As a kid I didn't like reading but the one kind of book I did like was Choose Your Own Adventures. The idea was read a page and at the end you got a choice. Take the left door go to page X, take the right door go to page Y. Every page had these choices and you could go back and see what the other choice was if you were so inclined.
Today I am providing Epic with a Choose Your Own Adventure.
It has been a few months since Save the World left early access. The goal now is to keep players playing for as long as possible. Ventures is the plan to keep everyone playing but players have mostly been unhappy with Ventures so far. The progression is not smooth. For example each PL mission has accompanying quests. Upon completion of these quests the next set of quests is unlocked but the required PL missions are not.
Instead players must play 5-10 additional missions to earn the required XP to unlock the next PL missions. This has resulted in the META once again being jail builds as trapping out that many missions is not feasible due to inventory resetting at the start of each Ventures season. The jail build META has ruined the game and is slowly but surely killing it faster than the lack of new content.
Why are jail builds or stall builds the META? The answer is the game is designed to make them META. The farming rates of resources is not sufficient to allow players to build proper trap tunnels. Additionally all defensive missions are time based. Combined these create the environment where jail building is the only real way to play the game, especially Ventures, unless a player wants to spend hours and hours farming resources.
This leads to the question of what is the point of playing a game by not really playing it to earn rewards that you aren't going to use because you aren't really playing the game? How long can one do jail builds before moving on?
Here is where Epic gets to choose their own adventure.
Option 1: Do nothing.
Option 2: First increase farming rates by 2 to 3 times the current rates for all resources and make farmed resources PL appropriate. For example breaking a rock in a PL100 and up mission should only give 3 Oxidized Mineral powder not sometimes Char Black and at most only 1 and searching a chest should give PL appropriate weapons and traps that can be used or recycled for PL appropriate resources. No more finding uncommon PL25 ceiling zappers in high PL missions.
Second remove timers from missions. Missions should all be objective based not time based.
In defensive based missions (Fight the Storm, Ride the Lightning, Retrieve the Data, Deliver the Bomb, Repair the Shelter, Evacuate the Shelter) replace timers with elimination counters. Instead of defending for 8 minutes players would need to eliminate X number of husks. This could be scaled based on the number of players when the objective is started and no players can join after the objective is started.
In non-defensive missions (Build the Radar, Rescue the Survivors, Destroy the Encampments, Eliminate and Collect, Resupply) players should be able to leave once the minimum objective is completed. For example after building 3 radars a rift would appear that let's players leave the mission. Rewards would be scaled based on the performance of players. If a player stays and builds the last 2 radars they would get more rewards than the player that left after 3 were built.
I believe that if Epic chooses Option 1 the game will continue to lose players. As new players come in they will not stay as long as those before them. The fun factor has slowly been drained over the years. The focus has shifted from base-building, tower defense, surviving hordes to jail building and run and gun. The former will keep players around, the latter will not in my opinion.
The choice is yours Epic.
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