Considering everything Konami has done in the gaming space over the past several years, there was every reason to believe that Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel was going to be a nightmare mixture of half-baked features and the worst monetization practices that the modern gaming industry has to offer. Yet, amazingly, that’s not how it’s turned out. Not only has Konami shown some remarkably uncharacteristic restraint when it comes to monetizing their free-to-play Yu-Gi-Oh! Game, but it’s also managed to produce something that’s genuinely fun to engage with. As with almost all games, though, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and these five features would be a great place to start.
Additional Ranked Tiers
This is perhaps the single most-requested feature being tossed around on the various message boards right now, and the reason for it is simple: it’s not fun having to constantly face meta decks. Whether a duelist is using rogue, casual or even another meta-tier deck, having to constantly deal with the same two to three decks gets old. It doesn’t even matter if one knows how to defeat those decks; it’s just plain boring. Currently there are only four tiers in ranked play, and of those, the top two are rife with meta decks.
If Konami wants a Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel ranked ladder that’s more evenly distributed, adding more tiers is a good place to start. It’ll give those who enjoy top-tier Yu-Gi-Oh! more ranks to climb, naturally creating more breathing room for those who’d rather pit their decks against a wider variety of lower-powered archetypes. Combine this with some sort of incentive to keep climbing rather than de-ranking and the game could be well on its way to a healthier variety of decks and strategies to pit oneself against. Konami does seem to be planning this kind of addition sometime in the future, but it has yet to give players any indication as to when.
Some Sort of Social Quickplay Mode
While Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel does already have a social mode in the form of the Duel Rooms feature, it’s not fun to use. They don’t offer much in the way of custom rules, and actually getting to duel in them is entirely reliant on the host both wanting to duel randoms and not being AFK.
It also doesn’t help that there is zero incentive for doing so outside of maybe getting to fight something besides Tri-Brigades or Drytrons, and chances are good that those are what the other guy is playing anyway. So with that in mind, a social mode with minor rewards and quick matchmaking would be ideal. Better yet, having sub-modes that limit decks to certain formats would be great too, and that actually leads us right into the next feature:
Now, it must be acknowledged that Konami does already have special events centered around different formats planned. Players already got to experience one with the Xyz Festival last month, and it was alright. It’ll be kind of a shame if these events are the only ways to enjoy different Yu-Gi-Oh! formats, though. Why not, as part of a social mode, implement something akin to the playlists seen in shooters like Halo or CoD?
Konami could offer a selection of different formats for players to queue into, and even rotate its special events in as something like a special playlist. These playlists could be anything from normal Yu-Gi-Oh! with a legacy ban list to something like a time capsule mode, wherein only cards printed before a certain year could be played. There’s a ton that Konami could do with this kind of functionality, and it would all go towards giving players much-needed variety in the game.
More Deck Testing Functionality
As it stands, deck building in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is good. It’s easy to add and remove cards, and filtering works well enough once one gets used to it. There’s even a test hand function, which helps one gauge just how often they can expect to see certain cards in their opening hands. Still, more support for this process would be nice. For now, the best way to actually test a deck and practice combos is to go into one of the solo mode duels and play it against a computer that won’t disrupt it. It works okay, but a more dedicated mode would make the process much more fun and much less tedious.
Imagine a mode which allows the player to set parameters for their draws. They could practice combos from an ideal opening hand or they could practice making the most of a bad one. What if they could define the computer’s board in order to practice playing against different kinds of negates? How about practicing playing through different numbers of handtraps? One can encounter all manner of situations in Yu-Gi-Oh!, so more ability to prepare for them would be incredible.
Dismantle Legacy cards (for a discount of course)
This last one is something of a personal gripe. Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel often gives out cards as rewards for winning in ranked mode and such. It’s nice, but many of these cards aren’t usable and just wind up cluttering up one’s card collection. Currently, they can’t be converted into crafting points, and that’s probably because Konami wants players to buy gems/packs. It’s understandable, but still annoying nonetheless. So, how about a compromise? Allow players to dismantle the free cards at a lower rate than the paid ones, say for five points instead of ten. This way players don’t get annoyed with constant non-rewards and Konami still gets plenty of money for their (still overpriced) gems.
These are just a few ideas for making Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel into the best game it can be. It’s always going to suffer somewhat from being a free-to-play format game, but it’s already decent despite that and has the potential to grow. Konami seems unusually invested in seeing this particular product succeed (as compared to their other games), so chances are good that it’ll keep working on improving it. Here’s hoping fans get to see some of these features implemented soon!