Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of November 8, 2023: Ms. Marvel Edition (45+ 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 will developers add a “undo end turn” button, can bigger balance changes be made during an OTA, how does Gladiator really work, 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 launch new card Ms. Marvel as well as the launch of the new season Higher, Further, Faster! If you haven’t seen what’s in store this month, make sure to check that out first as many questions reference upcoming cards.

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 Other questions.

Remember, you can check out our new Marvel Snap Developer Tracker to see all questions and answers in real time! Topics can also be searched, filtered, and sorted.

Important Update

Many of you have been asking questions about the latest balancing decisions, why players should feel safe buying a new card if it can completely change in a few weeks, and other similar questions. Second Dinner announced recently that they have heard all of your feedback and will be reverting Mobius M. Mobius to his old (Ongoing) text with a new 3 Cost, 3-Power stat line.

Glenn has stated a more detailed explanation of the situation will be included with the OTA notes on November 9th. We will continue to relay all questions we can that you leave in the comments to the development team in their discord. Keep up the great feedback and questions!

Card Specific Questions

Q: Is it intentional that Werewolf doesn’t move to cards like Rogue or Mystique after they become Ongoing?
A: Glenn “It is intentional. ‘After you play a card’ checks following On Reveals, and at that time those cards no longer have an On Reveal. For the same reason, Echo works against these cards.”

Q: Is the Phoenix Force and Multiple Man glitch still set to be fixed?
A: Glenn “It is. In fact, we have a fix already prepared for a future patch.”

Q: Did the team foresee the dominance of the Loki decks when considering the Mobius nerf. It seems prevalent in both ladder and conquest without any proper counters for it.
A: Glenn “Loki is a popular deck and one of the best. But right now our data indicates it’s one of many strong, healthy decks, none of which are crossing our balance thresholds. Yesterday was possibly as diverse as it’s ever been on the ladder.”

Q: Why does Werewolf move to an On Reveal that was destroyed by Death's Domain, but doesn’t move to Luke Bar?
A: Glenn “This is an issue with Luke's Bar and how returned cards are considered resolved. We’re working on it.”

Q: If I play Negasonic on a Lockjaw lane, neither their card or Negasonic get destroyed. Why is that?
A: Glenn “Negasonic is no longer destroyed by her own effect, but she also can’t destroy a card if it gets swapped away first.”

Q: I just played a conquest game playing Werewolf and my opponent had Alioth. I played Werewolf middle, moved him left with Thor, and then my opponent played Alioth middle. It destroyed my WW which was no longer middle. Is this the intended interaction?
A: Glenn “Yes, Werewolf was played there. He just moved.”

Q: Does Ms. Marvel’s ability work if there are no cards in the adjacent locations?
A: Glenn “No, you have to have a card to get the buff.”

Q: Will Martyr be added to the list of cards Shanna can spawn?
A: Glenn “Martyr will appear for Shanna as long as she’s a 1-Cost. They actually have a fair amount of synergy, depending what you’re trying to do.”

Q: Will Galactus benefit from Ms Marvel’s bonus power if she requires a card to be each lane to trigger?
A: Glenn “Unrevealed cards don’t have defined Costs, so Ms. Marvel needs the card to be revealed. But Galactus is revealed before his On Reveal, so he will benefit from her buff.”

Q: Ms. Marvel’s ability states “Adjacent locations where your card‘s’ have unique costs have +5 Power.” Does this mean you need to have at least 2 cards with different costs to trigger the buff?
A: Glenn “Nope, one card has (by definition) a unique Cost at its location, so you don’t need two.”

Q: How does Ms. Marvel look at a Pig’s cost?
A: Glenn “She looks at base Cost.”

Q: In a similar way to how Captain Marvel will move to cause a tie instead of a loss if there’s no better option for her, will Martyr move from a winning position into one that will force a tie?
A: Glenn “Yes, she will change locations to a tie if that would lose the game. I believe we adjusted her to not change a win game into a tie, but I don’t have the code immediately available to confirm.”

Q: Can you get Kang from the new location Tarnax?
A: Glenn “Nope, Kang is default excluded from random card generation pools.”

Q: Why does Alioth specify it effects Unrevealed cards, but Juggernaut doesn’t?
A: Glenn “Juggernaut’s text has already been updated in a future patch.”

Q: What made you settle on Ms. Marvel checking for unique power? And were other ideas thrown around to separate her from Mr. Fantastic?
A: Glenn “We liked the idea of making her a ‘deckbuilding Mr. Fantastic’ given there’s a physical similarity within their comics power set. We largely pursued designs in that direction, and found this one was our favorite. We considered same Cost, different Power, full, lots of stuff like that.”

Q: Does Annihilus send my card based on base power or actual power? Lets say i have a Typhoid on my field and a couple of Squirrels. Will Annihilus send the Squirrels over that have 0 power at the moment?
A: Glenn “Actual Power. If a card doesn’t specify ‘base,’ it refers to the current Power value.”

Q: If you play Echo, then Gladiator pulls an ongoing card, will echo disable the Ongoing? Or does she only disable Ongoing if the opponent plays the card?
A: Glenn “Only if played.”

Q: Will Daredevil be fixed in the upcoming OTA?
A: Glenn “No, that is a separate and unique issue.”

Q: Will Captain Marvel consider the unique cost condition in Ms. Marvel’s ability when deciding which location to move to? For example, moving out of a lane with another 4-cost in it so that Ms. Marvel activates?
A: Glenn “Yes”

Q: Has the team looked much at Professor X? He is much more restrictive on games than old Spider-Man was.
A: Glenn “We keep a fairly close eye on Professor X, specifically because his effect is so restrictive. However, his balance has not created a cause for concern on our end, in part because (unlike Spider-Man) his Ongoing is not one-sided and thus vulnerable to a much wider range of counterplay and risk.”

Q: Will Gladiator allow the On Reveal effects of the card he pulls to trigger before the card gets destroyed, or will he destroy before that?
A: Glenn “Yes, On Reveals will fire.”

Q: If Gladiator let’s a card use their On Reveal when he pulls the card, will he check the power before or after the on reveal? For example: If Gladiator pulls Black Panther, will he check the 4 Power first, or 8 Power after?
A: Glenn “He checks after.”

Q: How does Gladiator check Ongoing cards like Darkhawk? Before or after their Ongoing registers?
A: Glenn “Post-Ongoing.”

Q: With developer talks of changing America Chavez, is the team confident the change won’t hurt combo decks after having her tool taken away?
A: Glenn “No; changing Chavez could harm these decks in the short-term. However, we’re committed to supporting every deck by both improving existing content when necessary and creating new content in the future.”

Other Questions

Q: With the introduction of Spotlight Keys coming to bundles in the future, will tokens be eventually phased out?
A: Stephen “We have no plans to phase out tokens.  We still think they are a great way to target cards you want outside of spotlights”

Q: Will more emote be added in the future for more variety?
A: Stephen “New emotes coming soon!  You can see some of them in an SDCC panel our team did a few months ago.  My favorite is def cool Cosmo w sunglasses”

Q: With the new favorite option for cardbacks, avatars, and titles, why can’t creating a new deck auto pick from your favorite list?
A: Stephen “It is intended to do a random roll of your favorited card backs, avatar, and titles when you make a new deck.  Unfortunately that barely missed this patch but will be in the next one.”

Q: Are there more game modes besides ranked being added?
A: Glenn “We’ve mulled over some ideas. Nothing we’re actively working on right now.”

Q: Are SNAP Points calculated by your opponent’s rank?
A: Glenn “Sort of. Your SNAP Point gain is affected by your opponent’s SNAP Points, which determine your opponent’s rank. The math is fairly complex and we’re also dealing with some visual bugs that occasionally show the wrong number (but it’s correctly calculated), so either of those could be a contributing factor. We’re also working on some leaderboard changes for a future patch that I’m excited to share once they’re ready.”

Q: Have you considered making a card that acts like Galactus, but only destroys 1 location?
A: Glenn “It’s a little different, since it maintains agency over placing at different locations, but we wouldn’t do that lightly.”

Q: For something like the Daredevil bug that was just introduced, is this something you can now write an automated test case for? Or will it go on a list to get manually checked before every update?
A: Addison “In the short-term, we’ll keep it on our radar for manually testing. It’ll go in our pool of card test cases and we’ll likely pull it in for regular testing to make sure it doesn’t regress between updates. If we can get an automated unit test for this function, we’ll roll with that in the near-term, but if it’s trickier (DD references a shared script in a slightly different way that we didn’t realize) we may need to wait until we have infrastructure setup to automate in-client and validate the UI/UX side of it.”

Q: Is the Snap team paid to answer our questions?
A: Glenn “I answer questions when I have free time to do so. Sometimes that’s while I’m waiting for Unity to load, sometimes it’s while I’m waiting for a movie to start. It’s not a dedicated responsibility for many of us, but we share it because we know it’s important.”

A: Addison “To piggyback off of Glenn’s response, I look at Discord off and on throughout the day during and outside of work hours (I’m on Discord a LOT). If I have the time, I’ll respond to things I think I should or things that I want to respond to. It’s not in my list of day-to-day responsibilities, but I view this space as an important opportunity to represent, advocate for, and provide public insight into the Snap QA team.”

A: Stephen “I respond when I’m between meetings or late at night while I’m relaxing.  If I’m traveling on a plane or riding in a car I’ll check in.  During the work day I’m usually in meetings, designing a feature, or looking at data.”

Q: Why did the option to filter by variants go away?
A: Stephen “It still exists as Favorites.  We felt Favorites better captured the name for that filter.  It has a bug right now where sometimes it looks on in the filter view but isn’t.  If you touch it twice it will reapply.  We will fix it soon”

Q: Are we still getting a clan and friend system?
A: Daniela “It’s in the books 📚”

Q: Why is reporting a username to complicated?
A: Daniela “We’re aware it’s not the friendliest flow. We have plans to address it!”

Q: Why are names and titles now positioned to the left, but not for every player?
A: Daneia “We’re looking into it! Seems like a bug”

Q: What’s your favorite part of being a Snap developer?
A: Daniela “I get to work on meta feature UX design (think token shop, conquest, friendly battle)  really early on and it’s so exciting to know that some of these silly sketches will transform into things yall will play one day. The team is also super involved and loves to provide feedback internally, so I feel very supported by the team 🥰”

Q: Since Mobius will be changing back to ongoing and not a simple number change, does this mean OTA’s can have more advanced changes now?
A: Glenn “This change relies on brand new technology we haven’t used in the live client yet. We’re glad to (hopefully) have gained this capability, and we’re not sure how often we’ll use it. For now, we’re planning to continue OTAs as usual and consider this a test.”

Q: Is it possible for cards to effect energy in real time? Such as if Mobius only effected his location, cards that were reduced in cost would increase if played over his location?
A: Glenn “It is technologically very complex, but not impossible. However, the combination of effort cost and risk to the live game itself means we’re avoiding that kind of design space for now.”

Q: You mentioned that the Mobius situation will make you consider some internal changes to your balancing/design process. I’m really curious if your team came to the conclusion that balancing a current meta with a patch multiple weeks away from release should still be a viable tool for that?
A: Glenn “The patch was our only available tool for reworking card function, and remains our most stable and reliable tool for that. If you’re asking have we considered discarding that use case because of its time delay, the answer is no. I’d rather get it wrong sometimes (like Mobius) than be wrong for too long (like Shuri). Even a flawed change has the potential to be interesting and teach us something.

It’s also easy to focus on one bad outcome without considering how often a similar process has yielded good outcomes. If something doesn’t work out, I focus on improving our decision-making practices, not determining what might’ve led us to make a different decision in one case. We found a few factors here I go over in the notes on Thursday.”

Q: Do you feel like by keeping text simple (1-2 lines of text), you sometimes cause more confusion?
A: Glenn “No. Regardless of what the cards said/did, we’d entertain a variety of questions regarding clarification. People carry a diverse array of perspectives and assumptions–surely we’ve all sat down to play a 52-card game and had someone ask whether Aces were high or low, for example.

That’s why we prioritize making “first read” and “first play” as accessible as possible, even if it comes at the cost of confusion in nuanced places later. Once someone’s playing, the game enforces the rules and they learn new things, but if the player is confused from the start they may never get to that stage.”

Q: Will rewards for the Snap webshop come back in the future?
A: Stephen “We are hoping to bring it back in December.  It was a test for October to learn how everyone would respond to it.”

Q: Does the team hold back characters from being released to coordinate with movie and show releases? Is the team holding back Tombstone for a possible appearance in the next Spider-Man?
A: Stephen “We decide to hold characters for future seasons on a regular basis.  Loki and Ms Marvel have existed in some form since pre launch.  We want each season to feel thematic with a central character people have heard of / love whenever possible so we will hold characters until it makes sense to add them.  Tombstone will make it into Snap at some point I’m sure.”

Q: Will the fast forward function be changed? It skips at times it shouldn’t (MODOK) and doesn’t skip other times (Odin).
A: KentErik “we have on the docket upcoming taking a look at fast forward, as we agree, it’s not always proccing when we think it should, and sometimes proccing when it shouldn’t.”

Q: Any plans to change how players can get boosters for specific cards?
A: KentErik “we have some ideas around boosters and acquiring them, but nothing solid yet”

Q: I used to use the free Series 3 card section every month, but it’s useless now that I am Series 3 complete. Will that change?
A: KentErik “we have some updates planned for that ‘series 3’ section of the shop for S3-complete players”

Q: Are there any plans to improve the menu music, where we can choose a particular song or make swapping tabs not reset the song over and over?
A: TheChrisAlan “We have plans to make some improvements with the seasonal music, there’s just currently some technical limitations with it.”

Q: Has the team considered adding a “unto end turn” button?
A: Glenn “Yes, we’re actively interested in adding this feature.”

Questions From You!

Each week, I ask 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: Why are games in the infinity rank so different from previous ranks?
A: I’m not a developer, but I can answer this one based on dev’s previous comments on the subject. Before infinite, you are matched against opponents based on a combination of your Rank, Collection Level, and MMR (hidden to you). Once you reach Infinite, those guidelines are pretty much removed and you can match against any player who has also reached Infinite that season.

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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