Analysis of the Current Game Balance

In anticipation of the upcoming update at the end of December of 2016, we’d like to take the opportunity to explain how we feel about making changes to the game balance and cards.

1. No changes will be made to card abilities or costs. (We realize that this might come as a shock, but please hear us out.)
2. Homecoming will once again yield 250 vials when liquefied instead of the current 800.

1. Our Approach to Game Balance and Card Changes
We constantly analyze the match data of our players and are always on the lookout for ways to improve game balance, including changing card abilities or costs when necessary.

For example, we changed the cost of Homecoming in our update at the end of September to address balance concerns that were backed up by empirical data:

Similarly, in preparation for the update at the end of December, we carefully analyzed all available match data, and we decided that it is not currently necessary to change any card abilities or costs. However, we understand that this decision might surprise some players and would therefore like to explain our reasoning.

During our data analysis, we considered the usage and win rates of all major types of decks for each rank. These decks were classified based on their main cards and tactics and included Purgatory Forestcraft, Dimensional Shift Runecraft, aggro Bloodcraft, Elana’s/Seraph Havencraft, and many others.

For our analysis, we focused on the following questions:
1. Were any decks used significantly more than others?
2. Did any decks have significantly higher win rates than others (especially in high ranks)?
3. Were any classes used significantly more than others?
4. Did going first or second significantly affect win rates?

Based on an analysis of the match data for each rank as of the end of December of 2016, we found that:
1. No deck was used significantly more than any other.
2. No deck had a significantly higher win rate than any other.
3. No class was used significantly more than any other.
(Our findings regarding going first versus second are discussed below.)

Please note that we keep a close eye on the opinions and requests of our players concerning card abilities. For example, we know that some players feel cards such as Path to Purgatory and Dimension Shift are too strong, while others think the cost of Elana’s Prayer should be changed. However, as a result of an analysis focused on decks based on these and other cards that often come up, we found that such decks don’t have significantly higher win rates than other types of decks regardless of rank, including matches between players high in the Master Score ranking. Based on these results, we decided not to change any card abilities or costs for the end-of-December update.

We would like to emphasize that the strength of any given card depends largely on the overall metagame. Back when only Standard card packs were available, we heard a lot from players about certain cards being too strong, but the addition of Darkness Evolved took care of many of these issues. We expect Rise of Bahamut to similarly shake up the metagame, and we just want our players to have fun with the new cards while we continue watching how the game evolves.

Some players have suggested that we just don’t want to make any changes to existing cards, but that’s not correct. As many of our players are aware, we have already made two card changes to bring the formerly high win rates of Purgatory Forestcraft decks in line with the win rates of other decks. That said, we will continue analyzing the metagame and won’t hesitate to change card abilities or costs if any problems arise. If we have to make such changes, we will naturally notify our players in advance and offer increased vials for liquefying any affected cards.

We have also heard from some players that the fact that some classes are used more than others implies a problem with game balance. Although we have confirmed that no classes are used significantly more than others for ranked matches, we realize that some classes are more popular for major tournaments such as RAGE vol. 3 Shadowverse. One of our main goals as we develop new card expansions is to find ways to make more classes and decks viable in a variety of situations, and we expect Rise of Bahamut to increase the usage of less popular classes and improve game balance.

2. Win Rates When Going First Versus Going Second
Based on our analysis of match data as of the end of December of 2016, the approximate win rates when going first are as follows:
1. Overall rate for ranked matches: 49%
2. Master rank matches: 47%
3. Take Two matches: 45%

Based on the above results, we feel that ranked matches are balanced overall. Although the player who goes second has a slight advantage at the Master rank, it doesn’t seem significant enough to worry about.

The percentage for Take Two matches seems more troubling, but we expect the changes brought by Rise of Bahamut to improve the balance. We will continue to carefully watch the Take Two match data in particular and will make any changes that become necessary to ensure fair play.

3. End of the Vial Bonus for Homecoming
The vial bonus for Homecoming, which was provided due to the change of the card’s cost in the September update, will no longer be available after the December update goes live. Players will once again receive 250 vials for liquefying the card instead of 800.

Once again, we would like to emphasize that we are always listening to what our players have to say about card balance. The design of Rise of Bahamut is based on our awareness of existing issues, and we will continue to make any changes necessary to make our game as balanced and fun as possible.

Thank you for always helping us to make Shadowverse such an amazing experience!

Shadowverse Team