Hello everyone, Gray here.
So in taking time off from Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, i was excited to play the new version of this game. After playing the game almost religiously in the previous version, i have identified one overwhelmingly important point of interest, that i think will be worth the attention going forward. This will be detailed criticism, with brief praises. I am attempting to remove any emotions from its presentation. I hope you, and more specifically the Devs take this criticism seriously. TL;DR included at bottom.
lets talk about the progression system.
The progression system, being the most obvious part of this patch, has a good heart. I can see what was intended with this new format. No longer do we have a system that promotes level grinding for unlocks. Instead, we now have a two stage research based unlock tree, where new hulls, and direct upgrades to modules are acquired. There are several pros and cons of this new system, lets look at those.
The system provides players with a "build your own progression" style of fleet management. This is a welcome change. In theory, i no longer feel like I'm just grinding for the sake of obtaining that one module at level 50. Instead i am provided with next tier modules, on a lower tier ship, where each module or tier hull higher, provides me greater options for module choices and advantages. I can now rush past many things i don't care about. Thus skipping tiers by around half, should i desire it. The knowledge of the three major factions is way more apparent now. This allows people to identify with lore easier, and mentally group factions in an easier way.
The system is SIGNIFICANTLY MORE grind heavy than the previous installment was. Even if you are rushing tiers, you will be stuck at tier 2 for a very long time, only to be suck at tier 3 for even longer, ect ect. Below I will argue that your current system is disgustingly grind heavy to the point of absurdity. In fact, this is the reason why T4 is so strong at this moment, more on that later.
With that out of the way, here is an in-depth analysis.
I did some math on the current system. Currently my average over the last 10 games was (credits) 19150 / 10 = 1915 (Exp) 31359 / 10 = 3135.9. This math is without Elite status. The average game lasts around 10-15mins. For simplicity, lets assume 15mins. Most que times, last around 5-10mins, lets assume 5 for a greater weight to my argument by providing more chances for games. Also every game i used was 10 victories in a row. At 20min (15+5) intervals we can assume a perfect scenario of 3 games per hour. Without taking into account peoples needs to eat, sleep, jerk off, whatever. Every day, a person could unreasonably achieve 72 games. I argue however, by taking into account eat, sleep, burnout, whatever, that a more realistic outcome would be half this, expecting that 36 games per day would be a far more likely reality. With that in mind, a dedicated gamer could achieve 68.940 credits, and 112.860 experience, over a 36 game day, assuming they win every game, and my average remains steady. With this rather generous assumption, we can start to work out the duration it will take to unlock the trees, with the intention to unlock the next tier in a rush. I am not taking into account the credits, as i do not know specific numbers without first researching the technology.
We will examine the Jupiter Arms destroyer line from Tier one to final tier. i do not see it necessary to do the math on the other paths, as all tiers have this same issue.
T1 Des. Two trees required to unlock. I had unlocked this entirely within 1 hour, and i can no longer see the math.
T2 Des. unlocked after 3-4 hours of play, with two trees. Fully unlocked, cannot see the math. However i have noticed that all technologies are cheaper to research with experience, which is the more common currency, but credits being the rarer currency, often costs more. This needs to change, as you need to avoid excessive grind.
T3 Des. 10050 experience / 50000 credits to unlock hull. A player will be required to dedicate one day to unlocking this hull via credits, before anything else..... Three trees to unlock next tier. Total research tree experience required to unlock research access to the next hull is 34.200. I can only predict that this will be far worse with credits, given the track record of the current system. Logically, we should assume around 1-2 days for a person to rush to the next tier. However the entire tree is 76.200, not including the logistic cruiser tech. Logically, by taking into account real life issues of living, unlocking just one full tier 3 will take you the better part of a week, but only IF you dedicate to that mission. Realistically, unlocking a full Tier 3 will take you several weeks, if not close to a month as most people will not dedicate, and will likely spend money elsewhere, then get discouraged by the investment of T3, and spend elsewhere until forced otherwise.
T4 Des. unknown unlock costs, but given the stupidity of a 50k credit T3 purchase, i can only assume the cost will be a 6 digit sum, which would violently disgust me. Regardless, from tier 4 to unlock the tier 5, you will be looking at four pathway unlock. The sum required to unlock credit purchase of T5 is 338.000. A full 3 hardcore days of complete victory. Which again is stupidly unrealistic, expand on this as you will. In truth, just to unlock to a t5, we should expect the pathway will take over or close a month for the average player, as the same logic of people spending their money around will apply. To unlock the full tree for credit purchase, you require 608.100 experience. 6 whole days of grind. With the same logic, we can easily put estimated time well over a month of non-dedicated purchasing. Again, keep in mind that credits are often harder to come by than experience, thus you will be slowed down considerably within this grind.
T5 Des, to fully unlock, the math is as follows. 1.261.200 total experience. I can only shudder and weep at the potential horrors of credit costs waiting for me at that level. Individual techs are 28k-57k experience. There is however a typo in pricing with T5 energy gen, where the price is 4800.
In conclusion to this, a Jupiter Arms Des will take somewhere around, being the most generous, and frankly freakishly Korean dedication, (1.945.500) 19 days of absurd hardcore grind. That means you would need to play around 684 victories in order to unlock a T5. This doesn't take into account the purchase costs of the T3-T5 hulls. Under more rational circumstances, a fair assessment would suggest the average player would put in around 3-6 months of grinding, distributing their money across their account different ways, to get their first T5. One could effectively argue that the majority of players may never achieve Tier 5 of any class, as the process to getting there is honestly far too painful in its current form, leading to people burning out, and leaving the game forever. This grind, is an ANTI-FUN mechanic. Combine that with other players having access to these ships, and higher, new players have to deal with being objectively weaker until they meet the grind requirements. This is not an issue so long as it is short term discomfort, however i think i have made a strong case to indicate a different reality.
This grind mechanic also allows for something else i have seen come up in this patch that DID NOT exist to this level of stupidity in the previous version. Pay to win T4. Firstly, DO NOT NERF the current hero ships, they are fine. The only reason they are dominating is because they are the only acts in town, as a result of this horrific grind. Never has there been so many Morningstars on the field at one point, being legitimately effective. This was not the case last patch! Again, the problem is not the T4, the problem is the grind system. People cannot fight them because they are ill-equipped. Unless you allow players to progress quicker, and thus overtake the hero ships within the week, this will remain a problem so long as hero ships exist. That, or you nerf the hero ships into the floor and render them useless, please don't do that. If not correctly addressed, this will damage the community. It is a simple fix, and it could all be solved within the week.
Now one could argue that your intention for this is to provide people with incentive to purchase Elite status. Not just for specific ship experience to free experience conversion, but also for extra credits, which is the most important factor in all of this. Given the inarguable blandness of the modules, ships, and guns, i can honestly say that people will quickly realize that a slight damage, or duration upgrade, coupled with a ship skin, is not enough to keep them interested over this ridiculous duration of grind time. As a veteran level 50 player, nothing really feels new, but everything does feel extremely restrictive. From obvious things such as the lack of secondary turrets until tier 3, is a profound oversight that needs to be corrected immediately. To simpler things like the T2 Nox's main gun not being automatic, but actually semi-auto, which is just annoying. I wish this wasn't the case, and given control over this design decision, i know of several ways i would have altered course.
Here is a suggestion to solve some of these issues. Allow the Tier ships to be unlocked immediately after unlocking the previous tier ship. You should be able to unlock ships with credits, free exp, or GP. GP unlocks will be much cheaper than the alternatives to facilitate the F2P model. This allows a system where grinding is a choice, where you can chose what specific thing to grind. Skiping to higher platforms quickly should be seen as an essential mechanic. Give people a different reason to use lower tier ships, like killing higher tier ships rewards players who use lower tier ships. People will naturally be motivated to go to T5 as fast as possible, thus being able to experience the game in its fullest, where people who are not rushing can still keep up by successfully combating higher tiers. The end result should always be making sure people are mostly equal in tech.
To players with a history of EVE, like myself, weeks of wait for 5% better, might be palatable. But that is only because i am a dedicated gamer, and in EVE, you can literally log out, and still be grinding. In Dreadnought, you cannot, you have to play to grind. This community will suffer from this grind decision, and i would STRONGLY consider cutting the grind requirements from T3-T5 by 3/4. On a side note, i am surprised there is still no volume sliders, nor additional primary or secondary turrets to speak of. These are things that are desperately needed far sooner than tier upgrading hulls and modules.
If you think this is an acceptable time frame to unlock ships, consider this. This is only a small examination of 51 possible trees......
The grind system is horrifying in its length to unlock one T5 even if going hardcore Korean. Around 19 days of pure grind, using my average. Which is around 684 victories. Distribute your money in anyway, or lose matches, or lose matches using veteran ships, and you will be slowed down considerably. This is also an unrealistic scenario, as i am often the highest on the score board each game, my games are not respective of the general population i encounter. This problem means that players will be restricted to Tier 2 for a rather long time, and even longer for the proceeding tiers. And honestly, Tier 2 is horribly restrictive gameplay, thus NOT FUN, or often boring. The fun comes with getting a bigger, more powerful ships. This current system rewards players with excessive dedication, like myself, to the point where skill is irrelevant. The people that put in more time, will have stronger ships and win more games. Previous to this patch, i had a 80% win rate, i can only see this becoming higher if i continually play in higher tier ships, which would be the logical thing to do when grinding.
But these are just my thoughts, what do you think?