4.4 Update Preview Discussion

These posts were copied over from the streaming thread to avoid filling that up with non-stream discussion.

I read Salty’s comment here as support of what Lyrian wrote above: while the average amount of gems awarded may be similar, the variance will go up (that’s the only way you can have larger max payouts while keeping the expectation the same). And, thus, the low end of the rewards will have to be either lower or more frequent.

Which brings us back to the point mentioned during the beta. I, at least, don’t care for this kind of rewards system. The fact that the devs continue to pursue rewards structured like this—after the original Dungeons, and Treasure Gnomes, and Orbs, and…—says that someone does. Whether that someone is players (which would put me in a minority here), the devs, or publishers (who are preying on player psychology), I cannot say.

I guess I don’t like the implications of the update starting with “these changes are controversial”.

What’s the point of beta testers if, as we’ve seen now:

  • They don’t get to test the bulk of new features.
  • Their feedback is not valued.

Is it just to say you made a token effort and get some feel-good points?

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I do have something to say in regards to the Delve issue, and that is that it isn’t as high a priority as other fixes we would like to bring to the game. Right now, what I am pushing for the most (as well as a lot of our team) is the re-introduction of old weapons.

To say that we ignore the community is wrong. Yes, we may not get to things as quickly as you’d like, but we very frequently address your concerns. Dawnbringer in Arena? Fixed. Hero class cost? Fixed. And, not only fixed, but we brought a whole new feature that players to attach hero classes to teams, as we knew that would be the next request. It took time, but it was a well thought out and implemented fix that we are very proud of.

On the other side, when it comes to Quality of Life changes, we also listen. Players with limited eyesight having problems? We got in contact and made changes to the board transparency and worked closely with them to ensure they could have the best experience possible. Troop filters? Done. Drop rates? Added. (We didn’t need to add these, but we thought it was time and did so, even though we know it’ll cause an influx of work for our support as many people don’t understand how percentages and statistics work.)

People think the AI is cheating? We ran rigorous tests and shared the results with you! (And many of you still didn’t believe us. :stuck_out_tongue: )

We can’t always meet all of the community demands, and nor should we. Some would harm the game, and others are too complicated or require a excessive amount of developer time to implement. We do what we can, when we can. We do our best to make the game the best it can be for the players, the publisher, and ourselves. Not everyone will be happy with the direction of the game, and this is a reality of live service games that need to evolve over time to stay fresh for older players and attract newer players.

I understand many of the concerns listed in this thread, but I do believe it is false to say that we do not listen to our playerbase, when we have shown consistently that we do. A lot of the changes and features in this update are ones that we have been planning for over a year, and are very excited to bring to the game. There is a point in the game where it is overwhelming for newer players, or lower level players feel that they can’t contribute to their guilds. We wanted to clean up tasks to better educate players, keep everything in one place for ease, let guilds and players in global chat help each other with team builds, have a way for players to explore new team options (brought to you by the new suggest a team feature) and make it easier for players to know how much damage their troops will do. (I’m personally so happy that there is a boost ratio calculator in game now!)

Developer schedules are tight, well in advance and subject to change. We do what we can to bring you fixes and quality of life changes where possible, though I understand your frustration over the timeline of us doing so. That being said, many developers don’t address community concerns OR bring changes to their games, so I’m very proud of the work we do here, and I constantly advocate for the important issues aired by our community with the team and our publisher.

SNEAKY QUICK EDIT TO ADD ONE MORE THING (AS IF THIS WASN’T LONG ENOUGH ALREADY AMIRITE?
I collate feedback from all of our social channels, which includes our reviews across every platform, our various social media accounts, Reddit and Discord.

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Ugh you know what I know you saw this, Salty, but I liked my last paragraph I edited in best and in it I kind of said I’d said my piece.

I get it and the rest of it isn’t healthy and we’re both editing the heck out of posts so I’m gonna call this post a mistake.

(Salty’s replied to it but for the benefit of others: I related my GoW experience to a weird Christmas where mom forgot to put my presents under the tree.

The presents were my analogy to “everyone else gets more PvP points than me and features they want, that makes me jealous and bitter.”)

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I still don’t think there’s any justification for how the PVP scores are at the moment. None whatsoever.

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Interesting analogy. We can add to that though…

You have access to troops and weapons that newer players don’t, by virtue of playing longer. You have higher stats, better troops and an easier time completing your collection.

You might not get a present, but you have a lot more than a newer player coming to the table, and now you’re upset that you don’t get more, even though you have years worth of presents from prior Christmas’s while this is their first.

Yes, human nature will likely make this feel like a let down, but it is what it is.

We have things in the work for later game players, and are looking into PVP, etc. We don’t have an ETA on this, but it is something that we would like to change for the better of our entire playerbase, especially veteran players.

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That’s all very well and I’d love to see that kind of improvement, if successful. But for the time being, the non-veteran players are supposed to be gradually reaching the point where they are matched against the veterans (emphasis on gradually). They’re not supposed to be having such a bad time that the veterans need this kind of handicap.

And if they’re not, which I suspect is actually the case, then we shouldn’t be handicapped.

Just band-aid the thing. Everyone gets 50.

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@Shimrra, you may not agree with this, but the justification is that we want to evaluate all of our options and make the best re-work possible if we choose to do so. On top of that, we have a rigorous schedule, deadlines to meet, and expectations on the future of the game from the publisher. We cannot drop everything we have in the works to meet one demand that only affects one section of our playerbase, especially when we have so many targets to meet, and so many players demanding VERY different features and fixes. (All of which are convinced that theirs is the most important, and if we fail to listen to them will result in the end of Gems of War. Which has never proven to be true, TOUCH WOOD.) Live service games work at a rapid pace, and even though we are also subject to this pace, we try our absolute hardest to act on the needs of the community and include changes and quality of life adjustments whenever we can. (See my above post where I list a few of these.)

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Well that certainly doesn’t explain why the score discrepancy was looked at a while back and then changed from bad to worse. That was when the band-aid should have been applied, instead of salt in the wound.

I mean, it obviously isn’t fair how it is now. Every time someone on the staff talks about it, it isn’t actually explained: why in blazes is it this way? What’s the justification? No smoke about how it isn’t up to the players or how there are too many demands on dev time. Tweaking the numbers to be worse was either a wrong call made too quickly, or a wrong call made after lengthy consideration and the comments on getting the best possible rework are also smoke.

And if its the publishers again, tell them having the non-vets have to actually compete fairly might get them to spend more cash trying to catch up!


Of course, I keep saying ‘non-vets’ and ‘vets’ like this is an ‘us or them’ thing, when in actuality the PVP score differs wildly between people who are within 10% of each other’s level, so it might not actually be whether or not they’re veterans. That’s just a word put in my mouth really.

Which is another problem. All these invisible levers being pulled. I’ve lost track of how many people have asked for the system to be explained. There’s not really any point in throwing shade at lower level players unless we know for sure that its the factor. Some of us are just running out of patience with the situation.

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This is essentially what I was going to comment on.

It’s a long shot, and I did have thoughts on other parts of the thread, but… can we take this:

as an acknowledgement that the way team Power scores are calculated was changed in 4.3? :stuck_out_tongue::man_shrugging:

I’m going to quote myself to re-iterate, since it still seems relevant and (I think) echoes what Shimrra was saying:

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If the “one section” that got screwed over and was complaining all over the forums was new or mid-level players the problem would already be fixed for sure.

I have read the comments about stating that veteran players have better stats and new players should be rewarded and veterans have all the goodies, but it’s not new players that are getting the rewards. I can play an alt in another guild and get 70 PVP points per game and that alt has 85% of what I have… It’s everybody else getting better rewards except those dedicated players that have done the right rhing (actively promoted by the devs/game) join a good guild, earned their stats and mythics, spent their gems and money, been logging in most days and completing new events and old alike that are getting duped more. We are all getting duped with all the gem changes, just those are getting duped more.

There’s no way you can spin that a level 1300 player can get 30% less PVP points per battle than another level 1300 player on the argument it’s ‘because you have all the presents’.

Moreover, fighting level 1300+ players with meta team as a new player will result in more losses than wins maybe until deep into the game, so new players do not go down that route, they go to explore to trait troops and re-enter PVP when more competitive.

I mean I’m a gaming veteran from the late 1970s and I can’t remember encountering a game where highest level/veteran/maxxed/end gamers (note the different titles over the years) who earned achievements were summarily punished against their similar peers like this.

I did the LB a couple of weeks back. Not in the sense I went for it, never have, i just played enough PVP for top 100 etc.

I am not end game, I don’t have everything, I’m close but no cigar, and was over L 1400 at the time and players at L 1500 were getting more than 20% more PVP points per battle due to their guilds doing no LT probably. Some on LB are getting over 30 (possibly 39) points per battle more, so when doing 1,000 battles, that is massive.

It should not be masqueraded as veterans have everything to justify the logic. The system is broken, it’s not as simple as that, and a simple fix of equalising PVP points is all it needs.

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I believe the issue is rather talking with your player base, listening is a one-way channel that eventually makes players wonder if anybody is around at all. Especially if there is no reaction from the supposedly listening party for well over several months.

Take ingots. Utterly broken system on release, only low quality drops from PvP, many high quality ingots required for the revamped kingdom power system. Questions regarding how players could possibly cope? Silence. A few words regarding the planned delve system would have prevented a lot of bad feelings.

Take weapon upgrades. Utterly broken system on release, most weapons turn into random board manipulators, which is not the way a large part of the player base wants to play. Unfortunately, we are forced to permanently wreck our weapons if we want to upgrade kingdom power. Got a minor surprise fix after several months, making a few of the mythic weapons less horrendous, fully viable solution still pending. Questions whether this is still being worked on? Silence.

Take PvP. Utterly broken system for high level players, we get punished for progressing in the game by having to fight more battles for less rewards. And to top it off, we get entirely unannounced ninja changes that make the situation significantly worse. Question regarding those ninja changes? Silence, silence, silence.

Now, this might sound a little surprising, it takes very dedicated players to wait around for well over a year to see whether feedback given was actually feedback received. It’s truly amazing how many dedicated players this game has, and it really pains me to see each day how much silence they receive in exchange for their dedication. I’d propose to try a little less listening and a little more communication, except that this proposal was done multiple times in the past and was met with silence.

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This is very good news, and I hope we can see it implemented soon. But at the same time, it’s disappointing to see that there’s such a disconnect between endgamer reality (e.g. a veteran player can get double the rewards in pvp matches just by being guildless) and the perception on your part (veterans have more troops/stuff, so they get a bit less but it’s okay).

Not meaning to sound ungrateful, I appreciate the effort put into improving the game… But we’d take more kindly to waiting for fixes if we felt our complaints are acknowledged as fair, instead of dismissed as veteran tantrums.

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That’s it, it’s not this new and old player logic that is randomly used to brush it off. Moreover it’s not even 10%, it can be players higher level than you getting more PVP points.

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On the other hand, the devs have announced a goal of making high-level Delves easier. So at least sometimes they reveal their plans before the beta.

——————

It seems like there is tension between the two statements “there is a long development pipeline” and “we don’t announce things in advance in case plans change”. Couldn’t Salty et al. make an announcement of intent as soon as something goes into the pipeline? That isn’t the same as giving a delivery date, but it would add something between “people complain” and “situation is resolved”.

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Actually high-level pure faction Delves. Unfortunately, they didn’t reveal whether they plan to achieve this goal by 2022, 2023, or later. That pure faction teams don’t perform well (to put it mildly) was pretty apparent right after the first Delves were released. It’s now nine months later, and all we know is that eventually something will be done to address it. I don’t want to sound too ungrateful, it does feel a lot like “one day mankind will settle on Mars” when asked about overpopulation.

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And still we are only able to field four troops, no matter how much bigger our collection is and how much longer we’ve played. And they often tend to be the very same four troops those newer players are fielding. For what it’s worth, I’ve been using a single PvP team for months, and it can easily be obtained by any new player within a week.

Which gets us to stats, most prominently mana mastery. For all practical purposes they have next to no impact, a reasonably good meta team will keep winning at almost the same pace. If you really believe a minor difference in stats has a significant enough impact to warrant twice the rewards, just give us the option to lower ours. We’ll be overjoyed to fight those “harder” battles.

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I have a roughly five page post I just offloaded to google docs because some of the points I was leading toward have already been stated here much more concisely.

I’ll touch on part of it.

It isn’t just that we aren’t getting any indication if our feedback is even being heard or not for a long long time, its also instances of requested changes being twisted in such a way that doesn’t satisfy the intent behind the original request.

The weapon upgrade thing is a good example. People requested that weapons don’t have upgrades that negatively impact weapons. They universally changed all exploding upgrades, because most of them negatively impacted the weapons they were on. This, in turn, negatively impacted a few weapons. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of upgrades that continue to universally negatively impact the weapon’s main function (spawning different colors on spawning weapons, destroying colors that they can spawn on spawning weapons, doomed weapons that create a single gem, etc), and a ton that potentially negatively impact the weapons, particularly in certain situations. Now, because of the ongoing silence, we pretty have to assume “we are done addressing weapons upgrades”, when they didn’t actually even fully address weapon upgrades.

The multi-buy on glory packs is another good example. The original request, made multiple times, was actually to have a multi-buy pack for spoils of war specifically, with the arrows on everything in the shop being an iteration of that request. The change that allowed this to happen limited spoils of war to 10 buys per week.

The one that particularly irked me and set off my rant was the whole “we are showing drop rates now in game” thing as an example of listening to community feedback. For one, the display screen lacks enough decimal resolution to accurately reflect Mythic drop rates (in one instance, it is off by a pretty big margin). For another, the whole reason this was requested again, and again and again and again was because of the repeated mistakes that get made with drop tables, either having them reverting to old rates(yes, this happened), suddenly changing without warning to some arbitrary number never seen before (yes, this also happened for a couple weeks one time), having the drop rate for a certain rarity be zero (yes, this also happened), or having a troop missing from a drop table when it should be there(happened multiple times). We want a way to know, for sure that the thing we are attempting to pull is in the chest that we are opening and at the correct rate with data fed directly from the server in real time. It is basically impossible for any single player to distinguish the lack of a specific drop with “bad luck” without this kind of data. That is why we wanted it, not just because we are curious about what the drop rates happened to be.

As for the other hot issues:
PvP payout calcs are broken near the top of the score curve. We know it. The devs should know it. Its been this way forever, several patches made it worse for a while, and this patch made it worse in a way that is going to stick. They should know why, its been stated over and over again. I have nearly a page covering this alone (again), but I’ve stated it so many times I’m starting to sound like a broken record. It all just boils down to the fact that small (and even very large, at this point due to power creep) stat descrepences don’t make very little difference in how difficult (or time consuming) a given PvP battle is, but a very small score differential can lead to drastically different payouts. And, since @Saltypatra brought it up, having a lower team score has nothing to do with your ability to field a number of teams that can tear through PvP every bit as effectively (or very close to it, certainly not anywhere near “twice as long”) as I can at endgame with every troop in my collection - I should know, I do it all the time with four accounts in various stages of development with the others missing a variety of troops (but having cherry picked out the really good ones when I developed my account, because all you need is a few good ones). Also, it begs repeating, matchmaking is broken, and this would be less of an issue if it wasn’t (but only less of one, not not an issue). It gets really frustrating when we get even a hint of “need to investigate” on this one, as if they still don’t realize what the problem is. It might take some time to test all the factors, it might take some time to implement a long solution, it might not even be a priority, but I’m tired of it being treated like it isn’t an issue and it didn’t get a lot worse in 4.3, and that they don’t know exactly why.

Old Weapons coming back has been requested so many times since the very early days of the game that I’ve lost count. Prior to about 17 months ago (when raid/invasion events started), most these were shinies to collect and little more. A few good weapons trickled in, most of them being entirely useless for the content shops on which they appeared, but they were later buffed and a few were quite good in other content. About a year ago, the 3.5 patch hit with a big enough hero class buff to make them viable on teams and brought the weapons back into the spotlight as necessary for progress by adding progress gates. We also started getting “manglikes” during this same time period, some of which would continue to be useful in a variety of high level content to the point of being a strongly dominant option, and other extremely high value weapons sprinkled in later. Thus within this time period, weapons now both heavily affected gameplay and potentially capped progress. So this “request” to have old weapons be available once again has existed for almost as long as the game (partially fulfilled at one point with the cash shop), but has been an issue with the game for approximately 12-17 months, and is approaching the level of a “problem”. That is just… way too long to leave something like that hanging at the current state of “working on a solution in the future”. Long locked in development cycles can mean weeks or even months without movement on key issues, but it should never approach years. And yet, it seems like this one is. At this point, while I think everyone’s optimal solution in mind is soulforge, and soulforge is probably preferable, if the solution happens to be soulforge after this long a wait plus another 3-6 months at least, I think we will collectively lose our minds.

High level delve faction runs being absurd always seemed intentional to me, as if they weren’t expected to be beaten until some future feature down the road was implemented to prevent rapid consumption of said content. A bunch of people did it anyways by essentially repeatedly slamming their heads against RNG walls (or now, buying a bunch of potions and sigils with slightly less head-slamming). I actually hope they take their time on this one and implement something that makes the runs actually fun instead of “moar stats for your team, so its better now” angle that nearly everyone is proposing. At least they stated they have a plan here for a while (or was it that they plan to have a plan?)

Well, thats enough from me about stuff that definitely isn’t in the update. So, uh, how bout them adventure boards?

(Kinda almost feel like making an ongoing game issues thread to consolidate some of the commonly brought up stuff that is spread all across the forums. It still feels like they aren’t getting heard, or at least not understood, even when there is someone there actively replying to them)

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Let me talk to you as a person who, by experience, should be a project manager. (I’ve done everything I can to stay a dev as long as possible.)

Long pipelines are objectively bad. I have never, in 15 years, seen a methodology or attended a session where the highly-paid consultant teaching us to manage our time suggests we should pick a pipeline much longer than a month. Sometimes they suggest “a week”. Sometimes they relent that “a quarter” can work. That usually only happens when the boss is in the session, has already wasted 10 minutes insisting it does, and it’s clear the presentation can’t move on until someone placates the boss.

The words that describe why are “inertia” and/or “agility”. Imagine you’re in a vehicle, and you see an obstacle in your path. You want to avoid it.

  • On a bicycle, no problem. You can stop quickly or swerve with no consequence.
  • In a car, you’re OK. It takes longer to stop and is harder to swerve safely.
  • In a truck, you have a lot of issues. You can’t stop in time due to your size, and if you try to swerve you risk losing your load and tipping.

Project management goes like that too. I am sniffing out the GoW team is planning at least 1 year ahead, and commits to roughly 4-month long cycles of work. They have a strong aversion to deviating from a work package once they commit, and I don’t think I have evidence they believe in skipping a release if things are going sour.

So if we ask for something non-trivial, it takes about a year to get it. The first couple of months are in the midst of a 4-month cycle, so they wouldn’t start on it even if it seemed like a great idea. If they feel strongly, we might luck out and they insert it into the next cycle and we can get it in anything from 5-8 months. More likely, we’re in the middle of the 2nd cycle before they realize it’s such a strongly wanted feature they need to react. 4 months later, they might plan to do it, but “next cycle” is already planned and they might not have room. So it takes 4 cycles or a year on average for them to commit to delivering a feature. If it’s larger, and can’t fit in a whole cycle, it will take even longer.

Now imagine it’s not us who demands new features. Someone could announce “Nintendo of War” at E3 this week. Do you think it would be wise for the dev team to put “respond to Nintendo of War” on the December planning session for a March release, or do you think that’d warrant a complete recommitment of work?

I think they’d change for that. I think they’d argue “PvP points aren’t as important as that would be”. But it’s not just PvP points. It’s:

  • “Old weapons are impossible to get” has been an issue for at least 8 months with zero hard commitment.
  • “Faction Delve is too hard to accomplish” has been an issue for at least 6 months with zero hard commitment despite a feature emphasis on “let’s soften the difficulty curve”.
  • “PvP rewards are not fair” has been an issue for longer than 2 years with zero hard commitment. There have been changes that made it worse, apparently intentionally.

“Hard commitment” means “we have chosen the release this will be in”. I don’t have to know what release that is, or when it releases. But since all three of these issues are “still being prioritized”, that tells me they aren’t in 4.4.5 and they aren’t yet on the plan for 4.5. So it’ll be at least 4 months before I hear “this has been chosen for a release”. And it will be at least 8 months before I hear “this is part of this release”.

Right now is exactly how old issues must be to get put onto the board for the next year. Since Salty’s message is not, “we’re doing this as soon as we can” but “you need to understand we have long-term plans”, I can read nothing but “you won’t see these in 2019 unless we see a catastrophic event that makes us feel this is more important than figuring out how to implement Battle Royale and dancing, which is what our analysts are asking for.”

Anyway, oops, I replied directly to a person and got distracted:

Unless the devs say “we have a solution and have prioritized this”, I strongly suspect we will see no Delve update until March or later, @Grundulum. This is a good week to think about that. A lot of game companies just announced how they plan to make their fans happy this year.

Some of them (Nintendo) had to apologize and state at least one game didn’t look like it’d make their fans happy, so it had to be rescheduled for next year. Some of them (Bethesda) argued they had a committed release date so they had to put a game they knew wasn’t satisfying on the market. It’s a familiar tale. Guess who I’m spending about $600 on this year alone?

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