Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of October 4, 2023: Elsa Bloodstone Edition (80+ 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 have a jam packed edition, including lots of Nico Minoru questions, have the devs thought to make Alioth only destroy revealed cards, how are the devs handling Snap different from other CCG’s, 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 season Bloodstone and the new card Elsa Bloodstone! If you have seen the patch notes yet, make sure to check those out first!

Answers and questions may be slightly rephrased for more clarity and ease of reading. This weeks topics will be divided into Card Specific Questions, Other Questions, and Non-Snap Related Questions (in case you don’t care about that information and don’t want to scroll through it).

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.

Card Specific Questions

Q: Any plans to further rework Crystal?
A: Glenn “I think we’re likely to leave her alone for a while. Drawing extra cards isn’t gameplay we want taking up much of our metagame.”

Q: While many players use America Chavez to push help their draws, some use her as a legit final card in decks like kazoo. Do you think her ability is a necessary evil?
A: Glenn “Some cards do use Chavez like a game piece, such as Lockjaw and Dracula. Decks with these cards more often end games with Chavez (or at least her Power) in play, and would be weaker if Chavez were reworked because she’s playing a specific and novel role for them.

But the majority of decks playing Chavez don’t *need* her to work. She’s just improving the frequency for some of their real cards. The decks might need to change, or might want new support cards, or might need some balance adjustments–but Chavez is the definition of unnecessary for them.”

Q: Why nerf Kitty so hard again?
A: Glenn “Kitty has been a very strong card for a very long time, and we believed she would be too strong a card continuing at her current rate. Even if that weren’t true, we like to make changes that circulate which cards are strong and why, and Kitty has had lots of time in the sun. I’m sure she’ll have it again, too.”

Q: What does the team thinks of the comparison between Alioth and old Aero? Both cards are optimally used when your cards reveal first on turn 6 (priority) to slam the door on their potential turn 6 come back and win the game, basically meaning the game was over on turn 5.
A: Glenn “The biggest difference between the two is that ‘original’ Aero often won the game regardless of how and where your opponent played their cards with very little setup–plus, your fallback scenario was having one of the best turn 5 plays in the game.

Alioth requires more meaningful setup and has more vulnerabilities. He also doesn’t really have a backup plan.

One of the goals in creating Alioth was to encourage players to “attack” and want to reveal first in competitive play. Too many decks revolved around revealing last on turn 6, whether to present your counterplay or be immune to your opponent’s, so we wanted a card that added tension to that situation.”

Q: In the last OTA notes, it was stated that Snowguard saw the most play in Collector decks so she needed a change. Doesn’t this change just make her less viable in other decks since the triggers to Collector have no change?
A: Glenn “These notes didn’t communicate our rationale well, which I take responsibility for. The issue with Snowguard was that the “floor” of the card, its lowest strength level, was too high. The card will be strong in Loki decks either way, but we’d like the non-Loki Snowguards to be the correct rate. We believe this card is still strong enough to play in decks.

In addition, as cited, we have some other changes coming that Snowguard was overlapping with. So the change was also motivated by wanting to create a fun range of options for cards that add other cards to your hand, which means we don’t want one of them to be dramatically stronger than the rest.”

Q: Isn’t the fact that Snowguard’s bear is weaker simply because less locations can be triggered? Will Bear work with more locations in the future?
A: Glenn “Working with less locations is why the card is weaker, yes. We’ll continue to add locations, but the gap won’t close. It’s become clear the difference is meaningful enough that we should differentiate the Hawk and the Bear on rate.”

Q: Is Wave being monitored to possibly be addressed, or is she immune to future changes?
A: Glenn “She’s is among the cards we’ve watched most closely, and not ‘immune.'”

Q: After this latest OTA, Galactus has been updated again with another nerf. Considering how often it gets nerfed, both effect and power, at what point is a re-do on the card considered?
A: Glenn “This is the first time we’ve nerfed the card since creating a useful means with which to live balance it, so probably not soon. The structure of the original Galactus was fundamentally problematic, as we’ve shared. The rework that accompanied moving to 6/7 aimed to create a good game piece that we could tune if necessary. This is the rework functioning as intended—we didn’t build a strength dial expecting to never turn it, and it can turn both ways.”

Q: Where does the team feel galactus role is now? With what strategy or type of deck can the card work in?
A: Glenn “Pretty much the same, with more Goblins. Possibly some Iron Fist + Shuri or some Cerebro 5 variations spring up. Our goal wasn’t to shift the card’s play space, just weaken the strongest variations.”

Q: Does Werewolf By Night get the buff if he can’t move, similar to Aunt May's location?
A: Glenn “No, he’s gotta move to get the buff.”

Q: Have you considered making Alioth only destroy unrevealed cards to make him less oppressive?
A: Glenn “We did, but it polarizes the card in an awkward way. That version of the card needs much higher Power to be a viable 6-Cost card when you aren’t revealing first, and moving his Power higher makes him even harder to defend against when the Alioth will reveal first.

As far as strength goes, the card’s stats are good, but the only element that’s infringing on one of our balance thresholds is how many decks he’s played in, not how strong he is in those decks, so we’d be inclined to take a lighter touch than this first.”

Q: How do Nico’s spells work? Do they cycle each turn, or can you pick which one to use?
A: Glenn “Each turn she’s in your hand, her text will change to a random one of her abilities (without repeating).”

Q: I remember hearing how 2099 isn’t getting much because of his “pretty good cube and win rate” which isn’t bad ,but it made me think. If someone put a depressingly bad card in an amazing deck, wouldn’t it offset things? The phrasing makes it sound like 2099 just *being* in decks that win frequently is equal to a card single-handedly holding up the whole play.
A: Glenn “We have a minimum threshold for the number of games in which a card is drawn to consider for its stats. So to affect 2099’s winrate, thousands of people would need to put the card in their decks and win a majority of the games in which they draw it, but sure, that would work to make him seem strong without being played. See America Chavez.”

Q: When you draw Nico, does she generate one of her spells right away, or does she need to sit in your hand for a turn as a blank 1/2 before she picks a spell?
A: Glenn “She’ll generate a spell immediately when drawn.”

Q: How do spells cycle if you have multiple Nico Minoru in hand?
A: Glenn “They cycle independently. So do copies, and they should use the same remaining possibilities for the random pool.”

Q: Do spells for Nico still activate from Lockjaw, Iron Lad, X Mansion, ect?
A: Glenn “She only gets abilities while in your hand or deck, so she won’t work if created from outside the game but should for effects like Lockjaw and Iron Lad.”

Q: For Elsa, what qualifies as “fill a location”? Will Brood or Doctor Doom’s Bots get the buff?
A: Glenn “No, Elsa checks after you stage cards from your hand but before they reveal, like Hawkeye. You need to play a card in the last slot during your turn, not reveal one there afterward.”

Q: If you have Elsa on board, and then play a card on Space Throne, does she give that card +3 power? What if Jeff is added as a second card?
A: Glenn “The first card to be played on Space Throne will get +3 power, as it fills that location. Jeff won’t, because the location is already full.”

Q: In the season video by Second Dinner, Elsa Bloodstone is shown as an Ongoing card. Is this correct?
A: Glenn “Elsa isn’t an Ongoing card.”

Q: Does Nico have to be alive for her spells to trigger? Like if she was played onto Death's Domain?
A: Glenn “No. She’s roughly similar to Iron Fist in how her effect works, just with different outputs.”

Q: If i play nico on turn 1 and didnt get to play another card, will her effect change next turn?
A: Glenn “No, she doesn’t change abilities while in play.”

Q: Do you have any plans to make more cards like Nico that have multiple effects depending on the turn?
A: Glenn “Nico is one of my favorite cards 🙂 Maybe? We’ll see how this one shakes out. I doubt we’d hit enough to do 12 though. A little goes a long way, and simpler RNG like Shanna or Agent 13 is a lot easier.

Q: How do you measure “fun” cards that on average people enjoy to play, but are not strong winners per say?
A: Glenn “That’s a complex issue, and it depends a lot on the card. For example, if tons of people loved playing [unfun card] but it was losing…I’d probably be OK with leaving it alone. But for a card we think would add fun if it were stronger, we’re likely to at least experiment with that. That could be an ideal kind of card to buff for a couple months but plan to revert, for example, because it would spice up the metagame.”

Q: Do you have any worries Nico could end up in a similar situation as pre-rework Snowguard?
A: Glenn “I think our biggest error with original Snowguard was that it was situational in multiple ways. You didn’t know which animal you’d have, and you didn’t even have any guarantee if you’d want either animal with the location setup.

Nico has a lot of variance, but we believe having the ability to build against only one random element helps a lot. You gain the ability to use cards that have synergy with multiple of her abilities, like Deadpool or Human Torch.”

Q: Does Elsa give Kitty +3 each time she fills a lane?
A: Glenn “Yes, they work that way”

Q: If you play Valkyrie as a 4th card to a location, will Valkyrie set herself back down to 3 power, or will she have 6?
A: Glenn “Set to 3. However, if you have Luke Cage, this’ll work to win the location.”

Q: Will Werewolf By Night still get the extra power if he gets moved by iron fist or ghost spider for example? And not by his own ability?
A: Glenn “No, he has to move from his ability to get his own Power buff.”

Q: If you bounce Nico with Beast, Falcon, or a location, does she keep the spell she first had, or continue to change spells?
A: Glenn “She will resume changing abilities.”

Q: If Nico rotates spells even in the deck, if you draw her on turn 3, 2 spells have already been cycled and won’t appear that match. Is this correct?
A: Glenn “Yes, correct.”

Q: Did you consider making Nico’s spells have set turns they always appear on?
A: Glenn “Not really. I believe making people memorize the order of 7 spells would be too burdensome to make the card. Because the spells are diverse, random, and dependent on another card, there’s so many outcomes that you can just not plan and lose very little equity, both as the Nico player and her opponent.

Locking the spells in order might let both players have the potential for optimal play, but this structure makes her more fun and less complex.”

Q: Are tech cards like Sandman and Leech failing at their job at impacting the meta? Why play Sandman to stop hand dump when Wave does it better.
A: Glenn “It just varies. Some jobs you need a card to be really good at in order to work—like Armor or Shang-Chi—and others that are more niche you want to keep in a more specific range, like Sandman. I think his biggest issue is specifically that Wave is a stronger card, which is also a lesson for us in how On Reveals that offer temporary restrictions can outpace Ongoings that need to be less efficient. Maybe Sandman having an On Reveal and being 4/4 or 5/6 is a more fun and effective Sandman overall?”

Q: Does Nico trigger spells more like Forge (before the card reveals) or more like Iron Fist (triggers after the card resolves)?
A: Glenn “Iron Fist, which is why her text matches his more closely.”

Q: Will Nico keep rotating spells after being destroyed or discarded? What happens if she is brought back?
A: Glenn “She won’t, but perhaps she should.”

Q: Do Nico’s spells have names for each ability?
A: Glenn “One of the fun parts of Nico’s story is that her Staff’s powers actually require her to make up names for her spells, which can each only be cast once. So we hope players enjoy coming up with their own suite of names!

For example, some of her spell names are Abraham Lincoln, Paranema, and Freeze to the Exact Temperature and Aesthetic Appearance of a Cheap Popsicle from a 7-11.”

Q: Why doesn’t Man-Thing also effect 0-Cost cards?
A: Glenn “We have ‘cares about small’ and ‘cares about big’ bucketed into specifically 1,2,3 and 4,5,6. Man-Thing is essentially the ‘small’ Goose, so he mirrors the Costs it cares about.”

Q: Does Mojo’s condition with locations being “Full” mean that space throne, with it only being able to hold one card, trigger Mojo’s ability?
A: Glenn “Yes.”

Q: Why are you nerfing *around* the problematic cards and not the *actual* problematic card? Galactus got hit instead of Alioth, and now Loki dodged a nerd since the adding cards got increased costs.
A: Glenn “I’m not sure how Galactus is an example here–he’s quite clearly the ‘problematic card’ in any case that involves him.

We didn’t change the ‘adding cards’ because of Loki, we changed them because they were too similar to one another and we wanted more range among them so that there were reasons to play each. We may touch them up further once we see how their play rates change in continued pursuit of that goal.

Generally, we’re happy with the impacts and effects of our balance changes over the last few months. We don’t hit a bullseye every time, but it’s been quite a while since any deck exceeded our regular balance metrics for a sustained period and diversity has been good.”

Q: Many moons ago I remember thanos getting buffed with the reason being something like: “he is only played for the stones, and thanos himself doesnt hit the board often.” Does the team want thanos to land on the board more or is the “only use thanos for his stones” his future?
A: Glenn “At the time, Thanos was played almost never. He was sharing a deck with Chavez, and unless you had the Power Stone going even Chavez was a stronger 6-Cost play. It wasn’t our goal to make Thanos the ‘first option’ for turn 6, but we felt it was important that he wasn’t obviously weak. We expect Thanos to always be ‘Stone-centric’ in his strengths as an archetype.”

Q: With the latest changes to Mantis and Cable, how is there not more overlap as a result? Maria Hill and Agent 13 are now both 1 costs that generate a card.
A: Glenn “You’re not factoring in Series metagames. Mantis isn’t a competitive card at any reasonable rate–that’s just the nature of her effect. But in early play, Mantis and Agent 13 were too close even for newer players as 1/2s. Now that one is a 2/3 (and Cable is a 3/4) there’s a more satisfying set of choices for those players to make, and those players are the primary audience for all three cards.

Maria Hill, Mirage, and Snowguard don’t exist to create overlaps for newer players, and among competitive players the nuanced differences between all six cards have more meaning.

I expect we’ll make at least one more adjustment to this group, possibly more, as we shuffle them around to the just-right spots.”

Q: Why are existing cards on the receiving end of nerfs, while the newly released or upcoming cards that push them over the top in performance appear to be overtuned ?

Collector in particular was not seeing much play even after the previous buff to his stats. Enter Loki who has premium stats for a 3 drop, and a positive effect that can be further boosted by Quinjet. Loki himself can thrive even without the Collector, so personally I don’t understand why he was nerfed instead of the clearly more powerful card.

Similarly, Kitty Pryde loses 2 power in anticipation of what I’m assuming is the release of Elsa Bloodstone. Although I agree she needed a slight reduction, I don’t think 1/0 are the right stats for her. Meanwhile all signs point to Elsa having a powerful ability that can be repeatedly triggered providing huge amounts of power to not only Kitty but movement decks, some of which are already quite strong. Has there been any consideration to maybe moderate the power she provides in a more direct manner? The situation reminds me of Silver Surfer’s original release who was clearly too powerful when providing +3 power to each card he synergizes with.
A: Glenn “We have a lot of data on existing cards. Players have ‘figured them out’ and we know how different changes will impact the cards. Newer cards have less data, which means a) players might not have fully adapted to the card yet, and b) our guesses will be worse. a) is happening in real time with Alioth right now, as his stats consistently dip every few days.

**On Loki:** We built the season around Loki, and yes–that means we want Loki to be played! We want all cards to see play, but the season theme is especially important for creating the right in-game experience. The ‘wrong’ Loki change risks disappointing Loki fans *and* being too much or not enough. Rather than try to hit that bullseye, we aimed at an easier target.

**On Kitty:** It’s possible we were too harsh on Kitty–time will tell–but when a card has been on top of the metagame since release, in many different decks, we’re much happier risking that because we want the metagame to shift. As one small example, a primary incentive for playing Wave is how she disrupts Kitty–maybe less Kitty will mean less Wave, and this is one way to find out.

**On Elsa:** It’s possible we aimed too high on Elsa. Effects like hers are tough to evaluate; committing heavily to a location is often very exploitable, so the reward needs to be pretty juicy.”

Other Questions

Q: Have you considered changing X Mansion to give both opponents the same card, or cards of equal cost?
A: Glenn “We’ve considered it, but don’t mind the current variance it offers.”

Q: How does the team feel about changing location frequency in Conquest? Like turning off Ego and District X.
A: Glenn “It’s on design’s wishlist to have more control over location appearance.”

Q: In a recent Snapshot podcast, Glenn mentioned (paraphrased) that it is more important for the game to be fun than to be perfectly balanced. So how does the team weigh shaking up the meta versus maintaining or suppressing long standing archetypes?
A: Glenn “Doom’s actually a good example of some side benefits of our philosophy in action. If we’d never changed him, sentiment around Doom would probably have been neutral trending slightly negative, as a solid card that played the same role for months tends to feel a little boring. The nerf was harsh, but it also served to create excitement when it was reverted and the card resumed impacting the metagame.

Nerfing a card doesn’t mean we won’t buff it later. For some cards, we in fact expect to buff it later or release a new combo, and the nerf can serve as a little ‘time out’ until then. This idea of keeping balance in flux lends itself to cycling the strength of individual cards.”

Q: I’d be curious to know how the team decides which cards need changes, and in what ways they should be changed? I can assume fan feedback is not considered much, which is understandable, since just because an idea is popular, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s founded on much.
A: Glenn “We always need to be mindful of doing both. We can’t constantly buff weak cards/decks—that will radically creep the power level of the game as a whole.

There are a lot of variables in making the decisions—having rigid guidelines would risk more harm than help, in my estimation. We try to think about the metagame month by month.

For example, if a deck is going to get a strong new card in January, maybe it should get a nerf in November? It’s not about whether the deck is balanced or not now or then. It’s about creating a fun metagame players are excited to solve every week, and changing which decks are strong is one way we do that.

I think a lot of negativity often stems from players attaching previous understandings of how card games are balanced to our model. We’re doing it differently, and that’s on purpose. It’s all right to dislike it or criticize it—like anyone doing something new, we’re learning and improving, but we’re also eager to forge our own path in the CCG space.”

Q: Glenn mentioned “We’re doing it differently, and that’s on purpose.” What is “it” though? Is that part of the special sauce or is there somewhere the key principles of what you are going for is laid out? It just seems to change a lot and makes it a little confusing when picking how one might for example strategically improve their collection.
A: Glenn “Yes, frequent change is an element we are deliberately experimenting with. We have documentation internally discussing our philosophy and its goals, and we review feedback with that lens.

We can appreciate that this approach can be tougher to keep up with in some ways, which is how we got to the current cadence. As we learn more and improve our own tech, frequency and volume may change, so if that’s an area you feel strongly about we’re happy to hear those thoughts in our usual feedback channels.”

Q: Will you add a in game leaderboard for Infinite rank?
A: Glenn “This is our first step of several on building a deeper post-Infinite experience, including a public-facing leaderboard.”

Q: How do discard and destroy effects differ from a lore perspective?
A: Glenn “The difference is largely mechanical. Creatively, discard and destroy can represent a variety of things, such as ruthlessness, a history of violence, malevolence, etc.

We do have some creative tropes that get assigned to each, such as swords and other blades often being about discard and symbiotes being about destruction.”

Q: Does Valley revive cards in the order they were destroyed or is it fully random? If it is random, is there a consideration to make it more controlled in order to allow for more skill expression and intricate plays?
A: Glenn “It’s random. The location is already highly favorable for decks that can manipulate destruction with purpose. I’m not sure pushing harder in that direction makes it more fun for players with decks that can’t.”

Q: Since many new cards are better or worse than others, is the intent for every player to get every card?
A: Glenn “No, we don’t expect every player to acquire every card.”

Q: Will there be more twitch drops?
A: Stephen “Yes we will do more twitch drops!”

Q: Why have weeks start in game on Tuesday? Why not Monday like the actual week start?
A: Stephen “We want the turnover to happen during our work day so we can more easily fix anything that may come up.  Not sure about you but Monday morning I just want a cup of coffee and not worry about anything else.  Tuesday is easier because it enables us to ensure everything is solid on Monday before it goes live on Tuesday.”

Q: How do you do your testing of new/updated cards? Have any funny or strange situations ever arisen because of your early access to new/updated cards?
A: Addison “Hi, thanks for the question! I don’t get to answer too many test-related ones!

For new cards and most major updates we start by having a member of the QA team sit down and cross-reference existing cards/locations and determine which are likely to have an impact and which aren’t. From there that person will write test cases around those interactions, this includes situations where you test against cards from your own perspective, from the opponent’s perspective, and a mix (if relevant, like Mobius M. Mobius for example). After that, other members of the QA team will sweep through the cases and try to supplement or expand on them. Finally there will be a session where the test cases are executed and bugs are written when things happen that aren’t expected.

There are other elements to this as well including some amount of automated unit testing, looking through log files to ensure client errors aren’t occurring, retesting if there are functional tweaks, testing as art assets come in, etc…

Also there’s a lot of playtesting internally over the months between initial development/hookup of a card and when they typically release.

As for ‘funny situations’ there are always funny bugs that occur, but I think maybe the weirdest in the last few months is with Jean Grey.

A lot of folks have commented that clearly she wasn’t tested or that QA was slacking on her, but the unfortunate reality is that after she had already been tested there were some VFX hooked up to her pretty late in the process that required a tweak to her script that controls her ‘ongoing’ effect and that wasn’t realized. So when we went to test her VFX, we just did quick VFX tests and generalized functional checks but didn’t do the full suite again because we didn’t know that underlying functional tweak had occurred. Her test suite explicitly had a Goose check in it! So that’s why when she initially released there were some real weird interactions between her and cards like Goose and then why the fix resulted in her not having VFX anymore (hopefully fixed for real in an upcoming update!).”

Q: Since the daily reset is moving 16 hours, will the daily variants shop be affected with the new timers or will it refresh at the same time?
A: Stephen “The shop and free daily credits will refresh at the new time after the update.”

Q: Will Hotel Inferno trigger up to 4 times if I play 4 cards in the location on the turn it reveals?
A: Glenn “Yes.”

Q: Is Hotel Inferno a good idea with destroy already having a lot of synergy with other locations?
A: Glenn “Destroy decks aren’t oppressive but are fun and popular, so we don’t mind supporting them in this way. We also can adjust the rarity of these locations as we add them to create the same frequency of ‘favorable conditions’ but with more locations in the mix.”

Q: What are some of your favorite aspects of the game, not as a developer, but from a players perspective when you’re playing?
A: Stephen “I love chasing splits and variants!   Anytime I pull a Krackle flare I get so pumped.  I also just got my first infinite conquest avatar frame which felt incredible.”

A: Addison “T1 Korg into T3 Rockslide. There is nothing funnier to me than giving people rocks.”

A: Glenn “I love setting up big plays with lots of animation, like Ghost-Spider/Iron Fist combos.

I also enjoy playing Galactus decks 😬”

Q: Do you track stats of generated cards?
A: Glenn “Stuff like Demon and Infinity Stones, yes.”

Q: Are there times where a buff or nerf released that members of the team are sad about for their own personal decks as players?
A: Glenn “I periodically get some number of internal complaints (in good faith and fun, of course). Occasionally those even lead to larger discussions and reviews that wind up changing our minds, so they’re always welcome.”

A: Addison “Legion’s still an 8-power in my heart, Glenn!”

Q: During QA testing, do you have automated tests that check for issues prior to release, or is it all manual?
A: Addison “Hey thanks for the question, always happy to chat QA!

We have automated unit tests, some automated content integration tests, and then we run a bunch of manual functional testing.

Release acceptance testing utilizes all 3 in various capacities.

Jean’s case for her Goose interaction did not have a unit test at the time of release (but I believe has one now) while her general  ‘Ongoing’ functionality did. For a lot of the card interactions, it can be tough to automate these cases prior to release given the speed we’re typically developing at and changing things.

We’re working to beef up functional automation efforts at the moment though to try to help prevent similar situations to the Jean case in the future. However, all of this takes time and while I know it’s kind of a meme within the community we really do have a pretty small team given the scope and scale of the project and have to pick and choose our battles release-to-release 🙂”

Q: With the new reset timer and releases happening at 12PM PT, will OTA’s be moved to Tuesdays as well?
A: Addison “OTA updates already release during our working hours, typically on Thursdays (though not always). We normally try to put some separation between OTA updates and Server or Client updates as they’re all handled a little differently.

All that being said, because OTA updates are flexible on the release side of things, if there was a need or want to change the days we could certainly do that!”

Q: When creating new cards and locations, do you specificly create each interaction, or do you see what the engine does and tinker with it?
A: Glenn “We have design intent, but playtesting or even live play often show us elements that lead us to reconsider. We have a lot of flexibility in how we can execute, so mostly it’s just us choosing how.

In Klyntar’s case, we got vocal feedback and bug reports demonstrating that players didn’t find the original implementation intuitive, so we changed it.”

Q: Do you intend to make more rock-like cards? Nico creating a Demon (who used to only be created by The Hood) is one new example of this idea.
A: Glenn “I think so. It’s the sort of charming throughline I enjoy crafting—I think that Demon ability was the first Nico spell I wrote down, actually.”

Q: How do you weigh user experience when designing new cards?
A: Glenn “It’s a wide range—some people will absolutely love some cards that other people dislike, and we aim to appeal to different kinds of players with our releases. Generally, a game is more fun and more exciting when that’s often the case, because apathy is the least fun response for everyone.”

Q: What locations are exempt from triggering in left to right order?
A: Glenn “It is our intent to eliminate this inconsistency completely or as much as possible in the near future, but we’re still auditing the ramifications of that change.”

Q: Any thoughts on reducing the amount of OTA’s?
A: Glenn “We’re monitoring it. One thing we’re trying right now is focusing on OTAs as the primary changes to the game, while the patch days are largely for the occasional card rework and minor improvements to functionality, so less impactful gameplay changes would come from patches in this world.”

Q: Do weekend missions and weekly chapter (season) missions effect the meta? Does the team take the meta into consideration when making missions, or are they just based on the theme of the season?
A: Glenn “Pretty much just the theme of the season. Weekend missions are slightly more impactful than chapter ones, but ultimately it doesn’t move the needle as much as something like a hot/featured location.”

Q: Have you considered giving cards like Kraven, Silk, and Elsa a keyword on their ability, like “Trigger”? Seems like it might open up some interesting design space without being too cumbersome.
A: Glenn “From a rules structure standpoint, I agree that could be nice. However, part of our templating philosophy is avoiding ‘TCG-speak’ because it’s the kind of language that makes a card game feel less accessible to players new to the genre. ‘Trigger’ is one of those words we want to avoid.”

Q: How do you prioritize which cards get VFX first?
A: Nicki Broderick “Before we launched Snap, we were trying our best to ship with VFX for all of our cards at launch. With the pending deadline, we decided to work smarter not harder – we focused on card categories that could share some FX without getting their own unique/custom FX. This allowed us to make custom FX for cards that really needed them to communicate important gameplay items.

In a way, this is still how we prioritize VFX today! We start with cards that we feel aren’t shippable without FX, and move down the list. I shared about this previously on here, but the VFX team works on all areas of the game so sometimes it’s cards, locations, features, ui, etc.! We’re looking to have some more bandwidth to “catch up” on some cards and locations that don’t yet have FX. This will include a wide varity of cards, such as ones that have been in the game since launch.”

Q: Will there be any free rewards to celebrate Snap’s anniversary?
A: Nicki Broderick “We’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned – stay tuned!”

Q: Is there a specific artist who does fonts/ logos for cards? I feel like these are elegantly done to communicate a cards character.
A: Nicki Broderick “Hey, super kind of you! I’ll pass this along to the team. Some of our logos come from the Marvel team (if a logo exists for a character, we try to use it). Our awesome Art Outsource crew works with some external studios to design/develop the logos for characters that don’t have official Marvel ones.”

Q: To go with the seasonal menu music, will you ever add new music in matches too?
A: Nicki Broderick “Yeah! We’d love to do this so there’s a variety of in-game songs you might hear! This is on our wishlist to work on.”

Q: Will you be adding the upgrade preview screen from the new update into other areas other than the shop in the future?
A: Stephen “We plan to add it to season pass, spotlight cache, and collection in a future update”

Q: Why is the Infinite cardback based on the free season pass cardback some seasons, but based on the paid sp cardback in others?
A: Stephen “We make the choice based off which card back will look cooler with gold treatment.  The decision isn’t based off whether it is the free or paid card back.”

Q: Are the Midnight Sun variants an example of Albums teased on the roadmap?
A: Stephen “No but would be cool to do an Album for these in the future.  Albums are still in development but excited to share more in the future.”

Non-Snap Related Questions

Q: What are your favorite board games?
A: Addison “I’m a big fan of shorter session board games, games you can get through a number of rounds in an hour or two. So I’m a big fan of games like Dominion, Splendor, and recently a cute little game called Planted.”

A: Nicki Broderick “Oh man I LOVE board games. Favorite of all time is Betrayal at House on the Hill (replayable, easy to onboard new folks, has good strategic depth). I tend to like co-op games and try to avoid any games that make me lie/deceive other players. I recently played Root for the first time and that was fun – looking forward to playing again!

I used to be part of a show on Twitch called Table Flippin where we played longer campaign games like Gloomhaven which was super fun. I think the vods are still on youtube!”

Q: What is the work culture like at Second Dinner?
A: Nicki Broderick “The Second Dinner culture is absolutely incredible. Not only do you get to work with some of the industry’s best every day, but there’s a really special atmosphere centered around growth and learning – even up to the C level. People are accountable for their mistakes, own up to issues, and actively work to fix them and make the environment better. The team is super collaborative, especially cross discipline – everyone can give feedback on the game, design, new features, art, etc even if you’re not in that specific department. This is also the first team I’ve ever been on that genuinely cares for one another – helping people’s work get recognized and highlighted, offering feedback and opportunities to grow, really investing time in one another. It’s really a one of a kind studio.

There’s too many fun/funny stories to share – I was fortunate to join Second Dinner back in 2019 so I’ve gotten to witness us grow from less then 10 people, to over 80! We’re really trying hard to develop new traditions that are more inclusive of a remote studio that I think are different/special. For example, we really encourag the team to have their cameras on during meetings so it’s easier to build connections. We do virtual escape rooms (and BOY are the different teams competitive during team events, it’s almost as tense as that last game before infinite).

Hope that helps paint the picture a bit. ❤️”

Q: How did the team get into game development?
A: Glenn “I’m and English/History major that played a variety of games competitively before moving into content creation, content editing, and then game design. I mostly just followed what was interesting and exciting to me. I was *very* fortunate to have a collection of excellent friends, mentors, and managers that grew me at each stage.”

A: Addison “I initially went to school for CS but the ’08 economic shakeup dried up a lot of available financing so I wound up dropping out shortly after. Probably for the best as I was a terrible engineer then and would likely be a terrible engineer now haha.

A few years later I was bouncing around retail and sales jobs and while working in a call center selling MLB tickets I was super fortunate to be hit up by a friend who had wound up at a new web-based MMO studio that was willing to hire inexperienced folks to bulk up their QA team. He referred me and I like to think my sales experience helped me wing the interview process and sell myself because I had NO idea what I was doing at the time!

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to try a bunch of things since getting into the industry and, like Glenn above, having a ton of awesome people mentor me along the way.”

A: Nicki Broderick “I was super lucky to get an internship in the industry while I was in college (at Blizzard Entertainment), which lead to my first gig outside of college. I’ve been in game dev ever since! My degree is in Creative Writing, which I think contributes a lot to my skills as a Sr. Producer — lots of jobs, project, skills, etc are totally transferrable.

I hope the industry continues to grow in a direction that invites more new folks in, as we can learn a lot from parallel industries.”

A: Stephen “I did a boring corporate job for 3-4 years then went to grad school to find out what I wanted to be when I grow up.  I wanted a job that didn’t feel like a job.  I had an epiphany that someone had to make games for them to be real, so I tried to figure out if I could break through.  I paid for my own flight out to GDC in my last year of graduate school and tried to convince all of the major game companies to hire me.  Thankfully one of them took a chance on me!  I’ve tried to pass that on to others trying to break into the industry who have the passion and potential.”

A: Daniela “When I was in high school I wanted to study computer science. then I realized I sucked at a lot of the non programming stuff, so I started looking for something that was half techy half artsy. I stumbled upon this “UX Design” major and I LOVED every class on the curriculum so I studied that. Then in like sophomore(?) year everything CLICKED as I was playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. I could do UX for GAMES! As a lifelong gamer I felt like I discovered exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I minored in Game UX (cause apparently we had that lol), and by chance also stumbled on an Associate UX/UI designer role here at SD. The rest is history 🙂”

Q: Will you be dressing up for Halloween? Maybe as a character in Snap?
A: Addison “My daughter has her heart set on a Cinderella theme for our family. I’m trying to convince her a big pumpkin is totally in line with that, but she thinks Prince Charming is the way to go. Maybe I can sell her on me being Gus the mouse!

If I could I’d rock a cool Wolverine though like I did when I was a kid. Maybe skip the spandex these days and go old-man Logan with it.”

Q: What games are you currently playing?
A: Addison “Oh man, this is an open-ended question!

I’m going to assume videogames are valid here, so outside of Snap:

Playing the most historically, all-time? Definitely League of Legends (and DotA before it) or WoW, though one of those I still play regularly and the other I haven’t in several years. Street Fighter 5 also in the mix.

Recently or in the past couple months? A lot of Baldur’s Gate 3, Brotato, and I’m a weirdo with a bunch of CRTs in my house so my friends and I have been playing a lot of SF3:3rd Strike on PS2 in recent weeks. Though I’ve also played Armored Core 6, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, Halls of Torment, and Pseudoregalia recently. I also beat Wanted:Dead not too long ago (mark my words, that game’s going to be a cult classic in 10 years!) and started a horror game called Madison with some friends while beating Kirby Dreamland Deluxe with my family.

Then at Second Dinner there’s a lot of us who play a few rounds of Golf With Your Friends on Friday afternoons, though a couple of us in QA throwdown in Street Fighter 6 🙂”

A: Daniela “Oooh I’ve been playing lots of Palia recently, it tore me away from Valorant 😅  I’m also ultra hyped for Assassin’s Creed Mirage to come out this week!! I’ve played almost all of them. I’m also getting into Disney Lorcana, I was lucky enough to buy a few packs.
Also SNAP obviously.”

A: Nicki Broderick “I can’t put down Baldur’s Gate 3. I’m 120+ hours in and would like my life back.”

A: Stephen “I’m playing Snap, Honkai Star Rail, Baldurs Gate 3, and Mortal Kombat 1 right now.  Looking forward to getting to Starfield next.  In general I play a ton of stuff and try to spend time in most big game releases on mobile and Pc/console”

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:Would the second dinner team consider making a reward extension track to the season pass and offering new and interesting additional rewards up to say level 60?
A: Tucker “You’re talking about the Season Caches beyond level 50, yeah?

These are intended as an overflow reward, so that if you finish the SP early you’re still getting *something* for your effort but it’s a point of diminishing returns. There’s significant abuse potential in an infinitely achievable reward (think Agatha bots), so if we juice those up any more we incentivize botting a ton and have to spend more dev-time fighting botters. Since that costs us time that could be spent making the game better in other ways, it’s not a path we should go down IMO.”

Q: Previously it was possible find after many chests (40?) there was the possibility of finding Series 4/5 instead of the usual rewards. I understand the new Spotlight Caches but isn’t it possible to reinsert that reward with the standard chests too.
A: By definition, they *could* add these back, but according to this statement from Stephen, the devs don’t seem interested in messing with the caches for a while:
Stephen “We will add rare variant avatars to the existing cosmetic drop in an upcoming patch.  Beyond that there are none planned in the short term.  We feel like we have changed them a lot over the past year and want to give it longer to breath before considering any additional changes.”

Q: Any chance the Conquest tickets could be collected on the win screen since they are shown there anyway instead of needing to go to another screen?
A: This was directed to their feedback channel.

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!

Enjoy our content? You can Support Marvel Snap Zone and your favorite content creators by subscribing to our Premium community! Get the most of your Marvel Snap experience with the following perks for paid membership:

  • No ads: Browse the entire website ad-free, both display and video.
  • Exclusive Content: Get instant access to all our Premium articles!
  • Meta Reports: Exclusive daily meta reports, such as the Ultimate Card Metrics Report, Top 10 Decks of the Day, Top 30 Cards, and Top Card Pairs tailored for you!
  • Team Coaching: Join our free weekly team coaching call sessions on the Discord server. Claim your Premium role and gain access to exclusive channels where you can learn and discuss in real time!
  • Premium Dashboard: Get full instant access to the member-only dashboard, the all-in-one page for all your benefits.
  • Support: All your contributions get directly reinvested into the website to increase your viewing experience! You get also get a Premium badge and border on your profile.
  • Special offerFor a limited time, use coupon code SBYREX4RL1 to get 50% off the Annual plan!
Articles: 91