Wolverine (Astonishing X-Men) and Thor Character Changes

UnknownUnknown GLOBAL_MODERATORS, ADMINISTRATORS
edited January 2014 in MPQ News and Announcements
As stated in previous posts (as well as in-game) changes are coming for Wolverine (Astonishing X-Men) and Thor. Please review the post below for details on how the planned changes will impact each character:

Wolverine (Astonishing X-Men)

Wolverine's abilities are revised to bring them in line with 2-star balance. We've worked to maintain as much of his general gameplay as possible while we retuned his abilities - we really like his general design! The intention is to balance him to be a fun, potent character - but not so potent he renders everyone else obsolete.

Given that the scope of these refinements, we plan to temporarily increase the sell prices on Wolverine once these changes are rolled out. He's a terrific 2-star character, able to generate lots of damage, sustain himself when low on HP, and increase his team's output. But if you feel like he's not the right guy for your team, there are a number of powerful heroes eager to take his place (and his ISO)!

All #'s are based on effective 6.

GREEN ABILITY – Feral Claws

Old Feral Claws
    •Dealt 31 damage, created 1 Red Strike tile, plus 1 additional tile for every 5 Red AP the team has.

Cost: 7 AP

Upgrades:
    • Level 2:
-1 AP Cost
• Level 3: -1 AP Cost
• Level 4: -1 AP Cost
• Level 5: -1 AP Cost

New Feral Claws
    • Deals 33 damage and creates 1 Red Strike tile, plus 1 additional tile for every 3 Red AP the team has.

Cost: 6 AP

Upgrades:
    • Level 2:
46 Damage
• Level 3: Strike Strength 4
• Level 4: 56 damage
• Level 5: Strike Strength 5

Analysis:
Designer Comments: This ability was arguably the most unbalanced in Marvel Puzzle Quest - by more than 10 AP. Perhaps not as obvious as an alpha-strike-type bomb, but the numbers don't lie icon_e_smile.gif. The core issue is where it created Strike tiles based on the amount of Red AP you had - it simply wasn't factored into the cost. That's no good; one of those Strike tiles alone was more valuable than the base ability. Given that it doesn't actually consume the Red AP, the problem just compounded itself as you spammed it. A few turns of this and your team was nothing short of terrifying - unintentionally so. We wanted to maintain the aspect of the ability where Red AP wasn't actually deducted. This is all about Wolverine's rage building, making him and his team more dangerous as the match wears on, and that captures the idea well. To preserve this but obtain balance, we increased the base cost and reduced the strength of the Strike tiles. The damage of the ability is increased - especially as it levels up. The ratio of Red AP to Red Strike tiles is also improved; you'll get more of them each time Wolverine goes feral.
IceIX Feedback: The original idea for this ability was to be a small but damaging attack that pushes a couple Strike tiles down to improve damage for the next attack. What it turned out to be in practice was anything but. The damage was negligible and the Strike tile placement became the only thing this ability was known for. Couple that with a low AP cost at level 5 and this one ability put Wolverine into the A tier. Not for his ability to damage, but for his ability to enable everyone else to do so. This change puts the ability back more towards what it was originally envisioned to do.

New Skill Max (Level 85, skill at 5)
Feral Claws – 520 damage, Strike tile strength 40


RED ABILITY – Adamantium Slash

Old Adamantium Slash
    • Dealt 250 damage to the current target.

Cost: 14 AP

Upgrades:
    • Level 2:
-1 AP Cost
• Level 3: -1 AP Cost
• Level 4: -1 AP Cost
• Level 5: -1 AP Cost

New Adamantium Slash
    • Deals 180 damage to the current target.

Cost: 12 AP

Upgrades:
    • Level 2:
216 damage
• Level 3: 252 damage
• Level 4: 288 damage
• Level 5: 324 damage

Analysis:
Designer Comments: This ability was underpowered at level 5! (But overpowered at level 1). We pinned the AP cost closer to the old 'upgraded' value and revised the upgrade track to increase damage - ending up doing quite a bit more than current. Now this adamantium is even MORE unbreakable! (Sorry, that's a miserable attempt at funny).
IceIX Feedback: Not much was changed with this ability other than normalizing the AP cost and the damage accordingly. Overall, it's a slight buff for damage per AP spent.

New Skill Max (Level 85, skill at 5)
Adamantium Slash – 2884 damge


YELLOW ABILITY – Healing Factor (PASSIVE)


Old Healing Factor
    • Every turn there were 10 or more Yellow tiles, healed Wolverine for 21 health.

Cost: Passive

Upgrades:
    • Level 2:
9 or more tiles
• Level 3: 8 or more tiles
• Level 4: Heals 5 if fewer than 8 tiles
• Level 5: Heals 21 every turn (no more tile count)

New Healing Factor
    • If Wolverine is below 50% health, and the team matches Yellow, he is healed for 35 health.

Cost: Passive

Upgrades:
• Level 2: Recovers 42 health
• Level 3: Recovers 49 health
• Level 4: Recovers 56 health
• Level 5: Recovers 63 health

Analysis:
Designer Comments: There were a couple issues with this ability (one of which wasn't really a balance issue).
      o Healed too much. It ticked just about every turn, which was too often given the amount it was healing. (The numbers don't individually look that big, but the cumulative effect is unreasonably hefty.) Passives have a balance budget and this was spending it three times over. o Not fun enough. Because it was based purely on tile count it either happened... or it didn't. We strongly prefer abilities that require decision making and this one didn't. Bonus points if you don't have to count anything.
      • To address this we introduced a threshold - Wolverine needs to be below 50% health for the ability to tick. This allows us to increase the amount that gets healed without inadvertent overpower. There's some gameplay here now! Healing requires you to make tile moves. There is a wrinkle here too; Wolverine is fairly strong in Yellow, so getting him to heal might put him out front. Mind that team composition. This captures the initial idea of the ability much better: Wolverine using his healing factor to be the last man standing. When you back him in a corner you better be prepared to finish the job! We'll be watching this one closely (as we do with all abilities). It might need another kick up. We want it to be noticeable & fun.
    IceIX Feedback: Wolverine isn't a tank. That's Colossus or Thor's job. Taking damage just isn't what he does (although he does do that on a regular basis anyway). His earlier Healing Factor means that you were best off keeping him out front since at level 5 he could tank pretty much any normal match from your opponents without any worry. To push this back into the spirit of what Wolverine does, we made it more an ability to allow him to carry through against rough odds. At lower health he regens vastly more health. At level 5, he's gaining about 15% of his max health each turn. This pretty well prevents anything but powerful attacks from getting through and enabling him to push out a few more rounds in preparation for an attack of his own to carry the day, much how Wolverine gets through difficult fights in comics.

    New Skill Max (Level 85, skill at 5)
    Healing Factor – 562 health


    Thor

    Our intent with these changes is to bring Thor back into 2-star balance while maintaining as much of his core playstyle as possible - chiefly that his abilities have an inherent 'cycle'. Riding the cycle through to the final ability should really leave a mark. Thor is a thunderstorm that gathers its strength! You'll see this in full effect when you read the last ability change - it's stronger.

    Given the nature of some of these changes, the same sell-back offer provided for Wolverine will also apply to Thor. We don't think you should sell him, he rocks, but if you disagree and feel he no longer fits with your style of play, the sell-back feature will be available.

    RED ABILITY - Mjolnir's Might

    Old Mjolnir's Might
    • Dealt 125 damage to the current target and converted 5 basic tiles to Yellow.

    Cost: 10 AP

    Upgrades:
      • Level 2:
    -1 AP Cost
    • Level 3: -1 AP Cost
    • Level 4: -1 AP Cost
    • Level 5: -1 AP Cost

    New Mjolnir's Might
      • Deals 44 damage to the current target and converts 3 basic tiles to Yellow.

    Cost: 8 AP

    Upgrades:
      • Level 2:
    62 damage
    • Level 3: 79 damage
    • Level 4: 97 damage
    • Level 5: 114 damage

    New Skill Max (Level 85, skill at 5)
    Mjolnir’s Might – 1011 damage

    Analysis:
    Designer Comments: This ability should cost ~16 AP... a far cry from the 6 it cost when leveled up! In order to maintain some of the old gameplay cadence, we pinned the AP cost closer to 6 than 16 and went from there. The intention is for this to be available frequently enough to juice up his Yellow ability...
    IceIX Feedback: Thor's changes overall brought him more towards what we envisioned for the character: Board control with his moves leading up in a chain towards his powerful attacks. What actually happened is high powered single target damage with Mjolnir's Might leading up to Thunder Strike and Call the Storm only being used when convenient. Mjolnir's Might has been normalized at 8 AP, keeping it in the 3 match range while keeping the same rough amount of damage as before. Its ability to create Yellow tiles was reduced slightly as with the normalization of Thunder Strike's AP cost, too many Yellow tiles generated practically assured a same or next turn cast of Thunder Strike.


    YELLOW ABILITY - Thunder Strike

    Old Thunder Strike
      • Dealt 250 damage to the current target and converted 5 basic tiles to Green.

    Cost: 15 AP

    Upgrades:
      • Level 2: -
    1 AP Cost
    • Level 3: -1 AP Cost
    • Level 4: -1 AP Cost
    • Level 5: -1 AP Cost

    New Thunder Strike
      • Deals 81 damage to the current target and converts 4 basic tiles to Green.

    Cost: 12 AP

    Upgrades:
      • Level 2:
    5 Green tiles
    • Level 3: 6 Green tiles
    • Level 4: 7 Green tiles
    • Level 5: 9 Green tiles

    New Skill Max (Level 85, skill at 5)
    Thunder Strike – 723 damage

    Analysis:
    Designer Comments: This ability was also substantially undercosted - way too much damage relative to the cost. We pinned the AP cost to 12, roughly splitting the difference between its old starting/ending AP cost. We allocated the entire upgrade budget to tile creation, further reinforcing the ability cycle. This ability is the thunder that warns you of the impending storm. Leveled up this ability is changing a ton of tiles, fuel for Thor's green...
    IceIX Feedback: This ability got quite a bit of a rework. Its previously massive damage for its AP cost has been brought very far down, but in return it gained a huge amount of board control and ability to set up cascades. While the actual damage of the ability was reduced, the sheer number of Green tiles produced and the cascades that result make damage only a bit lower than before. This with the added benefit of granting power to his larger ability, Call the Storm.


    GREEN ABILITY - Call the Storm


    Old Call the Storm
      • Dealt 125 damage to current target and 63 to the rest of the team

    Cost: 17 AP

    Upgrades:
      • Level 2:
    -1 AP Cost
    • Level 3: -1 AP Cost
    • Level 4: -1 AP Cost
    • Level 5: -1 AP Cost

    New Call the Storm
      • Deals 125 damage to current target and 63 to the rest of the team

    Cost: 14 AP

    Upgrades:
    • Level 2: 150 damage to target, 76 to others
    • Level 3: 175 damage to target, 88 to others
    • Level 4: 200 damage to target, 101 to others
    • Level 5: 225 damage to target, 113 to others

    New Skill Max (Level 85, skill at 5)
      • Call the Storm – 2003 damage to target, 1001 damage to other enemies

    Analysis:
    Designer Comments: This ability was underpowered!. Kept the base stats the same and reduced the starting AP by 3. Replaced the old upgrade track with +damage to capture the big idea - big, raw damage that hurts everybody. The intent is that this ability puts an exclamation point on Thor's rotation - red begets yellow which begets green, which brings the storm, which makes the opponent rather unhappy.
    IceIX Feedback: AP was normalized as with the rest of the abilities, but the damage itself has been increased overall. This makes this attack the crowning topper to Thor's arsenal. While it doesn't do as much damage as say, Storm (Classic)'s AoE, the tie in to his previous abilities means that it is much easier to gain the AP required to pull this off and dealing damage with those abilities in the process. In gameplay tests, this ability was often used at least once, if not twice a match to great benefit whereas before it was lucky to get one use due to so many other green abilities taking precedence (not least of which is Wolverine's Feral Claws).

    We realize this is a lot of information to process. So please feel free to discuss these changes with the rest of the community in our General Discussion forum area:

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2637

    Thanks
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