Response to the new turn structure is good and we're going to keep it. But the game is a bit of a mess right now. We think this is a good time to discuss rotation, as a streamlined process will give people a solid set of cards to play with and design around as soon as possible.
We have been thinking about rotation for a while. The original release date of Q4 2019 is really bad timing for an indie game, so we’re delaying the launch, and as a result the math works out differently. At the current rate the game would release with a playable set of 1000+ cards, which is too much. We’re aiming to cut it down to 300-400 cards as a playable set, which will gain another 100-200 cards before release.
First, let’s define some terms.
The Standard Set is the cards which will be playable after Initial Rotation.
The Core Set refers to the developer-created cards which are canonically from Wanderstar and should generally be ignored except for Fireball and Cataclysm. The purpose of the Core Set was partially lore and partially to give people a handful of cards to play with at first, it’s almost entirely pointless now.
The Basic Set, Classic Set, and the Hall of Fame are terms from Hearthstone and refer to things which we aren’t going to have in Collective, i.e. a permanent set of cards which never rotates. We won't be using them here.
Initial Rotation is the one-time process we’re going to do in the next couple weeks to set up the new set of cards playable in multiplayer (the Standard Set).
For this one time, we are thinking of getting a small group of players together to pick which cards from the existing ~800 will comprise the new Standard Set. This is called Initial Rotation. Future rotations will be handled without the need for something like this.
The council will be: Plass, Wag, Grief, Tahazzar, TomSoniQ, GentleCat. (A couple of these people haven’t responded yet.) These people were chosen based on experience playing and innovating on new decks, previous experience making relatively balanced card sets, and to include a wide variety of dissenting opinions.
It will be the council’s responsibility to not only choose which cards make up the new standard set, but also to change them so they work under the new Play/Pass rules. For this reason, we actually will not be accepting updates to existing cards to make them work until the new set is chosen. If they need help making all the mechanical and balance changes to existing cards, they may ask for other players to contribute.
The final list of changes, mechanical and balance alike, will be reviewed by Nick and Alec.
As soon as Initial Rotation ends, this council will be disbanded and they’ll have no special power.
Initial Rotation should take about a week. If there’s some irreconcilable differences by the end, Nick and Alec will have to make the call. If the final set of cards is not chosen within fourteen days, we will consider this a failure and do another system.
Once Initial Rotation is done, we’ll open things up for three new kinds of submissions, with the tags: [Reprint], [Play/Pass Update] and [Play/Pass Balance Update].
All cards, not just the new standard set, will have to be updated if they don’t work in the Play/Pass rules system, because we are making it so mid-game drafts can still pull from cards which are not in the standard set. (This feature will be deprecated with the addition of Legacy Mode; once that mode is available, your drafts will come from the pool of cards available in whatever mode you’re playing.)
Any card can be adapted to the new ruleset with a [Play/Pass Update]. Any number of these above the 10th slot will get in. (If an insane number of them gets in in one week, we’ll probably check them on Saturday so we can make sure they work properly without having a five hour stream.)
If you think an existing card needs to be redesigned for balance reasons instead of mechanical reasons, mark your submission [Play/Pass Balance Update] and give an explanation in the comments so we can read it on stream and people can understand why it’s important.
[Play/Pass Update] which are mislabelled due to being mostly about balance, not updating a card to simply work in the Play/Pass rules system, and [Play/Pass Balance Update] posts without written explanations, will both take up an [Update] slot. Otherwise, as many of these as people vote above the tenth slot will get in.
Players can make [Play/Pass Update] and [Play/Pass Balance Update] posts to things after they were changed in Initial Rotation if people agree that it could be done better. Again, if the concern is balance, your post will need a written explanation or it will take up one of the three weekly [Update] slots.
Until Initial Rotation is done, please tell us if there’s a problem and we will limbo them without much process to make sure that as few cards as possible are in play with obvious bugs (even if they only come up in draft or singleplayer modes).
None of these rules will be added to the Library section because Initial Rotation is a one-time thing. Eventually we will stop allowing both types of [Play/Pass Update] posts -- this time will basically be when people are done making them, or if people are slowly trickling them in, we’ll try to organize and finish the process up, then stop allowing these.
Once cards have rotated out, players can submit one of them as a [Reprint]. This will simply add the existing card back into the main pool. This is a permanent new type of submission and takes up one of the 10 [Card] slots for that week. This will be added to the library section of the website.
Criteria for rotation
There are a few things we really want to prioritize:
Last couple months of cards are all in the set, they haven’t really had much of a chance to be played with.
Generally, we’re trying to keep Realms as complete as we can. However, if we just included every card from a Realm we’d already be over 290 cards, so we need to make some cuts somewhere.
Cutting a whole Realm will really only happen if they haven’t been supported in a few months, are very complicated, fit poorly with the total number of cards at a certain cost/affinity, or some combination of these.
Keeping some cards from a Realm but not others should be done to keep synergistic interactions, or allow for a framework that can let them re-emerge relatively easily.
Realm rewards and the ability to add cards from a Realm (or even update them) are not affected by rotation. Aside from trying to keep Realms whole during Initial Rotation, Realms are essentially unrelated to rotation.
Chosen cards should on average be simpler than the current average to accommodate new users.
Almost all core set cards should be cut.
Everyone in the discord who bothers to read this gets to choose one card to keep after the list. Please do not abuse this system by choosing, for example, a card which only works or makes sense when four other cards which were also cut are also in the pool, just to make a point. We’ll announce a way to do this once Initial Rotation is over.
In the future, rotation will be handled via a predefined process. The first time this will happen will be at the game’s anniversary (also the timing of the annual Wandervision Awards) in 2021, when the standard set of cards rotates so that only the previous 12 months of cards will be included. At this time we will also introduce a mode, called Legacy Mode, where all cards are playable. This will continue every year at the same time, rotating out cards so that only the previous 12 months are in the standard set.
No new cards this Friday. We’re rolling cards from this week into next week because the game rules change are pretty drastic and principles of design for it are still being figured out. We think of this as giving some breathing room, but if people really hate this idea we would be fine with having cards as normal this week. We will still do a stream friday.
Bringing the queue back for a festival at some point is a cool idea we’d like to do down the line.
Bringing in the set of all cards for a festival as a preview of a Legacy mode is much easier than a festival which goes back to the queue system and we will definitely make a festival of this. If it gets popular enough we can release Legacy Mode ahead of schedule.
We’ll be removing ticks in the coming days, and plenty of hotfixes and other small patches to try to fix up this messy system we have running right now. Please bear with us 😬
Thanks very much for your patience here -- and thanks for making suggestions on how to improve the system. Your feedback, design sense and creativity are how we got this far :D