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What went wrong with Battles?

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  • What went wrong with Battles?

    Obviously the major (MAJOR) problem is powers.

    But how did Ninja Kiwi end up in the position where they're doing such incredibly stupid and destructive things to the game?

    It's undeniable. At least half of the top grinders are gone from the game, maybe more. Due to powers, late game is the new norm. Players have to play at least twice as long for the same rewards. They get bored, and frustrated. NK doesn't fix the problems, doesn't respond meaningfully to detailed complaints about the problems, and in fact shows few signs of intelligent life.

    The only way to get a C10 now is for a clan to flagrantly boost and otherwise cheat prolifically. Only the top clan is relatively certain of getting a C8 or higher, with the other two Top 3 clans getting C7 - or maybe a C8 if they're willing to boost for it. Fewer top chests means fewer players buying amps. So Ninja Kiwi is pretty much destroying a revenue stream that costs it nothing to maintain.

    So again - why is NK so badly mismanaging Battles? Indifference? Incompetence? Deliberate self-sabotage? (there's therapists for that)

    Whatever the underlying reason, the process by which it happens is pretty clear: Ninja Kiwi essentially NEVER listens to players. Or if they are listening, it's to the wrong ones. They seem to react to streamers occasionally - but this is highly problematic due to streamers almost never being real grinders. They don't play often, they don't play for long, they don't play at the top levels of the game, and their understanding of the game and their investment in it is pretty limited. They don't care if the game is balanced or even enjoyable - they just want new content to keep people watching.

    Sure, players often get a response when submitting a report about a proposed or broken feature. But it's usually meaningless, with no action ever taken and suggestions not even getting passed along. Admittedly, it can't be easy to pass along a single report when the Support team insists on merging every report you make into one mega report involving a vast variety of different issues and even different games (BSM2 has finally been shoved into my own Battles mega-report). Everything gets buried, long-standing problems are not fixed, new problems are ignored as long as possible, and extremely well-document cases of cheating are met with blatant gaslighting.

    This is not how you run a game. I understand why NK does not want player-testers, since playtesters would be in conflict with Ninja Kiwi's primary interest in screwing over players as punishment for not purchasing enough. But it simply doesn't make sense for Ninja Kiwi to make the game as awful as it is for everyone, including those of us who made numerous purchases before the game went to hell. If it's so bad that we don't want to play the game, you don't make money.

    I'm operating on the assumption that NK will not remove powers, and that balancing them will take another 6 months at a minimum, if it ever happens at all. So I'm proposing a few urgent changes:

    Power grinding arenas for newbies where they don't get mauled by powers: You've gutted the grinders in the game, destroying their trust in you in the process, so most won't come back and you need new players to replace them. Currently, new players are faced with opponents who have literally insurmountable advantages. It was dumb enough when it was just towers and upper tiers that needed to be unlocked, but powers are 10x worse, plus they look like cheating to someone who hasn't played much. Currently the only sensible option for grinding powers is random modes, which are nearly always club-based. Most newbies aren't going to pay money for club access when not understanding what it entails and being constantly mauled. They're just going to stop playing. The short-term solution is low-level non-club random, Old School with power grinding rewards, or protected arenas where advanced players are barred from entering.

    Lower thresholds for chests: Since games take much longer, so does getting keys for chests. C8 should be reduced to 750K keys (currently 1M) to be obtainable by all top 3 clans in any given week. C9 should be reduced to 1.25M (currently 1.5M), and C10 should be 2M (currently 2.5M). That won't reduce cheating for C10s, since it's easier than grinding hard, but at least honest players will have a shot at getting it too. I think this will make top chests roughly as attainable as they were prior to powers, and might induce more amping again as well. Then players get fun rewards again, and Ninja Kiwi gets some revenue.

    More fast arenas: Obviously I hate the game currently. And so do a lot of other people. I was pretty sad to see one clan member say over the weekend that playing the game makes him feel angry now. Late game is slow, boring, and frustrating. Trying to grind and play that for hours per day is ... slow, boring and frustrating. It's like having a job where you don't get paid, or even thanked. Everyone is stuck playing pointless 10-20 minute games for literally no good reason. Add a couple cheaters into the mix, and the combination becomes absolutely rage-inducing (this is when I go play Yellow Stadium and destroy newbies as a favor to them - they'll be happier if they give up quickly instead of becoming invested in Battles). Speed, Random/R3, and Old School arenas are much faster and nicer. They should be happening daily Friday-Saturday in high-level Assault and Cards arenas.

    Parity in Cards arenas: Torturing cards players has obviously been your hobby for a long time, but it's time for you guys to grow up and make it playable at the same level as assault arenas. Assault has a BFB area on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Cards should too. Assault has MOABs on every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday ... Cards should too. As long as grinders in Cards can't even come close to keeping up with Assault, you'll continue losing Cards grinders. Cards doesn't have enough players to support a MOAB and BFB on the same day, so there should only be one of those daily, never 2 MOABs, 2 BFBs, or a MOAB + BFB on the same day. CC arenas do not compete with MOAB or BFB arenas when it comes to numbers of people active in the arenas. What would happen (and happened in Assault) is basically just inflation, where MOAB players go up to BFB, and CC players go up to MOAB. Inflation is kinda pointless and stupid in general, but Assault and Cards need to stay in balance with each other. And give us farmers in Cards! Or do you really just enjoy the extra opportunity for crapping on disabled players who play Cards (me), and making it constantly annoying to use dartlings?

    Disagree with everything I've suggested. Tell me it's stupid. Tell me I'm stupid. Tell me you hate the game and you want everyone to stop playing it. I don't care. But you need to engage with us. You need to talk to us, you need to show that you hear us and that you understand what we're saying. Because right now it really looks like Ninja Kiwi doesn't care at all about their customers (the players, not the advertisers).
    Last edited by Valentijn; 13-05-19, 10:57 AM.

  • #2
    You're really determined and well-versed in this topic, I'm impressed. I love everything that you've stated here, and I sure hope that you are listened to at least a little. Battles, for me, was always fun to play with whether it be short battles with randoms or private battles to the death. I don't really have much to add, but I do wish that something can be done because at this point in time.. it might be too late already.

    Love bloons and want a chill server to Kongregate in? Join Bloons World! Over one THOUSAND members strong and growing strong!! https://discord.gg/Detpg2N

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    • #3
      I agree with the fact that Ninja Kiwi should interact more, they are way too silent. There's a bloons community, use it!

      Updating / balancing is also way too slow. They should balance the most used powers & towers on a weekly basis.

      However, I like late game and I hate rushing. Grinding is stupid and a waste of your time.

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      • #4
        What takes longer 10 4 minute games or 1 40 minute game 🤔

        le enlightened centrist has arrived xd

        slaughterposting is too hilarious
        I saw a button that said edit post signature so I did.

        I forgot I have a Youtube channel:

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        • #5
          Yeah, okay. Death to grinding. Mission accomplished.

          But they should really remove the leaderboards and clans in that case. Since they exist solely to incentivize grinding. Kinda perverse to direct players toward specific goals, then torture and mock them for trying to reach them.

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          • #6
            They should not remove that! Not all clans are about grinding! Our clan is full of people who just like the game. Smaller players get a chance too. People shouldn't be feel obligated to play Bloons 12 hours/day. Clans are cool, but (like many aspects in the game) they need updates too ...

            I really wonder what Ninja Kiwi is working on. Every week you read a blogpost that it was a busy week but Battles didn't get an update.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RoelJanssens View Post
              People shouldn't be feel obligated to play Bloons 12 hours/day.
              And that’s why early bloon sends exist
              I saw a button that said edit post signature so I did.

              I forgot I have a Youtube channel:

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              • #8
                It's not even powers that's killed the game - it's requiring us to grind to get them. And just when we get things unlocked, there's a new power which our past 10 weeks of grinding doesn't count for because the xp for it didn't exist yet. It's gone on far too long already, and it looks endless. When does the next power come out, requiring us to start grinding again to get the new required powers to have a chance at winning?

                t0 arenas (boost only) are nice. But it's months too late, and a small drop in the bucket. The people who knew how to play that are almost all long gone, and not interested in coming back. Competitive playing is out of reach without months of grinding xp first. Even players who love grinding for badges and chests hate grinding for xp. It's tedious, and it's pointless except as a money grab for selling amps.

                Battles is dead. The only game left at this point is to see who can mod and cheat the best, to get equity with those who do the same, and an advantage over those who don't. At least NK can't afford to ban anyone else now, with the numbers of players plummeting again.

                RIP.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Valentijn View Post
                  It's not even powers that's killed the game - it's requiring us to grind to get them.
                  Powers are still terrible to play with/against even after you get them.
                  I saw a button that said edit post signature so I did.

                  I forgot I have a Youtube channel:

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BTD Battles Scrub View Post
                    Powers are still terrible to play with/against even after you get them.
                    I agree 100%. But once you get them you at least have a shot at winning, even if it's not much fun. Grinding for weeks to get to the point of "still not much fun but maybe I can win now" is stupidly painful.

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                    • #11
                      This thread and every reply in it make very good points. And as far as I can see there are just not one type of players who has replied, there are offensive "grinders" as well as defensive "late gamers".

                      As a "late gamer" who played to have fun (note that I wrote played and not play) I hate grinding/rushing/powers. But I do understand those who grind because it's fun in its own way. But powers has destroyed everything about the game.

                      As a new player you need to:
                      - Grind for towers
                      - Grind for powers
                      (- Grind for other powers)
                      - Grind for medals (back to step one, I know) to be attractive enough for most clans.
                      - Grind for keys (especially if you've joined a clan of that sort)

                      To be forced to grind as a brand new player is not fun.
                      When I first started to play this on mobile (and later on Steam) I was close to quit the game because of the forced grinding you need to do just to catch up with the "low ranked" players who had all towers unlocked.

                      When powers were introduced I was close to quit again. Why you might ask? Because of the "avarege/advanced" players who grinded for medals, keys and the new powers. I played for fun, to outlast my opponent, and not to play fast games (4-8min).

                      When eco was introduced I was close to quit again(!) because of all the grinders. But at this time I had learned enough to be able to defend at least half / 2 thirds of all round 13-16 rushes even when my opponent used eco powers to send even bigger rushes.

                      Sabo (stun powers) doesn't even let you learn to defend. You can have a perfect strategy/defense/micro but sabo makes all of that obsolete since the higher tiers affects all towers/abilities/other powers. Including new towers!

                      Sabo made me quit. Sabo stuck the final dagger in one of the best (most fun) games I've ever played and I'm sad to say that I will probably never play it again unless sabo is removed (at least)..

                      There are probably many players who disagree with me, but this is how I truly feel and I'm posting it because of a small(!!!!) hope that NK will finally understand.

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                      • #12
                        I do agree with you 100%, sabo powers have taken away the last bit that a tower defense game should have.

                        No, Ninja Kiwi will not understand. Read the last blog, they think we will find new meta strats to circumvent sabo powers.

                        Well, we won't, this is it.

                        Why all the focus on grinding? Focus on defending! FFS

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