Feedback from a new player: playing catch up & "end game" PvP teams


#1

I started playing a few months ago, and have some feedback I’d like to run by the community and developers.

I broke it up into two major sections: “New Player Catch Up” and “End game PvP teams”


New Player Catch Up

  • TLDR: This game is very discouraging to new players after the first couple weeks after they get a feel for what it will take to “get into” the game.

I knew that since the game has been out for a few years, there would be a larger gap between me and long-time players, but I think the game needs a few changes to help retain new players.

I tried to break up my feedback into 3 sections: declaring the problems, my opinions, and then suggestions.

Major Issues I had:

  1. I didn’t realize how insanely beneficial membership in an active Guild was until after I joined one.
  2. The weekly content is very difficult to participate in due to:
    • “Explore” lockout on Kingdoms until entire Quest line is completed.
    • Missing weekly bonus troops, and/or insufficiently leveled bonus troops.
  3. High opportunity cost when investing souls/stones in troops.
  4. After a month of playing, I had the demotivating sense that I was stuck at the bottom of a very huge power curve to reach “mid-game.”

My opinion on these issues:

1. Guilds:
  • Most Guilds in the in-game finder are inactive, so I joined some mostly-dead ones at first. Since I couldn’t get 1500 seals/week without spending a silly number of hours playing, it was difficult to find an active guild.
  • Joining an active guild gave me a couple hundred new troops once Monday hit, and tons more gems than I’d gotten from the $5 daily gem pack. Basically, Guildies completing Tasks gave me a HUGE jump up the player power-curve and I previously had no clue about.
  • Good guilds tell new players to invest gold in Kingdoms instead of Tasks, but it makes me feel like a freeloader.
2. Weekly Content:
  • Most (at least half?) of weekly content ends up relying on “Explore” to get rewards. Beating KD Quest-lines to unlock Explore as a low level player is very slow, tedious, and offers little reward in itself compared to other endeavors.
  • New players don’t have enough souls to risk on trying out bonus teams – or even access to the troops unless they joined an active Guild.
3. Troop investment:
  • Lack of souls and traitstones make it very difficult to try out different team combinations.
  • If you pick a poor initial troop combination, it sets you back because you have nothing to fall back on.
  • Soul farming for your initial team(s) is grossly tedious until you have enough troops/souls to make a soul-farming team.
  • Traitstone farming – I still despair at this. I’m glad crafting opened up some options here, but those options sadly require the souls I’m still farming.
4. New player outlook:
  • Joining a Guild after that month in was crucial to keeping me in the game. Without the continual boosts from my Guild’s weekly Task completion, I would have quit.

Suggestions:

  1. Guilds:
    • Fix the Guild finder to filter out inactive guilds.
    • Make an in-game quest that funnels new players into joining a Guild.
    • Give Guilds more incentive to invite new players on a “probationary” basis. Give guilds a couple in-game “quests” to assign new players so it’s clear what they need to do to retain membership.
  2. Weekly content:
    • Open up “Explore” on all purchased Kingdoms, and do not require Quest line completion.
  3. Troop investment:
    • Enable the “Refund” feature on troops at or under level 15 to promote low-level player experimentation.
    • Massively increase Soul quantity and Traitstone rarity rewards for Quest lines to help jump-start new players.
  4. New player outlook:
    • Addressing points 1-3 will improve this situation a lot.
    • Offer a MUCH better “first time player” $5 one-time purchase – something comparable to a batch of weekly task rewards when in an active guild.

“End game” PvP teams

PvP is looking worrisome to me… so far it looks like the only viable options are:
1.) Team builds that deny opponent turns until dead.
2.) Nothing else.

It doesn’t leave room for much other things. Unless your deck actively denies opponent troops from chaining turns (e.g. Freeze) or can reliably chain turns (e.g. gem creation troops, Goblins) your team cannot succeed in PvP against higher level teams.

As a level ~140 player, I don’t expect to reliably defeat lvl 400+ players at all, but the lack of variety in strategy seems, well… boring.

...More yammering about PvP, effects of dumb AI, power-creep, and Goblins

However, I DO defeat lvl 400+ players if they don’t have a turn-chaining/denial deck because the AI is so dumb, leaving turn-chaining/denial as the only reliable way of winning at defense.

I also suspect that power-creep is partially to blame: how to keep adding troops that feel powerful and add new ways to win?

I got lucky this week, drew Queen Grapplepot and had enough glory to make a Legendary Princess Fizzbang: I now have an “end-game” team, and I didn’t even need to FT anyone. Since I get to go first, I can beat even lvl 1000+ Mythic teams of the exact same Goblin makeup 50% of the time – all depends on luck of the gem drops. I hate to use the heavily abused word “broken” – but it really is.

After having a hilarious blast PvPing yesterday, (mostly laughing at the Devour teams) I now feel like there’s no where for this game to go in terms of interesting mechanics. It doesn’t matter what your deck does if you can’t take more than 1 or 2 turns.

Suggestions:

  • Add “PvP Seasons”
    • Make them have restricted troop sets that run for 2-3 weeks, designed around promoting novel team combos.
    • Consider adding unique, global mechanics to a Season: e.g. all troops have doubled life, all troops stun with skull damage, 4-5 gem combos no longer grant extra turns, etc.
    • Use as a replacement for the current Ranked PvP system, but keep and demote the old PvP system in terms of rewards and involvement with weekly-events.

— Thoughts everyone?


(Note to devs: All suggestions I consider to be ideas you’ve already thought of in terms of copyright, and claim no ownership or rights to them. Instead, my mention of these ideas is simply a “vote” for them, and not authorship.)


#2

You make really good points about being a new player trying to play catch up and there should be more help so that newer players don’t feel stuck and just quit. Hopefully they devs will take your points onboard and implement some of them


#3

Wow! Fantastic post - welcome to the forums.

A couple of focused comments:

These two things would be tremendously useful to new players. Console players already get a daily task that encourages you to join or start a guild, but too many people (not understanding what the benefits are) choose to start a guild of one, rather than join an existing guild. Those that choose to join an existing guild are generally funelled into an inactive guild. So suggestion #2 almost requires implementation of #1 to really benefit new players.


#4

Great work! :slight_smile:


#5

Most other online mobile games I have played that have been out for years nearly always do the same thing once it becomes obvious that new players are mixing it with end gamers

Multiple servers… New players on new server against newish players similar to level and power. End gamers on end game servers.
It would also fix the current dungeons problem. Too easy for end game and can be difficult at early game.
Yeah yeah I know there a small company


#6

I sat down to read this with my morning coffee. That being said, you’ve raised some very interesting points, thank you for taking the time to explain yourself so clearly.


#7

Overall nice feedback! The things that really stand out to me are:

  1. Matching players to guilds needs a ton of work.
  2. Souls should be increased early on to encourage experimentation.
  3. The meta sucks right now. (Likely due to a combo of gem spawning and imbalanced troops like Fizzbang.)

#8

Your comments about new players and guilds are bang-on. I can’t recall how many times I have seen it mentioned that a new player was one of two active players in a guild of 20+. As for feeling like a freeloader, that’s a personal issue. Your guild doesn’t expect gold from you because you’re better off building your tribute infrastructure. More kingdom levels means more souls and glory (which convert into traistones via the weekly troop purchases), which also helps your concern about resource bottlenecks.

I also like your idea about offering refunds to early-game players. I think it should be only early-game players, though, which means tying the condition to troop level isn’t a viable method. Tying it to player level might be, as long as there was a big honking warning for those last couple of levels that the player is about to lose this feature and be locked in to the current troop state.


#9

Yeah, agreed. I just felt it worth mentioning because (in my opinion): the more a new player feels like they are contributing to a guild, the more engaged they are and likely to stay playing the game.

On the flip side, the more new players can bring to a Guild, the more likely an active Guild will bring on new players instead of only well established ones.

I don’t have any concrete suggestions here, just that being unable to contribute to Tasks as a new player feels like a “problem” – but I do think it’s a smart end-game gold-sink they’ve designed, and I do like that leveling Kingdoms is still an ongoing goal for myself.


#10

Yeah, I think that’s a decent solution.

It unfortunately fragments the player base, which may be an issue if they don’t have a large enough influx of new players or new player retention. (Which are other problems…)

I can’t think of anything better really, short of going the CCG route of yearly editions that cycle out of use, but that’s not something you can just introduce into a game this mature.


#11

As far as not contributing to a guild, my guild family TUF has a guild TUF: Pergatory that is specifically designed to give people a break from hardcore play and to help new players to the game and teach them to be successful, I personally really like helping them skip the pitfalls I fell into, first and foremost they are not allowed to contribute gold till they’ve leveled all of there kingdoms, that being said when I was a new player and had no clue about what a guild was for (this was quite a while ago for me) I made slot of mistakes and really had no clue what to do in he game, for a casual game currently I find it hard to be a new player and even understand the best ways to go about leveling up or which kingdoms to do first, and slot of early lvl pvp teams honestly are bad and the ones you have to fight mop you up easily, I want the game to attract new players but at times I feel it is not very friendly towards them unless they spend a lot of gold / bought with real money, and that can be a deterrent to a lot of potential new players/customers


#12

Excellent post and this was the best sentence.


#13

I am over level 1000 and active part of a high ranked guild. The PVP now is mostly looking at AI combos dropping until dead, also for me.
No strategy anymore: Catch the combo or you’re dead :slight_smile:

I appreciate your suggestions anyway and I hope that the Devs will do something both for the newcomers and the endgamers.


#14

I wish I could “like” this more than once.


#15

I’m a new player too and agree with all of this.

My current frustration is I know I need to be in a better guild, but all the guilds advertising want me to give more money than I’ve ever had in game “by Monday”.

Well, my other frustration is I have to grind the arena for a week to get enough souls to try a different team, only to find out the one I have already is better. I don’t understand how I’m supposed to make progress. Maybe it’s because I’m supposed to be in a better guild? The whole thing feels dumb.


#16

If you want a better guild i can probably help… Just let me know


#17

@RogueLobster @Slypenslyde

As new players, how do you guys cope with the learning curve on this game? The game was relatively simple when I started playing in January of 2016 (there were about 130 troops, no traits, no Guild Wars, no Soul Forge, no Dungeons, no Guild Tasks, only 3 kinds of keys, no weekly events, no devour, etc., etc.) but there have been some massive updates since then, each one significantly increasing the complexity. With no documentation to speak of and very limited tutorial, I just don’t understand how players make it through the early game. I’m honestly curious to hear your impressions.


#18

Well said – this is partly what I was trying to describe.

You’re not doing anything wrong, I promise. Personally I just leveled troops that looked good to 10 to “try out” and went through about 4 useless teams before getting lucky on one that does ok in “mid-game.”

Also, It was critical to join a good guild that gave me “tons” of gems and keys. (Tons compared to without an active guild.)


#19

The importance of this cannot be stressed enough


#20

I just stumbled around until joining a guild. Now I pester them with constant questions. I have an awesome guild leader (Hi, Lady K!) who has been very helpful and patient.

I don’t mind not understanding every feature in a new game, but what drives me crazy is when a game lets me shoot myself in the foot repeatedly because I don’t know something.

Examples...
  • Not joining a guild ASAP,
  • not realizing how crucial leveling magic kingdoms first is,
  • not throwing away gold to an inactive guild’s Tasks,
  • irrevocably wasting souls on weekly troop events that aren’t a good investment for new players,
  • spending money on the multi-day gem pack only to find out how terrible the value is compared to just being in a guild
  • toiling away at Quest lines thinking they were the intended, worthwhile path for new player growth
  • etc

But, I kind of enjoy the process of learning new games and thinking about game design, (hence these posts) so I had fun despite the issues!