[SC] The game from an extensive perspective of a mid-tier player

Discussion in 'General Archive' started by Zecora, Jan 14, 2020.

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  1. Zecora

    Zecora User

    For a new player, the game is rough. It serves little opportunities to build yourself up in an effective manner. And if this slow progression isn't already a barrier in itself, several aspects of this game, namely the grind, the PvP and bots are adding a huge chunk on top of this boulder already thrown at those players. But even after having several proofs over and over again, there is no change in that system whatsoever.

    As many players don't exactly seem - or want - to understand what makes the game very frustrating to low and mid-tier players, I want to make an extensive list of issues I have addressed over the course of 7 years. (2013)

    A boring start with a discouraging continuation is what shapes the first part of this game. We enter the game with expectations such as "interesting battles" or "challenging aspects". The reality of this game is far different from what a player might expect, though. Over the course of time, we've received several changes in balancing, mechanics and how battles are fought. Especially with changes directed towards damage or the durability of ships, a huge amount of enemies especially in the lower areas have become very weak in comparison: You can beat most of them while standing still!

    This way of playing already puts a boring factor to the beginning of the game. Most enemies are fought with ease, and effectively, the start becomes more of a grind for rewards, rather than a challenge to best a core element of the game. Yes, over the years, developers have thrived to add more balance to the game, wanting to make it easier for newer players to find their way into the game, but completely forgetting in the process they are at the verge of diminishing another core part of the game: The PvE.

    PvE has been around for as long as the game exists, perhaps a little later, but still it has been around since 2006 for sure. I started playing in 2007 or 2008, all I know is I started playing this game with an impressive (and illegal) age of 10. I am 22 years old now. PvE back then was encouraging and challenging, PvP was fought even with only mediocre equipment. You had changes, and the path to becoming a good player wasn't tedious. Right now, the only two challenges posing to players are PvP and Blacklight. Even a "final frontier" kind of gate named Kronos is easy.

    The burden of death marks the way to the top. You don't just die once, or twice, but multiple times an hour. The open PvP aspect of this game has become wildly imbalanced over the years, as the trench between good and bad player widens more with every new addition. It all started with LF4 lasers. By now, we are sitting here with Prometheus lasers, modules and Cyborg/Solace. The damage you tend to receive is hard to counter, and before you realize it and try to run away with wheel and speed configuration, you have died.

    Even a mid-tier player isn't able to compete. Yes, but what exactly is a mid-tier player? Something that was once defined as "Elite" - Full LF4, full Iris, full BO2... Yes, a state of being that used to be praised back then. Even this state today shows little to no relevance anymore.

    Yes, yes, of course. Every game progresses and adds new things into it. And that's fine. New things keep a game alive, but a game can't be kept alive if the time to the next point is done within a few days for top players, and lower players are being decelerated to very slow speeds to a point where they quit: We can't keep up a sustainable player base, the game slowly reaches low-points of activities that almost feel deserted. I have done multiple tests all over. Trying to see what the average income is. Sitting for hours on, 2-7, trying to see how much uridium one can get trying to go for top performance. Spoiler alert, I didn't break the 5-digit mark.

    Dying without premium is what unfortunately puts a huge brake underneath your feet. You need to repair, in most cases you need to find a new location as the old location is currently occupied. And especially right now, everyone and everything that moves and shoots NPC is accused to be a bot. Why thank you, I know my farming skills are beyond godlike, no need to remind me.

    The grind is what makes this game become a challenge in itself. A lot of the elements in this game added over the years were centered around trying to give the high-tier players a new state to work towards. With this goal in mind, said elements obviously became stretched and put an artificial length into the progression from one state to another. This already goes to a point where the advise usually is to "skip ahead to Prometheus" - A common advise I hear.

    But is that really how it needs to be? Well, not exactly. And from my perspective, grind in this game is either exceedingly boring, or boringly rushed. It depends on how you play, where your goals are, and most importantly how much you want to push yourself. You can play regularly and try your best to enjoy the game the way you want to enjoy it, but you run into the risk of barely reaching anything. or you can try to follow the countless guides on the Internet, and grind Zeta gates over and over and over. Zeta is - unfortunately - the best way upwards.

    There are potential other paths, but a lot of them are not refined. Materials and assembly is one of it. While the potential of using a more crafting based playthrough is there, some ridiculous resources such as scrap make it near impossible to actually use it properly. To quote what my clan leader has said, a chance attached to a common resource that is already required in 90% of the items makes very little sense, and I agree.

    Remember when I said that PvE is too easy? That's what discourages farming, too. Yes, quickly you will deal 6k damage every shot or even more, quickly you will have 300k shields. Quickly you will be able to tear through kristallons and eventually even Cubikons with ease. And then? There is nothing that keeps PvE interesting, the next milestone is - unfortunately - PvP. And till you reach that, you have a long way to go to viability.

    Rewards in this game have been kept the same, while the requirements over the years have increased exponentially. By now, the Uridium you get from a Kristallon for instance is barely able to fill the hole in a tooth, with a full stomach needing to be filled. The requirements for items have become very high. Prometheus lasers are very resource hungry, the P.E.T. remains the most expensive item in the game, BO3 shields have taken a new level of grind. Let me put it bluntly: Grind to win is equally as bad as pay to win. Whether you invest time or money, there isn't much difference. Someone who has money rarely has a lot of time, someone who has a lot of time rarely has a lot of money.

    A little fun fact: The LoW gate has been the only truly productive way for me to get what I have today. No interruptions, consistent rewards, a good clan to play it with.

    Group play and clan play have become irrelevant. I mean, don't get me wrong. Groups are still important, clans are still relevant. The problem here is that both only serve to bring people together, but is it truly encouraged? Not really. For instance, a lot of games out there make groups more worth it because the rewards are not split, but shared. Everyone gets the full reward, sometimes even with a bonus. Drakensang Online, another BigPoint game, does exactly that. Everyone gets the full reward of the NPC you kill, everyone gets loot, and being active in a group and clan gives people a minuscule, but effective and encouraging bonus.

    Groups in Darkorbit aren't exactly that useful. It's mostly useful in PvP, where boosters are shared and abilities can be used on each other. Clans are good for diplomacy, but as we can see, is equally as abused. In the current state, group play and clan play needs to be heavily encouraged. Not just for diplomacy, but also for actually playing together.

    A new type of trend has appeared in Darkorbit. Event exclusivity - as I call it - has actually started to overtake Darkorbit and I would say is actually the first game in my own experience to do that. That games give you event items that you can keep is nothing new. Obviously. However, most - if not all of these games - provide said equipment as cosmetics. Cosmetics is what makes games thrive, to be honest. But that aside, Darkorbit has reached this new level of event exclusivity.

    Modules, ships and Techs have started to make their appearance since Plutus' Experiments. A good event, if I may note, actually. But still, it added a new tend into Darkorbit that has been heavily balance breaking, and it's called event exclusivity. The addition of items that are only obtainable by playing for a specific period of the game have been a huge mistake, especially right now most of us can see how advantageous certain things are. Berserker and Solace Modules have taken quite a big balance impact. Berserker maybe less so, but Solace the more in turn.

    Event exclusivity is very bad for the balance. Pay to win is at least obtainable at any time for everyone. Grinding? Well, I admit it's still a tedious and discouraging task, but as long as no randomized statistics on equipment is involved that introduces a huge amounts of maximization, everything is fine. Event exclusive items that also give advantages in regular fights is what eventually will break this game. Because beyond playing the event those were available in, you have no opportunities of getting them. Solace isn't great unless you have the modules, but guess what? I couldn't get them, even if I wanted them. I couldn't grind a gate, I couldn't go into payment. I can't do any of that. Remove event exclusivity to divert at least one problem.

    Events all over, but what do they truly give us? I am an event oriented player. I usually tend to play actively during events, and less active outside of them. Call it laziness, or call it stupidity, I just cope that way. But in any case, the quality of events has massively decreased again. Either, something is attached to ridiculously low chances that there is no way for someone to get it. Or it's attached to a ranking that you aren't able to compete on unless you are a top-tier player. Or it's a PvP event you will not be able to compete on unless you are part of a MCC clan. Or lastly, it's an event that just in general doesn't give anything good.

    The point is: Events are great, but their rewards aren't. The point of Events is comparable to a real life strategy in marketing. Events are supposed to give participants a new approach to the game, a rewarding occurrence that makes the game more interesting, while actually also advertising new players into the game. What new player would not like to start into the game with some special rewards they can get during that event?

    But event bonus boxes or event rewards are rarely truly worth it. The three only exceptions for events that are truly good are in fact Vortex of Terror, Plutus' Experiments and the P.E.T. Attack event. All three events gave consistent rewards that helped big and small players.

    As a last point... The developer himself. I mean it's not rare that one player or another looses a word about BigPoint. Criticism has been shared all over, feedback and ideas have been provided on Discord and in all language forums. We get feedback threads for various elements in the game or events. But despite common feedback being provided, I rarely see changes to the game.

    BigPoint has a tendency to overlook valuable feedback provided. They aren't playing their own game, so it's up to the players to point out flaws. If that incoming feedback however is majorly ignored, there is no point to keep a game running at the condition of asking for feedback. Of course, one or two people saying "The Mordon is too hard" isn't exactly feedback I would consider worth as well. But when many people say "Hey, in this event, pushing is very easy" or "Look, this event doesn't seem to be worth it" - BigPoint can believe those players, and not filter out those very few that say "Oh mai gawd that's good, I luv it!"

    Point is: Listen to feedback provided.


    The problem is, I could keep going for a while, nitpicking a few more aspects of the game. But I would probably waste resources on doing that, as I'm already still working on my massive "Darkorbit overhaul" idea. For now, I feel like this needed to be said. I know it will have little to no reach, and I understand that. A single hand can't lift a truck. But a single hand can find more hands to participate.

    Thanks for reading.

    Regards ~ Zecora/Pericles Arison
  2. Zecora

    Zecora User

    TL:DR of the whole starting post:
    • A lot of the PvE elements are vastly outdated. The re-balances and equipment additions over the past years have made NPC feel too weak up to a certain point, with the first actual difficulty spike coming with Blacklight. Therefor, PvE is discouraging and honestly boring, even for a new player. At level 6, you can basically already kill a Devolarium by just standing there with the equipment given to you by the tutorial.
    • The Open PvP part of this game is not what it used to be anymore. The huge gap between good and bad has caused an imbalance in itself, an imbalance that can either only be fixed by introducing a proper PvP protection, or by encouraging fights among strong players entirely. The equipment that is too good for PvE is way too bad for PvP, hence you are in a really weird gap between what you want to do. Increase strength of old parts, or decrease it?
    • The grind has gotten really bad over the past years, with little of the older content having seen a change. A lot of the content added was with the intention to give older players a bigger challenge and more content to invest time into, but little of it was adjusted later on, making it either better to skip a lot of the content given for a fluid progression, or having to deal with a slow build-up.
    • Groups and clans have become less relevant. They are still there and have their uses, but is more used for abusing rather than enjoying. Groups and clans should have encouragement attached to it. Rewards shouldn't be split, but shared. Clan diplomacy shouldn't be the only reason to be in a clan for.
    • Event exclusive equipment is breaking the balance in a completely new way, by giving some players access to new ships, techs or modules that others outside of this event cannot obtain for an unspecified time. All event equipment should be permanently available, or cosmetic only.
    • Events have become too much, and they lack in quality. It's either they give a good amount of stuff (Like PET attack, Vortex of Terror or Plutus' Experiments), or they have a tendency to be more of a waste of time. PvP events are heavily oriented towards favoring players in MCC clans. Some ranking based events are an immediate turn-off for those that cannot compete by proxy.
    • Lastly, BigPoint rarely listens despite plenty feedback being provided.
    If you say now some information are missing or some points cannot be tracked down to their actual reason, everything was noted in the beginning post.
    Thunderheat likes this.
  3. TECetc

    TECetc User

    i just read all. im only hoping that the company who runs this game is going to promote this game again to get new player. if not, over the time more people will just quit the game because thei are tired of that game or something. this game only still exsist because of all the old loyal player. all these new events are only for player that play that game for years. so it looks like they just work on keeping exsisting player playing insted of getting actual new player but this doesnt work on the long term.
    but before they start promoting now there are to many other things to work on this game before like listed in the posts above.
    -oversoulpaul- and Zecora like this.
  4. This is a great post. It deserves more attention though. I've noticed that as the game its self has slowed down, the forum usage is diminishing aswell.

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