I came to this game believing that a competitive environment would flourish here in a niche market. Started my first game in 2015 at PAX South and my passion for this game has only gained steam. After reading the Progression wants, and seeing that Tiers would be part of the game I became concerned.
Tiers the way they are being implemented into DN lowers skill ceiling and raises skill floor. This can be seen as a good thing, as new players will have less to overcome when coming to the game. In theory new user experience goes up while not destroying 95% of the population. This means that more people can jump into DN and enjoy the game. Which is GREAT! DN needs more people to come and play, it not only helps matchmaking but also revenue for the company.
But this last patch destroyed any competitive market for the game. Maybe I misunderstood what the game was striving to do. Competitive games are balanced for the top end players and mechanics are added for mid-tier players that raise the skill floor so no one ship drops too far from 50% win/loss ratio. With the tier system mixing T1-T2, T2-T4, T4-T5, there will always be an imbalance in matchmaking. Seal clubbing will always exist to a specific extent because T2 is better than T1 counterpart. This stays true across all Tiers currently.
One way to fix this is by separating tiers so that T1 can only fight T1, and so on. This separates match making into 5 separate queues. Making MM times skyrocket. So this is not ideal but it does solve the problem of tier imbalances in match making while maintaining an easy experience for new players in the lower tier. It also makes 5 tiers of ships DN would need to balance while in reality they are all the same ship with slightly different numbers and modules. So this option boils down to sucking time out of DN devs for a new player experience for the first few hours of play.
Second way of fixing this is to get rid of ship tiers. This is similar to 1.1 Match making where it’s based mostly on skill instead of ship tier, so ship balance will be better. But introduce an hour of PvE for new players where they play multiple games(with the option to skip) vs bots of increasing difficulty and number modules so that learning can be done in a very predictable environment. People can learn telegraphs of different attacks and ship classes. Progression should still be a thing in the game so I will talk about my idea down below.*
The 1st two ways would eliminate most P2W from the community as Hero ships could only fight in their respective tiers.
Third way would be to leave it as is and see how the game progresses. I’d be very upset if this is what happens. The current state is bad for new players and vets of the game. MM is imbalanced and is causing some very salty people to come out. Competitive environment does not exist and skill means next to nothing as T4 beat up on all others.
*My progression idea. Drop credits, Drop Free XP. Drop Tiers. Start with ½ the ships, after getting to account level 10 unlock the rest. All ships balanced for their specific class. All ships will still have individual XP. You still unlock modules with XP.
Ship XP will be used to unlock modules for a specific ship. The XP cost for unlocking more modules exponentially increases. So in the beginning it will only take 2-4 games to unlock a few modules for your primary ship but then the xp starts to ramp up. Ideally taking 20-30 hours without Premium membership to unlock all modules for a specific ship. But only 7-14 hours to get 25-35% of the modules you want. Here is a pic of how deep the progression is. It infers how wide the progression is. Where only 1 or two Tiers deep into research for most modules making it very quick to get in and get a build you like, but taking a very long time to have a module for every situation if you keep progressing in the same ship.
Each ship's XP requirements are independent from other ships. So you can spend a few hours across all ships in the game and have a decent build for each of them. Or spend the same amount of time and get into customizing the ship after unlocking all research.
THE SAME XP that you use to research modules you can use to edit the base stats on your ship. In order to keep it balanced as you increase damage, you will need to decrease another stat by the same % or amount. Here are some examples…
My current numbers are percentage based but can be changes as needed or as balance problems starts to come into play. They start at 100% and can change + / - 50%( of course this is just a random number I have currently and balance would need to be done before going into beta environment). The rate of increase will be extremely slow and should only be able to invest into these stats after you 100% complete the module research. Both Module research and Ship stats have a reset button where you can re-spend your Ship XP at a 10% loss.
If you read this far TY, please let me know how you feel about my insane idea.