War Robots

The Gods Must be Crazy: Pixonic and the $300 Bot

$340 bots in War Robots? "This is fine."

Open calls for boycotts.

Organized campaigns to downgrade the game’s rating through one-star reviews.

Exhortations to demand refunds from Apple and Google Play for money spent.

Entire clans announcing they’ll sit out the game as a protest measure.

A petition for class action.

Images like this everywhere you look.

Welcome to the War Robots player community, late September edition. What the hell is going on?

Yesterday Pixonic unveiled the Component system for Android, finally answering the question of how much the Dash bots were going to cost. As it turns out, the pricetag more than doubled the previous record-holder, the $100 Butch. The Inquisitor tripled it.

It didn’t go over well. Today I want to try and take a frank and impartial look at how we got here, what it means, and how we can avoid coming here again while still balancing player desire and company strategy.

So let’s just get it out of the way- the new gear is almost prohibitively expensive for the 99%. I’ve defended spending valuable entertainment dollars on War Robots before with the argument that looking at it as “just a mobile game” is a poor approach. Rather, it may be fairer to look at the rate of return on your expenditure. Many won’t blink at dropping ten bucks on a movie ticket for two hours of entertainment, but scoff at paying ten bucks for 30 days of Premium for a game they spend considerably more time on.

That’s not to say that anyone is “wrong” for not spending their own money- farbeit for me to tell anyone how to enjoy the fruits of their labors- but it’s important to make the point that entertainment is entertainment, and spending money on it is a reasonable thing to do.

So how can we justify prices upwards of $300 for an Inquisitor… or $200 for a Dash?

Well, let me ask you this… why do they need justifying to begin with?

Buckle in.

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Games that use rosters of characters certainly have unclean hands when it comes to fostering an obsessive, hoarder mentality. Pokemon exhorted us to boundless “completionism,” with the cry of “gotta catch ’em all!”

129-Magikarp

So what if you never actually played with Magicarp… either your collection was complete, or it wasn’t. Now for the most part if you’re durdling around on your GameBoy chasing digital pixels to fill your digital pixel collection, your only real investment is time.

But it didn’t take long for game designers to figure out that they could tap into that completionist mindset to artificially inflate game depth. Take a twenty-hour game, add in a couple of unnecessary characters that unlock with lengthy side-quests, and suddenly you’ve padded your way to a thirty-hour game. Some games, like Chrono Cross, had infamously large casts of characters. You didn’t need them to win, but…didn’t you want to see what they did?

The advent of the microtransaction in gaming inevitably brought chocolate and peanut butter together. We see this now in games like Dungeon Boss and League of Legends, “freemium” games that give you a small stable of playable characters to learn the game with, and a vast roster of unlockable ones that must be earned through a variable combination of grinding, luck, and/or real money (RM).

In single-player games, balance is much less of a consideration. Who is going to complain that one character is overpowered compared to the “baseline power norm?” The MOBs? Dungeon bosses? NPC’s having to deal with a large influx of treasure disrupting their local economies?

By the same token, in games with a player-versus-player (PVP) element live and die on finding competitive balance. If one character is overpowered compared to the others, then players will gravitate towards that player in preference to any others. This is called “warping the meta,” and it is very unhealthy. The games will be filled with either the overpowered character, or narrow, niche builds of other characters focused entirely on countering the overpowered one.

The “rock-paper-scissors” model may be somewhat cliche, but it surely must go down as a “best practice” model for the industry. The ultimate goal is to have a reasonably balanced diversity, so that players are allowed to compete both with the resources they possess, as well as the ones they might aspire to own.

For the first three years of its life, War Robots seems to have struggled a bit with this question. To be fair, the early days of any game are often untested waters, and it’s unlikely that the developers could see the recent transformation of the game in some crystal ball. Rather, these are existential questions Pixonic is asking in the wake of the game’s success. Some might call the answers they arrived at a “betrayal,” but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Now that we’ve set the table, let’s ask the obvious question: what is Pixonic up to?

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It wasn’t all that long ago that folks rather dourly remarked on the ubiquity of the Griffin. While supporters could trumpet that it was a sign of game health that the most-played bot was a Silver one, others longed for a bit more variety and less predictability on the battlefield.

From personal experience, it always added a little spice to my matches when I encountered something rare. A quad-Trebuchet Butch, for instance, wasn’t quite a unicorn, but you could be forgiven for occasionally mistaking the two. The Wild Bunch were the first bots to be released that had a high bar for ownership- you couldn’t just fork over a box of Gold like you could with the Britbots. That made them comparatively uncommon, and exciting to see “in the wild.”

And while a credible case could be made that their perceived lack of quality was a contributing factor in their scarcity, the fact that they became more common on the battlefield once they became easier to acquire supports a more nuanced narrative.

So if a diversity of bots on the battlefield is something Pixonic would like to foster, how would they go about doing this? Well, there are two ways that come to mind. The first is through abundance, a model we touched upon above. League of Legends is probably as close to “something for everyone” as you can get with over 130 playable champions. And while some might be more popular in the competitive metagame than others, you never quite know what you’ll be running up against.

But War Robots has only a fraction of that number, and even then the early design decision to adopt a stratified structure of LightMediumHeavy rather than balancing all bots against a common standard means that a substantial chunk of your offerings become obsolete at later levels of play. When was the last time anyone encountered a Level 12 Destrier?

When was the first time?

This is why Griffins accounted for between 20-25% of the meta. They were comparatively easy to acquire and were endgame viable. In that sense, they were a point in the favor of “free to play” over “pay to win,” which we’ll come to shortly.

So if “abundance” is out, then what if we go the other direction and embrace scarcity? In this model, you simply make some playable characters harder to acquire than others, preserving a sense of novelty and variety while giving players goals to work towards over time. This is the model employed by Dungeon Boss, where you have some exotic characters that can be very difficult to farm or win from a Portal (basically, the Dungeon Boss version of a War Robots chest).

Dungeon Boss actually goes one step further in this direction when you take into account how characters are leveled up. In War Robots, the mechanism is the most common ingame currency, Silver. From top to bottom, all weapons and bots use the plata to empower the plomo.

Not so in Dungeon Boss. Each character has their own “tokens.” Save up enough tokens, and you can unlock the character. Want to level him/her/it? You need more of their tokens. This allows them to make some characters very prestigious, even exclusive, not unlike some of the rarest mounts in World of Warcraft. Rare characters aren’t just for performance, but pull double duty as status symbols. A Kia will get you across town just as well as a Bentley, but there’s a reason one is many times more expensive than the other and it’s not just down to component quality.

What are the risks of the scarcity model? The largest is getting the balance wrong, both in power level and appeal. The developers of Star Wars: Galaxies famously all but destroyed their game with their attempt to retain scarcity of the one class most players wanted to play, the Jedi. That was an appeal error, but a power level imbalance can be every bit as terminal.

As noted above, in a PVP game an overpowered character will compel the playerbase to gravitate towards that character (or its foil) if they want to remain competitive.

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You cannot understate that- a feeling of “competitive fairness” is crucial in a PVP game. Nobody wants to feel like they’re the proletariat chum being used to feed the patrician whales. To some degree, Andrew Lewis’s famous maxim comes to mind here. Regardless of their spending level, players want to feel that the battlefield treats every player without fear or favor. Is that reasonable? Should free-to-pay players expect the same treatment as those who actually fund the company and keep the lights on? Isn’t that sentiment, to use a four-letter word en vogue in American politics right now, kind of socialist? From each according to their ability, to each according to their need?

The answer is, it’s essential to success.

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A few years ago I bought a comic and game store off of the prior owner, a gentleman who was the epitome of the hostile hobby-store stereotype. If you went in and bought something, you were fine- at least for a little while. Heaven forbid you came in and didn’t purchase anything, or- worse- just hung out for a spell.

When my wife and I bought the store, our first ceremonial action was to remove the odious “two hour limit” sign in the open gaming area. Instead, we made it known that folks who wanted to game were welcome to use it as long as they liked, and whether or not they bought anything was their own business. We didn’t care about the size of your wallet, but the character of your person.

Almost overnight, the store went from sounding like a bank to sounding like a market square. Our customers learned they could always expect something to be going on in the store, and frequented much more often. And yes…spent more money, too. The lesson was clear: even people who don’t add to the cash register still add to the atmosphere- and the atmosphere adds to the cash register.

“Do well by doing good” became our store’s motto, and remained that way until we sold it two years on after finding we were expecting our fourth child, Ruari. #noragrets

To bring this back to War Robots, is Pixonic looking to do well by doing good? The perception in the community seems an unambiguous no. But why is that?

Google-evil

As we round second on today’s piece, if we were to boil it down there are two factors at play here: perception and expectation.

Rationally speaking, a $300 Inquisitor bot should offend no-one. A business has the right to set whatever prices it feels it wants for a commodity, just as consumers have the equal right to buy or walk away. Don’t want the new $100,000 Ford pickup truck? Test-drive something else.

Yet that’s not what’s happening here. The playerbase is up in arms with outrage and vitriol. This is a “cash grab” by a company that no longer values the players that made the game a success in the first place. A betrayal. A sign of a game circling the drain in decline, as its feckless custodian looks to wring every last nickel out of it.

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Let’s examine the possible factors that led to yet another public relations debacle for Pixonic. Please note that these don’t necessarily represent my personal opinion, but rather at attempt to see the issue from different angles.

Pixonic has been seduced by the dark side

I tend to operate under the assumption of good faith as a default, but Pixonic has increasingly treated its players like a commodity more than a community. The much-vaunted promise of increased transparency hasn’t really materialized in any meaningful way. Instead, Pixonic has doubled-down on a lot of the problems the community has expressed to them already.

Not only that, but the game’s biggest continuing discontent- the matchmaker- has shown little progress since the community roundtable back in April when community representatives and opinion leaders laid their grievances bare. And now we’re being asked to spend hundreds of dollars on a single in-app item?
hanlon_s_razor_by_danijanek-d7i89de

It’s difficult to downgrade from a felony to a misdemeanor here, because the War Robots community has been tirelessly vocal about their opinions nearly anywhere Pixonic would care to look. Sure some parts of the community can get a little toxic, but the pinpointed problems show a remarkable consistency. Following the last (and to-date only) community roundtable event, the benefit of the doubt must be off the table. This isn’t accidental, inadvertent, or unintended.

It’s strategy. Pixonic knows exactly what it’s doing, and it’s up to each player to decide whether or not this brave new value proposition continues to be worth it in a world filled with limitless other options for our entertainment dollar.

The Dash Bots appear to be overpowered

I mentioned previously that rationally speaking, whatever pricetag Pixonic puts on an optional ingame item shouldn’t impact players one way or the other. Either they buy it or they don’t. But there’s an exception to that: note the word “optional.”

War Robots is a competitive game by its design. There is no “PVE” mode, story mode, or anything else that allows players to play the game without running up against other players. Additionally, there is no finite endgame, no final credits. To crib a line off of Warhammer 40Kin the grim dark future of War Robots, there is only war. 

 That means that items that offer significant competitive advantage above and beyond the norm maybe aren’t so “optional” after all. Not many relish the challenge of stepping into the ring with one arm tied behind their back. It’s all well and good to say that people “should just enjoy what they have,” but we don’t live in the world of “shoulds.” If a game is felt to be unfair, people don’t want to play, and you’ll see this exact scenario play out on schoolchildren’s playgrounds all across the world.

When you extend a significant competitive advantage to players with bigger wallets, those without that level of disposable income are going to be disenfranchised. And when those disenfranchised players have themselves invested significant sums of time and/or treasure into the game, don’t expect the divorce to be amicable.

Finally, having overpowered Dashes sends two clear signals to the community. First, that all of the feedback warning of their power level on the test server was discounted or disregarded. This wasn’t a problem we didn’t see coming. Second, that this will shape the future trajectory of the game. If the Dashes have tilted the scale in favor of “pay to win,” there’s no reason to think the Inquisitor isn’t going to be more of the same.

Pixonic’s Rollout Strategy is a Self-Inflicted Wound

Even the most ardent supporter of Pixonic will be hard-pressed to deny that there has been abundant room for improvement with regards to their rollout strategies. From the Wild Bunch to the new matchmaker to now, the company has lurched from one bungle to the next. Maybe the current crisis would be a smoldering fire instead of a raging one if the playerbase hadn’t been given reason to feel increasingly marginalized. Pixonic has made a bed of nails for itself, and now must lie in it.

It didn’t have to be like this, of course. I actually love the Components idea, and think it’s an idea whose time has come. I noted earlier than Dungeon Boss used this model, and it was great fun progressing closer and closer to a new hero unlock. There’s no good reason that- conceptually- this couldn’t have worked for War Robots.

In fact, we’re used to it! Most players are well-accustomed to grinding Gold for anything from hangar slots to Lancelots. Components are really nothing more than an evolutionary step of the same animal. Another move towards the right in the Civilization tech tree.

So if it’s not the concept, it’s the execution. Allow me to present a different rollout strategy for Components.

First, knowing what I’ve got in the developmental pipeline, I flip the release order to prioritize the Inquisitor over the Dash bots. This has nothing to do with the bots themselves, but rather than the Inquisitor is a one-off and the Dashes are triplets.

Second, knowing that a fundamental overhaul of the release system is going to cause some anxiety (this isn’t hindsight, it’s entirely predictable), I lay out the plan well in advance to the community. Not only that, but I position the Inquisitor to be a sort of “loss leader.” People are okay with a Lancelot for fifty bucks? Okay, the Inquisitor is fifty bucks’ worth of Components. New system, familiar pricing structure.

In addition, I make it known that the Dashes are coming, they’ll be for Components– and that the price will be higher than $50. I’m not saying my method would part the heavens and cue Ave Maria, spawning mass drum circles with acoustic guitars, but… I think it would have made the process significantly less contentious.

In fairness, Pixonic has improved at expectation management (compare this piece I wrote back in April to what we’ve seen since). All the same, with a community approaching open revolt, Pixonic will have some hard questions to ask itself.

Players Feel Entitled

Like the “Pix is Evil” factor, no fair assessment could be made that didn’t examine this. A common axiom in the Magic: the Gathering community states that if Wizards of the Coast started putting twenty-dollar bills into their booster packs, players would complain about how they were folded.

There is a significant difference between the following two statements:

Statement A: Dash bots should be cheaper because currently they are unhealthy for the game (competitive imbalance, pay-to-win, etc).

Statement B: Dash bots should be cheaper because I want one.

The number of outraged players proclaiming Statement A but actually motivated by Statement B is impossible to guess, but I can say with certainty that it’s a nonzero number.

A substantially nonzero number.

Indicators of Statement B motivations include the following loaded words:

  • “Abuse”
  • “Cash grab”
  • “Greed”
  • “Blatant”
  • [expletives redacted]

You get the idea.

Pixonic is a business that caters to a large spectrum of consumers, from the rich “whales” to those who “refuse to spend a nickel on a phone game.” Crafting an exclusive experience for those with the means to pay for it is hardly a sin. Players are not entitled to play any bot they want, just because they want it. Of course, this presumes relative competitive balance.

That said, the jump from the $100 Butch to the $350 Inquisitor is strikingly large. Like a frog in a pot of water on the stove, incremental increases would have gone unnoticed (or at least proven less divisive).

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So how do we recover from this?

Well, there’s no putting the genie back into the bottle, and so-called solutions like “make the new bots the same price as the old bots” are probably unrealistic. Pixonic is well within its rights to monetize the game, but for the sake of its continued success they do need to consider a course corrective.

First, they should recalibrate their valuations. It might well be that $340 or so is the real-money price that will keep the Inquisitor bot a rarity and a status symbol, and the player community will need to adjust to that. But being open and transparent about why they pegged the bot at that dollar amount will certainly help provide some understanding to the players. When people don’t have explanations for things, they speculate. And too often, they assume the worst.

For instance, consider this:

“While most bots are widely available through purchase or play, we also want to have a certain scarcity to some bots that makes them exciting to win or acquire. Most bots we develop won’t fall into this category- but some will. While our goal is that these bots do not provide any undue competitive advantage, we want them to be attractive and provide a different War Robots experience. It’s important to note that other future releases will not necessarily be as exclusive, and players of all levels will have the opportunity to enjoy what the game has to offer.”

I mean, it’s all corporate-speak sure, but it’s also clear, open, and fair. Components also should be available at a grind rate that doesn’t require a thousand hours of play just to unlock one new bot.

Second, if Pixonic is sincere about their stated intentions for dialing in the Dash bots’ power level, they need to satisfy the community that their power level is where it should be. Pixonic has earned deserved plaudits for some time about the F2P-friendliness of the game, and a pay-to-win perception is probably not what they’re after. Then again, Clash of Clans wears that tag almost proudly, and it doesn’t seem to have done them any harm.

Third, Pixonic should recognize that some sort of bridge would go a long way towards at least sugar-coating what will remain a bitter pill. If Pixonic wants to shift the game’s fundamental paradigm to Component collection, that’s perfectly fine, but clearly they either underestimated the detrimental impact on the community from the transition they settled on, or they didn’t care.

There’s naught to be done in the latter case, but in the former, one wise move to try and reestablish some goodwill would be to immediately convert the now-redundant Workshop Points (WSP) over to Components on a 1:1 basis. Yes, this does mean that folks with a dusty pile of 10,000 WSP or more in the back storage room will immediately be able to cash in for a Dash or Inquisitor making them perhaps a little less rare than intended, but it splits the difference and is a very small price to pay.

Fourth, as for the community, for our part there needs to be a little more maturity in some quarters. War Robots is a game, not an entitlement program. Not every player gets to swing the +5 Vorpal Sword, stare into the Eye of Vecna, or ride around on Tiamat. Nor should they. As long as they don’t break the balance of the game, rare and exclusive bots are not the problem.

In addition, the Custom Match mode offers a tremendous opportunity to take ownership of your own War Robots experience. Find a group of friends to meet up with, and it won’t matter if a Dash bot cost a million dollars. By maximizing the role of this game mode in your play time, you minimize the impact of a lot of the game’s pressures, systems, and models.

And fifth, Pixonic should devote some effort into looking at alternative revenue streams, mainly cosmetics. Yes, they’ve voiced some reservations, but by mixing in another stream rather than replacing the current one, they can redistribute some of the fiscal pressure around different groups of players.

In my time with the game I have never seen the community this intent on actualizing their anger around an ingame issue. Here’s to hoping some steps are taken soon to remedy. There’s no reason we can’t have it both ways.

Thanks for reading.

40 comments on “The Gods Must be Crazy: Pixonic and the $300 Bot

  1. Pix can kiss my ass. I’m pretty fed up and pissed off they’re ruining my favorite game.

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  2. One thing everyone seems forget to mention is the repair cost. A while back I was lucky enough to win a Doc and the first thing I did was maximize his HP to level 12. You know what the repair cost for a 12/12 Tulu Doc is? 125k and that was before the buff. If I ran Orkans I bet the cost would go up. So, if a Dash costs 5x a Doc it’ll cost over 500k to repair. I’ve played bad games where I’ve lost 30k silver just because of Doc. If you own a Dash and don’t break 2,000,000 points, even if you won I am willing to bet you still lost (silver).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashe Sterling

    Thank you for your article, Dredd.

    I have heard (and seen) some outburst around the community, but I didn’t expect the problem to be that big. I guess that the hellfire should be starting when it hits iOS too… I’m not sure what position to take, with Pix, against Pix or try to cool the whole thing down. I’m ticked off at them for their slugging MM issues, and their new sales system with “something% profit” makes me think that they went Scrooge McDuck. I currently don’t see any other reason why they put in “profit%” instead of “sale%” other than trying to make the product look better. The thing is, they’re trying too hard with their sales. Every time that I log in, I can expect to see a bunch of “special” offers to buy. It’s starting to get bland, just like the Black Market system. Before, events were fun, you get to earn tokens and spin some chests. Now, it’s availvable the whole time, and it resets every month or so. And now the Inquisitor. I’m all fine with the Dashes, they’re hard to hit but it’s an interesting addon to the meta, a new generation of Beacon capturers.

    But the Inquisitor? During the test phase of this dratted bot, my review said that it was way too overpowered. I’m nearly certain that most other testers said the same thing, as I moderate the wiki and a lot of conversation about Test Server goes on there. A Lancelot’s firepower with Jump AND Stealth? No, thank you. Lancelots are not that annoying, but Ancilots are meta-pains. The Inquisitor is looking like it’s going to be the new, most disliked bot. Sure, it’s vulnerable to attacks when it’s not cloaked, but who needs to worry about vulnerability when they have a Thunder and two Orkans? I really, really hope that they erase this awful bot from existence and refund the whales who bought them.

    Now about components. How, in the world, are we supposed to get 10000 components in a viable time? It’s going to take half a year at the best. And one thing that I disliked about MMOs are “tokens, keys, parts” or components that you need to unlock a certain character-in this case, a bot. Specific currencies needed for something is a major pain to F2P players, and to the economy in general. The playerbase already said that we’re starting to have too many currencies: Ag, Au, Tokens, WP, IP, Keys. And now what? Components? Really? So while that 80% of the players were complaining about the MatchMaker having issues, you bunch were making a new form of currency for most premium bots, and implemented a ninja Lancelot? It’s almost trying to overkill yourselves.

    If a Pixonic employee is reading this, I would like to adress a message to him/her:
    Tell your boss to change plans. Please. The playerbase won’t hold long, and on a mass-scale survey your employers will be getting more than 50% negative responses. Components and Inquisitor should never have existed, mostly the Inquisitor because he just sounds like that 1000000HP RoboDuck, but with a speed of 60km/h and armed with a Thunder and two Orkans. Even the RoboDuck would be a better addon than the Inquisitor. War Robots was a F2P-friendly game, and I do not wish to see it become one of these backwater games that are sitting in some random corner of the Store. I would seriously recommend an immediate U-Turn regarding the Inquisitor, Compents and Black Market. If your employers need to make money: fine, but not this way. Tell them to be more discreet, they may just as well try to steal from the cashier while covering their eyes pretending to be invisible. Please, Pixonic employee. You’re our only hope.

    I’ll be asking Russel to make a survey on the wiki to see how things are going, but I’m not expecting outstanding results. I’m feeling a bit dissapointed, but also a little tired after letting all this out. I hope that I didn’t offend anyone on the way.

    Until our next encounter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. High Inquisitor Sebaste

    The way people are reacting to this update is honestly ridiculous…

    I’ve been playing for at least a year now, and having been doing nothing but grinding, seeing this hatred getting out of hand honestly makes me wonder who is actually running the show: those who actually care about the game or those who think paying will solve anything…

    I honestly enjoy this game, and I don’t want it to be shut down. While I acknowledge that mistakes have been made, the way that the Community have been acting has gotten to the point that they’re not a community anymore, they’re a bunch of spoiled brats. I don’t support their boycott, and I definitely don’t support their actions.

    I really hope this situation dies down soon, otherwise I may lose a game I enjoy playing when I get the chance…

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  5. FKA Daemon Lillith

    And in response to the cries of the player-base that rising toxicity (referencing griefing activities and the toothless penalty system) was destroying the game and community, the CEO and chief producer of Overwatch published a personal blog entry that made it seem as if he was surprised by how toxic the players can get, and left many with the impression that he blames the player-base for being a bunch of greedy jerks with nothing better to do than bitch. The Overwatch community quickly shouted him down, and they have since made good on promises to improve the penalty system and other such platitudes. Overwatch will survive…

    Being a F2P player is already functionally boycotting any RM transaction system. REFUSING TO PLAY is stabbing the beast in it’s darkest heart, because there will be no fodder for the elite whales. If the elite whales are forced to fight themselves for lack of competition, what then? Pixo’s response to the PR nightmare they created will determine the fate of War Robots. I will be there to see the end, or new beginning, however it goes.

    hanks for laying the cards out, Dredd, this is a great comprehensive summary post.

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  6. I don’t the comparison to Pokemon you don’t need to get all the Pokémon, you just need to get the strongest.

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  7. Ashe Sterling

    I just noticed something… This game isn’t run by Pix anymore, some entity called mail.ru is running it. Why didn’t they change their name? I’m confused… Is Darth Vader Anakin or is it still Darth Vader? Or is it a wookie in disguise? Gah!

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  8. I wouldn’t comment about gamers feeling entitled(because there probably is entitlement of the players too) but there are certain things that pixonic does that screams I want your money. Selling WSP items for real money, any good player knows the price is inflicted and the fact that they even put the price there is to exploit noob. Another thing I learned today is that on a fb post someone compared his good account and bad account. He found that his bad account actually sold all 3 dash bots for 100 during that 30 minutes. What I can see from here is pixonic charging high to make people grateful for the”deal”. I also see them exploiting noobs again. I see the price spike as

    Converting WSP to Components 1:1 will NEVER happen I guarantee this, 100,000 WSP into 5000 components if you’re lucky.

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  9. Like any company, they do have the right to set the price of their product. If the price is right, people will buy it. In this case, I don’t think the price is and I won’t buy. That being said, I’ve spent at least a couple hundred on the game this year so I’m not afraid to spend money on the game when I perceive a value. In this case, I think the marketing folks missed the mark and the new bots are not worth their current price in my opinion and based on what I read, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

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  10. Check out Lloyd Le Mar’s video https://youtu.be/u7XSi5kwFk0

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  11. Well stated and very thorough, I enjoyed your comprhensive look at the the large picture. I have voiced my intolerance in mant threads on the forum. My view has not been about the price per say, but the BM approach. Put a price, wether you buy it, can earn it, I dont mind. Leaving it to chance made it absurd in my view.
    It appears that now there is both a chance and a price. From my initial view of components structure the chance/price seem ridiculously small / exorbitantly large. At least they are not random (entirely), time will tell.
    What I dont get is the blind appearance of the component release after hearing the feedback on BM. I think the go ahead to push out the new release (components) and tout it as “we hear you! and we will think you like this!” – this group seriously needs to evaluate feedback.

    SoCal

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent read Dredd.

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  13. Deuteronomy 31:8

    The only thing I would change is make components available for all equipment. The new bots are cool, but all the pieces of them in the world will not help me with my personal hangar goals. (Inquisitor not included.)

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  14. OppaiDesuKa

    When all else fails just tank down and club the seals, why bother with a long essay. Tldr; https://youtu.be/9XKau8P_CrY

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  15. So well said. Clap clap. I have no problem with pay to win. I have no problem with expensive bots. I do however hate having my ass handed to me on a plate by some champion league players with lvl 12 bots and weapons when I only have lvl 9 bots and weapons.

    This is what is causing frustration in the non pay to win community. I’ve played war robots since it’s release.
    Player balance has always been an issue. I worked out that a lvl3 gepard with lvl 1 magnums ment I could farm gold in really low level matches. Others where doing this so I save my gold bought a gepard and started farming. I will say that I lost interest in the game because I’d feel bad for the players I beat up on and there was little or no challenge. The only advantage was getting gold was the stepping stone to getting better weapons and bots.

    When they changed the match making system for the “better” I couldn’t farm any more. But I had made enough gold to unlock a 4th slot and buy some good weapons.

    But now the match making system has swung so far the other way I’m reminded of the early days when those lvl3 Gepards would wipe out the whole enemy team and get all the caps as well.

    I believe they will fix it. Pay to win will become boring for them if it’s just too easy for them too.
    They will strike a balance. You can have a $1000 bot in the game as long as it’s balanced to some degree.

    I’m going to have a break for a while. I’ve got some good bots and weapons and enough silver to keep upgrading for a few weeks. I hope they rebalance the match making system. One tier up and down will fix it even if waiting times blow out a bit. Champions should play with other champions not be aloud to beat up on lowbies.
    “Captain Cj” out!
    (NZPAXO)

    Like

  16. The prices are really prohibitive. For an example, $300 comes to something like 19,500 of my country’s currency. That’s close to the salary one gets for many entry level jobs. Half of it would be what a college student can make while still in college. The price is very heavily geared towards economies with much higher pay scales.

    Like

  17. Thanks Dredd77 I thought you didn’t care the other day when I posted my concerns. Keep up the good work your now have legend status in my book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks Dredd, interesting and informative opinions as always. So here is my ten pence worth.

    I found WR late last year as my six year old was talking about it, constantly. I was looking for a new game as my average time on any one mobile game is four years. I would think that I am at the high end of the meta with this, most play a game for less time.
    In the time that I have been playing the game has rocketed up the charts, it has been brought out by mail.ru and things have changed both for the better and the worse.
    New maps, better graphics and a rapid increase in development.
    But it would appear that the game ,at least in the beginning thrived on the community input, test server etc etc.

    I pay for my VIP enhancement, happily, it allows me to level up my bots and weapons without ‘worrying’ about whether I have silver or not. It provides me with value and at the same time supports the developers. Fine $10 a month no problem, it allows those avid F2P players to play the game without suffering the advert glut of many games.

    Maybe the F2P players should think about this from time to time instead of criticising the P2P guys

    I have no issue with moving away from the use of gold to buy bots and weapons, smart move from mail.ru . With one swift stroke they have neutered the vast stock piles of gold and silver that many of the long time F2P players had accumulated, it also acts to discourage ‘tanking’ to a certain degree, as the benefits of ‘tanking’ and ‘seal clubbing’ are greatly reduced.
    However, $340 for a bot in a mobile game for what ever reason, exclusivity,rarity, not upsetting the meta, etc, is simply not justifiable.

    IMHO mail.ru know (very well) that the game is going to be a ‘cash cow’ for a limited amount of time, one year, two years, maybe three if they are lucky. Then as with other games, they are superceded and the population moves on.
    Exclusive bots $100 , ok expensive , but people will buy. $350 is a cash grab , pure and simple which added to the Black Market ,pay and spin to maybe win , doubles down on this cash grab.
    The amount of vitriol and player dissatisfaction is completely justified , do mail.ru care ? Not a bit as players leave they are replaced by others joining the Juggernaut that WR has become and the cash keeps rolling in.

    Like

  19. LunaticSynapse

    Very well written. I completely. I am a player that spends money, but not a ton. I understand something being rare I’m cool with that. But this feels like such a push toward p2w that I’m afraid it’s going to change the game for the worse, drastically.

    Like

  20. i wouln’t give 2 shits about prices if the new bots weren’t op, when the butch came out i didn’t care it cost 120 $, because it was a fun bot, but nothing game breaking, so i though: oh well, i will get it eventually.

    you can’t say that with the new bots, because either you have them or you are at a serious disadvantage.

    Like

  21. My whole thing is balance- balance is what made this game great. During the months and months of testing of the Dash bots (and the less testing time of Inquisitir) all my feedback was saying ‘they are too op, there is no balance. Where is the trade off?’
    Yet Pixonic even made a statement that they ‘knew Dash were op but that they would figure that out later’.
    It’s bloody obvious that they purposefully made op bots to get players to spend cash. They tried the limited release thing with the West bots but they are actually balanced, so idiots wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars for them. So they purposefully came out with op bots to get people to spend crazy amounts on them.
    I was thinking about the other day how happy I would be if my ‘wheel’ stopped on a Dash bot in the black market- then I realized that even if I won one I wouldn’t even use the damn thing. I don’t want op bots in the game, period. It’s the same reason I refuse to use Ancilot, I want to win because I know I am good, not because I have an op hanger.
    I’ve begged Pixonic to limit bots to 1 of each type per hanger but I knew they would never do that, especially once they buffed the Ancile and made Ancilot so op. Thankfully Battle Titans is using this approach with a weighted hanger, but I feel it’s too late for Pixonic. There is nothing they can do to make Dash or Inquisitor balanced other then scrapping them all together. The armament on Dash 2 and 3 are too strong given the mobility of the bots. It’s works on Fuijin because it is slow and cumbersome and can only use its Ancile when at a standstill. And Inquisitor is just lame, all they did was take a strong bot in Griffin, increase all its attributes, give it a stronger armament, reduce its cool down and give it a freakin stealth ability.
    And even if Pixonic nerfed all the op bs they came out with then they will just piss off the morons that spent thousands of dollars to make up for their lack of skill. So I think (as I predicted months ago) that these new bots are the end of WR.
    And I will never understand where the satisfaction is in knowing that you dominate a game simply because you have a hanger full of op bots. It’s like thinking you are the greatest at Tecmo Bowl but only if you use Bo Jackson…

    Like

    • Deuteronomy 31:8

      There’s a lot of questions in the news these days about the possibility of the end of the world. Maybe War Robots knows something we don’t….
      Nah. Everything’s beatable. Just gotta wear it down.

      Like

      • Ashe Sterling

        Let’s concentrate fire on that Inquisitor that we’ll see, then.

        I hope that it’s pilot won’t be cocky enough to complain that ever since he got his/her new Inquisitor, every hostile on the map is targetting him/her.

        Like

      • I feel like a complete poser in mine, because I’m just getting used to it and am admittedly a pretty easy kill. See: Imposter Syndrome 😀

        Like

  22. Mark Fernee

    Next update we will have item promotion that will immediately devalue the hangars of long time players. The new max level will entail a 20% increase in stats, which is quite significant. Suddenly an entirely new upgrade stream will open further dividing the haves from the have nots. I expect the storm to intensify.

    Like

  23. You are correct​ they need to be careful​ Game of War lost a lot of players with there upgrades every 5 days and costing $100 USD it was imposable​ to keep up to be competitive and have fun i made a lot of friends but lost contact with them cous of it. Yes it is intertainment but not at that rate. Ok new bots 100 but old ones should go down just like in real life, it is the only fare way, really. They should make the gold the standerd and be able the rest of the courncy to be reverse conversation​ back into gold too.

    Like

  24. Problem is with imballance. Old bots like Fury were powerfull but had its weak side. But Inquisitor? Dash botts? I have Haetchi with tulu and its far superior that rdb griff. Its just better has no cons. Back in the day there were cons ( Rhino couldnt turn in shield on mode, Carnage is fragile, spiderbots are clumsy etc.

    Like

  25. [AuNv] grainreaper

    I feel that pixonic is just drilling holes in its boat hull with the inquisitor and dash bots, I understand the logic that higher league play means higher level bots and new weapons, the problem is that combine the new bots with a matchmaker system that penalizes squadding and it’s leading to a drop in players. When I play solo I tend to get balanced matches, though I’m the token low league player on the team more often than not, I can usually do well… but when I squad up with fellow clan members in gold and low diamond we get groin-kicked by the matchmaker by matching us up against full champion squads. Playing up a league can be ok and a welcome challenge, but for a gold 1 player like myself to get bumped up 10 league levels into champion play means I’m cannon fodder… the day the dash bots were released I was squadded up against champions who already had 3 dash bots apiece at level 12….. Scourges by the bushel-full at 12 already as well… I had spun my first complimentary 100 keys on a silver chest and got a pittance of silver for my troubles, I was working my way up the keys to be able to open a few bronze chests but not yet to another silver chest when I was matched against the above mentioned dashbots and scourges. I was immediately off put by the pay-to-win reality that struck me that day… how much money did those champions spend??? (knowing players that have dropped $$ hundreds on keys trying to get a dash bot and only getting one if even that) . There was a day not too long ago that squadding meant fun on voice comms with fellow members of the clan (read real friends I’ve made through my clan) now it’s hard to get a squad going anymore…. if we do manage to cobble together a squad it is short lived and ends with people leaving in anger because they feel they cannot win or even be competitive against champions that are loaded with the “rare and hard to get bots and weapons. None of us mind losing a battle in a tight and evenly fought contest but we all despise the one sided whipping we get handed by champions. Sadly I no longer squad up very often. The clans are becoming a collection of solo players with a common discord server we chat on. I feel unless they plug the matchmaker holes no amount of bailing will stop the WR ship from sinking. I want to squad with my boys again but not against champions and until this issue is fixed I’m not likely to be anytime soon.
    Sorry if this is disjointed and a bit convoluted, but putting it all down in words is tough.

    Like

    • Deuteronomy 31:8

      Well said. I only play solo, but reading your comment gives me great perspective on why people have had complaints regarding the matchups lately.
      Seems like it’s a shame and needs to be corrected 😦 hopefully it will be.

      Like

  26. Piter Reitsma

    What I would like to add is that a part of the players base seems to be willing to destroy the game. Just to name a few of the clans I ran into on IOS, NOOB SU USSR HEAT CDxx ArTM, have begun the new sealclubbing which is squading up with full hangers of maxed dashes. These squads most of the time get four beacons within the first minute of the game and procede to destroy any squad (especially a squad of randoms, thank you pixo) in the next minute and a half. Ending games within 3 minutes. Result is them having winning percentages around 90 to 100% (they’re probably jacking off to that) and angry and utterly dissapointed players in the other squad. Players who might have spent a few bucks of their own, but not the ginormous amounts those guys have spent (guys like me). These players are very likely to drop the game. In that way those clans and the players in those clans are contributing to the destroyment of this game. I wish they took some accountability for that.

    Like

    • [AuNv] grainreaper

      I have a screenshot from the first day of the bot release I mentioned a few posts above, there are 4 dash bots in the pic. It was beacon rush and as you said it was over before it even started. I had my lowest score since I was recruit or maybe private. I can normally pull down 500-600k in a solo match, that game I hit 34,580 in damage. Thanks NOOB clan…

      Like

  27. I am very much a noob to War Robots, I play on Facebook Gameroom on my PC as the mobile / cell phone screen is too small for me to see well. Before the update I was quite happy plugging away building up my bot and weapons slowly and I was happy to pay for the initial gold and silver boost (just under $13 Aus) but I will not spend more than that on a “free” game. Call me cheap whatever I’m on a pension.
    Since the update, which included Beacon Rush, the matchmaking has totally skewed off in the wrong direction. I was facing dash bots with stupid level weapons I could sit there and hammer them all day and wouldn’t make a dent. My plasma Griffin will vaporise a Carnage at 300 metres and my Orkan / Pinata Griffin will blow away a Lancelot in seconds but never made a dent in these new bots. Also having a level 12 treb vaporising my Griffins by just glancing my way on an open map at 1000 metres away is just discouraging.
    Like others have said a fair close fight is fine lose or win and if I make a mistake that loses me the bot fine, live and learn but a fair match up system is vital to the games longevity. Just to test it out I started a new account and even in the first match or 2 I was facing Carnages while I had a Destrider with level 1 or 2 weapons. Just crazy! Even now maybe 1 game in 10 I actually face similar equipment but it’s mostly get one beacon and get smashed by a level 12 bot and not bother playing another bot because they are already in camp seal clubbing.
    Like most others I will not spend a lot of real money on a bunch of pixels on a screen so Pixonic if you can be bothered reading posts like this you put off a lot of people and I for 1 won’t play the game for much longer while this is the case.

    Like

  28. I just started the game a few weeks ago and spent about 150 dollars USD. I am already considering talking to apple for a refund. I’m not doing badly in the game, but with my lvl 6 equipment I already encounter squads with all Dashbots with maxed out weapons. I would have been okay spending a little money at a time, or grinding for new bots if it was reasonable. With the lack of balance and clear cut money grabs, I feel Pixonic couldn’t care less about the majority of their customers.

    Like

  29. I’m missing a comment on how events and Black Market favor tanking and false play to grind out event currency/keys and how little Pixonic is doing about it. Is it really just a coincidence that well-known tanking clans are running all Dash hangars?

    Like

  30. Kevin Pedersen

    An in depth look at the state of the game, well thought out and well written. Thank you.
    It’s pretty simple in my case however. I’m looking for a competitive experience when I play War Robots. I was a bit disillusioned when the dash bots were released without any semblance of balance, but hey, that can always be fixed down the road, amiright??? The straw (more like tank) that broke the camel’s back was the MKll upgrades. I’ve been playing for over two years, reached champion league with no maxed equipment, and I’ve finally got four, almost five, maxed weapons. Now they want me to start the process all over again.

    It’s simple really. The amount of enjoyment I get by playing the game on an unequal field is negligible. Do I want to grind for two more years to make it an equal field, and therefore more enjoyable? No, not really. Is there any guarantee that if I DID spend the time to get there, they wouldn’t just pull the rug out from under my feet? No, there isn’t. What is there left to think about?

    Like

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