Overtime Feature Discussion

Greetings Commanders,

There’s a been a bit of discussion recently with regards to the new feature “Overtime” that was added in 2.00. We understand the change came a bit abruptly, so we wanted to take a moment to speak a bit regarding the problems we noticed around Fight It Out. To do so, we’ll go over the goals we had in mind when designing for how to resolve drawn-out battles, and how we envisioned Overtime satisfying those goals.

What Wasn’t Working With FIO

One of the main issues we noticed early on with Fight It Out was that it took control away from the player at a very important time during a match, which led to the end of matches feeling like an uninteresting movie that was being watched rather than a tense, action-packed finale that you held an active part in. This also resulted in the creation of unintended strategy where players would hold their units and wait until the last moment to play them. While we understand that there are players who viewed Fight It Out favorably, our analysis of the system showed it was a contributing factor to players quitting the game. Players who ran into Fight It Out 30-40% of their games were actually three times as likely to quit the game compared to those who ran into it 10-20% of the time. This is an indicator that something about the system was pushing players away from the game.

Design Goals for End-of-Battle

With the above in mind, we had a number of design goals to achieve when creating a successor to FIO:

  • Bring control over the game back to the player during this end-of-match scenario.
  • Minimize the amount of time that a player would be out of cards to play.
  • Maintain similar match times.
  • Make win conditions clear and apparent.

Crafting Overtime How Overtime Addresses These Goals

With Overtime, we aimed to bring control back to players in hopes of bringing more tense and dynamic moments. Timed card draw and limited deck is two of our core design pillars. This means that the game should draw to an end as players run out of cards. Fight It Out often resulted in players running out of cards and actions, so we extended the time period where cards continue to be drawn in Overtime to help alleviate this. We also wanted to ensure players have time to mount a comeback without causing games to extend further out than they do now (approximately 2-3 minutes). By starting Overtime earlier than FIO and introducing gradual base damage, we aimed to be able to meet both of these criteria.

Where We Aim to Continue Improving

We’ve been paying close attention to the feedback around Overtime potentially impacting the game negatively, and are committed to adjusting the end-of-match experience to feel balanced, while sticking to our core design principles outlined in the Design Goals section above. Analysis is frequently run to see what deck archetypes are successful, it is a common check to make sure that there aren’t any emergent strategies that are clearly dominating all other strategies. That being said, we’ll continue to introduce balance tweaks to Overtime with the aim of keeping early, mid, and late game decks viable. In the more immediate future, we’ll be making optimizations to the amount of damage done to the base and the start time for Overtime. More details on this will be included in the patch notes for the next update.

Thanks for your time, everyone! Let us know in the discussion below your thoughts! As always, we appreciate all of your feedback and continued support!

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Add another 30 seconds before OT starts and I think it would be near perfect. Right now late game decks that fend off early game decks don’t have enough time to close out the game after succeeding in defending said rush decks.

It’s hard enough to win games as Ascension, so to lose a successfuly defended game because they barely touched your base is super deflating.

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Do you mind sharing similar stats for the current iteration of overtime? I.E. Players that reach over time are X% more likely to quit

As far as overtime tuning goes I don’t think it’s as easy as delaying it, as in our internal playtesting and past versions of the Wild Beyond we’ve seen that it’s a really bad experience for the game to drag on for a long time without one or both players having any meaningful actions to take. However we are absolutely committed to late-game Ascension strategies being a viable option so we will take actions to make that true- including Overtime tuning, unit balancing, economy tuning, and introduction of new cards.

So far we’re not seeing any correlation at all between experiencing Overtime and quitting, so that’s a really good sign (improving our ability to retain users will help increasing liquidity in matchmaking for everyone).

Have you guys ever thought about having cards recycle and then having three minute matches with one minute of OT that can end in a draw if no one kills the base? It works well in other games I play. Draws rarely happen.

Card recycling and timed card draw is actually a quite hefty subject that’s worth going into a little more detail on.

Timed card draw, multiple copies of cards and limited deck all come together to create something called “card economy”, which is one of our design pillars. (btw this will all sound very familiar to anyone who has played CCGs over the last decades). When there is a limited access to cards the cards themselves have value, and this means that you can be ahead or behind on more factors:

-You can be ahead on board (deployed units)

-Ahead on cards (total units on board and in hand)

-Ahead on economy (ability to deploy your cards onto the board)

This creates the possibility of many different strategies that wouldn’t be possible in a recycling draw world. For example:

-Aggro decks. Tries to dump as many cards early on but runs out of steam once they run out/low on cards. Can try to add a bit more late game staying power by adding one or two more expensive cards to “curve out” on, however this comes at the cost of reducing the chance of the initial push succeeding. This is the deck archetype that tries to win the fastest. (Nash T1 rush would be a great example)

-Ramp decks. Sacrifices cards to get a strong advantage and push hard for a win in the mid-game. Runs out of steam if the big push fails as it’s losing on card advantage (Avasa midgame t3 deck goes here)

-Control deck. Tries to make economic trades (eg kill 2 enemy cards with 1 card), to maintain card advantage and build economy, makes it to the late-game where it can start playing big bombs. (Kuro control)

What this gives us is decks that has their expected victory conditions manifest at different times throughout the game, which creates several natural nail-biting inflection points where the tides are turning and comebacks are possible. Those of you who have been with the game for a long time will remember that we had recycling draw at one point, and the lack of these comebacks were a big issue as most games became a dull slog with few chances of turning it around.

Card economy also opens up a giant interesting design space for card design. At the simplest it allows for cards that are 0 or 1 cost as those were not viable in recycling draw system (they become too good as cycling cards). However, that’s just the beginning. Since you don’t always have a full hand we can get very creative with all kinds of mechanics that interact with your hand, which you will see very very soon…

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As someone who just spent yesterday saying goodbye to a game I loved playing but which failed in large part because of poorly considered changes and terrible communication with the players let me say thank you for this discussion. It goes a long way with me to know this game is being carefully developed in a way that makes it worth my time to become engrossed in it.

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Hi @Fellixe @CrispyLardon @Jinduckey I’d love to hear your thoughts on overtime after playing a week on the new v2.10 release. My personal opinion is that it feels “pretty good” and definitely superior to the old “Fight it Out” mechanic.

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I like it a lot more. I feel like I have time to make a come back.

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I like it. I liked it before the update. Much better than FIO in that it keeps the player engaged instead of just watching the end unfold. Seems to promote more efficient play all around.

Post update I feel like the tweaks Overtime got were good. The end of the match arrives faster but with more time to influence the end the whole match seems to be a better experience.

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