Friday, April 8, 2016

All about you

A magnificent new legendary minion has been revealed for the new Hearthstone expansion:  Yogg-Saron, Hope's End.  I remember fighting Yogg for many hours in WOW so it is a great pleasure to finally make its acquaintance here.  The Hearthstone version of Yogg doesn't quite capture the feeling of fighting it in WOW but I can't imagine any way to do that and since this is a wonderful card I will forgive this most slight of transgressions.
Lots of people hate this card.  They shout that Blizzard has introduced too much RNG, that this will ruin the format, that Blizzard doesn't understand that people want a skill game, not an RNG game.  All of these people have the same issue - they are under the mistaken impression that Yogg is for them.  It isn't.

Look at this card!  It is random on random!  Spells everywhere!  Just so you know, it isn't as though Yogg is completely 50/50.  Many spells draw you cards, or nuke enemy minions only, or otherwise do things that are good without requiring a target.  Yogg is super random but most of the stuff he does will help you, and over many iterations you will see a large positive trend in his effects.

You know who wants super random explosions and random and KABOOM?  People playing casual decks.  People playing in Tavern Brawl just for fun.  People who are streaming their ridiculous Yogg decks that are designed to just survive until they can slam Yogg down and watch the fireworks.  Yogg will dominate all the highlights reels of the most outrageous things that happened on any given day.

Yogg will not be in tournaments.  It will not be in good decks.  While it can help you, it will often just cast a bunch of spells that barely do anything, counteract each other, or kill you.  Yogg is not for players who want balance, and it is not for players who want competition.  It is for players who want YOLO hilarity, and there are *tons* of those.

I think people get caught up in reading strategy articles and receive the mistaken impression that most players are hardcore munchkins chasing tournament wins.  They aren't.  Most players log on, build a deck that will do some fun stuff, win some games, lose some games, and log off.  They read about stuff on the internet and such, but they just aren't that worried about winning.  Just like in WOW where all kinds of content and balancing was aimed at raiders, people sometimes forgot that most players don't ever raid.

If you hate the RNG in Yogg, then please just calm down.  Yogg isn't for you, and you probably won't see much of it at all, and when you do you will probably win.  You aren't going to have to worry about Yogg being good or not.

Blizzard knows that this kind of ridiculousness isn't good for tournaments, so they ran a bazillion Yogg simulations to make sure that overall it does useful things, it consistently delivers hilarity, and top players will not be running it when they try to beat people for serious.

That is what the card is for.  The people who this card is for are already salivating at the thought.

If you aren't salivating at the sight of Yogg, don't worry.  This one isn't about you.


  1. I agree with most of this, but I really find myself doubting that Blizzard ran simulations to make sure of those things. Blizzard pretty consistently has shown the complete lack of desire to do proper testing or crunch numbers.

    Yogg, or a card like him, may well be good enough to see tournament play. He may well get nerfed at that point to bring him in line. But asserting that proper testing was done in advance just doesn't seem right to me.

    Blizzard is going to throw some darts at a dart board and then patch it. Thank goodness it's a digital only game so they can just nerf the ludicrous stuff that slips through, unlike Magic.

    1. Simulating Yogg is ridiculously easy. There was a player built Yogg simulator up on the web the same day the card launched! All you had to do was figure out what was on the board, hit the simulate button, and sort out what happened. The takeaway lesson was that so many spells are so bad or so situational that Yogg can't be good. Too many spells interact with weapons, or totems, or silence, or do other pointless things.

      It is hard to get balance exact. When you want a card to be competitive you have a tricky target to hit. However, when you specifically want a card to be *not* competitive, your target is huge. Yogg is like this. They aren't trying to make something that has power level 9 but not 10. They are just trying to be sure Yogg is between 3 and 7, and that is super easy to do.

    2. Simulating how learning runewords in Diablo II would work was also ridiculously easy...

      How about the damage done on Inferno mode in Diablo III?

      I'm not saying they couldn't work to get things balanced better. I'm saying all evidence indicates they don't care enough to do so.