gave them a nice counter to hard hitting beasts.
And the last one is the battle deck vs battlecards. I’ve decided that I’ll stay away from bugs or general information here, but I’m not 100% sure whether this is a bug or not. But basically, both set of cards are mixed up in main deck now, which doesn’t make much sense. It’d be much better if battlecards would work more like treasure cards in regular fights.
How do you like the Beastmoon Hunt?
What things would you change?