Deck Picking Concerns

CadoinkCadoink Member
edited May 23 in Feedback

Hey guys, I wanted to share some thoughts on the "deck picking" system.

First of all, I want to say that I am actually a fan of the deck picking system. I think it has the potential to provide unique/varied games, strategic choice, and the feeling of having a squad be 'your own'. I am pretty confident that many of my concerns are just related to how new the system is, but I will still share them.

More Choices vs Better Choices

My first concern is about the number of choices, versus the quality of the choices. i feel like right now the game suffers in both parts. My hope is that Atlas will have a small number of units to choose from, that are very strong, rather than a large number of units to choose from that are decent. The number of units can increase over the years, but coming out of the gate it should be small and impactful.

1. Tier 1.5

For the most part, the tier 1.5 units do not feel very strong, with the exception of the Howling Commandos and Shield Slugs. It feels like the role of tier 1.5 units is to supplement my army in the early game, and throughout the game I will have a big mixture of tier 1 and 1.5 units, and a few high tier units. In the current build, unless I have Howling Commandos available, I am going to only build my squad's basic unit, and then the high powered tier 3 units.

I am not at all worried about the solution to this problem. I know more tier 1.5 units will be added, and then they will be balanced. I just wanted to point out the current problem with the tier.

2. Tier 2/3

This is the complete opposite of tier 1.5. In the higher tiers I have tons of choices, many of them strong, and I get to select too many. I feel like this tier almost defeats the purpose of the deck picking because I will not be able to afford many of these at the same time and I can get all of the strongest units I want. There doesn't seem to be a strategic choice because I can pick enough units to plan for many different situations, rather than being forces to pick units that will synergize together.

Right now we can pick 4 (5?) of these units. I think the problem above might be solved by splitting this up. Make a clear tier 2 that is much cheaper than tier 3. Then add a specialty slot. The deck picking might look like this:

  1. Basic Unit - Fixed
  2. Tier 1.5 - 1 slot - 2 to 3 strong choices. 5-15 scrap cost.
  3. Tier 2 - 1 slot - 2 or 3 strong choices. 20 - 50 scrap cost
  4. Tier 3 - 1/2 slots - 4 or 5 strong choices. 100 - 200 scrap cost
  5. Specialty Tier - 1 slot - (Sentinel/Teleporter/Transporter/etc.). Any scrap cost.

Coordinating with the team

My second concern is with the drafting system. When playing with a pre-made, it'll be easy to select units that will synergize with my allies. As it currently stands, I don't believe there is a way to tell what units your allies will be selecting. This may cause me to select units whose role has already been filled. For example, if I am Vex and my ally is Vela, I may not need Lavasplitters because Vela may select Purifiers. (Currently, I can just go header an get Lavasplitters because if she does build Purifiers, I have 3/4 more great tier 3 units I can use instead. I think this illustrates my points above).

I think the drafting system should be in two stages. First we pick our squad. Then we pick our units. You could put ally unit choices on the right or left hand side of the screen. This will work just like hero picking, where we can see which units they've selected before they lock (and let us know when they lock!).

Helping New Players Choose

In most games, players write guides. We love guides! When I play SC2 I look up build orders, and when I play LoL or Dota I look up item builds. I was thinking this morning about how guides might be written for Atlas. I think this will be no easy task. You have many combinations of squads, and how good they are may depend on both who you are playing with and who you are playing against.

I think it would be cool, if Atlas (or maybe even the community), could provide some pre-made "decks" that new players could choose from during the drafting stage. I know this is pie in the sky at this point, but I think it would give you guys the room to continue to expand the units/squads, without making the system too daunting to new players.

Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts. I am curious to hear other people's as well. I heard a lot of negative things about the unit picking system this test week, and I wonder if maybe some of the things I've mentioned would help ease people's minds about it. I think the deck picking could really bring Atlas to the next level if done well.

Thanks guys! :)


  • SlammeRSlammeR Member

    Nice post Cadoink. Personally I love the deck picker because it gives me the freedom to create a unique set of units and perhaps discover a strong synergy no one has thought of before.

    You mention your concern that there are too many options at t2-3, and I don't really agree. I think the amount of options allows for a more flexible game plan, if you opponent is doing one thing, you may need to change your composition mid-game to adapt. I think the current deck builder allows a great degree of flexibility and choice, which I personally love, but I think there are still tradeoffs to be made, even though you can create a flexible force you still have to make hard choices on which units to bring.

    I 100% agree on the tier 1.5 units though, I almost never find myself building them, However as I have not played that many games yet perhaps they are stronger than I think.

  • CadoinkCadoink Member

    Thanks for the response SlammeR! :)

    Being flexible in game is something I wrestled with when writing this post. I do think that having a tech switch mid game is very cool. I could also see how wanting a particular unit could be cool too. For example: "Oh, it would have been really helpful to have trebuchets against Purifiers, next time I play against Celeste/Vela, I'll grab trebuchets instead of the tree dudes."

    I think there needs to be a balance between flexibility in game and planning out side of the game. Deck picking loses its purpose if you don't feel the need to create various squads for particular games.

    With the current system it feels like the "deck picking" is really just whatever composition I build in game, rather than what I've set up outside of the game.

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