EDIT: We’re going to be deploying the updated Vendium Scrap right away; we’re no longer waiting until Wednesday evening to do it.
After analyzing a mountain of statistics, playtesting like crazy, and receiving a huge amount of feedback on Vendium Scrap, we’re going to be making some changes. Here’s an overview of what’s going to happen:
- Vendium Scrap will be altered to the version shown below:
- The change will go live
on Wednesday, July 6th in the evening (sometime after Master’s League games are played)immediately.
- Vendium Scrap will remain enabled on the Ranked Play ladder for further testing.
An explanation for these decisions is included below.
We had a ton of feedback on Vendium Scrap from top players, casual players, and Prismata fans of all kinds. Many players enjoyed playing with the unit and genuinely felt that it helped in some Prismata openings. However, some players felt that the unit’s presence had some unintended negative consequences, and many of their observations lend support to the idea of nerfing the unit slightly. Many also remarked that they felt that Prismata was just fine without the Vendium Scrap, and we too feel that our status quo will be a challenge to top in terms of overall balance and game quality. So far, we don’t feel we’re quite there yet.
One observation that almost everyone made (and the data confirmed) is that Player 1’s DD/DDV opening turned out to be extremely ubiquitous.
There are a few reasons for this, but the key cause is related to a number of Vendium openings that transpose into traditional Prismata openings, and these transpositions allow player 1 to open with DD/DDV without much consequence. For example, player 1 opening DD/DDE/DDD/DDDB results in a position identical to that of DD/DDV/DDE/DDDB (except player 1 has an unused Vendium Scrap in the former case and an additional Drone supply in the latter). Similarly, openings like DD/DD/DDB/DDS can be replaced by DD/DDV/DB/DDS.
Internally, we were aware of these transpositions, and even saw them as beneficial, since they ensure that newer players won’t be making a mistake every time they play the “natural” p1 Vendium opening line. However, many players have told us that they thought these lines offer too much of an advantage to player 1 in a number of situations, since player 1 can delay the decision of whether to purchase a 3rd Engineer until turn 3, forcing player 2 to choose first. We had assumed that giving a higher lifespan to Vendium Scrap would mitigate this by making it “better” to avoid clicking Vendium (to preserve the option of clicking it on a later turn), but it seems we were wrong! A large number of players love clicking Vendium at just about every opportunity, and are rarely punished for doing so.
Certainly, our goal with Vendium Scrap wasn’t to introduce a unit that would dramatically alter openings this much; the primary goal was simply to give player 1 a slightly improved line in situations where green was strong. Most players we spoke with seemed to believe that Vendium was doing too much, and often giving player 1 an undeserved advantage by facilitating a delay in when player 1 must commit to a specific strategy.
Of course, we could respond to this by finding ways of making Vendium Scrap better for player 2 (for example, giving player 2 a second Vendium Scrap to facilitate a DD/DDVV opening). However, most players we talked to would prefer to see a slightly weaker Vendium that resulted in player 1 having 3 different viable openings (in the form of DD/DD, DD/DDE, and DD/DDV), rather than emphasizing DDV as a superior opening even in situations where changes weren’t necessary.
After a few weeks on the ladder, the stats show a number of things:
- We can no longer detect any player 1 advantage in sets with big defenders. Vendium Scrap games involving units like Defense Grid, Energy Matrix, Centurion, and Omega Splitter all exhibited winrates close to 50/50, where a small player 1 advantage could be detected before (moreover, this movement in our data is statistically significant.)
- We can no longer detect any player 2 advantage in sets with green units. Similarly, Vendium Scrap appears to address the mild player 2 advantage that we saw over a number of green units.
- Worries concerning some units like Wild Drone turned out to be unfounded. We were a bit worried that player 2 might be advantaged in Wild Drone games when opening with Wild Drone + Vendium Scrap on turn 1. However, the statistics showed Wild Drone games to be incredibly balanced when Vendium Scrap was added, so we’re not too worried for now.
- The overall player 1 win rate is too high. We’re seeing almost a 52% win rate for player 1 in Vendium Scrap games, and an even higher player 1 win rate in games where both players had ratings above 1800. Thus, Vendium Scrap has indeed helped player 1 out, but too much.
Conclusion from the data: Vendium Scrap is having the beneficial changes we hoped it would have, but it’s turning out to be too good for player 1.
The Direction From Here…
Our goal with Vendium Scrap is to improve the diversity and quality of Prismata games by improving the strength of some of the lesser-played Prismata openings, and hopefully bring the player 1/player 2 winrate balance closer to 50/50 in the process. We’ve achieved some of these goals, but the unit is having a stronger effect than we desired, so we feel that Vendium Scrap needs to be adjusted before we evaluate whether it should be kept in Ranked Play mode in Prismata. Most of the top players we’ve spoken to support this conclusion (though we’ve received an enormous variety of suggestions for the change itself).
Having spent the last week examining and testing over a dozen possible variations of the unit, we’ve grown quite fond of the aforementioned “Booster Vendium”, which produces a 4-lifespan “Booster” two turns after the Vendium Scrap itself is clicked. The Booster arrives one turn earlier than the Drone produced by the current Vendium Scrap, but lacks the Drone’s long-term value, yielding only 4 gold over its short life. The Booster itself is essentially a weaker version of Doomed Drone, unable to block (as you might guess from its temporary art).
In most cases, the new Booster-producing Vendium Scrap will be less powerful than before. In particular, it will often be disadvantageous for player 1 to open with DD/DDV over DD/DDE if the goal is to construct a third Engineer and develop a huge economy (though DD/DDV may be correct in some cases if the player wishes to hide their intentions until turn 3, or if they can benefit from an earlier extra gold on turn 4 or 5). However, it should still prove incredibly useful when employed in Conduit-based builds like DD/DDV/DDC as player 1, and high-econ builds as player 2.
We hope you’ll like the new Vendium Scrap! Again, we’ll be leaving it up for a while and gathering stats/feedback later. Let us know what you think!