After reading _Sieradzanin_’s comment in the “testers wanted” thread, i decided to make a whole new thread out of the concern expressed there, since it’s bothering me too.
Even with my limited experience with this game, i could tell that it’s being changed every once in a while: the maps, mission conditions, weapons, armor, ammo – all these things are not carved in stone in any way. I even had to abandon my initial account to start anew since at point the strategy i used to follow stopped being good for me, and changing it would never be completely possible with the current game mechanics (retraining the main merc doesn’t allow you to choose a different archetype). And now i see that some things that were too frustrating for me and caused me to just dump like two weeks of gameplay are now altered, which might have allowed me to deal with them with my initial account.
My point is that the game doesn’t feel either stable or predictable. In fact, it feels like it’s an open beta, and we are all the testers of the game. The guinea pigs helping the developers polish the game mechanics that they didn’t do properly in the first place. It’s probably the reason why this game is not advertised on Kong which leads to its almost complete stagnation when there are just a few dozen of regular players with a few newbies coming and going.
I do enjoy the game, and i’ve put some pretty serious time and effort into it to make sure i get good results from it. But ever since having found out that you, the Cliffhanger team, are gonna tweak everything around once again, and now in a very serious manner (AP cost changes, AP bonus changes, skill influence changes, HP changes, weapon/armor changes, merc changes etc), i can’t stop thinking that these changes might be serious enough to render my personal playing scheme ineffective. And that would be very, very bad and unpleasant for me, and also not very nice of you guys.
Right now, there is no official guide to this game (or maybe there is one?) with a thorough explanation of the leveling system and what consequences it poses to the player. You do not even state anywhere that the merc levels are capped at level 50, so people build up their mercs’ stats in a way that could later be found bad for them, for example, by putting all their weapon skill points into the primary weapon and then being unable to wear the contemporary secondary weapons.
There also is no complete guide on the weapons/armor, so by putting the merc’s points into some or other stat or weapon, we have to guess what profit those points would bring us. I mean, right now it’s hard to even tell what difference is gonna be between 70 and 100 weapon points, and those 30 points going into a different weapon might change a lot for you at the later stages when the modern weapons really matter a lot and you might just not be able to equip them since the weapon skill would be too low.
You see, you left us out there blind and unknowing, and all we can rely on right now is the experience of those who have followed this path before us. A lot of discussion in the game chat is dedicated just to the questions like “what are the weapons/armor on level X and what are their requirements?”.
Yet what options you leave us if someone finds out that he’s been leveling up his mercs all wrong? Well, you graciously allow us to retrain them… for gold. And for some astronomical amounts of gold i must say, so big that i doubt anyone would be able to collect enough gold to retrain some high level merc without paying the hard earned cash.
Well, i admit that this game is no charity and you have to earn money on it too. Plus, if retraining was too cheap or even free at all, the players would be abusing this option to adapt their mercs better to the conditions of the missions they were about to play.
But this is only fair until the choices people make are the only thing that is important. Which isn’t very true if the game constantly changes by itself. Today the choices we made yesterday bring us one kind of result, and tomorrow everything gets changed and, while some of us would feel better with the changes since they would be meeting their needs, the others might be left very disappointed.
This all was being said from a regular player’s point of view. But let’s not forget that there are the people who were paying you for the premium stuff, and then you just follow the other people’s demands and lower the stats of the items that were once pretty strong, thus making them much more regular – and much less worth the price they were sold for.
I personally am not gonna pay you a penny for this game – and i apologize if that’s gonna upset you =) – but i do think that your main priority is to save the loyalty of those who did or would do. And, along with it, the loyalty of those who make this game a living breathing thing, not the lifeless ruins your warzones looks like =). I mean the other regular players.
We were there while your game was in its infancy, we helped you finding the flaws in the schemes that you had implemented, and with our help this game has only gotten better. Now, when you think you’re done with tweaking it and are ready to set some rules in stone, it would be nice if you expressed some sort of appreciation to us.
In the following paragraph i will try to compile a list of things that would be nice to do by you guys when you think this game is ready to hit production, if you want to keep the players’ loyalty and not make yourself an image of a company who only cares about ripping off their customers. I would appreciate the other players’ comments, fixes and additions to it.
So, the Mighty To-Do List of Justice:
1. Everyone who bought gold from you and didn’t spend it must be given an option to request refund.
2. Everyone who bought gold from you and spent it must be given an option to revert any actions bought with gold and get the gold back, and for that gold, the rule from this list (later on, just “rule”) #1 must apply.
Exceptions are the special ammo that has been bought with gold and already spent. For the remaining part of the special ammo, the rule #2 must apply proportionally to the amount of gold the full ammo pack was bought for and the amount of ammo remaining.
3. Everyone must be given a single-time option to retrain all the mercs in his or her possession. Retraining must include an option to choose another merc from a merc roster, with leveling him up to the level the previous merc was having, with an option to distribute all the points from the level difference according to the player’s wishes.
This includes the mercs the player has been owning permanently. In this case, the player must be given an option to either retrain the previously owned merc or choose a new one, who would be owned permanently too.
The retrain given under these circumstances, and all the other variants of retrain, must return the selected merc into the state he or she initially was in the merc roster. Retraining from the level 1 must apply to the main merc only.
4. Everyone must be given an option to refund all the building upgrades he or she used to have and get back the cash and the special items spent on it.
5. Everyone must be given an option to refund all the weapons/armor/ammo bought from the store and get back the cash spent on it. Cash refund for ammo applies only to the ammo that hadn’t been used yet, with the calculation proportions the same as stated in the rule #2.
This is what i found rather easy to formalize. There are a few more topic though that need to be covered. I’ll try to overview them briefly to start the discussion, can’t really think of them in depth now.
1) The gold and cash used in crafting. Especially if you change the crafting success chances. Especially if you change the properties of the crafted items.
2) The items you remove from the game (in case there are any). If there’s a clear alternative to those items, the players should be given that alternative in a corresponding quantity. If there is none – like, if you decide that some uncommon/epic weapons should just be removed – there should be some sort of a compensation for it.
3) How much money to refund for the weapons if the price scale has been changed. I assume enough to buy any type of weapon of the same level, or some proportionate value if there are no weapons of such level in any class.
A note to the player readers
This is in no way a complete list. And i do not even claim it to be perfectly thought of, it’s more like a work in progress. So if you feel interested in what i am writing about here, and would like to contribute to this list, you’re welcome to do it.
A note to the devs
Don’t take this personal, i personally appreciate the effort you’ve put into this game. But this is a serious matter and i believe it should be dealt with accordingly.
If you find some of my propositions impossible to implement, i would appreciate some sort of feedback to discuss the possible solutions to such problems.
Thanks for your attention,
Dmitry aka Valar Morghulis