Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of March 29, 2023: Balance Talk Edition!

In this week's edition of Developer Update, we get answers to questions from the team at Second Dinner about Marvel Snap over the past week.

Hello all! Welcome back to this week’s breakdown of what’s happening over on the Marvel Snap official Discord! If you want to stay up to date with what’s coming and what answers developers have for the community, make sure to check back here each week! A new Development Roadmap has been released, so make sure to check it out as many questions this week revolve around the content of the roadmap!

This week’s edition comes after the latest patch! This week talks a lot about balance, so if you haven’t seen the latest changes, make sure to check out the patch notes if you haven’t yet. This week we get answers to how the developers create new cards, will there be a technical test server, do tokens influence balance, and why the bundles seem to be getting worse! Answers and questions may be slightly rephrased for more clarity and ease of reading. Be sure to check out our latest Meta Tier List to see how the meta has progressed over the past week:

This Week’s Questions

Q: Will there be an event to celebrate LGBTQIA+ characters during Pride in June?
A: Charlene “Stay Tuned!”

Q: What is the status of the first edition badges? It isn’t listed on the new roadmap.
A: Daniela “We’ve started on it!”

Q: Since Aero’s power now affect the last card played, I think that if daredevilnisnok the ground he should allow you to see play order. Do you agree?
A: Glenn “That is currently an intentionally obfuscated element of Daredevil.”

Q: Forget nerf watch list, is there any buff watch list that you guys would like to announce?
A: Glenn “Not that we’d like to announce, no 😉”

Q: A lot of players feel the last patch was the worst, since it didn’t fix the meta. Is Second Dinner doing anything to fix the situation?
A: Glenn “I’m still monitoring the effects of the patch, and it’s only a two-day sample but there have been some meaningful shifts–admittedly maybe not as many as we would’ve liked, but we’ll review that next week once we have a couple more days of play to examine.”

Q: Bases on Glenn’s tweet that “people have put tokens into Shuri” as reasoning for not changing her, should we expect Tokens to be an ongoing influence on balance?
A: Glenn “The structure of our game is such that almost all cards cost something, which makes all cards (and even their variants) usually feel earned. Even early-Series cards all cost time, which is a valuable resource to us all. When we have to nerf, preserving enough functionality and appeal for players who already enjoy playing a card is always a goal”

Q: Player feedback after the Wolverine rework has been extremely well received, and nobody is asking for a change. How do you deal with a situation where a rework (Leader) has led to a healthier game at the expense of the card viability or mixed feedback?
A: Glenn “We’re still tuning that ourselves. Whenever we change a card, buff, or nerf, we aim to retain the core of that was there and/or open up something new. The Leader rework aspired to be the latter, but it didn’t work out how we hoped even though it accomplished our other goal of increasing the number of viable endgames.

Q: When the token shop was released, many cards were added directly to Series 4. Is there consideration for more cards to be released this way? Even if they stayed in series 4 longer, it would be more tempting to buy a card for 3k to test its viability than to not interact with it for two months waiting on a downgrade.
A: Stephen “Our philosophy is to iterate until something is great. We are always watching feedback, playing the game ourselves, and watching data to see how things feel and perform. As the game and card library continues to grow we will continue assessing when more changes are needed. We are learning a ton about the most recent changes to token acquisition and card acquisition. It has led to a lot of and will continue to lead to a lot of conversations within the halls of SD. Thank you everyone for all of the feedback! Please keep it coming as you cont8nue to experience the most recent changes.”

Q: How are future cards play tested/balanced?
A: Glenn “We use our own build of the game and aim to have up to three seasons rotating through at all times, as well as any determined balance changes. Sometimes we have multiple cards for the same character to find the right one. Different play tests have different goals and participants. But everyone at the company is welcome and encouraged to playtest. We mix in different featured locations, battle mode vs ranked, and designs playtest decks vs self-built ones to ensure we’re looking at each design from multiple angles to best gauge it’s appeal. Feedback from all our players get reviewed by SNAP’s core game designers, who make changes and do the final playtests for fine balance.”

Q: Why has there been such a downgrade in bundle value recently?
A: Stephen “Our theory with this one was that if we cut up the pro bundle into 1/20th the price and value. We heard a ton of feedback that $100 price point bundles were out of reach for many folks so we are continually testing to see what people like. We hear the feedback that some of these smaller ones are not hitting the mark. We still have plenty more plans for bundles like Jubilee and Mimoko Magic and higher value offers in the future.”

Q: Kitty Pryde doesn’t proc collector, is this a bug or intended?
A: Glenn “This is a bug.”

Q: What is the team’s current stance on players waiting until the last second to snap?
A: Glenn “A snap will always create a consistent time window for the player to make a decision, and we think that’s a reasonable amount of time to decide. However, it’s fundamentally true that snapping later makes it more likely your opponent has ended their turn, which means they’ll only have that window rather than additional time. That’s pretty baked into our game’s flow,  but we are looking at ways we can reduce the incentive, such as “unlocking” a player who gets snapped to be able to change their play. Nothing is decided yet, though.”

Q: How do you sort through data for cards between players who are trying hard, grinding for boosters, or are messing around with ideas?
A: Glenn “We can slice players in and out of the data based on variables like rank, MMR, games with a specific deck, ect. pretty easily. I’m always looking at different slices to see what’s consistently true across them–there’s no “golden data set” that has all the answers at all times.”

Q: Has the team considered using a technical test server to let players test potential card changes?
A: Glenn “Those have worked well for other games. While I agree it could be a boon for is too, there are a few reasons I’m hesitant. And they range in severity. 1. You do lose cool surprises and excitement. 2. It works better for large, simultaneous content drops like most card games. Everyone in the test can be working in a sandbox that reflects the live experiences that way, but our content pace makes that harder. 3. Related to 2, running most of a second version of the game live isn’t trivial– it would be a major resource draw. I don’t think it’s justifiable right now even as the person who would likely benefit the most.”

Q: Are there any updated plans ok making it possible to choose card borders?
A: Stephen “We have plans for more customization with borders”

Q: Do devs read Reddit feedback? Or it is only discord?
A: Stephen “We read Reddit, Twitter, and other spots too”

That’s all for this week’s update! Be sure to check back here at Marvel Snap Zone for next week’s update!

If you have a question for the developers, be sure to submit it in their official Discord in the “#ask-the-team” channel and you might see your question in the next update!

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