AMA, 06/09 — Part 5
Question 46: Unusual (green) cards are useless for the game, they have lost their relevance.
The context of the word “useless” is not entirely clear. At the moment when the player is going to purchase this or that NFT, he must familiarize himself with the characteristics of the character and make an informed decision about the appropriateness of his investment. There are quite a few players in Pagan Gods who climb quite high on unusual cards in the rankings, and have long received a return on their investment, which allows them to now earn. You should have seen a picture of the evolution of Boroviks, it looks very beautiful (:
And if you take any other game on the market that has a division into NFT rarities, then low rarity cards are always inferior in characteristics to top cards, which is quite logical and fair. If our users want to see total “communism” in the game, then it is worth developing a game sharpened only by skill, in which cards simply do not need to level up. The most striking example is Counter Strike, where absolutely everyone is equal at the start (regardless of the choice of the side the user plays for)
Ordinary and unusual cards are useful for those who are not ready to invest $200–1000 into the game, but just want to start with something small. After all, this is a game, and our goal is to make it interesting from the point of view of gameplay, so that it would be pleasant to spend time here (and a solid income can come as a bonus to this). It is in order for everyone to choose a comfortable level of investment for themselves that different opportunities are needed for all players.
Question 47: I heard that 1.1 cards will be removed from the game as they are difficult to balance. If so, will players be able to keep them, and what will be the compensation?
We have several options for how to deal with unique cards. Looking back, it’s been almost a year since they were sold (packs with maps 1.1 were sold in the summer of 2021, and already in the fall we sold packs only with maps 1.0). Accordingly, these cards are in play for a sufficient period of time in order to bring good bonuses to their owners. Do not take these words as “Let’s just ignore this problem, maybe it will disappear by itself?” — we’re definitely not going to do that. But with all the mechanics that are gradually being added to the game, it becomes more and more difficult to come up with a rationale/separate advantage of 1.1 cards, because players are waiting for something unique every time. Having already found ourselves in a situation where we are reproached for reforging tools (when Legendary axes and pickaxes require only 1 tool, Epic ones require 2, and all others require 3), it is difficult for us to imagine the reaction of the players to the fact that if we repeatedly give increased bonuses/boosts to 1.1 cards, and everyone else (owners of 1.0) will only have to watch from the sidelines. And again there will be a precedent in which they will say “You only create favorable conditions for top players (like with the Legendary / Epic tool), so now you also give them an advantage with unique cards!” (after all, most players from the top 100 rating have at least several evolutions of 1.1 cards.
And all this will entail the requirement to add even more Epic / Legendary 1.1 cards to the game, because there are simply not enough of them even for all evolutions (which we categorically refuse to do). We want to come up with a solution to replace unique cards, and in order to do this, we will have to review the characteristics of all 1.0 cards, and compare them with the characteristics of the current 1.1 cards. And after that, we give the opportunity to exchange, for example, Bogatyr 1.1 for Vasilisa (or 3 Bogatyrs 1.0) — it should be borne in mind that this exchange ratio is still very “raw”, and the numbers can be revised.
There will also be an opportunity to keep 1.1 cards and play them, they will not differ from 1.0 in any way (you never know, collectors want to keep unique NFTs for themselves). Perhaps Legendary cards 1.1 can be exchanged for the same card with evolution 1, or even get additional boosts in the form of a Blacksmith profession, 100 tickets to the Wheel of Fortune, etc.
As always, we are waiting for your thoughts on this in the chat (reasoned, instead of empty criticism). We would like to introduce even more mechanics, so that after that we can offer favorable exchange conditions that will suit all players. But in this case, you shouldn’t criticize us like “I put an Epic Axe on Kuzutik for 60 000 FUR, and the developers immediately announced a halving” — after all, the halving was announced 4 months before its occurrence, as it was indicated in the RoadMap in December 2021.
Question 48: why don’t you just want to give the 1.1 cards what was originally promised? Any cool bonus?
Throughout the existence of unique cards, they received exactly the bonus that was promised. They provide a 10% boost in stats (as originally stated), so on average they are ranked 10% higher than other teams (with 1.0 maps). Our goal is to simplify the gameplay, and for this we do not need to go in cycles / come up with separate bonuses for maps 1.1 each time.
For those who say “I bought these cards for 3 times their current market price” — at the time of the sale of packs with these cards in Pagan Gods, there were only hikes, and for unique cards, the boost was 18%.
Again, when deciding to invest in a particular asset, you must calculate all the risks and analyze the available information — there was no such thing that we promised to introduce several bonuses for these cards at once. In addition, when buying a card 3 times more expensive, you did not buy it from us (developers) — we sold packs with 1.1 maps at a single price. But what happened to the price of unique cards after, this is the behavior of the market, where everyone independently determines the price they want to sell.
In other words, earlier cards 1.1 gave a bonus in the form of FUR, and now they give a boost in the form of the strength of the team, which, thanks to this, is in the rating higher. And being higher in the rating, in turn, brings the player more FUR.
Question 49: Will the Voivode NFT appear in the game?
It is not entirely clear what is meant by this. Some kind of separate Voivode card, which also needs to be leveled up, while receiving a certain boost in return? We have not considered this idea. In fact, the House of the Voivode is already enough, because it is the central element that will provide the most boosts and buffs. We want to make the House open access to the Barracks, the Tower, the Hut and other buildings; which, in turn, can also be strengthened, obtaining specific benefits for each building. We ourselves are surprised that the price of Voivode Houses is now so high, we expected a lower market value. Therefore, there will be no separate NFT Voyevoda.
Question 50: what’s in store for the House of Voivode in the future, and when are the next sales planned?
At the moment, we do not see the need to arrange an additional sale of Houses. At the moment when we understand that the economy requires it, then we will set the exact date.
As you remember, the House of the Voivode will provide a boost to the defense, respectively, attacks will also be organized on them, which the owners of the Houses will have to fight off. And if now the House breaks down once a day, then after the introduction of such mechanics, it will not break down every day, but will be destroyed during raids. Houses will no longer break automatically (as they do now), instead they will have HP that can be destroyed during the attack. Of course, if no one attacks you for 5–7 days, the House will gradually begin to collapse automatically, but the percentage of damage will definitely not be high. And on the other hand, we will provide mechanisms that will not allow attacking your HoV too often (say, each player will have no more than a couple of raids per day)
Question 51: When will new abilities be added to the game?
Not yet planned, first we want to refine the existing ones. We need to make adjustments to Vengeance, Witch Doctor, although we consider them good abilities — but practice shows that players do not like them, which means we will make adjustments.
First, we will introduce you to a new AI bot, then we will balance the existing abilities, and only after that we will start introducing new abilities into the game.
Wheel of Fortune: In the near future, the game will also have a new mechanic that players have been asking us for a long time. It remains only to finalize the design and visual component, and this will not take much development resources — as in all casual games, Pagan Gods will feature the “Wheel of Fortune” (also known as the “Daily Spin”). It is likely that for completing some daily quests we will give an additional ticket to such a Wheel, and when subscribing to a premium account for INOM — 2 tickets daily at once. We believe that such an activity will fit well into our game: it can just become the mechanism by which players get the opportunity to recycle Mavka into Koschey (if they get lucky). In other words, the Wheel may finally become the place where users will be able to get rid of a lot of useless cards lying dead weight on the account. We can’t name the exact launch date yet, but this innovation will appear in one of the next updates of the game, because sometimes our community wants to just press 1 button and get some freebies for it.
Thus, almost everyone will have a chance to win something in the “Wheel of Fortune” that will allow him to climb very high in the ranking (at the same time, it is not at all necessary to purchase a lot of tickets, because luck plays an important role here).
Professions: Returning also to the issue of Blacksmiths, Farmers and other professions that each account may have in the future, it is quite fair to give users the ability to change the race of their cards. This does not mean at all that we will organize a limited sale and only 100 professions will appear in the game that can engage in transformation. We would really like to get feedback from you so that we understand how to move in this direction correctly, what thoughts do you have on this matter (but they must be justified from the economic aspect, because it does not happen that everyone earns money on such a craft at the same time , while the price of assets rose rapidly)
New AI Bot: An unimaginable amount of complaints from the players (which also spoil the mood of the development team) led us to the decision that the current PvE bot should be reworked. And since many players do not believe that the settings of the bot are already calibrated to the maximum, a new one will soon be introduced to you: it will twist stones and make moves on the battlefield in the same way as a live player does (by the same rules) . At the same time, at first, such a bot will have a limited number of abilities, but they will work exactly the way they work for the player. Thus, we can say that in this situation, our users get an advantage, because they have more options to choose from — at the same time, we still have to work on balancing the “mental” qualities of the bot, its algorithms. If you saw him right now, you would be even more upset, because he collects a full field of stones in just a few seconds, thereby causing enormous damage to players.
Units will be able to cope with such an opponent, so it was decided to adjust the bot to the player’s rating (as is happening now). At the moment, we see the following numbers: having a team with a strength of 3000, the player receives a bot as opponents, which combines only 3 stones into a combination; and having a team of 100–150k strength, the player will fight against the bot, which will absolutely every move combine all the stones on the field in combination. These are not the final numbers yet, we are balancing, moreover, there will be other innovations in PvE.
And no matter what kind of bot we introduce (even if it inflicts only one attack per battle and collects few combinations), any player will reach the “ceiling” of his rating — be it 5, 8 or 10 thousand rating, in some then the moment the bot will start killing as it was before. As you remember, we recently conducted an experiment: we weakened the bot, cut its healing, and evenly distributed HP in the enemy team. After that, the rating of the players began to grow rapidly, there was a lot of joy in the chats, but at some point everything returned to normal. Of course, we can still remove the situation in which the bot kills the player’s card with only one ability (Unity) — but this still does not save us from the “ceiling” of the rating.
Leagues: Right now we have a theory on how to improve the situation: the division into virtual leagues, as in most popular games. This does not mean that Pagan Gods will return the difficulties / locations as before, nor will there be a division into several reward pools in FUR (all this leads to more complicated development, which we do not need now). In general, PvE will remain in the old format: there will be a single rating, but we will introduce some virtual rating boundaries, which will be called leagues. The concept is this: the season will last approximately 2 weeks, during which time the player increases his rating. As a result, he can either stay in his current league, or move up a step. And thanks to the ability to freeze the rating (“Freeze mode”), anyone can stay in the first places in their league, and receive appropriate rewards (instead of moving to the big leagues).
Thus, if during the current season a player remains in his league (does not move up), then at the end of 2 weeks, his rating is reset to the lower level of this league. What is it for? If we regularly “reset” the rating, then the players will win more often (after all, the bot will be weaker at some points, and only then stronger), and the pleasure from the game will increase. In addition, there will be a competitive moment in which players will not stay in one place (rating), but will try to take a place as high as possible.
How it works: In the new season, Player A is ranked first and Player B is ranked second. The rating was reset, everyone was given the appropriate rewards, which, among other things, can be used to strengthen the team. And in the next season, player B takes first place, thereby spurring competition.
While we have not decided what kind of rewards to give out at the end of the season (essence, cards of choice, temporary boosts), the main thing is to prevent a situation in which unlimited card creation begins, as a result of which there will be an oversupply on the market (and cards will begin to depreciate). As already mentioned, it would be nice to generally make “temporary items” that are destroyed / burned immediately after use, but at the same time provide very good benefits during their action. This will at the same time open up more variability for prizes in the Wheel of Fortune, and we will be sure that such good bonuses are temporary, they do not create a skew in the balance / economy.
Training mode: we are well aware that the gameplay needs to be simplified. The game should be pleasant and comfortable, the user should have a desire to enter it every day. And we are well aware that with the introduction of the PvP mode, skill gaming (as well as just an interest in collecting combinations of stones) will be replaced by the excitement of playing with a real opponent (another person). In this situation, playing against a bot in PvE will become completely boring, there will be only a small income from the leagues, as well as a platform for increasing the levels of your team. Perhaps, in this case, it would even be possible to consider the introduction of the “Auto-battle” button, which players have also been asking us for a long time. And since we have an updated bot that moves stones on its own, we might add such a feature in the future (however, this is not the final solution!). And it is quite natural that this autoboy will be included in the premium subscription for the INOM exchange token.
Or maybe we will return to the idea of introducing familiars into the game that will play for you a limited number of automatic battles per day, and such a familiar can be customized: for example, set the required number of combinations, upgrade to increase strength. In training mode, the “skip animations” function can also be added (to speed up the battle). Or, a new ability will appear that will highlight to the player which of the combinations of stones is the most optimal at the moment.
A nuance that may arise when introducing such an ability in a training camp is that not every beginner will be able to reproduce such complex combinations of stones as this ability will prompt him. This is a problem with many games, because not every player will play like a pro from the start.
Probably, the training mode will appear simultaneously with PvP, and will look like this: you can set up a team in the training camp with which you would like to fight against the bot. Thus, everyone will have the opportunity to try out cards (any, up to Legendary and with evolutions), but this will not affect the game rating and income in any way.
RoadMap: we hope that we will have time to implement all the mechanics planned for the second quarter (Q2 2022). We may have a delay with guilds, but PvP and raiding should be in the game right on time. The code has already been written, there are design improvements that we are actively working on now.
The problem with guilds is that we don’t know how to scale a match-3 game for mass events, which is what guilds mean. We really don’t want to have players have to form a squad of several people and then control the stones in battle one by one. Also, we don’t really like the idea of making a simple “general standings”, in which there are 30–50 people in the guild, the results of their battles are summed up, and then the overall ranking by guilds is published with the winners awarded.
I would like to introduce the so-called Castles, which players will have to capture and hold for a certain time. And if the guild gains control over the Castle, it can develop and strengthen it. In order for such activities to attract players, it is necessary to make sure that holding the Castle brings some boosts to the entire guild in PvP (for example, during the season while the Castle is under control).
The order in which we plan to introduce these updates is: PvP -> Training Mode -> Raids -> Guilds. Perhaps at one of these stages we will have a rethinking of the concept of the game.
Recalculation of resources: now all actions with resources are a complete liability, you only need to expand the warehouses, and production occurs automatically. There is an idea to add an active component here: if the user wants to get more wood and iron, he will need to play several mini-games (albeit “Match 3”), during which he will find various bonuses in the stones that give a boost to production. Of course, it will be possible to extract resources as before (passively), but those who will play at the same time — such players will receive several times the increase in the amount of iron and wood produced. In addition, as soon as we implement raids in the game, the active component in the extraction of resources will become more relevant than ever.
Perhaps the new economy of interaction between players will mean that we will recalculate the cost of repairing, raising the level and crafting tools in such a way that they are highly dependent on the FUR rate and resources. As already mentioned, at current prices for resources, a certain balance is maintained; but if the price changes 15 times in one direction or another, then this will have a bad effect on the economy of the game, actions will become either too expensive or negligibly cheap. It is necessary to create dynamic prices by introducing a certain ratio between the price of resources and the FUR token. The only question is how often to recalculate prices — it is unlikely that it would be reasonable to change them every second (online), because then the players will wait for hours in order to make an action at a low price. And updating once a day is too long, because the difference the next day may be too high. It would be a shame if at the same time the first player pays 1000 FUR for an action, and a few minutes later the price tag for the second player is 50k FUR.
It is clear that all this looks like too much effort for the development of some kind of mobile game. Of course, there is always an option to simply create another one-day project in which the earliest investors earn, and the rest lose their money. But we are determined to bring our game to mind, to make it something to be proud of. And let there not be huge profits that you are promised in the crypto industry, but the mechanics and experience gained in Pagan Gods can be used in our future games, because they will be an excellent platform for starting.
About Pagan Gods 2: MMO (massively multiplayer online game) is planned. Unfortunately, at this stage of the Holding’s existence, we are not yet large enough to develop several projects at once in parallel, it is much more convenient for us to concentrate our efforts on one thing. With our staff growing by a couple of dozen people over the past few weeks, plus gaining valuable experience in game development over the past year, we conclude that Pagan Gods 2 should be a bigger project than its predecessor. Obviously, this project will be included in the Oasis Metaverse (along with other games).
Why are we discussing mechanics and the current situation in Pagan Gods at all? It is possible that all the good results that have been achieved over the past year will be integrated into our new MMO. In this case, we see an excellent option for a smooth transition from PG_1 to PG_2, of course with the transfer of battle cards and other game items (albeit in a modified form). Rest assured, we will not forget about bonuses for those players who do not sell cards from PG_1, and we will gladly welcome them to PG_2.
Another option is that we will continue to improve Pagan Gods, refine the mechanics and announce innovations while working on the GDD (design document) of Pagan Gods 2. In addition, the new MMO requires a lot of development resources; it won’t be like we release a certain location and tell the players “Play here for now, after a while we will add something new” — rather, we will try to release the game as a whole, or, in extreme cases, with the main set of activities. Staged locations are only possible if they do not affect the economy of Pagan Gods 2: users will have the opportunity to play, but it is unlikely to do something global. The full game client will be released only when we are sure that the balance and economy of Pagan Gods 2 has passed all the important tests. We are aware that our users get tired of regularly changing numbers and bugs, and the negative, in turn, is transferred to us (developers). We accept your claims, but you should understand that it is almost impossible to change the process of releasing updates, because a good balance can only be achieved when all the promised mechanics are implemented in the game. And only after that, observing the overall picture (how all the components of the game interact with each other), you can talk about “What moment should be improved?”. While mechanics are introduced one by one, they can be poorly combined with each other, and for an ideal economy, a full version of the game is important (and not Alpha, which is being developed right now). An analogy can be drawn with the Houses of the Voivode — it seems to users that the cost of repairing and leveling up is too high, but they have not yet seen all the bonuses that the house will bring.
Will there be a “Tower Defense” mode? At the moment we cannot give an exact answer to this question. We do not rule out that this is possible — for example, we test this mechanic during raids in Pagan Gods, and thanks to this we see how several completely different mechanics are combined with each other (on the scale of one game).