Answers To The 8 Questions About Vaulting (5/2/17)
Hi Marvel Puzzle Quest!
I’m Dave Guskin, the lead designer, and I wanted to take some time to answer some really great questions from user @Daredevil217about the recent changes to comic offer content, often referred to as vaulting. I want to be upfront and say that not all of these answers are going to be ones you want to hear, nor are some things you wish were different about the system going to change. However, I hope it’s clear that we take these kinds of changes seriously, and (as you’ll see later down) we’re definitely open to making additional changes to address player concerns with consequences of this system.
#1 - Why the change?
For some time, Marvel Puzzle Quest has lived with a problem we call pack dilution. Pack dilution is the fact that since comic packs contain ALL characters ever released, each new character release “dilutes” the chance of drawing a given character of that rarity. When there were few 4-stars, each had a significant chance of being the 4-star you pulled when you received that rarity. Once there’s a large number of 4-stars in the offer, the chance of drawing any particular one is very small - and it continued to decrease with each new release.
One of the complaints we've been very sensitive to is that players that roster a new character are just spending HP on a roster slot for an unusable character that they are carrying around indefinitely. By reducing the number of characters in packs, we've more than doubled your chance of getting multiple covers for a single character, meaning we’ve halved the time it takes to make progress on the latest characters.
#2 - Should new players be focusing on a smaller pool of heroes now?
Yes, and there's a huge benefit in focusing on fewer characters at once. We believe that as players progress now, they’ll make faster progress on 3-star and 4-star Heroes. This should make you more competitive in events faster, earning you better event rewards as you climb SCLs. You'll also be able to make choices about who to favorite as a Bonus Hero, so you can make direct progress on characters that enhance your roster, and not entirely random progress, distributed between lots of characters without enough covers to be viable in play.
#3 - What is in place for those who want to level evenly?
We think players who want to level more evenly will still have a vastly improved experience. You’ll find that token pulls reward more covers to the latest characters, so instead of leveling forty characters that have 1-5 covers, you'll be leveling twelve characters plus Bonus Heroes that have 10+ covers.
We understand that players have different play styles, and we want to support as many as we can. More fundamentally, we want players to always feel a sense of progress, especially week to week. By focusing on a narrower band of characters, players can still choose to level a lot of characters evenly, but will see more noticeable gains across those characters.
#4 - If vaulting didn’t work in the past, why bring it back?
Although vaulting isn’t without flaws, we still believe it is an important component of an effective solution to the pack dilution problem above. The single largest complaint we received last time was that players who were a few covers away from a max'd character couldn't make any progress until the character was rotated back in. Bonus Heroes helps to address that issue, by letting you make progress on a character that is no longer available in packs.
#5 - Is this change designed to encourage hoarding?
No. Our expectation is that as players receive more covers of a smaller set of characters, they’ll have more opportunity to use their iso-8 to get those characters to level max faster than before.
We absolutely realize that it feels terrible to pull a 4-star or better cover that you have to throw away. We definitely want to improve this experience.
#6 - With older characters being more of a rarity, how are newcomers supposed to compete for these characters without having these essential characters in the first place?
New players haven't been able to compete because they've been making extremely slow progress on their rosters. We see players with lots of Champion'd 3-stars, but no usable 4-stars. They have plenty of 4-star covers, but no 4-star is above 5 covers, and so they are completely locked out of the 4-star transition. With this change, those players should have a much shorter on-ramp to the 4-star game and therefore to competing for rewards at that level.
#7 - Is this change meant to slow (or in some cases eliminate) champing?
We had, perhaps incorrectly, felt that we had provided enough opportunities to continue to collect covers for older (out of packs) 4-stars via event rewards. We’re evaluating this assumption and are open to feedback - we don’t think we’ve gotten it quite right yet. We’ve already been trying to find limited ways to make these characters more available, such as the off-season Vintage Heroic store. We’ve got more work to do here, so stay tuned.
#8 - If enough people voice concern, would you be willing to end vaulting?
Yes. We've made it very clear that we're interested in player feedback, and willing to adjust accordingly. Player feedback has guided our characters updates to focus on increasing 4-star power, rather than decreasing overpowered 4-star characters. This was fantastic for both sides; we saw increased use of different characters, and players were happier that we didn't have to change the 4-star characters they loved.
We think it’s very important to note that just ending vaulting is not a full solution; doing so will restore the pack dilution problem outlined in #1 above which threatens the long-term health of the game. We hope you understand that solving for all of these issues is complex and takes time, and we continue to appreciate hearing from players to hear your specific concerns with changes we make to the game.