First of all, it’s always been my belief that to enjoy a builder-type/level-up game, it helps a lot if you can see evidence of and enjoy (at least for a little bit) your accomplishments. This seems to be a problem with modern games. So much attention goes into balancing game-play, but so little into letting us savor a hard-earned win. I first noticed this in Skyrim. All the mobs scaled in level with the protagonist, so when you returned later to a starting zone, the mobs were still “challenging” and thus there was no sense of “Yeeeep, been there and beat it, go me!”
To further illustrate (in this game), I earned my Stegodeus the hard way… FTP grinding with most hybrid DNA mix results being a 10, naturally, but I’m not bitter. I thought, “gee, now maybe I’ll whoop up on someone in a battle!” What I found, naturally, was a level 18 Stegodeus waiting for me in the very first match-up. Second match-up, a level 17 I-Rex (which I didn’t have yet) ate me for lunch (I hadn’t learned yet to use shield for them). Therefore… all that work to get something special that ends up, at best, keeping me on par with the lower half of the pack. I wouldn’t want to deny anyone else their own enjoyment from their own accomplishments (If I wanted a game with a level playing field, id play chess or checkers), but gee, whoop-te-do, all that work just to make higher-level dino kibble.
It’s pretty frustrating when my dino team averages lvl 17, and all the starters I see for eight battles in a row are 20+. Typically, that’s going to be a no-win, or at least a hard-win resulting from lucky stun rolls. I used to just cycle my dinos so my opponent would get it over with more quickly when it starts to just look silly. [[[hey dev’s, could we get an “I give up, you win” button?]]] But now, I learned a new way to sometimes win…
Milk the timer. Nothing takes a power-gamer off their rhythm more than forcing them to wait 20 seconds for each thing that happens in a battle. If they’re swiping and min/maxing to rush up the rankings as fast as possible, I can assure you this gets their goat, and increases the odds they’ll do something stupid. Legit strategy, no matter how much you may hate it.
For the record… free-to-play vs pay-to-win. Does anyone else here miss the days of just plopping down $50 for a game you want to play, and just let the rest work itself out in-game? I’d happily pay $50 or more to get a game I think I want.