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Cavalier players should be allowed to choose Thronebreaker nodes (in EQ)

TL;DR: Add a choice node at the start of all Cav EQ maps, giving players the choice to run the map with the Cav node(s), or with the TB nodes.

Quick: which node combination is harder?

The top nodes are the TB nodes for EQ 3.2. The bottom node is the Cav node for the same map. And the answer: it depends. If you have the right roster check (hint: its Guillotine) then the TB nodes are much easier than the Cav nodes, because the TB nodes offer an advantage for a price. The Cav node is simple, doesn't require special champs to counter, but is all bad. The TB nodes are bad if you bring the wrong thing, so-so if you bring an okay counter, and really awesome if you bring the perfect counter.

That was the intent of the nodes when they were first added to Cavalier. The idea was to follow with the content progression from Act 6 through Acts 7 and 8. Node combinations get more complex from Act 5 to 6 to 7, but they also shift from being mostly or all punishing to more pro-and-con in Act 7. The idea is that the nodes add difficulty, but then offer a way to bypass or even turn that difficulty on its head and make them work for the player. EQ 3.2 TB is way easier than EQ 3.2 Cav if you have the right champ. It isn't quite as dramatic in other maps, but the principle holds across EQ generally. In TB, you go faster and safer with the right champs, and slower and harsher with the wrong ones, to reward players who build up those counters in their roster. It seems clear with Act 7 and 8 that this is the way forward for future higher progression content.

So why were these nodes removed from Cav and added to TB when TB difficulty was added? I suspect the thought process was, well, now that we have TB tier difficulty, Cav should be focused only on Cav players. And many of them do not have the right counters for these nodes. When Cav was the top tier difficulty, these players might have been forced to only do one path of completion, because they didn't have the roster for full exploration. But really, it is the TB players that are transitioning from Act 6 to Act 7 and actually *need* to deal with that style of nodes. We can move the nodes to TB, and make Cav "easier" for the true Cavalier players.

Except: as I mention above, there's a potential glitch in the Matrix. No player goes from having no counters to all of them. No player will be suddenly ready for Act 7 the day after they complete Act 6. Roster growth takes time. For players to be ready on day one to take on Act 7, they have to be growing towards that goal from long before they reach it. And similarly, for players to be ready for TB's nodes, they have to be growing towards them all throughout their Cavalier lifetime. Which means there are many Cavalier players that *would* be able to take advantage of TB nodes, and *were* taking advantage of them when they were in Cav tier difficulty, but now have them snatched away.

But if the goal is to make Cav tier EQ for *all* Cavs, not just the top tier roster Cavs, wouldn't we be unnecessarily punishing early Cavs if we put those nodes back in, just to help out the higher Cavs? Not necessarily, because there's a solution. And it is (mostly) already in the game. Here it is:

For those that don't recognize it, this is the buff choice node in AQ. At least for maps 5 and up (I think) the first node in the AQ map is a choice node where you can choose to place one of a list of global buffs on you for the entire AQ map. It is choose your own adventure for global buffs. We could do the same thing for Cav and TB nodes. Let the player choose: do you want to run this map with the Cav node, or with the full TB nodes?

Players who have the right roster can choose the TB nodes. Players who don't can choose the Cav node.

This seems to be an ideal change to the EQ difficulty. It does the following things:

1. It doesn't hurt any Cav player. They can do no worse than they are now. They can keep the Cav node, or they can try the TB nodes.

2. It helps many Cavs, by giving them a potentially better option when they have the right roster options.

3. It helps TB+ players who want to run Cav and would prefer to use the same teams they use to deal with TB itself.

Beyond that, it encourages Cav players to ease into, and start learning the TB nodes. This would be valuable experience to moving up to TB EQ, and to progress further in the game in general. Learning how these kinds of nodes work can only help them transition to Act 7 and beyond, and can help guide their future roster rank up decisions. And Cavalier players could choose to do so on a per-map basis.

This seems like a win-win-win. So is there a downside? Well, I can think of two potential objections.

1. This gives Cavs an unfair advantage. The idea being, why should we make Cav tier difficulty arbitrarily easier by giving players this choice? Except we aren't making it easier, by the rules of the game itself. TB has these nodes. The nodes aren't there to directly reward TB+ players or make their content arbitrarily easier than Cav content, they are there to *challenge* them. The reward for beating the challenge is, the map is easier. But that's a trade that is just as reasonable for Cav players as TB and Paragon players. In fact, Cav players were forced into this trade only a month ago. By definition, if these nodes are appropriate difficulty for TB players, they should be either appropriate for Cavs, or too hard for Cavs. They can't be too easy for Cavs, or that breaks the notion of EQ progression.

2. It is too much trouble to do for little gain. This is subjective, but I believe the gains here are substantial. Not only are we benefiting a potentially large number of players, both Cavs and TB and higher, but we are also in my opinion doing the right thing by introducing these more complex and roster-checking nodes earlier in player development. If they go all the way to TB without encountering them and then slam into them, this gives no time to actually build roster to deal with them. The formative moment for 6* roster for most players is when they become Cavalier. Allowing them to start sooner can only help them in the long run.

This seems to be a reasonable change that offers strong benefits for many players, hurts no players, introduces no economic issues and no balance issues. It makes Cav difficulty the transition tier between the early game and the late game. It gives some agency to players who are likely in between still building roster and capable of fully tackling TB-style challenges. And the technology to implement this seems to mostly exist already, making development requirements relatively small.


  • Colinwhitworth69Colinwhitworth69 Posts: 6,687 ★★★★★
    I didn't find the TB nodes bad, but I used Guilly. She crushed that chapter.

  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 17,152 Guardian
    DNA3000 said:

    If you have the right roster check (hint: its Guillotine) then the TB nodes are much easier than the Cav nodes, because the TB nodes offer an advantage for a price. The Cav node is simple, doesn't require special champs to counter, but is all bad. The TB nodes are bad if you bring the wrong thing, so-so if you bring an okay counter, and really awesome if you bring the perfect counter.

    Need to correct this. I should have said that the TB nodes offer a huge advantage for the right champ, but the Cav nodes are static and offer a small benefit for some champs and some deficit for other champs. They aren't literally all bad, they just aren't as good as the best advantages that many of the TB nodes can offer.
  • ErcarretErcarret Posts: 2,404 ★★★★★
    I don't really have an opinion in terms of whether or not the nodes should be added back via a choice node, but I do really think that their entire removal does a disservice to Cav players. When I first became Cav, those nodes were what helped me build my roster in a way that, eventually, helped me become TB. Just yanking them away tears away the rank-up incentive that was so valuable for me...and for what? For little benefit to Cav players except for easier progression through the EQ. And even that might be doubtful, as you pointed out.

    Moreover, it makes the Cav EQ boring. Even as a young Cav player, those nodes were what made Cav EQ fun. Yeah, it was challenging and at times frustrating, but as my roster grew the challenge became more and more enjoyable. The Cav EQ became a monthly receipt of my own progression.

    So I'm definitely in Team Reinstate the Cav Nodes. Maybe not all of the nodes that could previously be found in Cav EQ, but certainly those that Cav players' rosters benefit from.
  • GarloGarlo Posts: 149
    I prefer the TB nodes in the Cav EQ. Cav EQ was boring and it was slower to complete without that nodes. Bad move for Kabam.
  • CoppinCoppin Posts: 2,601 ★★★★★
    Yeah... As much as Cav felt easier after exploring TB... The class buff or tag crossfight would have made a bit of difference on some chapters
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