What’s better: enemies stopping respawning after you kill them loads, or removing a card from your deck?

Last time, you decided that cosmetics unlocked by challenges are better than characters making ‘bdbdbdbdbdi’ noises while talking in text. This was a close one but your voices were, regrettably, heard clear. This week, I ask you to choose between two different ways to clear your path of obstacles. What’s better: enemies stopping respawning after you kill them loads, or removing a card from your deck?

Enemies stopping respawning after you kill them loads

In most games with respawning enemies, they keep on coming back. Either they’re back on a timer or they’re back when you die. Either way, there they are, all over again. Unless… most enemies in Dark Souls 2 will stop respawning after you’ve killed them 12 times. Which most likely means that they stop respawning after you’ve killed them then died, 12 times over.

Some believe it’s to stop you from farming enemies over and over for loot and levels. Others believe it’s the game trying to add another element of progression persisting beyond your deaths. While we can only speculate about the reasons, because FromSoftware haven’t talked about it as far as I know, we can certainly look at the effects.

I quite like it, I think, in ways that are only partially contrarian out of my fondness for the weird middle child of Dark Souls. Sure, the dream of Dark Souls is learning enemy patterns and timings well enough that you can demolish them, but sometimes, just ughhhh. If you’re already dying to a boss over and over, having to cut through enemies wasting your time and Estus before then can feel such a chore. Eventually, sure, stuff it, just wipe ’em. It can feels like the game recognising that you’ve put in your graft and deserve a break, especially in some areas with lousy frustrating boss runs. Or if this is Dark Souls 2 trying to stop you from farming, perhaps it’s the game presenting an alternative solution to overcoming frustrating sections, giving you a helping hand by trying to guide you towards parts it finds more interesting. Do you really want to kill the same dozen enemies over and over?

Removing a card from your deck

In deck-building games, the most consistently powerful change you can make is unbuilding your deck. Adding one great card could be huge if you draw it, but removing your worst cards will improve your consistency and statistically make every hand more likely to be good. God, I adore removing cards.

Lots of deckbuilders have cards which let you draw extra cards or let you rummage in your deck to find a specific card. I recognise they are powerful abilities but these are clumsy, brutish solutions. Don’t grab Fate’s hand by the wrist, remove all of Fate’s options until it can only give you desirable outcomes. Don’t just avoid bad luck, render bad luck impossible.

The rules of many competitive physical deck-building card games enforce a minimum deck size because it’s simply too powerful to have your best cards readily available. What misery for your opponent if you can consistently draw the complicated mechanism to win in one turn! But in singleplayer digital card games, hell yeah, give me a two-card Slay The Spire deck winning with a turn-one infinite combo. And god, yes, you know I’ve been going wild with removal in Balatro, where you (usually) start with a whopping 52 cards and will want to add more. I’ve been delighted with combos that let me absolutely strip my deck.

Or, here’s an argument to perhaps sway the inevitable couple of people every week who complain that they have no interest in either option: if you hate card games, isn’t removing a card a way of destroying something you dislike? Card removal is the fractional death of something you want to kill. You simply want to remove all the good cards too, you fussy little hater you.

But which is better?

I wish every game let me remove stuff I didn’t want. All of them. Every genre. I’ll kill letters in Wordle, I’ll remove SMG spawns and ammo drops from shooters, I’ll delete tiles from Civilization maps. I’ll kill you all. But what do you think, reader dear?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We’ll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

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