Gems of War sports the best match 3 gameplay I’ve ever played, as well as having a ton of content that is continuously expanding. Unfortunately, as it stands, the game is only psychologically rewarding for mid-level players.
The low-level problem: As a new player you are overwhelmed with how many troops there are, and underwhelmed by how many you can obtain. It seems like every team someone recommends has two or more Mythic troops (which you are far from obtaining) and your sweet Ranger team starts running into problems pretty quickly. The great majority of troops you are getting are fully unusable and souls are tough to collect. The events ramp out of your power level immediately, and the PvP wall happens pretty quickly. You are functionally useless to your guild, and if you are in a good guild your PvP suffers for it. You unlock the SoulForge and realize how amazing it will be in three months, but not amazing at all today.
The mid-level nirvana: Once you hit the mid levels, you have a really strong team or three, you are getting further than ever on events, and you have finally hit Level 10 on all Kingdoms increasing your team power greatly. Your effort vs increase proportion is excellent and are rewarded well for playing a LOT. If you target PvP opponents with good counter teams, you are winning quite often and being rewarded for strategy. You are now a contributing guild member. You can build fun teams because you finally have enough Legendaries and even a few Mythics. The sky is the limit.
The high-level let down: You have your teams. You have your troops. The kingdom increase process is a purposeless slog. (Fully upgrade weapons you won’t use, fully level troops you won’t use, waste your traitstones.) PvP has degenerated to players that field purposefully weak teams hoping you will lazily steamroll them for rewards, or meta teams that stomp a mudhole in the strongest teams depending on RNG alone. Events are all lessons in diminishing rewards. Can you beat Zuul at Level 30? What about Level 30,000? Let’s Delve a weekly foe for ten hours. Look, more Chaos Shards you don’t need. Scaling is not content.
Like many I’ve put a lot of hours into this game. I want it to be awesome. The content has painted itself into a corner by having weak AI, crazy RNG, and scaling as the only challenge. Being Level 650 is a great feeling. Level 50 or Level 1100 just feels like an unpaid job.
Recommendations in no particular order:
- Treasure Hunt Rewards Rework - It’s a valid game, make it worth playing.
- Delve Rework - Instead of making Delves get harder with each battle, start players small and have them get bigger. Growing feels better than hitting bigger walls. Make a Delve feel like a risky go in the first battles, then like runaway freight train at the end. Make the room rewards unknown and make them important. Good buffs, passive effects and environment changes.
- PvP Rework - Change rewards based on team rarity on both sides. If the opponent fields a joke team, lower rewards significantly. If the player fields a weak team and wins, increase the rewards exponentially. Add a LOT more teams to each players opponent list. We should not be seeing the same opponents over and over. Allow every player to have one ‘ban’ per day, be it troop or weapon, so they will not see that troop or weapon that day on any opponent team.
- Kingdom Power Level Rework - Just leveling things isn’t enough. You can make this a grind, but the current grind has no point. Attach weekly event style challenges to it (kill x enemies in explore, etx)
- Weapon Availability - Many of the most interesting weapons are not readily available. When you made the hero almost required with the Class rework, you should have made fun weapons return.
- Class Talent Rework - It’s not hard to see that some trees are far and above others. Change it.
- Tribe Bonus Rework - If you are using 4 Knights (or beasts, or goblins, etc), it’s shouldn’t increase a stat by 4, it should increase a stat by 25%. This is one place scaling is necessary. Make these bonuses matter for everyone, not just very new players.
- Until Level 100, allow new players to find Potions randomly while exploring. +1 to all stats, explode 2 gems at the start of battle, double gold, double souls for just an hour all matter when you are new.
- Guild Wars Rework - I have a lot of suggestions on this, but I will keep it short. Any guild that has a zero score for two or more days drops 500 positions at the end of the week. We need dead guilds out. Top three places get an addition reward in each bracket.
I’ve tried to not make this only “Gems Bad.” I’ve tried to think of some way to make it better. I hope any of it is useful. I want to love this game. I have a lot of sunken cost fallacy in play here that I cannot bear to lose.