Will just try to answer that point of yours since you say you’re trying, and failing, to get answers from others.
a) if a game has competitive aspects - ladders, scores, challenges where you compete against other players, to a competitive person being the best (or striving to, and knowing they stand a fair chance) is going to be the goal
b) if a game is difficult, but is not based on PvP competition, then it’s fair to strive to just better yourself and other players (their strength) does not affect one’s personal enjoyment and feeling of accomplishment
Let’s take a look at a theoretical event, based on the E&P challenge events.
if you want to “take up the challenge”, you have to compete with other players, and, as it is right now, you can’t, unless you shell out a mountain of cash
you don’t have to beat other players to receive any reward - you have to get to X points to enter a new reward threshold. Therefore, you’re competing with the AI, boards, and have clear goals ahead of yourself. Whether Zero scores 50k points more than you has absolutely no bearing on how you do and what you get.
Case 1 - competing vs. other players is moot and your skill is hardly relevant if your team sucks (despite being maximized as F2P
Case 2 - get better, climb better, strive to achieve your goal and “complete” the event (in a score-way, not stage-finishing way)
In the second case, the P2W aspect becomes WAY less jarring and WAY less relevant. Because you’re playing to best yourself and achieve your own goals.
Does that help?
As for the second part of the question.
There is a major difference between.
a) I pay money to get things faster - I don’t have to wait for SH20 to get good heroes, I can ascend them all quicker, I can get maximum event rewards faster
b) I pay little to get a small edge and nudge me forward, I keep climbing at a decent pace
c) I am F2P and it will take me much longer to get to the point where I can ascend my heroes, collect them all, and max the events, but I’ll grind my way to it
a) I pay money to always be better than F2P players. I not only get things faster, but most importantly, I get exclusive things they will never see, which means they can never truly compete with me, even if I stop playing now and they grind for another year.
b) I pay little, but the boost is small and it only gets me to the “hit the wall” point faster. If I get an insane luck, I might be competitive, but that’s a fat, fat chance. Blob-fish out of the water fat shaped-chance. Basically, same as F2P.
c) I am F2P I can forget about ever being competitive with other players, I can only enjoy the casual content in the game
They may be around, but if we don’t see them, we don’t know or feel it, do we? So it doesn’t matter much to us Ninja dev mods
I don’t know. I just believe in the dev presence in the community. The less distance there is, the better the contact, and the more trust from the playerbase.
Thank you to everyone who wished me farewell and I’m happy to know that all my longtime spamming on these forums was enjoyable to some of you