I have been following this thread since its beginning. I have been playing this game since late last year, and have been in two alliances (so far). I have started buying the VIP pass after 3 months to accelerate my progress, and buy some packages here and there.
I cannot really speak about the gap between ftp and ptw players growing or not. All I know is that there has to be a gap between those who pay and those who don’t, just like there has to be a gap between more experienced players and less experienced players, because time and money should get you something to show for them. Nothing valuable comes for free. And as far as I can tell, boards are random, only negative bias makes the bad ones stick out on many players’ minds.
Transparency is key to avoid confusion, conspiracy theories (to some extent, because they will pop up no matter what), and general grumpiness. I don’t really see the downside of publishing the drop rates of items in loot and summons. Managing expectations is really important for both sides (devs and players). This game clearly is a game of patience, so improving players’ experience is key to keeping them around.
By now, what I have figured out (for myself) is if you pace yourself between trying to acquire decent heroes (summons or TC20) and leveling up your heroes, the limiting factor is more the time needed to get feeder heroes than ascension items because it simply takes a lot of XP to finish off the last levels of T3 and T4 for 5* heroes and the last levels of T4 for 4* heroes. So personally, I don’t fixate on trying to get one specific hero, and I would prefer having 3* and 4* trainer heroes in my loot at least as much as ascension items.
Besides the very poor loot for alliance wars (and the bad matching) and the excessively low chances of decent loot in various chests, what is getting really boring is having to farm the same levels over and over.
One fix for some of the issues I have mentioned above would be (IMHO) to implement more exciting missions than get your buildings to this and that level for a few gems. Since the devs like RNG so much, how about a mission with a series of say 8 map levels chosen randomly to complete in a sequence (or complete again this randomly chosen province) that would then guarantee at least say a 3* or 4* trainer hero and an unfarmable item. This would make farming more interesting as we would have to farm levels than we stopped farming and we’d have the guarantee of getting something we want. Have one such mission a day, or whenever the player wants (the natural limit would be the number of flags he/she has). You could also simply have the extra mission after completing a level, “hey now if you do this level, you get this automatically”. Also, higher levels really need to bring better loot, otherwise once completed, what’s the incentive to ever complete them again.
It would be nice to see some more constructive and large-scale changes to keep everyone more motivated/happy - or at least less grumpy.