Hey, i'll try to keep it somewhat short.
First – two observations I feel like almost all players can agree with:
- Missions have a cost – for every mission we run we need to invest two things: Our time and resources (for traps, builds, guns, etc)
- Having a healthy cost to reward ratio is important to keep players (that can always choose to spend their time and money elsewhere) playing and satisfied.
The problem – PUGs have a random (and usually bad) cost to reward (CtR) ratio.
Going into a high level 4x mission requires a pretty significant investment when it comes to resources. I don't believe the cost is unreasonable as long as it is split between 4 players. problem is – it is never the case.
We all know how it goes – we load into a PUG 4x mission, no one is building, no one is placing traps, you can already see the mission is probably going to fail.
We then have two options:
- Invest heavily (covering the cost of the other players in the lobby) – which leads to unhealthy and unreasonable cost to reward ratio for the contributing player, while creating an amazing cost to reward ratio for the non-contributing players, since they are getting the same rewards without investing.
- Leave – This option does have a cost often neglected when discussing dealing with non-contributing players, it costs you in time.
Time is something that needs to be values and respected much more than it is.
Players time is limited and valuable. if you won't respect it – players will start thinking "huh, I have better things to do with my time" and stop playing or grow frustrated.
Materials can also be translated to the time spent farming them.
If I need to spend too many materials (=Time) to finish a mission that rewards too little – I'm not going to do it.
In the end of the day – unless other people are willing to contribute, we create a negative experience and a bad cost to reward ratio to the contributing player.
Well, it seems like making everyone want to contribute is ESSENTIAL to create an healthy CtR ratio – and by extensions – healthy player experience.
Can we punish non contributing players? Kinda. in a very limited way. banning AFK and 0/0/0 players is important, but it doesn't solve the problem. all it does it taking care of the most extreme manifestation of the problem. we are left with a very big problem – Players who don't AFK, but contribute very little.
Once again – we've all seen it. the players that will show up to the objective, upgrade 2 or three walls, place a random low level trap and that's it. They aren't AFK, but the might as well be.
The game in its current state encourage toxic behavior and "bad play" by giving non contributing players the best CtR ratio, while punishing the contributing players with a terrible one. also pushing "good" players to quit and worsening the good to bad players ratio in PuGs.
How do we fix it?
I'm not sure about the specifics. I'm not a game designer.
In general I strongly believe EPIC need to change drastically how rewards are given and how the costs of a mission are split between the players, in ways that will reward and encourage contributing while discouraging non-contributing and bad play.
I really feel It's more important than anything else.
the game has many problems but having the basic gameplay encourage bad play is its biggest flaw. and is the cause of all player behavior problems the game has (yes. AFKs too)
Anyway, thanks for reading –
Sincerely, some guy who loves the game but is once again extremely frustrated by it.
Giving the same rewards to all players in a lobby while not forcing everyone to invest resources and effort encourages bad and toxic play, causes contributing players to have a bad cost to reward rate and therefor to feel unrewarded and have a bad experience in PUGs. I believe most if not all player behavior related problems stem from it.
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