Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of September 27, 2023: Mobius Edition (35+ 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 are Collector Reserves changing, will cards ever downgrade series again, where do voice actors get sourced from, 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 Mobius M. Mobius! If you aren’t sure if you should open a Spotlight Cache for this card, make sure to check out our weekly Spotlight Cache guide! Also make sure to check out our guide on Mobius!

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.

Card Specific Questions

Q: Has Spider-Man 2099 not recieved a buff yet because the bug move season was very recent?
A: Glenn “Not really. The card isn’t one of our strongest, but 2099 has positive win and cube percentages. Our data suggests he may be only very slightly too weak, and we’re not interested in a cavalier adjustment that could put him over the top. One more strong syngergy card might do the trick.”

Q: Could Spider-Man 2099 be buffed do destroy unrevealed cards like Alioth?
A: Glenn “No, I don’t expect we’ll do that. We want that effect to be very, very special.”

Q: If you play Storm on turn 3, and Hawk on turn 4, Flooded will remain open for turns 5 and 6. Is this intended, or should Flooded close sooner?
A: Glenn “This one’s tricky, since both outcomes will be confusing to a fairly meaningful number of people–we can’t even really measure which group is larger, since it essentially hinges on how a player thinks Flooding works, regardless of how it actually works.

We build the game engine, so if the execution we want doesn’t match what’s currently there, we either change how the engine works or decide if a simpler functionality will get us where we want to go. But the card “wins” either way.”

Q: Has the team noticed any red flags with Alioth’s performance so far?
A: Glenn “Alioth has one of our strongest cube rates, which is pretty common for a new card players are learning their way around. His winrate isn’t as high but is pretty good, and we do see him in a relatively wide variety of decks right now. All of those factors are reasons for us to keep a close eye on him.”

Q: Does Marvel Snap want to become the first game ever to include Hope Summers, Franklin Richards, or Valeria Richards?
A: Glenn “I don’t know if we’d be the first, but stay tuned.”

Q: Would you ever make a card that isn’t drawable?
A: Glenn “No, these kinds of cards are generally pretty unhealthy for the game.”

Q: Why does Ravonna have less cards she can target, but she costs more than Zabu?
A: Glenn “The number of 4-Cost cards is higher, but reducing the cost of a 4-Cost card by 1 is a relatively flat amount of strength because 4-Cost cards exist in a tighter range. There are a lot of complexities to weigh, but let’s use a simplified example:

The Thing is a 4/6, so each Energy buys you 1.5 Power, while Hulk is a 6/12, so each Energy is worth 2 there. That’s because Energy and Power exist on a curve, which means card strength exists on a curve, too.

I’m reasonably confident that while 2-Cost Ravonna can’t access as diverse an array of cards, she would have a higher strength ceiling than Zabu. Maybe not an overall stronger deck, but more potential, and Zabu’s clearly strong.”

Q: Why does Snowguard’s Hawk always resolve before Invisible Woman when both say they resolve at the end of the game?
A: Glenn “Invisible Woman and Dark Dimension use the same timing, and Hawk needs to end before Dark Dimension in order to ensure cards at that location can resolve. I don’t foresee this changing.”

Q: With Mobius now live, would you revert old nerfs or work on cards like She Hulk who can’t function properly anymore?
A: Glenn “Mobius has been live for less than 24 hours. We’ll let you know on 10/12, the next OTA after his release, if we want to make shifts in his wake.”

Q: Will Iceman be updated to be more consistent with other cards like Spider-Ham and show what was targeted?
A: Glenn “I believe future cards will behave more like Ham. Revising Iceman is something we’re considering, but not as high on our backfill VFX as some other cards.”

Q: What caused Kitty Pryde to repeat “Can’t Do!” on occasion?
A: Addison “Hey thanks for the question! Fun fact, this should actually be fixed in the next client update, but one of the repro cases (though not explicitly the only) for this bug to occur was playing Kitty with Luke Cage and Hazmat on Bar Sinister.

Straight from the bug ticket’s comments:
‘It appears as if Hazmat’s negative ability is trying to resolve multiple times with Kitty Pryde coming back to hand, but because it’s being blocked by Luke Cage it will keep showing ‘Can’t Do’ each time.’ “

Q: With Mobius now released, could Sera ever see a reduction to a 4 Cost?
A: Glenn “That seems pretty unlikely.”

Other Questions

Q: Do you look at data on games vs bots?
A: Glenn “We don’t look at bot games. We even look at player games sliced down to a variety of collection levels.”

Q: Are you ever worried about how new strong cards could synergize or counter each other?
A: Glenn “Worried would be the wrong word, because it implies we fear uncertainty. But as game designers, we have to be comfortable with making decisions that have an uncertain range of outcomes. We’ll never outthink a planet of players!

When we do identify cards or combos that have huge potential, that’s usually content. Our primary responsibility in developing that content is making sure it can be balanced—that it has good “knobs” for adjusting strength up and down. Both Mobius and Wave have a variety of impactful knobs.

The nature of how these cards interact with each other does carry more risk for play rates being too high in too many decks, that’s true, but our philosophy accounts for that potential. We’re excited that this approach supports high-impact content and keeps the live metagame in a state of flux.”

Q: Does the team take time to read the feedback channel?
A: Stephen “Yes we read it at least a few times a week”

Q: Will there be any changes to Collector Reserve contents?
A: 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: Will Super Rare variants be receiving avatars as well? And how do you plan for players to obtain them?
A: Stephen “We are adding super rare avatars to the game in the same patch and to start they will be available if you own all super rare variants and open a premium mystery variant.  In the future we will add a new section in the shop for non-variant cosmetics (avatars, titles, card backs, emotes, emoji reactions, etc)”

Q: Does the player need to own the rare variant to unlock the potential of getting its avatar, or can it be received regardless of ownership?
A: Stephen “Don’t have to own the variant to get the avatar”

Q: With new rare avatars being added to the Collector’s Reserves, how does that effect drop rates of other rewards?
A: Stephen “There is no change to drop rates to get a cosmetics and no change to when you do between variants vs avatars vs titles with this update.  We are adding more avatars into the existing avatar drop.  The chance to get an avatar will remain unchanged.”

Q: Any plans to add new backgrounds in matches?
A: Stephen “We have wanted to do this for a long time but it hasn’t been a high priority.  We will explore it at some point in the future”

Q: Has the team discussed allowing Ultimate Variants to be purchased with gold?
A: Stephen “We want to add a new way to get ultimate variants but we are mindful of the players that invested a ton of tokens to have these special variants.  When we add another method we will be fair to those players so they feel like they got a fair deal for their tokens.  Whatever new acquisition method we do will most likely be applied to only new Ultimates for a while.”

Q: With new emotes upcoming, will you make any changes to prevent toxic spamming?
A: Stephen “We are adding cooldowns to prevent emote spamming in one of the next two updates.”

Q: If you look at an opponents card in game and tap to see the artist, the game can misread the tap and instead Snap in the match. Can you move the artist credits to the bottom of the card?
A: Stephen “We have no plans to move it because it uses the same technical screen and layout as the collection.  However, what you are raising is something we can look into to create a delay on snapping if a variant is being viewed and is dismissed.  I’ll share w the team.”

Q: Do boosters collected from Conquest or the Season Pass effect your daily booster limit?
A: Stephen “Boosters from reward sources (like conquest shop, season pass, collection level, etc) do not affect daily limits”

Q: Why have weekend missions changed to always offer so little tokens? While Silk was the High end at 1k tokens, it’s regular for cards to be 300 or 200 tokens.
A: Stephen “Nothing changed.  Weekend missions for the new card are treated like a rebate.  When we price them we are taking a bet on how many players will try to acquire that card based off our best guess from playtesting and performance of similar historic cards.

Q: It’s been months now with no Series Drops of any sorts, or no word if any will ever come again, so it seems like Drops aren’t “Flexible” but rather “Rarely Any”. This, combined with the announcement that Spotlight Presence is tied to variant availability, and the fact that many relevant cards haven’t had Spotlights in a while if at all, makes me concerned for the future of card acquisition.

Can we expect any series drops at all this year, and is there a chance that Spotlights can become less dependent on variant availabilty/that cards that haven’t shown up on spotlights yet will show up soon?
A: Stephen “This is a hotly debated topic internally at SD and has been for a while.  Once we align on the right path forward we will share it with everyone.  I know you guys want an answer to this right now but we aren’t ready to share next steps yet.”

Q: Will we get more zero cost cards?
A: Glenn “I wouldn’t say “never” but that’s a kind of card we’re very careful about. We have considered and eliminated (or recosted) a couple 0-Cost designs this year, in fact.”

Q: Any news on the new infinity splits?
A: Stephen “Will share more in our next roadmap update!”

Q: Why hasn’t the team hired more people to keep up with the size of the game?
A: Nicki Broderick “The team has grown – quite a bit actually! When we launched Snap beta last May, the entire company was ~50 folks. We’re now over 80! We’re very considerate and deliberate with our hiring to make sure we’re getting the best folks to join Second Dinner, and giving them a great onboarding experience so they can help contribute to the project.”

Q: How are voice actors for the game sourced?
A: Nicki Broderick “I’m sure TheChrisAlan would be happy to expand on this more – but we get to partner with some great recording studios to find awesome talent for our game. A handful of our VO is also performed by Second Dinner team members!”

A: TheChrisAlan “We search wide and far looking for the best people to voice our cards!  It’s really a mixture of different talent depending on the role, some have voiced Marvel heros/villains before, some just perform really well as a sound-a-like.  And as Nicki mentioned, we have a few cards that were even voiced by our own team members who just fit the role really well!”

Q: Has Ben Brode voiced any characters?
A: TheChrisAlan “He is Super-Skrull’s laugh when he takes abilities!”

Q: Is there any way you could add credits to voice actors like artists get?
A: TheChrisAlan “I would love to do something like this!  I’ve thought about some possible ways to go about it, but it’s something that still needs exploring.”

Q: Would you ever design a card with a countdown effect? Like “On Reveal: In 2 turns destroy your cards here.”
A: Glenn “These designs are much more constrained in a game with a fixed number of turns. We might find one or two eventually that we like, but we don’t go looking for them.”

Q: What’s a question that you’ve always wanted to answer but no one has ever asked?
A: Addison ” ‘What’s the hardest routine thing to test?’

Thanks, I thought you’d never ask! Matchmaking changes are WILD mainly because we have a lot of nuances to the system. Engineers can simulate a lot of their changes but actual manual verification of some of our rules normally requires several people with multiple clients each fiddling with a whole suite of numbers and levers and having to manipulate things in ways to ensure we’re matched together under the expected conditions. It can get pretty crazy and time consuming and that’s just for normal queue, Conquest adds even more layers of complexity 😄”

Q: How does the team handle negative feedback that isn’t stated very constructively?
A: Nicki Broderick “Personally I feel like you can usually find -something- in all feedback (there are rare exceptions), even when it may not be worded in the best way. Sometimes emotions can cloud what folks are really trying to communicate, so it takes some digging to get to the heart of the issue. In a way, we’re really fortunate to have such a passionate community that’s eager to give feedback and share how they’re feeling about stuff. We’d be so much worse off if folks didn’t share what they liked or disliked about the game! As a team we only represent a sub-section of the Marvel Snap playerbase so it’s really helpful to hear what y’all think. I do wish people took a few extra minutes to think about how to make sure their feedback can be structured in a more meaningful way, but I’ll take what I can get. 🙂”

Q: Are there any location combinations that are prevented from occurring?
A: Glenn “No, although this is tech we’re interested in building.”

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!

Last week we got some great questions! We didn’t get as many answered this week, but we did get answers for a couple! If any questions are answered after the article is posted, I will be sure to include them in next week’s edition!

Q: When Loki obtains cards from a Thanos player and a High Evo player, why does Loki not receive Thanos’ stones, but he can receive evolved cards from a HE deck? Does the Loki interaction look at an opponent’s deck before or after the game begins?
A: Loki copies the card, but not the Evolved versions. They are just cards without abilities. Glenn explains more here “It’s because High Evo triggers after. The goal is for Loki to take the cards as they appeared in the deck prior to the game.”

Q: Are you considering of making different cards of already introduced characters, other than variants?
A: Ben Brode “Generally multiple versions of the same character name are variants. If the alternate character is wildly popular (i.e. has movies about em’), then we reconsider the normal path”

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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