Repeating past mistakes... where will that lead?
By: George Argyropoulos
I'm not exactly sure who the brain-trust is at the moment, but bloody hell, it's just after Christmas. It's time for good cheer, not smacking your customers upside the head. I don't even feel like making a funny from that, I'm just going to hop right in.
If I were running a business, at least one that wanted people to give me money, I would make sure I gave them every opportunity to do so. Why you would want to lock customers out of a possible revenue generating avenue (TLC's, FM, Events due to hull choice/limitation), I can't fathom. It is business suicide. Death by a thousand cuts. I would absolutely LOVE someone to explain to me the thought process behind all of these decisions that essentially limit access to players, thereby limiting the company's potential access to said player's wallets.
The Raid - Part I :
I have to admit, I loved the first two raids. In the first raid could do the Fang targets well and the players that got the Hunter fleets out were reaping the benefits. At this point I and many other players began asking what the repercussions would be of a target specifically designed around a particular hull. We were ignored.
In the second, the Hunters took over and performed exceptionally well in their target in the intended fashion in which the hull was designed- autoing. Again, the questions about targets designed with such specificity transitioning to the map and TLCs arose and was heartily ignored. The Hunter though, performed impeccably. I loved the hull, I loved the option, I loved that it worked as intended - at least as we had been led to believe was intended!!
In the final raid of the set, I was less than amused. The 'auto' target was tuned such that last minute changes to the builds were necessitated (huge thanks to THOR again for testing so much out!), not by the requirement for escalation weapons (they were pretty much needed as well), but in the mechanics that we dealt with in the targets. This is NOT how this is supposed to go.
This is not a raid set anymore, it has become individual raids with an enormous amount of pressure put on the players to 'keep up' month-to-month rather than allowing them to concentrate on, you know, playing the f***ing game. I really worry about how this is going to play out with a 4 month raid set while there is a concurrent FM change going on that the players are going to have to adjust to. This is a path of folly that is going to end up alienating even your most carefree spenders in the game.
The Raid - Part II :
Hope Release : This was a mistake. I understand that the company wanted to get these in people's hands before the ominous T7 hulls made their appearance, however, if you stop and think about this a moment, you'll realize that the reasoning behind that is self-defeating. The company knew the hull would have a limited shelf-life- why in the hell would you release it: 1. That late into its projected life-span; 2. Release it in a specialized PvP event that caters to PvP thereby devaluing that event and; 3. Why even create the need for the hull in the first place if the transition was immenently forthcoming? Is it truly that hard to balance PvP month-to-month? Try reading this and understanding the actual meaning of the word: READ ME
Trident? : This was a clusterf***. Again, changes to the FM necessitated the need for an anti-rocket countermeasure. There are two in the game. Why-o-why would you want to purposefully lock players out of an avenue of revenue generation?!? Particularly one that is universally perceived as a necessity of the game, AND, of which players essentially believe if you can not advance, you shouldn't even play. GIVE THEM THE MOTHER******* TRIDENT! Why is this so hard to understand? If you frustrate players, they DON'T WANT TO PLAY. You run a business based on players wanting to play your game, yet it seems you take every opportunity to push them out of the game. Why?!?
MOW and Ancillaries : Seriously? You haven't nickel and dimed us to death yet so you decided to kick us square in the balls and not only pull the MOWs, but then crudely (I mean CRUDELY) attempt to monetize Uranium, Titanium and Base Parts? Get the hell out of here with that crap. Players are refusing to buy the crapola 70 gold for $4.99 deal because they feel gypped and you think they're going to do this? I flatly refuse to do any of those. I will not buy the 70 gold bullshit offer and I will not buy uranium or titanium or base parts during a raid. You have absolutely CONVINCED me to either make sure I'm loaded up with crews and resources before a raid or just suffer through a couple days without. If that means that I get frustrated and don't want to play? I guess you won't be getting any more money from me either. See how that works?
Charged Armor : 12 Million points per. Because you obviously heard how much the community was begging to be shackled to a computer for 6 days. Because you clearly heard the community outcry that there needed to be an increase in total overall points for a fulfilling experience. Because you clearly heard the community begging you to increase the cost of a now-needed component in the game. Might I suggest: These Guys
Agility 4 : Sweet and short. Heavy PvP presence in the prize list. Very much used in PvP and an apparently required special for TLCs in some instances. Where the hell was it?!?
Generic Tokens : Remember when players would complain about build and refit times and the company would respond 'But... Tokens!'? Yea, well, where the hell did they go. Hull/Store raids used to have 10 days of tokens. Given the averaged loss in the FM and the averaged loss in the raids, you'd think they'd have done this because the builds times were reduced or something, right?
Other Tokens : Speaking of Tokens, those hull specific tokens? Cannoneer, a now tier B hull -maybe, 1 day token at 3 million points, the exact same amount per token as that JUST released Hope?!? Da fuq? Yet the King's Writ token is only 2 million points? Do you not see the apparent repercussions of shitty game balance sitting right in front of you as you write these numbers?!? Seriously - you may want to re-think Toking Tuesday going forward.
Build and Repair time on Auto Hull :
I think this is self explanatory. Sure, it's about the same build time as past hulls... except... less tokens... except... the necessitating of two fleets per cycle... except... concurrent refit/build requirements to the FM fleets. See where this is headed? And you thought I was flipping my **** above for no reason, yea?
Oh! Lest I forget- because of the ever increasing amount of health these ships continue to have (because, you know, designing balance within the confines of the mechanics of the game is apparently too ****ing difficult) there is an annoying little niggle of math that is starting to rear its ugly little head. (Thanks to Rooster of SDS7 for helping me test this out.) You know that little .5% disparity between Siege Battery and Front Line CM and Garrison Battery in the Turret Defense statistic... it makes a difference now. Given the absolute bollocks of a repair efficiency ratio on this hull, and watching this trend continue, I foresee this becoming a serious decision in special choice going forward.
Auto-Hull Offered First :
Didn't we try this before? How'd that work out again? Is there a reason this company insists on repeating decisions that failed before rather than repeat those decisions that actually produced success? Clearly someone needs to look at 2016 and then 2017 and then go look at the P&L statements. Even a 12 year old could deduce the apparent trends and draw a decent conclusive analysis.
Clear as Mud :
Communication is at about an all-time at-the-bottom-of-the-sty-covered-in-shit low. References to things that are non-existent persist. See that raid briefing? Recommended level to hit in raid? Where the hell do I find that? I mean, seriously, if I don't know what the hell the level is, nor where to find that information, do you really think a casual player is going to be able to find that information out? And why the hell do we still have level limits on raid targets? Where is the info for the level references? Given the enormity of players that you have driven out of the game, you'd think you would incorporate some options for those players to come back without being utterly and completely boned and lost.
What about the next raid? Do we presume we are seeing the raid targets as part of the 120's currently on the map? Do we presume that the VXP weekend was foreshadowing Zoe and that fat glowing moldy bastard having some illigitimate devil spawn and we'll see Reaver targets that are 'Legion Controlled'? Wtf is up with the weird ass missiles you can't shoot down in the 120? And what's with the flying red-nosed penis in there?
Speaking of questionable communication... what about that POS special you pushed out for the Bucc? Still zero clarity why we had such a (on its face) POS special pushed. Anyone have some dice to throw? You'll probably have as much of a chance of pulling a good answer out of the air as getting any direction from these guys.
The FM :
Seriously, you've botched this thing so many times this year now I'm beginning to think you're doing it on purpose to **** with the players. WHY do I need 2 zelos to walk through those targets? WHY are they changing again? WHY are you making the 'fun' option in the FM punitive to do? WHY are you hamstringing the 'fun' options in the game for every damn thing? And why in the hell wasn't this communicated BEFORE it happened? Hell, WHY hasn't it been communicated YET?!?! We don't know if this is intended, a bug or some super secret plan to re-tune the FM early. C'mon!
Let's just gloss over the fact that just two weeks ago the IB fleets that are currently getting pummeled were offered in game for purchase for about $90 US. That isn't chump change for most people. We don't want to mention that point, yea?
Has anyone in the company tried to actually hit a base during this bounty? I mean a decent base? with the venerable Bus/Writ fleet? Yea, great "PvP" event. And the plethora of Jackpots on day one and next to nothing since? What about all those players that have to work and start the Bounty later? If anyone thinks that the first huge big batch of jackpots is somehow going to 'trickle down' they clearly do not understand the mechanics of the bounty function, nor the current status of PvP. That we have explained it ad nauseum on the shows and the company still doesn't understand... Smh. I don't want to hear statistics like 'we saw a X% win rate blah, blah, blah.'. Go out into the game and WATCH what is actually going on. You have the power and ability. Use them properly.
I can't even. There is so much screwed up in PvP that I don't really know where to start. The abhorrent extreme swings in balance suck. The basic ideas inherent in PvP are boned because FvF is completely botched. You have required such specialization that you can't even have a fleet capable of stemming off a snipe. Something needs to be done to bring the WHOLE back into balance. Players that coined up fleets get LIVID getting sniped by some dweeb hiding under a bubble. Their very niche fleets are absolutely vulnerable because you can't have a 'sub-hunter' taking up a slot. Sniping has become a bane in the game and the 'adjustment' to the sub repair requirement was crap. It does nothing but hurt players trying to complete TLCs or targets now. Bases, hulls and defenses have become so complex and complicated players spend hours trying to puzzle through everything which is exacerbated by the company's insistence on obfuscation and information suppression. We won't even touch upon the fact that the company releases new content faster then Trump jumps onto twitter when upset. This is the TL/DNR version btw.
Here is a CHALLENGE to Kixeye: Get PvP base attack/defense somewhat balanced in the next few weeks. Idgaf how, just make SURE it works. Then have a PvP weekend event with these stipulations:
1. 2 coin on the map repair of any Baser fleet. Let the dead fleet sit on map in case of lag or disconnection or allow the same in base.
2. Instant repair of base and defending fleet when a player is online or logs in.
3. Suspend Medals. This is for fun. Make it so there is no ancillary 'loss' tied to this.
4. Block sniping of fleets.
Run it. Watch the numbers. Look at the participation. Look at the profit. Thank me by sending me gobs and gobs of gold. THAT will get players PLAYING FOR FUN again. Learn from Black Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?). Learn from the complaints. Learn from the loss of players. But for the love of all that is holy, LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES! Stop repeating them!!!
Similarly to the PvP bit, this is the ultra fast version. PvE is completely and utterly screwed. Worse than PvP if that can be believed. Balance is out the window and replaced by specific niche requirements. Previous class builds are negated at the outset. They are relegated to grind options only. You know how fun that is during a raid that requires hundreds of millions of points to 'keep up'?? The addition of escalation weapons and specials was stupid and unnecessary. The requirement of building both fleets of a cycle is insane. WE WANT TO PLAY THE GAME. The way PvE is going is abhorrent. I want tokens. I want old fleet TLCs. I want free time in my shipyard to do FUN things like play with those old hulls to experiment and puzzle out options for all the f'n CHORES I have to do. (I do have an article started about Expeditions - and it's actually a positive one, but I have a little bit of a different take on them than others). In the old days one of the most fun things that we as players would do is come up with these odd and fringe builds and have some fun whacking each other and the random target or three. FvF is dead outside of sniping because both PvP and PvE are completely and utterly fucked.
Yea, I can't even continue this. I hate writing these types of articles and unfortunately it seems that I am doing so more and more often. This article came out 6 months ago... and so many issues are still applicable. Not a good trend. Is this a bit rough and blunt? Yea. Partly because I'm really, really annoyed at what is continuing to happen and partly because I'm still recovering from having to fully strip this lappy down and replace mb, cpu, memory, hdd, etc., etc. It may have spilled over a little.
Happy new year everyone!