Reward Loop Breakdown

Hey Fatshark,

First off, mad props on how far this game has come in a year. I am an enthusiastic fan of your work (have all but 2 reds in VT2) and while the game isn’t perfect, it’s leaps and bounds better than when I last played 6mo ago. The skill trees are outstanding, the new maps are great, the music is kickass, the tuned up director is much fun. Kudos, truly.

I’ve been back almost three weeks. I’ve unlocked another 6 or so T4 blessings, I’ve done Melk’s quests on three characters 2 weeks in a row, I’ve played all the new difficulties (mad fun!), I’ve tried all the new builds (they’re great!). I’ve bought some new cosmetics (fun stuff!). I played this game like crazy when it came out (steam says >600 hours played but that’s likely inflated by AFK) and for a while I was content chasing good weapons and T4 blessings, but eventually I had ‘good enough’ on all my characters, had no more goals to work toward, got bored, and stopped playing.

I can already feel myself losing focus again because I have nothing to grind toward on the gear side. To be specific, there is nothing that is fully in my control to set as a goal. Yes, this is another complaint about the crafting reward loop (RNG on RNG on RNG) and locks.

If I could pay 5k Diamantine to unlock a locked blessing or perk, I’d suddenly have a dozen or more weapons that I could improve upon and reasons to grind Diamantine. If I could pay 10k Diamantine to unlock a T4 blessing, same thing. Those would be tangible goals within my control. Were I your design lead I’d be looking at the diamantine earned by players per hour and setting thresholds of 20 or 40 hours played to pay for those, as I’m sure it would improve your retention and CLV.

Without goals within my control, I find myself getting bored again. I’m trying to get a few friends into the game with mixed success (or need to find some new ones that are fun to play with), but I don’t have much to chase within my control; just wait for Melk’s shop and do weekly Melk’s quests on three characters, which already feels like a bit of a no-reward chore. The occasional positive Emporer’s gift is a nice surprise, but it wasn’t something in my control, it’s just more RNG. Without goals, it’s hard to find the motivation to keep playing - I’ve tried all the new stuff, it’s fun, I’m still competent at the game, but I have nothing to work toward.

To contrast with VT2, Reds are the endgame, and once you have one you are DONE with that weapon. You can restat it as you choose. If you get a dupe, you can convert it to dust and use 5 dust to make another red. It wasn’t a perfect system either but playing Legend to get reds with full book runs felt much more ‘in my control’ than darktide’s system even if it had plenty of RNG.

Please think about how to put crafting goals within players control - even if the cost is exorbitant, it would be something motivating to work toward instead of just playing with a slot machine over and over. It will help with player retention - especially if there’s a clear picture of how many missions/runs it takes to pay for an unlock. You did it with Penances, can you do it with crafting?

I know I’m shouting into the void here, but as a genuine supporter of your work, I want you to give me more reasons to keep playing the game. I want to grind, I enjoy grinding (20y of MMOs! Back to hours and hours of camping FBSS in Lguk and guarding Ragefire!), give me something within my control to grind toward.

Pretty much exactly why I barely play. If Red weapons or something existed as a tangible goal I’d be happy, but I have a sea of ‘good enough’ on all my characters now and optimizing things in this RNG is just frustration. I’d rather play something more rewarding - I only boot up the game now for when I want to play with friends.

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