So is it just me, or is the PvP ladder system really a points over time calculation? That is, how many points can you make over time… and sustain for a week? Also, is that a good thing?
I spent more time this week, than I normally have running an experiment of sorts I guess. I wanted to level up my kingdoms to 10 (requiring massive gold amounts…) and I wanted to see how much I can play in a week and how well I can do on the ladder as a result… thus garnering me the gold I needed along the way. I also wanted to see how long my tier / rank progression lasted on the ladder. What effects it had when I went to work (taking several hours break) when I eat dinner or hang out with fam (taking a break) and then going to bed in evening after a long play session. It seems you can lose rank in the ladder far faster than you can make up the points.
You pick from three opponents and move up between 10-60ish in total tier points for a win. Conceptually, I like this pick from 3 idea, easier, mid and stretch goal… but I got to say, when you are level 200-ish and your stretch goal becomes the guy who is level 1000 with full traited mythics, the matching system isn’t doing you any favors…
Now, a loss will cost you between 1 and 10 points. Not terrible you think… accept that’s not the full story. You are also losing the time vested into that loss, while others are gaining on their own tier rank numbers… so in the race, you actually lost far more!
If someone else won two matches in the time it took you to lose one, while you tried to hold on for dear life… then they moved up perhaps 100 teir points, while you lost your own 1-10 on top of that… and now, you are both fighting to gain more, and so - you need them to lose or preferrably take a break so you can make real gains.
The net result is minuscule gains per hour on the ladder… unless you can ridiculously lower your time to kill / time to finish a match… and, it’s hardly worth ever staying in a match if it’s taking to long… you are better to drop out and get back to a match you can win fast… vs, taking double or tripple time to win. Thus gaining more points per hour than the competition.
Now, stop playing for an hour… or even a night to get some rest, and boom, you can drop ~700 to ~2000 places based upon others gaining points in your absence. Wow… that’s alarming to see considering how long it takes to move back up.
This system seems to encourage grind and non-stop play. Is that really what they were after? Is anyone who doesn’t play pvp for 20-60 hours a week having fun with this concept? Have many tried this to see what it takes in the current PvP? What are your thoughts I wonder… maybe I’m just doing something wrong or not working at it as efficiently as I could… but, really? Should this equate to work? Bleh…
Even if you do get into the top 100, the moment you break to do anything in life, boom, you drop hard again. This seems like a horrible hot mess of a system in a game like Gems of War… or maybe I’m just in the minority here…
Outside of the rewards I get from PvP, which I admit the gold, class leveling and very small glory rewards do help and are appreciated match to match… I’m thinking the whole thing is kind of a train wreck on the whole when you consider the ladder rewards and time to get / maintain that level. The arcane trait stone carrot isn’t really worth chasing to anyone who has a life, family or job as implemented is my best guess. I would love to see the TIME played and games played data for those who get into the top 100… hell, even the top 1000 by the time the week ends. My guess, it’s alarming data for the vast majority.
Unless I’m missing something, and I can only speak from my experience, this system and time expectation from the devs is rather astonishing… if not a bit atrocious. The time needed to get your ladder numbers up in the first place are worthy of a job… next, once you hit the 90s or the 70s in tier, you are facing all mythics and fully traited teams. I like the challenge of the optimized teams, its neat to see how they play out… but then you consider you need to think a bit more about your moves, how the AI will respond, etc… all which slows your game times down, and also can drop you in ladder pretty quick because you are not accumulating points fast enough compared to others on your heels.
Taking a break for an hour or two means an effective loss of ~700 rank some times and that equates to 4+ hours of work to move back up at the higher end.
Again, unless I’m not doing something right - this has to be one of the single most time intensive exercises I’ve seen in a game like this. Moreover, it seems that this game mode rewards only those with more time than anything else. As I gather, it doesn’t even reward based on your best tier achieved during the week… it only awards at a snapshot in time, at weeks end, right? If I understand correctly, it means even if you did put in the time to see your name in lights for all of the briefest moments as you venture into the triple, double or single digit tiers - however fleeting it may be… well, you don’t get paid at all if you stop the grind and fall from those graces… really… and they do this each week?
It reminds me of that Robin Williams “Golf” skit… just search for it on youtube, you’ll get the analogy quickly!
As folks gain an appreciation for the time investment, it seems like this system is going to be a love / hate real fast. I’m sure the SISTER, DHJL or whatever short list of folks that are regularly in the top spots are enjoying the arcane loots weekly and clearly have the time to vest in it, so are all over it. For us mere mortals though, it’s a haves (time) vs. have nots, more than anything else. You could have all the cards in the game at mythic fully traited, but don’t expect to get to the top wrung without a healthy dose of time weekly… and staying there is a whole different time sink.
It seems they could make a number of changes to improve appeal to a far broader audience… just a few ideas come to mind, such as:
Tier rewards could pay out as soon as you hit them, vs. waiting till weeks end…
Another option, the game could track the highest tier you achieved DURING the week and pay based on your best progress during the week, not where you are at PRESENTLY, when the week ends… this would be similar to how Hearthstone allocates their monthly chest system. This means all effort you put in just to get to “wherever” is not lost because you have a life on the weekend when the event ends.
Awards based on best tier rank earned alone wouldn’t fix it though… there’s still a massive time investment with the current system. That needs to be calculated and addressed I feel… assuming my experience is reflective of the norm / average that is.
Lowering time investment to rewards could be done a number of ways, but the easiest might be to introduce divisions between the ranks. Each division has it’s own ladder for example… and each ladder pays out (again, when you hit the tier, or at the end of week, based on your highest tier achieved.) Your division is determined by your level at the beginning of the week perhaps. So you could have a level 0-100 bracket… a 101-200 bracket… etc all the way to the 901-1000 level bracket. That way, the pool of gamers is smaller in your bracke that you compete against, and match ups are more close to what you might also have access to.
I’m not sure if ladder point losses are doing near as much as time not played are in the current math. It just salt in the wound after losing a match as the points over time mechanic is far worse to your overall progress in reality.
In the end, the PvP, especially as implimented, isn’t even what draws me in or why I play this game. I like the mini-games, the quests, the progression of cards system, the occasional surprise bonuses at the end of a kingdom quest line - like war and peace or class quests, etc… Levleling up the classes has been very enjoyable as well, and another nice carrot to chase. Once I get my last city to 10, my PvP time is going to greatly diminish, as I just don’t see the point in trying… and two, the time I put in this week, even to break the 100 barrier a couple times, is not sustainable for a working husband / father even if I did greatly enjoy the PvP game type… but again, perhaps my experiences are not reflective of the norm… perhaps I’m doing it wrong. I’m sure someone will enlighten me.
For my enjoyment, I hope additional, non-pvp game types are on the horizon. I always look forward to new kingdoms, their quests, challenges and new troop types. I hope arena is not left in the dust. More arena like mini-games would be greatly appreciated. Here’s hoping they have a few lucrative mini-games in the works!
Sorry for the wall, and thanks for taking the time,