Over the last three months, we’ve released five balance updates, including a total 49 buffs across 30 different clubs.
We’ve been interested in increasing the variety of strong, usable clubs for players of many different levels. We want there to be fewer “dead cards” in packs, and we want bag-building to be more fun and rewarding. Finally, we want to give players more fresh, new things to try.
During this process, we’ve managed to bring several clubs into what we consider to be the sweet spot, seeing play in a wide variety of bags at several levels. Outset, Conqueror, Neon Impulse, and Cyclotron are examples of clubs now seeing more experimentation and play among mid-level players, and we hope to add a lot more names to that list.
Reasoning Behind Club Nerfs
We believe that buffs alone aren’t enough to add the kind of variety and freshness we’d like to provide. At high levels, and among certain club types, there are clubs that are so dominant that we believe there’s currently little chance for other clubs to emerge as viable options.
We don’t believe that all super-strong clubs should be nerfed, but if they have a powerful negative effect on the use-rate of all other clubs in their category, we will consider it.
We expect to announce two club nerfs next week.
While nerfs can open up new experimentation and gameplay, they can also feel terrible, especially for players who have spent a lot of time and resources chasing after the nerfed cards. For that reason, we’re introducing two tiers of compensation, depending on the size of the nerf.
- Major Nerf — If a nerf is large enough that we expect it to change the role of a club, we will offer compensation for 100% of the currency spent upgrading the club.
- Minor Nerf — If we are making a small numerical adjustment designed to slightly reduce a club’s effectiveness and allow other clubs to compete, we will offer compensation for 25% of the currency spent upgrading the club.
Additionally, you may see a third category of nerf pop up:
- Nerf as part of a Buff — If a club sees extremely low usage, we will sometimes do a major change that will involve buffs and nerfs in order to shift the role of the club. Since these changes are designed to improve a club’s viability, no compensation will be offered for these changes.
Why Offer Compensation?
As a final note, we think it’s worth explaining a bit why we’d offer compensation at all. Many games buff and nerf their content freely, or even outright ban problematic cards.
At Concrete, our intention had always been to provide buffs and nerfs to keep gameplay interesting. However, we were very slow to actually implement nerfs. In the first four years of PGA Tour Golf Shootout, we’ve really never nerfed a card, leaving aside The Reaper, which will be a target for future buffs.
By not applying nerfs for multiple years, we’ve set the expectation that putting resources into upgrading clubs is a safe investment. We’d like to honor this expectation. By refunding currency spent upgrading, we hope to allow players to re-invest in other clubs they may be interested in.
Finally, we expect to implement nerfs sparingly. We don’t like to tamper with players’ long-term investments, and will only do so when we see overwhelming evidence that doing so will improve bag-building and gameplay.