Development Diary #25

THE ASTRACITE IN THE MIRROR

The Astracites have been waiting around for a playtest, and I finally got around to it, and you can check out some of the action below.

Since this was their first playtest with all the recent changes, it is a simple mirror match with one of every card the Astracites have. The Astracites can be a little nasty, and that was clear with the game, so let's get into the details.

Infection Cost

Infection cost allows a follower to infect another unit you control and use them as a shield. The follower that used infect cannot be directly targeted by an effect or attack until the unit they infected is killed. I think this worked pretty well. The cost can be prohibitive early in the game, but once you are to the point that you are building ungovernable domains, it is more of a strategic decision to make certain units harder to kill to keep them on the board longer.

Parasitism

Parasitism allows you to gain control of a unit you kill if your unit has Parasitism. Parasitism didn't get to see any play this game, but this will be kept track of with further Astracite matches. I don't see any major issues with this other than gaining another player's unit and abilities, but the unit becomes so weak I'm not sure how bad this could get for the parasitized player.

Umbra

Umbra causes the status aliment Blindness, reducing your ability to land an attack. Umbra didn't get to see any play time this game, and it may get removed along with all status aliments (more on this in a future post).

Most Loyal Domains

The Astracite's domains are more loyal than any other kingdom. This makes it a beast to disrupt them, which is fine, that's a perk of the Astracites. No domains were disrupted this game (one came close), but this is something I will look at closer with future games. I don't want to change this loyalty so much as I want to make sure fomenters are able to do their job against the Astracites. It could be an easy tweak that their realms are more loyal and not principalities. Just a slight nerf.

Speaking of Nerfs...

One card that stuck out was the Mangler. A green rarity, high attack, Quickstrike unit. Even though the card fits where it is supposed to on the curve, green rarity, which makes it easier to level up, paired with a high attack and Quickstrike, makes it a very nasty follower on the battlefield. If a player has a damage spell or high defense this isn't much of a problem, but once it gets to level 4, silver rarity units have a very difficult time with it. It is going to at least move up in rarity because I don't want a ton of Manglers on the battlefield every time people play with the Astracties.

Shining Star Award Goes to...

The card that stuck out as the most utility-driven and useful card to have early on in the game was the Rummaging Fiend. Not only is he cute, but being able to speed the building process along with him is great. Combine that with Humility, and you have a winning combination. It was always my goal to pair Humility with utility cards, so players could actually use their utility before being picked off. I'm glad it worked so well with the fiend.

Non-Astracite-Specific Notes

The game clocked in at about 45 minutes. I would like to shave some of that off. I could always drop the tokens required to win, but 15 feels good with your engine progression. I'm thinking little things like flipping tokens for higher values instead of grabbing a new one from the stack, more regimented actions during turn phases, and an easier ramp up for heroes may speed things along. Time and tokens on the board seemed to be the biggest thing that I noticed this game, not so much mechanics. The mechanics feel like they are freezing up. Not much left to tweak.

Moving Forward

I'm already hard at work on the token revamp and it will be real easy for me to adjust the heroes. I'll need a couple more Astracite mirror matches to see how they feel overall, and I plan to stress test them in a week or so. This marks the halfway point of testing with all the kingdoms, and the game finally feels like it is gelling.

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