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RP Balance/Card unlock speed vs player progress

StallionNZStallionNZ Member Posts: 115 ✭✭✭

Recently there has been some tweaking of RP values of salvaging and mini-games. Understandably this has a significant impact on the gameplay of casual players more than the more hardcore players and has the potential to imbalance the game towards those more hardcore players.

Previously the RP base was 100RP for mini-games and 25/50/75/100 for salvaging.

Currently the RP for mini-games is 20 base rate and the salvage value of all cards are 5.

Given that and the current costs of 2k/4k/8k for the cards and even just based on the current card sets of 10 common, 8 uncommon, 7 rare that is 108K RP required.

For simplicity will exclude 2x/3x/4x multipliers in mini-games

With previous RP values this would take 1080 times landing on the RP in mini-games to unlock everything. With the current values in mini-games this has gone up to 5400 times.

Now that we have got past the numbers. How this impacts players and can imbalance the game.

With the decrease in RP and it taking longer to unlock cards this will mean more casual players will have a smaller subset of cards to play on settlements.

This has a number of impacts:

  1. With the smaller subset casual/new players will be limited what they can play and have very limited impact on scores compared to 1 hardcore player that has unlocked uncommon or rare cards.
  2. If the casual/new player is not the first person to a settlement the limited subset may mean they are not able to contribute to the existing higher tiered buildings.
  3. This would discourage playing with others as the unlocked card sets would take longer to match up between players.

Looking at Ingress as a counter to this (due to strategic and team game play similarities). Higher items are locked based on level. This means a new/casual player can quickly get to a point where they are effective to the scoring of the game the same as a higher level or hardcore player.

To me, after all that, going back to the previous settings of 100RP base for mini games and 25/50/75/100 for salvaging seemed like the correct balance and required effort to unlock everything for a normal/casual player.

The other impact on this was the mayor rewards system. With those cards not currently working as expected/not being able to be stacked i tended to salvage them. This gave a large RP increase each week that otherwise may not have been there.

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  • fiyahflashfiyahflash Member Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    Well written @StallionNZ

  • GrogyanGrogyan Member Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    @StallionNZ agreed that the RP gain prior to 1.6.4 was much betyer

    Keeping in mind that Legendary/Very Rare unlocks are not yet implemented which will have an unfathomable amount of RP to unlock them

  • AjanHukkaAjanHukka Member Posts: 78 ✭✭

    It’s hard to judge the quantities but if a hardcore player (@StallionNZ) maxes those in about a month then it will take maybe at least 4+ months (guess based on numbers I’ve seen in PoGo and HPWU) from a normal active player to do that. Now the rate is 20 % of the one before so it would be a long way for normal players to get even close.

  • StallionNZStallionNZ Member Posts: 115 ✭✭✭

    So from the other side. I have a friend that has been playing for a month casually and still hasn't unlocked all uncommon cards.

    Is lvl 20, just hasn't focused on RP early to unlock cards

  • GrogyanGrogyan Member Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    I'm Lv20 and have been focusing on unlocking stuff.

    But also casual to somewhat active.

    Normally during lunch at work. And weekends

  • FiddleheadNZFiddleheadNZ Member Posts: 22 ✭✭

    Most excellent summary of the issue @StallionNZ 👏🏼

    Casual players will get bored very quickly and without enjoyment and the early thrill of being able to unlock a card regularly, will not get hooked on the game so will likely dump it pretty quickly.

  • StallionNZStallionNZ Member Posts: 115 ✭✭✭

    @CATANEir happy to chat further about it if you want

  • AjanHukkaAjanHukka Member Posts: 78 ✭✭

    Thinking about this. This issue may have two sides. A player may view the fact that all cards have not been unlocked as:

    1. Challenge and the goal of the game. In that case it could be nice if opening them all takes some time so a player doesn’t feel that he/she has run out of content too fast
    2. Nuisance that just limits ones gameplay as you @StallionNZ are seeing it as.

    In Ingress being <lvl 8 is basically this 2) case nowdays. Though it was necessarily not that during the early days when climbing 1 -> 8 was essential part of the gameplay and getting up was delight instead of just inavoidable bad until you were lvl 8 (case 1)). Another example could be Pokemon Go where actually a quite small fraction of players reached lvl 38 (when pokemon can be powered up to max) during the first year. Being <38 limited them but at the same time it still gave some motivation to play.

    I already know personally that I will view it from 2) point of view. 🙈 But I can see many players seeing it other way.

    It’s a game balance decision how fast you expect players to proceed, @CATANEir. I hope you reach a meaningful state with it (but please no time gating, that’s just annoying 😅).

  • fiyahflashfiyahflash Member Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    In the last two days I have gotten more RP with the dice games and the bonus than I have for the rest of the season; which is good. Though I still dislike the changes that have been made.

  • ValorofMartonValorofMarton Member Posts: 2 ✭✭

    I think it should be what it started as, and Niantic should sponsor the catan youtubers...

    ive heard of this pokemon thing and that ingress thing or is this just showing whos wand is bigger?

  • SkindogSkindog Member Posts: 85 ✭✭

    @fiyahflash I've also had much more RP over the last few days, while minigame rewards have been x2, x3, and x4. I think I've gained about 4000RP this season in total, with 2000RP in the last three days. At this rate it would take 5 seasons just to unlock the common cards, 8 seasons to unlock the uncommon cards, and 14 seasons to unlock the rare cards. It is going to become difficult if we get 16000RP Epic dev cards.

    I have been playing about an hour every day, so I feel like this new RP rate is far too slow for new casual players.

  • fiyahflashfiyahflash Member Posts: 215 ✭✭✭

    According to the end of season stats, I managed 13k RP this season. Over 8k of that was via the bonuses from the 2/3/4x dice roll games.

  • CATANFionaCATANFiona Administrator Posts: 60 Admin

    Hi There! Check out our latest developer spotlight post on this subject by @CATANEir

  • StallionNZStallionNZ Member Posts: 115 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @CATANfiona and @CATANEir

    Just my 2c (which might be different to others)

    The limiting factor in the game is resources, you need resources to do most things. Because of this any card that awards resources will be the priority to be placed on the * tiles to improve return when harvesting at the settlement.

    If I know I don't have a resource (say brick) at my local cell then the focus will be have brick kiln on the *s on closest settlements. This will give me minimum 3 cards per dice roll vs a market card that would require 12 - 15 of other resources to get the same return.

    This also has the added bonus of 2-3 VP more in the settlement as well which adds to the main goal.

    So overall the rare cards currently will always be a priority on settlements which still limits new players with the RP changes.

    With that all being said some suggestions that could help with that:

    1. Markets also return 1 card worth of resource when tile rolled. May be what you are thinking already.

    2. Have similar common/uncommon cards that return 1/2 resource cards worth. This gives new players a lower option for out of cell resource that higher players will be focusing on.

    3. Reduce VP on rare cards that return resources. This adjusts the balance between cell score and resource return and adds to the strategy.

    4. Re-adjust cards so benefit cards are common/uncommon and only VP cards are rare. This would change up strategy and help newer players contribute/get returns but can mean higher players can control scoring more (not much different to current)

    I'm sure I'll think of others later as well but that's it for now.

    As always happy to chat if you want to know more

  • GoodMorningBabyGoodMorningBaby Member Posts: 4 ✭✭

    Totally agree with @StallionNZ. The game was much fairer with the pre-existing salvage rate and it was especially unfair to make the salvage rate the same for all cards despite higher level cards taking significantly more resources to craft. As a result we didn't play very much last season because we were put off by how long it will take to gain the cards, especially for my husband who prioritised building settlements over unlocking cards and will have to play for at least an hour a day for four months to gain the 6 cards he doesn't have unlocked.

  • AjanHukkaAjanHukka Member Posts: 78 ✭✭
    edited August 29

    I think they are trying to make the card unlocking into a feature that has some longevity. Something that should take for example months from a regular player and not be ready during the first week. Then they could have RP boost events etc. later.

  • SkindogSkindog Member Posts: 85 ✭✭

    The problem at the moment is that it takes a tonne of RP to unlock the best cards for the *s (ie rare ones). I've resorted to putting messages in my local chat to ask beginners to leave the *s empty, because settlements are infinitely better with a rare card on those. Likewise, if I get to a settlement first, and level it up, and put Rare cards on all of the affordable build spots, the settlement is better, but there's no way for a beginner to level up those buildings. Which may make it feel difficult for beginners to make a meaningful contribution to a settlement.

  • FresspapaFresspapa Member Posts: 45 ✭✭

    I guess with the game rolling out in new countries they will gather more intel. Here in Switzerland we're all beginners and have no choice but to place crappy cards to earn VP. I can see how this would hurt a settlement overall, but alas..I'm still the only one contributing to settlements in a 5k radius, so I don't really care.

    Looking forward to playing more strategic in the next season.

    Ps. I earned 12k in RP in 10 days by leveling up plus special tasks. So I guess it won't take toooooo long to unlock more cards.

  • AjanHukkaAjanHukka Member Posts: 78 ✭✭
    edited September 13

    I guess you don’t really have choice during the very first season. You must use the cards you have.

  • HabrokHabrok Member Posts: 4 ✭✭

    For reference I started at the tail end of the previous season. I had only basic cards going into the new season and have managed to unlock 3 uncommon to date as well as build up settlements. I’ve found the return on resources in settlements fairly average without some of the better cards. I literally set up the surrounding settlements as resource/rp hubs to maximise output to source more RP to get better cards. Saying that, I have a new strategy:

    My new approach is to focus purely on unlocking top tier cards at the expense of gaining VP or advancing my faction. I’m putting every resource I have into crafting cards to then recycle into RP, playing resource dice games to gain RP/resources to also turn into cards etc. Once all cards are unlocked it would make sense to invest in settlements properly, otherwise you’re creating subpar settlements with inefficient return.

  • FresspapaFresspapa Member Posts: 45 ✭✭

    @Habrok , im trying ro find a balance between assisting with VP and gaining RP. Have been thrashing out those dice toss games the last 24h and have stacked up over 8k in RP. Looking forward to unlocking some more cards next season.

    Also.stopped investing in my monuments once it became clear that i would not reach the extra 50 bonus level and have been salvaging cards since.

    Interestingly I managed to beat team red in my local section going from being 50 VP behind to 170VP ahead. And it's 95% my own VP that made the difference. Meaning that in a radius of 15km there are only four or five players. Two yellow, one or two red and one blue. Blue did not really get into the game locally though.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that red.does not pull off a stunt in the last hour to go.

    But then, if there are no rewards for winning, then what is the point? Ther is no high score list for fame and glory either. Kinda takes the fun out of winning a season.

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