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Mythorias

I got very close to just uninstalling SoG

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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.
 
### Advertising
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.
 
 
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Hello @Mythorias. Thanks for your feedback!

Appstore text
Regarding the texts on the appstore, it is being rewritten (also to match IOS11 better with different content). We're also changing "deck" to "team" indeed ;). I agree that the core mechanic is comparable to games like hyper heroes and angry birds evolution. You can see though that we started working on SoG before these games came out, as the gameplay feels quite different. SoG is more "accurate-pool-physics" as where those games are more "slotmachine-crazy-physics" if you see a bit what I mean. Also the way the spells, objects and card health functions is very different.

Story & campaigns
I agree that this could have been done better. The reason the map and campaigns are not very good aligned are some team changes at that point. Perhaps we can improve this in the future though.

Strategy and skill and level design
I see you are not content with the level design of the 5 latest campaigns. It is interesting as we designed them especially to be difficult, as players have been asking for more difficulty for ages. Once we produce difficult levels you are instead accusing us of making them being too difficult, drawing the conclusion that we implemented them as a sink to get quick cash out of players or that we became lazy. No, we made new levels with the objective to please the players because higher difficulty was requested..

The level design is a bit different from the level designs before, in a sense that they block a greater portion of the screen and have less enemies. These extra boxes create some difficulty and strategy in team composition(which cards do you let take the hit?) and promote a change from ALL-spells to Single-spells (as ALL-spells were usually a lot more powerful in the previous levels with a lot of enemies). Don't get me wrong, I am open to discussing level design and to feedback on this part, but I'm a bit sad of the accusation of us being money grabbers/lazy as we were trying to match player requests.

Some updates in the planning regarding level design:
- New objects, with specific features that can be used in combination with a specific element. We are working for example on a fireball which can be moved by fire cards only. These objects allow us to make more interesting and difficult levels without the need to cluster a substantial level space or use the handicap(boost) rule.
- New campaigns with these objects with the first expansion.
- Reduce in difficulty of the final 5 campaigns to make it fit smoother with the previous campaigns and the coming campaigns in the expansion. This will probably be done before or at the same time we release the new campaigns. (If you have specific feedback here let me know)
- Some changes in object logic of current objects. (This will come soon).

Luck
"why the fuck do I need *luck* when there's a battling mechanic that requires strategy and skill"
You also need luck in the other ccg's you mention (you draw a card out of a random deck there). We have luck implemented in the form of random spell placement. A bit of luck is necessary to keep games fresh and create new situations for the player to adapt to constantly, especially as we have a ccg/rpg system where players are at different strengths when facing a level. I think the strategy vs luck combination is quite to the strategic side in SoG if you compare it with other mobile CCG's. Without luck you'd get more a puzzle or chess game.

Art & Music
I would love separate backgrounds per campaign too, unfortunately we have a limited budget and designing a manual background per campaign is too costly. We will have 2 new backgrounds in our expansion though :).

Suggestions
Thanks for the suggestions. In general I would like to say (said it before but want to remind) that we are a smaller company than the games you mention. So I agree with most of your suggestions, but for us is the challenge to decide what things we can improve/add that have the biggest impact on improving the game. Of course I would love to have everything implemented, but we need to prioritize.

- Immersive art and backgrounds, including the world map.
Agreed, although we'll have our priorities on other game improvements for the coming months.
- De-crystalize blockchain cards.
Underway
- 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.
They are cast automatically by your cards. In the early prototype we had the player cast them himself, but that broke the flow of the game. We want to keep the "just shoot"-gameplay, and all decisions made from there being strategic (easy to play, hard to master).
- 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. 
I was working on a heroes-feature design last week. With indeed different avatars and play styles, and a reason for the players to collect certain cards to match that play style. This will have a huge impact on strategic gameplay, but it is in early stage.
- SoG needs to be made into an RPG with a purpose, let players live a story, you already have a lot of interesting lore. 
Agreed!
- 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. 
Agreed, and we are looking for such implementations with the heroes I described above. Seeing where the shot will bounce is an interesting one, I added it to my doc :).
- 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.
I completely agree. I love and admire Clash Royale. It is a great inspiration. We are indeed looking at them for implementing social features like guilds/clans with some kind of card rental/trading feature like they do it.
- Atmospheric music. Make us want to use headphones when playing SoG.
I understand, but hope you understand it is not our top-priority.
- 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.
I agree on this part. It would add strategy if you can edit your team, after looking at the level. We are thinking of how we could implement this in SoG.
- 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.
As I mentioned above, it is hard to accommodate to both type of players (high challenge seekers, low challenge seekers), especially as players have progressed differently. But your feedback is heard.
- LOOT! We need loot! 
Agreed! We have a feature in the planning for loot in levels, but again, prioritization.
- 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.
Very interesting! Noted them down.
 
- 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. 
Yep agreed, good ideas. But takes up a lot of time.
- 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.
Agreed! We want to work on making rarer cards stand out more.
- 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.
Nice idea.
- 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.
We want to add different offers to the shop indeed.
- Daily and weekly login bonuses.
We're planning on updating the quest system to match more this need.
- A co-op mode, 2 cards each player.
Sounds cool, but provides quite some challenges for us.
- More achievements
Agreed.
- Integration with Google games
Agreed.
- 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.
Yes we are working on time based events to replace the challenge mode! :)
- More backgrounds and music. Although I think this is coming in the next big release.
It is :)

Summarizing we both agree that there is a lot to improve on. Your ideas are very good and some of them will see daylight at some point. It will take a lot of time to implement everything we want to keep the game infinitely interesting, engaging, social and strategic. The question is if you can wait for that. I can understand that if you beat all campaigns there are at the moment that you might become bored. The only thing to remedy this are game improvements, which take time. I can assure you we are working with good intentions, ideas and as hard as we can, but there is a lot to do before we are as polished and feature-heavy as Clash Royale. Good thing is we're planning on improving SoG for years.

I'll also tag @Overtime and @Robert 
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@Jasper Damman, hey man. I'm very glad we see eye to eye in many aspects. That last sentence right there is the only thing I need to answer your question. Yes, I can wait for that and I'm pretty sure many of us can and will too.

On the luck thing, I can understand what you mean, and in most levels I actually do feel it keeps it fresh when redoing a campaign. I remember struggling a lot when I first encountered Sia and the Orc, trying to adapt to spell placements in each try and at the same time figuring what is the best shot I can make, it indeed required to strategize a lot, but there are cases where even when you strategize, that luck factor is way more important than the strategy and it makes you feel that no matter what variations you try on your team there's no way to beat the level unless you are "lucky", and failing in 2 or 3 tries (out of pretty much 3 tries when energy is full) can get frustrating. I guess it's a matter of getting that balance right, which I can imagine is not an easy thing to do. 

Specifically on that "see where it'll bounce", by no means I mean that should be an easy skill to get. I know many would argue that would make the game too easy, and I'd agree, but it's just an example of *perks* you could unlock by leveling up and investing your exp/skill/talent points in a certain tree or something like that.

Same with the upgrade crystals thing, my intent is to add layers of customization and increase variety.

All in all, I'm just glad that even if in a small part I can help improve SoG, because I love gaming and cryptos, and EDS/SoG just happen to combine both. 

P.S: I'm always around in slack and Discord.

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I honestly wasnt "that" close to uninstalling.  But Myth was just so eloquent i just wanted to second their good input. 

Some of my own suggestions

Have contests with user submitted backgrounds. Have people vote for the best background for each level. Croudsource that work. 

When your on the map screen; is there a way to have those four random cards on the team button reflect your actual team?

On the team screen i can select someone from my pool and swap with teammember, i cannot select a team member to swap with pool... Any reason why?

Some way to tell info during battle. Like a little question mark that when clicked shows enemy health, spell strength (of spells on field and enemies) etc.. 

A few of the cards artwork is just a zoomed in shot or in one case a mirror image of the previous evolution. Was this a deadline or a budget issue. Is updating the art on these cards possible?

Thanks for all your hard work!

 

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8 minutes ago, Overtime said:

Have contests with user submitted backgrounds. Have people vote for the best background for each level. Croudsource that work. 

Mario Maker for wii u is my favorite game. Letting users design levels for other to play would be an amazingly awesome iteration. Of course  to publish a level, the creator will have needed to successfully complete it themselves to prove its possible. It's done the same way for Mario Maker.

Constantly replaying Orc for gold is boring. A 3-5 wave sprint of randomly selected levels that pays out x gold would make replay more fun. 

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1 hour ago, cdex said:

Mario Maker for wii u is my favorite game. Letting users design levels for other to play would be an amazingly awesome iteration. Of course  to publish a level, the creator will have needed to successfully complete it themselves to prove its possible. It's done the same way for Mario Maker.

Constantly replaying Orc for gold is boring. A 3-5 wave sprint of randomly selected levels that pays out x gold would make replay more fun. 

EDS has already said user created content is in the pipeline. I would imagine not til after next expansion when blockchainization is more established

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@Mythorias Great to hear! I understand your suggestions, and agree with them. Let's continue working on improving SoG! :)

@Overtime 
- Thanks for the idea on user generated content. We are indeed working towards outsourcing these things to players. Contests are a good idea.
- That actually sounds doable. And it is indeed an interesting addition.
- We're remedying this soon!
- Showing enemy stats is a bit tricky. We had it in an early prototype, and decided to take it away is it overwhelmed players and took them out of the flow (became a calculation game). But at the same time we're getting these request. It is to be improved. We're starting with internally testing with a new healthbar.
- That is indeed a budget issue from before we did the token sale. Slowly these card art will be replaced indeed.

Thanks for playing and coming up with great ideas!

@cdex Agreed, that is what we're looking for indeed. I like Mario Maker as well :). Of course a challenge is that everybody has a different deck and has progressed to a different stage, so difficulty will be different for everyone. But it is certainly possible!

 

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With all this talk, is there a roadmap for the upcoming sprint or month?

Love to see this more structured then just a lot of words :)

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Thank you Myth, you have stated SO eloquently what needed to be said concerning SoG and its current state.  Sadly, for me, I think I am just done.  Too many other interests pulling at me, wish everyone luck, and I hope to maybe check in on SoG in the far future to be pleasantly surprised.

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Didn't read all the text above. But I, for what it's worth, like the levels to be difficult. I enjoy trying a level 50 times. However, stamina is too expensive as I have stated a dozen times....

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