Genuine thoughts on the current state of the game


#1

Before I begin, please understand I’m not coming at this from a place of frustration or malice, I’m coming it from a place of love and genuinely want this game to grow and prosper as much as it possible can. It’s meant to be read more like an open letter, and hopefully not too rant-y.

I love this game. I love it so much I got my wife into it, and together we’ve spent thousands of hours happily matching gems until our fingers figuratively bled. Guild Wars came and we were pretty happy. It was a little more stressful, but now some of the matches actually meant something. Every move had to be carefully calculated or we would risk actually gasp losing a game that day. The game was a little easy, thanks to the old algorithm, but that was ok.

I genuinely couldn’t understand why people wanted to quit just because of Guild Wars. Typically adding features bring people in, not push them out, so I disregarded them, disregarded their warnings as sour grapes. Then the fire nation attacked…but really, I played on the Unity build on PC. Suddenly I was losing to sky drops left and right. My 95%+ win rate (on offense of course) suddenly dropped to below 80%. I know I was still winning the vast majority of my games, but I started fearing the sky drops, knowing that just one ****ing skull would ruin my day because the Psion on the other end was always waiting.

I started to feel something surprising - frustration. I play this game to unwind. I play it to relax after a long, probably shitty day at work. The more I played on PC, the less I actually looked forward to it. Logically it doesn’t make any sense - I’m still winning a majority of my games - at 4x speed no less. My gold income was up, my contributions had never been higher, but it just felt worse.

There are a couple factors at play here. Forgive me because I don’t know the technical terms, but one of them is the phenomenon in which you remember the low percentage bad things that happen more vividly than you remember the good, and the other is a feeling of loss of agency. When I lost games on the old build, it was either because I played very poorly and made terrible decisions, or a 1-in-100 sky drop happened and the stars aligned for the computer. I was ok with that. One of them was completely my fault and the other happened so rarely that it made for a funny story I could share with my wife. Either way, when I lost, I could still feel good losing.

Compare that to the Unity build: Now when I lose, I feel it’s because there’s nothing I could possibly do. To have that feeling in 20%+ of your games just feels shitty. I no longer feel that nearly every game is in my hands. I don’t feel like I can affect the outcome as much as I was used to.

Combine the new drop algorithm (or fixed, depending on your point of view) with mana drain/devour or other grief-based teams, and you get a recipe for frustration that transcends the fun you have matching gems. My wife is so frustrated with Goblin Week that she wants to quit for good. I told her just to take a week off from Guild Wars and see how she feels, but I can guarantee you that if you release another set of troops as broken as this week, you’ll have another whale gone. Raid Boss Fizzbang has already 1v4’d a couple of my teams and it did not feel good.

I write this not as a threat, but as a real report from a real player who absolutely loves the hell out of this game. The social aspect is great. The concept is awesome, but with this Unity build, the execution? Not so much. Here’s my advice to hopefully keep from losing more long-time supporters of this game:

  1. Tweak the algorithm to make it slightly more in favor of the players, like it used to be. The hardcores won’t like it, but this is a casual game at heart.

  2. Rethink how best to deal with grief-based teams. I’ve read multiple threads with countless good ideas from limiting troops to one per team (something you the devs already said you wouldn’t do), to tweaking the match-up algorithm to not face the same troops so often.

  3. Test troops that give an extra turn long and hard before releasing them in the future… Having a 1 HP Fizzbang suddenly up to 1000 points in every category because she got one lucky sky drop is killer…and plain bad design. Take away her extra turn. This week has almost made me want to take a long break from this game, and I’m usually the one in my guild trying to talk people off of the ledge.

Thanks for reading and I genuinely hope at least some part of this gives you some insight on how to create a better user experience for at least some of your players moving forward.

-Dub Bub

TL:DR - Unity Gem algorithm feelsbadman. Takes away a feeling of agency and feeds negative feedback loops longer than a Fizzbang combo.


Genuine thoughts on the state of the forums
#2

That was a well-written post and didn’t feel “ranty” to me at all.

What you’re describing is exactly what my wife and I have felt playing the console version for the last number of months. Yes, we’re still playing, but the game we started playing 18+ months ago (a fun and relaxing puzzle game) is not the same game that we play today (a competitive grind-fest with occasional moments of joy or rage-inducing frustration).


#3

It’s called ‘recall bias’. :slight_smile:


#4

Specifically:


#5

Thanks, MarvelKit and Lyya! That was bugging me.


#6

Thanks! I used to think that you guys on console were just plain crazy for complaining about the things like the drops, but I have since had my eyes opened. Kudos to you for sticking with it for so long.


#7

I was beginning to wonder if we were crazy myself. I know some people are feeling vindicated, but for myself, I’m not sure how I feel. I’m glad that we’re all playing the same game finally, but thinking about all the fighting over this for the last year, it just makes me, I don’t know, sad?


#8

Couldn’t agree more really. I also use this game to unwind and now that it has become more frustrating and is often a spectator sport, I’m now playing less and less. Also agreed on the fizz bang nerf, just take away the extra turn as she is too overpowered with it.


#9

That’s fair. I never thought I’d write a post like this, but here it is. I know it’s just a game, but it’s a game I really like and one I’d like to see succeed. That and my guild lost a lot of really good long-term players recently, and this is my way to hopefully prevent losing more. It sucks seeing normally calm and friendly people leave because it’s not fun for them anymore.


#10

Hi @dubbubblubblub i apologize but i dont have the attention span to read your long open letter but i trust @Stan’s assessment of it and i think i get the gist from your tl;dr…

I personally dont have a problem with the way gems fall into the board. I know a lot of people feel it favors the ai or that is is just too streaky and such but i actually enjoy the way it plays since 3.1

Please dont take this as me being argumentative or that i am being an asshole because that is really not my intention. I am just trying to offer a different view on things.

I play on mobile and ps4 and i was well aware of the things console players had a problem with but the issue i had was the broken justice league. On the rare occasion when i faced a different team on ps4 i really liked it better than the pre-unity mobile ai. Now that justice is fixed and both mobile and console have the same ai i am happier than ever with GoW.

As for the fizzster i really dont want to see her nerfed at all… I generally dont like nerfs to begin with and i feel like nerfing fizzy will only send the goblins back to the shelf to collect dust again.

Anyway, that is my viewpoint and again i am not saying you are wrong, so please dont take it that way :sunglasses:

Vangor

#11

Since you didn’t read the full OP, let me just say that there was no hint of a complaint about favoring the AI. I think he was saying that it is just more unpredictable - like something unexpected can happen at any moment so you’re always a little on-edge. I guess that is the same as the “streaky” description.


#12

Very well written and expresses what many players are feeling right now.
I regards to Fizzbang, way OP, cannot take away extra turn as she is a Goblin, I would suggest take away Stealthy and increase mana cost +1


#13

I did read some of it and you are correct about my use of streaky. The rest was based on my observation of other peoples posts concerning console ai during my time on these boards and was in no way an indictment of anyome in particular. Forgive me for not being as clear as i should have been :sunglasses:


#14

@dubbubblubblub Kudos on the masterfully written letter. I think it is a very clear indication of what players are feeling and worthy of a @Saltypatra ping. :wink:

Also regarding Fizzy… why is nobody suggesting the removal of the 25 bonus to the stats, 50 for Goblins! That is completely superfluous to what she brings to the table, a gem exploder goblin. And would prevent her from solo-ing victory’s with one foot in the graveyard?

That’s the nerf that should happen, imho.


#15

http://community.gemsofwar.com/t/pop-goes-the-weasel/29706/120

:wink:


#16

Sorry I missed that one @eika!
Forgive me? :worried:


#17

I forgive you and take this cake I made for you! :slight_smile:

image


#18

Having the devs admit to “tweaking” the gem generation algorithm happened around this time, too, and for a large segment of the forum community at least this was an unfixable breach of trust. If they’re tweaking gem generation to favor the AI more, what else are they tweaking and not telling us? This was the point where I decided I was done spending money.

The game became quite griefy (I’m referring to PC - I know console had their own issues) and especially at the upper tiers you began to see constant Psion/Famine/Death defenses. Even if countering them wasn’t all that hard, it just got very stale.

Fast forward a couple months to 3.1 and the infamous Gem Nerf. Any hope the game had of once again convincing me to purchase something went completely and totally out the window when not only was a new Gem sink added, but Gem earnings were massively slashed - the Blue guardian was dropped from 590 Gems per week to 140, and Gems were completely removed from Legendary Tasks. The latter wasn’t even in the patch notes and wasn’t confirmed by the developers until this week. Yes, the publisher has since decided to lessen the Blue guardian nerf, and will be returning the reward to 390 Gems per week instead of 140 Gems per week, but it is still a loss of 30%, and they will not be returning Gems to Legendary Tasks, so for me this still comes out to a nerf of nearly 50%. For people in more active guilds, the nerf is even worse.

There are plenty of threads about the Gem issue so that’s as much as I’ll say here, but the crux of the matter is that this has come across to a lot of players as a heavy-handed attempt to get more people to buy Gems. Having the annual Gem sale happen days after the nerf, while possibly unintentional, was just more fuel on the fire.

That said, I have been trying to be very careful in my comments and not throw the blame on the developers, because I firmly believe they are not the ones at fault for this series of changes. It’s the business managers, accountants, directors and such who want to see the cow milked more forcefully.

Your comments indicate that one or both of you are whales. I’m not, being a lowly VIP 6, but I’m already speaking with my wallet by refusing to spend further. I would encourage you to do the same if you are as frustrated as you sound. Don’t continue to reward the business practices that are making you feel frustrated and burned out.


#19

Simple way to sum it up - battles in GoW are:

Early stage GoW: Turn based strategy game with elements of puzzle, and minor elements of gambling.
Mid stage GoW: Puzzle game with minor turn based elements, with progressively increasing gambling elements.
GoW Post Unity: Gambling game with some elements of strategy and minor turn based elements.

Some people prefer the one stage or the other. Arena used to be similar to early stage GoW, not so sure now. Speaking personally, I quit in early stage because it was too slow, but mid stage has retained my interest throughout. I felt this is where the game set itself apart from other match 3 games and other RPG-ish experiences. I am progressively enjoying post unity less and less. Some people find a rush with gambling that I simply never, ever will.

Whether this is good or bad for the game long term depends in largely on the reception. But it is a different game. Players expecting one experience cannot be reasonably expected to just suck it up and keep playing when it is not something that resonates with them anymore. We complain because we care, with the probably vain hopes that something will shift and we will be back to the experience we have been enjoying all this time. When we realize this is beyond hope, complaints will stop because we will have moved on.


#20

Very well put, I am fine with a gambling element if I can grind the roulette chips (Gems) without paying real world money but when I am being pushed more and more into purchasing those roulette chips it feels more like a gambling game as you so rightly put it and that isn’t what I want to play.

Happy to support the devs with purchases that I know what I am getting before spending my real world money but I refuse to buy roulette chips from them as this promotes gambling in my eyes