FORUMS


Design issues that create bad incentives



Posted: //
Nov. 20, 2016, 5:54 a.m.



I've come back to Dreadnought after a longer break - after lvl 50 and something like 100 hours of fun, it was time to move on. And I come back to 8v8, 30+ ships and tiered research/matchmaking. Oh, and maintenance.. Looks like the game went down the World of Tanks progression system, with some bad flaws however.

So let me rant about the bad incentive to play Recruit instead of Veteran that these changes cause.

Credits:

Seeing how a tier 3 ship has all the fun modules (Destroyer with energy generator and storm missiles? Hurray), but costs 24k... I wondered how much money do I make on a Recruit-Newbie-Stomp vs a harder Veteran game.
Well, turns out that both matches give me the same base income of roughly 1000 credits. However, the Recruit game was actually fun, while the Veteran game felt like a waste of time. Oh, and there is maintenance for Vet games, reducing my income further.

Lets talk World of Tanks/Warthunder/... for a moment, because that's pretty clearly what inspired this new progression system. In WoT, at low to mid tiers, you drown in credits and the grindfest is getting experience. You can reduce the grinding via paying money to turn exp into free exp. The progression itself is "yet another tank/plane" and modules that give "yet another +10% to damage" - in other words: extremely dull. But the skillful gameplay can kind of save most of that.

Now I see that Dreadnought uses the same progression system, with one bad change: Not exp is the bottleneck, but credits. What's the point of the gp/free exp system, if exp is not the bottleneck? It completely misses the point of how the manipulation of the player works. And I'm not a big fan of that manipulation, but well, like I said: At least WoT/WT's gameplay save it for me and make it acceptable.

Why do WoT/WT have "Maintenance"? Well, assume you make 2k credits and pay 1k maintenance. If you now sell 'boosters' with 50% credit income, you get 3k credits and pay 1k.. oh, look, the booster actually does 100% instead of 50%. It makes the booster feel 'stronger' and allows for balancing the booster properly. But like I said.. that only makes sense with a credits-bottleneck.
Tiered Research:


Hooray, 30+ ships... my first thought was "Oh no, what did you do! We had 15 more or less meaningful ship choices and they got diluted?". Yes, it was "only 15 ships" - but as a comparison, Overwatch has "only 23 heroes". That's not bad, because they are widely different and encourage different playstyles. And its something I appreciated about the original 15 ship cast, even though it didn't quite feel like it was fully intentional. The "tier 1" Gora was one of my most played ships, because it was just a solid ship - though slow.

Now I come back to the game and see, that not only is the difference in ships the module kit ("good"), but the base ships gets random +x % damage ("bad!"). This leads me to the stupid Veteran games, where there is like three tier 4 healers, outhealing any dps. And they even outtank the damage themselves. We are now in a situation, where a tier 4 ship is just better than a tier 2 ship. Yet again, both get put in the same match. What's the point for the tier 2 player? He'll just go back to Recruit and have fun there.
(And not to say that the others in the Vet game enjoy it.. but the tiered research and matchmaking 'forces' them in there, even though they despise it and they get less bottleneck-credits)

Talking about forcing people to do things. I liked my Gora. Now I have to play 3 tiers of 'static' arty cruisers that I never really liked to get to it. Eww.. and that's something I liked about the old system: You could choose and play whatever of the 5 ship classes you prefer and still progress properly. Sometimes you feel like Arty, sometimes like Tac.. but as it is now, it is "Well, I'm gonna play Recruit, because I wanna have fun. Which tier 2 ship is not fully researched yet? Ah, okay, lets play Arty/Tac then." Yes, you could skip that with free exp, but .. no, not for this price. And especially not because you then sit in front of the next paygate, the credit bottleneck.

One thing that actually makes the credit bottleneck even worse is the fact that you decided to give the modules "+10% to damage"-upgrades too. Those are not interesting! But you need to buy them, in order to play your ship 'optimally', draining even more credits from the account.

Tiered Matchmaking:

So okay, if you go down the route of tiered ships (yay, another +20% instead of my skill mattering.. boring), you really need to increase the playerbase. I liked that matchmaking now allows to queue for "any" mode... but splitting the playerbase between Recruit (= fun) and Veteran (= I have to play it.. urgh)? Considering above problem, Veteran games take longer to queue AND are less fun to play. With tier 2/3, I may not have unlocked the tools to deal with nonsense like armor booster and the like. Coming back as a lvl 50 player, this feels pretty awful, because I "know" I would deal with it, but it takes another week or two before the game "allows" me to deal with it. Feels terrible, especially since I'm the kind of person who enjoys skill based gameplay and despises 'gear checks' that a only linked to my playtime, not to my skill.
I've limited time and I don't have time to grind my way to the gear I need so I can play at my skill level.

8v8:

In any game, there are some units that get even better the more you've got of them. In this game, it's Arty and Tac cruisers. Having seen teams with like 4x Arty and 3x Tac cruiser is just.. silly.. It no fun to play again, especially since - for some reason - the tier 2 corvette does not do enough damage anymore to kill any of the two targets in the first pass (Bonus: Wow, you removed cloak! I would say: Good choice!). And that happens already even if the prey is tier 2. Don't get me started on higher tier targets..
All in all


I very much enjoyed the "choose whatever ship you like"-approach of the original progression system. I was not forced to buy modules or their upgrades if I didn't want to. In 5v5, a Koschei/Monarch combo or the like was annoying, but acceptable, whereas now it's Tac cruiser spam time in 8v8. Credits were a bottleneck before, too, but at least you could use GP to deal with that issue to some degree (especially for ships and 4k officer briefings). The matchmaking was far from perfect, but at least it didn't split the player base and I didn't feel like "Well, I'm a tier 2 in a game with tier 4 ships.. what am I even doing in here?".

I'll probably grind my way to a Storm missile/drain torpedo/weapon booster/energy generator tier 3 Athos and see whether I can even make a dent with the current balance (If I even get a Vet game!).. and after that will probably drop the game again, because it feels like the new progression system gets too much in the way of my enjoyment of the core gameplay.


Posted: //
Nov. 20, 2016, 4:40 p.m.


Updated //
Nov. 20, 2016, 4:40 p.m.

I completely agree with your post.
All of the new gameplay is just a diluted experience of the potential of the game. A type of gameplay you will not experience until you've already exhausted yourself playing the bland, soulless and ultimately unfair grindfest that is the current "progression" chart.

In all the time I've seen games developed, times like these are rare. They seem to be purposefully killing the game by watering the entire game down to nothing but a faint hue of the great, original experience. It's a sad echo of a game that held so much promise.


"There are some who may question my authority to end billions of lives, but those who truly understand realize that I have no right to let them live"
-Inquisitor Horst upon ordering an Exterminatus.


Posted: //
Nov. 20, 2016, 10:41 p.m.



Another good read of the current status. 👍


you won't escape my Frightning bolts!!!


Posted: //
Nov. 21, 2016, 11:09 p.m.



Indeed, and the whole "must play lots of ships to get to what I want" is as bizarre as it is flawed. I have yet to see someone in a talionis, simply because of how brutal it is to get there (even with the price reduction, it is still about 250K credits from T3). Same with the monarch.

Agreed the tiers remove a big element of skill, but maybe it evens out at T4...after weeks to reach it. Definitely a case of taking the worst aspects of WoT for inspiration. As people have pointed in other threads, the biggest F2P games make money by providing fun optional items. TF2 provides hats for crying out loud smile

Who wouldn't want a santa hat on their valcour?


Unlocking all ships and modules should not be the endgame, it should mark the point where the game truly begins.


Posted: //
Nov. 22, 2016, 12:52 p.m.



It does look like they put "monetization" ahead of "fun".

Three reasons I am here.

  • I like the base gameplay, it is fun, but they are making it really hard to have that fun.
  • I don't expect this game to have lifespan, so I'm playing it now before it vanishes. Hopefully they prove me wrong.
  • We have our own PVP game coming out in 2018. I am learning so much about what not to do.

Posted: //
Nov. 22, 2016, 2:22 p.m.


Updated //
Nov. 22, 2016, 2:24 p.m.

Vigilant#3864 posted (#post-62456)

It does look like they put "monetization" ahead of "fun".

Three reasons I am here.

  • I like the base gameplay, it is fun, but they are making it really hard to have that fun.
  • I don't expect this game to have lifespan, so I'm playing it now before it vanishes. Hopefully they prove me wrong.
  • We have our own PVP game coming out in 2018. I am learning so much about what not to do.

Which is funny cause they would no doubt make a ton more money selling cosmetic items to a healthy playerbase than boosters to a rapidly withering one.
Think about it, would you be willing to deck out your ship with different sections when you know your ship will be with you for a good amount of time and will be a good ship to play with? Probably yeah
Now compare it to this model where ships are discarded as trash after next tier is reached. Do you want to invest in a ship which you know is not going to be with you for long and you are going to discard it soon? Probably not.

The only ships most people would be willing to invest are those they enjoy playing with, and those reside in the T4 to T5 range... Plot twist, many many many quit before they reach that point equaling to no money for the devs.

Surely the devs can't be so that they haven't realized it as well. It doesn't even seem to be about monetization anymore, it's pure madness at this point.


"There are some who may question my authority to end billions of lives, but those who truly understand realize that I have no right to let them live"
-Inquisitor Horst upon ordering an Exterminatus.


Posted: //
Nov. 23, 2016, 7:31 a.m.



Pretty much what I don't get.
Hard monetization, ok, it's money; ... but they don't do that.
And I don't get it. WHY?
There is absolutely no reason to pay money in this game, I can convert XP that I don't need to then be stuck with having no currency, and I can not buy cosmetics until I'm 50 hours into the game. Sure, "It's not done yet", but I can't see how it could possibly improve like this without changing things that could have been created differently in the first place.


We need "Alpha" and "Beta" Camo Patterns! Just plaster the Word all over the ships hull in various sizes and angles !
Link: Artillery Overview


Posted: //
Nov. 25, 2016, 10:13 p.m.



Thought I'd stop in and see how the game was changing since I remembered seeing a beta email a few weeks ago.

Go the grind route, tiered progression, and have to play ships I hate to get to one that fits my play style?

Thanks, no. Please don't turn this game into a clone of a dozen others.

I'll wait a few more months and check in again.

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