specialists just dont work in the current meta

VhailorxVhailorx Posts: 4,923 Chairperson of the Boards
edited June 2016 in MPQ Character Discussion
We are getting a new 4* (yay! Just what we needed. . .) that seems designed to counter OML.

BSS seems similarly designed for a specific purpose, and in general a recent design trend seems to be countering strong characters with specialist characters.

But does that philosophy really work in the current game envrionment, with tons of characters arriving all the time and never enough resources to go around?

I think resources are too scare to justify spending them on characters that are only worthwhile 5% of the time. All of the top tier characters in every *level excel in all phases of the game. It takes months to max each 4*, why spend twice the time leveling Elektra to deal with strike tiles and venom to deal with protect tiles when JG can handle both for the same price plus CDs to boot?

This may be another aspect of the saturation problem. As each tier matures, the only way out is power creep, power fragmentation (i.e. every character has a special niche), or a new tier.

Comments

  • zonatahuntzonatahunt Posts: 220 Tile Toppler
    If this is a solid OML counter (we won't know until the full stats are up), how would this new toon be worthwhile only 5% of the time when OML is used on almost EVERY PvP team?
  • DuckyDucky GLOBAL_MODERATORS Posts: 2,255 Community Moderator
    zonatahunt wrote:
    If this is a solid OML counter (we won't know until the full stats are up), how would this new toon be worthwhile only 5% of the time when OML is used on almost EVERY PvP team?

    At the end of the day it's still a 4* and 5*s smash 4*s. Not much of a counter when the character is dead in a handful of turns.
  • Chrono_TataChrono_Tata Posts: 719 Critical Contributor
    Jean Grey was designed to be Prof X's counter and she's one of the best characters at the 4-star level, with universal uses way beyond countering the Prof. It just depends on how well or badly they are designed that will determine their actual usability.
  • PeterGibbons316PeterGibbons316 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 1,063
    Of course they don't - specialists are created to change or counter the current meta (which currently revolves mostly around OML). This is a good thing. I know you remember how awful the XFW/4Thor days were, and how well received their nerfs were as a mechanism to change the meta at that time. Now new characters with new mechanics are released as a means to offer new, viable, competing strategies for success.

    Deciding whether or not it's worth the investment for a niche character is what this game is all about.
  • VhailorxVhailorx Posts: 4,923 Chairperson of the Boards
    Of course they don't - specialists are created to change or counter the current meta (which currently revolves mostly around OML). This is a good thing. I know you remember how awful the XFW/4Thor days were, and how well received their nerfs were as a mechanism to change the meta at that time. Now new characters with new mechanics are released as a means to offer new, viable, competing strategies for success.

    Deciding whether or not it's worth the investment for a niche character is what this game is all about.

    But characters that only excel in specific circumstances are never going to be good as the game is currently constituted. It will always be better to spend resources on a generalist, even if the generalist isn't quite as good.

    Sure, JG was designed to counter prof x, but she top tier because she turned out good at everything. She isn't the best at PvP offense because she is slow, but she is good enough tjat, combined with her value in pve and on defense, she is always worth having.

    I guess my real point is that demiurge is making a mistake of they think niche characters will allow them to build a deeper 4I tier while keeping player interest up. The game offers tons of characters and never enough resources (covers or iso) to use them all without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given those limited resources, players will just ignore characters that are too niche and focus on the generalists.
  • VhailorxVhailorx Posts: 4,923 Chairperson of the Boards
    zonatahunt wrote:
    If this is a solid OML counter (we won't know until the full stats are up), how would this new toon be worthwhile only 5% of the time when OML is used on almost EVERY PvP team?

    For one because the counter costs 12ap. For that price it will have to be damn good. And OML isn't used in every match. People will start using GG and IM46 as they get covers.
  • FierceKiwiFierceKiwi Age Unconfirmed Posts: 505 Critical Contributor
    Vhailorx wrote:
    zonatahunt wrote:
    If this is a solid OML counter (we won't know until the full stats are up), how would this new toon be worthwhile only 5% of the time when OML is used on almost EVERY PvP team?

    For one because the counter costs 12ap. For that price it will have to be damn good. And OML isn't used in every match. People will start using GG and IM46 as they get covers.

    Nope they'll literally still just run OML. A 4* is going to die way before OML is in any danger on offense...especially since it requires 12 AP (in a color with few options to accelerate) and keeping a countdown tile on the board (I mean 'special' tile). This is as much of a counter to OML as a handgun is to a jet fighter.
  • Stax the FoyerStax the Foyer Age Unconfirmed Posts: 941 Critical Contributor
    It also doesn't work because the first and only time we'll be able to bring the new character for a PvP is during the new release PvP, or during offseason/sim shenanigans. 5*s are just too strong to ever not bring a 5* if you have one, unless you have some very well champed 4*s (at which time you probably have 5*s as well).

    We'll be having Ragnarok featured PvPs and LRs until the heat death of the universe. But if I recall correctly, I can count on one finger the number of times a 4* has gotten an in-season featured PvP after their initial release. (Bonus points if you can guess the finger I'm using!)
  • PeterGibbons316PeterGibbons316 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 1,063
    Vhailorx wrote:
    Of course they don't - specialists are created to change or counter the current meta (which currently revolves mostly around OML). This is a good thing. I know you remember how awful the XFW/4Thor days were, and how well received their nerfs were as a mechanism to change the meta at that time. Now new characters with new mechanics are released as a means to offer new, viable, competing strategies for success.

    Deciding whether or not it's worth the investment for a niche character is what this game is all about.

    But characters that only excel in specific circumstances are never going to be good as the game is currently constituted. It will always be better to spend resources on a generalist, even if the generalist isn't quite as good.

    Sure, JG was designed to counter prof x, but she top tier because she turned out good at everything. She isn't the best at PvP offense because she is slow, but she is good enough tjat, combined with her value in pve and on defense, she is always worth having.

    I guess my real point is that demiurge is making a mistake of they think niche characters will allow them to build a deeper 4I tier while keeping player interest up. The game offers tons of characters and never enough resources (covers or iso) to use them all without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given those limited resources, players will just ignore characters that are too niche and focus on the generalists.
    But what happens when you have all the generalists maxed? What next? Who was your 12th maxed 3*? Your 8th maxed 4*? These are real decisions that people contemplate over in the Roster and Level Help section, and adding new characters with new mechanics influences those decisions.

    Also, don't forget that in the very early stages of each tier people are limited by the covers they get. My first maxed 3*s were Daredevil and Patch. I picked them from the handful that I had covered because they create a combo that works. That was my meta at the time. I maxed Falcon, Daken, and Blade before Thor. BP and KK were 19th and 20th - and those are generally considered top tier. A roster filled with specialists can be incredibly effective, not to mention more fun. Being able to select the perfect team to counter a particular opponent is far more rewarding than weeks if not months of nothing more than Loaner/XFW/4Thor
  • chamber44chamber44 Posts: 324 Mover and Shaker
    Vhailorx wrote:
    Of course they don't - specialists are created to change or counter the current meta (which currently revolves mostly around OML). This is a good thing. I know you remember how awful the XFW/4Thor days were, and how well received their nerfs were as a mechanism to change the meta at that time. Now new characters with new mechanics are released as a means to offer new, viable, competing strategies for success.

    Deciding whether or not it's worth the investment for a niche character is what this game is all about.

    But characters that only excel in specific circumstances are never going to be good as the game is currently constituted. It will always be better to spend resources on a generalist, even if the generalist isn't quite as good.

    Sure, JG was designed to counter prof x, but she top tier because she turned out good at everything. She isn't the best at PvP offense because she is slow, but she is good enough tjat, combined with her value in pve and on defense, she is always worth having.

    I guess my real point is that demiurge is making a mistake of they think niche characters will allow them to build a deeper 4I tier while keeping player interest up. The game offers tons of characters and never enough resources (covers or iso) to use them all without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given those limited resources, players will just ignore characters that are too niche and focus on the generalists.
    But what happens when you have all the generalists maxed? What next? Who was your 12th maxed 3*? Your 8th maxed 4*? These are real decisions that people contemplate over in the Roster and Level Help section, and adding new characters with new mechanics influences those decisions.

    Also, don't forget that in the very early stages of each tier people are limited by the covers they get. My first maxed 3*s were Daredevil and Patch. I picked them from the handful that I had covered because they create a combo that works. That was my meta at the time. I maxed Falcon, Daken, and Blade before Thor. BP and KK were 19th and 20th - and those are generally considered top tier. A roster filled with specialists can be incredibly effective, not to mention more fun. Being able to select the perfect team to counter a particular opponent is far more rewarding than weeks if not months of nothing more than Loaner/XFW/4Thor
    Sure, but having the ISO to max that particular counter is the challenge. I've got over 100K banked right now, and with that, i could: a) champion one of my lower tier 3's like Vision, Storm, or GSBW (and yes i know that Vision is broken right now, and i'm doing the collective a favor by not leveling him, because you know what will happen the second i do ...), b) take my 3/4/5 Rulk from 209 to 240ish (seriously - 100K for 30 tinykitty levels), or c) nothing - which is the boring but smartest decision, probably. Championing random 3's isn't going to give me anything better. Boosting Rulk will help probably, but i really need that 5th green to make a difference. So what then?
  • Rodolfo78Rodolfo78 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 70 Match Maker
    Also, don't forget that in the very early stages of each tier people are limited by the covers they get.

    This is an important point. I'm currently cobbling together a 4* roster while skipping as much of the 3* stage as I can, and new characters are likely to be important to me, even if they're not to others. Forum representation is enormously skewed toward serious long-term players, but there's a huge game out there for the crowd that started less than a year ago.
  • The HeraldThe Herald Age Unconfirmed Posts: 463 Mover and Shaker
    Less than one year guy here.

    Kind of ignoring 4*s, working on Championing every 3*. Not got much hope for topping events so I'm just during really, and tapping into the new Champion system.

    I'm slowly getting a very good spread for anything that pops up, and characters start producing resources as they level instead of costing.

    Not sure when, or if, I'll ever progress to the bigger pool here. But I get on with smacking PvE progression rewards and shooting for top 100 in PvP if there's a reward I like the look of.
  • OrionOrion Posts: 1,295 Chairperson of the Boards
    The new character could be the perfect OML counter and it won't matter. Why? Because it takes forever for anyone to fully cover and champ a 4*. So 6 months from now, maybe 1% of the people will have this guy champed? Meanwhile, OMLs will dominate PvP for those next 6 months.
  • MawtfulMawtful Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    It's definitely a little difficult to address characters as concepts separate from the meta because characters are defined by the way in which they interact with the game's core mechanics is how they are defined; I'll give it a shot anyway. I think we need to address the definition of a "specialist", since almost every character in MPQ is a specialist - some are offense specialists, and we tend to value those over defense specialists.

    In the 3* tier, Cyclops is an Attack specialist; Scarlet Witch is an "AP Generation" specialist, and Spider-Man is a Defense specialist. Now one of those things is not like the other, Cyke and Switch are generally regarded in the top of their tier, so I'm not offering any bets on who the odd one out is. Of course, it's equally possible to find examples of bad specialists, like the Attack specialist Ragnarok.
    The implied logic behind "specialists just don't work" is that hybrids do work, and characters like Iron Fist and Kamala are great examples of this. But it's equally possible to dig up some poor examples as well, like Vision and Squirrel Girl.
    And then there are "subverted" characters, like IM40. He's got two attacks and an ability to accelerate AP for them both, by definition he should be an Attack specialist, but most players are simply using him as a battery instead. So is he a "bad" Attack specialist? A good hybrid?

    I've cherry-picked my examples here, as they best represent the problem with the "current" meta (it's been the same meta since the beginning, so it seems odd to call it current) which is best described as "win fast". The existing mechanics of PvP and competitive story events both reward players who can finish matches fast. In PvP fast wins mean you can hop further with your shields down and in competitive story events it means you can grind more mission nodes. In both cases, a quick win generally means you've kept most of your health pool as well, so you can keep playing longer without using health packs. This is generally an extension of MPQ's two core mechanics - your goal in every match is to reduce the opponent's health to 0, you line up 3 or more of a coloured gem in order to a) deal damage, and b) generate resources for using abilities - any character who is able to either expedite those goals is going to be ranked highly. Conversely, there is no specific reward for preventing damage other than being allowed to continue lining up gems.

    So what does that all mean? I guess the point I'm making is that specialists do work, because we use a bunch of them all the time; although its arguable that defense specialists don't "work". A lot of hybrids work too - even semi-defensive hybrids - although we still tend towards Attack and AP Generation in this sphere. It's definitely been lamented before, but the core problem is the lack of Puzzle in Marvel Puzzle Quest. I think the solution for PvP is to remove retaliations & points lost for defensive losses. Points only go up, so the winners are the players who can win the most matches. Quite clearly that can't be the full extent of the solution - there would absolutely need to be some limitation on the number of matches played. Maybe separate health pool/health packs for PvP? Maybe winning a PvP node allows it to refresh immediately, but losing locks it for some time? (4 hours? 8 hours?) Whatever, that's a challenge for another day. What I do know is that I'd be much more inclined to use an interesting team which is slow but can counter my opponents team if I knew I wasn't going to lose 300 points in the time it takes to win 20. Until such time, the meta dictates that I use the strongest & fastest team I can field.
  • wymtimewymtime Posts: 3,438 Chairperson of the Boards
    Orion wrote:
    The new character could be the perfect OML counter and it won't matter. Why? Because it takes forever for anyone to fully cover and champ a 4*. So 6 months from now, maybe 1% of the people will have this guy champed? Meanwhile, OMLs will dominate PvP for those next 6 months.
    Sayin for 12 AP this is the counter to OML is like when people said doc ock was the counter to sentry. Yea people actually hoped doc could help destroy all those CD. Oh how wrong they were. Only d3 could stop sentry bombing. Only d3 can stop OML.
  • VhailorxVhailorx Posts: 4,923 Chairperson of the Boards
    Mawtful,

    Definitions are important and I should have included one in this post. Your definition of specialist differs from mine. So it's not surprising that we seem to disagree.

    You seem to be thinking of specialist/hybrid in terms of mom archetype roles (damage, tank, heal etc). So you are speaking about attack specialists and so generation specialists.

    I was thinking of specialist/generalist in terms of "in which scenarios does a character excel." those that excel in many different circumstances are generalists; those that excel in very specific circumstances are specialists, or niche characters.

    So cyclops and switch are generalists because it is almost always good for your team to generate ap quickly, or deal significant single target damage.

    But characters like doc oc or 3*falcon are specialists, because they require specific circumstances to be useful (e.g. the enemy must generate special tiles).

    When specialists do excel, they can be devastatingly effective (ever tried Elektra in a level 300+ muscle node?), but they are never premier chracters because the overall mechanics of this game heavily favor do-it-all characters, even if they don't do it quite as well.

    (and you are right that this game has always favored "win fast" strategies. This might be quibbling, but I would call that a second-level abstraction or meta-meta. There is the game, then the meta-game (which characters and tactics works best given the constraints of the game), and then the meta-meta-game (which strategies will result in the best meta-game choices). The meta-meta hasn't changed much at all, as you said: win fast. But the characters and tactics used to achieve fast wins has shifted significantly over time (rags-->spidey-->one/punisher-->cmags/patch-->sentry/hood-->thorverine-->imhb/if-->imhb/jg-->5*s/OML).
  • MawtfulMawtful Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    Vhailorx wrote:
    I was thinking of specialist/generalist in terms of "in which scenarios does a character excel." those that excel in many different circumstances are generalists; those that excel in very specific circumstances are specialists, or niche characters.

    So cyclops and switch are generalists because it is almost always good for your team to generate ap quickly, or deal significant single target damage.

    I definitely approached the discussion from a more "top-down" approach (the 2nd layer abstraction that you mentioned) since I do see this as a mechanical or design flaw first and foremost. Your definition definitely comes from a "bottom-up" view since you were thinking more in terms of actual characters (at least, that's my impression). I don't think either of our definitions are wrong, however it's a little difficult for them to co-exist.

    I would endeavour to suggest that you'd at least agree with my analysis that dealing damage and generating resource (AP) are at the core of the game (again, this is a 2nd level abstraction - dealing damage can be match damage, direct ability damage, attack tiles, etc), and that's the primary reason that "generalist" characters are more highly prized that specialists.

    In all cases the top of the meta teams have been built around abilities which give the players the best advantage over the "meta-meta". It's often been in the form of accelerating AP (reducing the number of matches which need to be made), although JG and OML have both provided new twists on subverting those core mechanics.
  • theshadeofopaltheshadeofopal Age Unconfirmed Posts: 93 Match Maker
    Maybe dynamically reduce iso costs based on how often a character is maxed/champed relative to characters who are just fully covered? I know this would never happen and would likely piss a lot of people off if it did but its really the only thing that makes sense to me. 95% of the player base could never justify spending the same amount of iso to max elektra when you could max rhulk. What if she only took say two thirds or half as much though? It wouldn't make those specialists like falcap or antman suddenly dominant in pve/pvp but it might make those characters actually see play outside of people who happen to be big fans of specific designs or characters. Personally I've got quite a few junky 3*s maxed due to iso costs and how buffed 3*s used to be quite good but it simply takes too long to gather the iso necessary to max a 4* or 5* to bother with niche function characters.
  • CtenkoCtenko Posts: 218 Tile Toppler
    Specialists can work in this Meta.

    Counters to one problem in a meta (Almost) never work. Creating something to stop a particular abuse of a system, never works as intended. Sometimes they can work, but almost never in the format and meta they are intended for.
    Grafdigger's Cage did not stop Flashback abuse in Innistrad. (M:tG)
    Despise did not do anything to Jace the Mind Sculptor. (M:tG)
    Roy Harper LE did nothing to stop Barrier Abuse. (Heroclix.)
    And Frequent re balancings have still done nothing to prevent the simple idea that More mobility equals better character in league of legends.

    I have more examples but these are the ones off the top of my head. Virtually no single silver bullet, ever achieves it's purpose in a game. This is one of the perils of design.

    Personally I'm just annoyed that Hawkeye's Sidekick is so much better than he is. I thought the Ratings were supposed to mean something... Oh wait. You say old Man Logan is on the level of Surfer and Phoenix? And so is Captain America? Huh.
Sign In or Register to comment.