Hello everyone and thanks for waiting for the second State of the Game for 2020! We want to review some of the improvements and changes we’ve made to Disney Heroes: Battle Mode since February, and reflect on some places we can do better going forward.
What we’ve done since February
- We refreshed the Arena and Coliseum challenger tier with Challenger Seasons. The feedback on this refresh has been positive and we hope you continue to enjoy the rules and bonuses each week.
- We changed the way matchmaking works in City Watch. These changes seem to have improved the experience, and next we’d like to bump up the rewards.
- We’re releasing Endless Creep Surge on all servers with 2.2. This refresh was to give players more options on which regions they attack and increase guild cooperation to unlock gold multipliers.
- We’ve been working to keep heroes balanced, and ensure we make changes when needed to keep heroes manageable. The hero changes to Randall, Hook, and Donald kept them viable in the game, but kept them from overwhelming the meta. Less successful was our initial change to Gizmoduck: when we added the cap to his skill, we didn’t balance that with changes to his other skills. While he’s still viable in Invasion, we did a refresh on all his skills for 2.2.
- New heroes are powerful, but not overwhelming. Since Randall, no hero has shown up in more than ⅓ of all challenger lineups, and with challenger seasons, we’re seeing a healthy rotation of heroes being used. While Mulan is a newer, strong hero we’re watching, none of the new heroes we’ve released since February have dominated the meta the way Randall did.
- We introduced consumable guild perks. The intention with these was to give guilds something to spend influence on at a steady pace. This worked for many guilds, but we still have very active guilds maxing out their influence. There’s still work to do here and we have a way for guilds to track their influence earned even after they’ve maxed their guild limit with the 2.2 update.
- Cosmetic Collections give players more options for avatars and emojis in the game. In the 2.2 update, we’re adding the sticker avatars from Challenges to Cosmetic Collections.
- We’ve been working on some improvements for the early stages of the game. That’s one of the reasons some of the improvements we talked about in February haven’t been done yet. We’ve been investing in updating our early game experience since the 2.1 release. With the 2.2 update, you’ll see more improvements that are a result of that work (the campaign rewards and improvements to crafting UI for example).
What We’re Working On
- The Friend System refresh. We’ve talked about what this would look like and the design is done. This is a significant amount of development time, and while we wanted to get it done sooner, it’s currently planned for the 2.3 update
- Invasion improvements. We’ve heard your feedback on Invasion being time consuming and grindy, especially after we changed Gizmoduck. One immediate step we’re taking to make Invasion more enjoyable is to rework the tier rewards. This will be done in the 2.2.10 update, and beyond that, we’re looking at other ways to make the mode fresh and fun.
- More Guild Perks. The consumable perks gave guilds a way to keep spending influence to benefit the guild members, and we’re working on more perks for an upcoming update.
- The Black Market and Mega Mart are shops that haven’t scaled well with the game progression. The design team is exploring ways to make these shops more useful.
- Reviewing game rewards to make them automatically scale up, resulting in better rewards as players progress. We’ve been working on the Gold rewards for a while, and Stamina and Badge rewards are next on our list.
- We’d like to improve our pipeline for player feedback and requests to make it into the roadmap. Forum and support ticket feedback is noted and shared with the team, but there’s room for us to improve here. We’re going to work on that in the next few months so that more player feedback is appearing in the game. Another thing we’re exploring is how to provide access and insight into what’s currently being developed and what’s coming up. We don’t know what form it will take, but we want to give you a bit more visibility.
What We Hear You Talking About
- Balancing Rewards
- We’re slowly going through each system and identifying where rewards haven’t aged well. We’re taking a very calculated approach to finding ways to automatically increase some rewards based on the server’s rarity cap. This won’t result in immediate massive changes, but we hope that, over time, the game continues to feel more and more rewarding to play.
- Rarity and Team Level cap Increases
- We’ve been very consistent with a 4-week release for rarity and level caps. In a few cases, we experimented with slightly longer cadences of 5 or 6 weeks. It was exceptionally clear that more players left the game when there were more weeks between level caps, and even with the longer time between updates, the negative feedback around rarity and team level increases was not different. We know that cap raises are not popular with all players, but it’s a necessary part of maintaining the game’s health. For that reason, we will stick to a 4-week cadence for the foreseeable future and are not able to veer away from that.
- What we want to focus on is giving players more rewards to help those who feel perpetually behind to catch up. This is why we’re adding more rewards to the game that scale with team level. We’ve recently done this with gold. This will be a very slow process to get right, but it’s our hope that it will feel less like a grind when new content is released, and more like something new to experience and work toward. We want the feeling to be that rewards get better as you progress through the game.
- Deal values
- We sell what people buy. We monitor deal sales and identify deals that players buy, which helps us offer players what they want. We remove deals that don’t sell well over time, hopefully providing players with what they need.
- There’s been negative feedback on the guild gifting deals. When we launched the system, we tried a number of different items and the hero chip deals are some of the best sellers. We’ve been offering them less frequently due to the negative feedback on the forums, but there are sections of the playerbase that like those deals and find them valuable.
- While we value your feedback here on the forums, we also have to consider the input of the players who don’t use the forums. There’s been a lot of chatter about the deals on Servers 21 and 22 specifically. These servers do get fewer items in their deals than other servers did at the same rarity. We are working to do a better job getting resources to players in the game (scaling rewards for example), so inflated deals don’t feel as necessary. The gap between free to play players and spenders is something we’ve been working hard to address on the older servers, and selling more things in deals makes that worse. We’ve deliberately tried to avoid that pitfall with servers 21 and 22 by increasing the contents of the deals more slowly, and working to improve the systems in the game to be more generous.
Over the next 3 months, the team has the following goals:
- Change more systems to scale rewards automatically. This will ensure the rewards keep pace with player progression, and don’t rely on us adjusting them manually over time
- Continue Quality of Life improvements. Your feedback has helped us make great changes to the game, and we want to continue to work with your ideas
- Improve communication between the players and the team. This includes better implementation of player feedback.
- Release more new heroes - we have plans to expand existing IPs and add some new ones! We’re very excited to share with you all the cool heroes we’re working on.
- Continue hero refreshes and adding new red skills. We put some extra work into the Queen of Hearts refresh, and that was well received, so we’ll be doing a more in depth refresh to one hero, rather than small refreshes on multiple heroes. Our plan is to have all Red Skills in the game by the end of the year!
- Ensure releases are stable and address any bugs that pop up as quickly as possible. We’re working to give our QA team more time with updates, and ensure we aren’t rushing the team to get things done last minute.
As always, we’re grateful to have you as part of the game community. I really enjoy the banter with the community on the forums and empathise with your struggles and passion for the game. We know you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t enjoy the game, and thank you for being a dedicated Disney Heroes fan!