Jump to content

How to kill the grind without killing progression


Recommended Posts

I've been away from this forum for quite a while, but I came back a couple of days ago and saw the Ardent Peak announcement which has revitalized my interest in this project.  So, I've been thinking about the long debated issue of PvP upgrades and came up with the following proposal:

Balancing Gold:

My idea is to make upgrades work like levels in an RPG, in that each upgrade costs more than the previous one (up to a cap).  Each player would have a total upgrade level based on all the upgrades on all the cards in their collection, and the higher the level, the more it costs to apply new upgrades.  

The purpose of this would be to make it so that PvP players and PvE speedrunners are able to get a fully functional deck fairly quickly without upgrades being a bottleneck.  What makes this different from the other proposals I've seen is that it preserves (even extends) the player progression that is collecting upgrades.  Since the upgrade costs ramps up with each upgrade you apply, it would still take a very long time to get all 1,617 upgrades (3 for each card in the game); thus preserving the long-lasting, difficult to achieve end game goal for PvE players and completionists.

I haven't worked out a perfect formula for this, and these numbers are entirely dependent on the rate at which we get BFP and how much gold the upgrades themselves cost, but the end result should look something like this is terms of how long it takes to fully upgrade your decks:

  • First deck takes 10 hours of play to fully upgrade
  • Second deck takes 15 hours to fully upgrade
  • Third deck takes 25 hours to fully upgrade
  • Fourth deck takes 40 hours
  • Fifth deck takes 60 hours
  • Each 20 cards after the first 80 take 60 hours to fully upgrade (an average of 1 upgrade per hour)

When you get to the point of having played 150 hours, you have five fully upgraded decks to choose from (more than most players would even regularly use); but as far as game progress goes, you've only completed 18.5% of the game as far as upgrades go (100/539 cards upgraded), and you'd still have a long way to go time-wise before getting all upgrades.  I think it should be balanced so that it would take at least 1000 hours to fully upgrade every card in the game.  With the rate of increase in time it takes to upgrade 20 cards I suggested above (capped at 60 hours per 20 cards), it would take 1470 hours to get all upgrades.  We could adjust the hard cap to be 50 (1250 hours) or 40 (1010 hours), or whatever seems best (maybe we want to make it take 2000+ hours).  We could even replace the hard cap with a soft cap that ramps up more slowly and adjust the entire curve.

The idea is that this system would give players a good pace to work with.  The goal would be to balance the system so that by the time most players feel like trying a new deck, they have about enough gold to fully upgrade it, but there is still a long-lasting sense of progression due to the large amount of time it would take to get enough gold to upgrade all cards.  This is a way to make upgrading cards slower than collecting cards without crippling people in PvP.  
Balancing BFP:

It is also equally important that we properly pace BFP income in order to avoid the PvP grind—you can't upgrade cards you don't own.  While decks will be a lot more playable without optimal cards than they would without upgrades and charges (e.g. Witchclaws aren't that much worse than Dreadcharger, and a deck with u3 Witchclaws and full charges will destroy a deck with u1 Dreadchargers), this is still a problem and a big barrier to new players (and veterans that don't want to grind) that doesn't need to exist now that the game is not P2W.

The new quest system could be the perfect solution to this problem.  The idea would be to do the usual F2P thing and give new accounts a bunch of high reward quests to give them an early BFP boost (or even to give them essential cards, see below).  This will help PvP'ers and speedrunners get their first decks built quickly so that they can enjoy the game.  This is also a common trick to help with player retention—players are more likely to keep playing if they think they're getting a lot of rewards and making quick progress/generally doing well in the game.

All quest rewards should be account bound in order to prevent multi-accounting (BFP/cards gained from quests cannot be sold, traded, or attached to mail).  I know that cards can be account bound, but if that's not possible for BFP (I imagine such a thing is currently not implemented), players should be rewarded with a card of their choice (could give the player a randomly generated list of cards to choose from, maybe with a bias towards good PvP/speedrunning cards) for completing these one-time high-reward quests.

Balancing Rarity & Enabling Diversity:

My original thought for balancing card rarity was to remove the card charge system.  The charge system serves no purpose in a true F2P game (it's purely a money grab) and it causes problems with rarity distribution (it's much harder to fully charge an UR card than a UC/C card).  This can make decks such as pure shadow, pure nature, (and also pure fire due to the market not being flooded with promo Firedancers) unplayable for players until they've amassed a huge amount of BFP to buy four copies of those essential ultra rares.  In the end, I realized that removing the charge system is probably unnecessary, as we can fix the problem more easily using other methods.

The simpler solution is just to to greatly increase the chances of getting URs and Rs in packs.  Let's think about the purpose of rarity in CCGs.  Sure, it's exciting to open a pack and get a super rare card in it, but that's really not primary purpose—it's just a small side benefit.  The real purpose of rarity systems is $$$.  By making a few very powerful/specialized cards that are required to play certain decks, companies can get players to buy insane amounts of card packs in order to get those super rare cards—that is the real purpose of card rarity; and what EA has done with Battleforge is no different.

So, if we increase the chance of getting URs, we're essentially 'unlocking' those decks that need URs to function properly—thus allowing players to play the decks they want to play and increasing the overall diversity of decks played.  Otherwise we'd just see endless shadow/frost and fire/nature (which we'll see a lot of anyway, but at least this way we get some pure shadow, pure fire, and pure nature too).

Another possible solution is to create four main questlines—one for each color.  These questlines would be a series of quests that give players some big rewards in the form of essential PvP (and maybe speedrunning) R and UR pure cards.  These quests should be fairly involved and should take a while to complete—the quest conditions should be things that make the player commit to a certain color (at least a little bit).  I'm not sure what kinds of in-game stats the devs have access to, but quests like "Play X shadow cards", "Build X nature orbs", or "Upgrade a fire card to U3" would work.  Here would be the total rewards that each questline should give (in no particular order):

Fire:  Firedancer, Juggernaut, Wildfire
Nature:  Parasite Swarm, Shrine of Memory, Spikeroot
Shadow:  Harvester, Nether Warp (B), Shadow Mage
Frost:  War Eagle, Area Ice Shield, Northstar (B)

Players should receive four copies of each card upon completing the corresponding quest.  This would give players the necessary PvP URs (and many of the Rs) needed to build a competitive PvP pure deck.  Speedrunning cards could be added as well, but I'm not familiar enough with speedrunning to know what those would be.  I'm aware that the rewards in the list above are not evenly balanced in terms of rarity/usefulness, but note that these cards will become nearly worthless on the AH anyway since every player gets them for free, so it doesn't really matter.

Final Thoughts:

As a final note regarding rewards, I would strongly urge the developers to make PvP and PvE rewards equal (per time spent playing); there's no reason for one to give more rewards than the other.  I would also (less strongly) urge the developers not to have recurring PvP/PvE specific quests.  While it's a good thing to have one-time quests of this type just to get people to try each mode of play, it must be realized that some people simply don't enjoy PvP, and likewise, some people just don't enjoy PvE—players shouldn't be forced to play one or the other in order to keep up in rewards.

It is very important that we both prevent returning veterans from not coming back because they can't bear the though of doing all that grinding again in order to get a playable PvP deck (many people have already said they won't play the game again if they have to grind to get their decks back), as well as prevent new players from being daunted by the amount of time it takes to get the cards and upgrades to become competitive in PvP.  This also applies to speedrunning in the same way, as upgrades are vital there as well.  I want the playerbase to be as big as possible, and I want this game to be as good as it can possibly be.

Notice that every successful F2P game has given players a very large boost in rewards when they first start playing that slowly drops off.  We should do the same, as it's very important for player retention.  Battleforge is also a special case, since most of the player base will have already done the grind, and many are not willing to do it all over again.  Let's not make the same mistakes EA made back when they had no clue how to manage a F2P game.

Edited by synthc
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I like the ideas in this thread i think hawk and the team really should look it over take some of it see where it can be integrated into the game before open beta, and where some stuff will have to wait till everything is working and stable and build  a whole new system .

Remove all the old P2W/F2P/P2P elements that remain  remove or fix in some way.

as for multi accounting , like you said find a way to lock stuff maybe reward a new kind of currency which will be account locked  could be done via  a third party api like the one they are already planning on making the missions on the website linked to the game database through a router database, so in example in the site you get some points which cannot be traded, but you could buy cards directly with them through the site perhaps, and than the cards should be locked for like say a year ? or perma not tradable , like they did with lord cyrian /moloch  and the promo grinder later.

that is one way to combat multi accounting.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the ideas you have conveyed here warrant some serious looking into. The system as created is not conducive for what we want to achieve with our reborn game and we should be looking to other successful f2p games as models. I would be on board with all of the changes you outlined.

As a side thought, if we need money to help fund the servers, I think selling old promo cards might serve as a useful cosmetic or prestige incentive for drawing in revenue. It could also function as a "Donation-level" indicator, where your donations are added up and each time you hit a threshold you "unlock" a new promo card. Especially if UR cards are more balanced in their distribution like Synthc is suggesting, this shouldn't cause a P2W issue.

I believe they stated somewhere ages ago they will just be putting the promos in the boosters. I think this would be a wasted opportunity to use cosmetics for server upkeep.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Menchrese said:

as for multi accounting , like you said find a way to lock stuff maybe reward a new kind of currency which will be account locked  could be done via  a third party api like the one they are already planning on making the missions on the website linked to the game database through a router database, so in example in the site you get some points which cannot be traded, but you could buy cards directly with them through the site perhaps, and than the cards should be locked for like say a year ? or perma not tradable , like they did with lord cyrian /moloch  and the promo grinder later.

that is one way to combat multi accounting.

I didn't realize that Lord Cyrian, promo Grinder, and Moloch (no promo version?) were not tradeable.  If this is the case and the original game had something like a "nonTradeable" flag for cards, then that would make locking down cards easy—we would just need to recover that functionality.  I definitely agree that locking down cards is the best option; I only suggested alternatives to that because I thought it would be hard to implement.  Having a separate currency like you suggested would also make it clearer to players which currency is bound to their account and which they can freely trade and buy "unbound" cards with.

In this case, giving new accounts a unique, one-time questline that gives lots of account-bound BFP, and having any cards bought with that BFP be bound to the account is definitely the way to go.  You could also treat this questline as a sort of extended tutorial that guides players through all the different aspects of the game and helps them learn some of the more advanced stuff (rewards are a great way to get people to play tutorials).  This is a very common strategy for teaching players the game and getting them some early rewards to jump-start their gameplay experience—all in all, it's proven to help significantly with early player retention.

I should also stress that this stuff is especially important for this game since we will probably not have a very big player base.  After the initial post-release rush, I expect to see an average of 20-60 people online at any given time—maybe a couple hundred if we're lucky and do everything right (most importantly advertising/community building, and this—ensuring there is a good progression for new players).  This means that having a slow grind for PvP would be completely unacceptable.  It's somewhat OK in a game with thousands of concurrent players online because you can usually get matched against someone who has a similar level to you; but in a game with a small player base it would just be utterly crushing for a new player to constantly get matched up against people with level 120 decks.  They would have no chance whatsoever and would just leave the game in frustration.

As a side note, I realized that there is a loophole that could be abused with the account bound BFP system: you farm these bound BFP on a smurf account and then transfer them to your main account by listing a cheap common card on the AH for a high price and buying that card from your smurf account.  This would "unbind" the BFP while transferring them to your main account.  Fortunately, I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere that the devs were planning on setting up a system that flags these kinds of AH transactions as potential multi-accounting or real currency trading.  So this system should be able to prevent this kind of exploit, or at least may it a slow enough process that it wouldn't be worth it vs just gaining rewards normally on your main account.

11 hours ago, WindHunter said:

As a side thought, if we need money to help fund the servers, I think selling old promo cards might serve as a useful cosmetic or prestige incentive for drawing in revenue. It could also function as a "Donation-level" indicator, where your donations are added up and each time you hit a threshold you "unlock" a new promo card. Especially if UR cards are more balanced in their distribution like Synthc is suggesting, this shouldn't cause a P2W issue.

I believe they stated somewhere ages ago they will just be putting the promos in the boosters. I think this would be a wasted opportunity to use cosmetics for server upkeep.

I like the idea, and I agree that it wouldn't have a significant P2W effect, but I think that as a matter of principle we should probably avoid "selling" any kind of in-game content (even though EA has surprisingly said that we can monetize the game "to a degree"—whatever that means).  I think I would be OK with this if the charge system were removed or if players were required to trade in four copies of the card that they're getting the promo for—this would completely avoid a P2W situation because you'd have to already have the card fully charged before getting the promo.  That said, we've already seen that people are quite willing to donate even when they're getting no rewards for it, so hopefully there will be no need to incentivize donations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking about the Currency / Upgrade etc System today. The Currency needs to be reduced to a maximum of 2 different ones. 


Battleforge Points : Can be obtained by spending Real Money and from "buying" them with Skylords Points. They are tradeable and used to
                    buy Tomes and Packs etc. Maybe later Skins or Promos or whatnot.


Skylords Points( Gold ):     Can be obtained through playing PvP and PvE. 


No Idea how Economics work but my Solution is ( easy - version ) that you get them over time. Which Means for

PvP: you get X Skylords Points for a Match Duration. Which decreases over Time or just has a Cap. You only gain them in Ranked of course. Winners gain a little more.

PvE: Quite the same. Depends on the various Missions and how long they might take. So if you manage to do Mission X in under 9 Min you gain 100 and 
     for 12 min you get 80 or so. So you still need to watch what your doing. Sure it will be standard in no Time with Guides and YouTube Videos but
     that cant be stopped anyway. Yet it makes a difference to newer Players to get better or build different PvE Decks.

Dailys / Achievments: Various Quests that could be implemented. Do 3 PvP Missions. Finish Mission X. 


Now we come to how this affects the Cards and Upgrade Mechanic. 

CHange the Charge Mechanic. I by myself think its a good way to get everyone to stick with 
a Starter Deck and improve it slowly over Time. If everything becomes to easy it might become worthless and boring. 
So my Idea is this. You dont need a second or third or fourth Copy of any Card to Upgrade Charges or Level. Instead you use the Skylords Points.
Upgrade 1: 200                Charge+ 1: 200
Upgrade 2: 400                 Charge+ 2: 400

etc etc 

So you have to play PvE or PvP to obtain thos Points and earn your fully upgraded Decks. You cannot buy them through Battleforge Points. The only
way to get them is through playing. 
But what about People starting to play the Game new?
Well they have to play and earn it like everybody else did. Yes the other Decks are stronger , have more charges etc. 
But thats the same in every other Game too that has a Currency or Lvling Mechanic. For me thats not a negative thing at all. it keeps players playing. 
Thats what everyone wants. First they earn them through the easier Missions and later more through harder Missions or PvP. Low Rank PvP will have less advanced
decks so you play with players to your equal Level. You will lose, but you will have to learn the Game anyways. Also the Progress for Players is a little slower and 
more rewarding: A way to keep them in the Game. 
 

 

Just an Idea, might not be perfect :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...
9 hours ago, Kajamaz said:

Simple solution, allow cards to level up via pvp. Done said deal!

Later on in the original game you could upgrade cards using battle tokens which were earned by playing PvP, but it was pitifully slow.  The devs have confirmed that you will earn gold (now the only thing used to upgrade cards) by playing PvP.  I did update my original post to mention that PvP and PvE rewards should be equal.

I also updated and clarified some other things in the post.

Kajamaz likes this
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/29/2017 at 9:14 PM, synthc said:

Later on in the original game you could upgrade cards using battle tokens which were earned by playing PvP, but it was pitifully slow.  The devs have confirmed that you will earn gold (now the only thing used to upgrade cards) by playing PvP.  I did update my original post to mention that PvP and PvE rewards should be equal.

I also updated and clarified some other things in the post.

I have accepted this compromise!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Terms of Use