There's a good amount to discuss here, so let's get into it, 1 topic at a time!
Tokens, Token Shop, and Card Acquisition
- More Tokens: We’re increasing the amount of Tokens earned on the Collection Level Track for all players who have not yet collected all Series 4 and Series 5 Cards. Starting at Collection Level 500 players will be able to earn between 200-600 tokens in Collector’s Caches and Collector’s Reserves regardless of whether they have completed Series 3 or not. This is an increase of 4X for players who have not yet completed Series 3! Once a Card Series is complete, caches that would have contained a card from that Series will now be replaced with 100 Tokens. All of these changes will result in more tokens for more people!
The short version of this is they are flipping the 2 ways we earn tokens on the collection track. Currently, we earn 100 tokens once every 4 reserves and 200-600 tokens (avg: 400, will just call it 400 from here on out) whenever we get a "card box" reserve that we are already capped on that series/pool. So if we get a "card box" with a s3 card in it, but we are s3 complete, then we get 400 tokens instead. The same is true for s4 or s5.
Now, we get the 400 tokens once per 4 boxes naturally, and if we are complete for the "card box" type that we open, we will get 100 tokens. In the phrasing above, I do not read it to say that this change only affects s3-incomplete players, but rather this is the largest gain for them. That is due to the fact that right now, s3-incompelte gets 100 tokens per 4 boxes and that's it. Now, they will get 400 per 4 boxes, meaning they will earn significantly more tokens. For s3-complete players, this impacts nothing other than the hoarding strategy that I've discussed before.
For hoarders, when you go to open your 12ish boxes right after a downrank, currently you'd expect to get 100 tokens per s3 that you are earning (from the static token boxes), after the change you will earn 4 times that. Other than that, your token gain should be roughly the same, as the 2 have just been flipped where they sit.
Ultimately, this is a great change for newer, s3-incomplete players. It does a very small amount for s3-complete players. Currently, you get the 400 tokens at a rate of 89/400 from Reserves and the 100 tokens at a rate of 1/4 (or 100/400). These swapping does increase your token gain.
- Choose Your Card: Series 3 cards now have their own section in the Shop! Once per season players who haven’t completed Series 3 will be able to claim one free Series 3 card to help them fill out their favorite deck and take a step closer to completing their collection. Now you can save your tokens for Series 4 and 5 cards!
This is a good change for s3-incomplete, and perhaps also let's the hoarders benefit as well! It is not clear the timing of this, or if it is just any time, "once per season". Free resources regardless! I assume this recognizes that every time a new s4 drops to s3, I am no longer s3-complete.
- Weekly Spotlight: When a new Series 5 card is released, it will be immediately featured in its own section for its first week in MARVEL SNAP. Once you buy the Weekly Spotlight card, this section will be hidden until the next new card is released. If you want the newest cards at release, here’s what you’ve been waiting for!
Good change for those that care...I personally still dislike the idea of buying fresh s5 unless there is a huge competitive event coming up and I really feel I need it, or the card is a big baddie that will stay in s5 for a very long time. This is targeted for content creators more than others, I think though. Spending 18,000 tokens per month right when the cards come out is not an easy thing to be doing. That said, even if this is once a year for a given person, it's a good change!
- Series 4 & Series 5: This section functions nearly the same as previously, but only features Series 4 and Series 5 cards. This section will feature a card you don’t own from all currently available Series 4/5 cards and rotates every 8 hours. Series 5 cards will be added to this section once they leave the Weekly Spotlight.
- Ultimate Variants: Ultimate Variants are some of the most epic variants in the game. We felt they deserved their own section too! We’re moving Ultimate Variants out of the way of seeing Series 4 and 5 cards and into their own rotation for those of you who want to make your decks that much cooler.
Good change, but ultimately not a huge deal for most people, I don't think. I rarely even visit my token shop, personally.
Ranked Mode Changes
The Infinite Climb
- Matchmaking Algorithm: We’re improving our matchmaking algorithm to create higher quality matches for all players–including an update that will prevent players from matching against an opponent more than 30 ranks away.
This has 3 possible implications:
- There was a bug that let people queue more than 30 ranks away.
- That something with bot pairing will change.
- Queue times could be longer, as the system tries to get closer MMR matches.
We'll just have to wait and see, honestly.
- Infinite vs Infinite Matchmaking: Players that reach Infinite Rank will only match against other Infinite Rank players.
I know this is something a lot of people were wanting. It strikes me as a good change.
- We know there’s more work to be done. We think the current journey to re-climb to a previous season’s rank is too difficult. To that end, we are exploring changes to how many cubes are required per rank, how many bonus cubes are granted when a player achieves a new Tier, and potentially how much of a reset is incurred each season. These numbers are actively being crunched right now, so we don’t have more details to share, but rest assured, our goal is to deliver a satisfying seasonal experience for players who wish to get better at the game, and see their rank increase as a result.
It's good they are listening and thinking about things.
- We’ve also seen a lot of feedback around matching by MMR and why we don’t simply match by Rank. The team has been weighing the positives and negatives of both these options. In a pure match-by-rank situation, it can lead to an awful start-of-season experience, as players are matching up against opponents who are far superior to them. However, we are exploring alternate ways of matchmaking to try to deliver a more satisfying overall experience, as there are some upsides to matching-by-rank. We have some ideas that we think can capture the best of both worlds, and will be trying out updates to the matchmaker in future seasons. We’ll absolutely be sharing more as we lock in details–you’ll hear more from us soon!
As they say, this is a more complex thing that some figures in the public eye want to give credit to. I hope they get it right, as what some content creators have suggested is worse than the current for most the playerbase. I have some faith in Second Dinner here.
All in all, these are good changes, but they seem very small to me. It's not going to suddenly trivialize hitting infinite (there's a nonzero change it becomes harder to hit infinite as everyone in the upper 90s will be tryharding).
The Infinite Experience
- Infinite MMR Floor: When someone reaches Infinite Rank, we’ll take a snapshot of their MMR (Matchmaking Rating). For the rest of the season, their MMR cannot fall below that value. This change is to address players that could intentionally lose many games at the Infinite Rank floor to drop their MMR for the next season. You’ll still be able to increase your MMR while playing in Infinite Rank.
Good change, but again, very minor. This always seemed like a boogeyman more than a systemic problem to me? I've always been someone who just tested interactions, decks, etc at infinite and so I lost a good bit...but I ususally stilled climbed to the teens post infinite, so not really referencing me?
Once people hit infinite now, their "own ecosystem...will highlight two important numbers:"
- Skill Rating Score: This score is your personal skill rating score; it’s similar to your matchmaking rating. You’ll be able to see how your skill rating score changes after each match. If you’re more interested in increasing your personal skill from season to season, this is the number for you.
- Leaderboard Rank: Your friend has always claimed that they’re the Best MARVEL SNAP Player – well, now we’ll find out. This is the leaderboard number based on the ranking order of each Infinite player’s skill rating score.
Personally, I'm not a fan of ladders or leaderboard rankings, and I expect there to be future complaining about this in some capacity. The Chess Elo system is the most competitive "ladder" style system, but it has severe problems for online games. In my personal experience, I'm aware of 1 time a company (Riot) tried to implement it, and it went terribly. The Elo system is a zero-sum (meaning what 1 player gains, the other player loses the same amount...this already conflicts with the "Infinite MMR Floor") system, which is the core concept behind it being competitive.
To begin with, note that bots were not mentioned. If bots remain, this is just a "who gets to bot range and then plays the most." Obivously, nobody is happy with this. Let's assume bots do not remain...
We now have to look at queue times. For it to remain happily competitive, players will only ever queue into their tight "pocket elo." A lot of top players have already complained about this, so this does not seem like a good thing either...
That leaves us with quicker queue times and the elo range expands as the timer goes up. Let's look at Elo changes from a poorly matched game with player-1 being at 1750 rating and player-2 being at 1000 rating. If player-1 wins, they will gain 0.3 Elo. If player-1 loses, they will lose 19.7 rating (player 2 will just get the opposite positive or negative in each scenario). For those that don't want to do the math, that means that the higher rated player must win 66 games for every 1 loss to end up positive 0.2 Elo rating. Hopefully we can all see the problem there. This is why online games do not use an Elo system for normal play. I assure you that plenty of far worse players can take that 1 game off of a top ranked player within Marvel Snap.
Ultimately, this means that it will likely not be a zero-sum system and will ultimately reward play time more than player skill.
The following bullet points are what Second Dinner has written about Conquest mode:
- Conquest takes the Battle Mode format you know and love from Friendly Battles to the next level! In Conquest, players will queue up against other players to face-off in Battle Mode to earn rewards. Winning a series of battles without a loss unlocks tickets to higher leagues against tougher opponents… culminating with Infinity league at the end of each season. Players will battle their way to the top to claim ultimate victory – and the best rewards.
- When you queue up for a Conquest match, you’ll start by choosing which league to compete: Proving Grounds, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Vibranium, or Infinite. Proving Grounds is always available to play, but players need the corresponding ticket to access higher tiers. Tickets are earned by winning a league series in the previous tier – for example: winning your Silver series will earn you a Gold Ticket. Players win a league series by defeating three consecutive opponents.
- In addition to Tickets for higher leagues, each victory grants Medals that can be used in the Conquest Shop to unlock exclusive rewards. There’s a brand new Conquest Shop every season with new cosmetics, including a seasonal exclusive variant that can only be unlocked in the Conquest Shop.
- We think that Battle Mode is a super fun way to play MARVEL SNAP and Conquest lets you play Battle Mode whenever you want, against the best competition, for the best rewards! The team is actively developing Conquest and we ran our first company-wide playtest last week. We’re hoping to release Conquest in June!
I honestly like this. It is an extra grind with an extra reward, but it does it within battle mode. The first question is "Once I earn a bronze ticket, do I keep it for the rest of the season, or is that only 1 entry into the bronze league?" I assume the former (and I assume it resets with new season, or does so partially at least). If I am wrong, I may change my "liking it". The idea of moving onto better opponents for the rest of the season is good. The idea of it being the most grindy thing in the game would be miserable (aka, if you lose your Vibranium ticket, you have to start back at Proving Grounds and work your way back up).
[[Note: This was just answered on Discord by a Dev, and it's apparently the worse of the 2 options...so to get into the infinite league, you need to win 15 matches IN A ROW, and losing 1 fully resets the counter. Not a fan, personally. If you have a 75% winrate in battlemode, you have a 1.3% chance of making it to infinite league. At 60% winrate, 0.04% is the number...]]
The fact they are claiming great (cosmetic) rewards for Conquest I think is cool. That is how rewards should be - hard to earn cosmetics that let ya show off!
- PC Widescreen UI
- Smart Decks
- Avatars and Titles by Deck
This would make me halfway care about titles at least.
- Personalized Shop
Not sure what this means, honestly? Variants for cards I play the most? That'd be cool.
- Global Matchmaking
Very good, but I kinda think it will be less noticeable than a lot of people want to admit right now.
- Guilds (Social Systems)
Good in theory, but not sure what it would do better than Discord? Perhaps some actual events that you compete as a group in?
- Collectivel Emotes & Card Emojis
- Mythic Variants
- PC Controller Support
- Seasonal Audio
Not much to say about any of this, personally.
- Test Deck Mode
They scrapped the idea of unranked as it is too complex. Instead they have this, to test your deck vs bots. Better than nothing, and since we now have battle mode vs friends as well, it's alright.
A lot of this is very minor in my mind. A lot of it is good, but still minor changes...makes it hard to get too excited over. There are also details we do not yet know, so all we can really do is wait. Ultimately, the biggest deal is the token change impact on s3-incomplete players.