Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#Blaugust Day 11 -- What to do about Polymorphs . . . Wizard101 vs. Hearthstone?

So, I'm going to be real here and step outside of my Angus shoes. I was overjoyed to discover polymorph treasure cards were the answer to Angus's woes in Celestia, but if I take a step back and think about this as Joe Schmo wizard, Polymorphs seem to be a hotly contested problem.

Flash33 is probably the greatest expert on Polymorph magic there is in Wizard101. His guide is Angus's bible for Moon Magic. He pretty much sums up what most players think about these "useless" spells:
  • "you lose your stats you had before"
  • "they're useless in pvp"
  • "oh, I can't attack head-on in some of them"
His post specifically goes over the hidden back-end mechanics (definitely not found on the cards themselves, which adds to the confusion) that make these cards special and how to use them.

For the new Polymorphs, I'm going to look to Duelist101's guide here.

Over time, unfortunately I think the case gets even worse for Polymorphs and Moon magic.  We now have access to Mastery Amulets, which we didn't have in Celestia. Personally, it feels like that was probably the death nail for many of these cards. Why turn into a Treant if I can heal much more effectively with a simple gear swap or in my everyday gear? With the ability to crest 80% resistance with gear now and without adding weakness to another class simultaneously, why use them? They are fun. (who doesn't like throwing a taco at a mob while polymorphed as a Gobbler) They are unique. (you definitely don't see a lot of these being cast out there.) . . . but I think I'd add one more bullet to Flash's list of anti-poly hate:
  • They haven't aged well due to advances in player gear
On the plus side, they're fantastic for lower level players as treasure cards and for those who are tragically under-geared at every level! :)



Let's shift gears over to Hearthstone and take a look at this game's single and unique "polymorph" as it were:

Lord Jaraxxus

This video does a great job of showing the power that comes to play here.  It *can* be a great finisher, it's a risky move, but opens up tons of potential power to end a game.

As noted on this wiki page, it does have its counters:
  • Repentance: Reduces Jaraxxus' health to 1 instantly
  • Snipe: Deals 4 damage to Jaraxxus instantly
  • Sacrificial Pact: Destroys Jaraxxus
  • Mirror Entity: Summons a 3/15 Lord Jaraxxus minion
  • Blingtron 3000 / Harrison Jones / Acidic Swamp Ooze: Destroys Blood fury
  • Extremely rarely, Sylvanas Windrunner can steal the Lord Jaraxxus minion before its Battlecry is triggered, causing the other player to become Jaraxxus. This can happen for example if the player has Knife juggler and Illidan Stormrage on the board, and then plays Jaraxxus. Playing Jaraxxus will cause a Flame of Azzinoth to be summoned, triggering Knife Juggler; if the knife hits and kills Sylvanas, her Deathrattle will have a chance to steal Lord Jaraxxus. Jaraxxus can similarly be destroyed by Deathrattle effects such as those of multiple Abominations.

Of course, there are some very key differences between game play in Hearthstone and Wizard101. They are completely different beasts in many aspects, but what I like about Lord Jaraxxus is that

1- It sets your life to a new (low) maximum and acts as a heal, you can never shift back.
2- It breaks you free from stuns, so casting it is more than just an expensive shift with no utility.
3- You still play your deck, but you have a new power available to you with extreme high efficiency.
4- There are counters
5- It's a finisher.


While Angus is going to get some great mileage out of Polymorphs in Celestia, I don't envy the next designer who's tasked to make one (if that ever happens, shifts are the new hotness for moon magic).  If it were me, I'd make the next Polymorphs much more deadly and efficient (think BIG SPELLS for LOW COST), make the health and resists much lower, add an instant taunt effect from using it, and cause the effect of the Polymorph to be near permanent.

Basically, much more risk for much more reward and turn it into an expert card. You'd be deadly, but you've got to know how and when to use it or you're left with your head spinning.


Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaughust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

1 comment:

Seth Vint said...

First of all, thanks for the shout-out there. I hope that it helps you and others out as well.

Now about your idea, it's definitely interesting, but I'm not sure if making them permanent is the right way to go, as keep in mind the decks are often smaller than the one that you had before and aren't limitless like the CPU players' decks are unfortunately. One way that could work out is to add a special "Shift Back" spell into the decks that would instantly switch the user back into their normal form from before. I know that defeats the purpose of your idea, but it's either that or buff the stats on the Polymorphs, as nerfing their already fairly low stats as it is will just serve to push even more people away from the Moon school than it does currently (I blame KI for that, as they just poorly implemented the idea of the Moon school honestly).

You are right in that because of advances in gear, stats and Mastery Amulets, Moon just doesn't see much play in the higher levels of the game unfortunately, and to add insult to injury the Polymorph TC's are now marked as No PvP, making fan-made tournaments involving them pretty much impossible to do now these days, as finding a select group of people who trained them and are willing to even use them in a fun little tournament such as that is extremely rare these days. I honestly feel that this is because of KI and how they poorly implemented the idea of Moon school and seem to be trying to make everyone forget that the school even exists now honestly.

In fact, I remember many years ago KI telling the fans that once Celestia was released in full that they would look to give Myth their own Polymorph. Fast Forward to today, and outside of Shift Ogre (which is all the way in Khrysalis by the way), we still don't have a polymorph for Myth.

Anyway, to get back on topic, with maybe a little tweaking here and there KI could definitely get the aspect of Polymorphing some real true love, as while the Shift spells are nice, that alone won't change the common mindset of players that think the Moon school is "trash". Your idea is a nice attempt I will admit, but again I say that nerfing the stats is not the way to go if one were to re-tweak Polymorphs into lasting the full duration of the battle there honestly.