As of the 2.0 Update to Jurassic World Alive, the developers have focused on simplifying the game’s interactions down to three major groups: Cunning, Fierce, and Resilient. The intent was to use these groups to better help newer players identify holes in their teams and to build more well-rounded rosters with sufficient counters to whatever curveball creatures might be thrown at them. However, the present perception (popular since the 2.0 release, I must add) is that these three classes aren’t balanced. Resilient creatures are by and above the most efficient investment. They can trade reliably with most of their Fierce counters while easily shutting out most of the Cunning creatures that they’re supposed to be countering. In this segment, I intend to discuss why I believe this is and what I believe can be done about it. In short, Deceleration is too powerful to be given so liberally and exclusively, and Fierce creatures have not consistently been given the tools to do their jobs effectively.
Truth be told, I don’t actually believe that Cunning creatures are underpowered. Cunning creatures still offer excellent damage, and the built-in speed to sweep or at least earn a Health advantage. These strengths require the deceleration and durability that Resilient Creatures provide to suitably challenge, in the absence of an EVEN faster Cunning. However, when 3 out of 4 of the creatures a Cunning can expect to face functions as a counter, then they’ll appear underpowered by comparison. But Cunning creatures feel very effective against the Fierce Creatures they’re supposed to counter (absent some edge cases that have been given inappropriate answers to their counters, like Cleansing moves), and an abundance of Fierce Creatures would increase the relative power of Cunning creatures considerably. We can’t judge a fish based on its ability to climb trees, after-all.
So, this begs the question: Why are Resilient creatures so over-represented? Where are all the Fierce creatures?
First, Deceleration is powerful in a turn-based game. Going first is often the only advantage you need to sweep a team. Trading 2 creatures for 1, or at least crippling the second so much that it’s easy set up for a revenge-kill, is often all it takes to guarantee a victory. It’s a huge part of a Cunning creature’s power budget, and is what has always made them so dangerous if left unanswered. However, Resilient creatures are able to co-opt this advantage, in a sense, by slowing their opposition. It would be fine if this strategy only hampered the class that they are supposed to, but it is equally effective against most Fierce creatures. Ludia has been addressing this by adding in more Fierce Creatures with Deceleration resistance or immunity which is a viable solution, but needs to become more wide-spread to truly take effect. And this is ignoring the fact that most Fierce creatures with the damage to kill the higher health Resilients START OFF SLOWER IN THE FIRST PLACE. This seems to be a relic from the old system before 2.0, but makes no sense in a world where Fierce creatures are supposed to effectively counter Resilient ones.
Summary – Deceleration skews Fierce-Resilient matchups in favor of Resilients, making Fierce less effective as counters.
Second, Resilient creatures often have enough damage to kill their counters. A high abundance of Rampages with decent base damage is common amongst most Unique Resilients, as well as all Apex Resilients thus far. This makes it fairly easy for Resilients to slow the Fierce creatures they fight and then finish them on Turn 2, effectively negating their counters. This is true of all but a few Fierce creatures, the ones lucky enough to have Immunity to Deceleration. Nowhere is this better accentuated than in the Apex matchups, where the one Fierce Apex (Mortem Rex) is pretty much unable to defeat either Resilient Apex (unboosted) without swap-ins to finish the job. This damage is presumably there to make Resilient-Resilient matchups less painful, and to allow Resilients to finish Cunnings quickly or punish a swap. I think that this can be addressed in multiple ways, but all of these would require a change to the core functionality of the three classes, Which I will address below in their own sub-sections.
Summary – A prevalence of high damage moves when combined with deceleration makes Resilients just as effective at killing their counters.
To cover some proposed solutions, we need to first identify what each class needs to be effective as a counter. This will help us address the current problems with each class and will allow us to start coming up with suitable solutions.
Starting with Cunning creatures – A unifying character of Cunnings is that they rely on reducing the damage output of their opponent offensively, often applying debuffs during an offensive attack. They rely on this offensive damage mitigation to effectively kill high HP targets, as they usually have lower HP or damage to compensate for their High Speed. Cunnings benefit largely from Turn Priority to apply debuffs or to kill their opponent quickly to further reduce damage taken. They lack any options to penetrate passive defenses such as shields or armor.
Fierce Creatures – High Damage that ignores passive defenses such as shields or armor. While often possessing mid-range to high HP pools, allowing them to trade effectively, they are slow and typically lack the ability to cleanse debuffs. This means that Fierce creatures are the most reliant of the three classes when it comes to maximizing damage. They cannot reduce the damage they are taking and often lack the ability to recover their HP, so they rely on winning damage trades against their opposition to be effective.
Resilient Creatures are the most varied of the three classes having many different methods of achieving their relatively broad goal: Survive. Whether it’s through Health Recovery, Shields, Armor, or Decelerate and Kill, a Resilient Creature’s main focus is to outlast their opposition. Vulnerability is a form of damage acceleration unique to Resilients as well, and could be used to allow them to effectively damage other Resilients and Cunnings, without being able to punish Fierce creatures as effectively. If only resistance to vulnerable weren’t so common… In hindsight, after the reveal of the 2.9 notes, I must emphasize the importance of lowering the attack stat of some of the high damaging Resilients to compensate for the addition of the Vulnerability buff.
With all this being said, my conclusion is that the Fierce Class is underpowered. They lack the survivability and damage to effectively trade against the strongest Resilients, especially when they are forced to put extra boosts into speed to compensate for their speed disadvantage. Those Resilients, however are strong Jack-of-all Trades creatures, who can kill each other as well as they can Fierce or Cunnings. This leads to Resilient Creatures being the most efficient investment. Buffing Fierce Creatures to be able to effectively and consistently counter Resilient Creatures, including High Health ones like Geminititan, Hadros Lux, and Mammolania, would make Resilients far less effective as generalists. More Fierce Creatures in the Arena would then increase the value and effectiveness of their Cunning answers. A buff to Fierce Creatures is a nerf to Resilients and a buff to Cunnings in one swing!
The Real Problem – Fierce Creatures need Buffs.
So, how do we address this problem? Below are a few of my suggestions. One option alone will likely not be enough, and no unilateral solution will actually fix things. Many Creatures will likely need to be individually tuned to fix this issue (Hadros Lux and Ceramagnus come to mind, as well as Mortem).
Suggestion 1 – Buff Fierce Speed, Nerf Resilient Speed. Unboosted, most Fierce Creatures should be faster than Resilient ones. This lessens the Speed Boost tax on Fierce Creatures, allowing them to invest more in survivability or damage to better trade with Resilient creatures. Some moves such as Dig-in, as well as boosts, will allow Resilients to overcome this weakness.
Suggestion 2 - Add Deceleration resistances to most Fierce creatures. This will allow boosted Fierce to keep priority against Resilients, allowing them to out-trade the Resilient Creatures that they are supposed to counter. This suggestion is especially effective when coupled with Suggestion 1.
Suggestion 3 – Give Fierce Creatures a defensive option to match Cunnings (Dodge/Distract) and Resilients (Armor/Shields). This one will require more work than the two above it, as it will require the invention of a new mechanic that thematically fits with the Fierce Class. As outlined above, Fierce Creatures are all about trading hits and maximizing damage output, so it makes sense that their survivability be attached to their damage. This would also allow Cunnings to interact with this survivability by reducing that damage. There are several ways to do this, as summarized below:
Suggestion 3a . A passive that heals based on a fraction of damage dealt. With the addition of flocks, the precedent for family passives has been established/strengthened. A passive on Slow, heavy hitting fierce creatures, such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Mortem rex and Acrocanthosaurus, that would allow them to heal based on damage dealt would also allow them to trade into these high health Resilients and come out on top, even if slower. Cunnings, by reducing their damage, would limit or negate this heal and continue to be effective in killing Fierce Creatures. I want to pitch a cheesy name for this passive: Feast
Suggestion 3b. Change Fierce Moves to passively heal a fraction of the Attack Damage stat. Change Cunning moves to apply a debuff that also prevents/reduces healing. This would allow Cunnings to fully prevent Fierce Creatures from sustaining while allowing Fierce Creatures to heal a small, consistant amount each round, thereby out trading Resilient burst. This debuff would not affect current heals, as all current heals also cleanse before healing, which would remove the debuff.
Suggestion 3c . Give Fierce Creatures new signature moves that allow them to out-trade Resilients. Imagine a heal, similar to Tryostronix’s Refresh, that buffs Attack instead of speed. Now slap that baby on Mortem instead of the Cleansing Impact and you’ve got yourself a Resilient Counter!
Suggestion 4 – Keep Fierce and Cunning move functionality as they are, but change Resilient moves to apply Vulnerable. Remove Vulnerable resistances on Resilients. Lower Resilient base damage to make them rely on hitting Vulnerable targets to kill Cunnings and Resilients quickly, while keeping Resilient burst less effective against Fierce creatures. As of 2.9 notes release, I must clarify that quickly is relative and does not mean that Hadros Lux should be able to deal up to 9000 damage in one turn. Further, I do not believe that it’s necessary to remove the slow from Resilient moves if Fierce creatures are given one of the suggestions above.
Even with these suggestions, Individual adjustments would be necessary. Hadros Lux, Ceramagnus, and Mortem Rex likely all need adjustments to their kits, if not their stats. Mortem likely needs to have it’s Cleansing Impact changed to something else (perhaps that Ferocious Heal discussed earlier?). Right now it’s too effective at countering Cunnings that should be countering it, and adding buffs on top of that is asking for trouble. Hadros probably needs to have its turn one Rampage changed, either to a shielding/healing move (Dig-in, Lesser Group Heal, Taunting Shield Strike, Group Shields, etc.) or a lower damage Impact. Ceramagnus likely needs to have its Group Acceleration replaced (maybe with a Group version of Dig-in for Raid Utility?) or its Rampage delayed. Regardless, that’s a different discussion that disserves an in-depth analysis of its own.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to address me in the comments below, I would love to discuss this topic further!