I've already tried to come up with ideas to make getting hammered less painful for noobs. Now I'd like to brainstorm ways to make it less boring, and maybe less likely.
You know how some veterans (who shall remain nameless) have been playing one meta-file over and over and over again ever since set 5 came out? Like, hundreds of matches with the same file? In just a few weeks? I think this is boring off the noobs, who have absolutely no hope whatsoever against a primeclone / athira shin combo. Unlike noobs, I have a shot against these files, but I'm still not particularly interested in playing with them...again.
But right now, there are strong incentives for just noob grinding, and I'd like to discuss ways to work around them. Here are the incentives:
1) you must win to get weekly gran;
2) you must win to level up;
3) you must have gran to win;
4) if you lose, you lose weekly gran;
5) if you lose to a noob, your RP takes a nosedive;
6) so you must be sure to kill noobs extra hard. With Primclone. Over and over again. QED.
How do we encourage people to ditch the meta (or broaden it, if you're feeling generous) at the cost of wins? Alternatively, how do we separate the grinders from the folks who want to mess around with weird (less good) files in the company of other people who're playing weird (less good) files of their own?
I'm not trying to cast aspersions on my bare-knuckled friends in Folrart, whom I applaud for their dedication to file refinement and elegant play. I just want less primclones when I'm futzing around with magic doll - sniper -. Here are a couple of ideas I don't think I've heard yet:
1) I love Challenge of the Fortnight. Last night I dueled skewer and he played something weird...to get his five wins, I assume. He got one off me. I immediately went out and started making my own CotF files, which are far from top-flight files but pretty fun against non-metas. Of course, knowing that you're going to be playing against metas with your deliberately handicapped file takes some of the fun out of your creative process. And yes, any file with elder druid in it is handicapped by definition. But in principle, I want more challenges like that - things that encourage veterans to play wacky.
And I'd like to see bigger bonuses for more wins. If it's off the meta and less competitive, I want someone to have a reason to shoot for 20 wins. Or 40 wins. Cards are all well and good, but I'd love it if there were some way to have a display counter or leaderboard for wins with junk files. Any thoughts on what that could look like?
2) What about a non-ladder open arena? Like Folrart, with experience and weekly gran and all that, but no RP? Maybe these same guys would just grind noobs there instead of in Folrart. The truth is, I don't really know whether the guys I discussed at the beginning are grinding for RP, or XP, or Weekly Gran. Maybe they just really love crushing noobs with the same file over and over again. In any event, it would be nice if we could separate that incentive from folks hungry for a little file variety. Or the noobs, who are hungry for a little not-getting-owned.
Yes, the meta files are excellent - but so are waffles, and you don't see me eating them at every meal.