Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We need to talk...

Opening a dialogue... I hope...

by: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane   

As many people have noted, there currently seems to be a high level of consternation and frustration amongst the player community. The TFC admins have noted this and we ran a 'poll' to gather some information from players in the hopes of making a small presentation to Kixeye. These issues, overall, have reached enough of a critical mass that both the TFC show and the BV show have recently spent a large portion of a show addressing concerns surrounding several issues that have been percolating in the community.


TL;DR : 

I'll start with this since everyone always appreciates a nice quickie. As I have stated before, I believe it is not just one issue that is the nexus of the consternation that the players are feeling currently. Rather, I find it is the accumulation of many concurrent smaller issues that combine overall to cause this feeling in players. Many players may understand the thought process/cost/balance of an individual issue, but when taken as a whole, they change the feel of the overall game. Punitive targets, lengthy chores, excessive need for raid points, build times, excessive flagships and many more issues collectively cumulate to cause a negative feeling from the players, because their perception is that all of this detracts from the game that they want to play. They want to play, not work.

Now the lengthy version...


Besides the poll we ran, I also wanted to take the time to write an article to share what  concerns players have shared with me as well as my own and my take on some of the issues. I hope this precipitates a dialogue within the community and within Kixeye so that our gaming experience can be enhanced and improved. Keep in mind, each issue individually could be overcome, or it is merely annoying, however, when taken as a whole, they compound into a growing monster lurking under the bed that looks to be itching to jump out.

Communication : 

This is a perennial complaint- and a bit generic. To get down to the essence of this complaint requires a little context and digging.

Kixeye has never been the most forthcoming company, and that was always part of the game. You had to figure some things out on your own, experiment, ask, and that is fine, but... there are times where there really does need to be more communication from Kixeye, regardless of the backlash from players. The instant negativity from some of the more vociferous players skews the perception of how the community will actually react, and it's sad that these few have ruined it for the many, but at some point, you have to just bite the bullet and let us know what we should know and fuck the bitter haters.

On the flip side, players must understand that there are times things NEED to be tweaked or changed in order to keep balance in check or not break the game. As a community, we are bright and creative and can come up with more ways to break the game than can be conceived of during a finite design and test time. That's just common damn sense. Communication is a two way street. They talk, we talk. Who wants to talk when the response from the other person is always cruel, bitter criticism and personal attacks with no actual dialogue???

The loss of the WIP (works in progress) hurt players in the long run. Significantly. Unfortunately, that likely was the direct result of the toxic nature of the forums (this should be addressed as well, but I digress) and a small, yet vociferous, group of assholes. This is one reason pages like the TFC and BV try to keep to a certain decorum and expectation. It's also likely why Kixeye reaches out to those shows when they do want to open dialogue with the community.

A rather large issue that I think does need to be addressed in some fashion is when the community sees inconsistencies like the lower generic tokens in the last raid or the Phoenix stacking aura, etc.. It would be nice to see even an acknowledgement rather than silence. Silence is bad, mm-kay? An explanation is, of course, better still. We don't have to like either (I'm looking at you whiners that have to cry every damn time something is changed), but the silence is horrible.

Given the time many players have invested in this game, and their obvious passion for it, it is safe to say that the game is something they consider important. The silent treatment, psychologically speaking, is a way to inflict pain without visible bruising – literally. Research has shown (particularly in men) that the act of  shunning, ignoring or excluding activates the same area of the brain as does physical pain. Why do you want to hurt us Kixeye? (If you are curious, you can read more about this interesting little tidbit here and here.)

Three Month Raid Cycle : 

I am not going to discuss player's opinions about the logistics within the company with regard to the three month raid cycle. To be brutally honest, without knowing company privileged information, all that is, is baseless speculation.

What I would like to discuss, however, is the growing concern from players about being left behind. What has started to happen, and I have noticed particularly in this last raid set, is that players are still trying to complete fleets, or even just get the technology TO complete fleets, in the last raid of the set.

In both long-term and short-term this is problematic for the game.

Short term it contracts the time that one has to build a viable hull and use it for maximum opportunity (store raids). This also severely limits any foray into the PvP aspect of the game- both base hitting and base defense. Many players did not get their fleets sorted for the raid until this last raid. Add to this that, presumably by design, players are not afforded the opportunity to complete even a four count of the new hulls, either for VXP weekend, or for the first raid in the set. This last one is very troubling as it causes a lot of frustration and the race to get these out essentially commits at least a month (typically much more) of shipyard time to one singular aspect of the game - raid. Which leads us into...

Long term this puts many players behind the eight ball so to speak. By the end of the raid series they have to decide whether to invest in finishing their current series fleet so that they can use it for the converted chore targets, or invest in the upcoming raid series technology and start the frustrating process all over again. This produces players who feel perpetually under the gun and left behind, frustrating them as well as those who are trying to help them.

Given the time investment we are seeing for these fleets, which are necessitated for chores after the raid, we are now spending 4 to 8 months a year building these fleets. Even more if you build two of the three options so that you can more easily do the inevitable TLCs that come out later.

'Early'/Premium hull :

What I mean by this is the release of the next raid series hull. I could buy this position with the Hellwraith, however, as the raids have gotten ever more niche, these hulls can no longer be considered to be coming out 'early'. They are needed for the next raid set and that raid set is now also only 3 months in length necessitating these hulls even more.

Additionally, the more these raids are specifically tuned for these hulls, the more they are needed to participate in a 'fun' way.

Then to further frustrate players, the build times of these hulls are climbing up to a point wherein players will struggle to get them out (blank) in time for VXP weekend and rarely have a mere fleet of four ready for the first raid.

Add to this that in order to even get the fleets (partially) ready for these events you now typically have to save tokens from the FM previous (how many players are not caught up in tier 5?) to the raid and claim all the tokens available in the raid... and often even this is not enough to complete them.

This also adds a tick to the annoyance column in that the build tokens were to be 'bonuses' for the players. If we progress that logically, that means that you are not required to use these tokens to get a reasonable fleet out on time for the raid. Currently that means maybe 2 hulls. Anyone want to test that?

Another aspect to look at, it seems that if you do save your tokens, and are caught up in the FM, you can get 3, maybe 4 hulls out for the first raid. I think what would be better, if Kixeye insists on having these build times, is to design it so that you can get 3 hulls out for the next raid without the need for any tokens and 4 to 5 if you save tokens and are caught up in the FM. This would encourage those players that are not caught up to invest more heavily in the store raid knowing they can have a viable fleet out for the next raid.

So why are we paying such a premium for these hulls now? Given the way these cycles are now designed, I feel going back to the Hellwraith type of release will be a benefit to both the community and the company. 60 million points straight-up and not gated with affordable weapon and special and manageable build time-to-next raid would handily bring significant participation up.

Three Fleet Option :

This one is a serious bone many players want to pick at. For each raid cycle we seem to now have three options available to choose from. The 'skill' hull, the 'auto' hull and the 'generalist' hull. They are supposed to perform in the order listed, however, what we have seen several times is that the 'generalist' fleet is performing exceptionally well, if not better than, the other fleets.

This is a massive issue with those players that invested in the options that were expected to be the best option. It also makes players confused with regard to their choices and that uncertainty, particularly amongst players that coin heavily, is toxic. Those same players then feel exceptionally frustrated and become discontent and angry when they see that their investment, essentially, was devalued by high level performance from 'lesser' fleets (see 2 Zelos walking the A set from last raid). Since this group is likely those players that invest the most in time and coin, it could become an even more serious issue if this trend continues - it seems that it may even be the straw that breaks the camel's back for some of those players.

One of the issues here, I believe, is that it is increasingly more difficult to balance singular targets as the amount of fleet options are increased for those targets. It is just an inherent issue given the static nature of PvE targets. I'm not sure of a solid solution other than reducing the options.

Given that:

  • The 'skill' hull is the premium option.

  • The historical lack of acceptable 'autoing' ability of the auto hull.

  • The generalist hull was intended for lower targets for those players that are still climbing the mountain.

  • The shortened raid cycles (and presumably increased difficulty in designing a target for three disparate fleets).

The logical conclusion is to remove one of these fleets and, looking at the options, the 'auto' hull seems like the best option to remove. This should help balance the targets (and ancillary TLCs) easier and lessen the uncertainty within the player community to some extent.

Flagships :

This one has been bubbling in a few aftershows and on the page. What exactly is the deal with the current flagships? Why are there so damn many? If they are going to be standard practice, why are we paying huge premiums on cost and, particularly, build times??

Traditionally the build time was larger because of the scope of the use of the hull. These current flags can not be used with fleets other than those in its family. They also seem to be designed in such a way that if you do not have them you are at a serious disadvantage. It is not a matter of taking just a little more damage; with some of these fleets,  not having the flag will result in utter failure in the same targets or knocks you down whole set targets or worse.

Massive FM prize lists :

Look, a lot of players are 'caught up', and this is awesome, but... those that are caught up, have you looked at that list lately? Players who are not caught up become distraught and dejected on a weekly basis looking at the mountain that they must climb in order to get 'caught up' and get access to those precious tokens. While tech has to be constantly released so that the game stays fresh, that tech must be made available to those players that are NOT top tier- and sooner rather than later, so that those players feel relevancy as well as see progression so that they feel engaged and motivated to play and participate. Tiers 1 and 2 in the FM should be the tiers more massively loaded than any other. I am fairly confident that any of the bigger/caught up players are not going to mind in the least if everything gets dropped a tier in the following FM cycle. That gives us a full month lead access for being caught up and dropping that high tier tech quickly will encourage players who are not caught up by bringing those goal posts closer.

Build Times :

Let's face it, Kixeye is a business and part of their income comes from players speeding up or straight up coining out builds. That said, the shorter cycle times of the raids, along with the increase in Flagships and the dual pathing of the PvP options has precipitated a situation wherein build times have become a major issue.

As I mentioned previously, players are investing an inordinate amount of time on just their raid fleets. This makes their time to build defending fleets and/or any of their PvP fleets they want even more limited as their available build time is contracted more and more. We should be seeing shorter and shorter build times as content drops increase, instead, we are seeing the exact opposite. This is a serious detriment to the game. More and more players are opting to forgo any serious PvP playing as this trend continues. Yes, I am aware that tokens are offered in many cases for the PvP hulls, but to kit out a good full fleet requires far more. Additionally, PvP builds are far from static given the nature of PvP itself, compounding this problem even further.

Repair Times :

On the heels of build times, inevitably, repair times will follow. I'm not sure I am wholly on board with everyone on this one. Many players are feeling frustrated with the overall repair times of hulls, particularly each succession of PvE hulls. Looking at it overall, I think the issue really is not the repair times but the punitive nature of the targets that have been introduced in the game.

It isn't that the fleets are easily damaged and we suffer huge repair times for that, it is that the targets have been designed in such a way that any minute error, any little bit of lag, any deviation from perfection, will result in catastrophic damage to the fleet. In those instances, your repair times then become hugely excessive (which has been slowly compounded with each subsequent hull and additionally with the need for more armor and resistances).

A solution that really needs to be looked at is adjusting either the inherent punitive nature of the targets, or, adjusting the damage from those turrets or hulls that deal the punitive damage. A good example is the current FM.

In this first picture, I have circled a turret that, if you happen to get into range, you will take an inordinate amount of damage. I don't mean 20-30 minutes of damage, but up to half your health or more. Particularly if you have your entire fleet within it's area of damage when it goes off. This is really kind of shitty if you lag and you jump too far forward. Additionally, it does not really allow you to mitigate this damage by adjusting in any way. There isn't really any running away, you just take it in the teeth. Similarly is the gauntlets that we are seeing in targets for the FM. While you can avoid them in some instances, this basic issue is at play there as well.

One small minute error or issue- your own, your ISP's, Facebooks, the power company's, the weather, or Kixeye's, and you are properly fucked. This is not fun and is exceptionally frustrating to players. Given the amount of engagements that will be made with raid targets as they transition into map targets, this sort of damage should really be tuned down overall. Yes, force us some damage for screwing up for whatever reason, I understand that, but please just don't make it so perversely punitive.For the raids... maybe, but the second these go into TLCs or map targets, they NEED to be tuned down.

This is another growing issue in the targets as they transition into the game. Xtreme precision driving. In this instance, because of the angle of attack, the isometric conversion in the game and the location of the turrets, this corner in the 113 has to be approached with a far greater amount of precision than that of any other cluster in the target. It is annoying, frustrating, and results in some of the same issues mentioned above. These sorts of things, when found in the game, should be addressed in some way, particularly given the planned longevity of the targets in the game. Possibly reduce the damage when you mess this up or scale back the range of these turrets. (Base parts targets fall well into this area of discussion.)

I do, however, have an issue with the overall repair times with the PvE fleets when VXP weekend comes around. This is something that hopefully will be addressed soon as overall repair times of these hulls continues to hover from 2-4 hours for a blank hull. Perhaps we need to split the VXP targets or adjust the payout to the type of hull. Currently, while we get the same amount of VXP for suiciding a blank PvE hull as a PvP one, the cost is greater for the PvE hull even given the increased VXP requirement of the PvP hull. The PvP hull may need as much as double the VXP, but the PvE hull takes 4x - 8x as long to repair. Again, I'm not sure what a viable option is to correct this, but there is a growing issue here and it is being compounded by the build times and the scheduling of the VXP event.

Chores :

This one is, by far, the most despised aspect of the game. There is no other subject in the game that, when brought up, universally elicits instant venom and vitriol. Maybe raid points... sometimes.

This is a particularly interesting topic because in this subject alone you see the exact mechanic of individual justification versus overall perception/requirements.

The current set of chores, when taken individually, are not that bad. The issue is when you take them as a whole.

Top end players expect to be able to cash in on their hard work and commitment. They certainly do not want to take those expensive and heavily invested-in fleets and drive targets that are hugely punitive, require precise driving and are time consuming. Particularly when there are so many of them to do.

Something to consider going forward. Raid targets are being converted into map targets. Most everybody, regardless of their level and ability to participate, now have to grind in every raid due to the high points costs for the prizes. When these targets are converted into map targets, we are not seeing a drastic reduction in damage with regard to the tuning of the map targets. This leads to the feeling that, in order to do your chore, you must yet again grind. It also seems to preclude players autoing the targets in any meaningful way, compounding the issue of time investment in the game.

Raid Points :

This is a perfect example of the dichotomy of individual/whole view I keep harping on. Individually, I can likely come up with valid reasoning behind the points requirement for an individual prize (most of the time), however, when I look at what I want to achieve in a raid, that reasoning goes right out the window.

Let's get something clear - I don't need any of the prizes... much like I don't need to play the game. I want. The issue therefore is not one of necessity (though in some instances I can make that case with the basic premise of playing the game), but one of expectation. Expectation plays a role in many of the issues I have discussed herein, but is best illustrated in this topic. Any top level PvE player has an expectation going into raids of achieving much, if not all, of what they want to do.

They have invested time and likely money in order to be at that level. It is reasonable for players in that position to have this expectation. What has happened with the advent of Charged Armors and multiple hull prizes is that these players are now feeling forced to grind and work much, much harder than in the past to achieve the same level of success that they have come to expect in raids.


Conclusion :

Whatever division of Kixeye is entrusted to come up with the overall balance of the game needs to take a hard look at what they are asking their players to do. If this overall balance is not being currently looked at and it is being parceled out piece-meal, I hope someone takes some time to look at the overall affect these issues are having to the game.

I have mentioned previously that, taken individually, I can understand the thought process and justification of much of what we are seeing, however, when taken as a whole, the time investment for basic PvE commodities in the game becomes excessive and detrimental. If players want to delve into PvP, (which, given the name Battle Pirates...) this compounds even further. Given the upcoming Bounty Hunt events, the pressure to attempt both then mounts. In many aspects, it is starting to feel like PvK(ixeye) again. This has happened in the past and we know that it is not a viable format for this game.

I hope this engenders some dialogue within the community as well as within the company, and perhaps even, help increase the dialogue between the community and the company... or something. Look, I just hope it helps in some way, ok? Thanks for reading this novella folks!


  1. Excellent as always. I really hope kixeye reads this and takes your points into consideration. Seems like such simple things but would make the game so much better.

  2. long read, but i agree with all that was said... it is becoming a joke and not fun any more

  3. Great article, spot on George.

  4. Very good article, lays it all out nicely. thanks George

  5. You obviously put a lot of time into this blog, thanks, it is well done and right on point. I'm far from being an expert in this game, very far but I agree with your assessment of the current condition. Thanks again for taking the time.

  6. great article, pity you didn't have a section devoted to bacon

  7. Well said George, many of us are at the breaking point, then need to fix it or we will just move on. I play for fun not the grind of chores, raids TLC's. When was the last time Kixeye just gave us a thank you for playing gift?

  8. Thank you George for expressing, quite well, how many of us feel about the state of the game. I feel I am one of the players falling behind and am glad my position is being represented

  9. Well. I have to admit. You not a total ...... LOL It is nice post and cover most of issue. The only problem. In past Kixeye make full from some of mod's. Hope ( little) they will lessen some of you. In any case. It is VERY NICE post. And did take a lot of time. ( do you work ?lol)

  10. Another very well written article and spot on with the points made the points needed for prizes in the last raid was extreme and that fleet will be needed fully equipped to compete in next raid cycle i myself managed to get monos and grid but i am not lucky enough to have charged armours for them and for them to work better i think they are needed again comes down to specifics needed for hull and 3 month cycles i ended up taking a time out last raid as it was frustrating me i dont mind coining etc but the schematics and honestly the way the game is going is frustrating

  11. Thank you George, exacly the feeling of a lot of my ali mates,1 year ago we were 82 members, now only 28 and almost only the 7 same players play on a regular bases.All the others left the game since kix change the way it ad be played since the start.

  12. Can't disagree with any of it George.

    I would add that the way kix is going, leading to the 'high skill' is forcing players away. I mentioned on a post previously that at least 90% of the players I deal with are unable to play as per Kixeye's 'request'. They are simply not capable.

    Same regarding the understanding the concepts of the game, I speak to people all day, that I want to ask "Why are you spending money on something that you have so little understanding of?"

    Raid points, now going mad, average players need the seat time and a lot of money.

  13. Nice write up. I've been keeping up in the game but lately, i'm starting to not care as much. With so much to do now it comes down to seat time, and with work, family etc..there just isn't as much time. So lightening the load in chores and the excessive points "requirements" in the raids will help. I hope they read your article.

  14. Posting this does what exactly? They do not care about anyone's opinion let alone yours? I feel like this is more of a bitching fest than anything productive. If you want to actually do something about the game, getting a hold of their team directly and handing them a paycheck going "here is how i want you to setup the game" is the only way to do so. If you aren't willing to spend, you shouldn't play the game, move on if you have that much issue with it, or pull out the checkbook. Simple as that.

    1. Typical elitist response. The only way for change is communication. As you can see you're in the minority ...so go take your $$ 1 click win button and go soak.

  15. Good post. Hope it gains traction with someone who can change things.

  16. splice the mainbrace, well stated article george. i'll have another rum, or maybe more after losing my whole fleet in an instant on that same corner turret that slammed you and many more . (took 34 hours to repair. first and last 113 for me.

  17. Hit the nail on the head.


  19. Great job bud, hope they finally gonna do something about our complanes.

  20. Well done George. I am glad I am not the only one see and feeling this way about the game. I also noticed repair times and build time have crept back up. It was not long ago that they reduced the build and repair times because we all were not happy and starting to not spend or play as much. This all happened when they started to communicate more with us and now they taken it away and increased build and repair times. Going right back to where we were.

  21. Well said George. I myself have been fighting the same thoughts especially about the building the next raid cycle fleet. I have fallen way behind in being able to do the TLC due to a lack of conquror fleet so I have opted to build what I NEED and forgo the next raid and catch up in the following 2 raids. This is an approach I think several players will be opting for as those of us that do not get tier 5 tokens are just being passed by on builds and cant keep up with them. I have phoenix but only got one shell built in time for vxp, and with a 12+ day total build how many could I really have built for raid anyway? Maybe it is time we form a player union and if we sit out a raid or two en masse then Kixeye will have no choice but to listen to us. Thanks----Tazman_DS

    1. i,like many others am also opting out of next raid cycle,i dont think we need to organize anything,many i have chatted with already hate the targets,the build time,the cost of the phoenix and the grind,i think kix is gonna take note by the shocking lack of particapation next raid,im sure they know how many phoenix were claimed,and already know big problems are on the horizon,,,cheers

    2. I'm lvl 95 and been sitting out 2 of 3 raids now for the last six months. I have base defense ships to build also. My alliance points have dropped from 1k to under 200 consistently. Right now, I have 40 hours of repair time to deal with. I am overwhelmed but I deal with it and continue on. But, its not good for the game, my alliance, or the people within my sector that I am on for shorter periods. I am not complaining, just stating where I am and how I see it.

  22. great job George well said hope u get a responce out of kix and they help

  23. Very well said George .. I am the the last of 33 real life friends still playing the game.. An even i don't play like i use too.. You got it right , as a '''whole '' there's just to much time an cost [repair ,build , an chores ] as a whole to have any fun left in the game .. An i thank you for taking the time to write this .. From a now part time player, an miss being a full time player .. But just not worth it any more .. P. S. No 3 piece suit words , well done ....lol

  24. Almost all of my feelings on the game ! I lost all of my friends to most of what you wrote about, we got a Facebook page only to play Battle Pirates about 5 years ago...Now they are all gone :(

  25. You articulate issues very well and in depth.

  26. i hate hyperion and will never spend a single coin for it well said dragonbane

  27. I used to worry about base defense, how my base was laid out, PVP hulls...now the only thing I can halfway keep up with is raid fleets. I may or may not be ready for the last raid of the 3 month cycle. If I get attacked...I don't even care anymore. If I can do Weekly and Raid...well then I count it as a win. I don't have time to constantly grind every "chore" there is to do. I used to spend coin, now I think it's a waste of time and money.

  28. Very well articulated and to the point. For myself, I am over doing all the chores, the seat time in the raid, the total need to be precise in driving which for one of many reasons that cause us to go that one step too far and either kill or almost kill our fleets and the increasing cost of playing this game at top level it comes to a point of when is enough, enough. I see many of my ally members who used to play at top level no longer able to, due to time and/or cost restrictions. This is a game - not a job - it should be fun and that aspect is mostly no longer there with player frustrations growing exponentially. George you have so wonderfully articulated what most of us feel. Thank you for writing this article and we can only hope that Kixeye listens and responds accordingly. Bring back the fun Kixeye

  29. Well said George. When I started the game over 5 years ago I had considerable time available to play and learn the mechanics. There was a period prior to 18 months ago where the game was not enjoyable and players complained aka recently. Kix's response was good and I became interested to play as I managed to keep up with the game for reasonable costs in time and coin. However the last 6 months has resulted in far more coin and seat time to keep up. My love of the game in that context is at the lowest point ever. While TFC and others have patiently pointed this out to Kix they refuse to acknowledge, listen and support their player base. I recently went on holiday for 2 weeks and was unable to participate in the raid. In the past this did not matter a great deal. It is the first raid I have missed since being able to participate in them. I also missed the ranking weekend. I cannot see how I can get up to speed to enjoy the game without a considerable amount of time and/or coin. I have been retired for 10 months but am unable to keep up time wise which I could do easily while working. I am not prepared anymore to play a game that frustrates me so much now. Accordingly I have made a decision not to play anymore. I am a level 99 player with all the tech with the exception of charged armours and what was in the last raid.

  30. Excellent summary or the situation. Every section and feelings voiced resonated for me.

  31. While I agree with most of what your saying the unfortunate reality is that as long as people continue to spend like they have no common sense I dont see any of these issues changing. As was quite evident this last raid even though people cry moan and complain about things when push comes to shove they still pull out the CC and push that coin button like a pavlovian dog.

  32. Great read perfectly put Dragon_Bane!!!!! I think you captured every bit of angst from the players and still keeping it real, as you said...Kixeye is a business and needs to make money. However, if making money is driving away everyone but the most serious players then the game will die. I sincerely hope this opens up a dialog and changes to the game, crazy idea but maybe bring back the fun????

  33. Agree with all of your points, but I don't see anything changing. While you've managed to lay it all out in a concise manner, none of this is new. Yet build times, repair times, point inflation and gating continue to increase. I've stopped coining. When I fall behind, I'll reactivate my WoW account like I did the last time the game tanked. I'm sure I'll be back again but only when it's enjoyable. I spend money when I have fun and won't waste time in a hamster wheel.

  34. I like what I just read and I couldn't agree more. The fun has left this game. I am a moderate coiner but I refuse to stay in this game if it stay on the track that it is on. I didn't start this game just to build raid fleets hitting bases is why I play this game. More and more I feel whats the use. Hope the game will slow down or something will change to bring back the excitement again

  35. a dry dock for ship refitting would be a great start to even the odds a bit

    1. Good idea! I would add to that:

      --"Armory", where weapons can be built & stored, reducing build/refit times
      --"Forge", for building and storing armors
      --"Naval Systems Factory", for building & storing specials.

      Changing the Launch Pad to allow multiple IPBMs (InterPirate Ballistic Missiles) to be stored was, IMO, a step in the right direction.

  36. You have really hit the nail on the head and how the rank and file player feels

  37. Your article is very well written and succinctly represents the many players who dedicate their time and money to the game. I would add one more point though. If this game is to continue to thrive then there must be a way for smaller players to make headway. When the last increase in base levels for the + or- 5 rule was introduced, level 100 bases were not so common. Now they are everywhere but the level for the rule has not increased beyond level 50. This is almost certainly why you will find an inordinate number of dead and abandoned level 50 bases. The level should be raised to at least 70 now. This will give the smaller players more time to develop and, if they feel that they can progress, perhaps they will contribute to the kixeye revenue stream as they look to build the more advanced hulls and participate in more challenging events. Kixeye may well address the issues that you have so admirably detailed above, but without a steady stream of new, paying players, it will always be the committed few who will provide the rump of Kixeye's income.(I am a captain in a top 10 global alliance).

    1. This is an issue I have raised a few times. 70 was also my suggestion. Players need to feel relevant and accomplished so that they will engage. Once there, they are far more likely to stay.

  38. Thank you George

  39. Nice job. I question if KIX will listen to us older coiners though. Seems as if the new players will drop thousands suddenly while many of us have spent thousands in 5 yrs. It's like catering to the new crowd and forgetting about the old. I am gradually dropping my coining and for instance I didn't coin the Pheonix hulls so they didn't make VXP weekend. Why it has to be one week after raid is beyond me, other then to force coining of some sort.

    BP has been the only game I play for 5 yrs but I won't lie, if I found another game that my friends also liked I would recycle base in a minute. I know many feel the same. Base hitting was fun. WAS. I don't have the time nor money to get there again and I struggle to keep base up to date and base defense was always an interest. As I recently told the leader of my alliance "I can't do both and the one I do I can't keep up".

    Back in the day when raids were every quarter you could feel a tangible excitement from all of the players regarding raid time. Now all you hear is folks groaning "its time for the raid again?".

    Finally, I remember not to long ago KIX promising they were gonna slow new content. Well I am here to say, not only did they not slow new content they actually INCREASED it. I sure would like to know why.

  40. Finally! - And I thought I was crazy. It's refreshing to finally see that someone gets it. All the frustrations, all the pain. Basically, I just figured that my time is done. Im way too far behind and the only way I could ever catch up is to coin my ass off and that's not going to happen.
    Thank you for a great article that seems to understand exactly what many players like myself are feeling and going through. Having said that... I dont expect to see any changes, but it's nice to finally be understood.

    I AM CnC

  41. P.S. Not allowing us to rank on salvages is downright ridiculous. You will still get enough folks doing VXP weekend, I know when it is in my budget I would rather do that then rank on salvage, but if it isn't in my budget I would like option to spend a million (joke) hours ranking on salvage.

  42. I am beside myself from the reaction from the community and that you all read a 3,900 / 8 page article. Thank you.

    Even more, I am exceptionally pleased at the responses I've seen here and on the f/b pages. There are few to no idiotic responses, but rather, people are expressing their agreement or their own concerns that I may have not covered as well as concerns of response from the company.

    Given this, I think it speaks very loudly as to the overall feelings that are permeating the community in the game, and if my article does not elicit a response, your massive support and solidarity alone should. Again, I say thank you.

  43. Nice writeup that sums up most of my concerns with the game. I would like to add though, that I think the toxicity in the forums are to a large part derived from the lack of proper moderation. Trolling Mods that close down legitimate posts with smart-ass remarks and merge anything and everything to a big junk heap is not helping. Neither is their tolerance of the constant Trolls of the community. From Forum rules:

    "The act of trolling...is never acceptable on the official KIXEYE forums. If you do not have something constructive or meaningful to add to a discussion, we strongly recommend you refrain from posting in that thread, and find another discussion to participate in instead."

    The constant Trolls are not even getting a slap on the wrist (bars) for their toxic inducing behavior.

    And all this falls back on Kix and CM for not properly guiding the Mods on how to manage the forums.

  44. Excellent article, very well put together and hopefully Kixeye will take note of the concerns mentioned. The amount of time needed to "enjoy" the game is actually impacting more and more on real life. Would love to see Kixeye address this.

  45. What annoys me is when i grind out the points needed for a hull or tech and see it in the next tlc. Another point we need to be able to store more tokens. We all seen the tlc where they offered 7 one day tokens when we could only hold two.

  46. Excellent article George. Let us all hope Kix are listening

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  48. Well said George, a very well written article. You have expressed the many concerns most people are suffering with BP & i'm sure most are in agreeance with this post, including & definatley me..

  49. A day late and a dollar short in seeing and commenting on your excellent "State of the Game" post, George.

    For at least 2 1/2 years members have been asking Kixeye for a 2nd Shipyard so we could do multiple things (build, refit, PvE AND PvP, etc.) because it was quite evident that Kixeye would continue LONG build/refit times and couple that with LONG repair times. A 2nd Shipyard was a simple way to mitigate some of that "falling farther behind" reality, and that reality has become exacerbated with the split imposed by Kixeye between PvE and PvP and NOT being able to use fleets for various targets. In short, Kixeye has taken the ability to innovate and play away from the players and designed it so that players MUST play "Kixeye's way" or not at all.

    The result has been the frustration your article eloquently speaks about more and more players (just look at the "online player" numbers) simply choosing to get out of the rat race that Kixeye has built. For me, I didn't get a Raid fleet done until DURING the 3rd raid, could not get the ridiculous amount of points needed, etc. Not much different that all but the very top group of players. So the player "gap" widens even further.

    Your comments about "expectations" is the, imho, KEY point. Having to stay glued to a chair for days on end is not what is expected from any game. NOT being able to get what you expect even after devoting DAYS to the game is not what is expected. Suffice it to say, the loss of players will continue and new players will not stay in the game. "Old Age" will set in and sooner or later only the "top dogs" will be left and they won't play against each other (at least not to any great extent....that's why level 50+ plus players are hit so often rather than higher level bases). Raising the limit to 70 may help, but it's a band-aid just like raising from 40 to 50 was...it didn't take long for 50 to BE the old 40, eh?

    Finally, it is very much appreciated that you took the time to compose and post your analysis of the "State of the Game". Most of us have given up commenting and posting (on the Forum or elsewhere) because we see it as simple "tilting at windmills". Kixeye has not and will not listen to the player base. That is my (oure?) "expectation" of any meaningful response from Kixeye (like their "Tokens" supposed answer to build times instead of a 2nd Shipyard). "Band-aids" simply is how Kixeye approaches things...and they won't "stick" beyond a very short time before they fall off those that can afford to get some "Band-aids" and prove useless to the majority who can't even afford the limited use they might give us.

    Again, George, many thanks for posting what the true "State of the Game" is. I doubt Kixeye is listening though. Sad, since we already know this stuff and they are the ones who need to learn it and QUICKLY take it to heart.

  50. Many players i know are still playing only because of the friends they have. I can read their frustrations in the manner they talk about their hopeless position they find themselves in.

  51. a well scripted article and it brings home to all of us old and bolds just how much the game has changed and makes us question ourselves on a more frequent basis 'just why are we still playing'??
    i have been on the knife edge for more than a year now. i coin moderately nowadays compared to being a pretty heavy coiner 2+ years ago. i barely manage to stay current and i think the only reason why i still do is the added seat time that is expected from us. i have a family and a life outside of bp so each month i struggle to find the required time to get the points needed and chores done to stay 'up there'.
    my knife edge is becoming thinner and thinner and i can see in the very near future i will fall off and recycle the 4 years of investment in a blink of an eye.
    will kixeye listen to us ?? i doubt it very much. pretty much everything you said has been an ongoing concern for a long time. small fixes keep us interested just enough to bleed a few more months of play from us and then gradually things start to creep back and become worse than they originally were.
    once again i thank you and all of the team for the time and effort you give for us the community but sadly as always i believe it will just fall onto deaf ears.
    i am a lvl 110 and pray that things will change............. heres hoping

  52. Spot on George, great article, lets hope Kix takes it on board

  53. Excactly, well said George.

  54. stephen LawrenceJune 28, 2017 at 8:21 AM

    Great read and well laid out. Your take on repair times seemed as though you were taking the words from my mouth. I have had an issue with the 113s which I took to Kixeye as I was certain they had changed the workings of 113s in some way following the recent raid. It got to the point where I refused to hit them anymore and proceeded to downgrade to 88s. However, as you quite rightly say even in 88s everything has to be just right or one slight error results in a loss ship or maybe even fleet. Frustration builds and you get to a point where you ask yourself is it worth it. I hope Kixeye listens but I fear that everything will fall on deaf ears just as they have in the past.

  55. I started playing back when the game started an back then it was fun cause it was a base hitting an fleet fighting game with raid to get new thing to do that with now it a raid doing an fm doing game an if you find time you can try to hit a base not fun anymore

  56. Thank you for advocating for player in this well written blog. You sum up the frustrations very well. I am a level 99 and have been playing for a long time. I gave up base hitting first, then my ability to do the TLC's have become less and less, I have now thrown up my hands at base defense and am questioning whether or not to continue playing. I got the Phoenix but won't have even two hulls ready for July -- so should I continue to have them sort of ready for August??? It feels futile. My Alliance was around 60 just a few months ago and now is down to 28; with 1/2 of those players not logging on for the last 5 days. I spend all my time trying to get to tier 5 twice for the weekly because of the extraordinary repair times caused by small errors and lag -- and the fact that the targets are geared towards having those *^%%%$@ charged armors; which I don't have. I sincerely hope that Kixeye takes a look at this feedback and considers your suggestions. Thank you again for taking the time to write this as well as all the help you provide players. If it wasn't for you and others willing to help, I'm sure I would have given up the game long ago!

  57. Same old tired rant that we've seen countless times. You're basing your opinion on a couple of flawed premises. #1 Every player needs everything. This is inherently false, and completely in contrast with the pay-to-play business model. You can easily keep up to date with tokens etc., what you can't do is have every fleet and do every tiny bit of content without paying. You have to choose, pvp vs pve, one is doable, wanting both will cost you. #2 Kixeye doesn't engage the audience. This is also false. They are as engaging, if not moreso as any gaming company I have seen in my 25 years of gaming going all the way back to DAOC and UO. GD's have repeatedly been on shows, giving a level of interaction that is rarely seen outside of Conventions. I think it's just a limited experience that makes this idea pop up repeatedly. They do engage, and they do explain what's going on, what they don't do is give the players everything they want. They don't have to, and given that BP is long past the shelf life of the genre (FB flash etc.), they're actually doing quite well. I think the fact that GD's have engaged the audience actually makes this worse, as now every single pirate thinks his/her voice needs to be heard, and all you have to do is listen to BV or TFC for 15 minutes to hear about 3 ridiculous ideas that should never even be considered by GD's/Kixeye.
    I honestly feel the biggest problem facing players is the lack of good, consistent advice coming from those who have an audience. Making a mistake on a 17 day build is HUGE for most players, and can easily be the difference between a successful raid and a failed one. It took way too long for people to hop on the zelos bandwagon, it's been able to do this entire raid cycle for no coins, with literally 1 ship. Every single person with an audience should have been screaming "BUILD THIS HULL if you have it", but no, we were getting pun/cit designs, and IB designs, and mono designs. All of which took longer to build, and performed worse overall for the last 3 months. Everyone is too busy promoting their own content/builds instead of providing the best content for the average pirate.
    You want to help players, stop reinforcing the idea that we're all victims of the evil Kixeye, and put out good information.

    1. I'm not sure what you read or what predispositions you carried reading this but...

      1. I never even intimated that players needs everything. Not sure where you got that from.

      2. I did not speak to their engagement. I am intimately familiar with the scope of their engagement. I spoke to communication with regard to the player base. There is a huge distinction.

      3. The shows are open format and engender discussion. No one is suggesting that Kixeye follow through on everything all of us say, but there have been many ideas that they have incorporated one way or another. They know what would work or wouldn't as they have a much broader informational base to make decisions from.

      4. Who is to determine what is 'the best'? We find something that works and share it. Players always have the choice to use it, incorporate it or ignore it and use their own builds. I know of no one that understood the exploit of the duality until I mentioned it. I even had several discussions about it after I built it with Kix devs. I certainly didn't see you shouting from the rooftops in March to build Zeloses- either exploit version or quake version.

      5. I see nothing at all in that article that even intimates a victim mentality. Again, I think you brought your own predispositions to the article. I merely laid out issues as they were expressed to me or ones I was seeing myself. The article was well received by both the player base as well as Kixeye. There was no adversarial air to any discussions and certainly nothing like this response from any side. Companies appreciate a good insightful overview of issues that may be current or impending. Consultants (which I do some consulting) get paid to do just what I did here. If you don't see the neutral position in this article/presentation, I have no idea what to tell you. Sorry.

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  59. Great article and great read shot m8... Thank you George for being the voice of reason...

  60. glad to see i am not the only frustrated/ ready to just quit player around

  61. A good start from Kix would be to admit they changed the percentage chance of rolling a DoS or BB crew! Either by lowering the chance of rolling or increasing the odds of rolling all the other crews thus reducing the chance of rolling Dos or BB crew.

  62. Great article. I agree with everything.

    One of my frustrations (maybe small, but adds to the total) is that it is no longer fun to help your mates or sector to defend. Almost impossible to catch incoming fleets and when I do catch I can hardly scratch them. The difference between my fleets and PVP fleets is so big. And my shipyard is busy (to complete my fm fleet and then the next raids fleet)

  63. And Kixeye will nod their heads, reassure us that they are laser focussed on listening and carry on doing the same thing.

    They will do that because they only listen to their data. Until player behaviour changes then I am afraid that Kixeye will not.

    If players start leaving Kixeye will reassure themselves that this is normal for an old flash game and they have done well. Not accepting that they could have easily retained these players.

    Well said George and spot on, but I am not confident that they are listening at all. Asa heavy coining player I feel like they are laughing at us. I am having in by my finger nails with faint hope. Only because of friends, not because of the game.

  64. This game was at the breaking point over 2 years ago when i quit. now it is the "boiling pot" that all the frogs are stewing in not realizing it is already boiling. -Sickinger_immortal