gjaustin wrote:Lujo using all those terms is probably my fault. I jumped on him for calling things broken
Let me try to translate:
newbie-crutch = Signficantly over the average power level
cheat code = Allows you to ignore a mechanic
Where Lujo and I really disagree is whether or not those are good things. There's arguments for and against both. In the past, I've done official playtesting for CCGs.
We generally worried much more about "cheat codes" than "newbie-crutches", but both were problematic. Once we flagged a card as way too strong and got ignored. The card then completely dominated the first official tournament, resulting in it being changed. And then we flagged a card as breaking fundemental mechanics of the game, and got ignored again. The card got emergency errataed in the middle of the World Championship for the game! That was incredibly satisfying
Anyway, my tangent aside, you do need abilities that are a bit strong since that fuels satisfaction in achieving mastery. You also need abilities that bend the rules, because that provides the sense of discovery. I like some flaws* in my games! You just have to make sure the flaws don't make the game break down and become repetitive.
* I look back on Everquest much more affectionately than World of Warcraft, despite the latter being the better game. Because the former felt ALIVE, rather than focus-grouped into uniformity.
I think I lost my train of thought somewhere in there and went on a Lujo worthy min-rant
Naah, you're spot on, thanks for the translation - yes, that is what newbie crutch and cheat code are unwise shorthand for.
And we don't even disagree on whether those are good or not - there are quite a bit of them in the game I don't mind at all - whoopaz and tinker have been mentioned, and there's others.
But when there's too many, or when they don't have a downside or are applicable everywhere - I get an itch. I used to design MtG draft sets. Not cubes, those weren't invented yet, but hand picked draft sets for small groups, from all existing cards, so I guess I got a bit of an eye for spotting such balancing curvature. I like my "overall" balanced, I guess...