We were promised that this patch will be packed with content (as per usual) and I was loving the skins they were showing. I really want that Angelic Seris skin, it just looks amazing. Also that Evie dance emote is pretty fun too. So far so good.
Then they got to the game changing segment of the show.
Pre PTS play thoughts
The skins and visual items were great. I love the new Seris skin and there’s a fun Evie emote. Love it.
Regarding the new card system, I was about 46% positive and 54% negative – in other words, I don’t mind the changes. My reasoning is that I mostly play in Ranked and the idea of making that game mode fairer and more competitive is a welcomed sentiment. Giving people access to all the cards at the start is great but I’m not sure about the grind. Playing the Public Test Server (PTS) will definitely help make up my mind. I’ve even held back on purchasing any more packs (Frontline pack) until I know.
After PTS play thoughts
So, in short. I’m against these changes, it makes the game completely unrecognisable and it’s actually removed a lot of the things I found fun.
New card system
The new system proposed will give all players access to all cards at level 1 (v3 of the patch will have 5 cards at level 3 by default) as opposed to 5 cards available right now. I like this, it allows people to play with builds early. However, you cannot choose what level card you use. If you place that card in a deck, it will be whatever level you have that card at. The point system has been increased from 12 points to 25 points to accommodate a deck of 5 level 5 cards (so really, points are irrelevant now). Legendary cards also have 3 levels now. I’m not in favour for this but I’m also not adversely opposed to these ideas.
The grind to level cards, however, is ridiculous. To level a card, you will need duplicate(s) of that card (dependant on card level) to level it. To receive cards, you can no longer craft them with essence (essence is removed in OB64), you need to open chests that have a random chance of dropping cards. The randomness at the core of this system means you could open a hundred chests before you actually get a duplicate of the card you wanted to level. I am not putting my time nor money into something like that. I tried it on the PTS where an infinite amount of crystal and gold is supplied and it was a terrible experience. They need an “open all” button as sitting there opening 70 chests is definitely the opposite of fun. I couldn’t get through this process where it was free so how on earth am I going to do it with my own time and money? The thing with essence is that it’s not the best method to grind cards, but it also wasn’t the worst. The grind was ok. So to replace it with a bad process is off putting. It should be noted that Ranked will lock all cards at level 3 regardless of what level you have them at.
The intention to make Ranked fair and balanced is a great sentiment to have. It’s my go to mode after a stressful day at work. This sounds good on paper, but there are problems. Under the proposed changes, the ability to specialise champion characteristics are hindered. For example, if I wanted to base an Evie build around her Blink skill I can max out two of those cards currently. But won’t be possible in OB64, or at least not to that extreme. Building decks like this was fun as it made me think about what loadouts should I have available in case of which champions get picked. The new system takes this enjoyment away.
Quick Play mode
Casual queue is now being replaced by a new mode called Quick Play. In this mode, you can fill your deck with level 5 cards. This mode is like a “hyper” mode if you like. Skills are crazier and stronger, should you have level 5 cards.
Now, this is odd. In Ranked, you can only have level 3 cards. In Quick Play, you can have cards from level 1 – 5. This difference is actually having a huge impact on my enjoyment of the game. How do we test builds before we go into Ranked? I will need to be able to open chests so that all my cards go to level 3 and none go past it. It’s close to impossible to control this because of the randomness. If I have cards at level 5, my champion will not perform as well in Ranked and similarly, under perform in Quick Play for level 1 cards. This mismatch of card levels is really odd. Also, some level 5 cards are absolutely broken, they just take the fun out of the game!
Better for new players
On the PTS server, very few of my cards were higher than level 1. I thought this would be a great opportunity to see what it would be like as a beginner. It was great that I had access to all the cards. But it was a very underwhelming experience. I just had cards that give a small boost to a still. I don’t understand what the point of giving them access to all the cards is if they can’t customise it. Leveling cards was not fun. Also, playing a match against someone who has maxed their loadouts put me at a huge disadvantage making skill less relevant. It seems to me that to make any real progress in a reasonable time frame keys will need to be purchased. So if you are paying money, you will gain an advantage. You will reduce the grind so much it’s tip toe-ing on the borders of pay to win. I don’t like that.
The difference between Quick Play and Ranked is confusing. It removes a reliable environment to practice new builds and testing new champions. The inability to customise card levels removes the enjoyment of thinking about builds outside of a match. I do not like this.
There’s too much that’s out of my control in the leveling process that makes me feel uncomfortable and unrewarded. The essence system at least allowed me to work towards crafting the card I wanted. This one is down to complete random luck (modified by the developers). When new champions are introduced, I’m forced to either participate in this ridiculous grind process or go into Ranked blind. I hate that. Overall, after playing PTS, I can confidently say I’m against these changes. If it is introduced in Paladins, I don’t think I would carry on playing.