Thursday, May 10, 2012

20 Questions with Tylar Allinder

Greetings readers and welcome to a new segment from 2ezforums called "20 Questions" where we have the privilege to interview the most eminent figures in Naruto CCG. In this edition I will be sitting down with playtester and key Bandai figure Tylar Allinder to discuss the big questions ranging from Set 25 to picking the inner machinations of Tylar's mind.

2EZ:  Now that set 25 is almost near its release, can you divulge into the thought process and approach when creating Set 25-Kage Summit (being released on 6/08/2012)?

TA: The entire block has been planned out to reward players for splashing. For years I had been despising splashing cards, but once I realized the game's foundations are garnered toward that playstyle, I decided to embrace it fully and see where it takes us. We have tried multi element things in my the best, but never fully. Series 25 is the culmination of embracing what I think was one of the core concepts of the original design team behind the gameplay engine.

2EZ: With the release of the set, how do you feel it will impact the current format now and post rotation(after Gencon 2012)?

TA: I know that building decks is an absolute headache with this set, and I suspect that will continue post rotation. By adding in so many dual and tri-element cards, we have essentially opened the door to infinite variations of splashing. Those cards that would've never seen play together before may now pair up much more easily. 5 element decks are more easily accessible than the days of Senjutsu, and control is finally possible with the new set.

2EZ: One of the new prospects of set 25 is the introduction of tri-element cards. What was the purpose of these and why does the format seem to be segwaying into a multielement format?

TA:That is all in the plan of things, actually. It was always our goal to introduce multi-element gameplay and endorse it as much as we can without going overboard. There was two purposes to the multi element set style:

1. Give players way more variation than they ever had before.

2. Making the set more playable, and thus give more value to every set that comes after it, including itself.

I was not allowed to bump up the number of cards in a set, but I can make the cards more playable and more valuable. That was one of my personal marketing goals with Series 25.

2EZ: Can you give us(the Naruto community) some insider information regarding set 26?

TA:Danzo is amazing, Izanagi does what you think it should, and Wind will be getting a massive push in 26.

2EZ: Are you content with the current format (prior to set 25)?

TA: I'm content, but never satisfied. There is always a better way to work a format, the key is just finding that way

2EZ: Tournament results have shown that wind and water are the weaker elements, why do you think that is and how will  future sets change that?

TA:  Water has been severely weakened, but it still has a solid showing at the top tables, proving that a good pilot can take the deck to a higher level. Please see #4 for my response to Wind 

2EZ: You have publicly expressed multiple times your abhorrence towards Byakugan j-696, why do you feel this way?

TA:Because it was a mistake for me to ever have created it. I should have seen my multi element decision sooner. This rolls into my reasoning for wanting to create all sets in a block at the same time, then cutting it up piecemeal and serving them to the players as sets.

2EZ: Other than Byakugan, what cards do you feel are unbalanced and what are you planning to do about them?

TA: That is the only card actually. Everything else is performing as intended.

2EZ:  Competitive play seems like the soul of Naruto, what is Bandai doing to entice and reward competitive players?

TA: I am doing my best to keep the design and playability of the game at an all time high. I want to return the game to the high point it once was at, but obviously this is going to take a great deal of work from our side, but it has to start somewhere. In the design of the cards, I am attempting to make it more rewarding for those players who are more skillful at the game to more easily recognize which cards are strong and which aren't, giving them an advantage for their perseverance and expert level recognition at the game.

2EZ: Quite some time ago, Naruto took a drastic chance by switching to 50 card standard, however, recently a question has been revived regarding that change. Do you feel that 10 cards is disproportionate to the 50 card main deck or do 10 cards satisfy the designers intent on the sideboard?

TA: I feel that, given the reasonings I have seen, that 10 cards is acceptable. I want players to feel slightly choked in terms of their sideboard. If you had a larger sideboard, deckbuilding would be much easier, and it would take a lot of the skill away from those players who are best at building and not so much at piloting.

2EZ Gencon is the "mecca" of the competitive scene as it is the most important 4 days in Naruto CCG. What can players expect this year from Bandai at Gencon? 

TA: I cannot say much about Gencon, given that I am not in the planning for it, but I have passed a few suggestions. Whether those suggestions are taken is another thing entirely.

2EZ: The thought process behind choosing a location for Shonen Jump Championships remains an aberration to many, especially with the results of highly unsuccessful tournaments such as Oregon. Would there be any way to consult the players when choosing a location?

TA: I cannot actually. I am not involved in the selection process, but I know that, due to the Texas SJC, the others have redone their selection process to adapt to the issue ever happening again.

2EZ: Unlimited format seems to have a fairly high popularity, despite almost 0 support from Bandai. Are you planning to capitalize on this apparent interest or make Unlimited into a competitive format?

TA: We have, in the past, attempted to gauge the competitive popularity of Unlimited with the unlimited tournament at gencon. I know I am personally against it, due to the entire tournament degrading into TKO territory, which I expected, as the format functions much like Type 1 in MTG. I know that the majority of players for unlimited want something to play thats fun and different from block, so we are working on coming up with alternate formats.

2EZ: What do you feel are the strong points and weak points of the game at the moment?

TA: I think the card design is at an all time high, with each set besting the previous, but at the same time the OP support isn't there. OP is easily our weakest category at the moment, but again, I feel that if the core of the game is strengthened then the rest will follow.

2EZ: I personally believe that one of the strongest points of Naruto is its small based community. Would you like to see the game ascend to the popularity level of games like Yugioh, MTG, etc or preserve our close knit community?

TA: In an idyllic world, I would want both. I know that, even if we got that big, the small group of original players would still be very tight knit, perhaps forming a group of their own for testing and such?

2EZ: Where do you see Naruto(the game) in the next few years to come? 

TA: I honestly am not sure. There are so many things going well for it right now, but a few things dragging it down. It all depends on if we can shore up those problems and the community takes to them.

2EZ: In order for a game to survive, new players are necessary. What is Bandai doing or planning to do to attract new players?

TA: I agree, and thats why we continue to put out starter decks. The latest iteration is garnered towards players who want a competitive deck and be able to jump right into the competitive scene out of the box. Obviously we are coming up with other ideas besides that, but, as everyone knows, its very difficult to get players to want to jump ship willingly.

2EZ: Many players are expressing their discontent with the game through multiple threads on the Bandai forums, do you see any legitimacy in their reasoning and if so what is Bandai going to do about this?

TA: I see the legitimacy, however I can see it from this side as well. As I have stated before, we are doing everything we can with what we are given to work with. With the sales increasing for 24 and I'm willing to place a strong bet on 25, we can start to increase prizing once again.

2EZ: What do you think separates Naruto from more popular games such as Yugioh, Magic, or Pokemon?

TA: Like you said, the small community is a huge proponent. Everyone in the competitive scene is very friendly and tight knit, lending credence to a feeling of camaraderie that I don't see as apparent in other games. Other games may have cliques, but the entire competitive scene is linked together in Naruto.

2EZ: Final question, is there any other information you would like to shed upon the community? 

TA: None that you havn't already touched on 

Finally, on behave of all of us at 2ezforums, I would like to thank Tylar in his participation with this interview and his unbridled dedication to the Naruto CCG. This concludes this edition of 20 Questions, next on our guest panel is the 2010 Sannin winner Eric Melone so stayed tuned!


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