The latest update has brought changes to the way battle bonus works. The amount of XP and credits gains is now depending on the number and tier of ships in your fleet (e.g. 5x T5 ships will get you more than 3x T4).
The cost of purchasing battle bonus has increased significantly. Originally it was 12,5k credits but will be reduced to 11k with today's hotfix. By reducing it by a mere 1,5k or 12% they might as well have left it unchanged but that's a topic for another discussion.
I want to focus on the reasoning as to why battle bonus is so expensive now.
The amount in and of itself would not be an issue if the credit gains would be appropriate. Unfortunately they are not. I have yet to find somebody, anybody who earns enough credits to compensate the 12,5k/11k credits required to purchase the bonus.
Turns out that is intentional. Community manager EmptyTuxedo confirmed in yesterday's live stream that players are not meant to earn enough credits to compensate the purchase. As to why this is he made two remarkable statements:
- The battle bonus is meant to act as a currency sink.
- The high amount is supposed to incentivise players to queue up for different fleet queues until the cooldown has expired.
1. currency sink
A currency sink is generally a game mechanic which is introduced to deal with the fact that players amass certain currencies without any meaningful items available to spend them on depriving the player of incentives to play the game as a result.
Credits in Dreadnought are the currency required to purchase modules. While up until T4 credits may indeed be in overabundance this drastically changes once players reach T5. Getting players to waste their credits on bying battle bonus while still in T4 will leave them with nothing to invest in modules in T5 making progression even more of a chore. This problem is amplified by the fact that without battle bonus XP and credit gains are painfully low making progression in any meaningful pace almost impossible.
Furthermore credits gains were tied to XP gains making both unseparable from one another. So it didn't matter whether or not players amassed huge piles of credits as long as they gained XP.
Now players find themselves in the typical 'Damned if you do, damned if you don't.' situation. If they purchase battle bonus they will increase their XP gains but literately lose credits (so they can research a desired module but are unable to purchase it). If they don't purchase it they will earn credits but lose out on a lot of XP (having the credits to purchase the desired module but not enough XP to research it). Seriously?
In fact at T5 players will be better of skipping battle bonus entirely as the required amount of XP is less than the credits cost. So by the time one has earned enough credits the required amount of XP has been earned, too. Nice job SixFoot, rendering your own game mechanics useless...
2. Queue for different fleet queues
SixFoot is actively discouraging players to queue up for legendary fleet making the top tier fleet less populated. I'm still trying to wrap my head around why this should be a good idea but until now I got nothing...
Players don't need to be told what fleet they want to play in. This attempt to do so is as ill advised as it is risky. If the players feel like their time investment in the game is not respected they will leave. And the new battle bonus does not respect playtime as it increases the playtime required to unlock/purchase modules exponantially. And let's not forget that before the changes to the battle bonus the T5 grind has always been criticised for beeing to much. As such increasing this grind is a baffeling decision.
Increasing the cooldown from 20 to 30 min makes the grind even worse.
3. Bonus vs. default
One could argue that it's called battle bonus which means something to add to the base values, something not to be taken for granted. There are a few counter to this argument, though.
Firstly players have come to get used to the battle bonus and as such to the increased XP and credits gains leading to a reasonable progression pace. Taking that away will leave a bad taste in many players' mouths.
Secondly without the bonus the base values of XP and credits gains are so low that it would take an unbearable amount of time to progress. So instead making battle bonus the icing on the cake the devs created a system which actively punishes players who do not puchase it (XP gains) and also punishes players who do (credits gains).
Clearly these changes have been made to get players to spend cash for Elite Status which isn't a bad thing in and of itself. The game has to generate revenue, everyone understands that. But trying to achive this by making the game objectively worse is hardly the right way to do it. To take away something that benefited the players for years now in order to lure them into spending is just bad game design in my opinion.
But even with Elite Status active the grind has increased so much that I'm afraid that new players that enter Legendary Fleet for the first time will realize what time investment lies ahead of them and say: Thanks, but no thanks.
Making Legendary Fleet grindier by increasing the cost of purchasing battle bonus is a gamble that will most likely backfire if players throw their hands in the air and give up on the game instead of buying Elite Status. Elite Status should be an option for players that want to progress a bit faster. Right now the game does everything it can to make your life as miserable as possible if you choose to not buy Elite Status.
Almost all the negative reviews on Steam say that the grind is too much. So I think it's safe to say that the grind is the main reason the playerbase shrank from more than 3,000 right after Steam release to now a mere 300 odd players at any given time of day on PC. Doubeling down on the grind is therefore baffling to me.
My advice to the developers: Go back to the previous system. It might not have been perfect (to me it was perfectly fine) but from a player's perspective it was so much better than what we have to deal with now because it respected our time invested in the game. The new one does not!