Rubicon's Ramblings

Random thoughts from an overworked dev

Combat Monsters 3: Reinforcements

It’s Monster!

This is not some random patch, not even a regular sized expansion, we’re bringing you a game-changingly big whole new version of the game. We’ve listened to our criticisms, we’ve noted our plaudits, and we’re hoping this new version will satisfy everyone in spades.

1,200+ new cards

That’s 1,200 new cards- the grand total is now North of 1,900. Starting from 703 in the previous version, this represents almost a tripling of the available card pool and drastically increases the options available for deck construction.

As well as rounding out existing themes, there are loads of new tools and game mechanics to allow more creative freedom in your play styles, much more variation amongst the foes you will find online. With nearly 2,000 cards available now, it’s pretty much impossible to meet someone else with the same, or even similar, deck.

We’ve added a lot more runes and spells, but the biggest single change is in the monster count, the clue being in the title of this expansion. In previous versions of the game, every monster race had four different monsters per class (warrior, archer or mage), twelve in total.

With this Reinforcements expansion, each of those classes now has 24 different monsters – a six-folding! That’s 72 monsters per race, for each of 15 races, coming to a whopping total of 1,080 unique and individual combat monsters for you to kill.

Want more free stuff? Check!

Combat Monsters has always been the best value CCG available, and we’re still comitted to that ethos. We’re not resting on our laurels with this expansion either, so we’re making play even more rewarding in several new ways.

Campaigns (single player)

You may now play through all of the single player campaigns a total of four times to claim the prizes on offer, once each for the four different deck rules formats. (see below)

This allows everyone to earn quadruple the amount of free coinage previously available.

We’ve also added several mystery chests (see later) to most of the earlier campaigns, which of course you can now pick up four times too, and these give a tremendous boost to new players’, or anyone elses, card collections.

Achievements

We’ve a couple of goodies in store for you here. Firstly, we’ve increased the payouts for all the collection-based achievements, now that there are significantly more cards to collect to unlock them.

Secondly, existing players may rejoice in the fact that we are unlocking any of these collection-based achievements you’ve already earned, so you can do them again – and get paid out again.

Rubicoin packs give more coins

Anyone gracious enough to support us by purchasing extra coins for cash will now see a bigger bang for their buck. All four coin packs now yield more rubicoins for no extra cost.

Daily Doubler upgraded

Basic functionality remains unchanged, this token still doubles all your winnings for 24 hours from time of purchase. In addition though we’ve added a new twist – if you take a doubler into a realtime online battle, whoever wins gets their payout doubled. Share the love, earn kudos.

New deck formats

After the successful introduction of Single 50 in a previous update, we’ve added two more sets of deck rules to further enhance the variation and replayability available. They may sound fairly similar, but the devil is in the detail and the differences to play can be profound. Give them all a shot, especially online.

Tribal

Decks must contain only/exactly one monster race, with 60% of the cards being monsters. All other rules as per Standard. This allows some leeway for equipment and/or buffs but is essentially a “creature only” format. If you want to dodge all the control decks and tricky stuff, and just lay some hurt down, this is for you.

Pauper

Similar general rules to Standard with one exception: No rares or legendaries.

Combat Monsters has never made it hard to get good cards for either free or cheap, but now we have a way for you to play that is level for everybody, even brand new players who’ve not yet played long enough to amass a larger collection of the rarer cards.

This format can also be quite a fun challenge even if you do have four of everything in existence – you’ll need to find creative ways to work aroud the lack of carnage spells etc.

Daily challenge

The old deal of the day has been retired and replaced by a daily challenge, which is far more proactive and engaging. Each day, a new challenge is presented that can only be completed once that day. This is a straight up battle between the player and an AI hero on a symmetrical (fair) map, using one of the deck rules formats.

Experienced players will find themselves in a one-sided battle with two opponents to defeat to claim the prize, providing a better level of challenge as skills improve.

The prize for beating the challenge each day is a handful of rubicoins and an all new “Mystery” treasure chest, which is quite the prize indeed. Unlike the previous deal of the day, which may have been for a card you didn’t really want, the Mystery chest is always a good thing to have.

Mystery chest

As mentioned above, the main way to get these is by completing the daily challenge. We’ve also scattered several around most of the various single player campaigns.

They function in a similar way to all the other treasure chests in that they deliver some new stuff, but there the similarites end.

  • The number of cards is truly random between one and twelve.
  • They may contain a bunch of rubicoins.
  • They may contain a daily doubler token or even a new hero.
  • They may (and often do) contain other chests, right up to the epic.
  • The playable cards are more likely to be foiled and higher rarity.

New heroes

We’ve put three new heroes in for this release, one of each class, bringing the total up to 18.

We’ve had many requests for a 6 mojo archer, so we provided. Be careful what you wish for though – a high mojo archer is a powerful force indeed, so we’ve made it a real challenge to keep that guy alive.

The mage hero has a card drawing special ability and no attack, so is more of a utility play than an offensive one.

Like the others, the warrior hero is another big and brainless tank.

Some of the old heroes have had a tweak too:

  • Dean gets “Blood lust”
  • Boneyard gets “Encourage”
  • Ouranus gets “Vengeance”

Online games are now a thing

The asynchronous multiplayer scene is very much alive and thriving, but we’ve had many complaints that people can’t get a realtime multiplayer game going. It seems that nobody goes in the realtime lobby because there’s never anyone in the realtime lobby – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To that end, we’ve redesigned the front end so it’s hard not to be in the online lobby – it’s one click away from the main menu.

New lobby interface

Once you tap the “online” button on the main menu, you get to a screen with a swathe of new features designed to allow players to meet up and get games started with no fuss.

  • A realtime chat screen.
  • A list of currently active players.
  • A list of joinable open games.
  • The new leaderboard – more on that shortly.
  • A big button to create a new battle if there’s not one you want to join.

Matchmaking overhaul

Whilst we still monitor your progress and abilities using the Elo system, we’ve streamlined how this is used and presented so that more players can see each other whilst keeping skill levels at extreme ends separated – we think this is the best of both worlds.

Players now get a star rating based on their performance, ranging from one to five. In the lobby, you only see players that are within one position of your own rating, so however good you are, you will see only those players around your skill level but can interact and start games with all of them at will. Automated match-ups are now no longer a thing in realtime games.

Leaderboard

We have replaced the old leaderboard, which was essentially just a directory listing of people’s Elo rating. The new one is sorted by how much destruction you cause, so no matter your ability, you have to go and earn your place. Every time you kill an enemy hero, their own star rating becomes the points you get for doing so.

This also provides a rough handicapping system, as you get more points for killing better players.

The leaderboard now resets on a monthly basis, and the top 100 players on it all receive a small prize, announced in their news feed. The top ranked player will find a shiny new epic chest in their collection.

Bigger games

Another nice side effect of the new points system, and how you earn them, is that larger battles with more competitors now make sense from a progress point of view. You can join a 6P battle and score some points by killing somebody, even if you don’t eventually win the whole thing. It’s actually a safer bet than the 2P “winner take all” option.

New maps

We’ve completely thrown out all the old layouts and replaced with new ones. Many new ones – 440 of them to be precise.

All skirmish/online maps now have exactly four rune daises per player, so you can build decks safe in the knowledge that you can play your runes as intended.

2P maps are a little larger with the players starting at consistent spots out of the range of cheesy openings, like a pushed trap shooter landing a bear trap on your hero’s starting tile.

Maps with more players are larger still, the new 6P maps being fully 50% larger with almost double the number of hexes to move around on.

Every single map is perfectly symmetrical, so no starting spot has an advantage.

New rune rules

We’ve made a couple of key changes to how you use runes in the game.

Attackable

All freshly played runes start with 15 health and can be attacked by creatures. Once they drop to zero health or less, they are destroyed and removed from the dais.

Note that you cannot fire weapons at them, otherwise archers would have a crazy advantage. To attack a rune, you must stand adjacent to the dais and select that dais for your attack. Damage dealt is the same as if you did a valid basic attack on another creature.

You may attack your own runes, and some new cards even allow for that having a point.

Mojo cost

To play a rune, they cost face value plus 2 extra mojo for each existing copy already in play on your side. For example if you played a card tax already, the next one you play will cost two more, even if you intend to drop it over the old one (perhaps to recharge its health).

Support

New spells and even other runes are available to give your vulnerable runes some protection from attack, and of course to deal direct damage to your opponents’ runes. It’s open season!

There is even a new rune that allows you to play your runes over other peoples.

Future updates will expand further on these new behaviours.

User interface improvements

We’ve made a number of improvements to the front end to allow slicker movement between screens, plus some small but useful tweaks to the mechanics of operating the gameplay.

A lot of in-game graphical events/animations have been removed or speeded up to allow faster play.

There is a button on the right of the screen that you can toggle to accelerate time. If you’re playing a large game against five AI opponents, you can skip right by their turn if you’re in a hurry.

The popup dialog asking about a mulligan at the start of every game always felt a bit jarring and looked like an error message. This has been removed and replaced with a mulligan button off to the right of the screen. Click the button if you want one.

Foiled cards now produce their in-game items with a foil effect too, so everyone can see how cool your collection is.

Online battle replays are now back on the main menu. Clicking the button will take you to a new screen where you can type in a specific battle id if you have one, or you can select one of the many replays presented in a list box. This is a great way to learn the game and see the depth and intricacies of some of the strategies available.

All rewards are shown in the front end as doubled/tripled values now, if you have those tokens, so you know exactly what you will earn from winning at all times.

The deck editor has a new layout with additional filters and an all new card seach facility.

Balance improvements

The starting conditions in skirmish play has been reworked. The AI opponents get less of an advantage over you, but you no longer get any bonuses at all. This should allow you to give a new deck a fair test against any number of opponents, whilst still providing a rewarding challenge by itself.

Because it’s easier to win now, the payouts for doing so have been decreased. If you really want a good workout and have finished all the campaigns, please give the new online lobby a try out. In fact, please, give the new lobby a go even if you haven’t!

All weapons that had a percentage-based special ability have been rebalanced to make that chance either 100% or 0%. ie they either do the thing or they do not. Please check your decks to see if any of your equipment has been affected.

Monsters’ activated abilities have had the same tweak. There are four affected abilities and they have been fixed as follows:

  • DESPERATE STRIKE now becomes an attack for +4 costing 2 mojo and 2 health.
  • SAVAGE BEATING now becomes a simple attack for +1 costing 1 mojo.
  • HEAD SHOT always hits but for +2 power instead of 75% chance of +3.
  • METEOR now does reduced damage but always causes flame.

Pretty much all monsters have had a health buff so they stick around a little longer by default. The game is meant to be about strategic manouevering, not one-shot killing, and this tweak has single-handedly added a lot more strategy to the game.

The above health buff also better balances races with power-based racial abilities versus those with health-based ones, as they may stay alive long enough now to use the extra power.

On a similar note, two races have had their racial abilities tweaked to make them more competitive. Minotaurs now get +1/+2 instead of +1/+1 for equipping, and Imps gain +3 instead of +2 for their inverted regen effect.

Most equipment (weapons, shields, armour) have also had a balancing pass. Some items were over- or under-powered and have been brought into line. In other cases, the spread of stats wasn’t fair, making some items pointlessly expensive etc. All of this has been addressed too. Again, please check that your decks behave as they should now. We’ve tried to keep to the spirit of the original, but most equipment was off balance in some way and has been altered.

Not wanting to look as if we’ve left something alone, both runes and spells have also had massive tweaks, all in a good direction. Some rebalancing of mojo cost was performed and then everything was made slightly cheaper or better in effect, sometimes both.

Card trading

The current trading system has been removed. It’s been a constant struggle for us to design a system that’s easy to operate but requires no face-to-face meet ups to keep it slick and workable, even on mobile. The previous attempt was our third, and now we have revision four. We’ve kept it simple this time, so there won’t be a revision five.

Buying cards

You can now buy singles straight from us. That means there is always a card available when you want it, and there is no longer a dependency on someone wishing to sell one for a price you deem reasonable.

In terms of price, we’re allowing market forces to set them. Every time a card is bought, it’s price will increase slightly. If a card is not bought for a while, it’s price will drop back some. This should allow each and every card to reach its actual worth as deemed by the people wanting them, or not, so could not be fairer.

Selling cards

We will buy back any amount of any cards you want rid of, for a reduced “used” price. This allows players to buy some cards, test them out and then offload them if they don’t like them, without first having to find someone else who wants them.

It also means you can sell us back all those overcard commons and uncommons that have no use or market desirability, opening new treasure chests safe in the knowledge that overcards are less of a sink.

We’ve put a button on the collection screen that allows you to automatically sell all of your “overcards” in a batch. (the cards you have copies of in excess of four)

Graphical uplift

We have done a number of other things that give the graphics a bit of a tweak.

Everything is brighter now, with a lot more texture detail in the levels and we’ve fixed a problem with gamma correction so that everything is now more vibrant and colourful too.

Hero of the week

You get some heroes for free when you create your game account, but we accept that this isn’t much given there are 18 available. We also acknowledge that you may want to try before you buy.

With this in mind, each player is presented with a freebie that they can play with as if they owned it, on loan from us. Which hero that is will change once a week, and it’s different for every player to keep them equally varied in online play.

Bug fixes / general maintenance

“All Berserk” spells ammended to add “… and cannot attack this turn” to their effect.

“Encourage” ability changed to target team members but not self.

Elective free coins video ads have finally been removed from the mobile versions. Combat Monsters is now completely advertising free. (thus requires less permissions on Android.)

Fixed text and voice over in tutorial 3 to say “2 mojo” for a mojo tile to reflect their better ability since previous update.

Imps take no damage from walking into map spaces that are on fire.

Archers with “Super Sprint” have been changed to just “Sprint” as the former broke their range rules.

Fixed some edge cases for the behaviour of Ice Block. It’s now more obviously a good affliction as labelled, even though it can be used offensively too.

Fixed a variety of other bugs and glitches that I’d prefer not to draw attention to. :)

That’s all folks!

Thanks for getting to the bottom. We’re very proud of what we’re delivering here, and I hope you get as much fun out of playing with it as we’ve had making it. See you in the lobby…

Oh, btw. If you would be so kind, can you give the social media buttons at the top of this post a bit of love and attention please? The biggest problem this game still has at the moment is one we can’t easily fix by ourselves – gaining visibility. Anything you can do to help is much appreciated, thanks.

Not quite, new trailer is ready to air…

34 Responses to “Combat Monsters 3: Reinforcements”

  • Malthan says:

    In the postmortem of the game you said that too much free content is available for the players. Why then did you decide to increase the free Rubicoins players can get?

    • Rubicon says:

      The short version is that we also put more content in. We’re not about gougeing people and would like them to get all the cards available for free as part of the gameplay, or at least a really good selection.

      The thing that’s most obviously not working though is giving the heroes away for free. They’re both desireable and optional so trying to sell them is perfectly compatible with not ripping people off, especially whilst giving so much other stuff away. We should have done this from the start when it wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow.

  • Simone says:

    to increase strategy o the field, why don’t you do, for example, that the targets of the enemy archers can be covered by other allies? I mean…you can do that if the firing line of an archer is covered, he cannot target that specific enemy…it’s only an advise, however i’m looking forward to this update, GREAT JOB!!!

  • Mason says:

    Sounds great to me!very good ideas.game messes up on me pretty bad but its worth it cuz its so fun.i dont understand why more people dont play this game.hopefully u guys will start seeing some profit soon.thanks for all the work u have put in to this.

  • rekzkarz says:

    Very excited about the expansion — but not about the ‘balancing’ of cards.

    Last time I got balanced, my heroes suddenly got all the worst abilities! Hoping the new update doesn’t do me worse — if people have spent time & money to get someone (ie after reading this, I immed spent $6k for Doc Pain), we don’t want that card re-balanced later — unless it’s improved!

    The video was neat, but the music wasn’t. Please use better music in your promotion!!

    Also, I hope you can figure out a way to show the game is actually strategic CCG and not an ARPG, which is hard to see in the video. Maybe show some cards with abilities & downplay the various attack moves?

    I’d consider spending more money on this game — not sure on what. Maybe it’ll be buying cards outright in the revamped market…?

  • M.c.b says:

    Still the bestest game/adventure/lifestyle/obsession/hobby/pastime available on android. Eva:)) Yo, if anybody herein spies a Gandolf, pls tell him I’m a still gonna kick his tush like. Keep up the good everything Paul & team; kuddos gents, thoroughly well done over there in good ‘ol blighty:))

  • M.c.b says:

    P. S….When may we er….uhm….you know, kinda expect said update/turnaround/refurbishment like, huh?

  • M.c.b says:

    Liking? You got just “liking” from my ramblings??? Shyte friend, my repertoire needs work then. I LOVE, nay, CRAVE Combat Monsters mahn, in any format AND every which way…..

  • M.c.b says:

    Vengeance I shall reap on some of my vanquished foes shall not withstand the light of day in this here forum. No siree!

  • rekzkarz says:

    Got update — awesome!

    re: Rebalancing — Rubi, is there a spreadsheet where we can see the changes? All my decks are off now…

    Regen seems super powerful & cheap to me, and all the buff runes just cant hold a candle to the new updated ones (forget the name…).

    Last note – card filter in deck builder:
    a) great new filters!
    b) category buttons shouldnt be hidden
    c) there should be a filter to just see runes/spells that spec affect a race

    Anyway, super happy w/update.
    (Also, it still crashes on my Android Note 3! Bummer)

  • Rubicon says:

    Good suggestions, thanks.

    Re: crash on note 3, have you got todays update? We’ve fixed some weird android bugs this afternoon, hopefuly it’s one of those.

    • rekzkarz says:

      So i got update the day it came out. Wow, you guys really ‘flipped the script’!! In some ways, its almost a new game.
      I dont know how other players are adjusting, but all the rebalance changes have made me need to reconsider my strategies. Healing/regen is so much cheaper, but all the new spells & runes..? Wow!

      Phone still crashes. I would be happy to sendnyou logs or whatever. Gonna try delete cache & maybe delete & reinstall…?

      Love all the new maps!!!

      For your next expansion in 2020, make a mechanic like Roborally where players assign action cards & execute simultaneously while running around a complex board of rotating gears, sliding sidewalks, ramps, etc.

  • Leevs says:

    I think it’s a little bit unfair that new account (created after this update) obtain the three “starter” heroes after the tutorial while existing player keep the heroes that they already have (in my case just Raeynor) without any possibility to obtain others (except paying or mystery chest). Please at least give to existing account the three “starter” heroes or let them buyable unclockable by the campaign or virtual currency. Another option that I’d like would be to let every player choose a hero (just one) after they finish the campaign for example.
    I apologize for any grammar mistakes (english isn’t my first language).

  • Kyas says:

    I really like new update and new features, Great work!
    Just a small regret, I had finished the campaign and with the update I can’t replay the standard mode. The point is that you’ve added a lot of chests and cards compared to previous update in these levels (30 chests about and most of them are mystery chests). I can still play the others campaign modes but I would earn less than a new account so I’m thinking to create one even if I will lose all my cards. I’m complaining about this just because the amount of chests, cards, and gold that we can earn is quite limited so these 30 chests make a big difference to me.

    • Rubicon says:

      Yeah, sorry about this. We had intended to do exactly as you suggest, but its just not possible due to how the original data was stored in the database.

      I’ll discuss some sort of bonus payout with my colleagues for anyone who played before a certain date or something.

  • Leevs says:

    Anyways, awesome work rubincon!

  • Zul says:

    Urgh, I was saving up my coins to complete my heroes collection, but now I have to buy them using real money. Zzz… Not going to happen though.

    • Rubicon says:

      Yeah, we see sentiment like that a lot. It’s still surprising to me how many people feel entitled to play games without contributing to their development and/or upkeep costs.

      It’s really not something to be proud of.

  • Zul says:

    I guess paying for a tripler is not enough of a contribution expected from each player. I can understand that, but I have a feeling that the sense of entitlement is not only from the players. Your arrogance and utter lack of humility might lose you some players, but I guess that is something you can be proud of.

    • Rubicon says:

      I leave it up to the players to decide what they want to spend. You can certainly play it just with the tripler, or indeed without it, and this is how it’s been designed to work. You definitely don’t need all the heroes for example and we give you four of them gratis.

      However, your entire contribution thus far has been to proudly state “heh dev, love this stuff and I want more of it, but you’re not getting any of my money” which seems a tad unreasonable to me and a completely pointless thing to announce to the world.

      We value all feedback, but we already offer the best value for money by miles amongst all of our competitors and most games in general, so intimating that this one should be even cheaper will be falling on deaf ears, sorry. You may call that attitude arrogant if you wish, I just think it’s a reasonable stance to take given how much we already provide for free and/or sell dirt cheap.

  • Ricky Bob says:

    Wait, you get another hero besides the three “starters”? Just out of curiosity, do you get to choose who the fourth hero is? I had already bought a hero pre-update and when I saw what you had said above I assumed that I didn’t get the fourth because I already had another non-starter hero.

    Sorry for any inconvenience, and thanks a ton!

    I just read the comment above, that’s all.

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