Well, looks like I’ve picked up the game more frequently again, so it’s back to trying to improve the least-impressive but most-dominating aspect of the game for us casuals. Three things to cover: boosts, swap-in attacks, and finally matchmaking.
Naturally, the simplest fix would be to remove them. Preferably while also refunding in dinobucks the amount they’d have been purchased at, whether they were bought or earned, as to placate those spending money on the game; taking the financial hit would be the price paid for such a poor implementation.
Naturally, this is never going to happen.
So, with that in mind, I have a different proposal: Lower the number of maximum boosts based on the dinosaur type, so that the integrity of the flavour of JP can be maintained, while expanding boosts to cover more than just the raw stats. Example: A Sauropod should NEVER be able to outrun a raptor, but can be boosted to outrun a Theropod. A Theropod should never be boosted to outrun a chicken runner, but can be boosted to match a base raptor. A Raptor can be boosted to match a chicken, unless that chicken was also boosted. As for expanding boosts, make it so that boosts can add 1% per boost point to resistances, up to a maximum of 50%, and to armour and crit up to 20%. Finally, to make this work and alleviate frustrations, make boosts free to shift around in perpetuity and at any time; we’d still want to keep a good number of creatures boosted beyond our initial team, so money matters to those unwilling to wait.
Quite simply, these should not exist.
Whether for fun or in strategic play, swap-in attacks as they currently are do not lend themselves to being anything other than cheap shots considering they go before any other move, regardless of speed or priority. Not only does this break immersion more profoundly than anything else in the game (which I admit is a lot), it takes the actual skill out of the game, knocks the fun out of pitting your favoured dino against theirs, and leaves a general taste of foul play/bad sportsmanship. Swap-In attacks should be changed to be Swap-in effects if they’re to remain immediately, or else they should be swapped in at the speed of the dino using them. For example, someone tries to save a dino from certain death and swap in a Rhino/Trike/Rat; the winning player - who at this point is a safe bet outplayed their opponent, is moving fast enough to win. The SIA dino is immediately switched, but takes the hit intended for the doomed dino. It then makes its own attack, buying possibly an extra turn. It doesn’t necessarily steal a win, and DOES add a strategic element forcing the opponent to guess whether they should go for a rampage or a distracting move to mitigate incoming damage. However, this way people who have invested in their Rats, Rhinos, and other …things still get usage out of them without them being nearly as skill- or strategy-breaking.
Ahh, yes, matchmaking. Doomed from the beginning for its ignorant simplicity and only compounded in error ever since with half-measures and misunderstood metrics. I don’t have a perfect solution, but I do have a solution that would be better. And it’s not even mine, not completely.
The simple fix: matchmaking is based on the strongest member of your team, with a formula that takes into account potential damage, speed, and HP along with rarity. (Note I’m leaving level out of this, as boosts would be taken into account in the above stats). Trophies ONLY affect your rewards, which remain based in volume upon the arena you are currently assigned to.
This should serve to limit those kinds of teams which are the worst in mid-to-low games with a 20+ boosted Thor and a handful of level 10 commons just wasting other players’ time, while hopefully also mitigating some of the issues at the top and ensuring that top-tier players are only facing other top-tier players.
A side effect: your trophies gained also vary based on the above stats on your team as compared to your opponent, rather than a flat 30. The greater your power and rarity as compared to your opponent, the greater the trophy count; conversely, the lower the power, the less your gains.
While this does mean that newer players will initially find it slower to progress, they SHOULD until they begin getting more powerful, rarer creatures. It also means droppers would be required to use similar creatures if they want to stay in lower arenas for the incubators, rather than steamroll low-level players ruining the experience for them. Collections would be important again, those (like myself) wanting to play with a multitude of creatures could do so and have an enjoyable experience rather than a curb-stomp, and the competitive players can switch between playing at their best and playing for fun at will. Another side-effect of the change in trophy gains is that concerns of those elitists that don’t believe anyone but those with the best creatures should have the highest trophy count are also addressed in a way that ought to be suitable to them: while in theory it would be possible for an all-low-level common team to get trophies in the multiple thousands, in practice it would take over a year to accomplish and would likely fail before a trophy reset occurred.
I’m happy to flesh out any of these ideas and invite constructive commentary!