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What a revival should do to avoid SBE's mistakes
kaelari
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January 6, 2017
2:51 pm
1

Why Solforge Died, and what can be changed. This is still rough but posted for feedback. I probably missed things. This is entirely in the context of what a revival could do to avoid the same problems SBE had. Intelligent well thoughtout reponses are greatly appreciated.

 

Monetization/Economy Issues:

 

Whales” complain they have gold and nothing to spend it on.

Solution: Give them more things to buy that don’t directly affect game play. AAs, Skins, Card Frames, etc. Price points of course will need to be figured out.

 

New players complain game is P2W and super expensive.

Solution: This is tricky and involves multiple things. Roll back the power of legends so players aren’t facing 20+ legend decks. Improve new player starter decks. Once per account achievements with decent rewards to help new players get going. Early achivements that give more starter decks. Achievements and rewards that can be earned facing the computer. More generous campaign rewards.

Fix pairing so bronze players don’t face titanium.(It’s not a good game for either player) Base packs give more commons and rares. Helping to fill out lower rarity of cards quicker and give new players a bit more crafting resource.

Better tutorials and more content targetted toward new players.

 

Rewards too generous

Solution: You’d think this would be impossible with new players not being able to compete/build decks. But when you have players running around with 10,000,000 + silver there is an issue here. Solutions to this are not easy. Some possible changes to rewards:

Reduce dailies.

Improve rewards for just playing games.

Drop tickets concept. Enter drafts/WWs with silver

Create a crafting only resource.

This has a lot going on so i’ll try to explain briefly. Crafting and packs need to be a different resource. Forcing people to play draft is also not good. Many constructed players have thousands of tickets they’ll never use. Opening packs feels like a waste when you could save up for the one card you actually want. With a “dust” like resource opening a pack with crap in it still gets you closer to the legend you want. But each pack might just have a card you want. Opening packs is fun but the current system punishes you for it. By making packs a different resource from crafting you are no longer punished for buying packs. Also spending money on packs stops seeming like such a bad deal.

This effectively gives you a choice of packs or drafts as the base way to increase your collection with both leading to crafting material to get the specific card(s) you want. Prizes from draft should be mostly packs with enough silver to reenter requiring a good or perfect result.

 

 

Business/PR Issues:

 

No Communication at all, players are simply left wondering what’s happening and if the game will even exist in the future.

Solution: Better communication. Weekly(-ish) streams and real time question and answer sessions. Where possible be honest about what’s happening and what problems are faced.

 

Inconsistancy throughout the webpage. Pages out of date, other issues.

Solution: New website not based on wordpress. All new pages which are up to date and correct. Need at least one person who’s job includes making sure the new webpage is up to date. Pull data from the game server to generate webpages where possible for automatic updates.

 

Software Issues:

 

Webstore sometimes doesn’t work. Multiple people include Kaelari tried to fix the software. It just doesn’t work.

Solution: New Webpage not based on wordpress. Really who runs a serious business on wordpress?

 

Client is buggy and unreliable. Full of bugs and awkwardness.

Solution: new client which fixes bugs and is better. New client enables solutions listed to the whales’ problems. Never let FRG anywhere remotely near the code. Keeping the code in house and under our control means we can always make the changes needed/wanted with legal difficulties. This is a very simple statement but actually fixing the client is a significant undertaking. A full list of all the issues with the current client is outside the scope of this document.

 

Advertising Issues:

 

Restore the referral program. Make more generous.

Other advertising should wait until game is in a good state.

 

Gameplay Issues

 

Level Screw” feels really bad

Solution: Not sure yet. This is really hard to handle and might just be part of the game. Cards that minimize the feel of the impact can help. Bound cycle for example

 

Legends too powerful in general

Solution: Make legends less powerful. Drop some to heroic. Utility cards should slide to rare. Legends should be big flashy build around cards not entire decks.

 

Super Swingy RNG Cards (othra 2 on 2.4 for example)

Solution: Make them less super swingy or less RNG. This needs to be handled on a card by card basis and considered when making new cards.

 

Timer too slow

Solution: Adjust timer. This is a matter of great debate among the community. I do believe the time allowed should be reduced but exactly how much still needs to be determined. Timer Griefing needs to be handled harshly. I think a smaller “free time” each turn would help. If you want to take time on one or two important turns that’s great but going slow every turn is really annoying. “play multiple games at once” should never be considered a solution to timer griefing.

 

Tier 1 decks in unranked

Solution: This is tricky, most rewards moving to ranked only might help.

 

Heads up queue sees no play

Solution: Take silver turn into packs in a more effecient way than straight buying packs for the winner. Roughly equal for the loser. Sets up grinding loop, play ranked and get silver → play heads up get packs → open packs for cards/dust → repeat. Allowing constructed players to grind cards similar to drafters. Though somewhat slower.

Something like entry fee = cost of a pack, winner gets 2 packs, loser gets 1.

Voctor

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January 6, 2017
3:32 pm
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Agreed, this is roughly the list I would have made as well.  In particular I think the economy and level screw issues are my guess for the biggest reasons it failed.  Other things contributed, but these kept invested players from spending and pushed away new players which are killers for a free to play game.

For the economy, their decisions still make no sense to me.  They would change their tournament structure and people would complain, so they'd up the F2P rewards to compensate until the majority calmed down.  This kept people playing, but with every iteration through the loop the value of spending money went down.  Eventually they reached a point where you could get practically everything for free (particularly if you were an already established player with resources to work with) and there was no longer much of any reason to buy gold.  If you can play all the drafts you want for free, keep the cards to build a collection, and scrap the extras to craft anything you want then what is left to buy?

For level screw I can at least understand their approach, but I still disagree with it.  It added variance and inertia to the game which are good things, but it did it in a way that many players found to be extremely frustrating.  A game needs to be fun first and foremost, and this component just wasn't.  For me, the worst part was that it didn't even feel like they were trying to improve it.  They came out with Consistent and bound cards but implemented them poorly, dropped that idea, proposed a re-balance, completed said re-balance without changing much of anything, and to my knowledge just abandoned any further attempts to fix it.

If someone does take up the task of trying to reboot SolForge I recommend they put these two issues at the top of their list of things to fix.

DraftKing

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January 6, 2017
7:41 pm
3

Kaelari, you have made some excellent suggestions.

F2P games are relatively new (by that I mean F2P in the strict sense, being games which can be free to play but which have a profit goal in the mind of the company).  I have some sympathy with SBE not reaching the balance necessary to achieve profits whilst at the same time keeping the spirit of F2P alive.  It is not an easy task, because the market now is INCREDIBLY competitive in the F2P space.  SBE chartered relatively new waters, and ended up getting shipwrecked after approximately 5 years at sea.

In the end, we all know that SBE leaned too heavily towards the "FTP" idea rather than the "profits".  This was not always the case though, I remember back in Alpha they had a nice balance to encourage the whales.  A couple of expansions later they introduced Forging, which was also quite balanced because forging was very expensive in those early days in terms of the silver price required.  

Then it was somewhat later when the forging prices reduced.  The biggest irony to all this is that several players on Steam scream to this day that this game is Pay 2 Win!  If SBE wanted to counter such a misunderstanding, they needed to do more to explain to beginners what is the advisable path for a beginner (ie. drafting with a main and alt account to avoid running out of tix), or if they don't want to encourage new players to do this, then to design a system which is not open to abuse and is balanced.

This game is a warning to all developers who make their game "too free".

 

(PS:  I actually like Othra. It was incredibly fun dropping Othra's eggs at 2.3 and 2.4. I will miss that).

Thalia

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January 6, 2017
8:47 pm
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Level Screw” feels really bad

Solution: Not sure yet. This is really hard to handle and might just be part of the game. Cards that minimize the feel of the impact can help. Bound cycle for example

  

Not sure what could be done about this, there's the luck factor that happens in pretty much every game. In Magic it's 'Mana Screwed' where one game you get no mana and can't cast anything, and the next game you get all mana and no spells. There's only so much you can truly control without taking a lot out of the game. If there was no level screw, less strategy would be required. 

Though the Level Screw could be tempered a little bit if the legendaries weren't so ridiculously powerful in several cases. So if you have a bad hand you're not just going to be steamrolled. But if you have a few bad hands and lose? That's the nature of games that have that 'luck of the draw' factor. Sometimes it's in your favor and that feels GREAT, but sometimes it's not. That's life!

Also regarding generosity, SBE was really really generous! I've been fiddling with Hearthstone (I MUCH PREFER Solforge, hands down) and it takes a lot to earn a single pack. 

zjhomrighaus

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January 6, 2017
10:35 pm
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Good points all… a few comments.

 

1. I think any reboot that would be taken on by the community or other small to very small company should scrap mobile device support.  As a mobile only player, I know that would suck, but I always felt like PC players had a much better experience and I have to believe it would take far less overhead to support PC only… you certainly limit your potential customer base, but you aren't nearly as limited in your software selection and don't need to jump through all those hoops to get it listed in the various app stores.  It just didn't work to port a PC game into a mobile device, so stop trying to kill yourself.  Stay in your lane and develop a great Steam game.

2. I think the single biggest issue with SF is the rarity balance.  If Legends were strictly build-around flashy cards with big bold abilities that usually failed, the economy would be better, level screw would be less of an issue and the onramp for new players would improve.  I know balance is hard to achieve and you need a hook to keep the whales spending, but the fact that competitive decks generally included 20+ OP legends made the gap between F2P or casual players and paying / competitive players pretty large.

3. As has been discussed to death over the past 5 years, level screw is a real problem even if it's just a prevalent perception.  Every person who cries level screw is an unhappy customer and the customer is always right, right?  Sure, you can do things with the cards and keywords to combat it, but it just sucks to be 4 minutes into a match and suddenly have no chance to win because your opponent draws better than you.  It happened all the time and left a lot of potential or former paying customers feeling pissed and spending their dollars elsewhere.  I still advocate for a simple shuffler to mitigate (not remove) level screw, but some sort of solution is necessary.  Even if stats can show it's not a big deal, it feels like the reason you lost too often and that drives away customers.

4. Consider allowing players to host their own games/queues.  For instance let a player open up a 1v1 battle in a lobby and title the game whatever they'd like.  You could have one game that says "Funsies Alloyin decks only" and anyone who wants to play that person just clicks to join the game.  Someone else could have a title like "Tuning a T1 A/T deck" asking for anyone who wants to test and tune.  Failing support for individual games, maybe just add a bunch more queues so people with fewer than 50 legendaries can play heads up against each other or people with wacky builds can find each other.  The limited number of queues meant short wait times, but it led to a very samey experience each time you played.  Experimentation wasn't very rewarding (unless that was your passion and you had a full set)… you either ended up getting stomped in a competitive setting or faced just random garbage / T1 decks in unranked.

 

That's all I got for now.  Happy to keep lurking on this thread as I like the constructive forward thinking thoughts.

johanah

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January 6, 2017
10:48 pm
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Whoa. It was just too free? The hardcores are delusional. The top complaint in the sea of negativity on user reviews is how pay to win it was for a free to play game. In hearthstone you don't need 20 legends to play unranked – you didn't use to need any before the latest expansion. You don't (or used to not) get immediately facerolled by obviously expensive cards when you start your first game as a new player, like in solforge. Most people won't create alternate accounts or want to draft for 2 months to make a netdeck before seeing if it's fun.

Now it might have simultaneously been too free for the whales like op said, but the above is what killed the game. F2p games are meant for a large audience, and the master plan is to offer a cheap and easy thrill, get them hooked, THEN milk them and not up front. Else, with solforge's level of balance between rarities they would have been better off just charging an up front price to get some legendaries, to avoid all the complaints.

Hydro

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January 6, 2017
11:16 pm
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Thanks a lot for putting this up, kaelari. Let me see if I can contribute a few helpful additional suggestions on things that affect me more than the others listed:

New players complain game is P2W and super expensive.
Aside from the obvious "rebalance the cards" solution, I wonder if something like a rental deck system may do anything to help this? Like, every week, two weeks or month, check out the best decks or cards in the game, and then make rental decks based on those cards/decks that newbies can use to play right off the bat even before actually gaining the card? Admittedly this kind of system may have a bit too many flaws (among other things, trolls abusing this rental deck system by deliberately flooding the game with decks to specifically counter them), but I dunno.

Rewards too generous
A tricky thing to comment on… generous rewards help newbies to get up to speed once the game gets going long enough, but veterans are likely not going to care, and if we do something like "for the first few weeks you get generous rewards and then the rewards are lessened"… that feels a bit wrong too for me. Thing is, while the ticket rewards are certainly VERY generous compared to the old times, the daily silver is extremely low (an entire month of login for daily silver won't net you enough to forge a Legendary, for one). One booster per day does feel kinda ok though. Or give booster or card rewards by completing some weekly quests or something?

Client is buggy and unreliable. Full of bugs and awkwardness.
Oh, by God, I'm willing to bet this is at least 25% to 50% responsible for Solforge's death. I pressed on liking and playing Solforge despite the unstable Android client, and even so it annoys me greatly; less-dedicated players such as newbies will hate that sort of thing right off the bat.

Level Screw” feels really bad
Unfortunately I have to admit this is part of the game, but at the same time, I imagine one possible way to reduce complaints about this is to level the growth of cards. See, a lot of cards in the game follow a 1:2:3 or even 1:2:4 power level progression (level 1 5/5, level 2 10/10, level 3 15/15, or much worse than that), so if your opponent consistently drops level 2s and 3s when you're stuck with level 1s, you WILL die. If the growth of cards are leveled a bit, not necessarily to BDA level, at least even drawing a 6/6 level 1 creature won't be so devastating when the level 3 creature is only about 10/10 or 12/12. Admittedly, the 1:2:3 growth level is what made BDA archetype possible to begin with, but I dunno, this is just my theory and I haven't done any testing whatsoever.

Legends too powerful in general
The problem with legendaries being too powerful is not only that they are powerful, they obsolete lower rarity cards. As Solforge goes on, I'm sure many of us have seen cases where a common/rare has the exact base stat across all levels as a heroic/legendary, except that the common/rare has bad ability or no ability while the heroic/legendary has super powerful ability (Everflow Eidolon, Snowdrift Alpha, Oros). This sort of thing seriously needs to stop; what's the point of TCG when it's so obviously clear even without playing the game that some cards are clearly better than others?

Tier 1 decks in unranked
If after card rebalance this is still a major problem, my personal solution is to make something like a banlist in Unranked. Potentially impractical, I'm afraid to say, but if newbies in Unranked is directly spared from obviously broken decks, maybe they'd feel less underappreciated.

Voctor

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7:03 am
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johanah said
Whoa. It was just too free? The hardcores are delusional. The top complaint in the sea of negativity on user reviews is how pay to win it was for a free to play game. In hearthstone you don't need 20 legends to play unranked – you didn't use to need any before the latest expansion. You don't (or used to not) get immediately facerolled by obviously expensive cards when you start your first game as a new player, like in solforge. Most people won't create alternate accounts or want to draft for 2 months to make a netdeck before seeing if it's fun.

Now it might have simultaneously been too free for the whales like op said, but the above is what killed the game. F2p games are meant for a large audience, and the master plan is to offer a cheap and easy thrill, get them hooked, THEN milk them and not up front. Else, with solforge's level of balance between rarities they would have been better off just charging an up front price to get some legendaries, to avoid all the complaints.

It's a 2 part problem, the rewards were indeed too generous but the ramp up to become competitive was too steep.  This meant that once you had a robust collection you could stay there easily without putting in more money, so whales had little reason to continue spending.  That said, the decks were so legendary focused that getting there in the first place took a lot of time and/or money and that was what made the game seem pay 2 win to new players.

When your economy makes new players feel like they'd need to spend a ton of money to compete while enfranchised players feel like there's nothing to buy even if they wanted to that's a pretty bad place to be.

Thalia

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zjhomrighaus said
1. I think any reboot that would be taken on by the community or other small to very small company should scrap mobile device support.  As a mobile only player, I know that would suck, but I always felt like PC players had a much better experience and I have to believe it would take far less overhead to support PC only… you certainly limit your potential customer base, but you aren't nearly as limited in your software selection and don't need to jump through all those hoops to get it listed in the various app stores.  It just didn't work to port a PC game into a mobile device, so stop trying to kill yourself.  Stay in your lane and develop a great Steam game.

I strongly disagree. It's so much easier to get addicted to and enjoy a game when you can play it anywhere, anytime. I almost exclusively used it on mobile, there are probably many others who are the same. Not everyone sits at their computer to play each time. Many people have slow computers too annoying to play with, a anyone with a Mac would be left out in the cold because they can't get Steam. Having to have a Steam account is an annoying barrier for someone who just wants to try it. Mobile support would make a huge difference in growing a playerbase, in my own opinion. It would appeal to a much wider range of players with that flexibility. 

"Too free?"
The problem was that all the lower level cards were too free and readily available, and the Legendaries were so far out of reach that they looked P2W. So essentially it's both problems. Less reason to buy things to fill out the collection, while feeling that buying Legendaries was too expensive. Lighter rewards, but lower barrier to Legendaries, would create a nice balance.

Level Screw” feels really bad
I really think this would be considerably better if the Legendary cards weren't so ridiculously powerful, overshadowing most lower level cards. Then not drawing level 3 cards in level 3 or 4 wouldn't hurt quite as much, and allow you more hands to be able to get some higher level cards drawn. So then the 'Screw' would feel like it happens less/isn't as hurtful or frustrating.

loh215

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I really really love this game so here is my opinion of how to improve it if there were to be a revival of solforge:

1. Game Client

Clearly, this should be top priority. The game client must be bug-free and really take into account the user interface design. I for one thinks that the current deckbuilder clearly needs a redesign. A good deckbuilder should be easy to navigate, ability to sort/filter cards ESPECIALLY based on STATS. 

2. Rebalance 

I seriously think that the stat balance of cards between L1/L2/L3 and between different rarity cards in solforge should be redesigned. The main difference of solforge with other ccg is mainly the levelling mechanics. What this means is that there is no COST in playing a card. So in other CCGs, cards are balanced by giving weak cards less mana cost and strong cards at a higher cost. Solforge creates this balance in a different way, where the 'levelled' cards are the cost of playing a particular card, ie weak L1 cards levels better and stronger L1 card levels weaker. However, in the current solforge state, higher rarity cards can be seen as CLEARLY better than lower rarity cards across all levels. There are lots of examples that I can give but to make it short, non ability common cards are unplayable in constructed. This should not be the case because non-ability cards should in actuality have stronger stats compared to cards with abilities.

Game feels like P2W to new players because they are thrashed by all legendary decks. This would not happen if lower rarity cards can compete with Legendary cards. Level screw also feels very bad so rebalancing the growth of cards (as also stated in Hydro's post) can be a solution.

It is difficult to give a direct solution to this because each card needs to be looked at individually again and altered accordingly. There's also this problem where there will always be a card that is weaker across all levels with another card of similar stats as the card database grow larger. 

Here are my thoughts on how to possibly rebalance the cards: 

i) Give each card another attribute, let's say we call this a 'star rating' similar to Yugioh cards. This new 'star rating' allow more design tinkering where clearly weaker cards with a low 'star rating' might be strong if paired with another card that benefits low star rating cards. It's just like how the existence of WWP makes low att cards see play.

ii) To lessen the level screw impact, base reference of stats growth of 6/6, 10/10, 15/15 should be slightly altered to maybe 7/7, 10/10, 14/14. Maybe increasing basic L1 stats across all cards would do the trick as well. Cards should also have a cap for max stats. I think 30/30 should be the limit. Cards like Chrogias and Othra needs some stats tweak. I am a strong believer that giving cards better ability rather than simply higher stats will balance the card better. Power creep in terms of stats should never happen because this clearly renders weaker cards unplayable (unless there is another attribute as mentioned above). 

iii) Provide a mulligan option that can only be played once per game and only IF you obtain ALL L1 cards in hand to handle level screw. This mulligan option also provides interesting decision making in L1 to mulligan and get the cards that they want by sacrificing their mulligan option in case of level screw in L2/L3.

All in all, I think the main reason why solforge is so fun and interesting is due to the levelling mechanics. Just imagine if ALL CARDS are playable in constructed. It would make a whole lot of difference. If the meta gets stale, there can always be minor updates like what we have now to shift the meta. Variance and level screw is part of the game and makes it fun, so care must still be taken so that the whole solforge gameplay, experience and feel is still intact.

3. Unranked play

Tier 1 in unranked play a problem? This is because a new player can be paired against experienced players. Also, the nature of daily rewards where wins in unranked is accounted for. I think this can be solved with :

i) Have an experience system where each player has their experience level. Exp increases based on the number of cards you have, number of plays/tourneys entered etc. So unranked play can be paired so that only player with similar levels are paired. There can always be an option to remove the pairing settings in case players want to reduce queing times. With the existence of exp levels,custom/elite tourneys can also be created based on exp levels. Simply lots of way to tinker around.

ii) Change the daily rewards system. I personally liked daily rewards with different requirements similar to what Duelyst game does. Creates more deckbuilding opportunities / healthier meta in unranked..or even ranked.

4. New players

To attract new players, first few hours/days of play must be somehow flashy and rewarding. Rewards for early levels should be higher than normal. I also think that there should be a good quality starter deck. Maybe give a run of play for each faction and faction combos in campaign..and then allow player to pick 1 starter deck from a list of decks. Make it so that each starter deck focuses on a particular strategy and be generous in the number of legendaries. This is only once a lifetime chance so no harm in being generous in terms of giving out legendaries in the early stages.

5. Experience level

I think the introduction of experience level allow a lot of options to play around with. Rewards for example can be given out as u reach certain levels. Campaigns can be unlocked based on levels. The simple exp level system will give a sense of growth and rpg elements that makes people want to continue to play. 

6. Economy

I very much agree with Kaelari's suggestion about separating the currency between packs and forging cards. Give more things to buy that don’t directly affect game play is also a definite solution. I do believe that small, affordable items will attract more people to buy rather than large expensive items. AAs and Card of the day option to buy should also be increased to allow more chance for people to buy. Maybe 3 COTD and 1 AA per day? During weekends/holidays increase the amount. Rewards must also not be too generous. There should be considerable time to collect everything. Early stages of the game must be very rewarding to attract new players. 

Zaken

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As much as I am hated on the forums, here's my "constructive" response…

All the points mentioned above my post is pointless if these are not realized….

1. Support a secondary market. Enough said.

2. Rebalance all cards, so that level screw dont hurt so bad, and make unplayable cards playable. Seriously, the vast majority of cards isn't constructed viable. Who puts an Electro Net in their deck, nobody, these are DEAD cards, fix them. As for the actual level, I made over 10 post about this in the past…. SBE never took my advice. The 5/10/15 ratio hasn't worked, never worked, and never is going to work. An L2 card is 100% more powerful than an L1 card, and an L3 card is 50% more powerful than L2 card….  what kind of math is that?

3. Drop the cost significantly. Who pays $5 bucks for a legendary, or any virtual content. Oh wait, that's a long time ago, but it still too expensive.

4. The UI needs to be scrapped and reworked again. People left MTGO because of the crappy UI, and SolForge repeated that. From what i read above, it seems like not just the UI needs an overhaul, but he website too. Oh man, that means re-start everything from 0. I think yall better off creating a new game.

5. And last, you need to be realistic about the current status of the game. SBE refused to listen… and WORST, the community was standing on SBE side defending it's place. That is what caused the demise of SolForge. You really need a reality check, you need to be brutal, and make bad and nasty comments when its due. That's the only way to force them to think their product was bad. It's because too many of you were "idealistic" and gave false hope to SBE and the community that their was still a chance to save the game, where in fact, it was dead long ago. So YES, you NEED to be realistic and cast doom and gloom when necessary.

Example: Suppose you are a FATHER of your child, and your kids has been smoking, taking drugs, gambling. For the next 3 years…. are you going to be "hopeful" and tell yourself and others…. yeah, dont worry, he'll get better, he'll change, and he'll be successful in the future. Just give him time and he'll find the solution. Or are you going knock him out in the head that if he doesn't get his shit fixed, he'll end up in jail or worst dead.

That's what I've been trying to do the past 3 years, kicking SBE's ass, but nope, you guys were "nice" to him. Now we know its fate.

zjhomrighaus

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1:38 pm
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Thalia said

zjhomrighaus said
1. I think any reboot that would be taken on by the community or other small to very small company should scrap mobile device support.  As a mobile only player, I know that would suck, but I always felt like PC players had a much better experience and I have to believe it would take far less overhead to support PC only… you certainly limit your potential customer base, but you aren't nearly as limited in your software selection and don't need to jump through all those hoops to get it listed in the various app stores.  It just didn't work to port a PC game into a mobile device, so stop trying to kill yourself.  Stay in your lane and develop a great Steam game.

I strongly disagree. It's so much easier to get addicted to and enjoy a game when you can play it anywhere, anytime. I almost exclusively used it on mobile, there are probably many others who are the same. Not everyone sits at their computer to play each time. Many people have slow computers too annoying to play with, a anyone with a Mac would be left out in the cold because they can't get Steam. Having to have a Steam account is an annoying barrier for someone who just wants to try it. Mobile support would make a huge difference in growing a playerbase, in my own opinion. It would appeal to a much wider range of players with that flexibility. 

Listen, I 100% agree with you.  I only ever played on iPhone… I don't have a PC, so it was never an option.  Yes, of course having a mobile app greatly broadens your player base and the diversity of players who can and will play your game.  The problem is that it adds considerable weight to the programming.  You need different designs for different devices, you need to coordinate all of those builds for any changes, etc.  I think the UI is what caused this game to die off.  The economy and other things didn't help and probably stunted its growth, but the UI is what really killed it.  If you could just focus your energy on making the UI great for PC players, you could have a viable game.  Maybe down the road once you've got a hit on your hands, look into expanding back to mobile… but we're talking about a scenario where a 3rd party picks up the code and starts over, right?  I'm trying to be practical and not just make a wish list.

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zjhomrighaus said Listen, I 100% agree with you.  I only ever played on iPhone… I don't have a PC, so it was never an option.  Yes, of course having a mobile app greatly broadens your player base and the diversity of players who can and will play your game.  The problem is that it adds considerable weight to the programming.  You need different designs for different devices, you need to coordinate all of those builds for any changes, etc.  I think the UI is what caused this game to die off.  The economy and other things didn't help and probably stunted its growth, but the UI is what really killed it.  If you could just focus your energy on making the UI great for PC players, you could have a viable game.  Maybe down the road once you've got a hit on your hands, look into expanding back to mobile… but we're talking about a scenario where a 3rd party picks up the code and starts over, right?  I'm trying to be practical and not just make a wish list.

My plan is to make the client for PC (windows/mac/linux) and when it reaches a certain point of completeness to start porting to mobile devices. Being made in unity it's far easier to do this then if made in other systems but it is work to get it right. There are also costs to releasing in the app stores(both android and apple) which i'd rather avoid as much as possible. But it is far easier to make for the pc for a wide variety of reasons. My personal lack of experience with mobile software one of the big ones.

But the new client is a collaberation of a bunch of volunteers. It's possible one of them who really wants to play on mobile will put in the required work before I get to it.

Disciple of Erebos

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kaelari said

zjhomrighaus said Listen, I 100% agree with you.  I only ever played on iPhone… I don't have a PC, so it was never an option.  Yes, of course having a mobile app greatly broadens your player base and the diversity of players who can and will play your game.  The problem is that it adds considerable weight to the programming.  You need different designs for different devices, you need to coordinate all of those builds for any changes, etc.  I think the UI is what caused this game to die off.  The economy and other things didn't help and probably stunted its growth, but the UI is what really killed it.  If you could just focus your energy on making the UI great for PC players, you could have a viable game.  Maybe down the road once you've got a hit on your hands, look into expanding back to mobile… but we're talking about a scenario where a 3rd party picks up the code and starts over, right?  I'm trying to be practical and not just make a wish list.

My plan is to make the client for PC (windows/mac/linux) and when it reaches a certain point of completeness to start porting to mobile devices. Being made in unity it's far easier to do this then if made in other systems but it is work to get it right. There are also costs to releasing in the app stores(both android and apple) which i'd rather avoid as much as possible. But it is far easier to make for the pc for a wide variety of reasons. My personal lack of experience with mobile software one of the big ones.

But the new client is a collaberation of a bunch of volunteers. It's possible one of them who really wants to play on mobile will put in the required work before I get to it.

To be clear, are you actually going to take control of the game once it's officially killed by SBE, or are you just talking about what the next owners, if there are any, should do? I say this with the hope that you are taking control, since while I've never played on your ladder, I heard many great things about it during the time I played SF (I quit maybe 2 years ago, dropped by the see the new client, then left when it was clear it was no great change). If you really are going to take control of the game, and maybe even rebalance it again, I might come back again. At very least, I'll keep my eyes peeled to see what happens. 

WuRaidr

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Zaken said
… SBE refused to listen… and WORST, the community was standing on SBE side defending it's place. That is what caused the demise of SolForge. You really need a reality check, you need to be brutal, and make bad and nasty comments when its due. That's the only way to force them to think their product was bad. It's because too many of you were "idealistic" and gave false hope to SBE and the community that their was still a chance to save the game, where in fact, it was dead long ago. So YES, you NEED to be realistic and cast doom and gloom when necessary….

Yup.  There were soooo many people kissing SBE's ass and swearing they could do no wrong the last 2+ months, and now where are we. Im laughing at those people now especially since many of them arent even posting now that the game is officially dead.  

 

Sorry guys, as much as i loved this game no fucks given to the people that die hard defended this game the last few months thinking SBE could do no wrong and that we nay-sayers were in the wrong for bring up the negative.  Several people more "delicate" than I pointed out all the problems this game has had for MONTHS that the kiss-assers tried to defend.     I could easily name these people but you know who you are, so…… PEACE OUT.  This is what happens when you don't care about/listen to your fan base and just try to make money.

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Disciple of Erebos said

kaelari said

zjhomrighaus said Listen, I 100% agree with you.  I only ever played on iPhone… I don't have a PC, so it was never an option.  Yes, of course having a mobile app greatly broadens your player base and the diversity of players who can and will play your game.  The problem is that it adds considerable weight to the programming.  You need different designs for different devices, you need to coordinate all of those builds for any changes, etc.  I think the UI is what caused this game to die off.  The economy and other things didn't help and probably stunted its growth, but the UI is what really killed it.  If you could just focus your energy on making the UI great for PC players, you could have a viable game.  Maybe down the road once you've got a hit on your hands, look into expanding back to mobile… but we're talking about a scenario where a 3rd party picks up the code and starts over, right?  I'm trying to be practical and not just make a wish list.

My plan is to make the client for PC (windows/mac/linux) and when it reaches a certain point of completeness to start porting to mobile devices. Being made in unity it's far easier to do this then if made in other systems but it is work to get it right. There are also costs to releasing in the app stores(both android and apple) which i'd rather avoid as much as possible. But it is far easier to make for the pc for a wide variety of reasons. My personal lack of experience with mobile software one of the big ones.

But the new client is a collaberation of a bunch of volunteers. It's possible one of them who really wants to play on mobile will put in the required work before I get to it.

To be clear, are you actually going to take control of the game once it's officially killed by SBE, or are you just talking about what the next owners, if there are any, should do? I say this with the hope that you are taking control, since while I've never played on your ladder, I heard many great things about it during the time I played SF (I quit maybe 2 years ago, dropped by the see the new client, then left when it was clear it was no great change). If you really are going to take control of the game, and maybe even rebalance it again, I might come back again. At very least, I'll keep my eyes peeled to see what happens. 

This is still up in the air. My plans are to either take over if I can work something with SBE out or to build a new game. I had already started work on an unofficial solforge client before the announcement of the shutdown. If I can get the back end from SBE That client will become the official. If I can't work something out with SBE it will be used to make a completely new game. 

Mong0

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 I would say to avoid the business mistakes sbe made with solforge is to concentrate on creating a strong economy and monetary model and work it out well before production. The game suffered from some clear money grabs at certain points which damaged the overall economy. It was tweaked so many times all of which built on the previous mistakes without a true correction. 

Of course the biggest thing by far was the communication. Talk to your community. Discuss upcoming changes, run things by them on occasion to make them feel more included. Even if they're ambiguous at least people hear that you're working. 

mpoitras

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I just wanted to add my feedback on a few points in case this ever does happen.

1. Getting people to buy gold.

In my opinion, there are generally 2 reasons people pay money in a F2P model (excluding the "I like this game and want to support it" people). People will pay small amounts for cosmetics or large amounts to compete. Cosmetics is certainly something that can be added (as pointed out by kaelari). Competing has generally been interpreted as buying cards. The problem with this is that once you have a complete collection, you no longer need to spend. I would suggest that a new tournament queue be added with a gold entry fee. This tournament queue would also allow people to win gold as a prize. If this is done though, there would need to be a way for people to earn gold in other ways (possibly through dailies). The tournament prizes also need to be generous. There needs to be something worthwhile for someone with a lot of money to spend on. I play another another F2P game (not a CCG) where many people easily spend $100 a week or more on the game. There is absolutely no reason to do this in Solforge. I would also ignore many of the P2W complaints. The only way a game can be successful (other than having a large number of micro transactions) is to have whales supporting it and that means P2W. The way to reduce these complaints is to have other formats available which are not P2W (such as unheroic queues for example).

2. Level screw.

As I've stated elsewhere, this is SF's biggest issue. It really does not matter whether level screw is real or perceived. I watched many hours of streamers when SF used to have people streaming, and this issue came back over and over again. I have very little doubt that more players have been lost to this issue than any other. To be clear here, you can't take the opinion of the people who are still here to gauge if this is an issue or not. The people for whom level screw is an issue are not here anymore. If this is not fixed, all other efforts will be for nothing.

As for fixing it, there needs to be a lot of work and testing done on the rebalance. I think SBE roughly used a 1/2/3 progression. You need to try 2/3/4 or 3/4/5 or maybe even 4/5/6. Rebalancing is a daunting task to be sure.

On this front, I had an idea which is probably really bad but thought I would throw it out in case it gives someone else a better idea. What if every SF number was multiplied by 10 or 100? So, instead having a 5/5, you would have a 50/50 or a 500/500. Then, every month, these values get adjusted based on how often the card gets used in competitive tournament play. Say you put the max adjustment at 1%. So if absolutely no one played your 50/50 in the month, it gets moved to 55/55. If everyone played it, it goes to 45/45. I know in many ways this is a really terrible idea (please don't give me a list of why this is a terrible idea), but was just trying to think if there was a way to more or less automatically nerf cards that are too strong and buff weak cards. No idea at this point how you would do this with spells. Maybe the information on how often cards get played should just be used in future rebalancing decisions, however, manually rebalancing more that than, say once a year, seems really daunting to me.

So, just a few thoughts to hopefully move the ball forward. SF was a great game in many ways and I would hate to see it die.

Absird

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kaelari said
Why Solforge Died, and what can be changed. This is still rough but posted for feedback. I probably missed things. This is entirely in the context of what a revival could do to avoid the same problems SBE had. Intelligent well thoughtout reponses are greatly appreciated.

 

Monetization/Economy Issues:

 

Whales” complain they have gold and nothing to spend it on.

Solution: Give them more things to buy that don’t directly affect game play. AAs, Skins, Card Frames, etc. Price points of course will need to be figured out.

  // Also don't forget Avatars

New players complain game is P2W and super expensive.

Solution: This is tricky and involves multiple things. Roll back the power of legends so players aren’t facing 20+ legend decks. Improve new player starter decks. Once per account achievements with decent rewards to help new players get going. Early achivements that give more starter decks. Achievements and rewards that can be earned facing the computer. More generous campaign rewards.

Fix pairing so bronze players don’t face titanium.(It’s not a good game for either player) Base packs give more commons and rares. Helping to fill out lower rarity of cards quicker and give new players a bit more crafting resource.

Better tutorials and more content targetted toward new players.

 

Rewards too generous

Solution: You’d think this would be impossible with new players not being able to compete/build decks. But when you have players running around with 10,000,000 + silver there is an issue here. Solutions to this are not easy. Some possible changes to rewards:

Reduce dailies.

Improve rewards for just playing games.

Drop tickets concept. Enter drafts/WWs with silver

Create a crafting only resource.

This has a lot going on so i’ll try to explain briefly. Crafting and packs need to be a different resource. Forcing people to play draft is also not good. Many constructed players have thousands of tickets they’ll never use. Opening packs feels like a waste when you could save up for the one card you actually want. With a “dust” like resource opening a pack with crap in it still gets you closer to the legend you want. But each pack might just have a card you want. Opening packs is fun but the current system punishes you for it. By making packs a different resource from crafting you are no longer punished for buying packs. Also spending money on packs stops seeming like such a bad deal.

This effectively gives you a choice of packs or drafts as the base way to increase your collection with both leading to crafting material to get the specific card(s) you want. Prizes from draft should be mostly packs with enough silver to reenter requiring a good or perfect result.

 

 

Business/PR Issues:

 

No Communication at all, players are simply left wondering what’s happening and if the game will even exist in the future.

Solution: Better communication. Weekly(-ish) streams and real time question and answer sessions. Where possible be honest about what’s happening and what problems are faced.

 

Inconsistancy throughout the webpage. Pages out of date, other issues.

Solution: New website not based on wordpress. All new pages which are up to date and correct. Need at least one person who’s job includes making sure the new webpage is up to date. Pull data from the game server to generate webpages where possible for automatic updates.

 

Software Issues:

 

Webstore sometimes doesn’t work. Multiple people include Kaelari tried to fix the software. It just doesn’t work.

Solution: New Webpage not based on wordpress. Really who runs a serious business on wordpress?

 

Client is buggy and unreliable. Full of bugs and awkwardness.

Solution: new client which fixes bugs and is better. New client enables solutions listed to the whales’ problems. Never let FRG anywhere remotely near the code. Keeping the code in house and under our control means we can always make the changes needed/wanted with legal difficulties. This is a very simple statement but actually fixing the client is a significant undertaking. A full list of all the issues with the current client is outside the scope of this document.

 

Advertising Issues:

 

Restore the referral program. Make more generous.

Other advertising should wait until game is in a good state.

 

Gameplay Issues

 

Level Screw” feels really bad

Solution: Not sure yet. This is really hard to handle and might just be part of the game. Cards that minimize the feel of the impact can help. Bound cycle for example

  //This is part of the game. Lack of resources is a part of any game with resources. 

Legends too powerful in general

Solution: Make legends less powerful. Drop some to heroic. Utility cards should slide to rare. Legends should be big flashy build around cards not entire decks.

 

Super Swingy RNG Cards (othra 2 on 2.4 for example)

Solution: Make them less super swingy or less RNG. This needs to be handled on a card by card basis and considered when making new cards.

  //Let them stay. There will always be something to complain about. Othra isn't an auto-include it's a strong card that's fun for the people who play it. Cards like this and IM, not so much Chrogias, are the pride and joy of some who play those type of decks. Remember, there are Timmy's, Spikes, Johnny's and the in-betweens.

Timer too slow

Solution: Adjust timer. This is a matter of great debate among the community. I do believe the time allowed should be reduced but exactly how much still needs to be determined. Timer Griefing needs to be handled harshly. I think a smaller “free time” each turn would help. If you want to take time on one or two important turns that’s great but going slow every turn is really annoying. “play multiple games at once” should never be considered a solution to timer griefing.

  //Isn't it currently 75-90 secs with 3:45 buffer? It's annoying but you're winning but some turns are complicated and players need the extra time to think things through. Remember the 20 min timer, how many times have you seen streamers take 5 mins during a tournament and win because they were able to think it through. No matter the timer it can be abused. I'm not sure it's right to punish those who abuse it, but maybe enable a way to report these people.

Tier 1 decks in unranked

Solution: This is tricky, most rewards moving to ranked only might help.

  //I think a 3rd queue would help, like a competative unranked, so people can still practice and fine tune their decks, then have a casual queue. I believe these exist on the ladder.

Heads up queue sees no play

Solution: Take silver turn into packs in a more effecient way than straight buying packs for the winner. Roughly equal for the loser. Sets up grinding loop, play ranked and get silver → play heads up get packs → open packs for cards/dust → repeat. Allowing constructed players to grind cards similar to drafters. Though somewhat slower.

Something like entry fee = cost of a pack, winner gets 2 packs, loser gets 1.

Steric

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Since plenty of other people have voiced their thoughts on other aspects of Solforge's flaws, I want to comment on the limited environment and how it ties into the power of legendaries.

Simply, the limited environment was a very low power environment, so lower rarity cards could not be too powerful without just breaking everything. Additionally, since Solforge had its own psudo-draft format instead of a real draft format or a sealed format, you were really encouraged to go into a specific faction combination and any problem heroics showed up much more frequently than they should (because of the first pack with six heroics). Reworking the limited environment and simply increasing the power level of limited does a lot to help reduce the relative power of legendaries and to also make it a more interesting environment.

 

Another point I want to bring up is the size of playsets in Solforge. I've made a post on reddit with my thoughts and I'd like to see if this is something that would make sense to do. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/SolForge/comments/5mzm1j/a_proposal_for_reforged_reducing_the_size_of/

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