A few weeks ago we asked you guys to send us questions, comments and suggestions around Combat Cards in return for an Inquisitor Eisenhorn card. Demonstrating that everyone loves a free Inquisitor, we received enough replies that I’m going to split the Q&A over this and next week’s post.
Because I’ve always wanted to do this, I’m going to run these Q&A blogs in the style of the letters pages in White Dwarf and other magazines (including abbreviating people’s messages to avoid repetition of questions). Let’s get started!
Representing everyone outside of Australia and the Netherlands, Rob Hills asks “I would like to know when I can play it”.
It’s a fair questions, and I understand the frustration of following the progress of a game you can’t play, but we’re releasing country by country so we can stress test our systems with a smaller number of players before we open the gates to everyone.
Unfortunately I can’t give a fixed release date here, because A) I don’t want these posts to get into business-business-business, and B) I know how upset players get if you announce a date and then miss it (even if it’s for unforeseen reasons). However, we’re are definitely gearing up for release, and the features we’re adding and improving are all focused on being ready for launch.
Proving that parents will name their kids anything these days, Krieg McKriegface writes: “Battle field request, priority primary. Please provide biographic-information and ability to flip over cards to gain more knowledge and insight into cards and characters. Additional request, priority secondary. Combat speed increase, auto deck assembly, skip combat function. PS. Add more Kriegs. PPS. KRIEGS!”
Okay, three things to cover:
One – ability to flip cards over. Spookily, we have exactly this feature in design, with each card’s back including more detailed stats (things like rarity, ID, initiative value and body type, etc.), plus a short piece of background text explaining who they are. More news on this feature as it progresses.
Two – ability to speed up or skip battles and auto-build decks. Speeding up and eventually skipping battles are features we plan to add over time, with discussions going on around when to give players access to them. We aren’t considering auto deck building, as – for us at least – setting up a deck with combo’s and contingencies is a big part of the game, so we don’t want to lose it. Plus it doesn’t take very long if you just throw some cards in with a Warlord.
Three – adding more Kriegs. This raises an interesting point, actually. We can add pretty much any of the Warhammer 40,000 Forge World miniatures to the game, but their paint style is quite different to the ‘Eavy Metal painted Games Workshop miniatures. Does that matter to you guys? The same thing applies to older and newer GW miniatures, which sometimes have slightly different paint styles. Should we try to stick to a single paint ‘era’, or is that overridden by seeing a wider range of miniatures (even if there style doesn’t 100% match up)?
Taking a moment to break the Q&A rules (because there’s no Q here for me to A), I wanted to post this message from Byron McGregor Cawthorne. “I played combat card as a young teen, I’m now 38. For the last 6-7 years I have been looking in App Store and thinking ‘I wish they would turn Combat Cards into a iPhone game. I almost fell over when I checked again a week ago and bang there she was, all my dreams had come true.”
Thanks to Byron and everyone else who writes in with this sort of message. As a new game with bugs and issues for us to fix, it makes sense that most of the messages we see are from disgruntled players. So it’s always cool to be reminded that, yep, we’re working on a much-loved IP, and our focus on making this a game that we – as Warhammer 40,000 players – want to play does appear to be working.
Dennis Holman addresses a question we get a lot: “Hello combat cards. First you got a great game here, and enjoy it a lot. Though the balance seems somewhat off now and than.
As a rank 6 fighting off people using upgraded rank 30+ cards… really not much you can do against. So you just go for kill points. And make it as hard as you can on them.”
Yep, this is absolutely a fair point, and it’s caused by two issues:
First, as we’re only out in a couple of countries, the matchmaking system sometimes struggles to find a well balanced opponent for you to fight, meaning you can accidentally be matched against much too strong / weak players. This will get better when we roll out worldwide and the playerbase expands.
On top of that, we’re aware that our matchmaking system needs an overhaul to make it smarter and able to pick better matches. Our revised design takes into account wins and losses, but also the size and capacity of your deck, the number of upgrades your cards have, etc. I don’t have an ETA for matchmaking v2, but work on it is underway.
As an aside, why did we ship the game when we knew the matchmaking needed an overhaul? One of the things we’ve learned about making live, serviced games like Combat Cards, is that you want to get the game out as soon as possible, then react to player feedback and making changes and improvements ‘live’ (as opposed to a boxed, console game where you do all the work up front and then release it). This means we have to decide which features must be improved before we can launch the game, and which are working well enough for now and can be upgraded later. If that sounds mercenary, consider the alternative – the game takes waaaay longer to be released, because everything in it must be perfect.
I’ll answer the rest of your responses next week, but you can always get in touch with questions, comments, suggestions and general feedback. Hearing what you guys like / don’t like, your ideas for the future, and which bits of the game need to be clearer is always really useful for us.