Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Making a Hard Game Easy

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the intoxicating rewards of OTKing your opponent and suggested the decision-makers at Konami were using that experience to get people hooked on the game.  Apparently, my premise was correct though I missed a few details.  It’s not the summon-and-slaughter model that people crave; it’s the victorious underdog. It’s not awesome power; it’s awesome endings.

Don’t believe me?  The passages in italics are quoted verbatim from Konami’s Website: Pendulum 1 and Pendulum 2

Our best memories of Dueling aren’t the times when we’ve completely overwhelmed and crushed our opponents. It’s the Duels that swing back and a forth over and over and only end when we, backed into a corner, turn things around with an incredible draw or brilliant combo to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!

Evidently the best duel at Nationals did not pit (X)AT against Drain Rulers. The best duel took place between Astral and Yami who showed us how one improbable fusion summon can steal a win even when your life points are 0.

Of course that duel was scripted and improbable.  Fortunately, Konami has an answer for all of those doolists who think it is too hard to summon Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight.  They’re called Pendulum Monster Cards, and they make all the monsters you currently play with even better than they already are!

According to the website, Pendulum Monsters are worth the investment for the following reasons:

While you’d normally need to play 2 different cards in your Deck (Spells and Monsters) … 1 Pendulum Monster Card can serve both purposes and leave you more room in your Deck to play more of your favorite cards!

Why reward players who are good at making difficult decisions about card selection?  Here are cards that can be spells or monsters.  What’s next?  Spapsters – they’re Spells, trAPS, and monsTERs in one.

Whether your Pendulum Monsters and Spells on the field are destroyed, tributed, used as Fusion or Synchro material, or just about anything else you can think of, they’ll go to your Extra Deck instead of your Graveyard

Why punish bad players for over-extending?  Why take away their cards?  Who cares if you can’t read a set Torrential Tribute?  Pendulum Monsters never go away.

As long as you can keep cards in your Pendulum Zones, you’ll never be completely out of a Duel.

It’s the average Joe against Globo Gym.  Skill and strategy get derp’ed by the never-ending monster fountain

There are many powerful monsters that have an effect that activates when the monster is summoned, but with only 1 Normal Summon per turn, it can take a long time for strategies based on these monsters to go anywhere. Furthermore, some monsters can only use their ability when they’re Special Summoned, but don’t have any built in method to Special Summon them making it extremely difficult to claim their effects. Both of these problems can be alleviated by Pendulum Summoning.

Why the hang-up about making the game easy?  Is special summoning really that difficult? Making the game easy boosts the bad players by lowering the skill level of the game.  Is that a good idea?  Besides, if you want to see more normal summoning, bring back Ultimate Offering.

As long as you have a card in each Pendulum Zone, your opponent has to think about the possibility that you can defeat them right then and there.

There you have it: Victory from the jaws of defeat. 

A friend of mine pointed out that the Yugioh doomsayers have been around since Tomozaurus.  Each innovation has been seen as a threat to the character of the game.  True enough.  Change is inevitable and the company has to sell cards.  However, I am more bothered by the tenor of these articles.  Do they really want to promote a game that anyone can win at any time?  I hope not.  Instead, they should keep in mind that bad players are bad at good games. 

I have not yet decided what my fate will be with Yugioh.  Like most players, I do not see myself continuing indefinitely.  The past year has been enjoyable, but it has come with a cost.  Despite reasonable efforts, I remain an X-3 tournament player.  I have neither the time nor resources to improve much past that point.  

That said, the next several months look to be quite enjoyable.  While Shaddolls will dominate, they will not do so exclusively.  Furthermore, creativity in the game will be enhanced by a meta of interchangeable engines. So, I'm in for now ... or at least until the Qliphoth monsters are released.

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