Blog:May Review: Crisis on New Earth

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May Review: Crisis on New Earth

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Humour me and allow me to use a slightly metaphorical and hyperbolical approach to this review. I'll also be doing a bit of time travelling all the way back to December before getting to May. It's only fitting since I never wrote anything about December and we got Reverse Flash in May. Worry not, at the end of the article I'll resume my classical objective approach.


Xmas 2016: Crisis on Earth-One!

Back in December when all players were still on Earth-One the game was feeling stale. Many had completed the Story Campaign and were criticising the lack of content. In PVP people were struggling with spam attacks and bad match ups where they would get lists full of impossible fights no matter the league they were in. Many small bugs riddled the game...

Then, just 5 days before Xmas an update landed and things took a turn for the worse.

Crisis

This update brought a change to the PVP Energy timer that slowed down the drop rate from 1 hour to 90 minutes. One day later this would be reverted back to 1 hour but the community was outraged. And two days later everyone would be compensated with 2000 gems.

The Timed Events were split into Hero Challenges and Timed Events (or Upgrade Events as we know them today) and restrictions were added to the upgrade events. Before this change the refresh mechanics of Timed Events was akin to Story Campaign, where an individual node could be refreshed by 25, 50, 50 gems etc. After the change only 3 runs could be made for the whole timed event (detais). This caused a drought in gear materials that would last until the end of January when the Upgrade Events' drop rates were improved. The newly added restrictions such as villains only, heroes only or requiring a specific affinity locked many people out of these events. This also had the side effect of preventing some people from completing Shazam Daily Mission on some days of the week which meant less 60 gems.

PVP changes did not seem to make things much better, the issues persisted.

And the new update brought new bugs while failing to fix some important ones such as Silence.

All these things happened during the holidays without much word from the devs and by the end of the year the community was pretty disenchanted with the game, as you can read in the post written by Muds420: Why play this game longterm?

Some relevant threads regarding this dark period:

New year new Earth

January was the month our benevolent overlords started moving the survivors of Earth-One onto New Earth, a new reality. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the crossing began but if I had to choose a date it would be Jan 6th, when Oa Under Siege was announced. Not only we got early word (2 days) of the restricted list for the event but we were also informed of the nodes drop rates which were better than Supergirl's event.

And, on Jan 8th, when Oa Under Siege began we found out we would get 75 willpower energy for completing it the first time. Things were looking up...

By the end of the month a new hotfix delivered better rings drop rates (the ones we know today). Don't get me wrong, things were still a bit rough in PVP but in general things were improving.

From then on there was a good vibe leading up to the end of April/May. We started receiving podcasts. Robin's event was a success with an accessible restricted list. To make the event more accessible Batman WGD shards (a restricted char) were gifted as login bonus.

It wasn't all smooth sailing, there were some bumps along the ride, namely Siren's event restricted list which started out by being too restrictive and afterwards we found Siren's second event would have a different list. Still the login bonuses got better, PVP matching algorithm improved, the hacking situation got tamed (although never resolved), several bugs got smashed.

By April New Earth reached a new peak with Ivy's event, an event most players enjoyed and felt balanced. We also got the Void Scanner, Legendary Missions and there was an affinity rebalance that improved PVP gameplay giving a slight shift to the meta. On top of all we got the Alliances and R.E.D. Alerts announcements... The community was hyped!

And then the cold water came pouring in the form of ice...


May: Crisis on New Earth!

The omen of the ensuing crisis came on April 28th with the release of May event restricted list. A list that required exclusive characters, some only available to P2W and veteran F2P players. There was a big outcry from the community but the devs did not answer. Contrary to what happened in March, the devs did not change the restricted list.

The first 5-days Hero Challenge began and even though it was positive and praise was given the community was still apprehensive about what was to come...

And thus we arrive at Captain Cold's event, the epicenter of Crisis on New Earth. After a restrictive list which limited access to many players those who could play the event found out it was hard, very hard and that it no longer dropped guaranteed ability materials. Instead it had low to rare chances of dropping ability materials. Half of the non-boss nodes dropped gear materials instead of ability materials. The energy cost of running a full day spiked to 356 (from 230) while delivering less and worse materials than before. The community didn't take it well. Something that can easily be gauged by a few select posts:

And culminated in the departure of a renowned community member:

Things were dire... and for a while the devs remained silent...


Prime Earth

Until a week later a Message From Development was published acknowledging some changes were needed and also delivering some hints about June's event restricted list. Since Captain Cold's event ripped the space-time fabric (perhaps Reverse Flash had something to do with it) we moved to Prime Earth.

Soon, the devs delivered:

  • the full restricted list for June (with 3 farmable characters);
  • published all the June Events: Hero Challenges and PVP Rewards;
  • released Alliances;
  • released R.E.D. Alerts.

And the sentiment was again positive as you can read in:

Will Prime Earth be our final home? Only time will tell but so far it's looking like a very OK place.


Are you still with me? Hope you liked it and I hope this vaguely resembles what the community felt through the last 6 months. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Classical review

Back to normal, this month's events allowed me to gatter enough shards for:


9-day Hero Challenge / Featured Event

As I've mentioned earlier Captain Cold's 9-day HC was difficult, had a very limited restricted list, high energy costs and worse drop rates than earlier events. For details I suggest reading MAY CHANGES ANALYSIS: PART 2: 9-Day Hero Challenge by DP0427 who has done a very good analysis.

In addition to the above, the change from 18 nodes to 24 nodes didn't bring more progression to the event and it didn't allow players without 4 L1 characters to get more shards. Example, a player with 3 qualifying L1 characters and 1 R5 would only be able to get Captain Cold to L1 by the first day of the 2nd event and wouldn't be able to get him to L4. Using this particular scenario, lets compare May event to April:

Event Max node Time to L1 CC/Ivy Max shards Max rank
May 17/24 10 days 742
April 17/18 3 days 1055

Using the Featured Event Shards Calculator

In April's event it was possible to get Ivy to L1 by day 3 and by the end the event with enough shards for L4. I see this as missed opportunity, the addition of nodes increased the cost of the event without bringing any benefits (in the form of materials or shards) to the player.

The increased difficulty of Captain Cold's event has caused me to spend 4800 gems upgrading restricted heroes for this event alone, fortunately all of them are top notch and usable in PvP. Siren's event, who till now had been my most expensive event, had "only" cost me 3600 gems for upgrading restricted heroes. You can check these values in my monthly budget.


5-day HC

The 5-day HC was a success, in total it's possible to get 195 shards (enough for ranking up a character to R5) for a very decent energy/shard ratio. If we consider the reward characters have been either exclusive or difficult to farm this is very good news. I've covered 5-day HC in greater detail at: 5-days Hero Challenge vs 24h HC vs Farming Heroic Nodes


Alliances

Alliances have spiced the game a bit. By forcing us to use specific characters in Story Campaign and PvP it makes us play with new compositions while simultaneously making these battles more challenging. And since the challenges are not tackled alone they become more rewarding. We algo get a new currency: Alliance Essence.png Alliance Essence and a new Alliance Shop which gives us the opportunity to acquire rare characters.


R.E.D. Alerts

R.E.D. Alerts enables us to use more of our roster and again try different compositions. And it's free, it doesn't cost any energy or essence to play. The rewards are good, we get Essence gems and rare character shards. Some people have been criticising the game mode's difficulty. In general I don't think it's too difficult, being challenged is a good thing, but perhaps the first 3 threats could start a bit easier and then ramp up. The rewards do make up for the difficulty of the event.

Since R.E.D. Alerts are similar to PVP battles it suffers from the same issues as PVP, namely it still relies too much on speed and turn meter due to rampant OHKOs. This is bad news for people wanting to use tankier characters.


Closing Thoughts

May started of with the wrong foot, Captain Cold's marked a low point for the game, but the 5-day HC, Alliances and R.E.D. Alerts have brought new life to the game, it feels fresh again. And June is looking up to be a WONDERful month.


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