I was recently going through the cards set for the 2021 Core set and something dawned on me... This is adding a level of complexity to the game that I for one am glad is there. Magic doesn't always mean universal. There are those of us that have been playing Hearthstone since it was originally envisioned as the physical CCG years and years ago and watched it transition away from the physical CCG to an online format. With that in mind, nearly all games of this nature start to develop more and intricate rules for the game to enhance it's ability to be played on competitive levels. Now that Hearthstone is inching closer and closer to the decade old line, I have a question for those that love to play this game... With the update to Magic getting types, shouldn't it also stand to be that there be introduced weaknesses and invulnerabilities?
This can stem from the talent trees that were in World of Warcraft and a how it influenced the play of that character. Mage for example. Frost was typically weaker in power and impact but added other elements of control. Fire was just raw beating, but cost more mana to drop the beats. Arcane was the universal power buff and added smaller bonuses to Frost and Fire spells. The caveats to focusing on any one type of elemental damage meant that there was a lack of power on other ones, and this also meant that while your Fire spells destroyed icy minions, but you dealt substantially less damage to fire based minions.
Now the question I have, since the magic types are going to be a part of Hearthstone going forward.. would anyone else like to see it interact appropriately with minions of opposing and like types? Let's take Consecration for example. It is labeled as Holy type magic. If you look at other fantasy ideologies, Holy magic would decimate undead and evil creatures, while having minimal if any impact on like-types creatures like good Priests. On those lines, if someone casts [Hearthstone Card (consecrate) Not Found] against a Shadow Priest and they have a Flesheating Ghoul on the board, I think it should deal more damage to those enemies because of the Holy type.
The other side of the coin would be that if played against another Paladin with an Aldor Peacekeeper on the board, it should do less damage or be negated entirely because a Paladin is a Holy warrior and the peacekeeper is an extension of their link to the divine.
I understand that making a change like this may have a lot of coding that would cause most developers to have surplus of apathy, especially to cover all typed minions and heroes appropriately.... (think of the fun that could be had with the Hero cards from KotFT).
Just my thoughts as I was going through the cards is all and wonder what the community thinks.
Coming from goodness knows how many hours of playing Pokemon over my lifetime, the idea of (spell-)type match-ups is as obvious and natural to me as the existence of spells and minions to begin with. That said, I don't think it would be a good thing for the traditional Hearthstone game modes for 3 reasons.
First is simply complexity of card text, which is especially relevant in a game that insists on keeping below 4 lines of text. Clearly there will be no space to write weaknesses and resistances on every minion, many of whom already have 3 or 4 lines occupied. The obvious solution is to just write a 'spell-tribe' using the space where minion tribes are written. But is there space in there to convey sufficient information, especially when some existing tribes could have a whole range of type match-ups (I'm looking at you elementals)?
The second issue is much more philosophical: is HS with type match-ups actually the same game as HS without them? Certainly a lot of what happens now and in the past would play out differently without any changes to cards. Is such a fundamental shift actually in the game's interest given it sells itself as simple to learn?
My third point was going to be about the one-sided nature of type match-ups, and how it would just shafts some decks against some classes for no reason other than the spell schools they have available. A little bit of thought quickly showed that was an over-reaction since few decks in HS are thematic enough to all be weak to a single type, and most spells don't do damage anyway. So in practice it would never be anything similar to the innate advantage of a fire team against a grass one in Pokemon, for example.
My actual third point is then: is it not an awful lot of complication for actually very little effect? You use paladin as an example, but other than Consecration it won't have any damage dealing spells, so it would never matter with any other card. Similarly rogue will kill minions with basically everything other than damage from spells (through weapons, minions or hard removal). Warrior probably won't even have spell schools, while druid will have nature but will mostly be punching things to kill them anyway. It looks like only mage, shaman, warlock and, to a lesser extent, priest will actually care much about it. And even then a lot of the time it won't matter.
So yeah, it's an obvious and neat idea, but one that doesn't make a whole lot of sense in traditional Hearthstone... I could absolutely see type match-ups appearing in Mercenaries however.
There seem to be two major questions here (and a brief, but seemingly irrelevant discussion of talent trees): should weaknesses/resistances to spell schools be a feature of Hearthstone, and should those weaknesses/resistances be implicit based on typing.
As far as the second question is concerned, I think this answer is plainly "no." Hearthstone is a relatively user-friendly game, and the lack of discoverability associated with those connections would be very hard to deal with. First, you'd need tons of helptext on every spell to explain what is or is not weak to it, then you'd need some tooltips to show you which enemy minions are of a given type, and all of that would have to be overlaid onto the game interface. It would be a nightmare.
The first question is a bit more interesting, but I think it's also a bad idea outside of anything but a very small number of Legendary minions. If it isn't very narrowly scoped in its application, you could easily get serious balance issues with the game. Imagine, for instance, a 2 mana 2/3 with "Immune to Holy spells." That minion is immune to all most Priest and Paladin removal spells, so putting it into play against those classes can create a sort of "virtual card advantage" - basically turning off one or more cards in your opponent's hand. Having a card which offers tempo and card advantage exclusively against a subset of classes could warp the metagame arbitrarily.
That's not to say that these effects shouldn't exist at all, but that example serves to highlight the way in which this sort of mechanic is more powerful than it looks on the surface, lopsided in its effects, and therefore inherently hard to balance. It starts to look a lot like Inspire as a mechanic - something which is overly rewarding a player for doing the kind of thing they'd be doing anyway (in this case, developing their board). It should be noted that Inspire was a largely failed mechanic because of how significantly underpowered the minions had to be in order to make it fair, and I think you'd get exactly the same thing here - either the minions in question would be underpowered and useless, or they'd be good enough to break the metagame.
You both make a valid point. One perspective that I would offer is that a tool tip is relatively easy to create. Microsoft has been doing this in Excel for years and it uses so little code to put in copious amounts of them it's ridiculous. There are tool tips present now, and expanding on them seems relatively easy. For example the Flesheating Ghoul. If it were to be given the minion type "Purge" for example. The tool tip could be as simple as " (-) Holy, (+) Shadow".
Doing something like that, along with your Pokemon reference, does add a layer of intense complexity, but one that wouldn't be too hard to adapt. At a glance, a number of minions would be impacted, but for all intents and purposes you would still be left with a minion that would die easily to a Holy Smite but have a resilience to a Defile.
I would argue that having this type of thing implemented would help encourage players to not stockpile their decks with Grass type for fear that they run into a Fire type deck. It would basically force players to be more versatile.
In theory this sounds cool, but it is just too complicated. You would have to get extremely specific with each individual card. It seems obvious that something like Fire Elemental should be weak to ice spells, and Frost Elemental be weak to fire, but the game recognizes them both simply as "elementals". To make your idea work, not only would we need to have extra minion types, we would also need sub-types.
Even if it did work smoothly, it still wouldn't be that great. I imagine in a lot of games it wouldn't matter, and in the ones where it did it would just be a huge feelsbadman moment for the player who got the short end of the stick.
I have no doubt at some point in the future we will see some fire elemental card that has a "takes double damage from ice spells" or more likely "Immune to fire spells" or something like that, similar to Fire Breather or Demonwrath. But having this as a universal mechanic just seems overly complicated and it wouldn't really make the game any more fun.
Carrion, my wayward grub.
It'll certainly be a challenge to do it now. Unlike pokemon TGC or the actual game itself, hearthstone was never designed with 'weakness and resistance' in mind and hence why a vanilla stated minion is only 1 or 2 stat point away from another minion 1 mana away from it. That is also why most board clears does just enough damage to minions around its cost and its often weaker to minions farther away from its cost.
If we were to imagine that since most warlock spells are 'fel' and most priest/paladin minions are usually 'holy', assigning a weakness/resistance for fel towards holy would give warlock an undue advantage in these matchups. Similarly, to counter warlock all I would have to do is to play minions resisting fel spells and suddenly my minions become nigh invincible because, as mentioned, most cards are designed only slightly weaker/stronger than cards 1 mana away from it. It creates this format where certain decks simply cannot beat others, like how control warrior hasn't a snot's chance on a sheet of kleenex against quest rogue. Sure they can tech their deck with different cards, but then this evolves into that familiar rng bs that we've been suffering from, an example in recent memory would be against evolve shaman (draw stickyfingers and win, otherwise why bother playing)
In my opinion, the best way to move forward with this spell tribes is for it to have very specific effects, detailed nicely in the card description, like Bru'kan's effect is clearly stated to only affect nature spells. So you may have a minions that benefit more from certain spells, and conversely certain minions that suffer negative effect from others. Either way, it should be stated specifically in the card description, and in no way should be generalized to all cards.
The devs did consider this, and they decided it was not a workable addition to Hearthstone, probably for the reasons mentioned above.
I personally would not like it at all because it could only serve to further polarize games. Polarization is the biggest balance challenge in most CCGs, and Hearthstone is no exception. We need ideas that will make more games feel winnable, not cause more auto-concedes.
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