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zenobia42
12-02-14, 04:05 PM
Whenever one of us posts in a thread about how the topic of that thread fits in the bigger picture of the game, that "off-topic" post does not last long. So I thought, if posting about the reasons to buy or not buy a package deal is off-topic to the thread about that deal, or how one animal's absurdly long breeding or evolution time fits in the bigger picture of everything taking longer and longer is off-topic to the thread about that animal, well, it seems to me we need someplace to discuss that Big Picture stuff. To ask & answer questions, and to theorize about the game mechanics / psychology / goals / etc. overall, and how one or another specific part of the game fits in a broader picture.

TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAR: The topic of this thread is ANYTHING about the game that does not fit in a thread about a more specific topic. As such, the only things that would be "off-topic" are things about something very, very specific about the game without relating it to anything else, or posts that have nothing to do with Fantasy Forest Story at all. A LOT of people have expressed frustration that they cannot discuss these and other big picture things in other threads. We would very much appreciate if this thread not get any trolling type posts or any other post that gives legitimate reason for it to be locked so that all these voices have a place to be heard. Thanks. :)

zenobia42
12-02-14, 04:06 PM
For example, why are some people are given goals with gem rewards and some not? Is it different/more or less valuable to acquire an animal through breeding or to buy one, and if so, how is it different? What kind of game philosophy do you play by? What about the game mechanics - what are our theories on that? Especially on the greatest unknown in this game - the ODDS? Do you believe that the odds of getting an animal never change? Or that they make the odds worse as you level, and/or possibly change the odds based on whatever category they assign you to (like maybe big spender vs. occasional splurger vs. totally free player vs. newbie or something)? Do you believe the odds on any new animals are highest the first short amount of time then get much lower? Do you believe there is anything we as players can do to improve any odds in the game?

Did the Frankenswine switcheroo (where it was indicated to be a permanent animal then was suddenly put on a very short timer) bother you and erode your trust in the game or not? Do you feel this game manipulates you (a lot, a little or not at all)? If so, does that bother you or do you accept being psychologically manipulated as par for the course in any f2p game? If you are a free player, why, and what if anything would nudge you into making a purchase or two? If you are a paying player, why, and what do you wish you could buy / get on sale, and what trends in the game are leading you in the opposite direction - towards quitting?

What changes to the game since you first started playing have you noticed, and which of them do you like or dislike, and what do you wish would change in the future? Do you feel like any of TL's game updates are in answer to our requests for things that we say would make the game more fun, or all changes are solely for trying to generate more money whether it makes the game more or less enjoyable for us? Do you feel like the game is set up to be fun and easy, then becomes more and more frustrating, but your first impression of the game overrides that it is becoming actually more frustrating than it is fun? (In order to pressure you into spending money to try to get the non-frustrating game you remember from the early days of playing it back.) If that theory on the game psychology sounds totally off to you, what is your theory on it?

These are just off the top of my head questions. There are a lot more, I'm sure. I am curious what everyone's thoughts on any Big Picture aspect of the game are. Anything that doesn't fit in a thread about a specific animal or package deal or tournament or whatever. ANYTHING Big Picture / too "off topic" to more specific threads.

readysetgo888
12-02-14, 04:34 PM
I'm a bit sleepy right now, so I'm not going to answer the questions yet or post any of my opinions and concerns... but I happened to have some stuff written already, so I'll just leave it here for now.

I can never tell with this game when TL is playing fair and when they aren't. I understand the unicorn is super uncommon and that's fine, but I would think that the fair thing would be if most players were to breed it within a couple months of playing. If you are willing to stick with this game for months, the odds should gradually lower until you do eventually get one.... but I doubt it works that way, deliberately so they could have the Cyber Monday sale and other similar sales.

Like if it were just a matter of patience, but people want to buy gems because they are tired of waiting, that's fair as far as I'm concerned. The problem is, I never know with this game if the odds are unfairly low for some players on some animals to get them to spend money. Like, is is actually impossible for some to breed the unicorn? Or would everyone eventually get it if they were patient enough?

If the odds are worse for some players than others to the point that some accounts just flat out won't be able to breed it, that changes things. We don't actually know how it works and never will - but I do wonder based the fact that it just seems like for each account, there are some animals they just flat out cannot breed.

I have this same concern with the tournaments... it seems like each account gets different odds on being able to be successful in any particular tournament and it is very frustrating to me that it doesn't make any sense. How can someone be stuck on the same round for 20 tries when using the ideal fighter?

And that's my problem... more than anything I would like to know that the game is playing fair and that everyone CAN eventually get everything for free if they are patient enough. Then, if people choose not to be patient and spend money, that's how they make their money. But if the game is advertised as "free to play" you SHOULD be able to have an enjoyable time playing for free - get new animals, win the tournaments, etc - and just spend money to speed things up. I just have trust issues with the game. I feel like I can't trust that it's fair.... wish I could.

EviBrooklyn
12-02-14, 04:56 PM
Excellent idea Zenobia,
I am posting below what I previously posted on " Cyber Monday's" thread just in case in doesn't fit in that thread, I'm sure it will be fine here.
It seems to me that the more gems I buy, the more my odds drop. But this is just speculation as I'm not completely sure.
Either way, I hope TL gets to read this and take it into account
Here it is:



Dear Team Lava,

It will take you a second to check my account and realize that I'm a heavy spender.
Your Black Friday and cyber Monday deals were awesome and I'm sure I have pleased your AR department way more than they might have expect it.
With that said, kindly increase my odds of breeding new animals because the last 4 ones has cost me way way more than buying them. The thing is that you'll never be able to rip me off, so if I'm nice enough to contribute towards your corp revenues, be nice back by making the game slightly more pleasant for me. Otherwise, if I see the same pattern in the coming month, I will gladly spend the gems I have but I won't buy any of your packages again, on sale or not. That will be my retaliation against the awfully low odds of breeding.
I doubt that you'll want to lose my account.

Sincerely,
Evi Brooklyn

P.s. Kooky, I'm totally in subject so DO NOT delete this post :)

Vodelle
12-02-14, 05:05 PM
Well, I wrote a really long post earlier my thoughts on RNG, probability, statistics, and whether FFS is 'fair' across all accounts. I just joined up so I can't really comment on how FFS has changed or any recent debacles, sorry. But I'll go into my RNG spiel.

I've seen this across TONS of games that involve some form of luck in terms of breeding chances or rare items chances or whatever (which, really, is what most of the f2p games are built upon to get you to spend, obviously). I've observed that most people don't seem to really understand the underlying statistics/probability and are thus more prone to looking to other things to blame for their 'poor' luck -- such as the idea that certain accounts have better breeding/rare rates than others.

I think this is just paranoia and most likely doesn't make real sense. First, it would be a lot more of a programming task to have different breeding rates across different accounts. There is no benefit to doing it randomly, either -- someone who has really bad luck for a long period of time might alleviate that pressure with spending... or they might keep going, or they might just flat out quit. There's no way to know that on account creation, so the other option would be to change rates once you know more about the consumer. Think about the programming effort involved here. (Most f2p games are not exactly known to be the most rigorous at squashing bugs or implementing new features, so...) Even then, what could be attributed to calculated malice may just as easily and more realistically be attributed to built in RNG.

But mostly, I want to come at this from a probability perspective. Imagine that the chance to breed something really rare, like a legendary, is just 1%. For what it's worth, I have played quite a few f2p games that have that low of a chance to either breed or get rare items (often with a 'gacha' style system where pulling for an item takes, you know, like $2 each time...) so this is not an entirely unrealistic number. What does this mean? It means on average, it would take you 100 breeding attempts (or gacha rolls, or whatever it is) to get whatever this rare item is. However, you could just as easily get it on your 3rd try, or go 150 tries without getting it, as that would fall within normal RNG variation. That's how you can easily have some people who seem to have streaks of good luck while others fall by the wayside. Especially since odds are independent -- if it remains 1% each time you breed, then each time you have that low of a chance to strike gold. Breeding more times doesn't magically give you better odds (unless this was programmed, like Diablo 3 loot, but this is very rare). And even if you DID breed 100 times -- that's a really small sample size on an individual level.

Lastly, it's simply human nature to want to see patterns where in reality there are none. It's also human nature to remember the negatives (boy, I can't breed anything good for a month) and discount the positives (well, yeah, I got this super rare, but I already had it, so it doesn't really count). Even more so, we look for explanation -- it's way easier to blame something (the game has different rates! etc) than it is to accept that all that's causing our pain is just the roll of the figurative dice, over and over. I think the fickleness of RNG and low probability explains away the frustration people are feeling with far less conspiracy-like thought than the idea that FFS is actively screwing a bunch of people over. (Which they might be. I just think in this case, they don't need to, because RNG can screw you over perfectly fine on its own, even if everyone has the same rates for everything.)

zenobia42
12-02-14, 05:54 PM
One thing about the game that has proven anecdotally true, though it cannot be proven one way or the other is this:

As you progress in the game, your odds of getting an animal missing from your album drop. And drop. And drop. So if you are a new player, level 15 to say 19 or 20, TRY NOW FOR THE UNICORN. And if you get it, try right away for the other gem hybrids. The further you go in the game, the closer to impossible it becomes to breed them. I saw this in my own park and I see people posting all the time that they either got a unicorn <L20 or it took many months to get, if at all. People start second accounts and while they are low-level, the supers flow like water, then dry up. And it's not that there are few animals left for me to get - for the last 3 months the number of animals missing from my album has steadily increased not gone down. Again, there is no way to prove it, but the number of anecdotes is enormous.

I believe this is done so that the game begins for every player as REALLY fun. Every day you can expand, breed a couple new animals, level up and gain access to something new, etc. The game is fun because you can PROGRESS. Then, the well dries up. Most days of playing the game you gain NOTHING. It is at least as frustrating as it is fun... unless you spend gems to speed things up... to progress at even 10% the pace you could early on. But human psychology is such that one's first impression of something/someone is really hard to change. We think of the game as being as fun as it was for the first couple weeks, even if we have gone a couple weeks without breeding a single new animal. If we all were to judge the game based on the last few weeks of play alone, I think most players over level 30 would say it is un-fun a lot more often than it is fun... unless you spend gems. f2p company executives have gone on record saying that is the main reason these games exist: to get you hooked with super-fun easy early progression, then slow you down to frustrate you into giving them money.

Whether to spend their money on this or any f2p game is up to each of us, and I don't judge any for going either direction. I just want more eyes to be open to this manipulative tactic. I personally am ok with being manipulated like that, and entertained, up to a point. If this game crosses that line, I leave. I may go 2 months with no purchases then make 2 in one week, but any purchase I make is with the knowledge that I have been manipulated into doing so and accept that, and also stop and check when I'm thinking about hitting that buy button, and often stop myself and tell myself to be more patient. Perhaps that I do make purchases means I have an addictive personality, to suffer through weeks of nothingness for that next high of finally getting that high of breeding something new.

zenobia42
12-02-14, 06:06 PM
Well, I wrote a really long post earlier my thoughts on RNG, probability, statistics, and whether FFS is 'fair' across all accounts. I just joined up so I can't really comment on how FFS has changed or any recent debacles, sorry. But I'll go into my RNG spiel.

I've seen this across TONS of games that involve some form of luck in terms of breeding chances or rare items chances or whatever (which, really, is what most of the f2p games are built upon to get you to spend, obviously). I've observed that most people don't seem to really understand the underlying statistics/probability and are thus more prone to looking to other things to blame for their 'poor' luck -- such as the idea that certain accounts have better breeding/rare rates than others.

I think this is just paranoia and most likely doesn't make real sense. First, it would be a lot more of a programming task to have different breeding rates across different accounts. There is no benefit to doing it randomly, either -- someone who has really bad luck for a long period of time might alleviate that pressure with spending... or they might keep going, or they might just flat out quit. There's no way to know that on account creation, so the other option would be to change rates once you know more about the consumer. Think about the programming effort involved here. (Most f2p games are not exactly known to be the most rigorous at squashing bugs or implementing new features, so...) Even then, what could be attributed to calculated malice may just as easily and more realistically be attributed to built in RNG.

But mostly, I want to come at this from a probability perspective. Imagine that the chance to breed something really rare, like a legendary, is just 1%. For what it's worth, I have played quite a few f2p games that have that low of a chance to either breed or get rare items (often with a 'gacha' style system where pulling for an item takes, you know, like $2 each time...) so this is not an entirely unrealistic number. What does this mean? It means on average, it would take you 100 breeding attempts (or gacha rolls, or whatever it is) to get whatever this rare item is. However, you could just as easily get it on your 3rd try, or go 150 tries without getting it, as that would fall within normal RNG variation. That's how you can easily have some people who seem to have streaks of good luck while others fall by the wayside. Especially since odds are independent -- if it remains 1% each time you breed, then each time you have that low of a chance to strike gold. Breeding more times doesn't magically give you better odds (unless this was programmed, like Diablo 3 loot, but this is very rare). And even if you DID breed 100 times -- that's a really small sample size on an individual level.

Lastly, it's simply human nature to want to see patterns where in reality there are none. It's also human nature to remember the negatives (boy, I can't breed anything good for a month) and discount the positives (well, yeah, I got this super rare, but I already had it, so it doesn't really count). Even more so, we look for explanation -- it's way easier to blame something (the game has different rates! etc) than it is to accept that all that's causing our pain is just the roll of the figurative dice, over and over. I think the fickleness of RNG and low probability explains away the frustration people are feeling with far less conspiracy-like thought than the idea that FFS is actively screwing a bunch of people over. (Which they might be. I just think in this case, they don't need to, because RNG can screw you over perfectly fine on its own, even if everyone has the same rates for everything.)

You make a lot of great points. But just to play devil's advocate, isn't it possible that this game, and some or all of similar type games, have a simple line of code that puts each player in a category based on whether or not they have made any purchases in the game? It could be a simple yes/no as I know someone who has a jail-broken ipad discovered in a different f2p game, or something with a few categories. That would mean no one has to go into your game to tweak your individual odds, but your odds could change based on which box is checked in your game. Every time you put 2 animals in the den and tap "breed," the game's RNG takes into account all the elements present and all the animals available to breed right now with those elements and presumably says you get the common if you roll 1-50, rare if 51-80, or super rare if 80-100 or something of the sort. Isn't it possible and easy for them to set up that those are your odds if the "spender" box is not checked, but if the spender box is checked, then something like 1-70 for common, 71-90 rare, and only 91-100 super rare? Wouldn't it make them more money to do something like that? I mean, if it went from 50/30/20 to 80/19/1, it might drive people away. But from 50/30/20 to 70/20/10 or something like that might work. I'm sure they'd try until they found the right ratios. I read a story about someone working for a gacha game company being told the odds were too low for one of the collectibles and he just went in and changed the odds. It just took a couple minutes. Every time we breed, we synch to the server and it draws the current odds from there. And they can easily change. And IMO, they can just as easily change from player to player just by categorizing us based on our spending habits. And/or based on your level.

readysetgo888
12-02-14, 06:21 PM
So Zenobia do you think being a spender would make you more likely or less likely to have success on breeding? I'm thinking less makes the most sense... but honestly, I'm not sure that there's any particular advantage to a player who never buys gems being given better odds. They'd want that person to be frustrated into making their first purchase, while on the other hand, the spender has already proven that they will buy gems to speed up the game so the more they NEED to speed it up the better, right? I guess I'm thinking, lousy odds across the board makes the most sense anyway....

readysetgo888
12-02-14, 06:26 PM
Well, I wrote a really long post earlier my thoughts on RNG, probability, statistics, and whether FFS is 'fair' across all accounts. I just joined up so I can't really comment on how FFS has changed or any recent debacles, sorry. But I'll go into my RNG spiel.

I've seen this across TONS of games that involve some form of luck in terms of breeding chances or rare items chances or whatever (which, really, is what most of the f2p games are built upon to get you to spend, obviously). I've observed that most people don't seem to really understand the underlying statistics/probability and are thus more prone to looking to other things to blame for their 'poor' luck -- such as the idea that certain accounts have better breeding/rare rates than others.

I think this is just paranoia and most likely doesn't make real sense. First, it would be a lot more of a programming task to have different breeding rates across different accounts. There is no benefit to doing it randomly, either -- someone who has really bad luck for a long period of time might alleviate that pressure with spending... or they might keep going, or they might just flat out quit. There's no way to know that on account creation, so the other option would be to change rates once you know more about the consumer. Think about the programming effort involved here. (Most f2p games are not exactly known to be the most rigorous at squashing bugs or implementing new features, so...) Even then, what could be attributed to calculated malice may just as easily and more realistically be attributed to built in RNG.

But mostly, I want to come at this from a probability perspective. Imagine that the chance to breed something really rare, like a legendary, is just 1%. For what it's worth, I have played quite a few f2p games that have that low of a chance to either breed or get rare items (often with a 'gacha' style system where pulling for an item takes, you know, like $2 each time...) so this is not an entirely unrealistic number. What does this mean? It means on average, it would take you 100 breeding attempts (or gacha rolls, or whatever it is) to get whatever this rare item is. However, you could just as easily get it on your 3rd try, or go 150 tries without getting it, as that would fall within normal RNG variation. That's how you can easily have some people who seem to have streaks of good luck while others fall by the wayside. Especially since odds are independent -- if it remains 1% each time you breed, then each time you have that low of a chance to strike gold. Breeding more times doesn't magically give you better odds (unless this was programmed, like Diablo 3 loot, but this is very rare). And even if you DID breed 100 times -- that's a really small sample size on an individual level.

Lastly, it's simply human nature to want to see patterns where in reality there are none. It's also human nature to remember the negatives (boy, I can't breed anything good for a month) and discount the positives (well, yeah, I got this super rare, but I already had it, so it doesn't really count). Even more so, we look for explanation -- it's way easier to blame something (the game has different rates! etc) than it is to accept that all that's causing our pain is just the roll of the figurative dice, over and over. I think the fickleness of RNG and low probability explains away the frustration people are feeling with far less conspiracy-like thought than the idea that FFS is actively screwing a bunch of people over. (Which they might be. I just think in this case, they don't need to, because RNG can screw you over perfectly fine on its own, even if everyone has the same rates for everything.)

I replied when you posted this before but don't know if you saw it... interesting post! I'm a big nerd and find statistical analysis very interesting. You're definitely correct about how difficult it for people to understand chance and probability, and how anecdotal evidence is completely useless as proof of anything. The "odds being independent" part is the most difficult to grasp from what I've seen. A 1% chance is a 1% chance every time, regardless of whether you've tried once or 1000 times. The only way that isn't true is if the game were to adjust the odds.... so that on each try you would be slightly more likely to get it than on the try before, but I've seen no evidence whatsoever that that mechanism is at work in FFS, nor would I expect it to be. It would certainly be nice... as I said, for example, if your odds in getting a unicorn gradually increase so that it's not really possible to play for a year without getting one. But I imagine it is completely possible, as a 1% chance is a freakin 1% chance every single time you take it. I wouldn't bet much on those odds.

That brings me back to something else I've mentioned before.... I do think they mess with the chances for certain animals at certain times. I'm pretty sure the chances are higher when an animal is first released, and then drop off. I think the chances of new rares are worse than the chances of older rares of the same elements. I think they lowered the chances of getting a unicorn a couple months ago and that a lot of people got theirs during this time and that the chances got worse again after that. I can't prove any of that.

Vodelle
12-02-14, 06:34 PM
edit: readysetgo888 kind of covered my points more succinctly while I was typing this, haha (and no, I didn't get to see any responses after my post in the other thread :()


You make a lot of great points. But just to play devil's advocate, isn't it possible that this game, and some or all of similar type games, have a simple line of code that puts each player in a category based on whether or not they have made any purchases in the game? It could be a simple yes/no as I know someone who has a jail-broken ipad discovered in a different f2p game, or something with a few categories. That would mean no one has to go into your game to tweak your individual odds, but your odds could change based on which box is checked in your game. Every time you put 2 animals in the den and tap "breed," the game's RNG takes into account all the elements present and all the animals available to breed right now with those elements and presumably says you get the common if you roll 1-50, rare if 51-80, or super rare if 80-100 or something of the sort. Isn't it possible and easy for them to set up that those are your odds if the "spender" box is not checked, but if the spender box is checked, then something like 1-70 for common, 71-90 rare, and only 91-100 super rare? Wouldn't it make them more money to do something like that? I mean, if it went from 50/30/20 to 80/19/1, it might drive people away. But from 50/30/20 to 70/20/10 or something like that might work. I'm sure they'd try until they found the right ratios. I read a story about someone working for a gacha game company being told the odds were too low for one of the collectibles and he just went in and changed the odds. It just took a couple minutes. Every time we breed, we synch to the server and it draws the current odds from there. And they can easily change. And IMO, they can just as easily change from player to player just by categorizing us based on our spending habits. And/or based on your level.

I won't argue the fact that it is possible to program. But I will argue that coding it properly would take a lot more effort than I'm willing to give most of these f2p games. Here's the thing -- your scenario is still not ideal from a programming/gaming perspective. In my original post, I mentioned the fact that you have no clue how a player would behave if you just had different rates for different accounts randomly, right? People might persevere (not knowing any better), people might buy to ease frustration, people might flat out quit because they perceive the game isn't fun. Now, obviously they could do a wide variety of rigorous analytics to figure out what kind of effect different rates would have on different accounts, but the reality is, while they're testing that, they may well lose many more potential customers than they might gain. From my experience, f2p mobile games are not going to be taking huge risks to find this out (why are there so many clones of the popular games? ;))

So, let's take your spender/non spender scenario. Even then, it's important to know how players spend. Do they buy gems so they can buy the animals flat out? (Do they wait for a sale -- I would hope so -- or just buy them for the 1000 gems or whatever straight up?) Do they buy gems and then do speed breeding? Do they go for the random offers, but don't take part in the previous two things I mentioned? Do they buy gems to transform into treasure? Just to buy grand groves? Now, a good company would be doing analytics on that sort of thing, but even then, that's a lot of programming effort to figure out what the optimal pressure point for people is. Someone who only buys offers or only buys discounted grand habitats might not be swayed by lower breeding rates like someone who speed breeds is. (And even then, if they speed breed and keep failing over and over, how long will they keep that up for? etc)

In my mind, the simpler solution is to just have low rates across the board. Some players will get lucky, others will spend a long time trying to get what they want (and some of those will resort to spending money). And usually, the simplest solution is the actual one used.

Now, I also don't disagree that they can tweak rates on the fly. It's possible they stealth tweak RNG for animals -- maybe the crystal unicorn had a better success rate earlier, or worse, or who knows. Maybe a new animal comes out and it has a higher rate than they want so they tweak it a bit down over the course of the week (and it only takes a percentage point in either direction to potentially have a huge impact on how rare something is!).

As for your other post -- the plural of anecdotes is not data. ;) I think a lot of that factors into human biases again. When you start out, basically everything in your album is up for grabs. Each rare and super rare you get feels unique and special and, well, new. After you've been playing, the new animals dry up and all of a sudden you start noticing your 'fails' more and more while the 'new' animals are few and far between -- but that's natural, because instead of 60 or 70 animals you can go for, you're down to 15 or 20 or less. That said, I'm new right now -- so in a couple of months I'll let you know how I've been faring, haha. I would write down all my breedings, but even if I recorded my next 100 attempts, that would barely be a blip in the world of statistics.

EviBrooklyn
12-02-14, 06:34 PM
So Zenobia do you think being a spender would make you more likely or less likely to have success on breeding? I'm thinking less makes the most sense... but honestly, I'm not sure that there's any particular advantage to a player who never buys gems being given better odds. They'd want that person to be frustrated into making their first purchase, while on the other hand, the spender has already proven that they will buy gems to speed up the game so the more they NEED to speed it up the better, right? I guess I'm thinking, lousy odds across the board makes the most sense anyway....

once a spender, always a spender..
It's easier to lower the odds for those who buy, thus forcing them to spend what they have and buy more than trying to get someone that doesnt buy, to buy.
Deals like the last one with the unicorn or with the big habitats (150 gems each) was aimed at those who don't usually buy.
The 40% off on gems was targeting mostly those who usually do buy.
But again, I think it's easier to try to get those who spend to spend some more than work on the non spenders.
Oh well, it's all business to TL and I don't blame them either.

zenobia42
12-02-14, 07:07 PM
If I had not seen the readout of data from a friend with a jail-broken device in another game, to know for a fact that game categorizes people as spenders or free players, I would not be so suspicious of all f2p games. But I saw it. And while I do not know exactly how that switch affected the gameplay of that game, I do think it likely that other f2p games have that switch. And equally likely that the switch is used to try to squeeze more out of the paying players. And as Evi said, once the seal on paying for a free game is broken by a player, it is much more likely that that player will spend more money than it is that a free player will break the seal. So it makes sense to try to coax free players to start paying, but is probably even more fruitful to get those with broken seals to spend more, more, more.

Some f2p games depend so much on their biggest spender that 1 of them is worth 1000 small spenders. We are not allowed to post outside links to articles on the forum but I will say the phenomenon you can search for is "Chasing the whale." Company execs have actually tracked down big spenders they lost outside the game to try to coax them back. Don't think this company is like that, but I do think thhey use subtle and not-subtle tactics to convince players to spend more, and that manipulating the odds is an easy way to do that.

Whether or not the breeding odds get worse for spenders, or for higher-level players, or for animals after an initial high success rate, I firmly believe the tactic of making a game easy, then frustrating enough to nudge us to spend money to regain the lost glory days, is present in this and pretty much any f2p game. The following is a quote from the CEO of a different huge gaming company to a stockholder's meeting:

The second thing and this is a point that I think might be lost on many, is a big and substantial portion of digital revenues are microtransactions. When you are 6 hours into playing [their f2p game], and you run out of ammo in your clip, and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you're really not very price sensitive at that point in time. And for what it's worth the COGS on the clip are really low, and so, essentially what ends up happening and the reason the play first pay later model works so nicely, is a consumer gets engaged in a property they might spend 10, 20, 30, 50 hours on the game, and then when they're deep into the game they're well invested in it, we're not gouging, but we're charging, and at that point in time the commitment can be pretty high. As a personal anecdote I spent about $5000 calendar year to date on doing just this thing, this type of thing, on our products and others, I can readily attest to how well it works. But it is, it's a great model and I think it represents a substantially better future for the industry.

Vodelle
12-02-14, 07:17 PM
I know what whales are, no worries. Although, obviously, for whales to want to spend in a game, there has to be a healthy community/economy as well (whales don't want to be the whale of a small, dying pond with no fish in it). I've known people who have spent five figures on mobile games, haha.

I definitely agree that, once someone has spent money, they are more likely to keep spending. And I am 100% certain analytics are definitely being kept on who buys how much / what / etc - it would be really bad business for them if they weren't keeping track of their profitability and how it's being generated. And yes, maybe it's possible they adjust rates down... but it just seems like poor form to me. Yes, paying players will keep paying... but if they catch wind of being fleeced or are frustrated for too long, there comes a time they quit, too. And whales / high-paying players quitting is exactly what these games don't want to happen.

(edit: also, it just seems like a bad strategy to me. I spend $$ on the package, but I'm not a speed-breeder or buy-from-the-store type of person. If my $5 purchase rewarded me with worse rates... well... counter-intuitive. not everyone will keep spending or spend in the same way, and they don't want to alienate the type of player who maybe drops $2-5 here and there)

zenobia42
12-02-14, 07:39 PM
I know what whales are, no worries. Although, obviously, for whales to want to spend in a game, there has to be a healthy community/economy as well (whales don't want to be the whale of a small, dying pond with no fish in it). I've known people who have spent five figures on mobile games, haha.

I definitely agree that, once someone has spent money, they are more likely to keep spending. And I am 100% certain analytics are definitely being kept on who buys how much / what / etc - it would be really bad business for them if they weren't keeping track of their profitability and how it's being generated. And yes, maybe it's possible they adjust rates down... but it just seems like poor form to me. Yes, paying players will keep paying... but if they catch wind of being fleeced or are frustrated for too long, there comes a time they quit, too. And whales / high-paying players quitting is exactly what these games don't want to happen.

Since you know what "gacha" is, I figured you of anyone here knows what whales are lol! I know a reformed whale who spent 5 digits as well. Glad he swam away from it.

Anyway, unless one of us starts dating a loose-lipped TL employee, we'll never know if they change the odds from player to player. Or for an animal over time. It just seems that way to me. But that may be because after reading articles in game industry internet magazines I've become extremely jaded and suspicious. I also lost a good amount of trust / willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt, after seeing one of the tactics we know for a fact this company has pulled on us: pretending an animal (Frankenswine) is a permanent addition by marking it exactly the same as all other permanent animals, AFTER the first limited animal in this game was released and that one was upfront about being limited from the start... then suddenly putting an extremely short (4-day) timer on it. IMO, that was really underhanded. I didn't like that at all. And now I have to wonder if any new animal (or old!!!) might suddenly get a 1/2-week timer on it, ensuring those who didn't get it yet now have an exceptionally low chance of getting it due to the sudden time limitation no matter if the odds are unchanged... unless they spend money to get it. That REALLY ticked me off. Not so much the Frankenswine itself, but the fear it instilled in so many of us that the rug might get pulled out from under us again.

Also, this company has a practice, more obvious in other of its games than this one, of making "gem traps" as they are called in the TL forums. This is another tactic that TL is not alone in practicing, in which the button to spend premium game currency is in the EXACT same location as where you would tap next had something not gone wrong. For example, if you are planting your farms, you tap "plant" on one farm then tap the next farm then the plant button again. But if the game doesn't like the way you tap the next farm, you "accidentally" hit the speed up button on the first farm. The speed-up button could be anywhere on the screen. But they choose to place it EXACTLY where the plant button is, and they also somehow do not register that you tapped the next farm. Gems gone. No gem spend confirmation button as IMO more ethical companies have. I also know from personal experience that if you lose $15 worth of gems in a single tap gem trap in a TL game, and tell support you really didn't tap the speed up button, you tapped a little to near it, you will not only not get a refund, but you will not be treated with a shred of humanity. They CAN put gem confirmation buttons in their games. Other companies do. And in Castle Story, there is a 30-page thread (http://forums.storm8.com/showthread.php?39358-Missing-Gem-anyone-Gem-Confirmation/page30) of people telling nearly the same story as mine, and begging for a gem confirmation button, and they don't even deign to reply to the thread. If you fall into a purposely laid gem trap, your money is taken from you. So I do not believe this company is the most ethical one around. And those two examples are why I am suspicious of them in general. Perhaps the the worse odds for paying players is just a conspiracy theory. But it is one founded not on thin air, but on examples of other ways this company heavily manipulates and outright takes gems from us without our permission.

Vodelle
12-02-14, 07:45 PM
zenobia -- haha, oh don't worry, I posted about the gem trap already too (http://forums.storm8.com/showthread.php?71464-Gem-Confirmation&p=1012406&viewfull=1#post1012406) :p I've played games where they had that same issue but fixed it after people complaining, so the fact that TL hasn't does indeed speak volumes about ethics.

I guess I just like to be optimistic about the games I'm playing. (When I lose that optimism, I stop playing!) I understand I'm coming in here without much knowledge of prior events / having played the game for long, so I can understand why our outlooks would differ. For what it's worth, I do think FFS is one of the less 'friendly' f2p island games. I'm playing another one right now that's a lot more communicative with its userbase. In fact, you can upgrade your breeding tree there, and the last upgrade not only reduces time but gives you a 20% bonus to breeding rare combinations.

To be fair, I once saw someone complaining about their luck (or lack of) there, too, but I can't see that game in particular doing something underhanded like having different rates for different people at all, and it was clear that person didn't understand statistics at all. For now I'm just going to assume that FFS just has really low rates for anything nice (like limiteds) and go about my way. :p

EviBrooklyn
12-02-14, 07:46 PM
Whether or not the breeding odds get worse for spenders, or for higher-level players, or for animals after an initial high success rate, I firmly believe the tactic of making a game easy, then frustrating enough to nudge us to spend money to regain the lost glory days, is present in this and pretty much any f2p game. The following is a quote from the CEO of a different huge gaming company to a stockholder's meeting:

When odds are too low, it becomes frustrating for the paying customer
Starting with toucan and any new (limited or not) animal, my experiences has been that speeding the breeding has cost me more than buying them straight out from the store. I would totally stop buying if I have the same experience this coming month.
If I spend money on gems its because I like to spend on my entertainment not because TL is good at getting me to do that. I don't like to be played for stupid and obviously TL wont be able to achieve that either as they use standard industry methods that many people are familiar with...we go too often to Atlantic City to know better, there's a time that you just get up and leave. My husband is pretty good at getting up and leaving when he is making money and stop gambling when odds are completely against him. It's about self-control.

zenobia42
12-02-14, 07:50 PM
zenobia -- haha, oh don't worry, I posted about the gem trap already too (http://forums.storm8.com/showthread.php?71464-Gem-Confirmation&p=1012406&viewfull=1#post1012406) :p I've played games where they had that same issue but fixed it after people complaining, so the fact that TL hasn't does indeed speak volumes about ethics.

I guess I just like to be optimistic about the games I'm playing. (When I lose that optimism, I stop playing!) I understand I'm coming in here without much knowledge of prior events / having played the game for long, so I can understand why our outlooks would differ. For what it's worth, I do think FFS is one of the less 'friendly' f2p island games. I'm playing another one right now that's a lot more communicative with its userbase. In fact, you can upgrade your breeding tree there, and the last upgrade not only reduces time but gives you a 20% bonus to breeding rare combinations.

Most of what I'm saying, though in response to you, is aimed at the general reading audience not you in particular - sorry if it seems like I'm explaining things to you that you probably know more about than I!!!

Anyway, I'm enjoying the conversations in this thread. Your thoughts are so different from mine and that is just the sort of thing I like to hear and inform / influence my opinion. I hope this thread stays alive. :)

zenobia42
12-02-14, 07:56 PM
When odds are too low, it becomes frustrating for the paying player.
Starting with toucan and any new (limited or not) animal, my experiences has been that speeding the breeding has cost me more than buying them straight out from the store. I would totally stop buying if I have the same experience this coming month.
If I spend money on gems its because I like to spend on my entertainment not because TL is good at getting me to do that. I don't like to be played for stupid and obviously TL wont be able to achieve that either as they use standard industry methods that many people are familiar with...we go too often to Atlantic City to know better, there's a time that you just get up and leave. My husband is pretty good at getting up and leaving when he is making money and stop gambling when odds are completely against him. It's about self-control.

Exactly! I think it's great that people spend money on this game... people who understand that they use these tactics and accept that as part of the game. But I don't think these tactics are as common knowledge as you and Vodelle think. I just don't want other players who are new to the whole f2p thing to spend without realizing that there is a whole lot of manipulation going on. So that's why I started this thread to talk about that and other Big Picture issues with the game. So anyone playing the game and checking out the forum can make an informed decision about spending on the game or not.

Vodelle
12-02-14, 08:00 PM
Exactly! I think it's great that people spend money on this game... people who understand that they use these tactics and accept that as part of the game. But I don't think these tactics are as common knowledge as you and Vodelle think. I just don't want other players who are new to the whole f2p thing to spend without realizing that there is a whole lot of manipulation going on. So that's why I started this thread to talk about that and other Big Picture issues with the game. So anyone playing the game and checking out the forum can make an informed decision about spending on the game or not.
Yeah, all these tricks seem like 10000% common knowledge to me. Props to Brooklyn for not putting up with overbearing f2p practices, either. I'm personally willing to spend money, but I'm not going to dump endless amounts into games that are obviously only trying to get more from me unless I'm getting something back from them. :p

...but I am definitely reminded of a different dragon/island/breeding game I played for a bit maybe half a year ago. Their first special event week had people speed-breeding etc. And boy did people get mad afterwards the one time I peeked into the forums. Stuff about the game fleecing them out of their currency because they expected to get the super rare, blah blah blah. I mean, yeah, if you speed breed and still don't get what you're looking for, it really sucks, but that's a chance you take in this kind of scenario. It wasn't just that, it was them getting angry over basic f2p premium currency spending incentives/typical poor luck etc. I felt really bad for them, because if somehow you're new to the world of f2p, $5 can turn into $50 can turn into a sour mood real fast.

[S8] Elsa
12-03-14, 10:53 AM
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Closing this up for being an off topic thread. Free for all style threads more often than not turn into disruptions and spam.

If there's not an existing thread about the topic you're discussing (there are a few about the topics mentioned here already), feel free to create a new one as long as it's within the forum rules.

Thank you! :)