Hey everyone! Today we're gonna be talking about Luck be a Landlord's first major update since it was released: The Big Buffs Update. It's an upcoming Content Patch with about 30 buffs to different symbols and items.
As always, there will be a complete write-up of my reasoning for every balance change in the full v1.1 patch notes. Look forward to that when The Big Buffs Update releases on August 18th!
Why so many buffs?
An unavoidable reality of a game with a lot of randomness, like Luck be a Landlord, is that there will be runs that are unwinnable even while playing perfectly. My main goal with The Big Buffs Update is to reduce the number of games where this is the case, while not making the game any less fun.
Making the game effectively easier while not making it less fun can be a tough thing to do. For example, if the Cherry symbol that you start with gave 20 coins instead of 1 coin, the game would be a lot easier. However, it would be less fun since you wouldn't have any reason to take other symbols. This is an extreme example, but even increasing a symbol's base value by 1 coin can vastly change the game's fun factor in a negative way.
That being said, there are symbols that can have their values increased by just 1 coin without unbalancing the game. Let's take a look at a few of them:
The Dog symbol is one of the first symbols I added to the game, but it was only ever really worth taking if you already had Quigley the Wolf or a Comedian. It was just too risky otherwise.
By buffing the amount it gives when triggered by 1 coin, Dog will be powerful enough to be worth taking as one of your first symbol choices, and not one that is mostly ignored.
I increased Card Shark's base value by 1 coin for a similar reason. While Card Shark won't appear as early as Dog potentially can, it still feels like a symbol that you only take if you already have a synergy for it.
I've found that the Joker symbol was sometimes worth taking as a 3-coin symbol even if I didn't have any synergies with it. I would sometimes add a Suit or two later on if I already had the Joker.
Buffing Card Shark to give 3 coins instead of 2 coins will help create situations where it's a symbol worth taking without synergies, and a great symbol if/when you can get its synergies going.
Speaking of Card Shark synergies...
Suits are probably the symbol archetype that could use the most love. You may notice in the above screenshot that I didn't actually change the Suit symbols at all. Instead, I changed many of the items that Suits synergize with.
I did this to effectively increase the number of backup plans a player has when they decide to take their first suit symbol. Here's an example of that:
Previously, the Flush item was only useful if players were already heavily committed to Suits. With its new effect, it can basically be an "eject button" to a failed Suits run. It can also continue to provide value since it effectively turns all Suits into strictly better Wealthy Capsules.
A common request I've gotten from players is to start with a symbol buffing item like Happy Hour or Birdhouse. This would give players a goal if they don't know what kind of symbols to take early.
This has always stuck with me as a good idea, but maybe not the right execution for it. I think starting with, say, Happy Hour, could easily lead a new player into a tunnel-vision state where they only look for Dwarves, Beer, and Wine.
I've tried a bit of a different take on this idea with two more reworked Suit items:
Rather than the previous effect of buffing a build that's probably more-or-less complete by the time you find one of these items, I reworked them into potential build-enablers.
If a player already has a single Diamonds or Hearts and they see the Red Suits item as their 1st or 2nd item choice, they're likely to want to take Red Suits. That being said, there's still a few choices to be made.
Since these items take 7 spins to be destroyable, a player may decide not to destroy one of them if they've ended up with 20+ symbols in their inventory by the time destruction is a possibility. They might not even want to take the item at all if they're already on their 5th or 6th rent payment.
There are many more symbols and items that will become more powerful with The Big Buffs Update, but you'll have to wait until August 18th to see and experience all of them!
Do keep in mind, the biggest goal with this patch is to increase players' overall winrate without reducing the game's fun factor. After extensive testing, I think I've achieved this, and I hope you all enjoy the game as much as I have while testing it.