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Leaving War Dragons

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  • Leaving War Dragons

    I’ve come close to this point a few times in the past, but I’m now past the point where I can continue to invest my time & money in War Dragons.

    Out of respect for the many friends I have left playing this game, I’m writing this post in the hope that some of the points here will change the way PG makes decisions in the future. I have substantial doubts that it will have any effect, but given I’ve invested over a year of my life in this game, I figure I’ll give something back on my way out. Fair warning, this is a novel of a length that only PlayerJ might appreciate . I won’t be offended if players don’t read it all, but I hope for the sake of the game that PG will.

    Where Am I In the Game?
    So that you understand my perspective on the game, I’m a level 200 player with 50M medals who is an officer in a Diamond League Team. I have one (horribly useless) garnet dragon (Jul). I’m a moderate spender (very moderate by the standards of Diamond) and have been playing the game for ~14 months. With that as background, here goes:

    The Main Things Causing Me (and Players like me) to Leave the Game:

    Issue #1: The Structure of The Sapphire/Garnet Dragon Tiers and Level 45 Towers
    • The horrendously misguided decision to release Level 45 Towers and Garnet Dragons so soon (despite tons of player feedback against it)
    • The outrageous costs and limited breeding options for Garnet Dragons
    • The drastically increased build times of towers Level 40+, and related/required storage upgrades

    The way this tier of dragons and towers are structured, it is absolutely impossible for non/moderate spenders to keep pace with the game. This is because the token requirements for Sapphire+ was an epic leap from Gold & Platinum.

    For perspective on how much it changed:
    • The average token cost per dragon for Gold & Platinum Dragons was ~20k tokens per dragon bred.
    • The average token cost per dragon for Sapphire is 150k per dragon bred(this can be brought down moderately by the limited # of back-breeds available in Sapphire)
    • The average token cost per dragon for Garnet is 167k / dragon bred

    Summary: Between the gold/platinum and sapphire/garnet tiers, PG increased the token cost per dragon by 7-8x what it had been.

    This has slowed the pace of progress in the game to an absolute crawl, and when you combine the lack of interesting new dragons with the lack of innovation in events, the boredom level goes off the charts.

    Because of the way the breeding paths are built (sadly, I chose to breed Apophet before the Garnet pairs were released), I’ve spent the last three months breeding:
    • Scorchil (mostly useless dragon for wars in Diamond, but ok for the occasional RSS run on a poorly designed base),
    • Quetz (a back-breed for breeding only),
    • Iteru (an utterly completely horrible dragon that has no use other than breeding),
    • Jul (a garnet dragon with broken spells who is not useful for anything), and
    • Hauheset (a super cool dragon with awesome spells that is now eclipsed by the release of Level 45 towers).

    So for 600k tokens and 3 month’s time (and ~$200 in value packs), I have one useful dragon (Hauheset). This is a chasm in the game that PG must fix.

    Players not willing to spend > $1000 are looking at a ~12-month gap to proceed past this point, during which they get almost no useful dragons from breeding. For me, this was the dagger in the heart. I’m bored beyond belief after the last 3 months, and frustrated that I’m still ~5 months / 500k tokens (and more $) from a good Garnet hunter (Zaru and maybe Icicle).

    Issue #2: Consistent Lack of Care/Competence Shown with the Introduction of New Dragons/Spells/Content

    • Nonsensical additions to the game that hurt gameplay while serious issues persist. Examples:
      • The “open chest” animation that took 5-10 seconds to complete while a dragon ripped open a chest - a horribly misguided addition to the game that shows the people involved don’t understand gameplay.
      • The “new” defensive boost animations that make it harder to see what is happening in a battle - again showing that PG doesn’t understand game mechanics well enough to know a bad idea before implemented.

    In almost every case above, an extremely limited amount of testing by someone who understands the game would have highlighted that these things were fundamentally broken before being released. If someone in the team claims to be doing this and these bugs are still making it into the game, that person should be replaced by PG with someone more competent. If the game's management is accepting excuses internally for how complex the game code is and how hard this is to catch, they are being misled and should raise expectations immediately. This just can't be an acceptable answer over the long period of time it has been used to explain these problems. Also, players have offered to test new content and so far all that’s been put into beta is a largely misguided world map (which I won’t elaborate on, but is super frustrating that development on this continues while so many fundamental flaws persist)

    And more generally, the game suffers from non-stop technical glitches - this week’s issues with datacenter/3rd party provider issues are just one example. There’s a different one every week that players have largely come to endure. If these were infrequent or new, I could shrug them off. But they’re constant and (with the exception of the provider issues) indicate a lack of skill in the current team that isn’t being improved over time (I realize that’s offensive, but the results over such a long period of time don’t leave a lot of room for misinterpretation).

    Issue #3: Consistent Lack of Empathy, Understanding, Competence, and Communication from PocketGems staff
    • The lack of knowledge about game mechanics shown by PG employees
      • PG Staff telling players that farms/mills have never protected resources despite research options in the game for exactly that
      • Introducing huge increases in build times for towers levels 35-40 in the past without a pre-announcement that led to a massive outcry from the player base (which PG did roll back, but could have been avoided with communication and transparency -- the fact that they couldn't predict players would HATE this shows how disconnected they are, or how little they care)
      • Deciding to replace wood packs & timers with energy packs “as an extra bonus” in a fortification event
    • Embarrassingly poor and remarkably-inconsistent customer support
      • There is no other description for this, it should be embarrassing to PG. And the fact that PG hasn’t found a way to differentiate the support experience for high-medal, high-level players from those that are on their first day of playing the game shows a lack of care/competence in the management of that team. Players with 30+ million medals should not have to endure the help desk telling them to uninstall and reinstall the game in response to every issue raised. This should be changed immediately to improve the experience for the high-level active players remaining.
    • Broken & Forgotten Promises from PG Staff
      • Jared’s promise in a Facebook live stream to look into Gold Chests and remove items players disliked the most in chests. Despite a half dozen requests to follow up on this commitment, and a poll where ~100 players gave their opinion, he and EggToken have been absolutely silent on the issue since then. This kind of disregard for your player base, and callous willingness to break a commitment and offer no comment on it whatsoever is extremely telling as to how PG feels about the opinions of its players.
      • Joseph’s past promises to look at ways to remove items like fire/ice/elemental shards from gold chests are completely forgotten (I actually believed him when he said this the first time, but now understand that dropped commitments and promises are closer to the norm than the exception — though in his case, I have a feeling he tried and was shut down by the PG money machine)
      • The commitment to increase the egg token payouts at higher leagues to offset the huge cost of the upper tier of dragons has been forgotten to the point where EggToken had to ask who made it (Jared). But the fact that Jared could make the comment and others internally don’t know about it tells you that commitments are casually made and forgotten without communication inside the PG team.

    "The only winning move is not to play" first Wargames, and now War Dragons

    Check out my Base/Fortification Event Planning Tool

  • #2
    Issue #4: Rewards / Gold Chests / Event Structure & Event Point Requirements
    • PG likes to say that over time, event rewards are constantly increasing. However, they fail to note that events constantly require an increasing investment to achieve the maximum rewards [i.e. the current fortification event where not only did the max tier go up, the total rewards went down]
      • Further, as one specific example in fortification events (which are 25% of all events), the introduction of level 40-45 towers decreased the wood (reward points) spent per hour of speed ups needed by up to 47%, meaning that high-level players building the last tier of towers have to spend ~2x more clocks to achieve the same points as they did when building Towers Level 35-40. [Level 45 towers require 1.1M wood spent and 47.5 days to build versus a level 40 tower that is .9M wood and 20.4 days to build]
      • However, without the introduction of 24h+ timers, this just means you have to spend more $ to max these events, or score half as much as you used to, if you’re in the last tier of the game now.
      • My guess is PG doesn’t realize they created this dynamic with the latest tier of towers, but it further contributes to the problem of not being able to progress at the same pace as was possible in lower stages of the game because we’re only able to claim half the rewards for the same investment we used to make (or we build ineffective bases with low-level towers to max fort events, not a good option)
    • The continual addition of new currencies into the game that dilute the content of gold chests (fire & ice shards, elemental totems, black pearls, etc., all of which lower the drop rates for tokens needed to advance the game)
      • These changes to gold chests actually further slow down progression in the game, which exacerbate the problem I highlighted in the Garnet Dragon / Level 45 Towers Section.
    • Lack of Innovation in Events (the cycle of Fortification / [Combat Event] / Breeding / [Combat Event] gets old…)
      • On top of the decreasing ability to achieve the max rewards in events and the 7x increase in tokens required for new dragons, the cycle of events is also boring.
      • However, when players complain about this, we’re told that we need to choose between game stability and new content, which is a straw-man argument. PG should be able to produce a game that provides both, or suffer the eventual boredom that comes with that very repeatable pattern.

    On the positive side, PG deserves credit for creating a game that is extremely addictive and fun for a relatively long time. I believe it’s the best mobile game I’ve ever played at the lower levels. It includes a nice mix of strategy and good pace of progression in the earlier stages. On top of that, there is a nice social element to the game and I’ve met many good folks during my time here. Lastly, the team doing dragon art are just plain awesome and get two thumbs up from me.

    Once you hit the Sapphire dragons though, the game goes off the rails and appeals only to the big-time spenders. If that is the goal, then PG have accomplished it in spades.

    Overall, I’m quite sad to be leaving the game. To those of you remaining, keep having fun, and thanks for the fun times while I was here.

    "The only winning move is not to play" first Wargames, and now War Dragons

    Check out my Base/Fortification Event Planning Tool


    • #3
      Excellent post Aldi.. sorry to see you go mate. I do hope that PG takes posts like this to heart and looks at positive changes that will keep players like this in the game.


      • #4
        I actually read all of it. Kept my interest and I agree 👍🏻.


        • #5
          3 votes for aldi for pg game development dept. well written and we will miss you I can't do anything in this game for 2 days due to the latest glitch so am resorting to reading forums .


          • #6
            Don't go. Help fight change. 1st change will be to stop spending.
            Commend my persistence ^.^


            • Dravoz
              Dravoz commented
              Editing a comment
              I've started a thread for this. Would appreciate your support.

          • #7
            I agree with absolutely every word of this post. It's a shame nothing will come from PG. They have showed in the past that they refuse to listen to the players.


            • #8
              Excellent post - extremely well articulated and detailed with facts. I think 99% of Sapphire and Diamond players feel exactly the same way - I doubt I will be playing much longer as well. There just becomes a point that tips us over the edge.


              • #9
                Originally posted by Lilbastrd View Post
                I actually read all of it. Kept my interest and I agree 👍🏻.
                Same. Well written and accurate. Additionally, the feeding of the top two tiers of dragons is another point of frustration when protection of resources is so low.

                maybe the artists can have the whale jump a shark next....


                • #10
                  Amen Aldi. 100% agree. Level 218 with spending and progress much like yours. I've reached these crossroads several times since Kinnaraku (which, to me, was when the downward spiral started) but the people (friends and team members who rely on me as their Leader) have delayed my departure so far. After this latest fiasco, I'm not sure how much longer even those long standing friendships can outweigh the frustrations.

                  I would only add that wars, once the apex of teamwork and the most fundamental element of the game play, are so broken and so profoundly impacted by unscrupulous teams exploiting every glitch and trick (coordinating members to not upgrade their game so opponents can't defend, launching attacks before timer starts so defences don't count, swapping and shutting down to hang and/or crash the game for defending opponents). It's a mess and there seems to be no solution forthcoming to the negative impact the defence counter has had. Events are so solitary, wars were the only real opportunity for full-on team interaction and fun and they just aren't worth the trouble anymore.

                  anyhoo.. very sorry you've crossed the threshold and while I would love for the game to survive and return to its previous playability, I suspect it's more likely that more and more veterans will follow suit. I also doubt that newer players will ever stick with it long enough to reach veteran status. It's just too hard and too expensive to get anywhere - regardless of level.


                  • #11
                    While I'm really sad at the premise of this post (and might not agree with *everything*) that's been said, it is a fantastic example of the kind of feedback we'd like to see. Links to the relevant threads, clear and thoughtful explanations of why you feel these aspects aren't balanced, and easily legible formatting all greatly increase the chance that PG can understand and address the issue. Thank you, aldinach , and I'm sorry to see your departure in such an unfortunate time.


                    • Dr4kE
                      Dr4kE commented
                      Editing a comment
                      You might start reading the forum, you have an entire novel of feedback, hundreds of pages...what an arrogant ass

                    • Ksa
                      Ksa commented
                      Editing a comment
                      While Aldinach's posts are a brilliant summary, all of this information is out there already. PG just needs the will to listen to the community. Until then, we will continue bleeding players and friends. Also Diamond level officer and getting 2-3 messages a week to our team that basically say "Had enough of PG, retiring." It is actually getting hard to keep 50 appropriate players.

                    • BoxofDemons
                      BoxofDemons commented
                      Editing a comment
                      EggToken I am sure we all would LOVE to know what "you" don't agree with that is listed in the above message. That might help us understand the disconnect between the players and PG, because if you actually play the game you would know that the above is quite accurate. Maybe it is PG's plan to remove the top spenders from the game to achieve a better balance, but they could have done that by not creating new tiers and new towers to appease them. These new additions seem to have caused 50% of the biggest problems.

                  • #12
                    I am very interested to see how PG responds in both words, and unfortunately, less actions.


                    • Dravoz
                      Dravoz commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Panda, will you support a 1 week spending embargo?

                    • Turz
                      Turz commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Dragons, I'm new to forum, but I was thinking about organizing the same thing.

                      Was thinking about organizing a players union. Getting leaders involved to start setting up no spend dates. If P.G. Starts seeing tens of thousands of dollars dropped in a week they will have to respond to requests.

                      There is a reason real world companies hate employee unions. I think it might be time for a players union...

                  • #13
                    Well said Aldinach I did read it all and agree with you although I'm not at the breaking point yet. That has more to do with my team though and not any competence on PG's side. Sorry to see you go like so many long time players of late.

                    Unfortunately PG will not understand, believe or care if they do. Unless there is a fundamental shift in how they do business which after all this time I can not see happening.


                  • #14
                    The cost of the garnet tier will be the death of my account. Iv invested to many thousands of dollars and getting shit on constantly is getting old.


                    • Dravoz
                      Dravoz commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I share that sentiment exactly.

                  • #15
                    The sad thing, like others as well as Ald stated, is that many will not read this post...nor will it actuate any real change on PG's side.

                    Ultimately, it is a shame to see Ald leave and the two posts were very well written. Thank you.


                    • Rakic
                      Rakic commented
                      Editing a comment
                      True statement...we have seen loads of empty promises and complete disregard for the the desires of the player base. I don't expect anything will change. It's like I would imagine a bad marriage to've got to stick with it and accept it or get the out if you can. You can't expect to change your pg spouse.

                    • Dravoz
                      Dravoz commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Support a 1 week spending embargo?