No Reset for the Wicked

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Ludia surprised us with Patch Notes for 2.1 today and with it came significant changes to several creatures. Many of them being creatures that people have invested a lot of resources in (especially boosts). As with any big change, many players immediately began asking about a boost reset. So far, we haven't seen any evidence that we will get a reset with 2.1, but OrigamiRobot has some thoughts on why we should get something.

You Should Have Known

Let's get this one out of the way right off the bat. "You should have known." The people who say things like this don't realize how self-defeating it actually is.

The first part of this anonymous message is true. Maxima was very clearly OP and needed to be nerfed. The issue is, that’s the whole problem! To put it more directly, what these messages are saying is that people should not invest high value resources into things that are OP because you’ll lose those resources when (IF) the justified nerf happens. This is very good advice. It’s bad that it’s good advice. It should never, ever be good advice in any game to not play to the best of your ability at any given point. (Yes, games where deception are involved redefine what “the best of your ability” means, but JWA isn’t one of those games. Get over yourself.) It’s another way of saying “Hey, you should lose a lot now because maybe in the next patch it will pay off.” Even if that’s true, it’s horrible gameplay. No one should want to play a game like that! Fun is not a zero-sum game and those who treat it as such probably don’t have a lot of fun.

Yes, you did it. You made the “smart move” and didn’t boost Maxima. Everyone is dumber than you. Hopefully when all these stupid people quit the game because they’re not smart enough, you’ll enjoy ruling over your empty kingdom. Get off your high horses and realize that more fun for everyone means more players playing and more players playing means more fun for everyone. It’s a cycle.

Dissecting Boosts

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s break boosts down in terms of what we know. In order to keep this article a reasonable length, I’m going to keep each point as brief as possible.

  1. Boosts are the most valuable resource in the game. While levels do matter as much, if not more, than boosts, no one can deny that boosts are far less available. Especially for F2P players.
  2. The current 50% boost refund mechanic is there in order to prevent people from applying boosts carelessly and also ensures that boosts can maintain a revenue stream for Ludia.
  3. A full boost reset does not refund the boosts lost to the 50% refund mechanic.
  4. Creature balancing is necessary for the health of the game.
  5. Even the tiniest changes to a creature have the potential to make a creature unviable for high level play.
  6. Boosts are required for the endgame. Eventually everyone’s team will consist of all level 30s and the only way to progress mechanically is with boosts.

So, there’s a lot of conflict in these facts and goals. Let’s lay out some “good” advice for how to use boosts.

  • #1 means that players should strive to maximize the number of boosts they have, be they used or unused. To this end, #3 means that the 50% refund mechanic should never be used.
  • #1, #2, #3, and #6 mean players should never boost a creature that’s not endgame viable. 
  • #4 and #5 mean that players should never boost an OP creature.

So what overall advice is good for boosting? Well, never boost anything, I guess? But that puts you at a strict disadvantage against people who do boost. Something that puts you at a disadvantage is clearly cannot be good advice. The more you think about the big picture, the more you realize that boosts are a catch 22. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Boosts = $$$

Now, at this point I’m sure a lot of you are saying, “Yea, and they’re just there to make money.” Well, first of all, Ludia has to make money. Every company has to make money. Otherwise the company couldn’t exist. We aren’t going to get full boost resets every patch because then people would stop buying boosts. So let’s appeal to Ludia in terms of money making: Boosts are a defective product. Because of the mechanics that Ludia has set up, no one should have any faith in using their boosts. They are too high value and too easy to lose through no fault of the player. The way boost resets work, Ludia has ruined the viability of the 50% refund mechanic. People like to cry “P2W” and “Whales” at this point, but I’ve got news for you: No one enjoys wasting money. And I’m not talking about the “spending money on a mobile game is a waste” perspective. I’m talking about the theoretical “whales” who can afford to buy boosts enough to offset the 50%. To imply that these people enjoy being punished by these backwards boost mechanics is just absurd.

Fixing Boosts AND Getting Paid

So, like I mentioned, Ludia needs to make money and selling boosts makes money. These are simply facts. But it’s only a fact as long as people have faith in using the boosts they’re buying. Which currently they should not. So in order to keep this revenue stream viable, Ludia’s priority needs to be restoring faith in using boosts. Boosting needs to be encouraged instead of seen as a necessary evil. This means they need to remove the fear that their boosts will be wasted and/or unrecoverable. I see one very simple way to do this: Single-use Boost Reset tokens.

An item that fully refunds all the boosts on a single creature. Remove the ability to refund boosts at 50% completely. While the flexibility of doing this at any time is nice, it only sets us up for disappointment when future boost resets are necessary. This new item would certainly be available for sale in the store. Before you go crying about how that makes the game even more P2W, realize that it also allows for an item that can be awarded through various means. We can get 1-2 for free with every major patch. That should be enough to cover the major balancing changes when a full reset isn’t warranted. We could also have any number of other events to award these items. I guarantee you that any event that includes these items as prizes will have incredibly high participation.

Another big change that would encourage people to use their boosts is the ability to freely experiment with boosts. Of course, this would need to be in a controlled environment separate from the arena. Oh wait, we already have that: Friendly Battles! Let us freely boost our friendly teams so we can experiment with builds! Not only would this help combat analysis paralysis, but it would take work and bring players together as a community to find builds and team synergy.

Too Long; Didn’t Boost

Ludia needs to remember that having a fun game means more players and more players means more sales. It’s a win-win. All they have to do is stop making boosts feel like a necessity and start feeling like a privilege. Right now the boost distribution mechanics actively inhibit both player fun and Ludia’s bottom line. Stop letting people make the very convincing argument of using OP creatures to bait and switch players. Unless, of course, it’s true.

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About the Author(s)

Hello, I am either a robot made to fold paper or a robot created to fold paper.  I forget which.  I love numbers! I love data!  I love animals!  I love you!  Will you got to robot prom with me?