This is going to be a very long post..
I've been playing SoG for a while now and after all that time playing here are some of my comments and suggestions on this experience and on the game itself. I'm starting from the description in the PlayStore, paragraph by paragraph.
### Unique Battle mechanics?
I don't consider your battling mechanic to be unique (I understand you are trying to sell your product) it's very similar to “marble like” games, kind of like angry birds evolution, where you have a “hero” level him up and make him bounce through enemies. Still, I do like it, but it gets very boring eventually, especially when you have to start grinding for gold after completing most levels and resort to Challenge Mode, which on its own it's a very boring 5 to 15 minutes activity (depending on your cards).
### Deck building?
I'd rather call it teams. "Decks" doesn't sound quite right after playing as much as I have, and if you've played other TCGs you'll associate decks to many cards.
Also, the TCG aspect of this lacks a lot of the T(rading). I don't think many players “trade” cards for other than profit. But maybe this will change once blockchainization starts, which I understand is not an easy feat to accomplish.
On the same paragraph, “fantasy realm of Moonga”, I've been playing since April, and I still don't know what Moonga or Askian are. I'm assuming Moonga is the World and Askian one of its continents. On this I think you are wasting a huge potential on Lore. You have many different characters and back stories to many things that can only be explored by reading card descriptions that you can't even see in-game.
### Rich Story, Amazing Art?
Yes and yes, but again, there's no story inside the game other than the comments you get from 2 strangers during the tutorial. Who the crap are these people? What is "the Void"? What mystery are we supposed to solve? This is a fully released game. And those out of context one liners from (again) strangers, in different levels.
If any of you ever played an RPG, and I love RPGs, you know you need some context to feel invested in the story and want to progress through the levels. Right now our only motivator to play is “I need to complete the 7 stars!” But what happens after we complete them? And what about when we get stuck on a certain level? (I have a very strong opinion on this later).
The artworks in the cards are amazing, but your UI lacks some mix of modernization while keeping the medieval theme. Your world map, I've never felt it fit in. There's barely any relation between the levels/character/bosses to what you see in the map. I'd suggest looking at how the map works in Nioh if you don't want to make something super detailed and at the same time add some atmosphere to the places.
### Art & Music
The other side of the art –and this one I really dislike– are level backgrounds and music. I muted the game in May, and the backgrounds are super underwhelming. There's something like 3 of them? I want to feel in the place. I want giant of the mountains to be in a huge valley, the purple dragon to be in the depths of a cave, the ice prince to be in an ice castle. And eventually find out where did the castle come from, why are the characters who they are, etc.
By the way, back to my comment on world map, have you seen where you placed the ice prince? It's a town with green roofs, why? I want some level of immersion. SoG might be a TCG but playing the actual game should be thought of as a single player story where you progress and find out what's going on in the world. I still don't know why I'm even fighting all of those people other than "I want to get gold and that epic card at the 7th star."
### Strategy and skill
I consider this to be true... until it's not. I've lost count of how many times I've raged because once again I've WASTED 8 9 10 11 energy, because the spell that I *strategized* to use with my *skill* once again spawned in a place impossible to reach, causing me to lose the battle. Moreover, and I'm sorry to express this way, but why the fuck do I need *luck* when there's a battling mechanic that requires strategy and skill? This pisses me off to no end, especially in the Bear Spirit levels. What were you thinking? These levels are energy sinkholes.
### Levels design
Everything after the Orc reflects a horrible loss in inspiration when designing levels. Don't have sinks, at some point players are going to think “these people just want me to spend cash in gems until I beat the level” and you will respond, “no one is forcing you to pay”. Do you remember that “customer is always right” thing? It applies here. There are many levels where I love the design, they do require strategy and skill, and a small amount of luck. But these changes completely after the orc, and even a couple levels before. On some levels, you need only luck to beat the enemies. This shouldn't be the case, ever. Take into account that most players who reach those levels are some of your most active players. Please make them stay, avoid frustrating them, I'm not saying build super easy levels, I'm saying make it challenging without having to rely on lucky spell spawns.
Most of us already have no other reason to play than to make a task out of spending the energy.
### Some suggestions
Here are things I'd like to see implemented, it's a really long list.
- Immersive art and backgrounds, including the world map.
- De-crystalize blockchain cards.
- A new way to cast spells. Why can't I cast them when I need them? My enemies can, I want that too. You don't actually cast anything, even though they are your spells.
- Let me have an Avatar, or something to customize. Make that Avatar have a class, some sort of summoner that invokes the strength of the cards to beat the enemies (like I told Nick, I know I'm pretty much describing Yu-Gi-Oh), in a few words, let me have a character that interacts with the people/creatures/places in your world.
- SoG needs to be made into an RPG with a purpose, let players live a story, you already have a lot of interesting lore.
- Let that class have some sort of progression, maybe skill points that help in some way, like seeing a second line before the shot to see where it'll bounce, a resurrection ability, things that empower you, because progressing is what keeps making you come back.
- Look at what Clash Royale does (there's a shitload of stuff you have to learn from this game). There are rumors they'll let you customize your towers and your king; they have a chest system for cards, and a way to progress even a bit every time you open the app. Being in a clan lets you contribute cards to clan members and they reward you gold for this. They even do “epic Sundays” where you can donate one epic card to each member who asks for one, and their and UI is fun to look at.
- Atmospheric music. Make us want to use headphones when playing SoG.
- Let me preview the level after completing the first star, so I can prepare accordingly. I mean, of course, the first time you shouldn't know the layout, you are just “getting there”, but after that, more often than not, you'll forget what kind of strategy you need and waste the energy.
- Impossible request. I wish really hard Bear Spirit levels didn't exist. Some of the Archer and Werewolf levels are also too relying on luck, and probably a few others I'm forgetting.
- LOOT! We need loot!
- Cosmetic stuff for my public Avatar and elemental upgrades that can be applied by finding special crystals that at the same time can be fused into more powerful crystals and unlock these skills for each element:
-- Light: chance for critical strike, only for light cards that already cast the strength spell and have them applied.
-- Dark: insta-kill curse (make it 1%, 0.5%.. if it's there people will be excited)
-- Earth: reflect damage, chance for shielded allies to reflect damage
-- Ice: frostbite (damage per frozen turn or something like that, not like permafreeze)
-- Water: overheal for the duration of the wave
-- Fire: remove obstacles, boxes and spikes when the fire card specifically attacks them.
All of the previous are not intended to be 100% proc chances, the percentage depends on the strength/rarity of the applied upgrade crystal on each separate card.
- Special effects for legendary cards and it's fused variations. Trident queen could do a bolt of lighting, Crirawin can slash on attacks, Aodh can do a sort of curse seal that applies the weakness. You get the idea.
- Make the game flashy and your rarest cards the most awesome thing to use. And this only requires a 1 second animation for the first attacks.
- The addition of your lore in some form inside the game. Maybe part of the loot can be finding books that explain some things, kind of like in the elderscrolls series, 2 pages of text that tell a tale.
- The chest system. Look at Lordmancer II, they are doing it too. And you can buy chests, way much better than spending gems on 1 epic card and 2 extra cards that are going to be 2 shit normal cards.
- Daily and weekly login bonuses.
- A co-op mode, 2 cards each player.
- More achievements
- Integration with Google games
- Timed events, there's a Void right? Make a rift spawn with strong enemies from the Void and have us wonder what's going on. This could actually replace challenge mode.
- More backgrounds and music. Although I think this is coming in the next big release.
Jesus Christ! Sellout, hype your game, your cards & your updates. I know you have issues with publishing. You don't need to talk about a specific date, just let everyone know it's coming. Make videos showcasing combos. Use a voice actor with an old epic voice to talk about it.
### Final words
I freaking want to see SoG #1 in the top charts! I know and understand that some of the stuff I've just said has probably already been thought about, but it's what I personally think SoG desperately needs to succeed and reach higher places in the grossing and download charts. You already have something unique by using blockchain tech, have it attached to an awesome game and story.