With the release of Tithonium, we have yet another in the very long list of ice that make Apex’s signature breaker, Endless Hunger, a joke. It is so bad that EH has recently seen an upsurge because you can mount Adjusted Matrix on this otherwise nearly useless breaker and piggy back its high strength to some sort of ability to penetrate ice.
Would it kill the game of Netrunner if the Official FAQ on Endless Hunger were revised? If Endless Hunger could break any ETR, would Apex really go from unplayable to oppressive?
Yes, it would be easier to land Apocalypse, but it would still remain challenging. With upgrades and non-ETR ice and other cards, it is far from certain that Apex would suddenly be too strong for Corps to deal with. What I suspect would happen is that the ID would instead actually be something you could play for something other than laughs.
How about it, Mr. Boggs? Why not give a little life to Netrunner’s cuddly little alien malware?
The reason why Endless Hunger hasn’t been fixed is not game balance or design, the problem is entirely cultural.
It is perfectly viable to print a “fixed” version of Endless Hunger and make Apex playable but printing a strictly better card to fix a Runner or faction is seen as wrong. It’s like printing a new Iain Stirling with 12 influence, some people would be upset and for many designers and publishers it’s seen as the ultimate sin. Sadly, an unplayable faction is more palatable for some than making a single old card obsolete.
Netrunner is not the only game with this problem, either, there are many games in which the designers feel it’s taboo for them to make balance changes if it requires changing some core tenet of design. For example, this happened in Team Fortress 2 quite often as the designers used the power level of the vanilla weapons as a guide to balance everything. This is fine for the better classes but it condemened the underpowered classes, like the Pyro, to oblivion as they were constantly rebalanced for a standard that clearly didn’t work.
Personally, I think this is one of the most frustrating design issues you can find in gaming.
This video is relevant to neutral cards (bloo moose anyone?) but falls down when you bring faction locked cards into the mix.
Printing a better version of card that’s way below the curve and tied to one faction both by influence and mechanical synergies is not going push up the average power of cards percepitably.
It’s also irrelevant as the apex deck would be archtypically tangential to other decks. Does printing powerful tagme anarch cards represent power creep for reg whizz? No as it can’t use them. The example of a strong card that can go in every deck warping design around it would not apply to fixing apex.
Honestly, I’d totally be down for another Deluxe that came with another blast of D&D Runner cards, if just to bring them up to the level of support the other runners had out of the core set. (Each mini-runner had 8 cards in D&D. Shapers et all had 16 each in the core.) And if they would print some stuff for them without influence bars, to give them actually powerful tricks that you don’t have to worry about someone else importing and to give them a reason to be played? Even better.
(Heck, I’d be okay with Apocalypse being errata’d to remove the bar.)
I think the issue with the mini factions is not other factions using them. It’s the 25 influence which would be really powerful if they would get a good base of cards. As it allows them to import more from other factions. Imagine a shaper with 25 influence, this would be bonkers. This is the reason why we only see rarely new cards for the mini factions.