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The first stage of this revitalization effort should be forming a quorum of the minds. I will begin by contacting the most active players in-game. I believe the most active players are the ones who have the most at stake and would therefore benefit the most from improvements to the game. They also have the most experience and therefore can offer the most insight. I will be seeking their opinions and encouraging them to join in this discussion. Hopefully I can find a few players who care enough (and have the spare time) to contribute to this forum. If not, then I will at least pass along their thoughts. Since this method of establishing contact is random, it may take awhile.

Prioritizing: I have no intention of pitching a long list of requests to HSG, and expecting them to fix everything overnight. I think we need to be respectful of their time, and try to focus our requests in an organized manner that will be manageable for their operation to digest.

There have been several ideas proposed in various threads for adding new content and/or expanding existing content. I absolutely support expanding Highgrounds content. However, I believe that before we press for more content, we need to focus on fixing the content that already exists.

My first proposal will be for eliminating the most abused exploits that currently exist in the game. We all want Highgrounds to be the most pleasant experience possible. These exploits are the biggest detriment to that. Exploits discourage new players who have a difficult enough time as it is getting started in a new game. And, exploits discourage fair play. I have often encountered otherwise honorable players who have resorted on occasion to using imbalanced units because it was the only way they could earn their gem quota that night. We don't want Highgrounds to become a race to the bottom where the biggest winners are the cheaters and exploiters, and otherwise honorable players feel the need to resort to such tactics. The only way to put a stop to this is to close the exploits. So, that will be my first proposal.

My second proposal will be for making slight adjustments to underutilized units. I have encountered a few veteran players who yearn for new units. I totally get that. When your collection is nearing capacity, the hope for growth starts to fade. Personally, I often "open" expansion packs to find not a single card of which I don't already have 2 copies. It is a disappointment to be sure. But, from the onset I said I would advocate for what was in the best interest of the community as a whole. So, I think we must acknowledge that there are many existing cards in Highgrounds that are essentially useless and therefore never used by anyone. This is a waste of resources on the part of HSG's development team. It is in everyone's best interest that the content churned out by the developers be useful in-game. So, before asking the developers to take the time to create new units, I believe we need to propose recommendations that would make underutilized units a bit more useful.
Not sure if this thread is suppose to be answer back, or am I suppose to leave opinions on here, but anyways, leaving my ideas here LOL

First, thanks for putting so much time on this online game, that I my self, have put a lot of time too (ah the old days when the forum was busy every day *tear) so after reading your post here are some things to say:

1# Agree with this one, bugs and errors need to go out of the window first *opens a window*

2# Now see, here is the problem, in my time playing Highgrounds I have learn something, speed beat 80% of the time in this game, the rush decks are ridiculous and with the new units *cough* Lanir *cough* this become even more notable, the strongest commander are the one that are: cheap, have double attack in the front and provide resources + recruitment for the army. What I want to get to, is that there is no a "mid" build army that will be successful, either you make a rush deck or you do a semi-slow heavy deck, that means that any unit that it is a mid turn level, not so strong and not that cheap, are basically and almost useless, and that is the group of units that you call "the underutilized". See, they are, on paper, not that bad, but when you goes again the units that more useful and again a Veteran... well you will for sure lose 70% of the time (care that the percentage is actually higher!) So to solve the problem of a bunch of useless units, it is deeper than it look, it is a problem that involve more on the hard core of the game mechanic. To make this a more believable, I have been losing to the same type of army build, and everything else? well I win, what I want to say is that I only lose to overrated army builds, the one that exploit the game: Lanir + rush decks, Eezic decks, Lanir + gamble. If the deck that I'm facing is non of the build mention before, I have a high chance of actually winning! for real, 80% of the time I will for sure win, and the other 20% is only because of bad luck, which happens to everyone.

So at the end, the game sounds more like a Rock, paper and scissor game, BUT you can't use paper.... you see what I saying?
Thank you for commenting! Yes, I am attempting to organize our needs and desires as players into a concise series of proposals that I will present [via the forum] to the developers. My hope is that Highgrounds will return to its prior level of popularity (and beyond) if we motivate the developers to invest a reasonable portion of their time into fixing and improving the game. This process begins with the players. So, thank you for participating in this effort. I hope you will continue to contribute your thoughts. And, if you could help me spread the word to some of the other most active players, that would help as well.

I will respond to your thoughts in my next post, so that we may begin a dialogue on how best to address the issues that plague an otherwise great game. And, any other players reading this thread are welcome to chime in on the discussion. As someone who has been waiting two years for fixes and improvements to Highgrounds, I am very excited to launch this player driven campaign!
(03-11-2017, 04:47 PM)toorico Wrote: [ -> ]Not sure if this thread is suppose to be answer back, or am I suppose to leave opinions on here, but anyways, leaving my ideas here LOL

First, thanks for putting so much time on this online game, that I my self, have put a lot of time too (ah the old days when the forum was busy every day *tear) so after reading your post here are some things to say:

1# Agree with this one, bugs and errors need to go out of the window first *opens a window*

2# Now see, here is the problem, in my time playing Highgrounds I have learn something, speed beat 80% of the time in this game, the rush decks are ridiculous and with the new units *cough* Lanir *cough* this become even more notable, the strongest commander are the one that are: cheap, have double attack in the front and provide resources + recruitment for the army. What I want to get to, is that there is no a "mid" build army that will be successful, either you make a rush deck or you do a semi-slow heavy deck, that means that any unit that it is a mid turn level, not so strong and not that cheap, are basically and almost useless, and that is the group of units that you call "the underutilized". See, they are, on paper, not that bad, but when you goes again the units that more useful and again a Veteran... well you will for sure lose 70% of the time (care that the percentage is actually higher!) So to solve the problem of a bunch of useless units, it is deeper than it look, it is a problem that involve more on the hard core of the game mechanic. To make this a more believable, I have been losing to the same type of army build, and everything else? well I win, what I want to say is that I only lose to overrated army builds, the one that exploit the game: Lanir + rush decks, Eezic decks, Lanir + gamble. If the deck that I'm facing is non of the build mention before, I have a high chance of actually winning! for real, 80% of the time I will for sure win, and the other 20% is only because of bad luck, which happens to everyone.

So at the end, the game sounds more like a Rock, paper and scissor game, BUT you can't use paper.... you see what I saying?
on ur second point regarding lanir+rush, i would describe it as super duper burst damage instead of rush cause they normally beat u down in just 1 turn. to do this, they still need time to hire lanir (sometime even 2 lanirs) to make it work. so i would suggest u to disrupt their economy in the early game. i had some success with this strategy
All of the players with whom I have discussed these issues strongly desire that these improvements be made to Highgrounds. I have yet to encounter a single veteran player who is satisfied with the current state of the game. However, upon further reflection it occurs to me that most players (even the most active ones) may not have the time or desire to actively participate in this improvement process. My guess is that though dozens of people enjoy playing the game and fully support making these improvements, they just won't want to get into the nuts and bolts of it. So, most players will passively benefit from our efforts, and I am fine with that. Our only obligation to our fellow players is to make them aware of what we are doing, and offer them equal opportunity to participate in the process. So, I will continue to spread the word for a few more days. Whether or not anyone else chooses to contribute to this initiative is up to them.

Now on with the discussion...

First, let's define what an 'exploit' is. I consider it to have two definitions in Highgrounds:

1) A bug in the software that enables a player to circumvent the normal gameplay to their advantage.
Example: Sniper bug

2) A design flaw that produces unintended consequences that can drastically skew the outcome of matches.
Example: Gamble

Add to these definitions very imbalanced units. In so much as these units can be easily exploited in such a way as to all but insure victory.
Example: Eezic

Are these definitions agreeable to you?

It is my intention to include all of the above exploits in our first proposal. If you agree that these are exploits that must be addressed as soon as possible, then the next step is for us to agree upon effective solutions that the developers should be able to accomplish with a reasonable amount of effort.

Sniper bug: Simply making the ability work in the manner in which it was intended would suffice.

Eezic: There is an entire thread dedicated to this issue. Several different solutions have already been suggested. We need to reach a consensus on which solution we prefer. I will then include that recommendation in our proposal.

Gamble: This warrants a discussion as well. Some have referenced Lanir as the root of the problem. I, however, disagree. This overlooks the squires as a secondary source of exploitation. Also, I personally, think it is pretty cool that there is at least one "heavy" in the game that is a "buffer" rather than a direct damage dealer. I'd actually like to see a couple more heavy buffers added to the game. [For balancing purposes they, too, would have to be front row abilities.] So, I would argue that the real issue here is the Gamble ability. What if the Gamble ability produced gold instead of attack? I mean it is literally called 'Gamble' for crying out loud. It would actually make more sense if it produced gold. I also think the scoundrels would be much more interesting to play if they gambled for gold. I'm thinking Flip could be wagered for a chance at 5 gold for a match or zero for a miss. This would provide the player a random chance at a significant resource boost in the early rounds without making victory a forgone conclusion. Your thoughts?

Regarding your concern for mid-level units...

I think I understand what you are saying. The "Rock, Paper, Scissors" analogy illustrates your point well. I don't believe this is an issue for the Wood faction. "Pack" decks are very effective. As for the Crystal faction, it really depends on the type of unit. The skeletons and wizards are very useful. And the Rainer pairings are fun to toy with. But, Koss, Ruel, Avon, Ghast, and Fiss fall into that donut hole you were describing. Gold faction may have the biggest donut hole. Most of its mid-level units are only played by newbies. My analysis of this issue is that mid-level units are only effective when they belong to some sort of reinforcing group. If they operate independently, then they are useless. Hopefully, tweaking them a tad will make them more useful in some situations. As far as making mid-level armies effective in the Gold faction -- that may require an outside the box solution -- like creating a buffer effect that only benefits soldiers.
Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I'm following this thread, and have responded to the larger question about updates to Highgrounds in this stuck thread: http://heartshapedgames.com/forums/showt...p?tid=2765

-Scott
I am glad to see that you are following the thread, and I completely understand that you cannot invest time into a project that is not profitable.

This is from the perspective of a new player who has been on for around a month. I think your game is brilliantly designed and i enjoy playing it, but I may soon choose to quit because after saving up 1100 gems one gets from constant defeats, I was able to improve my decks but only slightly.

I believe you can improve the stickiness of the game and hold onto more new players by either creating more practical handicaps or by granting a new player more gems. My assumption is that these adjustments would not be time consuming while also providing you the chance to hold onto more players.

Handicaps
I have noticed some handicaps before, when playing against a brand new player. I would not suggest something that requires new programming, but hopefully whatever equation you are using for current handicaps can be adjusted. I don't know what the current calculation is, but an extra 2 or 3 life for every 100 difference in skill is going to allow veterans to still wipe out us newer players while granting us more than 3 or 4 turns before we are wiped out. I've also seen the cities produce more resources for a new player. Perhaps boosting that would encourage new players to stick around longer.

Gems
I can see you going two ways with this. Give them out to new players more generously, maybe even start them with 500, or just bring down prices in the shop.

Donations
I just wanted to reiterate to you that I think this game is brilliant. For a free game, it's design is impeccable. Perhaps you need a donation button that says, "Enjoying Highgrounds? Donate to keep the game alive." I would hope that the veterans who enjoy the game thoroughly and are using your servers all the time would be willing to donate. Yes, there is no difference between donating and selling gems, besides the psychology. But maybe you need to hit their brains with idea that this great game might disappear. Also, someone who has played for years and has every single character has no incentive to buy gems.

I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and buy $10 worth of gems right now, just to aid the cause. Even though I have seriously considered quitting because, well, it's not really fun having 300-700 skill people wipe you out with ease all the time. I guess my $10 will get me 3 more 350 gem boosters, but based upon the boosters I've already seen this isn't going to help my decks much.

I certainly hope you can hold onto new players better. It is an extremely compelling game when one first signs on. The built-in challenge is great. The only real flaw is that after you finish with the quest, your reward is to have players with months and years of time gathering cards wipe you out constantly. Not a great incentive to stick around OR spend money.
(03-16-2017, 07:09 PM)shmeffay Wrote: [ -> ]This is from the perspective of a new player who has been on for around a month.  I think your game is brilliantly designed and i enjoy playing it, but I may soon choose to quit because after saving up 1100 gems one gets from constant defeats, I was able to improve my decks but only slightly.

I believe you can improve the stickiness of the game and hold onto more new players by either creating more practical handicaps or by granting a new player more gems.  My assumption is that these adjustments would not be time consuming while also providing you the chance to hold onto more players.

Speaking as someone who has been playing Highgrounds for two years, I must say that the gem distribution is probably as well balanced as it can get. After two years of card collecting I have all commons, uncommons, and rares. And most ultra-rares. That "feels" about right to me given how long I have been playing. HSG has already lowered the shop prices a couple of times. If they lower prices any more, then the cards will become too easy to get. Collecting all rares (and below) and most ultra-rares within two years of play sounds about right don't you think? But, I totally acknowledge that more should be done to improve the situation for new players. I support that sentiment. I just don't think further manipulating the gem economics is the way to achieve that goal.

To give you further perspective, when I began playing, card packs cost more than they do now. And the grande starter expansion cost a whopping 3,999 gems! Yet, the community was thriving with new players. Why was this? In most part it was because we had a fighting chance. As a newbie I could go head-to-head with a level 300 player and still come out victorious about 1/3 of the time. This is because the exploits were not remotely as prevalent in 2015. All of the same exploits existed then, but the players were more respectful, and usually shied away from using them. So, closing these exploits would go a long way towards balancing the game for everyone including new players.

In addition, I would support tweaking the handicap further. I do think veteran players should win most games over newbies, but not every game. If we could return to an environment where veterans odds of wining are in the 2:1 to 3:1 range, that would seem about right. But, I strongly caution against lowering shop prices any further, or raising gem rewards. Closing exploits and tweaking the handicap is the best solution for retaining players. Lowering prices even further would disincentivize long-term play, while providing no immediate relief to new players. Tweaking the handicap system and closing exploits would provided immediate relief without harming long-term player incentives.

I would even go so far as to support shaving a couple of HP from a >300 player vs a <150 player. Or, alternatively, what if <150 players received bonus damage for every 3 points of excessive victory (similar to 'Broken Shield' rules)? This would make all <150 players even to each other, but players above that skill threshold would have a higher bar for gaining bonus damage.
There is far too much potential here to just let Highgrounds go to pot. So, rather than give up. For now we need to focus on solutions that will take the least amount of time to code.

I planned on proposing a rework of Eezic, but in the interest of efficiency I will recommend fixing imbalanced units by means of stat adjustments. Scott should be able to go through the data set, and make stat adjustments in a matter of minutes rather than hours.

'Gamble' is systemically broken. If the devs don't have time to rework it, then units with gamble will need that ability replaced with another existing ability. So, that is what I will propose instead of a rework.

In light of this emphasis on efficiency, I will combine Proposals I & II. So, Eezic and gambling units will simply be tossed in with the other units that need stat adjusting. My new goal is to present Scott with a single proposal that can be accomplished within a single day of coding.

I have read that matriarch is also largely considered to be imbalanced. I tend to agree, so we will address that with stat adjustments as well. Also, I have received feedback that Lanir should be adjusted (independently of the gamble issue). So, he will be included in the proposal as well.

I will begin putting together a list of under-utilized units. The list will consist solely of units that never (or hardly ever) appear on the battlefield. I will then combine this list with the units that need re-balancing. Then, we can deliberate appropriate stat adjustments.
For all we know, the devs do not want to spend one minute on an unprofitable game, let alone an hour or two taking a long list of units and changing their values. It sounds like a good idea, but for all we know after those units are rebalanced that game will be better for current players but still unfriendly towards the new. Please focus your efforts on making the game more appealing to newcomers.

My hunch is that an aggressive change to the handicap would be the only way for the devs to make the game newcomer friendly with less than 30 minutes of work.

Have you considered a gofundme effort to get the current players to contribute so that we can pay the devs to make a smart fix? Perhaps your unit adjustment list, my handicap idea, or both? We'd pay them for their time, and then if new players do come and stay, they get more profitable based on better advertising.

I am looking at a game that is professionally programmed with excellent graphics and gameplay. The only flaw is that based on time-zone there are probably less than a dozen players for me to play against. In fact, I generally see maybe 5 names on the right side of the screen. For a month I have enjoyed losing at this game just because the game itself is so well designed. Yesterday I gave them $10 out of principle. But, really, how long am I going to play a game where there are only a small handful of players to go against, all of whom have completely stacked decks?

(Also, when we met in-game you talked to me about cheating, and I didn't get it. Two days ago I came across a player I'd never seen before, and on his first turn, when he should have had just 2 gold to spend, he launched units with a combined value of around 35 gold. By his second turn, with gold production of 3, he had all 10 units in place, able to finish the game. I guess that's what you meant about cheating!)
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