An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

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An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby ApostleOfExcess » 28 June 2016, 05:30

Alright, my last thread was mostly satirical. I believe this game had a lot of sweat & love put into it and the devs have gotten a lot right, in particular with the art (unsurpassed among 40k games) and business policies (generous refund and DLC policies).

I like this game. I want to love this game. But I just, I just can't with the progression system.

"Leveling up" you admirals and have a general form of progression, that's fine. In fact, I like it, because it gives you a sense of achievement.


The fact is, as it stands as a gameplay mechanic, it will kill the player base. I would posit 1/10 new players, maybe, actually continue playing past their first or second major defeat. The mechanic is just too punishing, it actively hurts you for playing the game. The fact that, after losing your best ships, a solid chunk of the playerbase is forced to essentially forfeit their next two matches is a little unforgivable. I have on numerous occasions just put 2 light cruisers to warp out immedialty, and I have come across enemies who have done the same.

It's pretty evident with how quickly the online community died off that it is a huge ward against most players. With the summer sales, and with the new DLC, that may have temporarily been changed. But there is a hard cap on how many players will ever play this game.

Not to mention it heavily penalizes creating new admirals. Considering how broken MM is already, starting fresh just means that once you get past the beginner stage, you'll have your teeth kicked in almost every match until you level up. Few players want to settle with continual unending defeat like that.

After April, the playerbase dwindled from a peak of 9,000 to 2,000. I expect to see further decline between now and the Tau, and then after that surge, another decrease. Now some of this is just people buying the game and not playing it, but that's not enough for such a steep drop at an already starting low number.

To demonstrate that this is atypical of games like BFG, I'll show you Wargame: Red Dragon. It is has a similar playerbase number, a similar genre niche, and a similar price level.

Notice that it, too, has a steep drop after the month of release. What it doesn't have, however, is a continual decline after the release at the rate BFG has. Wargame never has full on half of its playerbase up and leave.

I want this game to succeed, it encapsulates 40k in a way few games do. But the fact is this progression system is objectively harmful to the growth of the multiplayer community. Among the industry, this isn't common and it isn't common for a reason. Punishing the player can be gotten away with in single player, but in multiplayer, when another player benefits off the other's misfortunes, can only really work in an MMO like EVE.

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Imperator5 » 28 June 2016, 06:20

Even Eve is only liked by trolls.

I think the progression system gives a very nice RPG flavour, but yeah the penalties with it should be removed for Multiplayer.

Please help me change skirmish to be customisable. Its very important for PVE players.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=515 Mod idea.

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Bludfist » 28 June 2016, 12:33

Should have stayed in SP where it belonged
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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Cyke » 28 June 2016, 13:06

The issues are not entirely due to the progression system (though it's a side effect).

Rather, it's with the fact that Captain levels, Upgrades, Skills and Favours are not reflected in the ship selection point costs.

Point costs are (ostensibly) intended to balance the selection of
- Smaller number of more combat-effective ships
- Larger number of less combat-effective ships

However, the problem now stems from the fact that the combat-effectiveness of a ship can vary tremendously depending on its Levels, Upgrades, Skills and Favors.. and these are completely ignored in the point cost.

Right now, the entire progression system is being used as an excuse (or a smokescreen) hiding the aforementioned problem. By saying that the Levels, Upgrades, Skills and Favors must be obtained from grinding, we are subconsciously supposed to believe that the grinding makes it "okay" for them to have zero effect on ship point cost.That is wrong.

The Upgrades, Skills and Favors simply need to be assigned amounts that they will add to a ship's final point costs.
For one thing, the upgrade point costs need to be commensurate with how valuable and effective they are on a ship's performance; some are simply more valuable than others.
This may have the side effect of making it viable to field ships with one or two empty upgrade slots so you can squeeze in one more expensive upgrade on another ship, or even to squeeze in an extra ship. However, I think this add a vast layer of depth to fleet-building strategy, so it'll actually be a positive thing.
Of course, the base cost of a "naked" ship would have to be decreased somewhat in the first place.

I don't think the progression system needs to be thrown out.
But if it's ever going to be used as an excuse to avoid implementing proper balance (upgrade point costs), with weak arguments like "I had to grind to unlock the slot and pay renown for the skill, so it should be free in terms of ship point cost", then yes, by all means, throw out the progression system.

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Swirlby » 28 June 2016, 13:39

What if every new admiral gets a full 10 ship fleet upon creation, without any upgrades, skills, or favors. The new admiral also gets a 100 point bonus in every battle. As the admiral levels up, this point bonus decreases from 100, to 85, to 70, to 55, to 45, to 30, to 15, and finally to 0 when the admiral reaches level 8. This point bonus would also stack on top the bonus from fighting a higher level admiral.
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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby BanjoJohn » 28 June 2016, 13:41

In the old days, BFG was played without any (non fleet roster) upgrades on ships unless it was part of a campaign where there was a system for earning renown and getting refits put into place.

It is my opinion that upgrades to ships should be removed in a competative matchmaking system, skills, favors, and crew points could remain, but favors should have their renown cost removed and instead add points to the ship, skills should have their renown cost removed and add points to the ship, crew points can remain but are only added when the captain of the ship levels up as it is now.

And of course, having ships lost in the warp, badly damaged and not available, or destroyed and being repaired, should be removed from a competative matchmaker.

All of the systems we have in the competative matchmaker are great for a long term campaign type system, but are not good for a matchmaker.

I think this game has a lot of the right stuff in it, its just put together in a wonky way.

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Scatamarano » 28 June 2016, 20:50

The progression system is fine,it just need far less farming,higher refund rates when removing upgrades/skills/favours and a drop in repairing prices.

Right now you need an impressive amount of victories for a captain to reach level 8,i personally never managed it in less than 6 hours of grind. afther these 6 hours,you'll need a far higher amount (probably a total of 16 or so) to bring all your ships to level 10 and some more to fully equip and favour them...i would double both admiral and ships XP gain except for the first level,double the renown earned both from victories and losses,make dead ships earn some XP too (around 25%) and up the skills etc refund rate to 75%. the repairing costs are fine if the renown prizes are doubled,otherwise they definetely need a 50% cut.

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby McNash » 28 June 2016, 23:13

SP only? Look, I mostly play skirmish, and I frakkin hate the progression and renown system as totally grinding, sure, I have had some time lately to level up my stuff and what not, but it gets ridiculous when you need to throw 20 hours of gameplay to level up just a single race, what is worse, you need to keep grinding to try new combos as having a new admiral will cost you yet another 20 frakkin hours, by this point I am starting to have doubts about buying any upcoming DLC unless Tindalos decides to exponentially increase the renown or level they give for every battle, and yes, the cost of defeat is punishing, even in skirmish it has become an annoyance to get your ship lost in the warp or having to pay the equivalent to 2 upgrades to get it back on the fight.

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Drakausa » 30 June 2016, 19:40

Folks, the basic game design structure is as follows: Punishing game play from start. Serious grinding for progression. One faction (IN) only for single player Campaign. Unconcern about balance of players 'fleets'.

New players lose, repeatedly, more than they win to advance - Result? Frustration, anger and disappointment.

There are a group of expert skilled players here on the forum discussing a wide range of factors about ships loadouts, missing variants and lore ships, intricate tactics for groups of ships including Battleships, Carriers, Cruiser variants etc...

Consider what a new player might think about the majority of these discussions when they get the game and look at the forums. How many (and when) new players are going to obtain and learn about BBs and BCs and the other major warships? The very words used by the knowledgeable players here will seem like some weird foreign language. Send them off to wikis or offline descriptor pages? Yeah, a new and excited player, buying the game from those videos and adverts showing mighty Battleships in titanic battles who then is required to go hunting thru links to lots of stuff instead of playing their new game. Then booting up and seeing a mountain of a progression system with NO basic grasp of what the heck is going on or how to play. Finally. losing, and losing and losing till a person could scream in frustration.

There are numerous players who love this and will work the game to its conclusion. So the basic question is how much value do those true experts value the new and untrained players. What good, to you, are their continued input and purchases?

This game structure is NOT going to change. I doubt it can in practical fact. So now what?

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Re: An Honest Discussion of the Progression System

Postby Cryhavok » 30 June 2016, 20:17

Drakausa wrote:This game structure is NOT going to change. I doubt it can in practical fact. So now what?

What I would do is not change it much, simply when a new multiplayer admiral is made it receives an automatic boost of enough XP to reach level 8, enough renown to unlock all slots and equip each ship fully with skills and upgrades, and the first time they fill a slot with a ship, enough XP on that ship to put it to 10. So they start out with a maxed out fleet, geared up and ready to compete. Then if they want to change favors, upgrades, or skills, they have to earn the renown for it.

Then leave single player modes starting at level 1 with nothing more than they do now, since that is where the progression system really belongs.

This has the advantage of leaving the system in place without having to overhaul the whole game, so is presumably easier to implement, meanwhile it removes the crappy new player experience multiplayer offers.
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