Magic Raptr Q&A Dev Answers Here!

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Here they are. All in one neat package. Out of 295 Comments all the Dev (Max McCall, Michael Gills) answers. Mostly answered by Ktroop aka Michael Gills. McCall.. not so much.

I have added a synopsis of the question so you can know if its worth reading via your interest.

Question 18 shows they are aware of Mana Raitio Editing Request.


(QUESTION 1)
Synopsis: Interaction Between Development Teams?

From: premiersoupir
Thanks for your excellent products! DotP 2009 was what started me playing Magic! I've been delighted to continue to support your excellent work over the years. I appreciate your continued refinement of deck strategies, including moving away from tribal-themed decks and highlighting other synergies, such as counter-burn, mill, equipment, and so on. Manual land-tapping is brilliant as well -- thanks!

I wonder how much interaction you have with the Wizards development team as you develop parallel products (Duels and paper sets)? I know that you've moved away from previewing new cards and mechanics (like showing off the flashback mechanic in Lili's deck from Duels 12 before Innistrad was released). Is this for fear of people spoiling cards early? Nevertheless, I appreciate how D13 add-on decks have cleverly foreshadowed new mechanics without spoiling forthcoming cards. The GW token-based deck strategy is a great example, which, in retrospect, clearly forecasted the Selenya Populate mechanic in RTR. I wonder if you might speak to the thought process that goes into sculpting flavorful decks that show off the strengths of the color pie and its various combinations.

ANSWER: Dev, ktroop

With each Duels iteration, we seek to do a better job of integrating with our paper design/development teams, especially for the Core Set (M13, for example). We typically have 2-3 people cross-over, who are both on a Duels development team and the Core Set design or development team from that year. We do this to ensure not just a matching of philosophy, but also to make sure that we match up in execution as well. A typical Magic set is very much a living, evolving system, and many cards change, some of them completely, over the course of typical development. Having some of the same people on both teams maximizes the chances that the reasoning behind the changes on one side is explained to the other. It's been a lot of work to achieve that level of integration, but we see it paying off with the excitement of our players, not just in Duels, but as they cross over to other forms of Magic as well.

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(QUESTION 2)
Synopsis: Regarding AI Highest Difficulty Cheats?

From: eshiki
The biggest problem my friends and I have with DotP is the different difficulty levels. It seems to be that the highest difficulty changes the luck of the draw instead of the skill of the AI. I always seem to get horrible draw and the AI always has the perfect card to deal with any situation.

Are there any plans to change this to something that more closely matches reality?


Answer: Dev, ktroop

I understand the frustration. We don't change anything at the highest difficulty level to ensure that the AI always has the answer, or that you are always going to draw land, etc. etc. I've played a *lot* of single-player DotP, and it's really frustrating when you draw many lands in a row, and I'm not immune to thinking, "OMG, the computer is cheating!"

Even when I unequivocally know it's not.

All I can say is that, over a large number of random events, there will be a large number of sequences that feel very un-random. Probably not consolation for you, but at least I hope you remember the times that you had the perfect draw, or the perfect top-deck, or the time that the computer opponent seemed to just roll over to you.

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(QUESTION 3)
Synopsis: Adding A Limited Format?

From: UjuidarEhcram
I love playing Magic, and I enjoy playing DotP, but the thing that keeps me coming back to Magic is Limited. Would you consider adding some sort of Limited format to DotP in the future? Perhaps an older format or a new, DotP-specific Limited format if you don't want it to compete with Magic Online?

Answer: Dev, ktroop

It's a great idea, and definitely something we'd consider. Overall, we want to keep Duels fresh each time we release it, and one of the ways we clearly do that is by changing the "format" experience, e.g. Archenemy in D12, Planechase in D13, so different play formats is an important part of Duels currently.

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(QUESTION 4)
Synopsis: Missing Feature?


From: Jaymic_Unyielding
Is there any feature that you really wanted to implement in DotP but were (for whatever reason) unable to?

Answer Dev, mmccall

We really wanted to implement manual land tapping for a long time but were blocked for technical reasons. Fortunately, for Duels 2013, Stainless was able to overcome the technical hurdles, and now the days of accidentally colorscrewing yourself are over.

We're acutely aware of community hot-button topics such as this, and we're always trying to fix them.

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(QUESTION 5)
Synopsis: Commander Format?

From: Shadowclaimer
Will you consider implementing Commander as a playable format in future DOTP releases? It has begun receiving quite a following, and I'm sure the community would love to help you design some basic decks to play in it.

Answer: Dev, ktroop

I talked about this in an interview a few months back, but it's worth talking about it again here. Commander is a format many of us here love, and we talked about it at some length for its possible inclusion in Duels. There's a number of reasons we decided it wasn't a good idea -- 1) 100-card decks; 2) the singleton rule; 3) the general type of complexity that is often found in good Commander decks and Commander cards -- all of these factors potentially make it far more difficult for new players to grok what's going on and how to have fun in the format. At this time, there are no plans on putting Commander into Duels. Digitally, people do have the option of playing Commander in Magic Online.

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(QUESTION 6)
Synopsis: Goals & Limitations When Creating Decks?

From: DirtyPWNography
What are some of the goals and limitations you comes across when making a deck for the game? Do you design most of them top-down and craft each deck around a specific theme or idea, and how do you figure when a specific deck may be too powerful/underpowered in DotP?


Answer: Dev, mmccall

The main goal is that each deck is fun and has a unique feel to it. It's important to avoid conflating 'fun' with 'powerful' - winning is fun, sure, but it's not very interesting to just mash all your opponents because your cards are just better. The biggest hurdle to overcome is making each deck feel distinctly different. For example, at core, green attack decks and white attack decks play very similarly. They both have efficient creatures, combat tricks, and no burn spells.

In Duels we try to give each deck a distinct identity by focusing on the character associated with the deck. So for Duels 2013, we had the legendary creatures and the planeswalkers themselves. Take Chandra. Chandra is a pyromancer, so we infused Chandra's deck with lots of fire magic to make it distinct from Kezzik's goblins deck, which is full of, well, goblins. Both decks are red, but feel very different.

As to how to tell when decks are too powerful or not powerful enough, we playtest them. A lot. We hold tournaments and keep tweaking numbers and cards until everything is at the same power level. That's the time intensive part, but it's not nearly so tricky as making sure the decks are fun and unique.

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(QUESTION 7)
Synopsis: In depth Storyline?

From: Felwraith
Was any consideration given when making Duels of the Planeswalkers to flesh out the gameplay and storyline to be more like along the lines of an adventure game in the Magic : The Gathering world rather than making it a linear "fight opponent, get reward, fight opponent, get reward, etc." ?


Answer: Dev, ktroop

There's a number of us in the building who loved Shandalar way back when, and there's plenty of lively conversations about that type of more RPG/adventure version of a Magic game. But that game is clearly not Duels of the Planeswalkers...if we decided to do that style of game, it would likely be a different game entirely. That said, if you look at D13 compared to the earliest Duels, you can clearly tell that we care more about the framing/story/context now than we did before, and that trend should continue.

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(QUESTION 8)
Synopsis: Promo Cards? In Future Add 40 Unlocks Per Deck?

From: Splattercat
Main question:
Why are there 40 unlockable cards for 15 decks but only 30 unlockable cards for 6 decks?

Sub-questions:
1. Obviously the Promo cards are very powerful and virtually everyone uses some of them in every deck. With that in mind, were the 10 Promo unlocks added before or after the 15 decks that feature them were balanced against the 6 that don't?
2. What was the reason for not adding the promos to the last 6 decks? (the last 6 decks hadn't been made yet? Management got bitter about the promo codes being spoiled? Time constraints? Laziness/didn't feel like it?)
3. If there was sufficient public outcry (and believe me when I say, sufficient outcry is attainable) would it be possible to have 10 Cards added to the 6 Promo-free decks (possibly as a purchasable card pack if simply adding the cards is deemed unrealistic)?

Final Thought: DotP'13 is, in almost all ways but especially content, a huge upgrade to DotP'12. However, inexplicably designing the game with a number of decks that have more cards than others makes the game look and feel incomplete. ("Featuring 15 decks with forty unlockable cards! And another 6 decks with *THIRTY* unlockable cards!!!")

Anyway, I think that about covers things.
Thank you for your time.


Answer: Dev, ktroop

It's a fair question, and I can understand why players might be scratching their heads at how it appeared to happen.

I won't go into every detail, but at a high level -- I made the decision based on when we thought the 10 promotional unlocks would actually be available to the public, and that it didn't make much sense to add promotional unlocks for the last six deck packs. In hindsight this was questionable even with the timelines I had assumed to be true. We live and learn and improve.

Going to lunch for an hour...will return later on and answer more questions. Really appreciate everyone taking their time to come on and ask questions.

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(QUESTION 9)
Synopsis: Game Complexity Limitations?

From: Quasigrue
Considering DotP's role as an introduction (reintroduction) to Magic, do you have any hard limits in mind as far as how complex to make the game? Options like fully editable decklists would be great for experienced players, but do you see something like that going beyond the complexity you have in mind for the game?

Or, could you see more complex features being customizable...the example being limited decklists being the default option, but players can toggle fully editable decklists if they choose?


Answer, Dev, ktroop

Over time, our philosophy on Duels has coalesced to be less about complexity vs. simplicity and more about making sure we're providing more seamless introduction to the wider world of Magic through Duels. Even in D13 and D12, you've seen small signs of this -- "edit-down-to-60" in D12, manually land-tapping and end-step in D13, and these small steps represent the beginning stages of this philosophy, and you'll see more evidence of this in the future. This is not to say that our goal is to turn Duels into Magic Online. The two are very separate products with very different audiences and focus. But we do want to make sure that each Duels player, when exposed to other forms of Magic, whether in stores, at the kitchen table, at Magic Online...whereever that may be, has the best chance of saying, "I know this, I'm comfortable with this, I love this."

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(QUESTION 10)
Synopsis: Graveyard Viewing UI Clunky? No Exile Card View?

From: dndfreak
Personally, the main problem I have with the DotP is the graveyard browser, which is rather clunky compared to modo, and the inability to view the exile zone. Are either of these going to change in the future?
16 hours ago

Answer: Dev, ktroop

I agree it could be smoother. We've been looking at ways to make it smoother. No promises on when or if, but it's something on our radar.

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(QUESTION 11)
Synopsis: More Deck Freedom For PC Version?

From: hydramarine
Hi. My question is as follows:
Since DotP is a yearly series released on more than 4 platforms, it has to appeal to a wide range of audience. I feel that is why it is missing some of the core features available in other PC collectible card games like the ability to create your own decks. Do you have plans to make the series more appealing for PC gamers who currently needs more freedom? Or will Duels continue in the same direction with more pre-constructed decks?


Answer: Dev, ktroop

Hydramarine -- first, I appreciate reading all your posts in the Duels forum (the same goes for Splattercat, whom I also responded to earlier).

As for your question, I've answered it indirectly in a few other places, but I'll touch on it again here. Duels of the Planeswalkers has a central mission, and that's to introduce Magic to a large number of gamers who might otherwise not have played Magic, or who haven't played it recently. It does that job very well. In order for us to make sure it does that job very well, we also have to make sure it appeals to a more-entrenched audience, an audience that has played and enjoyed and been passionate about each Duels we release. So again, while I'm not going to talk specifically about future plans, I think even in D12 and D13 there's enough of a pattern to give our entrenched audience a glimpse of how Duels is evolving. We'll continue to listen to the Duels community very closely, and improve each Duels based on that feedback. We'll continue to create a more seamless integration path between Duels and the rest of the Magic game experiences. We'll continue to push the envelope in terms of what experiences and functionalities a player can do in Duels.

That doesn't mean that every feature being asked for will one day be offered. It doesn't mean that Duels will one day be a surrogate for Magic Online. It doesn't mean that Duels will be a perfect replication of the Magic rule set or the Magic card set.

It does mean that Duels will continue to be one of the very best values in all of gaming, and continue to be an awesome experience, and continue to improve dramatically with each iteration. If you like the changes and additions over the last two years, then I'm very confident you'll like the changes and additions in the time to come.

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(QUESTION 12)
Synopsis: How Is It Determined Which Mechanics, Keywords Make It Into DoTP?

From: nywt
Hi there Max, Michael, and Ken, just a quick two part question for you guys. Seeing as how Duels of the Planeswalkers is positioned as a more "newb friendly" version of Magic, how do you guys take into consideration and determine which mechanics or keywords from Magic history will make an appearance in the game? We do see some more advanced mechanics like phyrexian mana in the challenges but what does this mean for potentially bringing more advanced mechanics (like Planeswalkers, flashback, flicker) to the decks used outside of challenges? Thanks guys!


Answer: Dev, ktroop

We consider a number of different factors when deciding what keywords to use in each iteration of Duels --

1) How are we highlighting recent sets of Magic? Magic that's more readily available in stores are often heavily selected for Duels. It can be a pain for a player who gets excited about a certain Magic card they find in Duels, only to find that they can't readily get that card in real life.

2) Are we following the overall deck themes? With each Duels, we're trying to make sure we have fun and interesting and unique decks. In order to be true to each deck, we sometimes have to search further afield in Magic's history to find the right thematic fit, or provide a great gameplay addition.

3) Try to not overload too much. We recognize that the Duels audience is composed of a mixture of different players types -- ranging from those who know Magic very well and for a long time, and those for whom Duels is their first Magic experience. We make sure we have fun experiences for both groups, but we overall need to make sure that new players aren't completely overwhelmed. Sometimes that's by really complex mechanics, and sometimes that's by a combination of too many mechanics.

So, overall, it's not a focus for us to bring back really complex mechanics from Magic's past...but if there's one universal systems rule that Magic teaches -- there's always exceptions
•••••••••••••

(QUESTION 13)
Synopsis: How Do I Get My Girlfriend Interested?

From: Jaymic_Unyielding
I have a friend who I'm sure would like Magic if she just gave it a chance. DotP seems like a good way to introduce her to the game. However, she doesn't tend to play video games. What is the best way that I can present DotP to her?

Answer: Dev, ktroop

It's hard to answer this question without knowing more about the person in question, but I was intrigued by the question. Some various things I might try --

1) Does she like helping? You could have her watch you as you're trying out a difficult fight, and bring her into the conversation. "What do you think I should do here?"

2) Does she like competition? Challenge her to a match.

3) Does she like brain-teasers? Show her a challenge, and ask her to solve it with you. Or just ask her to try it out, and she can ask you questions.

4) Does she like beautiful art? Focus on some of the loading screens, and the awesome Magic art that appears. Show her the Planeswalker bio screens in Duels 2013.

5) It might be easier to take an intro-Magic product, like intro decks or Duel decks, and play some paper Magic with her first, especially if she generally doesn't like video games, and then, if she's comfortable with paper Magic, have her try Duels. She may care less about the "video-gameness" at that point, and just enjoy Duels for the its awesome "Magicness".

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(QUESTION 14)
Synopsis: Favorite Feature?

From: Jaymic_Unyielding
What is your favorite feature that you have been able to implement?


Answer: Dev, ktroop
The ones I can't talk about

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(QUESTION 15)
Synopsis: Planeswalkers Cards?

From: SmashElite16
Will we see future DLC or a future Duels of the Planeswalkers that will utilize actual Planeswalker cards (such as Jace, Architect of Thought)?


Answer: Dev, ktroop

It's one of the more contentious discussions inside Magic R&D over the last couple of years. One faction of thought suggests that, in the game, _Duels of the *Planeswalkers*_, we should absolutely at some point have Planeswalkers cards in the experience. They are some of our most exciting, inspiring, and cool cards that exist, and they are our main through-line across all of Magic. So of course we should (eventually), do them. Another faction suggests that Planeswalkers are more than just their card, and that the cards themselves are not new-player friendly, which is an essential consideration for DotP. Also, creatively it's weird to some of us that Planeswalkers can play their own card in their own deck. I highlight all of this just to say that it's been an active topic, and I think will continue to be an active topic for some time to come. It's one of those ideas that's not on any concrete roadmap, but it wouldn't surprise me if one day we did it (even if that day is a very long time from now)

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(QUESTION 16)
Synopsis: Why Should Veteran Physical Players Buy This?

From: aquickalias
I'm a frequent player of the physical Magic the Gathering game but I'm a bit hesitant on buying the video game versions and other virtual offerings. The game looks pretty cool and I've heard a bunch of people say it's a great way for them to learn how to play the game and get a feel for how everything works, but I've been playing Magic for a little over a decade now. Are there any really cool reasons to get this game that other longtime players and I might have overlooked?


Answer: Dev, mmccall

In particular, I enjoy playing Duels on the iPad - being able to play Magic in airports or while hanging out on the couch with the family is a great way to get your Magic fix when it would otherwise be impossible.

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(QUESTION 17)
Synopsis: Puzzle Process?

From: RaptorJedi
How do you guys come up with the challenge puzzles? Like, what is your process for coming up with one that works? And do you have any plans to add in more challenges in the future? Because those are my favorite part of the Duels of the Planeswalkers series of games, and when I finish them all I want more.



Answer: Dev, ktroop

With each passing year of Duels, our process for coming up with Challenges becomes a little less easy A few years ago, it was typically up to 1-2 people to come up with our challenges...but with each challenge created, it became harder for a single person to easily come up with all the challenges. Over the past two years, we've done more "crowd sourcing" within Magic R&D, tapping a wide variety of people inside the building, some of whom have never worked on Duels before, but all of whom like creating Magic puzzles. I expect this process to continue for awhile longer -- getting in fresh bunches of Magic R&D people, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to create puzzles, and slowly draining their creativity out of them, leaving nothing but dry withered husks behind, while waiting for the fresh crop of new challenge-creators. All so you can enjoy fun new challenges in Duels of the Planeswalkers!

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(QUESTION 18)
Synopsis: Diverse Lands? Mana Ratio Editing?

From: Jolun
I suppose my question has been asked quite a bit but here goes. Is there the possibility of adding in a more diverse land base in the expansions or the next DOTP? Personally I feel the multicolored decks lack tempo and competitiveness relying solely on evolving wilds when standard play at the moment gives access to so many dual lands: guild gates, shock lands, or dual colors like dragonskull summit. Beyond that there are the special lands such as the Innistrad cycle's color combination lands that add a lot of flavor to the game. Secondly, if you don't end up adding more specialty lands is there the possibility of allowing custom editing of basic mana ratios?
Thank you for helping to create such a great game!



Answer: Dev, ktroop

There are no current plans to add more land-mana-fixing outside the Evolving Wilds/Terramorphic solution.

As for your second question about custom editing of basic mana ratios -- it's been a very requested feature for future Duels, and we've heard that feedback.
Nice answers, although last answer makes me sad. Why wouldnt they? It would be more exciting to have "guild gates, shock lands, or dual colors like dragonskull summit". There is no reason no to do that. On the contrary, it would keep Dotp fresh with some new twists. 


  
Hydramarine -- first, I appreciate reading all your posts in the Duels forum (the same goes for Splattercat, whom I also responded to earlier).



I think this was the most interesting part. At least now we know the devs are reading the forums (and I'm not talking about just what Sean forwards them).

Duels of the Planeswalkers deck builds and analysis: http://megamaster125.angelfire.com/dotp

 

Another one of my websites: http://megamaster125.angelfire.com/rationalchristianity/

 

I am Blue/White

It's a fair question, and I can understand why players might be scratching their heads at how it appeared to happen. 

I won't go into every detail, but at a high level -- I made the decision based on when we thought the 10 promotional unlocks would actually be available to the public, and that it didn't make much sense to add promotional unlocks for the last six deck packs.  In hindsight this was questionable even with the timelines I had assumed to be true.  We live and learn and improve.



Translation:

Catalyst for the deision: Promo Codes were leaked and promotional value wasted.
Reason for the Decision: Some weird combination of defeat and laziness ("well they already have all the promos so no point in adding any more")
Going forward: No promo cards will be added to 2013. All 2014 decks will have the same number of cards.


EDIT: It was very cool that the question was answered and answered honestly. The situation sucks, but at least it was an admitted mistake and not "intentional" design (the promo code leak screwed it up really). I can live with that.

I more or less zoned out after they blatantly lied.  Data miners have 100% confirmed that the AI difficulty level does, in fact, stack the deck and cheat (it knows what cards you have in hand and plays accordingly, for one thing).
Translation:

Catalyst for the deision: Promo Codes were leaked and wasted.
Reason for the Decision: Some weird combination of defeat and laziness ("well they already have all the promos so no point in adding any more")
Going forward: No promo cards will be added to 2013. All 2014 decks will have the same number of cards.



I don't think that's what he's saying...I think he means that, by the time the deck packs debuted, all of the promo cards would have been released. It seems like he hadn't considered the balance issue, seeing it more as an unnecessary promo for decks that wouldn't yet exist.

Though he does admit his mistake, so I can't hate on the guy too much. Still, no time like the present to make up for it.

I don't think that's what he's saying...I think he means that, by the time the deck packs debuted, all of the promo cards would have been released. It seems like he hadn't considered the balance issue, seeing it more as an unnecessary promo for decks that wouldn't yet exist.


Perhaps.
Either way, he admitted it was a misstep and not "working as intended" so to speak.




EDIT: I feel I should point out that my meaning might be lost as worded.
Cryptic Studios, makers of Star Trek online, are notorious for being called on the most obvious ****-ups, and responding with "working as intended".

I'm just saying that's not what he said here. He's admitted that he made a decision and in hindsight should have decided otherwise.
Which, as I said, is an unfavourable situation overall, but I can live with the explanation at least.
I more or less zoned out after they blatantly lied.  Data miners have 100% confirmed that the AI difficulty level does, in fact, stack the deck and cheat (it knows what cards you have in hand and plays accordingly, for one thing).



Knowing the cards in our hand and the top cards of the decks, etc., while it is cheating, it is not an example of the AI being able to systematically rearange the cards in their library to always draw that perfect removal/card when they need it. (The AI doesn't do that anyways, I've seen them get screwed horribly on planeswalker difficulty, and plenty of times when they didn't draw that "one card that could save them.")

Duels of the Planeswalkers deck builds and analysis: http://megamaster125.angelfire.com/dotp

 

Another one of my websites: http://megamaster125.angelfire.com/rationalchristianity/

 

I am Blue/White

That's nice, but they still lied.
Aw, nobody asked them about a mana pool which is my #1 most wanted feature.
Green is not the same without Birds of Paradise!

Damn the system and its hypocrites! You quit your quest and venture into the slums of the Gruul Clans!
Damn the system and its hypocrites! You quit your quest and venture into the slums of the Gruul Clans!
Take THE QUEST FOR RAVNICA today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

 

That's nice, but they still lied.



No. No they didn't.

Where is the lie ? Lets see:

We don't change anything at the highest difficulty level to ensure that the AI always has the answer, or that you are always going to draw land, etc. etc.



Data miners have 100% confirmed that the AI difficulty level does, in fact, stack the deck and cheat (it knows what cards you have in hand and plays accordingly, for one thing).



Ok - by easy examination, there is no lie there. The AI does not stack the decks! That is the question asked and answered.

Then you call it a lie, by saying the AI knows your hand, your next draw and so on.

Ok, sure, the AI knows that. That is still not deck-stacking. The AI does not magically draw an answer to anything you do.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I have unlocked all the decks manually (before loosing it to steam cloud), EVERY game is against plainswalker AI, and the AI mulligans. Why would it ever mulligan if it stacks the decks ? And sometimes, it mulligans down to 4 cards, plays 1 land and is stuck on 1 land until it dies 5-7 turns later.

The AI "cheats", but it does not deckstack.
And on the topic:

I'd have loved if someone would have asked and have answered the question about their playtesting - why they don't catch the myriad of errors in the coded cards ? Do they playtest on magic online instead ? Do they playtest with papercards ?

How can the vast list of errors make it into the game ?

I can accept that they economically can't fix it afterwards, since it costs insane amounts of money to publish anything on steam/xbox/PSN - the SOLE reason MS and Sony are so pushed in the "app" market (meaning any store with downloadable software for money) by Apple: If you create an app for the Apple App Store, and publish it, it will cost you... 0$

A hotfix a week later will cost you .. 0$

So developers can bring updates to the customer fast, easy and very lowcost. (yes, apples business model of then charging 30% of the apps price for distributing the app itself, is ofc very lucrative for apple, no doubt about it.)

But the update model is just horrid with microsoft and sony. And probably Valve aswell.

Right ... here's hoping for a beta for the next iteration. Yes, I will passionately and free of charge test DotP2014 in my sparetime and tediously write down which cards do not interact correctly with the MTG rules. I'll even promise to buy it, once it is then released. Though I probably will anyway, just so I can complain about cards not working correctly yet again

Keep up the good work.
And on the topic:

I'd have loved if someone would have asked and have answered the question about their playtesting - why they don't catch the myriad of errors in the coded cards ? Do they playtest on magic online instead ? Do they playtest with papercards ?


I'd have loved if you asked.

Thanks for the answers, good read.

What I got out of it is: No Commander next year, no dual lands but mana base being customizable, and no planeswalkers for some time. Oh, an exile zone probably. 

So in terms of core game-play features, these are not good enough for advanced players. I am guessing they are trying to make up for it by developing different game modes, content, etc.  

 
Ok - by easy examination, there is no lie there. The AI does not stack the decks! That is the question asked and answered.

Then you call it a lie, by saying the AI knows your hand, your next draw and so on.

Ok, sure, the AI knows that. That is still not deck-stacking. The AI does not magically draw an answer to anything you do.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I have unlocked all the decks manually (before loosing it to steam cloud), EVERY game is against plainswalker AI, and the AI mulligans. Why would it ever mulligan if it stacks the decks ? And sometimes, it mulligans down to 4 cards, plays 1 land and is stuck on 1 land until it dies 5-7 turns later.

The AI "cheats", but it does not deckstack.


Not too sure about the definition of deckstacking but at planeswalker difficulty, the AI shuffles the "good" cards above the "weaker" cards. There is a variable that controls this. 
It doesn't prevent the AI from getting mana-starved or mana-flooded, or enables the AI to magically draw an answer.

Not too sure about the definition of deckstacking but at planeswalker difficulty, the AI shuffles the "good" cards above the "weaker" cards. There is a variable that controls this. 
It doesn't prevent the AI from getting mana-starved or mana-flooded, or enables the AI to magically draw an answer.



Alright, so to a degree, there is a variable which affects the shuffler. And the "good" cards must be based on a value attributed to the cards. That won't do the AI any good, if it MUST draw a Murder to survive, and it gets a Titan.

Unless the AI takes your decks shuffle-result into account when applying its own near-random shuffle, disregarding any "search for a card and shuffle your deck" effects... I will still call that very far from deck-stacking. Drawing good cards is good, but if the player has an easy answer for most of it...


I'd have loved if you asked.




I would have - I just hadn't seen this thing come up.

Next time, Gadget..


Alright, so to a degree, there is a variable which affects the shuffler. And the "good" cards must be based on a value attributed to the cards. That won't do the AI any good, if it MUST draw a Murder to survive, and it gets a Titan.


Don't really want to get too far down this branching path, but I ust has to respond when I saaw this. In my experience, when Planeswalker needs a Murder to survive, it draws a Murder 95% of the time, lol. Just sayin'
Yet another fine example of why internet Q&A is useless. Developers give an answer, and the forum jockeys refute it because they KNOW.
Thanks for putting this thread together, tactfulgamer! You actually saved me a bit of work with that ;D

Hydramarine -- first, I appreciate reading all your posts in the Duels forum (the same goes for Splattercat, whom I also responded to earlier).



I think this was the most interesting part. At least now we know the devs are reading the forums (and I'm not talking about just what Sean forwards them).



It's true, they do. I point them to a good number of threads myself, but they often visit outside of that even if they don't post.


Sean Gibbons

Associate Community Manager

Official MTG Twitter: @Wizards_Magic Official MTGO Twitter: @MagicOnline

You welcome Sean.

I'm glad you guys enjoyed the answers. Well... Some of you
Yet another fine example of why internet Q&A is useless. Developers give an answer, and the forum jockeys refute it because they KNOW.



It actually is a known fact, confirmed by people who have looked into the files of the PC version, that the AI really, no kidding, "cheats" on higher difficulties.

This is not up for debate.  Google it.

Yet another fine example of why internet Q&A is useless. Developers give an answer, and the forum jockeys refute it because they KNOW.



It actually is a known fact, confirmed by people who have looked into the files of the PC version, that the AI really, no kidding, "cheats" on higher difficulties.

This is not up for debate.  Google it.



Planeswalker = Archmage + Cheating.

Bottom line, if you don't like the cheating AI, play on Archmage (or online).
I never said I mind the cheating AI.  I never play against the AI at all.  I just mind when a developer lies.  You can argue all day about whether they "technically" lied or not, but the tone of their answer was definitely "Haha, no, the AI doesn't do anything to cheat at all!"  That's disingenuous.  That's lying to your customers to cover up the fact that instead of trying to program a competent AI, they resorted to having it stack the deck.

I don't think it's unreasonable at all for people to want an AI that is at the mercy of the shuffler every bit as much as the player is.  Let me ask you this:  Have you ever seen the AI get stuck with 1 or 2 lands?  More times than I care to count, I've mulliganned down to 3 cards just to get a hand with more than 1 land in it.  Has anyone ever seen the AI do this?  Honest question, because I only play the Campaign once or twice per deck while unlocking, but I've never seen anything close to that.
Let me ask you this:  Have you ever seen the AI get stuck with 1 or 2 lands?  More times than I care to count, I've mulliganned down to 3 cards just to get a hand with more than 1 land in it.  Has anyone ever seen the AI do this?  Honest question, because I only play the Campaign once or twice per deck while unlocking, but I've never seen anything close to that.


I've had Peacekeepers mulligan down to 4 on Plansewalker difficulty.
I also had troubles deciding how good my Mindstorms build was early on because any game I won against the Planeswalker AI was because the AI was manascrewed.

So yes, I have seen the Planeswalker AI get screwed over by the cards they were dealt. I've also beaten the AI while we were both top-decking (which by the described method of cheating would be impossible).

Mage is a horrible player.
Archmage is a good player.
Planeswalker is a good player with a stacked deck and Telepathy (actually they might all have Telepathy). 

But as much as I'd like to say "Planeswalker always draws the card it needs when it needs it", that's simply not true.
Actually, in my experience all difficulty levels play with the knowledge of what cards are in your hand.  I tested this with Yeva's deck by attacking when I had Giant Growth in hand, and when I didn't.  On all difficulties, the AI wouldn't block if I had it in hand; if I didn't have it in hand, they blocked.
Actually, in my experience all difficulty levels play with the knowledge of what cards are in your hand.  I tested this with Yeva's deck by attacking when I had Giant Growth in hand, and when I didn't.  On all difficulties, the AI wouldn't block if I had it in hand; if I didn't have it in hand, they blocked.


Still, that can be used to your advantage. Like when your opponent doesn't attack with Goblin Guide. If anything it makes the AI slightly more predictable.

Still a far cry from the AI changing what cards it's going to draw to suit it's situation.

Actually, in my experience all difficulty levels play with the knowledge of what cards are in your hand.  I tested this with Yeva's deck by attacking when I had Giant Growth in hand, and when I didn't.  On all difficulties, the AI wouldn't block if I had it in hand; if I didn't have it in hand, they blocked.


Still, that can be used to your advantage. Like when your opponent doesn't attack with Goblin Guide. If anything it makes the AI slightly more predictable.

Still a far cry from the AI changing what cards it's going to draw to suit it's situation.



I don't know man. While I've seen AI manascrewed I've also had situations, every time I've done it mind you, where I drop the shroud sphinx in MS and lili magically has mutilate every time, with rise from the grave next turn...
Avenger of Zendikar is not game... Got a question as to whether a card without shroud or hexproof is good? Answer is, dies to removal. "Control Slivers"
I've never seen the AI mulligan down to less than 6 cards.  In fact I'm not even 100% sure I've seen it mulligan at all!  But as I said, I don't play the AI very much.  I would check, but I'm too busy playing Mass Effect 1 with my husband again (the PS3 port is gorgeous!)
Just to follow up.  The A.I. does not stack the deck.  It can freely mulligan to a certain point to make sure it has a minimum number of lands (although the A.I. still can, and does, take "real mulligans") in order to cast its spells, to ensure more frequency of a competitive match vs the AI.  But it does not "stack its deck" or magically top-deck its answer.

The A.I. does do a reverse "stacking of the deck" on easier difficulties, where it "removes" various good cards from its deck when you're playing against it in the easiest difficulties.  It simply stops crippling itself in higher difficulties.  

Three additional notes --

1) Most humans, talking about their perception of random events, are wrong.  We remember certain patterns too easily, and other patterns not at all.  If you're really committed to proving what you believe is "cheaty" behavior, create a spreadsheet, and document each time what the AI does...all the times it could have top-decked an answer, but didn't, and all the times it did.  I'm certainly happy to look at a documented behavior, happening over a significant number of times, as evidence of a bug or flaw in how the game works.

2) Most game developers rarely lie in public statements.  It's really, really stupid to do so.  They may make dumb comments.  They may make comments which are wrong.  (I've certainly been guilty of both).  But there's so little to be gained in lying, especially in environments filled with passionate gamers who often know more about the intricate details of the game than the developer does.  So, when you accuse a developer of flat-out lying, just know that it's rarely an accurate statement.

Shrug, my ability to change the propensity of the internet to allow anonymous forum posters to accuse one of lying is roughly nil.   I'm sorry my AI comment set you off, DroneOn.  It wasn't a lie, though.

3) Mwuanno -- I'll grandfather you in to the Raptr Q&A, even though after this I won't be able to poke my head back on the forums for awhile.  So for your question -- R&D does almost all of its playtesting with cards.  We design the decklists in cards, we playtest and balance in cards.  We have to work very far ahead of Stainless so that each side can do its part in time.  R&D does do some playtesting in-client, but that's mostly about interface and more general issues.  Wizards also puts in a lot of QA testing time for card functionality, card interaction, and all the other things that have to be tested in-engine.  The number of card interactions, even in a small sub-set of Magic that Duels represents, is a very large number. That said, it's super annoying when a Mitotic Slime or a Protean Hulk (or any card) doesn't work as printed on the card.  With each Duels we try to reduce those errors...it remains a work-in-progress.

I appreciate all of you out there who took the time to ask questions and read through the replies.  I hope the Q&A yesterday was helpful.  I hope you're enjoying playing Duels of the Planeswalkers.  Thanks for the time

Ken Troop, Magic R&D
Thanks for chiming in Ken.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

Mastergear_Owen's take on Magic 2014 Campaign.

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You know what I've got more issues. Whats up with the story in this game? The adverts said I was going to team up with Chandra and we were going to kick butt and chew bubblegum across the planes on a revenge campaign against some... guy she knew I guess? Who's Ramaz anyway? What do I get instead? I beat Chandra like 2 minutes in with a mono-green stompy thing Garruk gave me (why does he keep giving all these new planeswalkers his deck) and then I spent like 5 hours jumping from plane to plane picking up random nicknacks for her mantlepiece while she sits back back doing her nails or something. I was thrown in jail! I got hit by a Roil Storm twice! Do you know how many rats are on Ravnica, Chandra? All of them! All of the rats! All of the rats eating me!

Then we go kick her Ex's bearded-screaming-butt and what does she do to help? Nothing! She throws of the occasional fire ball and spends her time trying not to freeze to death. You should have worn pants Chandra. While we're on the subject what happened to your shoes? You had like Steelies on. Steelies are cool. Now your running around with stupid boots with like 5-inch heels? Thats not appropriate footware for Planeswalking! That's not appropriate footware for normal walking! At least Liliana is doing it for the whole 'evil is sexy' thing and can summon undead to carry her when she breaks her ankle. What are you going to do ride a Phoenix? Its made of fire! You'll fall right through! Man I should have gone Planeswalking with Liliana - yeah she'd crack my head open with a rock 5 minutes in and raise my corpse to serve her but at least we could have gone dancing!

Now with more original content and open bar!

https://www.youtube.com/user/thedevilwuster

I notice you didn't address the issue of the AI knowing what cards are in your hand, and playing accordingly.  This is well-documented and attempting to deny it is ridiculous.  If you have a land on top of your deck, the game will not attack with a Goblin Guide, for example.  FACT.

Are you also saying that those who have looked at the game files and found that the game does, in fact, "weight" cards to be higher up in the deck, are lying or wrong?  Because that has happened, it's also well-documented.

I understand that it's embarrassing when data miners expose flaws in a system, but I'll still ask the basic question - why not create an AI difficulty level that does not play with knowledge of what's in your hand or on top of your deck, and does not "freely mulligan" as you put it (nice corporate-speak there, BTW) but only "real mulligans" (like players are forced to do)?

In other words - why did you make the decision to have an AI that is not on a completely level playing field with the user?
You do realise that no AI exists that is as smart as a human, or else that would be the beginning of the Matrix or the Terminator or something. In order for the AI to be on anything close to a "level playing field", they have to "cheat".

Also, have you ever considered that the cards might not be "weighted" for deck stacking, but that they might have different numbers to represnt which cards are removed when playing on a lower difficulty level? People see different cards having a different arbitrary value and make assumptions on what that value means. Personally, I'll believe the person involved in the production of the game over an anonymous person citing some apparantly "well-documented" proof. Sorry DroneOn but I haven't heard of anything except supposition reguarding the supposed AI deck stacking.

"People are like sausages: it's what's under the skin that's important... so poke them with a fork periodically."

"Lif is too short."

What data miners have found and reported is what Ken has just stated: The AI stacks the deck in the player's favor on lower difficulties.

I have never seen anyone who has gone through the data files claim the opposite.
Even if that's true, I still think it's BS that the AI gets "free mulligans" to ensure it can cast its spells.

I can't believe you guys are defending this.

And also apparently OK with the fact that the AI plays with knowledge of what's in your hand and on top of your deck.

I hope that Kool-Aid tastes good.

I haven't defended anything.

But there's simply no way to create a level playing field between human players and computers, because computers are stupid. That's just a fact of the limitations of contemporary technology, and very nearly every competitive game that has a 'player vs. computer' mode does things to compensate for this in order to provide human players a reasonable challenge.

In racing games, computer-controlled cars never fall more than a certain distance behind player-controlled cars
In fighting games, computer-controlled characters have perfect reaction times
In first-person shooters, computer-controlled bots have perfect aim
In strategy games, computer-controlled armies have unlimited resources

In Magic the Gathering, computer-controlled opponents know, at most, 8 of the cards in your deck, yet they still think blocking Phyrexian Obliterator with a Fire Elemental is a good idea.

I've found the AI in DotP to be more reliably stupid than that of most other games I play, despite the "unfair" advantages at its disposal. And that's only taking 1v1 into consideration; as a partner in 2-Headed Giant, the AI is straight up functionally retarded.
And I've seen the AI mulligan down to 4 cards and get stuck on one land, so the "free mulligans" obviously don't help as much as they could.


Do I feel that the methods the developers use to provide an adequate challenge are the best methods available? Not really, no.
But it's nowhere near as big a deal as you're making it out to be, either.
I'm perfectly fine with that. It also makes me feel better about restarting the match against AI if I mulligan lower than six without any good plays or enough land. I thought you said you barely ever play the AI, DroneOn? Also, even if the AI knows my cards, it still seems to play into my plans.

"People are like sausages: it's what's under the skin that's important... so poke them with a fork periodically."

"Lif is too short."

Works for me.. balances out those times when an about-to-win AI doesn't try to block my 7-power creature and allows a single Berserk to win the game for me

Thanks for the extra post, Ken.  I hope no one takes the statements about perception of randomness personally.. it is a well-known and well-documented effect in the scientific literature.  If someone doubts it, a book like "Fooled By Randomness" is very enlightening. 
Oh, and the fact that they do most of their deck testing out-of-engine definitely explains Trinity of Elements.. Innocent
Most humans, talking about their perception of random events, are wrong.


This is the most awesome thing in this thread.
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Thanks for responding Ken.

Gardenweasel, thanks for the book. I downloaded the sample on my iPad. Will check it out. Sounds interesting.