Moving the Goal Posts: Why Ludia’s Balancing Strategy Will Be the End of the Casual Experience

Submit Feedback or Error


GamePress strives to be the voice of the people of the JWA community. We have given opinions on matters in the game, but we also understand that sometimes, those thoughts need to come directly from a regular member of the community. We are so excited to bring this opinion piece to you as it was written by Praisebigboy and it includes input by other community members. He is a regular on our discord, but he's also a normal JWA player that is trying his best to continue to love the game we all play. He has some thoughts on the recent updates, the meta changes, and what it is doing to the everyday JWA player. 

by Praisebigboy

As with most live service games that revolve and rely on consistent, recurring player spending in a PVP environment, Jurassic World Alive has frequent balance changes to various creatures in the game. With the recent bombardment of consecutive updates, these changes have naturally become more frequent. Creatures are very often changing for the worse, better, or just becoming a bit more different almost on a monthly basis. That sounds all well and good, right? In theory, this is an excellent idea. Not only does it keep the game fresh by switching things up from time to time and preventing gameplay from being stale, but also makes the game healthier by improving underperforming creatures and putting more oppressive creatures in their place. So then what’s the problem? Why does an article with such a title even exist if this is allegedly such a functional strategy?

Put simply, it’s too much, too fast. Let’s not pretend like we aren’t aware of what Ludia is doing. Suddenly introducing a new meta creature to get everyone to not only to invest DNA and coins, but boosts as well, into it, oftentimes spending money in the process, is a tried and true Ludia tactic. The issue is, recently they’ve been going completely off the rails with his strategy. Combined with the more frequent release of game updates, and more erratic and substantial balance changes, it’s simply not a strategy compatible with the more casual player.

The Power Creep

That was a lot of words. Nobody likes word vomit. I’m a visual and example-based learner myself. So let’s take a look at some recent examples of this phenomenon to see if I can make what I’m saying easier to process.

2.11 Meta

Let’s take a look at Scorpius Rex GEN 3, Parasauthops, Indotaurus, and Phorurex. These four creatures have all been relatively recent additions to Jurassic World Alive, the oldest of which released a few short months ago. What do these creatures all have in common? They’re widely accepted as being top tier, best of the best, must-haves on endgame teams. They’ve highly outclassed older creatures who were once also top tier, but have recently fallen out of favor. 

This is referred to in other games as “powercreep.” Summarized in a Tweet, powercreep is the phenomenon of content increasingly growing more and more difficult in a game as time goes on. One of the sub bullet-points of this is newly released gear/items/units in PVP games are often more powerful and meta-defining than older, established ones, highly incentivizing investment to keep up with PVP metas. 

This isn’t inherently a bad thing. It’s not only fair, but accepted that newer items are going to be shiny and appealing to encourage people to pursue them. The problem begins when the powercreep becomes so drastic, it effectively invalidates previous content. In the context of Jurassic World Alive, the likes of old heavyweights have largely faded into obscurity, relegated as backup options for more casual players who simply lack the resources to get the new toys to usable level quickly.

Tryko, Erlidom, and Magna

Remember the likes of Trykosaurus, Magnapyritor and Erlidominus? Once you reach the upper leagues, these creatures are extreme rarities. This is...odd, considering Erlidominus, Magnapyritor, and Trykosaurus haven’t directly received any sort of changes for months, if not years. Yet their usage has steadily declined into what they are today. Situational creatures who aren’t inherently bad, but haven’t adapted to the new meta. On the other hand, the four newer creatures I mentioned prior have largely been tearing up the scene. Everyone wants to have them on their teams so they can win more easily. Invasion of the Meta Snatchers, if you will. 

It’s not just that either. Take a look at what happened to our dear friend Smilonemys. A once reliable, excellent cunning option was recently nerfed quite harshly. An attack reduction, an additional delay on its running move...what gives? Nemys wasn’t inherently a problem. It was simply a fine creature that a lot of people invested in. Yet it suddenly, randomly, received a rather harsh nerf. Whether it’s actually an awful creature is currently debated, but the point remains that it got substantially worse in the blink of an eye. Now, imagine you were a fairly casual player who recently devoted a lot of resources to leveling and boosting your Smilonemys. Personally, I don’t need to. Because I am that casual player. And you know what? I did not appreciate having my literal months of hard work to get Smilonemys to level 30 invalidated for reasons that I simply cannot understand. Smilonemys is far from the only victim of this act. Just for one more example of many, the recent nerfs to Ceramagnus, Hadros Lux, and Mortem Rex, have substantially dropped their usage rates, and if you spend any time on Jurassic World Alive socially media at all, you’ll find swarms of players dissatisfied with their current performance to the point where they want to drop them from their teams entirely. Time, and resources were devoted into making these creatures usable on the arena teams of casuals.

Which is actually a great segway into the second fundamental part of the issue. 



At the risk of being blunt, players aren’t given enough chances to reallocate their resources, specifically stat boosts, in response to changes in the meta. Remember that time Ludia nerfed Sacrorixis and Monolomentrodon after community outcry, and provided a boost shuffle event to allow people to adapt to the changes? Yeah, that was great. What happened to that? They had the right idea and then they just...stopped. Two changes to creatures warranted a shuffle, and yet multiple meta shifts and creature changes over the past few months doesn’t? They don’t need to be extremely frequent, but the player base, especially the casuals, need these opportunities to be able to change their teams in order to adapt to the very fluid and ever-changing meta of the game. The majority of the player base simply doesn’t have the resources to be able to gear new creatures to a usable state immediately upon the time of introduction.

Thoughts from the Community

Therein lies what I’ve been trying to say, in an admittedly long-winded way. 99% of the player base simply can’t keep up with the way the game is being run right now, me included. We’re struggling to get these new top-tier creatures to a usable level fast enough before they either get nerfed, or are in turn powercrept by another top-tier creature. We don’t have the resources to accept a 50% boost loss to strip our previous creatures of boosts, and apply them to new ones. It’s just not sustainable. Don’t believe me? Let’s see what other members of the community have to say. 

“The biggest problem with frequent balancing changes is the inability for players to adjust to them. While it's disconcerting when you're investing in one creature, and it suddenly falls out of meta, what really makes that frustrating is that there's no effective way to reallocate boosts.”


“Back in like version 2.5-2.6, before Scorpius and the resilient change (the former was the start of the slippery slope imo), I had a great team that I loved to play with. The matches were fun, even when losing, and it kept me going back for more. Couple months down the line, the meta has changed completely. But my team hasn't changed at all. Being f2p, boosts come from battling, strikes and supply drops for me. With an outdated team that has all my boosts (lack of boost shuffle/reset event) I'm miles behind the current state of the game.”


“There is a difference between being Greedy and being Respectfully Greedy as a standard in a company. Prolong no boost shuffle, power creeping new creatures into the meta, or simply nerfing to the ground creatures people spent months getting boosts for. For MAYBE 1% of the community. And that's a big maybe on the 1%. It won't affect them much as they either have ample amounts of boosts or whale their way to another boosted creature. But for the rest? It takes the casual player months through a year to maybe boost 1 creature. So while their team suffers both in the arena and in tournaments. They have to take months to change it. And by the time they are able? It might be nerfed, it might not matter. Even players like myself struggle to change team members out. Because even as I spend, it's not enough. Imagine the casual player base? They are entirely stuck with what they have. Creating a non fun environment on a game they want to love.”


“It's death by a thousand cuts. You start slipping, no longer being able to compete. You struggle for goals, yet the paint is on the wall. And you can't sustain a game like this only with whales.”


“I had a pretty good team at the start of 2.7, consisting of creatures that I thought would work well together. I run a level 28 Smilonemys who’s been getting battered by unnecessary changes and I can’t bench it because it’s max boosted. I also run a raid built Mortem Rex who was viable in PvP until the most recent change, and now it is a huge liability for my team because it’s too slow and I can’t do anything about it. Some of my creatures are slightly under leveled, like Phorurex and SR3, as well as being underboosted. Simply put, my team is getting weaker and weaker with each update with no way to rework it is causing me to lose more and more battles, making it so I can’t grind incubators for boosts, and just causing me to dislike PvP more and more.”


“I think I quit playing in May, right after a major change in the game. Had other things to do rather than sort out a whole new series of rules. Came back mid-Sept, around when Nibble Club started. Had more spare time but quickly spotted that in the four or so months I'd been gone, the additional changes were pretty radical. New creatures. Flocks. What had been a decent team for the arenas looked like it'd been years since being refreshed. Figured out quickly that playing in the arena was a waste of my time. I think I've done seven arena battles and some of those only because I needed a battle for the daily reward.”


Parting Words

So. What now? I’ve vented my heart out onto this document on my computer and sent it to the biggest source of Jurassic World Alive news and guides in hopes that people out there will see it, resonate with it, and push for Ludia to do better. But will they? Keep in mind, the people most affected by this issue most are not the ones responsible for lining Ludia’s pockets. Are our grievances significant enough for Ludia to commit to improving the experience for us? Or are we all just shouting into a void, playing this game daily regardless of our treatment, and holding onto some empty thread of hope that things will eventually be better, and the worst won’t become normality?

I’m honestly not sure. In the end, I like this game. I’ve played this game for four years and spent my fair share of money on it. And it’s because of the love that I have for this game that I will not stay silent with my complaints and criticisms of the absolute horror-show Ludia’s bullet-train speed rebalancing strategy has been. That was my piece, and I hope you enjoyed it. If nothing truly changes, let this be evidence that I tried my best. 

If you have any thoughts or want to chat with me about it, make sure to join the discord. 

Join the JWA Discord