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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

The very high cost of trying anything new at South Park: Phone Destroyer 02/02/2018

In South Park: Phone Destroyer, bugs abound in gameplay and user experience, and cheaters thrive through hacking or rank manipulation. Among the high-ranking “legendary” players, critics of  Ubisoft/Red Lynx submit that  software solutions are neglected in favor of profit.
From the middling ranks, I put forth that if the game company was interested primarily in grubbing money, they wouldn’t have trapped players in their decks.

Under the current matchmaking and ranking format, it’s impractical to try a new deck, or even a new card.

To improve your lot at South Park: Phone Destroyer, you must increase the power of your cards. Win a few matches, gain a few ranks, and then to remain competitive at that level, you have to stick to the cards that got you there.

It becomes a losing proposition to play with any but the highest-leveled cards you’ve got. Employing one low-level card risks the loss of melees, then health bars, then matches.

The higher you advance, the worse this trap gets. After investing time and material in building cards to level 3 or 4, experimenting with level 1 or 2 cards is useless — your new idea might be wholly valid, but you’ll never see its fair effect because you’re literally outnumbered.

I lost some matches to opponents wielding Program Stan (and his widely-annoying “Freeze protocal, go!” charge), and it set me wondering if my pirate gang is merely immobile while frozen, or if the freezing cold is lessening their health.

If there were an arena in which rank isn’t at stake, I’d have done the research, counting the hits a character survives while frozen and not frozen. But there’s no playing for science or for fun (and wouldn’t you think the company would encourage as much play as possible, since that’s where the consumer gets the wish to improve unfamiliar cards).

A Reddit inquiry was fruitless, though I became quite intrigued about the theory of chaining freeze cards — that is, playing Freeze Ray, Program Stan, Ice Sniper Wendy, AWESOM-O in succession, immobilizing the enemies for as long as possible.

While exploring freeze cards, it occurred to me that I’ve never seen anyone playing with Powerfist Dougie, because most of the other Dougies do serious  damage to new kid, while Powerfist — if successful, and that’s always the trick with Dougie — merely freezes him. Now I have a powerful curiosity: The value of freezing the enemy new kid is avoiding phone zaps, true? More important, is a frozen new kid incapable of summoning new forces? Most important, what if a frozen new kid can’t shockwave at the end of a health bar?!

I want to find out. So I lost eight matches ina  row before winning one (the gradual improvements came by inserting the cheapest, fastest unit wherever possible, letting the assassins — welcome back, Bandita Sally — chip away at frozen enemies). I still don’t know about a frozen new kid’s liabilities, partly because Powerfist Dougie is so far unsuccessful. The timing of Freeze Ray to enable Dougie to land safely is tricky, and I haven’t mastered it.

Losing repeatedly is a hard way to learn stuff. Will I keep my resolve during this weekend’s Season 21 Celebration event, or will I want to earn a lab coat for new kid’s costume rack?

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