0.39 Update Thoughts, Feedback, and More

0.39 is out, and as usual Lyranica and I have thoughts and opinions on the matter.

Starting at the top with the big and controversial change of the update, the Quest Pass.

Quest Pass

After some back and forth on this change, Lyranica correctly points to me that evaluating what the pass previously contained versus what does now and basing the thumbs up/down decision on that is going to cause cognitive bias. She’s not wrong.

So what changed?

  • Pass duration was halved (4 weeks versus 8 weeks).
  • Normalizing to the previous pass duration, there is a +9 gain in follower crystals ( 12 versus 3).
  • Normalizing to the previous pass duration, there is a +6 gain in Glyphs (6 versus 2).
  • Normalizing to the precious pass duration, the cost of the pass tripled (1500 crowns versus 500 crowns).
  • The random Superior Relic was removed from the pass. To be fair, they are now purchasable with Diamond Marks in the Event Shop.
  • The number of Gems offered in the pass were greatly reduced, with no gems being offered to free pass players.

So, for triple the crowns, players are receiving triple the Glyphs and quadruple the follower crystals of the previous pass system. That seems reasonable. On the other hand, I’ve got the crowns in my wallet yet I have not clicked the buy button yet. Why?

The hurdle that still lays before me is a concept I will call the monthly minimum full participation price. This price represents the monthly cost of obtaining all of the standard rewards in the game, without bonus or other impulse purchases.

Currently, there are two components of the monthly minimum full participation price in PQ3, the VIP Pass and the Battle/Quest Pass.

Normalizing to a monthly price, prior to 0.39, the cost of the VIP Pass is $10 + $5 for half of a Battle Pass, for a total monthly minimum full participation price of $15. This amount is equivalent to a standard MMO subscription price, such as FFXIV.

In 0.39, the durations of the VIP and Quest Pass are now generally aligned as dual monthly subscriptions. This leaves the $10 for the VIP pass still, but the tripling of the crown cost now generates a $15 bill for the Quest Pass. As a result, the new monthly minimum full participation price has become $25 per month.

That’s… a steep jump. And that’s without any other shop impulse purchases or considering buying the Quest+ Pass. For the record, that’s ($10 + $30 = $40 per month).

Perhaps, to me, that’s not the definition of a “value” purchase anymore, and that’s my hangup.

Lyranica and I keep talking about this, I think to try to convince each other to buy the pass. Hasn’t succeeded yet, but we’ll see how this weekend goes when the pass expires.

General

  • The in-match pop ups are fantastic (when they work), especially when multiple passives are firing off each other. Completely love it.

  • The shortening of dungeon runs by 1 opponent per run is a great way of “speeding up” the game without having to use 2x speed or higher. End-of-match displays are also a great touch. Fantastic changes. Interestingly, the speed up of matches generates more chests per game session, which leads to additional purchasing decision opportunities by newer accounts.

  • Shards replacing keys in story quest rewards. Ouch. This is going to hurt newer players. Likely to encourage purchasing of keys with gems or crowns.

  • Minions to chests on results screen: Great addition. But as others have already said, the list needs to be sortable by more than just mission time.

  • Stars are nothing more than a psychological trick by the game, perhaps a ploy to induce newer players to purchase a continue when being defeated by a boss when they know a Ruby/Diamond chest is on the line. For Lyranica and myself, it’s an early warning system to tell in advance when that skirmish is going to cough up a wood chest or a dungeon iron chest. The system is very predictable when the lowest rarity chests are rolled and telegraphs the outcome very early in the run.

  • Story: Chapter 3 appears to have been rewritten? It’s a mess of too many storylines now. I guess the burning of Theria was too much for a E10 ESRB rating and had to happen off camera?

Co-Op

  • Still as buggy and unstable as always.

  • Perhaps even more unstable, now that players are encouraged to co-op play in the quest pass. Experiencing random infrequent crashes when playing 2-player, whereas that generally did not happen before.

  • Bug: Even though we have all dungeons cleared on Difficulty X, we cannot choose to generate a Co-Op run at high difficulties for unknown reasons. For example, for Pharos of Lothryn, I can’t start a run over level 50, while Lyranica can only start a run up to level 75. We have tried going back to “re-unlock” the dungeon level again, but that did not address the issue.

  • Visual Bug: When in a co-op match and the dungeon boss is not the final opponent in the dungeon (boss is defeated before all minions, so the player has to go “backward” in the dungeon), the boss does not disintegrate upon defeat (although the game tries to play the animation).

Misc.

  • Eveline crystal bottlenecks are super not fun. Waiting 2-3 months to upgrade one piece from Legendary to Mythic, while sacrificing the ability to work on other item upgrades on other characters (because they all use the same glyph/Eveline crystal resources) is the definition of frustrating.

  • Lyranica would like the ability to “Empower” dungeons again in some very limited capacity as a gold sink again for a cost-prohibitive price (10k gold or more per run). Not necessarily for Marks, but for some other marginal type of benefit as a reason to farm gold again.

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Yup, post too long.

Part 2:

The Curious Case of PQ3’s Dual Diminishing Return Curves

This has been bugging me since my analysis on the state of Mythic weapons in 0.38 and the general disappointment with the upgrades, especially with the steep costs involved. So, I dug into the subject it a bit further, and found the rabbit hole to go significantly deeper.

PQ3 is built on diminishing return curves. They are practically everywhere. Some are obvious, such as the progressively more difficult achievement goals on the Goal board. Others, are considerably better hidden from view.

For this discussion, two concepts interact with each other:

  1. Benefits obtained from leveling up Gear
  2. Increase of difficulty of skirmishes/dungeons at each Difficulty step

At first glance, these are fairly obvious concepts. It is easily viewable that each level up of a piece of gear offers greater numbers than the previous level up and higher difficulty dungeons have greater stats on opponents in those dungeons.

However, these concepts highlight an interesting relationship when looked at from a different angle. What we want to compare is the cost/benefit relationship of these two items. In other words, what are players receiving for the effort invested in each level up for a piece of Gear and what is the impact of each increment of dungeon difficulty increase.

The result is a pair of diminishing* return curves that intersect with other.

  • The star is to disclaim that in 0.39, difficulty curves were tweaked and flattened on the the top end of the difficulty scale. Gear score ratings for higher end dungeons on the difficulty curve were also lowered, with more dungeons now rating Normal or Hard if well geared (levels 95 and 100 gear scores are still illogical though).

The first curve, for upgrading gear, shows diminishing returns in terms of power gained in terms of resources, time, and effort required to obtain each level up or ascension. The higher the level of the piece of gear, the costlier it is cumulatively to raise for each level up. This concept comes home to roost with the Glyphs required for each level up at Mythic. This curve was unchanged in 0.39.

The second curve is the dungeon difficulty curve. Prior to 0.39, the curve was quite steep. In 0.39, the curve is well… interesting.

image

Difficulty 1 = Easy, Difficulty 13 = D10.

In numbers,

image

So, what does this mean?

In terms of XP gain for farming citadel levels, the XP gain curve is a flat line. Each difficulty level over Hard yields 5% additional XP. As such, the increasing difficulty curve vastly exceeds the XP benefit obtained from increasing the difficulty level of each run. That means the optimum XP farming difficulty would generally be the highest difficulty in which the player could one-shot each opponent.

Anecdotally, it is likely that loot scales at a linear rate as well. This would suggest that a lower difficulty would be optimal here in terms of loot generation (barring other factors, such as vault space, key usage, and so on).

This is a potential problem because this would mean that the the optimum skirmish/dungeon farming level is likely well below Difficulty X. In the future, the team might need to review incentives for players to risk very high difficulty skirmishes and dungeons.

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My thoughts are summed up in this.

  1. Select multiple things to salvage
  2. some type of food sink even if it super random boxes or such.
  3. Guild management features - ie: player last on, bazaar buy info and options to modify roles.
  4. Bazaar reworked to allow big guilds to not be sold out in under 30 seconds.
  5. Ability to pay for different booster IE gold, xp, crest, and other resources dropped from battles / chest.
  6. When a follower is full but can’t collect allow us to click on them to dismiss it. (since if its food and nothing to do with it will be there for some time)
  7. Ability to change a character name. Either 1st time free per character or gems.
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A couple of additional quality of life requests:

  • Can the interactive gems on the game board (i.e. Necromancer Death Gems) have their animations hastened? They resolve quite slowly compared to other classes’ special gems and cause the Necromancer class to play much more slowly than other classes which do not have interactive special gems.

  • Can there be a font color change (other than green, which is used for all buffed values) or some other notice given to the player when a statistic is capped? Without actually knowing the actual cap numbers, there is no way for a player to know that a statistic is maxed out. See screen snip.

image

Just a random thought and I couldn’t think of anywhere to leave it so i picked this spot: It’s amazing to think that it’s been 6 months since any new content has been introduced. Virtually everything since July has been economic/shop changes, UI enhancements or tweaks to difficulty.

3 Likes

What’s equally amazing, is that some of us are still playing!!

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I’m currently doing the story play through of the Necromancer and I don’t use the Ultimate spell as it takes too long to double tap, wait for the animation then double tap again. Also sometimes I partly move the gem in a swap so the double tap doesn’t work.

I appreciate your attempt to do a thoughtful feedback here, complete with “charts and graphs.” lol I’m laughing because it’s a private joke in my house. We are charts and graphs people. :eyes: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

That said, the short version of all of this is that everything is pretty broken, still. The animations/models are not terrible. But even with those, there are so few of them that they lose their luster after literally days.

Game play is a disaster. Monetization is predatory. Social mechanics from chat to friends to co-op to kingdoms is there but is either broken, clunky, or pointless, depending on which. The in world economy is overly complicated and tedious. The communication here with us testers (which is what we are) is the worst I’ve ever seen.

To @Sibelios point, content is also quite sparse.

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A couple of Co-Op UI/UX QoL thoughts based upon Lyranica and our experiences with the Co-Op lobby:

  • New chat interface: As there is no longer a direct chat line in the UI, is there a better way to communicate to the player that there is a direct Party conversation happening? Perhaps color the chat bubble icon a different color to differentiate between Global/Kingdom/Party chat?

  • Communicating level of difficulty to parties: This is probably a tough ask, but is there a way to add the gear score measurement display (or something similar) to the Party lobby UI to better communicate the level of difficulty to players that the Party Leader has chosen? It is really awkward to have to keep kicking random players that keep joining a group that are vastly underleveled and undergeared for the level of difficulty of a skirmish/dungeon being attempted. These players have no idea why I have to keep kicking them because they are level 30 and I am running level 60, 70, or higher dungeon runs.

Glad you got a kick out my very low-tier Excel graph. :slight_smile: I used to do higher quality graphs through modeling programs, such as Wolfram Alpha, but I gave that up a long time ago. I’d rather play the game these days than do a bunch of modeling. I’m getting old, and not just in gamer years.

That said, there was one more graph I didn’t post and that was because it was a depressing and uninteresting graph. It was for the Citadel experience graph, which is just a generic exponential curve. Given the exponential curve (+ ~2% XP needed per level, starting at 1000 XP for Citadel Rank 1), to place 50 ranks in each of the three upgrade categories on each of the seven upgrade pages of the Citadel, would require around 2 trillion XP for Citadel Level 1050 alone and a cumulative XP total of around 95 trillion XP to get there. Exponential compounding at it’s finest.

Obtaining linear XP rewards for increasing difficulty while both the difficulty and the experience curves exponentially increases results in a bad time for all.

Only the most hardcore of hardcore grinders will ever make it to Citadel Rank 200, even with strong +XP gear, and even then they won’t get much farther than that through the sheer cost of what it takes to even level up a single time at that point.

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I did. And I was not making fun. It really is a thing at my house. We are often convinced that we are weird. Your post was refreshing evidence that other people do this too! :joy:

Also, I’m glad you skipped the experience graph. I’ve done the math on it and a graph really WOULD be depressing. :expressionless:

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