We are starting a new series where we feature content written by a member of our community. This is one of the first of this series and this article was written by Praisebigboy who is also a moderator on our discord! Thank you for your contribution!
I have been playing Jurassic World Alive for quite a bit of time, and I have reached what can conceivably be called “the endgame.” A full team of uniques, hovering near the end of Lockwood Library. In my time of being in this pivotal stage in the game, I have noticed something interesting within the arena that not many people are talking about. A phenomenon that isn’t discussed in great detail, and yet is so widely accepted that everyone indirectly references it when giving team advice, or discussing the top dinos in the game. From here on out, I will refer to this conundrum as Meta Oppressive Dinos, which will be abbreviated to MODs for the remainder of this article for the sake of brevity. In this opinion piece I’ll discuss what these mysterious MODs are, why I think they’re fundamentally flawed and I dare to say toxic to the arena.
Before we begin I want to present my credentials so we’re all on the same page. I am a player in high Lockwood Library with a team average of 26.25. I acknowledge that I have not yet entered “the big leagues”, and I am aware that people up there have their own little metagame. My article will not be centered around the top ranks, nor will it be talking about any MODs in lower arenas, as I don’t have experience with either. However, given the information I provide you, I’m sure it won’t be too difficult to identify any MODs that plague your respective arena. Now that everything is cleared up, let’s begin.
What is a MOD?
I define a mod as the following:
M.O.D (Meta Oppressive Dino)
Noun - / ˈmedə əˈpresivˈ dīnə /
A creature that performs extremely well and efficiently either within its designated niche or within the meta at large, so much so to the point where it is meta defining. So defining, in fact, that it indirectly pushes other dinos, and sometimes entire classes of dinos, either out of relevancy or out of widespread use.
In layman’s terms, a MOD is a dino that is so good at what it does it outcompetes dinos that play a similar role, to the point where said MOD is often chosen over the other dinos for its superiority. These dinos are not necessarily overpowered or “broken,” but they are problematic. The existence of a MOD often results in said creature being either the only or most useful dino within its niche, or the meta at large, to the point that it results in other dinos not being able to match it. This eventually results in their fall from relevancy. So, allow me to provide a few examples of creatures that I consider MODs.
To me, Erlidominus is a MOD in the speedster category for one simple reason. It can shut down essentially any other high-Speed, low Health dino in the meta. Its Health is higher than most other speedsters, along with higher damage. It also has the perk of being able to enhance its own Speed stat via its basic, spammable Minimal Speedup Strike, absorb a considerable amount of damage and fire back with a devastating Cloaked attack. We will discuss Dodge in a later segment, and the ability to remove itself from a bad situation with Strike and Run.
In order to examine just how much of a MOD it is in the department of fast dinos, let’s take a look at some other high tier, fast dinos: Erlikospyx, Diloracherius, Magnapyritor, and Utarinex. Besides being high tier fast dinos, what do all of them have in common? If you answered “they get utterly stomped by Erlidominus,” you would be correct! Spyx gets OHKO’d by Rampage and isn’t even able to OHKO in return. Dilorach and Magna barely hold a handle, and Rinex needs to hit through Erlidom’s Cloak to win, which has a 25% chance of happening. For all intents and purposes, it’s a loss. Erlidominus absolutely shuts down all of the listed dinos, due to it being the absolute best at quick, high damage output, so much so that it destroys the other speedsters within the speedster niche. This is shown by the number of people running Erlidominus in the arena compared to the amount of the other four dinos in the arena. There is an Erlidominus in at least half of the battles I find myself in. On the other end of the spectrum, I go literal days without seeing the other four. This pattern is shared by many people in my alliance, as well as the GamePress Discord server.
The two immune longnecks are the new meta powerhouses and are the subjects of plenty of controversies. Some call them overpowered, others call them refreshing. I think a fair middle ground label for these is “defining.” Ever since Maxima and Gemini stormed onto the scene with their new immunities, they have become universally regarded as “THE high tier tanks,” and with good reason. Their colossal health pools on top of surprisingly high Attack stats make them the ultimate beefy bruisers in the arena. But are they really oppressive enough to warrant placement in this section?
Despite the love I have for both of them, their shakeup of the arena is undeniable. These two have effectively purged nearly all other tanks out of relevancy by outclassing just about all of them. Previous common tank sights such as Stegodeus, Diorajasaur, and Tragodistis have been shoved onto the back burner with the introduction of these two and rightfully so. Higher Health alongside higher damage, in addition to having the benefit of being immune to debuffs, makes these two the undeniable queens of the arena. Maxima specifically, actually flat out counters the other tanks in the meta, being able to beat nearly all of them in a 1v1 matchup. The same goes for Gemini to a lesser extent. The niche of a powerful, pure tank has been rather vacant since the days of King Stegodeus, and Maxima and Gemini have trampled their way to the top of the tank hierarchy with very little competition.
Ah yes, the infamous Thor. A dino with a long history of controversy. Thoradolosaur is no stranger to scrutiny from the community, as well as reverence. Thor has been considered a MOD, not by name of course, by a solid chunk of the community ever since the advent of boosts. Most people who were very quick to jump on the “all eggs in one basket” train picked Thor as their lucky pick for their boost eating machine due to it benefiting the most from eccentric speed. One of the highest Attack stats in the game, along with above-average health and a priority move combined with altered Speed making it faster than everything in the arena? Well, there you have one powerhouse of a dino.
Obviously, this is not me saying that I believe Thor to be an overpowered dino. However, the irreparable damage that it has done to the existence of tanks is fairly difficult to deny. Huge damage, all of which is able to rip through Shields and Armor results in most tanks, barring the aforementioned Immune twins, being reduced to little more than reptilian pool noodles with their rather low Attack stats being pitifully mediocre without the aid of their damage absorption.
The poster boy of the franchise makes an appearance on this list, being a fairly unique case compared to everything else listed. Throughout 1.9 and 1.10, Indoraptor has gained two game-changing buffs. The addition of TWO conditional immunities, being Stun and Distraction, as well as being able to utilize the new and now reliable Evasive Stance to its full advantage. Both of these combined as made Indoraptor quite the powerhouse as of late.
Indoraptor is a unique case because simply put, it is a MOD to pretty much a vast majority of the current meta. The new Evasive Stance has effectively allowed to have an almost guaranteed 66% damage absorption shield for 3 turns. This amount of damage reduction with such a high chance of occuring can be felt in the arena, when you’re desperately chipping away at an Indoraptor behind its Evasive Stance as it widdles your team down with powerful Defense Shattering Rampages and Cleansing Impacts. Now, perhaps this wouldn’t be such an issue if there was a way to mitigate its damage output while Indo is behind its Dodge. Unfortunately, this is not possible with conventional methods thanks to its newly acquired Immunities. Its damage can’t be reduced with distraction, and its Attack can no longer be delayed with stuns. This change makes Indoraptor a MOD to multiple groups of dinos. Not only are utility dinos hurt by being forced to pitifully hit an Indoraptor for minimal damage until its Dodge ends, but basically every other dino without Precise, Definite, or Nullifying abilities is forced into a tight spot with Indoraptor running around. All of that taken into account, Indoraptor is by far the strongest example of a MOD I can think of.
It should be noted that all of the above can easily be applied to Indoraptor GEN 2, only to an even greater extent. The reason I chose not to mention it in great detail is that I’m sure most readers are no strangers to how powerful Indoraptor GEN 2 is.
Why MODs are an Issue
I think I speak for most players when I say that a diverse meta with several options for team composition and something for every type of playstyle is something Ludia should aspire to create. To an extent, they have done a decent job of that. Plenty of new meta relevant creatures have been introduced, and several previously mediocre ones have been buffed back into relevancy. On paper, there are lots of different options and this is the meta that every JWA player dreams of.
Unfortunately, I believe that it’s dishonest to say that the meta we have right now is conducive to variety in team composition. The culprits? A select few dinos that are so good at what they do that they indirectly leave little room for other dinos of a similar niche and playstyle to thrive. By doing this they shrink the pool of meta relevant dinos almost single-handedly. It would be in the best interest of Ludia to address these outlined MOD dinos.
My points would mean nothing if I wasn’t able to defend them from criticism, so I’ll try and refute some counterpoints that I expect people will have regarding my MOD theory.
MODs are just counters for other dinos. Turn based combat is meant to include things that counter each other.
Although I completely agree with the fact that there needs to be some sort of rock paper scissors dynamic for all dino interactions in the game, I think there is a clear divide between what can be considered a counter, and a MOD. The difference being that MODs push entire groups of dinos out of high relevance because they outclass them, while counters simply provide a measure to defeat said, group. For example, it can be said that Allosinosaurus counters Tragodistis. That is a counter interaction. Now, consider how Erlidominus single-handedly forces Spyx, Magna, and co. into more restricted and situational playstyles, almost single-handedly. That is a MOD. A MOD is oppressive to the point where an entire class of dinos is put into a tight spot by the very existence of the dino in its current state.
A lot of the supposed MODs you listed are balanced!
Once again, I need to partially concede to your argument. A lot of the MODs I listed have countermeasures. Erlidom falls to things like Quetziorion, Trykosaurus, and Diorajasaurus. Thoradolosaur is toppled by Utarinex, Magnapyritor, and other distractors. However, them having counters doesn’t negate the oppressive nature of their existence alongside other similar dinos within their niche or things that they counter a little too well. For example, the existence of Orion to counter Erlidom has little bearing over how it dominates the aforementioned Speed crew.
So then, what can be done about them?
The quick-and-easy solution would be to nerf all of the above dinos out of such a position of power, but I don’t believe that is the right course of action in the slightest. For one, the nature of the game and the long and often grueling process of creating, leveling, and boosting new creatures to a point where they are viable on one’s team is a process that leaves the player's teeth chattering in fear as they anticipate the next creature balance changes. The type of game that Jurassic World Alive is and how it’s played simply rules out this option as a fair one.
I think the far more appealing option would be to buff the oppressed dinos enough to the point where they can compete with MODs that give them trouble. What if Diloracherius was a viable alternative to Erlidominus? What if tanks could reasonably expect success, even in the presence of Thor? Perhaps some MODs would require some slight adjustment in order to really balance them out. But for the most part, I believe the MOD problem can easily be solved by buffing the underwhelming dinos sufficiently. This way they can be considered viable alternatives to MODs within their niche and somewhat less helpless against their counter MODs, like how Stegod and the like tremble before Thor.
To conclude, I think the arena is approaching a good place in terms of creature variety. More and more viable creatures come to light with each new update, and I hope Ludia continues that trend. Unfortunately, the MOD problem that I have outlined could potentially stunt this growth. I hope this article made you see the arena in a different light, and if not, it at least made you think about my point of view.
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