Old tiny carrot to growing longevity carrot
MCOC has been an amazingly fun game for players play, progress, and to grind for resources to rank up their champions. I'm sure many of us applaud them for that.
Like most multiplayer grinding games, the game's lifetime is dependent on the developers/designers to ensure that the horses (playerbase) chasing carrot on a stick but can never "get to the finish line".
One thing that is done well is, MCOC makes harder and more challenging content as players progress (although insane block damage or "only 2 specific champions can work", isn't the way to go, that's requiring too perfect play or walletwarrior play). In the beginning and middle stages, there are an abundance of resources players grind for. But here comes one big problem.
-----One of the big issues for this game's lifespan is: the desired resources for end game players has become very specific and difficult to get (6* shards, tier 2 alpha, tier 5 basic, and for super high end, mainly just tier 5 class/6 star shards)-----
AQ and AW rewards are much much less desirable as players already used plenty, and have stashed more t2a, and t5b. And getting more of it is less desired as players max out 15+ their 5* champions. And EQ (and permanent content) rewards look less and less appealing since t2a and t5b are seen as much more common and unneeded than before (when players had none or a few rank 5 5*). Finally AQ map 6 and 7 current design requires 5+ logins a day while being at the beck and call of clearing and being cleared by others.
Since it's extremely hard for players to incrementally improve their roster (very hard to grind tier 5 class) compared to before, most players now view AQ and AW as a growing chore, since there is little to no feeling that their roster is improving (they expect a bad 6* pull since with their wide roster, 95% of the time they pull a repeat champ, or an unusable champ). So now that horse that used to (in the beginning and middle stages) view the carrot as desirable, now sees it shrinking more and more as the days go by.
Say Kabam releases ways for players to barely gain tier 6 basic. That would be very unappetizing to most players because they would expect to take a year+ to even feasibly use it to r4 a 6*, and it would only appeal a bit more to say top 150 AQ alliances (mainly appeal to top 20 Alliances who want to flex the next big thing).
So what have other successful MMO games do to avoid loss of most of the playerbase? Bring in designs/content that make players feel they are incrementally rewarded (say after a month grind of hard content, they know they have something to show for it)!
There are many benefits to incremental improvement. Here are a few ---
1) Kabam's image is improved. (More frequent feelings of progress for a player and less frequent feelings of zero progress (say by pulling 5 6* meme champs in a row)
2) The carrot on the stick doesn't have the carrot shrink as quickly (repeat gameplay/content/grind may still affect the shrinking of the carrot for the playerbase, so cool new modes, content, leaderboards, combat skills, combat gameplay, customizations, masteries are always welcomed!).
3) When players complete content, they have something to show for it (at least not expect that 90%+ chance that they'll make zero improvement). More good vibes. More feeling like money well spent.
4) Epic+ level content will become gradually easier (as players rosters slowly get stronger), so it won't require perfect play or instant KO.
Some incremental improvement designs suggestions: ----
1) more mastery points (or an additional mastery system that they can unlock, that will improve a player's roster).
2) improved champion acquisition methods (maybe players can unlock/earn unique shards that can transform a 5*/6* basic to turn into a 5*/6* science on champion pool crystal, or a 5*/6* nexus crystal)
3) have some rune, token or equipment (bounded or unbounded, up to you Kabam) that players can grind that steadily improve specific champions when equipped to them. FOR EXAMPLE, Say players can equip 3 or 5 (some number) runes where each common one provides +1% damage reduction, +1% health, +1% armor, and for interesting more uncommon ones, +5% attack damage (or whatever, just higher) if equipped to a unique champ that no one else is using in AQ or AW, or +10% attack and health (or even, shock debuffs on attacker are removed, but regen the defender 1% everytime this triggers) if you are equipped to a 2015 champ (or say, to meme tier champs) so more later content can be cleared by bad (and/or more variety) champs.
(And then upgrade the runes even further? Allow combining of effects? Increase rune slot capacity from 3 to 5 to 7 as time progresses?)
4) Items that can be found/obtained that give +3 energy to AQ. Weaken AQ/AW boss in some way (-5% attack/ health, or even something more interesting/specific, something like pause all miniboss/boss nodes for the first 30 seconds of the fight)
Or even, say a much rarer item that, clears an entire path of AQ. Or let's a teammate bring in 3 more champs into AQ in replacement of an alliance member. This way players can stash these, and use them coordinatedly when they are busy with RL or even for when they go on vacation.
FINALLY. I'm not saying to make all these changes instantly! Kabam has already been implementing the carrot on the stick mechanic the entire time. Just that the current carrot has grown to be unappealing for the horse/playerbase, so adding something fresh and changing up how there is very little incremental value for end game players currently.
Let me know what you guys think. What are some other pros and cons and ideas I haven't thought of or mentioned.