Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of May 3, 2023: Guardians’ Greatest Hits Edition (40+ Questions)!

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! This week, we get answers to lots of questions about the new cards coming this season, do the devs listen to feedback about too many restrictive locations, will there ever be a daily login bonus, and more! 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!

This week’s edition comes after the new season, as well as the release of Nebula! Make sure to check out the new season announcements and new card announcements so today’s questions make sense. This edition also comes after the announcement that the upcoming card The Living Tribunal has already been buffed before his release, and everyone will be receiving a free Mystery Variant… Again!

Answers and questions may be slightly rephrased for more clarity and ease of reading. This weeks topics will be divided into card specific questions and all other questions.

Card Specific Questions

Q: Does Doc Ock “Play” cards he pulls?
A: Glenn “Doc Ock’s code is somewhat unique, and involves a facsimile of the “play” action at the moment. This causes a small number of bugs, but they’re relatively unlikely to occur in natural gameplay.”

Q: Is the team happy with the performance of the Inhumans?
A: Glenn “We don’t really think about the strength level of cards from a faction perspective right now, just the character/card level. There’s at least one Inhuman I want to change.”

Q: How does Living Tribunal split Power with cards like Klaw that adds power to the right location?
A: Glenn “His ability can split other Ongoing effects. He rounds down if you have 1 extra Power, and up if you have 2.”

Q: What happens if Living Tribunal splits power and ends location with 11.33 at each location (for example) and the opponent has 11. Does the .33 win the tie breaker?
A: Glenn “Those locations will tie, the “remainder” isn’t calculated.”

Q: What was the thought behind the change to Living Tribunal to becoming a 6/6? Was this intended as a buff or a nerf (to Negative decks)?
A: Glenn “As a buff. While I know Negative decks were strong in Beta, I honestly don’t believe I’ve ever nerfed a card, even in playtesting, based on its strength in Negative decks.”

Q: This one requires a bit of a setup:

  1. playing iron lad on the board without him being activated (played on Cosmo’s location).
  2. having a second iron lad in hand.
  3. having absorbing man as the top card of the deck.

under the preceding conditions, if I play iron lad, it will copy absorbing man which will copy the previous un-activated iron lad. which will then copy again the top card, absorbing man, and so on. Is that the correct interaction?
A: Glenn “This is actually an Absorbing Man issue, not really an Iron Lad one (and easier to pull off with just two Absorbing Man and Cosmo). There is a catch coded to progress the game in that scenario that should also apply here.”

Q: Will High Evolutionary give rocks from Subterranea or Korg an ability?
A: Glenn “No, he only affects the 0-6-Cost “no abilities” cards in your collection.”

Q: Will High Evolutionary affect future no card abilities?
A: Glenn “We don’t expect to make any new collectible cards without abilities, but if we change our minds it’ll be a consideration.”

Q: How will Patriot decks remain relevant if there are no more plans to add “No Ability” cards?
A: Glenn “The “no ability” cards have only recently even been seeing additional play in Patriot; for a long time Misty Knight and Shocker were [Not] even considered, with cards that make “tokens” being more played. We’ll certainly make more tokens.”

Q: What is the interaction between High Evolutionary and Gamma Lab?
A: Glenn “High Evolutionary changes cards at the start of the game, so the Gamma Lab Hulks won’t have abilities.”

Q: Will High Evolutionary work alongside patriot?
A: Glenn ” They don’t work together.”

Q: Will High Evolutionary have animations or voicelines on release?
A: Stephen “Yes he will have animations on release”

Q: Does High Evolutionary effect both players, or just the player who has him?
A: Glenn “Only the player with High Evolutionary.”

Q: Will Kitty Pryde ever return to her original form?
A: Glenn “Probably not, but only because that design was already likely to be replaced in the future when we could execute on similar mechanical space in a different way.”

Q: What happens if Iron Lad copies Kang?
A: Glenn “Iron Lad will disappear.”

Q: What happens if Iron Lad copies a no ability card? Is he eligible to be buffed then by Patriot?
A: Glenn “Yep.”

Q: Will iron lad act transform into the card he copies (like morph) or will opponent need to tap on him to see what he copied?
A: Glenn “He will not transform, but his VFX will display the copied card upon his reveal.”

Q: Can Shanna ever generate cards that you can’t collect like Infinity stones, rocks, or Squirrels?
A: Glenn “No, she can’t generate non-collectible or “token” cards.”

Q: Can Shanna spawn multiples of the same card, such as 3 ebony maw?
A: No, she grabs 3 unique cards as one action.

Q: Since Howard the Duck reads “Tap this to see the top card of your deck”, what prevents the opponent from also tapping Howard?
A: Glenn “The effect will only show a card to the player who controls Howard.”

Q:This is definitely very nitpicky, but it seems inconsistent compared to other cards that Howard has Ongoing. Before it’s been stated that cards which trigger on specific events don’t have ongoing. For instance, Vision doesn’t have Ongoing because you trigger his effect by tapping and dragging him. By that logic, shouldn’t Howard not have Ongoing either because he triggers when you tap him as well?
A: Glenn “Howard’s effect doesn’t trigger; he’s always passively checking your deck. You just have to tap him to see it.”

Q: Will you add more cards that synergize with Sauron?
A: Glenn “I’m sure we’ll fill in those gaps. Balancing such cards is relatively easy; making a card with a hefty drawback that’s appealing to a wide audience of players is the tricky part.”

Other Questions

Q: Any plans to add “The Black Order” to the game?
A: Glenn: I would say that’s a when, not an if.”

Q: I’m sure the team has seen the feedback that too many locations like Sandbar are being added lately. How does the team handle this feedback? And any plans to address said locations?
A: Glenn “We review that feedback and incorporate it into our ongoing work. As stated previously, we agree that it’s been too heavy-handed lately with these locations among the new ones, and starting with our June season you’ll begin seeing more locations developed with that feedback in mind. Design works as much as 5 months ahead of live on locations. Sandbar isn’t a commonly-occurring location in the normal rotation (nor are other heavily restrictive locations).”

Q: Would you ever release the data for the odds of each location appearing?
A: Glenn “We’ve talked about doing it, and we might one day, but we decided not to. If we do, I imagine we’ll make some content about it to add context etc.”

Q: Any plans to make better rewards for milestones post infinite? It feels like Snapping doesn’t matter at that point.
A: Stephen “We plan to add an infinite rank leaderboard in a future update. How well you play and snap against other infinite players will dictate your ranking”

Q: Do you have intentions to have Twitch Prime rewards for Snap in the future?
A: Stephen “We are hoping to have Twitch drops and prime rewards in time for our full PC release or shortly afterwards but cannot guarantee it yet.”

Q: The new OTA updates are great, but are there any ways you can make them more predictable on when they will release during the day?
A: Glenn “Currently, the way this process works is manual for us (we have to “throw the switch”) and the timing after that isn’t 100% under our control. However, our awesome engineers have been diligently working on an update that includes the ability to automate this and hopefully also regulate it.”

Q: How far ahead do you plan OTA balances and when do you lock in those changes?
A: Glenn “Our cadence is about 1 week ahead; for example, we finalized the 5/4 OTA on 4/27, though we spent the preceding week working on it. That intervening week includes time for our localization team to translate the update and our QA team to test it and make sure it won’t cause any issues, so it’s quite necessary.

The Sandman nerf had little to do with his deck’s winrate, which was only slightly above 51%, and a lot more to do with its play rate, which was almost twice as high as we were willing to tolerate.

We totally might have gone too far on Enchantress, and we can always go to 5 or even revert. The card was seeing low play and had a concerningly low winrate during a time when Patriot and Darkhawk were riding very high, among others, so we were generous.”

Q: 1) Do on reveals still work on deep space or will the card lose it’s text immediately? 2) Since the card text is disabled does it count as the card having no abilities for Patriot?
A: Glenn “1) On Reveals won’t work. 2) The card still has its ability, which may become relevant if it leaves Deep Space or the location changes. Patriot won’t buff it.”

Q: Are there any plans to change some of the starting and pool 1 cards?
A: Glenn “Changing Series 1 and 2 cards is more complex for us, but there are a few balance adjustments I want to make to cards in those Series.”

Q: How do you decide what cards to change and how to change them for each OTA update?
A: Glenn “We keep a running list of ideas for buffs and nerfs based on the card and deck performance data. Then we identify the top ~20 candidates each Season, implement them in our playtest build of the game, and combine the live data with our own experiences to pick which changes we’ll make.”

Q: I find it curious that Moon Girl will copy Ice Man cost changes and such, but will not copy the cost reductions to cards like Miles Morales or She Hulk. Are the discounts to these cards not stored with the card? How do you determine which effects are part of a card and which are to be tracked externally?
A: Glenn “This issue is a bug we’re working to resolve.”

Q: I read that there are no plans for future variant rush events because of hoarding. Are there any plans to activate the old ones or make those variants non-exclusive for the shop?
A: Stephen “It’s a good question. We haven’t discussed it. Previously we were going to bring back the winter ones in another variant rush around the holidays again. Will share more when we have a plan in place for those variants and the steampunk ones.”

Q: Has there been any discussion amongst the team in regards to adding some sort of login incentives for players, such as rewards for consecutive logins?
A: Stephen “We will do login bonus events in the future but no plans for it to be a static always available feature at the moment”

Q: Will variants ever drop from Super Rare down to Rare?
A: Stephen “No plans to drop variant prices or rarity. Overall we feel the variant system is working and we are investing more to help everyone see variants they will be interested in with a smarter shop”

Q: Why was it decided to have OTA patches on Thursday and big patches on Tuesday, when both patches won’t happen in the same week?
A: Glenn “The reason the days are separate is to best facilitate the work of our QA and production team, who are the heroes making sure everything runs smoothly with all of our updates. OTAs aren’t the only hotfixes we implement, and it’s a new addition we may change/stop anyway, so preserving their existing workflow is important to me. It’s possible we might change it up one day.”

Q: Does collecting boosters from bundles count towards the daily booster cap?
A: Stephen “The daily limit only counts boosters from games”

Q: Will you ever add a feature that shows Series distinction in game?
A: Glenn “This is actually already in the game, though not surfaced easily. If you inspect a base card in your collection and tap on the “Base Card” icon at the top center of the screen, you can see its Series where other variants show their rarity. We do plan to improve it.”

Q: Why was it decided that the opponent can see what you discarded?
A: Glenn “I can’t speak to exactly why it was implemented that way, but I can say why I prefer it. It does line up better with the play of physical card games, but it’s also 1) more satisfying to see the impact when you use a discard effect like Black Bolt on the opponent, and 2) relevant to the opponent what you’ve discarded so they understand the potential of Ghost Rider, Hela, Apocalypse, and even Swarm.”

Questions From You!

Recently, I asked readers of the weekly dev update to leave their questions down in the comment section. That way we can ask those questions on your behalf, or let you know the answers if those questions have been asked before! I read each comment you leave, so I will be adding this section at the end of each week’s edition to highlight your questions that you asked last week!

Q: Have you considered making some cards different to match in-comic/ on screen synergies and power levels?
A: The developers have not responded directly to your question, however they have stated in the past that they don’t plan on changing cards by popular demand (Cyclops) or to change them fundamentally unless the card isn’t executing as strong as intended (Wolverine rework). If they answer this or any different stance is given in the future, I will be sure to update this and feature again later.

Keep Your Questions and Feedback Coming!

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 enjoyed the amount of content in this edition, make sure to keep asking your questions to the developers by submitting it in their official Discord in the “#ask-the-team” channel. If you have questions and don’t use Discord, leave your questions for the developers in the comment section here, and I will make sure your question has been answered by the devs!

If you have feedback or changes you would like to see with these weekly updates, also let us know in the comment section!

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  1. Thanks for explaining the situation!
    And giving me an answer, much appreciated 😁
    New question: how many “mode” ideas do you guys have? (Like battle mode and that possible tournament one)

    • If Luke Cage is on the opponent’s side will your negative power abilities from Wasp, Thing or Cyclops count for Abomination’s cost reduction?

  2. Will your opponent know at the start of the game that you’re playing High Evolutionary, or will that only become apparent once you play a card that has a surprise ability?

  3. Any plans to add in-game history to see what actions have happened? Or being able to highlight a card to see what actions it performed (e.g., seeing which cards a card discarded) similar to how token cards work?

  4. Q: Will there be an infinite split in the future that does not change the base background (I am not against Prism, Gold, or Inked), personally I prefer most of the base card backgrounds, because it defines who they are better, but I do like to add VFX to them but apparently as of now only bots have those in the game (which makes me so jealous).

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