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SEMC's recent decisions. Player Progression, Product Management and 2017 Roadmap.

Discussion in 'General' started by RoyalSerperior, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. RoyalSerperior
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    RoyalSerperior Mageborn

    Hi. I'll save you the irrelevant backstory of the making of this thread and a possibly cringy introduction so it'll be as brief as possible.
    I'd like to begin stating that I'm not some form of joule leaps! throwing shade at SEMC just for the sake of complaining, I'm making this thread because I'm interested on helping Vainglory taking the right steps and correcting its course when it's needed.
    SEMC has made mistakes in the past and that's okay. Making mistakes is normal and sort of necessary when doing pretty much anything. However, a fundamental part of doing things right is to be able to recognize and accept when you're doing wrong and be willing to correct it. That's how we expect the game to grow and, on this case, giving feedback, is IMO one of the purest ways of helping.

    The main subjects are Player Progression, Product Management and their delivery on 2017 Roadmap; I'll be explaining those in detail based on the areas that need improvement. I might as well quote some other issues outside the main subjects for purposes of context.


    If there's any other aspect that is not mentioned here and you consider it needs discussion or you just want to add something, feel free to reply and bring it to the table.


    Player Progression
    With this one I want to bring some aspects of it that suffered changes thorugh patches that these alone might not be such a big issue, but when these are all together they certainly play a main role in detriment of players, being it mostly towards f2p in this case. Please keep in mind that this isn't just whining and asking for free stuff, in fact, most of this subject is about SEMC taking away what was already there rather than they not giving more stuff.

    1.- Daily Chests.
    I guess everyone who started playing before 2.2, when this change was made, knows what we're talking about. From one daily chests with small but good rewards that scaled with your sunlight level to 4 daily chests (one every six hours) with worse rewards that don't scale with sunlight anymore. Common cards are not a great incentive, specially when they're becoming obsolete.


    2.- Opals.
    The problem with this exists mainly as a consequence of the one above, from being a very rare, but grindable, currency found on the old daily chest at tiny (but more correct) amounts to a bad and RNG based conversion of ICE. No action was taken to balance that out by other meanings and it was left to remain in that state after the changes on daily chests. Too evil to bother? A neatly hidden move in detriment of grinding?
    Sure, you still can get some opals with sunlight, however, grinding 150 opals for a rare skin rebranded as SE feels more like overpriced and a bad deal.


    3.- Sunlight.
    This progression system suffered a huge drop on milestone rewards (Databox tracked the milestone rewards, you can check it out here) end of season payouts. From 500 essence to 135/185 (I'm not sure of the exact amount but I'll verify it soon since Autumn season is about to end, unless the amount is tweaked for this season). This has been discussed before to and unfortunately it has remained untouched for a long time. Not only about rewards, Gatorrex brought an interesting perspective on the sunlight system itself regarding its bad implemetation and how it interacts with skins of different tiers.


    4.- Skin system, cost increase and card boxes.
    I'm putting these three together because they have direct interactions with each other.

    Starting with the current skin systen that shouldn't be called new at this point, it's quite simple and reasonble on its own; tiered skins came to an end to shift to standalone Rare, Epic and Legendary skins. Rare skins require 30 rare cards of that skin, Epics require 18 epic cards and Legendaries can be crafted with 16 Legendary Cards, leading to increased essence costs compared to the old system. This change was understandable since it gives the artists moree freedom to come with new fancy skins and the cost increase is reasonable given that overall skins quality has improved a lot since 2.0, though the exact amount is debatable (especially on Legendary skins).

    While one may think this alone doesn't sound that bad at all, it's the coexistence of this with the old skin system and the lackluster addition of the new Card Boxes that makes it a horrible mess.

    If it was bad with the old Card Boxes covering only old system skins, it just went to worse with the new ones holding a significantly lower value. You can easily waste thousands of glory on them and get only common cards and a couple of rares. And seriously, when these boxes arrived, this Rare/Epic/Legendary system was already established. How in the world is it justifiable that they give mostly common cards when they don't serve any purpose on our current skin system?



    Product Management
    On this I will cover some of the main product decisions taken by SEMC during this year, the direction they're taking with the recent Clutch Moves, as they like to call them, and the treatment they're giving to their f2p players and their customers as well.

    1.- Skin release scheme and aggressive Buy it All, Gamble or Scram deals.
    I'll start by saying that this one is getting out of hand and it's starting to feel as a plain "Screw you, f2p" from SEMC. Their first takes on this were with only Legendary and SE skins being unavailable behind a paywall, whether it was RNG or ICE only purchases, to being the case with Epics as well, and later on, Rares.

    The worst part is that now it's even more aggressive, blocking not only f2p, but also players who already spend money on the game for the particular goodies they wish but just not enough to buy everything right away.
    Let's say you are a Flicker/Adagio/Ardan main, there's a cool skin coming for your main and there's hype for that skin. Update day arrives and you get stomped by the fact that all your saved glory, essence and your time invested ain't worth nothing, there's a paywall that prevents you from getting it.
    Now you're disappointed and tempted to buy it with ICE. Let's pretend it's fine, you tend to buy ICE usually anyway, you have the exact amount for the exact skin you want, guess what... You can't even buy it with ICE.
    I think that one might even argue the same with SE skins, it's weird that you can buy some keys and farm for some opals (being them a bad conversion of ICE), yet you're still blocked for an entire patch cause they are ICE only at launch.

    Buy it All, Gamble or Scram. That's the new deal.
    You have to pay for stuff you didn't even wanted with the Buy it All deal on update day.
    You wanted the Flicker skin? Well, pay for it, and for the other older skin as well, no discount applied even if you already own it.
    Ra'dagio not available for crafting? Buy it along with a Legendary Talent Coin.
    Cagefighter Ardan? Here's a RNG chest, c'mon, we know you like to roll the dice.
    You don't want to accept a bad deal? No problem, you still can play the game and craft it 20 days later, it's pure cosmetics. No punishment at all, just the ̶B̶u̶t̶t̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶S̶m̶o̶o̶t̶h̶ ̶P̶l̶a̶y̶ ̶E̶x̶p̶e̶r̶i̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ **BUY, GIVE MONEYS POP UP APPEARS** from the moment you open the app. Quite contradictory, if you ask me.

    All of this results in a big let down for those who were hyped to grind for certain skins just to be discouraged on update day when they found out the skin is unavailable for crafting; blatantly neglecting their players, the time they have invested on the game and tempting the younger and weak minded players to spend money for something they've already earned investing a huge amount of time given the poor state of f2p grinding and to pay for stuff they didn't even wanted.
    There shouldn't be any paywall on skins besides the cost itself, regardless of them being pure cosmetics (although they interact *poorly* with sunlight), skins are a product and if you can pay the price, being it ICE, opals or essence, you should be able to get them right away.


    2.- The Talents Fiasco.
    Let's start with a quick look at the 2017 Roadmap, shall we?


    Time passed until we got more news on this subject:
    [​IMG]
    This announcement above was followed by a video explanation on Talents from PlayoffBeard.


    Both things agreed on these three main ways being:
    • 5-Hero Chest.
    • The Market.
    • Drops from Mistery Chests.
    Here's the thing, not a single word was said on the completely Talent dedicated and ICE valued Chests that we have right now. If anything, the only thing with a vague and ambiguous possible reference was this: chests.PNG
    And let's be honest, by that time the only thing players could think of would be the regular Rare/Epic mistery chests that give skins, heroes, opals, glory, essence, keys, glory boosts and since then, Talents as well. The third one would only be taken as a tease for a possible future Legendary Mistery Chest.
    Talent chests arrived on 2.5, but advertised as temporary. After that, Talents were removed from regular Mistery Chests and Talent Chests were not so temporary at all. It certainly starts getting annoying when they keep things like this as a secret, say they will do one way just to end doing the opposite of that at the last minute. Certainly, players would appreciate a little bit of frankness from time to time.


    3.- Quest Chests removal on 2.5.
    Since it was reverted, I felt that I had to bring this one here and not earlier cause I believe this particular move serves as a great indicator on the approach with which they seem to be taking on the game. For those unaware about what happened, I'll explain.

    On 2.5, along with the introduction of Talents and on SEMC's own words:
    That was indeed true, if you don't want to be left behind and enjoy Talents (some players do, some others don't) you have to spend glory on them. However, for some reason, they decided to cut down one of the main ways of grinding for glory, as for other resources such as cards and essence; and that was when they removed the first and third slots for Quests and replace them with 5-Hero Chest and the Win Counter, please notice the wording with which this was presented:
    5 heroes chest.PNG win counter.PNG

    The problem with this is that there never was a real or a valid reason to do that. They could have put those things on so many other and better places such as the player tab for the win counter, and one of the switching XP/VST/Sunlight panels for the 5-Hero Chest. Or they could just have done the slider thing they did on later on since the very beginning. See? A new glory drain is introduced and they scrap one of your main methods of grinding with their reasons seeming more like poor and cynical excuses. That was a mistake and a big step back. If anything, it would have been better if they just said that they wanted to make it harder for f2p, that way players won't feel like they've been tried to be deceived.

    And sure, it was reverted on 2.6 (after all the backlash) and they admited of doing wrong. quests.PNG Still, the bitter taste remains on players due to the dishonest way they tried to pull that one and some of their other clutch movesduring this year. I also believe that this serves as an indicator of the course they're planning to take with the game, it's not based on Google trends or anything like that, it's something that happened.

    3.1.- ICE to Glory purchases.
    I'll just point out that 2.5 was also the patch where ICE to Glory purchases were introduced... Glory has been always easy to get, everything is grindable, they say. If that's the case why would you need to convert ICE to Glory? If you have ICE, you have way better things to spend it on and if you don't at the moment, you can always wait for next update and so on. Maybe Talents are overpriced and not so grindable at all?

    4.- All Access Pass.
    On 2.3 individual boosts for Glory, XP and Sunlight were retired from the market and replaced with the All Access Pass. Going from individual x2 boosts from which you can pick at will to a weaker 1.5x all in one bundle with all heroes renting and charms included.
    Here's the deal: If you are a lvl30 at level 50 of sunlight, own all heroes; have an active charms pass, guild fame boost and you only needed a glory boost, you still have to pay for all the unwanted and useless perks of that bundle just to get a x1.5 glory boost. Again, it makes you pay for stuff you don't wan't or don't even get any use from it.

    5.- Do you have a Golden Ticket? 5v5 Early Access lootboxes.
    So recently, some lootboxes for better odds at getting 5v5 Early Access were announced and some people are not so happy with this. At first glance, I'd guess that the reason is not only bandwagoning from the EA mess, but also the accumulation of the annoyance among players due to SEMC's recent decisions and the approach with which they bring those to the community overall.

    As some other have said on the subject, if they really wanted to reward the players that support them with funds, why not giving them more chances of that golden ticket based on how much money they have put on the game?
    I think it's tricky to say are rewards, players will be paying the price of these boxes. That is not rewarding their supporters, that is just selling better odds at 5v5 Early Access.

    Something that I personally dislike about this is the lack of consistency and congruence, when 5v5 pre-registration was announced, not a word was said about these lootboxes and if there was a better time to do that, that was it. If they didn't do it then just because of reasons or it being a sudden decision, who knows... If you ask people, many will say these boxes just seem like another last minute, desperate and money-grabbing move.
    Although it was stated and acknowledged that there are still free and simple ways to get 5v5 Early Access but the lootboxes are still there and if you want to get the better odds, you'll have go through these boxes. Being that the case with this Early Acces thing then it certainly isn't focused towards those with a certain amount of dedication and seriousness, but more towards luck and rng gambling. A weird and questionable decision considering that 5v5 Early Access is *supposedly* for testing and balance purposes, instead, this lootbox thing makes it look more like a bet to get 5v5 before the rest just for bragging rights and that completely distorts the purposes with which, 5v5 Early Access is being refered, and I truly believe this also plays an important factor on why people are mad at this.



    2017 Roadmap Delivery

    After rewatching the Roadmap for 2017 I want to remark some of the things mentioned there: more friggin' maps for brawl modes, double ban draft and draft for everyone.
    Well, 2.11 is tomorrow and patch notes are soon to be out, so if it will deliver or not; we shall give it the benefit of doubt. I'll hold my comments on this until then and will update the thread to talk about this later.

    Update (Dec 6, 2017): So 2.11 is here and I guess that was the last update for this year.
    So yeah, not being bossy or demanding stuff... Just pointing out:
    Charms - nope (remember that they are currently just a preview)
    More maps - nope
    Double ban draft - nope
    Draft for everyone - nope

    I guess there would be people that might be interested on what happened, like just to be aware and then be ok knowing why these things were delivered. Nothing else.
    As for buttery smooth, I don't know, I have some other things to blame from my side, but Buttery Smoothe with pop ups? Weird.



    Overall Thoughts
    I want to reiterate that nobody is here just to throw shade at SEMC, the devs or the game itself. Besides the funnies and the wrenches, we are just trying to help the game grow and collaborate with the devs in making the right calls. There have been many threads of this nature and it has been often sad how many of these end up bein rather ignored, disdained, bashed into oblivion, turned into a farm of wrenches, locked and/or moved right onto the Salt Mine. I'd like to add that pretty much everyone here has congratulated SEMC for doing great things at many points. However, feedback doesn't consist of praises alone, if there's something wrong, it has to be said. That's how things grow and improve.

    Now, talking in all honesty, I think it's starting to be somewhat common, at least here on the forums from what I can tell, this kind of perception on SEMC due to some of their decisions. There's this belief that they tend to be constantly promising new features, delivering these as incomplete results, piling them up and then abandoning them just to shift right on to the new shiny ignoring completely the things that already exist and are in need of improvement. I'm not trying to say that's indeed the case just from it, but certainly there have been some moves that contribuite to that belief. It's wonderful if they want to bring new features to the game and share these with us, let's just stay focused and get things together before making more things.

    There is as well this kind of stituation when they say they're doing a thing but thanks to some clutch moves they end not doing it at all or doing quite the opposite. It has happened more than once, with the LE/SE skins or the Talents fiasco as some examples, and it's certainly not well received when they do that. It's kind of normal to change of mind from time to time, but this shouldn't be an everytime thing. Stay true to your word so it holds some value for your players and customers.

    Another thing I want to take on is about honesty. To be fair, it's okay if they come with some new and profitable ideas and they make some money pursuing moves, that could be perfectly fine if these were refered with more honesty and less cynism.
    I think would be much easier if the just say they saw a chance to make some profit and sell those 5v5 Early Access lootboxes, that they want to reuse some of their products and get some funds (LE/SE skins), that they felt you were giving too much and f2p grinding is being downgraded, that they planned on bringing Talent Chests for ICE and openly state it from the start.
    Trying to sugar coat it only makes things bitter for players. Don't try to deceive your community. Be honest.

    I think they should take these things with all seriousness and start being more careful with what they say, how their actions correspond with their words and the way they present their decisions, maybe not because there may or may not be backlash or complains, but because of the image they offer to their players.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 7:48 AM
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  2. OneEyeOpen
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    OneEyeOpen Technologist

    Respectively, we all understand the nature of the forums at the moment. Your either on one side of the fence (SEMC greedy lootboxes, gameplay struggles, etc..) or the other (it really doesn’t matter). You have a really good written thread and I give you props for that, but was this really necessary? I could have split this thread up and replied to all the other threads that have been created.

    Here’s what I think we need to do (both sides of the fence). We need to have some patience and let 5v5 drop. We know SEMC is super busy and diligent working on 5v5; complaining only introduces stressful environments to the employees and Devs. The less stress, the better the 5v5 experience will be.

    -OnEyeOpen
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  3. Dachigenius
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    Dachigenius Technologist

    Pressed like before even reading it
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  4. usps
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    usps Technologist

    so we cannot complain about how they dropped crap ton of deals (cash), popup ads (cash), talents(cash), a new brawl mode including talents(cash), unnecessary skins for heroes while ozo still has a single skin, and much more simply because they been working on 5v5

    but then again semc doesn't give a shit about most of the playerbases opinion unless it's from the whales or VG gold nerds so why do I even care right
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  5. Sidss007
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    Sidss007 Stormguard

    SEMC while implementing 2017 road map : Let's develop all the money gabbing things promised in the road map and hope that by the end of 2017 players will forget that separate maps for all modes along with double ban was also promised.
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  6. Sidss007
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    Sidss007 Stormguard

    Atleast he utilized his time by posting some thing constructive while you just wasted your time by posting senseless rant.
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  7. Skieblu
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    Skieblu Technologist

    About the skin paywall issue, they are purely cosmetic, so there’s not really anything putting you at a disadvantage in the actual game for not getting the skin right away. Now if they were doing this with a hero, then I would be upset with SEMC, but like I said, it is only for looks.
  8. screepy
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    screepy Gythian

    How is this a rant
  9. Rikikoo
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    Rikikoo Technologist

    It doesn't make their moves right for all that.
    They can't make the game upfront p2w because that would be the killing blow, but during the year they did monetize a lot of aspects of the game, and maximized profit in existing systems using rather dubious marketing strategies.
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  10. slashingwinds
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    slashingwinds Mageborn

    Thank lord you made this thread. Any time I try to explain why VG has gone to crap and I try to talk about the changes in the progression system, I get passionately sarcastic. The type that takes away from the merit of what I’m saying, even though my point might still be valid. Now I can quote you, THEN add my sarcasm!
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  11. Skieblu
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    Skieblu Technologist

    As far as I know, cosmetic changes such as skins does not make the game pay to win. I am also referring to only that specific skin issue the OP brought up and not using it to justify everything else.

    Would I like it if they had the things the way they were before? Sure, but I also want them to be able to live off of their paychecks and be able to collect more resources so Vainglory can be even better and progress at an amazing rate. When it gets to the point that they can thrive without aggressive marketing tactics, then I hope they do remove them.
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  12. Arza
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    Arza Stormguard

    actually as long as the gameplay fair and square, i’m okay with that.

    talents.... (sigh)
    i’m enraged at first but now i can understand that... clash royale is a hit and generated nice income for supercell

    as long as the main game free... i’m okay... i’m okayyy.....
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  13. Tamaticon
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    Tamaticon Mageborn

    the problem here is a bit bigger than you think. it mainly affects the paying players. any f2p guy can wait the one to three weeks (but it still sucks, as he has spend a lot of time before to get the essence for a new skin in the first place), but the paying players will have to wait that time as well, or they have to buy it in a bundle or rng chest. this is the big issue here. they dont treat their paying players with any bonus or respect, as it actually should be, but ask them to buy even more stuff they dont want.

    would it harm them to simply offer everything at the usual ice price right from the start alongside with their bundles and chests? so everyone willing to pay can decide what he wants? add to that the way they treat every player by trying to make every progression in the game as frustrating as possible and you get the current situation.

    i think they would get more players to pay for stuff ingame, if semc would show that they actually care about their players and do more than just the absolute necessary things outside of the game.
    if they had done an actual event tech for their game instead of the talents they would have made the same amounts of money (allowing players who cant fullfill the task to buy themselves up to the reward. like with the rona and summer skins) and kept way more players in the past year.
    they need to make money, but they also need to keep their players for as long as possible, or mm in the higher tiers goes to hell and even more players start to quit.
    i find it incredibly worrying that so many players only seem to hang on to the game to check out 5v5. none of those waiters will spend a single cent on the game until they have seen the mode and liked it.
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  14. Arza
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    Arza Stormguard

    true that direct purchase should be availabe any time, from the day 1
  15. AoVPoGChamp
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    AoVPoGChamp Meekos

    This is very true, the main point that people don't understand is not the f2p part. F2p players will always(mostly, yea there may be exceptions) grind for skins and what not. They aren't the ones buying ice, skins, talents etc. So this hits the paying customers the hardest. They're basically milking the small amount of players that actually spend money on this stuff for even more money, while also driving away others due to the higher price points these new deals have.
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  16. DarkHydra2002
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    DarkHydra2002 Stormguard

    Honestly I think the game is in a decent place right now.... some things definitely need tweaking but the core game is pretty much unbeatable by other mobile games... it’s like (completely random analogy) making a cake... we’ve made a great base, (the gameplay) it’s really yummy and stuff, now we just have to decorate it and work out the stuff on top (UI, currencies, rewards)
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  17. pilebuster
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    pilebuster Technologist

    SEMC sucks because they always make the worst decisions sometimes I wonder what they are thinking because the way the handle business is terrible.
    I know cause I’m a business major
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  18. LandFish
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    LandFish Meekos

    The whole post is about everything aside from the core gameplay. Everything has gotten so bad that the part that should comprise 25% of the experience is turning 75% of the game negative.
  19. OneEyeOpen
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    OneEyeOpen Technologist

    I’m not saying that at all...but every single day a new thread pops up about the “in your face marketing” or the RNG chests. Yea, we get it, your upset about it. But do we really need 100 different threads with people arguing about the exact same thing? It’s not productive at all.

    The last time I checked...the pop up adds have a close button and you have the choice to purchase ICE. If you really have a problem with ignoring the fact that a business is trying to sell you something, then complaining to a dev isn’t going to help you. You realize Watching TV has the same outcome?

    I agree with the Ozo statement though...Touché!
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  20. Rayney
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    Rayney Meekos

    I couldn’t agree more as someone who came back to Vainglory—The game isn’t as polished as it was before! I always found it incredibly unique that skins had 3 tiers each building upon each other (I hadn’t played a moba with that system before). I think they really made a mistake by scrapping that idea. On the upside though—The splash arts are looking better and better than they ever did before! I came back to a remodeled map, which is gorgeous btw! The only problem here, I AM A PERFECTIONIST. Everything seems to be overly monetized and the rewards weren’t as good as they were before. SEMC used to be super generous, but now they feel more like every other greedy company. I really don’t care for the brawl modes or the talents at all. The brawl modes are really unappealing to me because of busted talents and a lack of strategy. I’ve played games that have gone down this road before with rng and the like, it is definitely a huge negative and I wish they would quit doing it. The skin card chests, they’re garbage. I have an unlimited supply of rare and common cards but I’m at a loss for how to obtain the epic and legendary cards. The season rewards were incredibly underwhelming. There is no big reward for reaching level 50 and the sunlight is only easiest to grind with a legendary skin.

    I think I’ve listed my main problems with the game, what are y’alls?

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