One fan’s ‘Marvel PuzzleQuest’ Wish-List (v1.1)

D3 Go!’s “Marvel Puzzle Quest”, a “Match 3” puzzle combined with “Role-Playing Game” elements. Play puzzle ‘nodes’ linked into stories, or play nodes in ‘player versus player’ events for global ranking. rewards for beating ‘nodes’ range from ‘covers’ for characters (used to add the character to your roster, as well as add/enhance a character’s powers); “Iso-8”, used to ‘level-up’ your character; ‘Hero Point’ (“coin of the realm”) used to purchase slots in your roster to add characters, and to purchase a chance to get a cover or some other prize in one of the ‘lotteries’; and “Command Points”, also used to purchase chances in character cover ‘lotteries’ or directly purchase additional covers for a character already in your roster.

Love it. Been playing it, and making in-game PayPal purchases to support it, for over a year and a half. [Less so the past couple of months. Some strange Google Play password hiccup blocked be from purchasing one day, and had me convinced someone was trying to steal my identity or account, and I went on a credit report downloading, password-changing spree trying to head off I-know-not-what.]

The game has changed a lot. As the developer seeks to keep the game fresh and exciting, new characters are introduced. That often means rendering older characters obsolete. Bit of a ‘escalation’ in the character roster ‘arms race’. The 1-star and 2-star characters are nearly useless (outside of specifically ‘character required’ nodes) as the development has progressed up through 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star characters.

I’m fine with whatever they (D3 Go!) does with its 3-star thru 5-star development.

This post is s ‘wish-list’ of things I’d like to see for the Story Event section’s “Prologue” and “Deadpool’s Daily Quest” Events, and things related to 1-star and 2-star characters. Ideas are in no particular order of importance, but are all connected; if all couldn’t be done, would rather not see any of them done, just keep things as they are.

  • 1-star and 2-star characters shouldn’t cost roster slots. They should be ‘free’ yet can’t be sold off. Automatically added to your roster. You could still sell of extra covers for Iso-8.
  • 1-stars: we should either be able to champion 1-stars, or both 1-stars and 2-stars should not be championed, period.
  • The “Dark Reign” storyline missions: need to be redone. All 5 ‘chapters’ should be re-imagined as ‘Daily Quests’. We don’t need to replicate the “Deadpool Daily Quest” layout and nodes; just make each node only playable once a day, up the rewards, adjust the difficulty, allow only 1-star and 2-star characters to be used. For new players, it’ll help them level-up their 1- and 2-stars, and for new or experienced, it’s an ‘Iso-8 farm’. Gives new players something to continue to do, if they don’t yet have a powerful enough roster (and can’t spend the money) to compete more steadily in Story or Versus events.
  • “Deadpool’s Daily Quest” and other Story events: should only require 3-star characters. EXCEPT that once-every-few-days DDQ node that is the ‘4-star duel’ thing. Would like to see Story events pop up that require only 4-star or 5-star characters as well.
  • Regarding the ‘lotteries’: would rather see them all become ‘Vaults’. Would really like to see the “Legendary” lottery become a 9-cover vault, with the selection of covers rotating every 24 hours. They could still scale the percentage chance of pulling rarer covers. The only way to guarantee you’ll pull the cover of that day’s vault that you want is to spend the Hero Points (or Command Points) to buy up the vault.

… that’s pretty much my wish-list. I’ll edit it as necessary, plop in some additional ideas that strike me.

Except characters I want to see. Or improvements to existing characters. I know both those can get tedious. Everyone has character and ability wish-lists.

Advertisements

HeroClix Tinkering: Close Combat Expert & Ranged Combat Expert (v1.1)

HCT_CCE_RCE_PRX

Was ruminating a bit last night bout two completely different games: WizKids’ HeroClix (a tactical/startegy game using miniatures with a “combat dial” system; my favorite themes involve the superhero genre, particularly the Marvel Comics and DC Comics brands) and D#’s “Marvel Puzzle Quest” (the version I play is a mobile app-based “Match 3” puzzle game, with “role-playing game” inflections using characters from Marvel Comics).

Was marveling (ha-ha) at how D3 is able to revise/update characters. Characters like thier version of Doctor Octopus, for example: There’s a “story event” coming up that involves him, so I took some time to re-read his character’s powers. I’ve had the character in my inventory, but have only used him when required to do so. He’s one of those characters who’ve been continually revised by D3, and now appears to be much more useful than when I first added him to my “collection”.

This invariably got me thinking about HeroClix, how the game ages, how vital continued stream-lining, additions, and other refinements are so necessary. (It also prompted me to look up a certain competing game called “Golem Arcana”, seen here — http://golemarcana.com/. Check it out. I’m not buying into it, but it’s got some cool stuff that could be applied to HeroClix via mobile-based apps.)

WizKids Game Design Team has done a great job over the years refining/reengineering the system. It shows up in changes to the “Core” rules and the Powers & Abilities Card, plus supplemental documentation. It also shows up in the figure design, which is where I get annoyed. I hate it that stuff I spent good, hard-earned money on is near-useless in the modern game.

And it’s mainly centered on the statistical values representing Speed, Attack, Defense, Damage, and to a much lesser extent, Range. A lot of the initial designs have very low stats, and the progression of the stats down the dial for the inaugural sets meant stats values dropped rapidly. There was also the “psychology” of low numbers. And trying to figure out “what’s it all mean, really?!”

Over the years at least, stats over the length of the dial have “steadied”. Dial lengths have shortened, though. And, I assume< some of the common stat combinations are influenced by an almost “pen-&-paper RPG”-like attempt at discerning “What’s *normal*?” Speaking just to Attack and Defense values, 8/16, 8/17, and 9/17 are in the “average healthy human with some combat training or experience” range. Going higher, you progress through “exceptionally skilled”, through “peak human”, and then into the various levels of “superhuman”.

IMHO, anyway. YMMV. Still not sure what the “normal/baseline” should be for Speed or Damage.

“So, what in the heck does this have to do with your thread title, GZ?” Well, the “stat modification” game effects. I like to routinely go back through the PAC, think about efficacy, simplicity, and applicability. How the game can continually be advanced with changes to the “basic” or “core” powers and abilities. Trick is making the changes make sense. They have to “scale” well, to the type of characters and the types of powers they represent.

Been considering a lot lately, as a fan of the game and an amateur “designer” [NOTE: I’m not a game designer; just a schmuck on the sideline]. Some players think every standard power should have both a “passive” effect and an “active” effect (that requires declaring some sort of action). I used to think that, but am no longer sure *every* standard power should have such.

So, let’s get into Ranged Combat Expert [RCE] and Close Combat Expert [CCE]. I only bring up Perplex for the “baseline” its effects have helped to set. Feel free to try these “homemade tinkers” to your home games, see if they seem balanced. —

RANGED COMBAT EXPERT Give this character a power action. It makes a ranged combat attack against a single target character; before making the attack, you may modify any one of the following combat values by +2, or any two combat values by +1: Attack, Damage, Range. Instead, give this character a double power action. The above targeting restrictions apply, but the character may modify any two combat values by +2; the character then modifies its defense value by -2 until your next turn.

INTENT: The character is off to the side, focused on the target. This attack is “specialized”. The character gives no thought to close threats, and may accidentally make itself vulnerable.

CLOSE COMBAT EXPERT Give this character a power action. It makes a close combat attack against a single opposing target character; before making the attack you may modify any one of the following combat values by +2, or any two combat values by +1: Attack, Defense (effect lasts until the beginning of your next turn), Damage.

INTENT: The character is pushing its melee expertise to its limit, hoping to either stay in the fight as long as he/she/it can (the “passive” Defense effect), or putting the opponent down quickly.

[For Reference: PERPLEX Give this character a free action to modify by +1 or –1 any combat value of a target character until the beginning of your next turn. A character using this power must be within range (minimum range 6) and line of fire to the target. If a target character is damaged or healed, the effect of Perplex on that character ends immediately.]

What do you think?

Brewing similar stuff up for Phasing/Teleport, Stealth, Energy Shield/Deflection, etc.

EDIT (2015-09-27): Looks like I didn’t make one of the points I was trying to make. Allow me to try again.

I’ll try by way of analogy: Consider the HeroClix “figure” to be the “hardware.” Consider the Core Rules as the “operating” system. The Character Card for the figure as an “app”…?

Once a figure is “published”, it’s what we deal with. Updating Character Cards — or creating Cards for previously uncarded characters — can help older figures retain play value.

Ret-Con: Captain America (IC) (V2.2)

EDIT (2014-11-16): This particular post originally “nailed to the door” on 2014-05-01. Reworking, reposting. See below for reasons.

Ret-Con_IC_Captain_America_v8

SO. Decided some months ago to remove some of the “Ret-Cons” I’d done from the main blog and give them each their own separate page. And then, some months later, didn’t like what I’d done. *shrugs*

Yeah. So. Started re-posting a lot of those a while back. This post was put up on 2014-05-01. It is of my favorite Marvel superhero, Captain America, and of his first — and so far worst — incarnation in the game of HeroClix. I’ll try to minimize some of my terrible didactic pontificating and strained rationalizations, both about this fictional character, and about my justifications for this homemade “Ret-Con Trait”. Try to make it “short and sweet”, as well as why I’m reposting it.

The RCT for the Marvel HeroClix INFINITY CHALLENGE (2002) Rookie, Experienced, Veteran, and Unique versions has changed many times over the years. The latest that this post represents is a departure from previous versions of the RCT, in that I gave up on focusing on the “close combatant” part of the super-soldier. I instead drew inspiration from a certain Department of Defense term I first heard back when I was in the army during the 1990’s: “Force Multiplier.” From the Wikipedia entry: Force multiplication, in military usage, refers to an attribute or a combination of attributes which make a given force more effective than that same force would be without it. The expected size increase required to have the same effectiveness without that advantage is the multiplication factor. For example, if a certain technology like GPS enables a force to accomplish the same results of a force five times as large but without GPS, then the multiplier is five. Such estimates are used to justify an investment cost for force multipliers. A force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence “multiplies”) the effectiveness of an item or group.”

{UNDER RECONSTRUCTION}

So, the revised Homemade “Ret-Con Trait”: “Force Multiplier” If this character is the only character on your force with this name and set symbol, it has the following abilities. This character can use {Improved Movement}{Ignores Characters}{Ignores Hindering Terrain}. When this character uses Leadership, it succeeds on a roll of 4 to 6 instead, and is considered to be twice its point value when removing a token from a character that shares a keyword or team ability symbol. Instead, give this character a double power action to use Leadership as a free action; the result of the roll becomes 6, it may treat friendly characters within 3 squares and line of fire as if they were adjacent, and it may also give an action token to an adjacent opposing character of 150 points or less.

And, yes, I admit I may have “overdone it” with the RCTs to this version of Captain America. “Fanboyism.” A chronic affliction. But, hey, “unique-by-name” conditional effects, and a “double power action” option that’s worth it.

SIDENOTE: Jumped on to the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” game bandwagon on my smartphone. Giddy as heck to get a Captain America (Modern), and worked him all the way up to Level 36 (with a 3/5/5), until the developer of that game ran a Captain America focused event. I then bought covers, landed a Captain America (Steve Rogers), and then got *really obsessive* about the game for a while. Steve’s been maxed-out at Level 166 (also 3/5/5), and been my “workhorse” (“warhorse”?) since, key in winning matches so I could level up other characters. I wish he worked better with my Falcon (Mighty Avengers; currently Level 110, with 4/4/5) and Black Panther (currently Level 101, with 4/2/5), but he is working really well with Nick Fury (Director or S.H.I.E.L.D., at 2/5/4) and The Hulk (Indestructible, at 3/5/2). Still, the fact that he’s a “Gold” version of the Modern Cap kinda irks me. They should change the powers for each version. Maybe same names, but different effect. Specifically, would be nice if Modern Cap’s countdown tiles created Strike or Attack tiles instead. Would make that version work better with Falcon, and be worth the time to return to leveling him up. IMO. YMMV.

wpid-captain_america_vol_7_1_hastings_variant.jpeg

“Marvel HeroPuzzleClixQuest” (v1.2)

“Sega Columns begat Bejeweled, and Bejeweled begat Candy Crush, and Candy Crush begat Marvel PuzzleQuest and its ‘Covers’.”

What’s that? You’ve never heard of “Columns”? On the Sega Game Gear? Pity. I got to play a bit on a friend’s Gear, while everyone else was ga-ga over the Nintendo Game Boy’s Tetris. (Also a great “arcade puzzle game”.)

Fast forward, like, a decade-point-five, and I get hooked on a similar game called “Bejeweled” for awhile, until I “leveled-off” and the game lost its lustre. (I’d actually found the game after it’d gotten “old”.) Later when I bought my first smartphone, I downloaded a version, for — I think — $6.99?

Fast forward again, my sister-in-law shows me thus game on my brother’s family’s iPad: “Candy Crush.” I decide later I like it enough to download an Android version to my smartphone of the time for — I think — $4.99? In the time that I’d had it, I bought a couple of the $1.99 “boosters”, but it was not really worth buying them. CC was a fun time-waster, though.

And then, sometime around mid-September [2014], I was searching for something “less sweet” and more “meat & potatoes, with a bit of California blend [cauliflower, broccoli, carrots] on the side”, found a good review about Marvel Puzzle Quest by a guy I am familiar with from HeroClix and HCRealm.com.

“Hey,” I say to myself, “it’s also *free* to download!” I finally deleted Bejeweled and Candy Crush, installed MPQ. Thus began my descent.

It wasn’t until last week I’d bought anything for the game. Like anyone working through “story mode” I’d drawn some decent characters by luck and in-line with the “Dark Reign” story. But, i decided to buy the “Logan’s Loonies” coin bundle. Pulled some great covers for upgrading my Black Widow (Modern); nothing like having a level 5 “Widow’s Sting” that early in story mode.  Even managed to draw a free 2-star Captain America (Modern) with “Peacemaker”! Didn’t really regret the purchase. But figured I could do okay without spending anything more on the game.

image

I hadn’t bothered with buying into the “Special Events” and tournaments. Definitely seemed like a “money pit” going that route. I was having fun going back and replaying what now seemed easier bouts to get cheap Iso-8 for level-ups.

“And then,….” And then comes along the “First Avenger: Captain America” tournament and its associated deals. [Face/palm.] I try to be very disciplined with my budget, HeroClix being my only vice. Boy, did the First Avenger deals cut their own chunk out of my HC budget. I got stoopid. Like, “equivalent to three HC bricks” stupid.

Can’t complain. Among a dozen characters in my roster, I still have my 1-star Black Widow (Modern) and 2-star Captain America (Modern). After much hemming-and-hawing, they share space with: 4-star Nick Fury, 3-star Captain America (Steve Rogers), 3-star Falcon, 3-star Hulk, 3-star Black Widow (Grey Suit), 2-star Black Widow (Original), and a few others. One of those others was my prize for finishing in the top 100 in the First Avenger tournament: a 3-star Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)!

Going to try to not spend anymore on the game for 3 months. Only ever bought Coins anyway; plenty of Iso-8 available in-game, if you have patience and time. Just work on leveling-up.

After 3 months? Begin a “quest” for a Black Panther…..

WizKids: Apps. Good ones. Useful to HeroClixers. Gotta be a way. Playing app-games, but for real, physical prizes, perhaps? Better inventory, gallery, and rules access/presentation a must.

EDIT (2015-09-18): Noticed this post was getting some traffic all of a sudden. Saw a weird error, came in to correct it. Leaving the rest “as is”, but also want to say: I’ve spent way, way more on this PuzzleQuest game than I thought I would. It is great to see the developers constantly tweaking character design and game mechanics, too.

For instance: Captain America (Modern) and Captain America (Steve Rogers) have received “aesthetic name changes to Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Steve Rogers (Super-Soldier), while Falcon (Mighty Avengers) got changed to Sam Wilson (Falcon), paving the way for the recent addition of Sam Wilson (Captain America).

It’s also kinda weird to see D3’s character selection “mirror” NECA/WizKids’ HeroClix selection, and vice versa. For example, four of the Super-Rares in the Marvel HeroClix NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. set seemed patterned not only after recent comic book story appearances of the past few years, but also seem to be referring to the D3 PuzzleQuest game via character card power descriptions. Cool/weird.