Upgrades for S1 Rare and Epic Heroes

I am posting this afresh after having presented this in the Limit Breaker Beta Discussion thread.


The limit-breaker idea isn’t a problem in and of itself. It can be a good thing. But it seems the consensus on making it good revolves around the matter of duplicate heroes and the abundance of S1 heroes.

So here is what I propose, independent of the limit-breaker idea:

Develop a means of upgrading the classic 3- and 4-star heroes to 4- and 5-star equivalency.

I can envision a 5-star Boldtusk getting a boost to his healing percentage and adding a counterattack buff to nearby allies. A 5-star Cyprian would counterattack as normal, but also get to deal damage to a target and nearby enemies. A 4-star Bane could add regeneration to himself and nearby allies. A 4-star Friar Tuck would heal, boost mana generation, and . . . I dunno . . . boost defense for himself and nearby allies?

You can see what I’m driving at, here. The relevance of the only heroes in abundance (Classic/Season 1) is a critical element for sustained game satisfaction among the player base.

Ideally, this upgrade would completely bypass the customary ascension material requirements. An upgraded Boldtusk wouldn’t call for 4 hidden blades and 6 mystic rings to make that transition. (I could see an argument for a 2-and-1 tax on those items, respectively, but I still think that would be a bad idea, too.) If some special item were to be required, I think it should be a) hero-specific, and b) attainable as a non-random award in the class quests (just like the fixed number of emblems gained, and the periodic reset emblem). Each time Trials of Decimation rolled around, the second stage of the quest would drop a 3-star wizard’s upgrade item, and the third stage would provide a 4-star fighter’s upgrade item; the next time that Trial rolled through, the class upgrade items would swap – 3-star fighter, 4-star wizard. The Trial description would indicate which specific heroes’ upgrades were to be awarded, incentivizing players with “weaker” rosters but those specific heroes to try harder to beat those stages.

This is, perhaps, the most important consideration: whether by additional abilities, stat boosts, buffed specials, and any/or all of the above, these upgraded heroes should be able to stand near the middle of the pack, or a little lower, of their new peers, statistically.

Now, of course, I don’t suggest that this enhanced Boldtusk be able to catapult straight from 4-70 +20 MCB to 4-80 +20 MCB. Some measure of work on the players’ part makes sense, and will also serve to renew focus and excitement for players. The Boldtusk Upgrade Item would at WORST reset the experience level of a standard-maxed Boldtusk to 4-1 – all a player has to do is feed him through that last ascension again. Better, I think, would be to open up the last ten levels of experience, and each level-up would rapidly close the statistical gaps between 4-star Boldtusk’s attributes and a power-balanced 5-star Boldtusk’s new legendary peers.

In summation, I think this idea helps address at least part of the duplicate hero problem (I’m still hammering away at the 5* S1 dupe issue), takes overt steps to make the most reliable elements of the game (S1 heroes and the daily grind) more interesting, and, most critically, TAKES STEPS TO BRIDGE THE F2P/P2W GAP.

I think this is one way that everyone can win, for the sake of the game.

An interesting idea.

Problem is, the F2P/P2W gap has been steadily increasing in the game since day one, with no real interest on the part of the devs to address. They made one token effort with costumes; but now that is being expanded to the P2W heroes so, yeah. No interest.

Also, since I lost my “Regular” status here I cannot vote. Too deep in the hole on used votes now.

I’m going to take a moment to expound on my proposition, and hopefully generate more buzz in the process!

I am of the opinion that making the S1 rare and epic heroes upgradeable to the next successive tier of power will serve to make duplicates of those heroes both less tiresome and more desirable. That may be saying the same thing twice, in a way, but I think that it speaks to two different factors that detract from enjoyment of the game.

On the one hand, getting repeat instances of the S1 heroes (especially off tc20 runs) of rare and epic tiers eventually becomes “overpriced fodder” for other heroes. On the other hand, the overall utility of these heroes has become more and more reduced as the power creep present in event and non-Classic heroes continues to rise.

By enabling Bane, Valen, Tuck, Chao, Colen, Cyprian, and other high-frequency heroes to be boosted to power levels on more even footing with their mechanical superiors, the gap between f2p and p2p players is mitigated, at least to a certain degree. This is especially true if the requirement of the customary ascension materials for those next tiers of elemental heroes is bypassed. An upgraded hero would be locked into the new tier, with no takebacks. Moving a Boldtusk to legendary tier would lock that specific hero out of 4* tournaments forever (and any other 4-star graduated events).

What is, to me, the best part of this idea is that it does not heavily favor those who spend more money on the game over those who spend little or none. The chances of getting S1 heroes are basically equivalent across the board – f2p-ers work for them for wars and tournaments because of the prospect of better loot, and the p2p-ers often find them while chasing a HotM or particularly desirable event/seasonal hero. The difference is that even the prospect of a middle-grade 5-star that was formerly a 4-star will hold greater value for those of us who invest little money than those of us who already have comparable and “strictly better” 4- and 5-star heroes that already cover that role.

If these upgrades are hero-specific and standardized quest rewards, then EVERYONE can acquire them and use them, but it simply pushes for more equalized gameplay. There are only so many heroes a roster will hold; there are only so many heroes one can use in a war; there are only so many available positions in a tournament defense team. That will elevate the game interaction (and likely the interest, too) of every player. The “whales” may agonize over having so many more options in some cases, while the “spending reticent” can take their beefed-up Boldtusks, Kashhreks, and Grimms into tougher battles with a greater measure of confidence.

And still there will be the draw of the newest HotM, or S4 heroes, or the benefit of backfilling on Atlantis/Valhalla heroes (seriously, now – where are my Triton and Mitsuko??).

This could truly help “flatten the curve” of gameplay disparity, and on multiple axes. It might pose a coding nightmare, but it can be done, and I’m convinced that NO ONE WOULD LOSE if it were implemented.

I think the problem is the assumption that any implementation would only be for S1 heroes. Even if we limit it to rare and epic, there’s no reason for SGG to not implement it for the other heroes. We’ve seen that with the costumes where it was touted as a way to make S1 heroes more relevant, but then, after a year, they start beta testing and likely implementing costumes for other heroes. So the idea that any future hero implementation is going to be limited to S1 heroes only is out the window, and accept the fact that if/when this mechanic is implemented, it will be used for every hero.

Such a step would not surprise me, honestly. But that would still help bring a measure of perceived parity to the game.

But, it is a little matter.

I’ll probably post the mock-up sometime this weekend.

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