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I burnt myself out on Dauntless quite awhile ago. Way of the Fist (September 2019) was the last Hunt Pass I completed before I took a couple month break (skipped Haunted Shadows). When I came back I changed the way I would play Dauntless to prevent that from happening again. Basically I wouldn't force myself to log in and grind every day. I would only play as long as I was having fun.

And it has been great ever since.

When new content comes out I do go back to a more hardcore grind, but I only do it because I want to. I have completed every Hunt Pass since I came back but it normally takes me a month or so. Dauntless is set up in a way where I have been able to play the game on my time and not feel like a second-class citizen.

Which brings me to the changes coming to the Vault. There was a comment by a Dev saying that it is to "make each time you log in feel more rewarding"... no. We shouldn't be logging in to get some arbitrary reward, we should want to log in to play the game and be rewarded by playing the game. If you feel like you need to tack on a bonus to log in every day then you are basically admitting that the base game isn't rewarding enough. And rather than fix the core problem, you resort to one of the most scummy plays in the mobile F2P playbook.

For those that don't know there have been studies on ways to get players to spend more money on a game. One thing that was found was that a player has a small chance to buy something every time they log in and if a player logs in more that chance is re-rolled every time. Thus, over a period of time, encouraging more player log-ins means a given player has a higher chance to spend money. This isn't anecdotal evidence, the mobile gaming market is enormous and they have spent a lot of money/time trying to find the best ways to make money. A dev saying it is just because they "want players to feel rewarded" feels dishonest because I know they know that it is also a borderline-predatory way to get people to spend more money.

And saying that they do "not to force you to log in daily" doesn't change that they are adding more of an artificial reason to want to play daily. This is like putting a cake in front of a diabetic and saying "we never forced them to eat it". You don't make a daily log in and not want players to log in daily... if you really wanted players to play on their own time you would have dailies stack, or maybe make a token system that allows a daily log-in bonus to be accumulated over the course of a season to be cashed in at the player's convenience............ HMMMMMM

Of course this is only a cosmetic system but to me it shows a change in trend to how Phx wants to encourage players to play. We got bounties to replace daily/weekly logins back in the day partially to make it a more player-friendly system. This is literally a regression in design, at one point Phx went out of their way to say "Weekly challenges aren’t fun. With the Bounty system, we’re looking to change that." (yes, that is a direct quote from Phx). I would love to hear why they changed their mind on this. Seriously, I would love to know why. If any Phx employees are listening...

  1. Why did you shift away from daily/weekly challenges in favor of bounties back in the day?
    1. For reference, the preview post talking about bounty tokens from 2019.
  2. Why do you think that bounties failed to replace daily/weekly challenges?
  3. Why is returning back to daily/weekly challenges a good change for players?

I am open to being wrong. If there were analytics and player feedback that signed that daily/weekly challenges were the way to go I am open to accept them. But as it stands it looks to me like a way to boost player log in as an attempt to get more money, not a change to make the player experience better. I am very rarely negative against Phx, I was one of the few commending Reforged as a great step in the right direction for the game from day one. I've been a borderline white-knight in the past but this time I felt the need to speak out. "It is just cosmetic"... for now, I don't want playing dauntless to feel like a chore, I still have high hopes for the game but I don't know if I could recover from another burnout.

This is obviously very self serving, but I wish Phx took more of a Final Fantasy 14 (the MMO) approach to how they treat players' time. For those that don't know, the director for FFXIV has openly talked about how they design content to be finished. The want players to come for a new expansion, play for as long as they are having fun, and leave happy knowing they will be back for the next expansion. A game about hunting the same monster over and over feels like the perfect platform for a similar approach. Rather than trying to make a million reasons to keep players playing every day, let players leave happy so they come back when new content drops. Most people don't return after they have been burnt out.

Note: "Casual" players aren't "bad" players. Casual play is a reference to how much of something you play, which does admittedly have a correlation with skill, but it doesn't determine it.

Edit: One more thing I would like to add is that I want to trust Phx. I want to believe the changes they make are good in intention. However, due to the information we have been given (or rather the lack thereof) I am left at a loss. The "whys" that have been posted about a lot of changes recently have been full of holes. I still have some beefs with how they responded to Aethersparks because the reasons they said they made Aethersparks completely contradicted the role Aethersparks actually played. You can't say "we wanted players to experience the breadth of Dauntless" while simultaneously creating a currency that prevents people from doing that very thing.

I don't want to turn this into a rant about Aethersparks, my point here is that in my opinion Phx hasn't been doing a very good job explaining decisions they have made. What am I supposed to think when someone says such contradictory things? Please Phx, be honest with us. I would have respected you far more if you came out and said "Aethersparks were an attempt at monetization that could be mostly circumvented by playing Hunting Grounds." The PR speak we have been getting lately has been making me lose more faith than the changes themselves.

External link →

Hey there,

Thanks for the feedback! Right now our goal is not to have players logging in every. single. day. We know this is unreasonable.

The goal of this new system is to let players set their own goals and earn what they want. You get to pick and choose which rewards you want and how much time you put into getting them. It's an attempt to increase variety and player agency.

Give it a try and be sure to let us know how it feels when it's out!