Berserk GOOD versus BAD

23 posts

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A brief synopsis of what I have come to find the strongest and weakest points in Berserk to be.

Overall I like this game and play it quite a bit. I leave my comments only to be helpful. I am more descriptive in the “bad” section for the purpose of being helpful also. :)

Good:

• PvP land-control game. This is extremely unique and whether or not it could be tweaked, does provide long-term enjoyable gameplay. Very good.

• Varied content. Adding clan wars (which need some fixing) as well as the pvp games, as well as campaigns, as well as the above, means that the game has playable options.

• Card variety. This is starting to improve more and more with new sets released that have more playable cards.

Bad:

• Limited edition. The concept of “limited edition” cards is very, very bad. It makes newer players less interested in joining. It makes players more upset the more they play, too, which is the opposite feeling you want people to have. THERE IS NO REASON FOR LIMITED EDITION CARDS. Just make them available later on for ounces, or more expensive than during the promotion. You will end up selling more of them, and people who bought early still have an advantage. These new monthly sets are wonderful — don’t turn them into something bad.

• Bytex should disclose information about card interactions. It is a fact that the A.I. does not use randomness fairly, but Bytex does not make this information public. Your game will be much better and your community much more loyal if you open up information about randomness rates. It does not help to be silent, and especially not to take a dishonest approach of saying “the cards are shuffled fairly” or things like that. We players are not idiots :) and we know the cards are not shuffled fairly. In my 10,000 matches I have observed many things like this … so did Alguedon in his matches, and every other veteran player. Anyway, if Bytex really thinks they are shuffled fairly that is a bad thing to admit because it shows that you are unfamiliar with your own game and unfamiliar with your own code!

 
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Good:
1.A thing I also like is that lands can grant steady income to get packs.
2.I really love the way energy hardly is ever a problem. This puts you far, far ahead of many games in that category.
3.I think another good point would be that it is possible to get every card free.

Bad:
1.A bad point in my opinion is futile struggle over lands. Why attack allow attacks on active players when you could add incentive to get you guys more ad revenue AND make every active player gain lands easily?
2.New players get very little money from islands. This is a problem as while high levels can get every monthly pack 21 times, newbies must grind their way to that island status. The next point could help with that.
2.Another irritating thing is that there isn’t a steady ‘campaign’ you can do. There are imperial-cost campaigns, but these run out soon or don’t grant profit. A nice addition would be a long-running campaign where you get a decent amount of imperials as you beat the levels, so each time you get stronger you can go do the campaign and get some imperials. It would provide a reliable source of income and challenge. If you made the difficulty exponentially increase, it would also give new players a boost before they are forced to rely on their island for money but provide mostly challenge for high levels. Releasing a new set of these each week or month along with new cards would also give high levels something to look foward to after building what they believe is an unstoppable deck.
4. A counterpoint to good 3, it is difficult to earn pro cards. You can only sit and wait, very slowly gaining ounces, or drain the limited amount you can get from achievements.

EDIT: Also, I’ve noticed that another thing not stated rules-wise is the order abilities activate. It quickly becomes clear that some skills go before the ‘battle phase’ and some go during an attack, but some other things (like that if Vanguard’s hit kills an enemy with Freeze, the unit is not frozen) are unclear.

 
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Thank you for your feedback.

Sir_Valimont, this your statement is incorrect: “It is a fact that the A.I. does not use randomness fairly”.
The game uses the Java random generator to determine the A.I. cards shuffle. No any tweaks and etc are made.

The cards are shuffled fairly.

 
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I will quote myself for you:

“If Bytex really thinks they are shuffled fairly, that is a bad thing to admit, because it shows that you are unfamiliar with your own game and unfamiliar with your own code.”

I have played hundreds of CCGs in the past 5 years – every single one I could find, both physical and online. I make a point to understand the game mechanics because I am interested in the design of these games. I don’t make idle claims about randomness because I am upset or because I suffer from observation bias.

Few people realize that when you work full-time building a game you really don’t have time to play it all day long, like people expect. That’s fine. But if you spent time playing this game and watching the percentages of items, terrains, and heroes coming earlier in the shuffle, you would see that it is statistically impossible for the shuffles to be random.

I am sure you use a random generator to determine shuffling but there are plenty of ways the shuffle can be biased which may not be obvious in the code. Either way, based on all the games played by Alguedon and his reporting, and on my 10,000 games, and on the games of other confirmed veteran players, the shuffle is not random.

Other things that are not random in this game:

Heroes are rarer than other cards of the same rarity (for example Adrelian is rarer than Bagatur).

Items are rarer than other cards of the same rarity (for example Submission Bracelet is rarer than Jormungand).

Etc.

 
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Note:

The non-randomness of shuffling does not favor the A.I. or the player. Both decks are shuffled with a bias for early items, for example.

There are other ways in which randomness favors the A.I. but they are more complex and it’s probably best not to confuse the issue by talking about them.

 
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If RNG is initialised each shuffle by the current time (default behaviour in Java), the shuffle will be bias. This stems from the fact their are more combinations of cards than their are combinations of 64 bits. These guys used this fact the cheat a real online casino http://www.cigital.com/papers/download/developer_gambling.php . Quite an elegant solution is presented by http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/12/shuffling.html

I don’t really know if certain cards have shuffle bias or not. I am merely pointing out one possible inadvertent cause.

 
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So, back to good and bad,

I like Swamp Ferocity, as it gives free players a way to get good cards. Unfortunately, it appears to favor long time players again. Cards like Dolmen Keeper and the Herald cards can give a huge advantage, and are at low rarities. So when a low level sees these and can at MOST get one, it is quite discouraging. Again, back to my other points, you should make the income difference between high levels and low levels smaller. Instead, the difference should be the cards already collected, not the ability to get more, especially if timed sets like these become more frequent.

 
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Originally posted by r2d2go:

So, back to good and bad,

I like Swamp Ferocity, as it gives free players a way to get good cards. Unfortunately, it appears to favor long time players again. Cards like Dolmen Keeper and the Herald cards can give a huge advantage, and are at low rarities. So when a low level sees these and can at MOST get one, it is quite discouraging. Again, back to my other points, you should make the income difference between high levels and low levels smaller. Instead, the difference should be the cards already collected, not the ability to get more, especially if timed sets like these become more frequent.

The real problem is what I stated in the first post. Limited edition sets are the problem, not their prices.

Think of it this way. If Swamp Ferocity was available for 300k imperials each after September, then even as a newer player you could eventually get as many sets as you want. That is the whole point of playing a game like this … when you’re new you don’t automatically get everything, but you can spend months training and become a veteran yourself. The problem with limited edition cards is you can’t ever get them after they are gone. That is okay for games where the limited edition items are aesthetic, but NEVER when they are functional (let alone powerful).

 
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I think maybe it is useful to explain my discussion about randomness so it does not sound like I am upset or yelling at Bytex.

Please understand that when I say shuffles are not random, this is based on observation of THOUSANDS of battles. Please also understand that I am a game designer and I am extremely aware of “observation bias,” which is when people think they see a trend because they expect it, when there is no trend.

This is not observation bias … this is a basic fact of gameplay. It is an accepted fact which actually affects the strategy of playing, too. Alguedon was a good example. As a player with 40,000 or more battles played, he favored Heroes that used ZERO item slots because items have a tendency to come too quickly. This disrupts decks that are not fast, since at the top-level game speed is the most important aspect of most cards. Similarly, some deck builds are designed with the concept that certain cards will come out first.

An example: A very popular deck is Nahoru-Butcher-Great Axe. This usually is 3x Nahoru, 3x Butcher, 1x Great Axe (or similar). This deck strategy is effective because Great Axe is more likely to come first than any other card, which means on the second turn you get a Nahoru (most of the time) with 7 attack power. This strategy would be less effective if the item (Great Axe) was shuffled randomly.

I don’t know what the source of the RNG complications are … whether they are intentionally in the code or not. But it is something Bytex should look at, if they truly don’t realize there is a non-randomness there. Personally I find it a bit hard to believe that the coders don’t realize this. I have had many experiences where even in the best companies coders do not communicate entirely transparently with others … so maybe some people at Bytex are unaware of the randomness and only reporting what others say. But evidence is on my side of the argument!

Last note: Please understand that I am not saying the non-randomness is “breaking the game” or something. I think the game is fine with the shuffling the way it is, but it should be made PUBLIC information what the non-randomness is because that way players can build strategy from it and the game will be richer. That’s all.

As always I leave these comments in the spirit of constructive criticism, because this is a good game and Bytex is a good group of people. :)

 
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Originally posted by Sir_Valimont:
Originally posted by r2d2go:

So, back to good and bad,

Stuff

The real problem is what I stated in the first post. Limited edition sets are the problem, not their prices.

Stuff.

Just to clarify, I was trying to say that if the income of a high level and low level were the same, I would be less miffed. While not timing the sets would be a solution, so would that. Many games have similar structure (where energy is used to get money and as such, the constant energy gain means constant income), and if the difference were 10k/day vrs 20k/day it would be okay, but 10k and 1000k? Not so much.

 
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Originally posted by r2d2go:
Originally posted by Sir_Valimont:
Originally posted by r2d2go:

So, back to good and bad,

Stuff

The real problem is what I stated in the first post. Limited edition sets are the problem, not their prices.

Stuff.

Just to clarify, I was trying to say that if the income of a high level and low level were the same, I would be less miffed. While not timing the sets would be a solution, so would that. Many games have similar structure (where energy is used to get money and as such, the constant energy gain means constant income), and if the difference were 10k/day vrs 20k/day it would be okay, but 10k and 1000k? Not so much.

Nothing stops a newer player from increasing his income … in fact that’s one of the most basic goals of the game. Further, newer players have some advantages (portals open to lower leveled players) that enable them to increase their income extra quickly.

The only disparity you are perceiving is in the pre-existing condition of being a new player versus an old player. It wouldn’t make any sense for an old player not to have advantages … so I’m not sure what you’re asking for.

 
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I’d like to chime in with a Bad: Barbs.

• They are too difficult. This is arguable, and I probably struggle more than some, but usually I get at least 1 lost battle each pack of barbs, sometimes quite a few more. The main problem is they grow faster than a player does, and have access to ounce cards which tend to be stronger than standard cards. However this is less of a problem than:

• They take too long. Usually 1 group of barbs (4 fights + losses) takes me anywhere from 5-10 mins. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you slack a bit on cleaning them for whatever reason, they can be a real chore to clean up and I don’t play flash games to do chores.

• They have no point. No seriously, experience tends to do more harm than good because it makes barbs grow stronger, and portals go to higher levels. The imperials they give is negligible at best, and as mentioned above, they are not fun in the least. The only use they seem to have is to show whether or not a player is active and I feel this could be shown another, less annoying way.

Suggestions: If it was up to me, I would remove them entirely and simply add in something else to show a players activity, however reducing the amount of fights per barb (4 is ridiculous), weakening their card pools, and decreasing their spawn rates are all viable. Yes, I am aware you can do that last one with tower upgrades, but only one of them is available for imperials, is quite expensive, and is probably not most players top priority to spend on.

Last note: Sorry for a long post/rant about barbs, but it is/has been the one thing about this game that has really turned me off. This game, to me, has always had a very casual vibe and it’s such a shame to have it ruined by forcing players to do something I can only assume most would rather skip when they log in or get so backed up it will take them hours to get it back down.

 
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I agree with Val about the limited edition issues.

What’s troubling me is the friend list.
I really wish that we could have some tools to manage the list, separating actives from inactives (who are needed to solve the redirect issues), sorting out friends who need help with barbs (like Chocolina) from the other actives, and many other sub-lists (like clan members, competitors in dragon and hills, other clan members and so on).
I suppose that dividing, and so reducing the friend numbers in the displayed list, could also improve overall performances.

The game is fun and i’m really enjoying it, don’t get me wrong. ^^

 
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Originally posted by DarthPlasmon:

I agree with Val about the limited edition issues.

What’s troubling me is the friend list.
I really wish that we could have some tools to manage the list, separating actives from inactives (who are needed to solve the redirect issues), sorting out friends who need help with barbs (like Chocolina) from the other actives, and many other sub-lists (like clan members, competitors in dragon and hills, other clan members and so on).
I suppose that dividing, and so reducing the friend numbers in the displayed list, could also improve overall performances.

The game is fun and i’m really enjoying it, don’t get me wrong. ^^

Agreed. Mostly what would help is a list of people I have already sent a request to, and the ability to mass friend/unfriend within the game instead of through kong.

 
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Originally posted by Sir_Valimont:
Originally posted by r2d2go:
Originally posted by Sir_Valimont:
Originally posted by r2d2go:

So, back to good and bad,

Stuff

The real problem is what I stated in the first post. Limited edition sets are the problem, not their prices.

Stuff.

Just to clarify, I was trying to say that if the income of a high level and low level were the same, I would be less miffed. While not timing the sets would be a solution, so would that. Many games have similar structure (where energy is used to get money and as such, the constant energy gain means constant income), and if the difference were 10k/day vrs 20k/day it would be okay, but 10k and 1000k? Not so much.

Nothing stops a newer player from increasing his income … in fact that’s one of the most basic goals of the game. Further, newer players have some advantages (portals open to lower leveled players) that enable them to increase their income extra quickly.

The only disparity you are perceiving is in the pre-existing condition of being a new player versus an old player. It wouldn’t make any sense for an old player not to have advantages … so I’m not sure what you’re asking for.

I’m asking for the income to be nearly the same for old vrs new – something in at least a few multiplayer games (Such as Clash of the Dragons), simply because as money is gained mostly from energy and energy recharge is the same, income is closer than 10k to 1000k. A new player cannot have much income to begin with without spending money, as your stated lower level players to fight are at the same level as you. You have LESS income gain (woah, a third power) because you have less portals and redirects cost more (high level player’s imps could buy redirect upgrades). You also have less money to spend on redirects, somewhat causing a cycle of sadness.

 
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Money is not mostly gained from energy … not even close! :)

Any serious money in this game is gained from land income, or from PvP with strong decks. For the PvP, of course you’re not going to make as much when you’re new and you lose more often. That is normal.

Acquiring land is an equally fast process for new and old players, so the island building process is, by percentage, more effective at the lower end. Newer players should focus on a few weeks’ of land acquirement. Being frustrated that you don’t have a large income without putting in those few weeks is silly. It took me two full months of playing before I had a few hundred lands. It should be the same for everyone.

 
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I suppose it’d be hard to implement a huge change like energy income to land income, but I kinda like that better >.<
Oh well.

I’ve been playing for something like a month, and getting lands is a tiring experience. They also recently spiked the costs so it’s difficult to get lands fast.

 
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I have just started playing, I come from Tyrant and as a officer in a top 100 faction. I like the look of this game, the islands things is the best thing I like. I do not understand the clan system here since I don’t see that many clans. Also the campaign system needs a touch up. The deck interface can be be easier to work. The main thing I hate is the limited edition cards, they must go.

 
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just came in for the badges, which i got and am leaving to never play this game again, but…

the cinematic combat is the major turn-off. i play CCG-type games to be able to actually use the cards to attain victory – this game takes even that away. it’s essentially a game about you going out to buy booster packs to Magic for a slightly retarded friend, and then watching him play.

some other notes:
for a game with no player interaction during combat, having to watch the combat (or even wait for it to finish) is silly.
I actually played other games/read forums in parallel and and switched to Berserk when the battle was done to kick off another one.
Add a “Skip” button.

Also the Young Dragon card restriction is badly implemented and buggy. if you select an invalid deck, you get kicked back to your tower with no message (clearly a bug). you cannot develop a separate set of decks JUST for the young dragon – that means you have to disassemble existing decks and rebuild them from scratch – and then disassemble those and rebuild your originals once you’re done with the dragons. this is annoying and a bad design.
and, of course, it doesn’t actually tell you which decks/cards are invalid for the current attempt, so you have to go and look at each card separately… ugh.

 
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Bad:

Game isn’t really a game. There’s a bit of effort in deck construction (which means 5 minutes of buying boosters from the shop and placing your strongest monsters in a deck) and no real skill.

Tutorial? What’s a tutorial? Why would you want that?

As part of the above, a lot of the mechanics aren’t explained. (Chain lightning isn’t spell damage? It sure looks like somebody casting a spell to me. Also, rarities are never really discussed, except to be briefly touched on when you buy a booster.)

Too many broken mechanics that seem unbalanced or frustrating. (Right now Back is the highest thing on my personal rage list. I’m sure if I play the game some more I’ll find something more broken than that.)

Hilariously, any achievements/results of battles aren’t reported to you until the result of the next battle. Oh, you want to tell me the cards I got from opening a booster after I won a battle by building a squad from that booster pack?

Pointless plot provided in a wall of text that nobody will read (this complaint applies to 99% of all MMO’s).

Pointless restrictions on Treasure of Dragons and King of the Hill.

Sometimes the game hangs on loading battles (after I’ve selected squads).

Good:

The art is competent. The length of battles are relatively short. I’ve never really run into a mana shortage issue.

 
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My biggest problem with this game has already been mentioned. I joined the game thinking I’d be able to actually play the cards. Sorely sorely disappointed in that and makes me seriously want to quit.

 
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Thank you for your feedback, suggestions and criticism. I will forward them to the developers.

 
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I totally agrre w/ you, Sir Valimont.

Bad:

• Limited edition. The concept of “limited edition” cards is very, very bad. It makes newer players less interested in joining. It makes players more upset the more they play, too, which is the opposite feeling you want people to have. THERE IS NO REASON FOR LIMITED EDITION CARDS. Just make them available later on for ounces, or more expensive than during the promotion. You will end up selling more of them, and people who bought early still have an advantage. These new monthly sets are wonderful — don’t turn them into something bad.