Ludia Forums

Proposed: A Framework for How Stat Boosts Should Work (yes, yet another thread, but this one has bullet points and a bunch of new words)

#1

TL;DR- Stat boosts good, make harder to get, not as powerful, only two per dino, speed boost is capped, effects decay over time, gone upon leveling-up the dino, and you can buy only baby stat boosts, while the full-power boosts are an achievement to unlock.

I’ll establish what I think is the most important thing: the “why” element. Overall, I think stat boosts are a great addition. Why are they good? You increase engagement, excitement, and fun by introducing new challenges to all players; you give hope to underdogs, where they no longer feel like their skills are completely held back by their dinos/levels, allowing them to feel like they have a decent shot at an upset victory; simultaneously, you give top dogs a new challenge in battling that breaks a predictable outcome cycle, and with high stakes. Both of those things are good factors, especially for underdogs; underdogs don’t feel constantly outclassed when “playing-up,” and/or for players whose teams have that one dino that lags 1-2 levels below team average because the player seems to NEVER get the DNA they need, that dino won’t feel as much like an anchor. All of this makes the game better.

-So-

Stat boosts should be/should have:

1. Precious: Boosts should be rare or super-rare items, pure and simple.
2. Difficult to Get: Boosts given freely should be unlocked through achievements (e.g. series of strike events; other quests)
3. Limited in Power: The result of each boost is equal to the effects of level-ups (5% per level); would be compounded just like level-ups, i.e. two boosts on a L25 would get you to the L27 stat (except, however, with speed).
4. Speed Limits: Speed boosts should add specified number of points, rather than 5% compounded. Perhaps not to exceed 4 points? 6 points?
5. Per-Dinosaur Limits: Two-boost limit per dino; two boosts on one stat, or one boost on two different stats.
6. Limited Time Only: Boosts would decay based on time, or use. Depending on the difficulty of unlocking those boosts in #2, boosts would either a) have a time/use limit, like two weeks, or 10 battles where the dino is actually used; or b) would decay steadily over a certain period of time.
7. Retired on Level-Ups of the Dinosaur: If you level-up your dinosaur, you lose one stat boost per stat on leveling-up the dino, If you have two HP boosts, one goes away on one level-up. If you don’t apply any more boosts, it’s fully gone on the second level-up. If you apply just one boost each to two stats, they both go away. Speed included.
6. Available for Purchase, with Limits: Purchased boosts would be one-time use, or limited-time use, and with a cap on quantity. To use, perhaps you’d apply to the respective dino before the battle starts; or, you’d get the option to apply boosts before selecting your dino in battle.*

I think a framework like the above works better than what we have today, as it achieves the goals of why, while also not dealing a death blow to the balance of the game overall (as it has; coupled with the poorly-calculated trophy count revision, it’s a one-two punch that destroys the battling element of the game). Then numbers can be rethought, but directionally, this is right. Furthermore, imposing reasonable limits on boosts also gets around the unintended consequence of depreciating the value of grinding and DNA; ironically, stat boosts not only lower time-in-app overall because of a crappy experience in the arenas, but also not grinding as much/as often, because, hey, why bother hunting for that Kentro or Anky you never see when you can just spend your way to 10 level-ups as soon as you can get more boosts? And you’re definitely not going to bother buying incubators all of a sudden, since that DNA is exponentially more expensive than stat boosts. The speed boost is still problematic, but by putting a numerical cap on it, the disruption is somewhat mitigated.
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Related, but not the focus of the original post

My thoughts on our war-weary ol’ Ludia, our sticking with the game or not, and what should be done: without question, this was a catastrophic implementation of a bunch of good ideas, executed mostly horribly, and compounded by the (honestly, troubling) continued issues around the two big exploits (AI in the tourney; unlimited boost purchases).

Setting aside the need to rebuild trust thing caused by the latter, fixing the gameplay at this point will require bold moves… but it’s not that Ludia hasn’t done that in the past.

  • 1.3 disrupted the raptor meta and introduced the tank meta;
  • 1.4 busted the tank meta by buffing DoT.

Both were significant rebalancings, sorely needed, and were at once well-designed and well-implemented. I’ve always admired the balance and the math in this game, so to make such sweeping changes, repeatedly, I have much respect. v1.5 brought more great rebalancing, specifically around stun lock, superiority strike removing DoT, and the nerfing of that gross miscalculation, Ubermonominus. And, along the way, they did a TON of things to make the game WAY better, including strike events, alliances, missions and rewards, new dinos, etc., to say nothing of QoL things like increased encounter radius for supply drops, etc. All of the latter elements made the game much more fun to play, since they significantly expanded rewards, increasing the avenues to get resources in a way that was enough to make players feel like some of the otherwise impossible achievements/goals were now actually achievable with daily play/grinding, not just P2W… and without making the whole thing OP.

There were missteps along the way, the biggest in my mind being the thoroughly idiotic addition of Dracoceratops (doubling-down on the stupidity of DG2). But that’s just my opinion (seriously, though… a terrible little parasite family). The overall point is that Ludia is capable of fixing this, and has shown the boldness in the past. Again, setting aside the cheating stuff, they can absolutely fix this mess if the Ludia of yore shows up to the table. I’m sticking around to see the response… but only just.

What should they do?
Complete reversion of the app to 1.6, for the features causing the most damage. I don’t say that casually or ignorantly (as a co-founder of a tech business, I get it). Broadly speaking, the changes were so disruptive overall that I don’t know how you can patch them… especially speed boosts. But, with the volume of cancellation/quit posts, and even my own finger on the trigger with three VIP accounts in the house, I think we’ve moved beyond the friction related to change, and are instead seeing a negative trend that won’t stop without a heavy lift by Ludia.

I think Ludia needs to game theory this thing out. And I think the conclusion is this: the cost of reversion of the 1.7 features, including removing already applied speed boosts on our teams, and refund of real and in-game cash, is less than the cost of half-measures on patching the status quo. Because in the former, you’ve got a given economic outcome based on a reasonably good chance of the game surviving if you take the costly step, vs. the latter, with a reasonably good chance that you’ve broken your game permanently, leading to a major shrinking of the player base and a much smaller economic outcome (possibly <$0).**

[EDIT] I was thinking after I posted this that I should have mentioned, @Ludia_Developers (and _product, and _strategy): I know you get it, and I know you’re talented/capable/smart about design, mechanics, etc. And I know you care, despite what the pitchfork gang expresses. NO dev writes such enthusiastic release notes unless they truly care about the product and experience, especially notes as straightforward and honest as yours have been (“gross miscalculation,” designer’s note on “rend.” I like that stuff, and I think it reinforces trust). I’m sure I’m not proposing something that wasn’t already discussed on your side. I bet there are three versions of this still siting on a whiteboard somewhere, and unused-but-complete components that you pulled 30H straight to finish, only to have them buried in a Git repo when the decision was made. I’m sure some of you protested the final decisions for production. But, the thing’s done broke now. Be bold, mes amis, and fix it.

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*Yes, yes, it’s a numerated list, not bullet points. I tricked ya.

**From an app design standpoint, stat boosts are a good idea for JWA/Ludia too, because they increase engagement by providing incentives for gameplay, driving time-in-app, overall interactions, and microtransactions. The variable reward element still stays intact, which will reinforce the gambling effect in a net positive way. And, by making boosts a real consumable, one that’s hard to obtain in its full-power form, but purchasable in a weaker form, you encourage microtransactions while reducing - but not eliminating - the P2W element.

11 Likes
Okay, boosts: another idea (taking another whack at that poor, dead horse)
Solution to boosts!
Stat boosts are broken, yes... but how do we solve this?
Idea to rebalance speed boost
#2

Best solution response I have seen so far. :+1:

1 Like
#3

Now that would be an elegant design. Nice work.

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#4

Not entirely sold on the temp boosts thing, but bullet points and new words…well, OK, Im in!

3 Likes
#5

I’ve learned more new words on these forums then I do in school. Holy heck.

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#6

Yeah, my only negative thought about these ideas is temporary. If theyre hard to get and limited they would be balanced even if permanent.

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#7

Even if not temporary, limiting to two per dinosaur ever, would be a fair enough balance. Wouldn’t it?

#8

One problem I see is that they are trying to make boosting a long term goal to work for, taking several months (and dollars) to max out your dinosaurs. Having just 2 boosts per creature would end the boosting very quickly (and Ludia wouldn’t make as much).

Edit: Players are starting to max out their teams and are getting bored with the game. Boosting is something they can work towards again

Another one is why would I spend cash on something that will decay in the game and need to be rebought?

Still its nice to see soneone with a well thought out plan to fix the problem rather than what the majority is doing, whining without any logical solution proposals.

1 Like
#9

I especially like the “temporary” idea as - if implemented correctly - they are still an incentive for the players to get/use/buy and as such still are a good/returning way for Ludia to create more revenue (which surely is the main point of the whole thing from their side)

Something I mentioned/suggested on all posts alike this one: Per lesser rarity an amount of x boosts more should be available to be assigned to the Dino (more diversity in arena).

#10

@Colin_Goodman - thanks!
@Snekmel - thanks!

@GorillaGlue - I knew the bullet points were gonna be all you needed! Seriously, though, per the limited timeframe on boosts, I know it sounds like a lot at first, but my feeling is that you’ve got to make sure that boosts won’t just be a “substitute good” for collecting DNA and leveling-up. Unless stat boosts are accompanied by a) new math (a rebalancing overall), and/or b) new defenses, boosts still imbalance the game to greater degree than it might seem, esp. for crazy beasts like Thorocritosaur. Overall, I think a good way to think about the inclusion of boosts is as a way to bridge the gap between your dino today, and when you get enough resources to level it up. Another thought is that the decay keeps players committed, so if they want to keep their edge, they’ve gotta keep grinding (as opposed to… those players who sit back with an impossibly-strong Thor and one-shot an entire team).

Admittedly, though, the decay point is one I wasn’t totally certain of as well, which is one reason I qualified it with how difficult boosts are to obtain. If they’re relatively easy and cheap in the store, then the decay should be much faster. If they’re uber-rare, then maybe they’re permanent by level. If they’re uber-mega-rare, then they persist through level-ups.

But overall, some mix of rarity, caps, and decay should have the effect of slowing this runaway train that is the boost game in 1.7.

@MyFishDrowned: Words is good thing to learning.

@Creative_Screen_name: See above for more of my rationale.

@slugcultjen: Thanks! See above for my thinking about the decay element. As for the maxed-out teams and getting bored, I’d say that even permanent stat boosts are but a temporary way of re-engaging players approaching endgame status. They’re just not enough of an addition to keep that cohort around… and such is the way that MMOs go, mostly.

@qwertz0815: Thanks! See above regarding the mix of conditions (rarity/longevity/caps), but agreed on keeping people engaged. You’ll have to feed your dinos occasionally if you want them to be the elitist of elite athletes in the arenas. They can’t survive on non-dodging Indoraptor carcasses alone.

@here: this framework ain’t perfect, but I do think it’s directionally what should be done with boosts. All of the limits/figures are there to provoke thought and discussion, so we can collectively get to the right numbers (or, at least, with the principles behind them).

2 Likes
#11

Speed boost damages the game really hard in a sense that we don’t need to hunt dinosaur any more. Just boost its ability. I spend half a year to level up Thor until lvl 29 but now was easily defeated by a lvl24 Thor with speed boost.
So this is my suggestion to bring back the balance:
Speed of a creature will increase while leveling up, just same as health and damage. Each speed boost brings the creature’s speed to that of next level is, I.e, a lvl 24 creature with tier 1 speed boost will have same speed as a lvl 25 creature.
This shall encourage players to level up their dinosaur again.
Your thoughts?

2 Likes
#12

Btw. I don’t mind Ludia start selling boost again. You rich you can always buy , but hard working players can always have an edge over lazy ones.

#13

Speed boosts just need to be converted into a range of 1-10. This way a max speed boosted Thor can get the jump on other members of its species, but not on something 120+ speed. It’s entire purpose is to be a breaker, and that’s entirely nullified with speed boosts the way they are. If this was applied to all Dinos across the board that have been speed boosted, the meta would already be much better imilo

#15

leveling doesnt work that way and thats what you are doing essentially when you boost a dino. it has to be by percentage.

#16

No it really doesn’t, I’m only talking about Speed, which isn’t boosted at all upon leveling. Attack and HP can stay as percentages

#17

it has to be for the end product to be correct. because then all dinos will be maxxed and the slower will be slow again. you cant just add a fake number to its speed.

#18

all they have to do is slow down the distribution of boosts. give everyone a fair chance to accumulate the same amount of boosts via towers or dailies. dont put them in the store. then if your dino falls behind thats your fault just like when others put in the effort to level their dinos higher then yours…

1 Like
#19

I say put all boosts back in the store, let folks purchase as many as they like. With this there will be no complaints that someone had access to more boosts so they have an unfair advantage.

Some users will boost everything to the max, they will be playing each other. Some users will purchase a few and some will boost their team with freebies, they will all find their new skill/dino level in trophies. Some users will not boost and they too will find their skill/dino level equilibrium.

The only users this will hurt are the ones who spent a lot of time over money to get their teams. I would be one of those players. Sucks to be me, but I now have the opportunity to even the playing field by purchasing or relent to the meta change and find my new trophy level.

Boosts are here to stay. Ludia may as well make the most of it and those of us who do not purchase them are the only casualties.

This is the new meta. Pay more to be on top or not, users choice. I am not chastising P2W at all, that is just the way these game work. Why shouldn’t that be true? Ludia can make more money and users can choose to spend more money, win/win for both parties. The dedicated users who for whatever reason prefer to grind to the top are not a major concern for Ludia. The users who will spend are. Again, that is just the way it goes.

2 Likes
#20

I like the post in general. I would only add that if they think about rethinking the version, think about the suitability of creating all the new “exclusive for millionaires” dinos. I think that people who pay a lot of money, and who keep this game in part, should have some advantage and, in fact, have always had it, but creating all the new hybrids “only for payment” I think it is a serious mistake. I have almost all my creatures in level 29 being a VIP player who, from time to time, invests some money. See that a new powerful creature (erlikospix) appears, that the next day the richest members of the game already have it in levels between 26 and 30 and that I can not even create it, it is not pleasant. If they had created new “non-payment” hybrids, surely I could have created them at a level between 25 and 27 (I have tons of most DNA from many hours of hunting) and the “millionaires” would have created it at level 29- 30 Therefore, it would be at a disadvantage, which is reasonable, but could compete. I know that they did this because of the requests made by the “millionaire” sector of the game and it is reasonable that they take care of this sector of people who spend a lot of money, but make people who spend some money get tired of the game, in the long run it will be counterproductive because if at any time only the “millionaires” remain and they can not beat the rest, they will also get tired.

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#22

Roll back to 1.6. Simples (but they won’t). They’ve already taken a step to far, very poor game-breaking development and design. Sadly ‘we’ can’t do a thing about it.

1 Like