An idea to improve interest and longevity: Ladder / Leagues


I post this as someone who decided to stop playing the game as it currently is due to frustration with the existing system.
My proposal addresses these frustrations.

First: The issues / frustrations:
The current game design is to try boost income for the developers. (I’m perfectly ok with that, as long as it is not to the detriment of game enjoyment.)
As things stand, they need to make very high level heroes and items hard to get in order to encourage you to spend more to improve your chances to get them. They also drive you to ever more difficult encounters as you improve your heroes to encourage you to get even better heroes… which will require you to spend to improve your chances of doing so.

This all leads to the game stagnating unless you are willing to spend considerable money. You find yourself unable to build much variety into a top level set of teams because of the scarcity of 4* and 5* heroes, and struggle to max your heroes due to scarcity of ascension items. You also don’t get to experiment or play with different builds to see what works best for different situations, because you lack the depth in decent heroes to do so.

This results in those prepare to spend grabbing all the worthy items and loot in events, etc, and the rest left to languish… i.e.) the “rich get richer”.

In short, it’s a system designed to benefit the game maker, and not the player. Good short term strategy, but ultimately self-defeating as you lose many potential long term players like me (who are willing to spend if they think they are getting value)

And now my proposal to end all that WHILE RETAINING A GOOD INCOME STREAM

Introduce a ladder system with leagues.

The concept is simple.

  • You start in the lowest league and play for a season (say 1 calendar month).
  • You start each season with no heroes and no items, but will carry over some rewards depending on your league and your placing within it at season end. The rewards (gems, say) can be used to boot-strap your team to make faster progress in the next season.
  • The development of your Castle and plots carries over season to season (so more experienced players will benefit from the boosts these building give)
  • The top 10% (say) in a league at season end are promoted to the next league up. The bottom 10% (say) are demoted to the league below (unless it’s already the bottom league).
  • Inactive players in the bottom league (with say more than 30 days not played) are inactivated - i.e. you will not face them in raids.
  • Placing in the ladder is determined by a combination of:
    • Progress in the Adventure mode (and how rapidly completed for the higher level players)
    • Cups earned from Raids
    • Points contributed in Titan Encounters.
  • Publish a leaderboard of placings and leagues to allow bragging rights for the best players.
  • Visually differentiate avatars and hero appearance based on league.
  • Provide Ego rewards for league winners - these rewards cannot be earned any other way. (Medals, say, with Avatar mods).
  • Provide prizes in the form of items and gems depending on placement in the league. People being promoted get a bonus as a kick-starter in their next league.

And now the clincher:
This comes with greatly enhanced chances to win the top heroes in draws, and to get ascension items for good / challenging events (for your level) in game play. (Necessary to ensure that players have a chance to max their heroes before the end of a season if they play well and efficiently). Higher leagues will have better chances of getting higher quality heroes and ascension items. Also allow chance to improve gem earning rate during game play to increase the draw rate. Allow items specific to higher leagues that will guarantee 4* and/or 5* draws.

Also allow very substantial and guaranteed powerups / chances to get top heroes for those spending money - i.e. guaranteed return for your spend.

How does this help?

  • Improves longevity of the game. You will get different heroes on each season, and would need to balance your team differently in each season depending on the heroes you get. You get to experience different heroes and builds.

  • You eliminate the frustration of vary rarely getting worthwhile heroes and items unless you spend.

  • You still encourage game spend for those who want to accelerate their journey - and there will always be this type of player.

  • Any player spending real money will get real return for that money, so will not feel it’s wasted.

  • Because of the reset each season, you will not have the case where someone will just remain top / unbeatable forever due to the money they spend. If you want to remain top / unbeatable, you will be required to continue to spend in the next season.

  • Best of both worlds. More casual players can still get a lot out of the game and a taste of a good mix of high quality heroes without being forced to spend… but obviously would be unlikely to make the top league (unless they are very devoted to the game).

  • This does not compromise the income stream for the game developers. The players benefit from more interesting gameplay, and the developers get their just rewards for designing an interesting and compelling game.

  • By introducing different heroes and / or maybe different character classes over time with this system, you could essentially stretch longevity to indefinite.

Certainly the introduction of this concept would entice me back to the game (along with Raid mechanic changes - but that’s a different thread :slight_smile: )

Please support / bump if you like this idea. Or comment (with reasons) if you don’t.

Let's Improve Game Play by Helping Small Giant Make Enough Money


  1. What is the incentive to the high spending (or high-scoring) player to want the ladder when their results will be wiped out each season?

  2. What is the encouragement for SG to adopt this model? (How much coding would this entail?)

I’m listening. Sounds intriguing…


Fair questions.

For #1: Incentive to high spend or high ability player
This is essentially no different for these guys than the current model. They spend or pour in the hours because they want to get to (and remain at) the top. If you win a league, you get more rewards… so you get a head-start on the others in the next season. But now, instead of resting on your laurels, you actually need to play to KEEP your place - this is more fair… and deserving of more Kudos.

What’s more: You have this in microcosm at the top of each league. Those not willing to put the investment in time and money to be the top of the top league will still get off on being top of the previous league. They will still have bragging rights. More people benefit from an ego boost, as there are a number of leagues, and they can show that they won any number of them.

Now… if the best players can then show they have won the top league something like 3x running, then how much Kudos is that worth? They will be in the hall of legends! It’s not because they’ve just earned their place the once… but that they’ve shown that they can not only earn the place, but that have the skill, dedication (and the money) to KEEP it.

Plenty of incentive there. For the top guys it’s largely about ego, and under this model, there is plenty of ego to be had - and more so if they can show that they can actually maintain it.

For #2: Encouragement for SG:
I expect the income stream for the hard core bunch who are prepare to pay will be no less. But in addition:

  • SG are securing an ongoing income from these guys. Instead of them paying the cash to get to the top and then ending the income stream once they are there… they now need to continue to pay in to keep their place. For as long as it takes for their ego to be sated. This is a good thing for SG - plenty of people with large wallets and an insatiable ego.
  • Keeping people like me in the game and spending.
    I left because I could see that it takes more than I’m willing to spend to lift my position. But staying where I’m at offers no real interest. The result is they have lost me as a direct income stream… and have lost me for advertising revenue.
    Under the proposed model, however, people like me are more likely to stay (because we are discovering new aspects of the game and getting to see some of the top content)… and we are getting value for money when we do actually commit to pay… so are more inclined to pay more.

Result is: Continued revenue stream from the hard core, but more revenue stream from those seeking value. For the rest that don’t directly play, just improving longevity is also a win, because it’s more eyes on adverts, which then increases revenue stream from advertising.

If a company is not willing to invest development effort to secure revenue, and increase… then they don’t deserve to be in business.



Would be a huge slap in the face for current spenders, to suddenly take all what we paid for away. Here is a reset, start paying again sucker!

This might have been a working model from the start, but can’t swap to it.

Also games are either pay2play or pay2win. You can’t make a totally free game. Who would pay the development costs, running costs, support etc? If you could just play free and get same as paying ones, who would pay anything?


A fair point - but a manageable issue.

I agree that it would be tricky to migrate to it… but this isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.
Those who have invested more and have more powerful teams can be given a head start by way of their opening stash to kit out their heroes in season 1 and will have a better chance of then rushing to top league.
But the fact is they would need to earn their place there and then work to keep it.

The issue of how you keep the current people who have invested happy is a soluble problem. My suggestion is for a more sustainable system LONG TERM.

Besides… you can always implement the idea as a side line. Have people opt in to the league/ladder system from fresh. See how it compares to the current / main game model. Maybe you’ll be surprised to find that many of the top players who have already paid to get to the top would find it a new and interesting challenge… and be willing to invest the time and money in the game to see if they can get to the top… and more importantly… STAY THERE.

Path of Exile works on a resetting league basis, and by all accounts appears to be successful at it.

Just because the system is what it is does not make an argument to keep it that way. Many businesses have gone out of business because of that attitude.

(And I’ve already explained before how this is a viable economic model - I’m not proposing that the developers do this for free. My proposal is actually for them to secure a more reliable and long term sustainable model that will not have players leaving once they’ve ‘maxed out’. I think if this is implemented properly, the net worth of the game (in financial terms) will go up - and with the added bonus that more people may actually find the game more satisfying and fun.)


I think…since there is an existing model in place whereby the top dogs get to be top and not spend extra oodles of cash…they would not want to shift to a model whereby they would have to pay more.

That’s just my reaction looking at it.

(I, a lowly bottom rung pay-person would not be happy if suddenly my gains were taken away and I had to pay more to “keep my place”.)

However, I would be interested in new content that enticed me to pay more to get new items, to get existing items to finish ascending existing heroes, and to partake in reasonably arranged new events.

This is just me, mind you! :wink:


I can see valid points raised around the risk of implementing this as the main mechanic, but still think it’s worth considering as an Opt-In game mode.

Again, I don’t think this needs to be a concept where the Top players lose out. The proposal is for top finishers to start the next season with greater bonuses to reward their investment in getting there. It’s a slightly different income model - lower incremental spends… but with a view of longer sustained revenue - in fact this concept would lend itself very well to a subscription model, which is nirvana to most game houses.

If I’ve paid a mint on a game to then get a top team, I really feel I’d get to a stage of ‘So now what’. I feel this system answers that problem - you get to prove you’re the best, over and over and over again. The players benefit by having a new play experience and different teams - and that’s why you play, isn’t it? To have Fun. And as an Opt-In no-one loses anything from their main game progress so far.

(Diablo II had this re-start element in the form of its ladders (which were opt-in) and it worked really well.)

The main thing is to stop stagnation. I’m sitting with a set of 4* heros I can’t level any further. My chances of upgrading any of them are low (needing ascension items) and chances of replacing with 5* are close to nil (unless I’m willing to spend a bomb).

So I’m at the ‘So now what’ stage. The inherent ‘meanness’ of the player economy that is necessary to keep the income stream going under the current model is ultimately self-defeating I feel… and this proposal is a way that you can break that cycle without losing the income stream.


If it’s opt-in, and not applied to players against their will, then I have no objections :grin:


Not exactly a glowing endorsement… but hey, I’ll take any response that’s not an active kicking.


Progress in this game is quite slow. It took me 6 months to get a 5x80 team. With 1 month resets no one would get very far and no one would spend to get just a short time benefit.

Seasons and resets might work in Diablo or World of warcraft style games. That are pay-to-play. In this kind of pay-to-win it would a huge slap in the face to suddenly take all what you paid for away. It would also make people less likely to spend if they know the gain is just for a small while.


I like you Little-Infinity. It’s change I dislike! :yum:


That’s the thing… it’s slow to progress because of the current system… this proposal is a paradigm change.

You can have monthly reset (and it doesn’t have to be a month… can be 2 or 3 or whatever) if the rate of acquisition of decent heroes and items is lifted. So instead of spending 6 months (in which time many would get demotivated and leave) to build 1 set of 5* heroes (with little by way of spares or alternates to allow you scope to mix and match) you could experience that within the 1 (or 2 or 3) months.

When you start again you get to experience a different stable of heroes… necessitating a different play style or approach maybe. You don’t want the hero rate to be so fast as to trivialise them… but you want your longest serving players to be rewarded by experiencing more of the game.

Unlike my other suggestion, this is not a hard one to develop and isn’t a massive change in mechanic. It can be implemented as an extra or alternative play option or mode. People (like me) may opt for that mode instead of the ‘long haul’ mode that is currently in place which (people like you… maybe :wink: ) would prefer. It’s called expanding your offering to a wider audience.

I quit (and have returned for a short while after reading some advice) because I thought the economy too mean. The basis of my return is that I refuse to spend any more on the game (because it’s a lottery and the economy is too mean.) My mother is quitting the game because the economy is too mean and progress is too slow. My brother quit the game for the same reason (and has returned on the same basis as me, but only because I dipped back in).

I’m not alone in these views… and it would be disturbing if the game makers pass on trying innovations like this proposed to ‘keep the status quo’.

If you can introduce a concept like this as an extra or a sideline or an alternative, then you do not alienate the existing player base… and who knows, you may find yourself with a real hit on your hands.

With the number of people I know (anecdotally) who are leaving this game because of the current system, I do not see it becoming the ‘next big thing’.

Anyhoo - thanks for the feedback and appreciate your concerns and views.


Aww tanks.

I also dislike change, except of course for any I propose. That type is (naturally) the best type of change.



:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Hope you enjoy your next time around more than the first. hugs