Increase Competitiveness (low level raiding, challenge events, farming, bad boards)

First of all I would like to say that I am amazed by the complexity of the game especially considering that it is still basically a match 3 game and I think sgg found a really good balance to have players pay for their effort that does not make the game p2w. The game is already awesome and the ideas for new features collected here are just ideas for adjustments that are not meant to indicate in any way that the game is broken and needs fixing.

WEAK BOARDS
I know that rng is a big part of the game and that interfering with the way of the board itself would destroy the whole balance of the game. Nonetheless, I think it would be an improvement for the game if there would be ways to work especially bad boards into your favour that do not interfere with the overall balance of the game. My suggestion here is to provide information for the next three upcoming tiles below the board. There could be 3 tiny tiles or a three sectioned bar below each column indicating the upcoming tile colors in order from left to right. This would introduce another strategic ingame element that allows more agency and control over the board and some chance to plan larger combinations. It would have to be tested in how far this would increase dmg numbers altogether. My guess is that it would help more on boards with less options and lower tile combinations because the more tiles are moving the harder it will be to figure out the ensuing board state and people are less inclined to take such efforts on good boards. This claim could be tested by investigating current player behavior on good an bad boards. Have a good AI that does not only compute the highest dmg move but also includes potential consecutive board dmg and maybe even the general tile arrangement (closeness of same color tiles) into finding the optimal move and compare this AIs moves to the AVERAGE human player (the AI should be better). The AI will most likely outperform the AVERAGE human more on boards with several many tile moves than on boards with fewer options.

COMPETITIVE LOWER LVL RAIDING
I know that there are many complaints about the trophy system but I also see how moving to hero power for the matchmaking is a bad idea. The trophy system works probably really well in the endgame where people have close to equal hero power (not there yet), but since the game is a really slow grind the game should encourage or at least not discourage competitiveness also on lower levels. On lower levels there is no real way to compete with other players (I will come to challenges and tournaments below). On the contrary, trophy tanking (losing on purpose to have easier fights) is even rewarded because it speeds up your raid chest completion. There is not even a way to see how you are doing compared to other players with similar hero power. At least providing a trophy ranking dependent on hero power should not interfere with the game in any bad way. Give the players a view where they can specify a hero power range and they will be shown a player ranking of players in that hero power range (max team possible) according to trophy counts.
Even better would be to reward the best players of their respective hero power level. One idea for such a competition would be to let people of similar hero power (fix intervals of maybe 50 or 100 hero power) compete against each other for a specific time interval (maybe 1 - 2 weeks). You are allowed to choose a lower competition level than your maximum hero power team to have more flexibility in your hero selection. You are only allowed to select teams with a hero power falling into your selected range. Higher hero level tiers should have better rewards in order to encourage competing in higher tiers and discourage players from competing in too low tiers where they would have an advantage based on their greater hero flexibility. The competition is simply attached to the current raiding system, meaning you are playing raids like in the current system. The winner of the competition is the player with the highest trophy count in his selected hero power tier at the end of the time interval.
If the tournament mode was meant to fulfill this role it does not do a good job. This mode lets all players no matter how far they are in the game compete against each other under some restrictions. You need a diverse hero selection matching the restriction criteria as best as possible to be able to really compete. This means that people that are not so far have no real chance. Being able to continue for gems makes this mode basically pay to win. Challenge events have their own section so I will not discuss them here.

MORE INTERESTING AND COMPETITIVE CHALLENGES
Similar to tournaments even the rare challenge event does not provide a competition for low level players. You simply won’t have the hero diversity battle item numbers and ascension ranks to compete. From what I read it’s not even that much fun for endgame players, since once you have a good team for each stage you basically just have to wait for a good board. The player with the most luck takes it all. Well luck is a big part of the game but it could easily be made a bit more interesting even for players that haven’t progressed so far. Reduce the importance of time for the scoring and add the hero power of the team chosen to complete the stage as a factor. The lower the hero power of the team the more points you get. It might need some events to find a good time hero power balance. The advantage is that it adds a ton more complexity in the theory crafting for the selection of the perfect team and allows even less progressed players a chance to compete maybe for a spot in the top 100. Luck would of course still be a factor, but playing on the edge of defeat is actually way more skill dependent than to just minimize the time. For those players that want to compete with their best teams one might add an additional difficulty tier, where even maxed out 5* teams will have a really hard time to complete the tier or where the number of levels is basically infinite and it becomes about who gets the furthest.

MORE INTERESTING FARMING
Auto win and auto play are awesome options for when you have a limited amount of time but sometimes you do have time and playing the lower levels is really not interesting. However, you need to play those lower levels because they are the best farming option for some resources. I would suggest loot tiers here that are selected based on a similar scoring system like my challenge event suggestion. You start at the highest loot tier and dependent on your selected hero power have a certain amount of time ticking down until the loot tier drops. There wouldn’t even have to be large differences in the loot tiers. A small incentive to actually play out the levels and try out new stuff would probably be enough.

Thanks for reading and your interest in making the game even better!

Weak Boards - not really a fan of this idea as a big part of the “fun” for me is making the best educated move I can and hoping for a cascade to pay off and when it does it’s very rewarding. With this idea I would basically know if my move is pointless or not, taking away that dramatic suspense. It would also slow the game down too much as you have to sit there and study every possible combination and how the next 3 waves of gems would impact the board.

Competitive lower lvl raiding - This is a nice idea, even if a bit too complicated to actually work. If you simplify it a bit to say the game detects your 5 highest power hero’s like their other game modes do and then lump everyone with a similar power into a tier that they compete against that’d be a start.

I wouldn’t let people select which tier they compete in because then it’s similar to the rare challenge where I can make the ideal 1,999 power team for the 1900-2000 bracket and just crush all the newbs without optimized teams even though they would have similar power.

More interesting and competitive challenges - this has been talked about over and over and there hasn’t really been a great solution. Adding a team power score is an interesting idea. For a rare event, a team of maxed 3 star’s comes out to around 2425 power, you can get higher with emblems etc. If you were to beat the level with a power of say 2200 receiving bonus points could tip the balance in favor of that team.

The downside is the new meta would then just favor spamming items even more which doesn’t exactly help newer, less developed players either and while new and exciting at first, would probably get “figured out” and stale again as we learn the optimal TP / time ratio.

More interesting farming - A small incentive to actually play out the levels would be nice but it’s so small that I can’t see them actually taking the time to develop such an idea. Especially since it sort of goes against their other features (they make money on loot tickets), etc.

Thanks for your contribution. Regarding your feedback:

Weak Boards: I can not really sympathize with the idea of feeling rewarded from getting especially lucky. Any I seriously doubt that a lot of players even now as it is are going through the trouble of figuring out the exact board state after every possible move. Maybe for a few single combinations but not for all and not the exact results of larger combinations or even crystal moves. Sure you might think this crystal move will unlock this or this other triple maybe even other crystal and then you go ahead and press it and find out it did sooo much more. And as players are not going through the trouble right now they wont have to do that with additional information. But they will have the option to do so especially on weak boards where you need the information where the right tiles are coming up, because in 1-2 moves the defending team will have full mana and the fight is over. In most cases it would not even slow you much down. You will most probably only include the information where the better tiles come up in the majority of your moves. This takes only milliseconds. But all of those tendencies could already be investigated as I pointed out in my post before making such a change by looking at the current player behavior.

Competitive lower lvl raiding:
You are right that works as well. I dropped this idea for reasons that are actually no problem at all.

More interesting and competitive challenges:
I don’t think that the new meta will be figured out that fast if you find a good balance. There are tons of options instead of choosing simply the best everywhere. How many maxed out heroes do you bring vs how low can lower ones be. Which heroes can be lower ones and which ones should rather be high. You might even have to consider how far you level a certain hero or which special skill level you want to have. People might be trying to get heroes with really low hero power but highest skill level. The exact leveling of your team components does favor more progressed players but way less than the current system. And regarding the battle item spamming. You get way more options of battle items to bring because it is not only about the highest dmg possible. In hard fights the right hero selection together with fitting battle items is way more important than bringing the highest dmg battle items.

More interesting farming:
I don’t think that it goes against their other features. If they were getting much money from loot tickets then they would not allow the free auto play option which is nearly as good since the most levels you will want to farm are rather soon no problem for the auto play option. As for the effort required for such a feature, you just need to find a good time - hero power balance, which you can find by just letting human similar AIs play out a lot of games. And I bet they already have such AIs since they are not that hard to program and help a lot when you are trying to balance the game especially when bringing new content.

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