4.4 Update Preview Discussion

I’m not disagreeing with you. Personally, I believe your assessment of the situation is dead on the money.

There’s a dev Q&A in a few days. We’ll have to see if this topic is one of the talking points. Sometimes, what isn’t said speaks louder than what is said.

Let’s say that the devs do say “there will be a PvP revamp in Q2 2020”, one year from now. How long until the questions come about progress updates on the revamp that go unanswered? Then what? Are we right back in the same situation?

What if the reason for the radio silence in that situation is because some of the progress updates would result in anger amongst the player base? The devs are under directive from the publisher to implement a player-unfriendly system, such as adding monetization to previously free-to-use content. Does one expect the devs to come out and say that in nine months down the road, the game will start charging players for using that content? That announcement is only going to result in massive forum fires for those nine months and potentially massive player hemorrhaging long before those changes ever are implemented?

There’s a quotable that I often hear to describe such situations.

“It’s easier to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission.”

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Uh oh…Sirrian comin.
Y’all gonna get it now.

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its-a-race-im-winning-im-winning
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Well, this certainly wasn’t what I intended to be the central discuss when I initially made the thread. I was hoping more people would have more stuff to say on the adventure board system and daily tasks (that werent directly related to rewards). But since we are here now…

The discussion seems to have progressed a bit further since I started typing here, so I’m going to try and quickly paraphrase some of my thoughts that I already had down.

I can’t really place blame on any one person here, but a big reason why some of the feedback doesn’t feel like it is being taken even when we get changes “directly based on player feedback” is that the final change does very little to address the feedback actually given. This is in part to the long chain that has to take place for this information to get into the hands of somebody able to make the decision able to change things - whereas at one point we could directly communicate with the people responsible for changing something, now it is filtered not only through a community rep, but bounced back and forth between other players, seems to need more direct publisher approval, and has to be at least partially delegated. “Feedback” nowadays seems to be relegated to whoever is screaming the loudest and most often until it can’t be ignored anymore, and the whole point behind things being originally requested is lost to some basic blurb that can be communicated back and forth.

I’m going to bring up drop rates being in game next patch, again. This should not be counted as a win for listening to player feedback. Not only does it not state clearly which troops are available, but it lacks decimal resolution, and it doesn’t solve the main reason why it was repeatedly requested - so players can have confidence a drop table did not have mistakes before using keys that they took months to save up. This is also on the heels of intentionally removing such data from being sent to the client, which did correctly inform, at least, when a troop was missing from chests. In essence, we will have access to less drop information than we did a month ago.

The fact that is is counted as a win when it comes back to us shows that somewhere along the line, the original intent behind the change was lost.

For the PvP Points issue, people want what the game claims as progress to not be felt as the opposite.
Its people asking “why is (thing I can get throughout all stages of the game) that I can gather more and more efficiently parallel to progress suddenly become less and less efficient after I reach a certain point” I can’t really state it any more simply than that (but I can talk about it for pages and pages if necessary, and probably have already). Yes, people loudly yell about “fairness” and “my time shouldn’t be worth less” and so on and so forth, but it all boils down to the core progression loop of the game breaking when it comes to PvP so that the player intent (gain resources - this includes PvP points to get to T1 - more easily and more quickly) runs contrary to the reality (gain resources just as easily but more slowly) .

For the old weapons issue, people (especially newer players, and especially prospective players) need to have confidence that they aren’t locked out of certain pieces of gameplay or hard capped on progress because they started the game later or happened to be off the grid for a short period of time. Many of us advocating loudly for this aren’t even that greatly affected, its just a really thing to have to spell out. I still kind of feel like this shouldn’t have even needed to be stated, as an experienced publisher and developer should realize what kind of things are okay to have as “exclusives” or “trophy items” and what aren’t based on how impactful they are, again, to the core loop.

The “why” behind a request is the most important part and understanding the why is likely to lead to a solution that will satisfy the most people. And I’m feeling like this is biggest part of feedback that is lost in the chain or just lost to time among a chorus of screaming voices vying for attention and being met with silence.

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I see it as a C.Y.A. for current and future “loot box” legislation.

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Hey folks,

I wanted to jump in here and impart some news/details, so you get it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Firstly, a few notes. THEN some meaty bits below.

1. WE"RE LISTENING. Please know that Salty has been advocating on your behalf VERY strongly at every chance she got over these last few months. The dev team has all been made aware of the exact nature of the current issues you’re describing here. We all read the forums regularly, as you know, but Salty is your champion for these issues, I promise you.

2. TRANSPARENCY “More Transparency” vs. “Complete Transparency”. I hope we’ve been providing as much transparency as we can. But you should never expect complete transparency from us, or any game developer. Situations that arise are sometimes covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements, or simply protected by good manners(!) & professional business conduct. We’ll never discuss exact KPIs, contractual issues, far-off release dates, or other sensitive information - we simply can’t. But we’ve been trying to give an insight into things where we can. If you’re scratching your head over something, wondering why we’re doing a thing, and we’re not giving you enough details, it’s usually something we can’t talk about (yet)… The Gems of War team is as good a team as I’ve worked with in 3 decades though, so the reason is never going to be that “we don’t care” or “we’re incompetent” (always room for improvement though!)

3. EVIL PLANS. One thing I always read, when there is some discontent, is how we’re about to start screwing everyone over, and we’re too afraid to talk about it :slight_smile: I know those theories are never going to stop, but I’m just reiterating that’s not the case here. Not on my watch, anyway. I believe free games should give you pretty much everything of value for free, eventually, if you put in the time. This theory does not always make me the most popular guy in the room, but I’m okay with that, and in this, I’m certainly on your side.

4. COMPLEXITY We’re approaching 5 years with Gems of War, and this game has a level of content and complexity in line with games like League of Legends. That means fixes are going to slow down. It’s nothing to do with team size, success, competence, or greed. This is an engineering reality.
Band-aid fixes are harder to implement, and have wide-ranging and unforeseen effects.
Take for example, this PvP issue

  • We implemented a feature to add Hero Power to Team Score
  • A bug was uncovered and fixed with Team Score calculations while that was being done

Seems harmless enough on the surface, and we did a lot of testing. But it managed to create some unforeseen issues in the PvP Reward calculations out in the wild AND also in the matchmaking (though you never saw that, as we got it fixed). But still, we’re left with this horrible PvP Scoring issue. We can perform full regression tests on any changes, to see if they have cross-system effects, but that takes TIME/MONEY, and it’s not always going to be viable to do that on every single fix… It was so much easier to do this stuff on a smaller codebase. :frowning:

Anyway… the takeaway from this point is threefold:

  • We have to spend longer PLANNING changes, to minimize their impact on existing code, and to clean up old code as we go, so things don’t get exponentially worse.
  • We have to be SUPER CAREFUL of band-aid fixes, and try to only do them when it is critical.
  • Some fixes are going to roll out a bit slower, so we don’t end up with worse problems

Alright… Now the MEATY BITS

1. OLD EVENT WEAPONS
This is the easy one to share.
We have a plan. And we’re working on it (this weekend in fact, I’m heading in to the office to make my 50% of the changes).
There will be both free and paid options to get all old Event Weapons.
I suspect both of these changes to roll out within the next 4 weeks.
Why has it taken so long? Because the easy fixes didn’t scale well into the future.
Also, to a lesser degree, because we had other priorities/interruptions that we can’t discuss (see point 2 above), sorry.
I believe we’re doing a Dev Q&A on stream next week, and I’ll share more about our plans there!

2. PVP SCORING
This is the tricky one. We’ve been working on it already, though I had communicated to Salty that we should not announce too much there, as we didn’t have an ETA on the fix, and I KNOW as soon as we announce it’s being worked on, everybody expects it within a week!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Here is what we wanted to do:

  • A full update to the PvP System, so the worst bits of this old code could go away forever
  • This would not include energy systems, as some folks had suggested. Core PvP will always be free while I’m here - I feel very strongly about that. It’s a core part of the game. That’s not to say we might not do a PvP event to alongside that at some point with Sigils, but we’re not putting Sigils on your PvP, don’t worry.

That update is still over 3 months away, unfortunately. And by “over 3 months” I mean, it could be 6 months (or even more). We do need to pivot quite quickly sometimes, and reschedule, so it can get pushed around. I agree with a comment further up that long pipelines are bad. Our content pipeline (troops, weapons, events) is now about 4 months, and will soon be longer. This is due to the reality of QA, marketing times, certification times, and update restrictions on various platforms (e.g. switch).
The feature pipeline is shorter, however, and we can pivot on that within 4-6 weeks. That’s entirely reasonable, but externally you see that as 2-3 months because of all those delays mentioned above.

Now I had hoped that we could make some small adjustments that would get us by until then, but they’ve all proved to have their own problems. Should we share the technical details of all those? Maybe… But we don’t like sharing too many technical system details… it’s a security thing… and given a recent rise in hackers in 2019 (350 more banned last week), we don’t want to encourage that any more by sharing too much tech stuff
AND a few other spanners, out of our control, flew into the works as we went (more things I can’t discuss as per point 2 up top - nothing sneaky, bad, or nefarious though, I promise).

TLDR on that is we haven’t got a fix yet, though we’ve been attempting one. Progress has been made though!

Anyway… .enough waffle about PvP Points… what I really wanted to say, is that given the effort and passion you folks have demonstrated in this thread, I promise you that we will redouble our efforts on this. I think we’re close!
And that we will communicate a plan for a fix some time next week.

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Thanks @Sirrian

What’s the harm in making PvP points equal to all?
1 trophy - 20 points
2 trophy - 40 points
3 trophy - 60 points

Ranked PvP is the only mode that cares about team score. Every where else it’s the same rewards for all.
It’s just mind boggling because the solution seems simple enough. And instead a complex resolution is being sought. With no guarantee that the solution will be properly tested… considering the change in 4.2 wasn’t tested properly it seems.

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It’s now in the Apple and Google guidelines for certification. I expect more rules will be incoming over the next few years. I think it’s a good thing tbh.

The Customer Support team are sad though, because it will initiate a rise in “I opened 100 chests and didn’t get the 1% drop troop” complaints.

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Because not all matches are of equal time/difficulty at all level & team score ranges.

In the case above, it’s possible that say level 500 players may be able to play with 20% greater efficiency because matches at Team Score 8500 complete 20% faster

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I agree.
And to be fair, those complaints will happen even without the drop rates. I see it all the time in global, “I used 200 event keys and I didn’t get the kingdom Mythic”.
I myself was trying to figure out if Shade of Zorn was in chests. The server was having issues on that reset and the image wasn’t showing up. In the future I’ll be able to just check the drop rates.
Does this mean @Taransworld will have access to the data for his website again? Sometimes it’s easier to check his website than to go in game and try to find something out.

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Yes - if they’re getting the data from the these tables, it will be all up-to-date.

Our other reason for adding this (apart from the new rules from Apple/Google) was to remove any confusion caused by the old/incorrect data that had been leaking out before.

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image

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I understand that made sense upon conception.
But 4 fire bombs to a level 10 and a level 1k take the same amount of time.
But more importantly, a match that I do in my guild does not take twice as long as if I was to be guild less. Though the PvP points currently seem to make us think that you (or whoever planned that) decided that.
The guild bonus stats isn’t that much of a game changer anymore.
You used to test PvP @Sirrian. Please do so again.
Do a half hour with the guild bonuses turned on (35 point 3 trophy matches). I’ll be happy to DM you what I feel are the fastest PvP builds in the game.
Then do another half hour with them turned off (70 point 3 trophy matches).
You’ll see with your own eyes that the stall Defenses don’t care what level you are. And the difference in ability is less than 10%.
It you can’t test for yourself. Then I feel like your data isn’t considering the experience of end gamers.
Actual new players do have trouble speed wise because of lack of experience.
But your system only looks at level, Kingdoms and guilds. So if I was able to use a level 500 alt account of mine. With my experience. I could literally score twice the PvP points of my level 1400 account in the same amount of time. Which simply feels like punishment for success, rather than a governor to slow me down to make it more fair for lower levels. (The governor is what I believe was the motivation behind the change. But you didn’t slow me down… You took my engine away. 80% of my game time used to be in RpVp. Now it’s 8% of it. I’m in no way the only player who’s felt a similar effect to the change.)

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I do as well. It was the fact that this came back to us as a win for listening to player feedback that shows, in fact, how little said feedback is actually being taken into account. (pre-post edit: and now confirmed as this)

Will said data include which troops are in a given drop table at any given time? The version displayed in the client does not include this information. So long as we have that, I can actually consider this “request fulfilled”. Since the information will now be from an official source, albeit still having to go through an unofficial third party.

On this point, I believe there are still ongoing issues with matchmaking that are contributory to the larger scoring/rewards issue. I’ve been trying to bring this up every time I can. Did some cursory checks just today, and some instances are better (my lower accounts seem to be matched appropriately more often, short term). But I’ve been continually checking the matchmaking across multiple accounts since 4.3 landed, and I know that it always varies wildly depending on when I happen to be playing and what pools that happens to have landed me in at the time. The average three trophy match on my highest account at this very moment continues to be much too low, despite having already climbed to PvP t1, especially compared to the second highest one, which is at PvP t14 and is somehow not only getting consistently stronger opponent.

I believe if these matchmaking issues were fixed, most of the problem would go away and you could go back to working on the issue long term. I’ve also said this multiple times before, but again, chorus of voices and all that.

As an example, 13300 MSP account at PvP t1 (42W:0L) with:

12800 account at PvP t14 1:0) matched with:

~10k account at PvP t1 (35:6) matched with:

While it seems “better” than last time I checked, the three trophy options, which determine the maximum payout I can possibly take and thus my maximum efficiency when interacting with the mode, are still pretty bad and inconsistent.

This is fundamentally untrue as you approach endgame, though, which sees the biggest downturn in payout gaps versus score gaps. And even using my best and/or fastest teams across accounts with a greater than 3,000 point score disparity, the difference is virtually indistinguishable in how effectively I can clear through PvP.

Even if battles did always become more efficient the higher hero level you had (and/or collective stat bonuses), it is still better to have efficiency trend upward than the reverse. Core reward loop psychology and all that. I know that the current system is just trying to be “fair” (and in a way that is currently anything, but it was the intent and I can recognize that), but that should probably run secondary to having strong progress incentives and rewards being a consistent theme throughout.

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I’m assuming that the information always has to be 100% correct. So I’d be shocked if drop rates were changed more than once a month. It used to be they were changed a lot more. Tarans info was never correct because of it.
Since the change will always make present information available… His info should be accurate as well. Just not officially official.

We’re in agreement. It’s a problem. My example was more to point out that simple solutions aren’t perfect either (though I have a definite preference for simple ones, they’re harder to exploit if done well). For every solution discussed in the office so far, we’ve been able to concoct a situation where we can exploit it in an unfair manner… and that WILL happen within a week, with hundreds of thousands of players banging away at it every day!

As for data… thanks! I can pull data from our telemetry on popular/fastest builds, frequency and times on them, etc… Also, Nimhain and I do play a bunch of PvP games across various level ranges every week (50% of which will be at 1000+), so we have a good feel where the frustration points are here.

Anyway… I’m out for now… I have to finish my work on the Event Weapon stuff.

Cheers, everyone!

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Ok I have to ask though. Who thought that the following were good design choices?

  1. Ofc people that started playing now are not going to have access to old weapons? They should have started playing earlier
  2. It will be nice if people have the chance to acquire a weapon once per year. That’s a reasonable amount of time.

How you thought this would not be an issue? I know that I come as rude but I really struggle to understand these choices…

Ty for the answer sirrian, i don’t care how long it will take to fix pvp points. I still prefer an answer, at least i know you trying to figure out a fix. I was a little mad about you guys because we been asking about this for 3 years long and never had a clear answer about this… like i said i prefer a vague answer than complete silence.

Keep up the hard work and ty again for taking the time to explain what happen

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It seems there’s a difference between level 1k accounts who complete all guild tasks and those who don’t. Even if both their Kingdoms are max stats.

I get that you can’t stay stay here all day and answer questions. I just hope you realize that for serious matters this is a better platform than a Q&A. Here you can relax (somewhat) and delete anything you didn’t mean to say… Or edit before you post. Your first post took at least 30 minutes to do. The kind of thought you wouldn’t be able to replicate in a Q&A. That being said. I appreciate the time you spent here. I don’t wish that you wish that you did it more often. I wish that you had the time to do it more often.
Some final points as you how I feel from your responses tonight (I will read again later, I knew you weren’t (couldn’t) gonna hang around here long.

  • As the game gets bigger and more widespread. The pulse you had on the community 24/7 widens to the degree of the time it gets to your ears it’s been filtered through 8 others. I’m not saying that as criticism but as support that you make yourself available on the forums. Either you or Nim could benefit greatly from a hour session here once a month.
  • I don’t know how “likes” are interpreted on the forums. To me when a dev likes a post. I don’t feel like it’s a pat on the back. Not that they endorse my post. But instead I feel good because (I hope) it means they actually read that I said. If answers aren’t available. The ability to physically show that you hear us is immensely important. I encourage you and all the devs to “like” every post that you read. (Assuming there isn’t a better option). Personally, I stopped doing bug reports on here because there’s no guarantee that a dev will see it. Or at least acknowledge that they see it. So I felt like it’s pointless to scream while in outer space. (Joking not being a smart ass)
  • While 4.3 was in development. I was on here pointing out how screwy PvP scores were. @Kafka was well aware of it. Instead of getting better, the score system got worse. I think I’m safe to assume that @Kafka had no idea what the plans were (or at least the effect) of PvP would be with 4.3. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse. I think you’re aware of the issue now and are working on a fix. My fear is, if support staff don’t know what’s going to happen after an update goes live. And the head honcho… You…(I believe) didn’t know at the time the effect of the update. Then how much trust can actually be given to your product that is dependent on retention first and foremost.
  • Recently, the leaderboard implementation has been a huge success. Over half the players in the game like to compete. It’s just, they aren’t able to compete usually against those who can play 12 hours a day. Meanwhile, in PvP land, some players have a substantial advantage to making the LB. Show me since 4.3 has been implemented a single #1 Ranked PvP player for the week who during that week was in a guild that does legendary tasks (or still had the guild active bonuses). It’s not even possible. It seems that leaderboard has been roped off for other guilds and players to compete it. So players in my guild who loved ranked PvP and goal every week was to reach the top 100 can’t if they have too many Kingdom bonus stats.
  • Sirrian, you don’t like that my guild averages 70+ LT a week (or the other platforms that are just as hardcore). But the changes like PvP score, Factions, and (alleged) tribute nerfs… Haven’t affected our productivity what so ever. What it has affected is moral… Not my guild moral… But every player in the game. Because I have that pulse on the community that you used to be able to feel. On almost Bethesda type levels… You (the devs or 505) have managed to upset every player in your game except the ones too new to know better.
    I’m not missing any weapons, but I don’t like 100% faction teams and PvP scores.
    Others, like the PvP scores and Delves, but don’t like that they can’t get a game changing weapon.
    It’s just a generalization and it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. But currently, far too many have issues with the game. I feel like more veterans are playing out of obligation than actual enjoyment. Or… They are like me… Where they love the original design of GoW and have a faith in you to make the game fun again. It becoming redundant is always a fear. But distracting us from the redundancy with issues like PvP is surely unintentional, and never the way to go.
  • At what point do you stop expanding?
    We both liked GoW a lot more when it was more simple. There’s no going back to it. Some changes are great, some aren’t. It’s hard to determine which ones should stay or go. But at this point. I’m sure it’s less time consuming just to keep them rather than remove them.
    I pray for the days that my only complaints on here were about bugs and the lack of GW. (All my posts about cheaters were always removed or locked.:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:)
  • You need more staff. You know it. I know it. How can we make 505 know it?
    I would love it if it Salty had back up in the form of a programmer like @Ozball who back in simpler days… Was able to listen to my issues and then look at the code the same way. Salty and I may not always see eye to eye, but I know she’s great at her job. Unfortunately, her job is to be the middle (wo) man and as far as I know, she’s not an expert coder. I think Cyrup was intended to be that role that I’m suggesting for Ozball but she’s too busy doing what you want her to do (and that I believe) 505 wants her to do.

I haven’t gone back and reread everything. But in the now hour that I have since sped read your OP. That comment has resonated with me.
And all I can think is “why?”

Why does she, or anyone on the staff, have to raise such hell about an issue more than once? I think I know the answer to my question.
505…(you Wizard of Oz you)… If any of you read this. Please advocate like a Salty to whoever is control there to only worry about the business side of things. Please let Sirrian make all the creative decisions. Set up bench marks in profit that if he fails to make with the game being 100% up to him. Then you can mess with the game however you see fit. Go ahead and dismiss my thoughts as just 1 player. Or… Help make GoW a successful, profitable, and FUN game for everyone by simply getting the frank out of the way. :grinning:
(I made a longer thread for y’all if you want to further read my thoughts, but I don’t think you do so I won’t bother linking it here.)

And with that…
I’m gone as well. :v: