Unsolicited rant about the game economy
This is why the ingame economy is going to continue going on being stagnant despite their best efforts to stimulate it by enticing people to spend gems. We’ve been conditioned that the ultimate prize is base mythics. Base mythics inevitably cost a ton of gems to chase. If you can currently reach the goal of obtaining base mythics, that is your ultimate goal. Cash purchases of gems are measured by what a gem can get you and not how rare gems are to get. When gems = troops and troops = mythics, then everyone’s mental math on the worth of a gem is what it will get you in terms of mythics. They’ll never sink someone already at this level far enough to not think of them in this terms, only slow newer players pace from getting to that point, and even that only happens because ignorance is bliss. But anyone invested in the game to actually start collecting will naturally be guided to a point where they can see how little impact purchases have, have their bubble popped, and most of them will stop spending entirely.
Gem sinks that don’t give prizes comparable to mythics won’t work as long as people can use them to get mythics and have to worry about missing a mythic and the price point going up. Done right, gem sinks could actually good for the economy as a whole, but the game can’t offer everything the fastest, cheapest, and least restrictive for gems because this is all gems can be. The other side, influx of gems, also needs to be addressed, particularly with cash purchases, which they seem to be vehemently against touching and trying to build around despite having increasingly bloated numbers attached to the newer systems. Even in comparison with these new features, 50 bucks worth of gems buys you not a whole lot. Pay-to-win-systems have the common sense to be affordable and this doesn’t even correctly hit this mark. Also, I want to pull my hair out over the fact that they put gems as leaderboard prizes once again in a system that encourages you to spend gems to get on the leaderboard. That isn’t how to implement a proper sink other than being bait of the highest order for anyone ignorant to think they can use gems to get onto the leaderboard without having to go all in and only partially recoup their losses maybe.
The reaction to how this mode has gem sinks very telling to just how bad the in-game economy has gotten and how attempts to “fix” it keep making it worse. The way to a healthy game economy is to stop having everyone scared that they will miss something by spending some gems here and there and lead into a resource death spiral because things inexplicably cost more to target and are harder to find and may no longer be relevant when you find them after they are new. Then, when the playerbase is given opportunities to spend gems, they might actually do so instead of having the collective attitude of I must spend every single gem I ever get ever on troops and nothing else because this is the best way to get troops. Because this attitude isn’t wrong. It’s the logical conclusion based on how the game’s reward structure is designed.
So… ahem… onto the actual game mode.
The biggest disappointment is the whole “no energy systems” attitude of the dev team has gone straight out the window and into the nearest dumpster with this. You can’t paint this at anything but an energy system. Not that energy systems are inherently bad, but this is kind of a betrayal of one of the core design philosophies. This is also one of the “bad” types of energy systems, the only “good” part being that you can stack however much you earn until the end of the week, with the drawbacks being you have an extremely low amount of daily energy compared to what is buyable at exorbitantly high price points. A good energy system encourages you to spread out your playtime but allows you to binge play during certain periods while steering you away from burnout. This one does not of that and instead focuses on gating plays to sink currency. An energy system that is entirely about currency into plays should at least have consistently greater rewards for being successful at those plays (eg., currency + time + merit should always yield greater rewards than currency used without time or merit), but this system does not do that either, tying individual rewards to the leaderboard treadmill. Guild Wars was tolerable with limited entries because it was all about only having the limited entries so that “every battle mattered”, and also it was a clone of PvP where you were handcuffing yourself by choice to fit an arbitrary scoring system.
The mode itself looks interesting from the team building standpoint, but I really wanted something different to do all the time if I choose to, not something that feels like another obligation while everything else I can do doesn’t feel like I’m getting anywhere doing it.
As for the leaderboard itself, wont be on it, don’t care. Competition for any sort of thing like this with an underlying energy system tends to work like this - its a treadmill sink for a collection of the top players to incentivize them to be pay to play. The difference here is that the hard bottleneck is not usually cash spent and you reach a level where progress in the given system is actually only possible with a smaller and smaller group of people. Gems of War… simply doesn’t work like this. Individual battles are small scale and in and of themselves largely meaningless as a way to measure skill. There are hundreds if not thousands of people with nearly identical collections with respect to how any of these events can go and similar levels of skill bonus. Practically anybody can beat a given setup at least sometimes because thats what the game’s mechanics allow. Leaderboards in Gems of War have always mostly measured things other than “how good you are at Gems of War” (even if skill at the game is a component to a point, it is not often the deciding factor), and this one is no different.
Also, huge missed opportunity to monetize by not having a cash only item that grants a couple sigils to your entire guild. They are already pretty much there, why not go all the way? This would actually be much preferable to the whole leaderboards thing to most people, as it monetizes a way to make progress for your whole guild. If not that, some way to grant sigils to your guild to rally and reach the guild goal rather than it being just about the personal leaderboard chase. That kinda undercuts what the mode is supposed to be about.
- Team/Fight Mechanics: looks interesting. Wish this was an alternative to choose to use my time whenever, instead of a weekly obligation with a limit.
- Gem Sinks: Need more of them in the game for a healthy economy, but they won’t be effective to driving economy health for long term players because mythics (even the draw of pulling them now vs soulforge drudgery) remain the better prize. Poor execution.
- Energy system: poorly executed, disappointing. Also, would work much better if the rewards for feeding gems into energy, assuming successful use of said energy, were desirable enough to be considered at a value above the amount of gems put in but not in actual gems, but they aren’t (see above)
- Rewards table: orbs as drops are the main valuable draw from this mode, orbs are random, and only a quarter of them have enough “value” to be a comparable prize to spending gems (see above again)
- Leaderboard: Meh. Locking it behind energy behind gems wasn’t a good idea because it was obviously going to be divisive. Pretty much impossible to have a purely skill-testing leaderboard in Gems of War anyways. Both irritating and counterproductive to have gem prizes on here, again.
- Monetization: They need to do better. Again. This has all the bad taste of a cash grab without actually being one.
- Like the mechanics. Love the concept. Execution is lacking.