Changed levels, changed game

candysodacrushercandysodacrusher Posts: 176 ✭✭✭
This is my response to a post from the Soda Squad discussion, but as @Xarly suggested, I am starting a new discussion topic with it.  I am only including the parts of the post that I want to address.  

(When I went to preview this it told me the body was  2606 characters too long, so I will have to post it in two parts.)
**********
Xarly said:
Hi everyone,

Will now answer some of your notes made recently:
@Kathy_Shattuck and @Dirty_Nurse. Holy Guacamole!  They didn’t just change them, they CHANGED them!  

Why???????
The reason those levels are reworked is because a team of level designers is looking at the experience of new players and is improving their journey and making sure their experience is optimised. The fact that you are a high level player does not mean other players are not. You are only capable of seeing the reality from your scope and you keep taking that as the ultimate truth of what's happening. There are millions of other experiences out there that you are completely disregarding. As of today, Soda receives thousands of new players every day, so it's important that we make sure our content is up to date and exciting for them (and our numbers show it is working, which is great).
I kept playing to see how many levels were changed. The first 29 are totally different now, 30 goes back to normal. Also, why did they add the "stats"screen after every level played?? It doesn't add anything to the game, it's not like you get a reward if you beat your old stats. It's just another weird change to this game that I don't think anyone wanted or needed.
Those stats you are seeing are a small new addition that a team has added. They asked me recently to check on the community perception of it, so your feedback will be sent their way. I plan on creating a thread about this soon to actually gather a general feeling for it. It's a small addition to add for the player to be able to see their own stats and also another addition so that they can check how they perform compared to others.
the problem is that out of millions of people, we are ... 20? criticizing. The silence of most players is frightening!
If you look at other review/comment platforms you’ll see that on each one players like us have nothing but bad things to say about these various “team” features.  Nobody has yet said how much they enjoy the Farce or being part of a “team” made of cpu-generated “teammates” in any of the various platforms that I have seen though to be fair I probably only have viewed a very small portion.  The Farce, in particular, has been going on since I think February and I don’t think a thing was done to change it even with literally THOUSANDS of negative posts/comments/reviews/etc...

Trust me, they have received far more negativity than from just us here, they simply choose to ignore it for some reason.  I hope they lose a lot of players because of these poor changes they have been making lately

If you all would like to open a thread to discuss the feature, that would be great. I would appreciate if we stuck to feedback on the Soda Squad here, as it makes my job (and the Studio when looking through) easier.

Cheers,
Xarly
**********
First, I’d like to explain that my “”Holy Guacamole” remark was intended as an exclamation of surprise.  Nothing either positive or negative, just complete, utter surprise.  

Second, I’d like to say that @Xarly’s explanation of why the changes to those levels were made makes complete sense if one has been following, as I have, the stock market, specifically shares of Activision.  I won’t go into greater detail except to say that if you don’t know what I mean, a little internet searching will enlighten you.  

Third, I think Xarly is also correct, as least as far as I am concerned,  in his statement about looking at the game through the eyes of an experienced player versus a newcomer to the game.  But, as an experienced player, I also think that most of the changes made to the game in the past 4-5 months also benefit the less experienced player at the expense of the more experienced player.  And that hits a raw nerve with me.

As a consumer it makes me angry when businesses, in their quest to acquire new customers offer significant deals to newcomers when similar things aren’t available to long-term customers.  I’ve seen this with tel-coms, cable companies, banks, and car dealerships to name just a few.  I was actually told by a customer service rep “but we already have your business” when I asked for the same deal on something that was being offer to new customers.  The result of that conversation was that they didn’t have my business for long.  I think most businesses appreciate customer loyalty, but don’t always do a good job in showing it.

As an employee, I’ve experienced situations in which new, inexperienced employees are given preferential treatment in terms of salaries and non-monetary compensation over experienced, long-time employees with the explanation of wanting to attract the best and brightest.  Again, lip service is often paid to those experienced employees in “we value your loyalty and service” but actions speak louder than words.  My professional life has been in an industry that has recently been much maligned and experienced tremendous upheaval.  When someone says, “why would anyone want to go into xxxxx these days,” the only satisfactory response is that the newcomers won’t know the difference, and the veterans are the ones left most frustrated.  

How does all all this relate to the game?  Well, I think the changes in the game are part of an overall strategy to acquire and retain new players. I also think that some (most?) of the new features benefit newer players more than those at higher levels.  

Example:  certain levels are very difficult to pass without the ability to use or combine specific boosters.  With most of the boosters being awarded  as timed boosters, this takes away the ability of the player to choose when to use a booster or choose what combination of boosters will work best for that particular level.  In essence, instead of being able to strategize how best to play a level, the game is controlling how you play the level.  For veteran players, this is frustrating.  For newcomers, well, they won’t know the difference. 

Example:  in theory, the team events sound like a fun, exciting idea.  In practice (at least in my experience) they have been a tremendous disappointment.  As I have expressed my feelings about Mr. Toffee and Soda Squad in those respective discussion threads, I will simply say that for veteran players they seem to be a source or frustration, and for the newcomers, well, they won’t know the difference.

Continued in next post...
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Comments

  • YoscaYosca Posts: 278 ✭✭✭✭
    I totally agree with you! I am at the highest levels, and I still manage to complete an episode on Friday or Saturday. Especially when I have the double fish it is fairly easy. I make sure I have collected a lot of lollipops during the week by playing BGH and therefore I usually don't have to use any boosters. If I make sure that I pass most of the levels in the first time, I will be able to close the episode through the Rainbow Road boosters. If Rainbow Road also disappears, it will be difficult for me to stay on the highest levels, and the lack of boosters will completely decrease my interest in the game.
  • disappointedbykingdisappointedbyking Posts: 143 ✭✭✭
    All the vets agree, I think. Yes, I finally found your thread!
    I don't like BGH much, and am forced to play it to get a few lollypops I will have to waste to pass a few levels. I miss the quests and waste time replaying early levels to get points. I had a sad epiphany when I felt totally stupid playing something I don't like anymore. Obviously, the idea is to attract new players but who? My kids don't like the game -they are grown-ups now, and make fun of me when I play. 
  • LauraLMasonLauraLMason Posts: 295 ✭✭✭✭
    Good explanation of the business and economics of the game. Comparing the removal of quests and replacing with team features that offer minimal rewards is definitely like forgetting your long time customer and focusing on newbies that won't know any different.

    I have to use some similar strategies as listed above. I try to play as much as I can on double fish day. I usually find it to be the most helpful booster with hard levels. If you can win with the coloring candy booster and get on rainbow road you might make a coloring candy/candy bomb match. I do try to win BGH to gain some lollipops but some weekends I can't get past level 4 or 5! Sometimes there's other surprises but that is what is most consistent.
  • disappointedbykingdisappointedbyking Posts: 143 ✭✭✭
    well, it is a way too show us they control the game. I'm stuck on an impossible not hard level... I'll have to wait for good algorithms! Really not fun. 
    And BGH is too hard.
  • candysodacrushercandysodacrusher Posts: 176 ✭✭✭
    well, it is a way too show us they control the game. I'm stuck on an impossible not hard level... I'll have to wait for good algorithms! Really not fun. 
    And BGH is too hard.
    BGH is usually pretty kind to me, but not this week.  I must have done something to irritate the Bubblegum Troll.  😁
  • Clover_7Clover_7 Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Thank you for your well thought out response to @Xarly comments @candysodacrusher. It can sometimes be difficult to see things from the perspective of new players when that was a long time ago for you (I certainly haven’t been called a veteran before =)).

    I understand that the studio need to keep the game fresh to attract new players, but, does it really need to alienate the long time players at the same time? This forum particularly seems to value and appreciate the knowledge of experienced players.

    The conclusion here seems to be that it is the ‘veterans’ who are really suffering the effects of the recent changes. They are on levels that need the boosters that we are no longer able to earn, they have fewer levels available to participate in Soda Squad or MTF, or just to have stuff to do in the game.

    I would like to think that the changes were not intentionally meant to get rid of the older players and is an unfortunate consequence.

    With this and @candysodacrusher comments in mind (and I do realise we don’t actually have any say).  I’m interested in what others think would resolve this? Personally, I think having the Quest’s or something similar that ‘unlocks’ at a higher level of the game would be a good solution.
  • candysodacrushercandysodacrusher Posts: 176 ✭✭✭
    Clover_7 said:
    Thank you for your well thought out response to @Xarly comments @candysodacrusher. It can sometimes be difficult to see things from the perspective of new players when that was a long time ago for you (I certainly haven’t been called a veteran before =)).

    I understand that the studio need to keep the game fresh to attract new players, but, does it really need to alienate the long time players at the same time? This forum particularly seems to value and appreciate the knowledge of experienced players.

    The conclusion here seems to be that it is the ‘veterans’ who are really suffering the effects of the recent changes. They are on levels that need the boosters that we are no longer able to earn, they have fewer levels available to participate in Soda Squad or MTF, or just to have stuff to do in the game.

    I would like to think that the changes were not intentionally meant to get rid of the older players and is an unfortunate consequence.

    With this and @candysodacrusher comments in mind (and I do realise we don’t actually have any say).  I’m interested in what others think would resolve this? Personally, I think having the Quest’s or something similar that ‘unlocks’ at a higher level of the game would be a good solution.
    I agree—I don’t think there is any intent to disengage the long-term players.

    That’s a good suggestion about having events that unlock at certain levels.  Until I started reading these discussions I always assumed that every player had the same game, regardless of the platform they play on.  
  • HellsBelleHellsBelle Posts: 521 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well said. I did not realize that many of the changes were designed to attract new players, because as you said, I have no idea how this looks to a new player. To me, it seems often mystifying why they are changing things which worked for so long. Now I have a better idea of what could be the motivations. Thank you. 

    I have also said the precise same thing about feeling like a lab rat. I have wondered if there is an experiment going on to see just how far they will push a game before regular old players will walk away, and then what? Sometimes I think I come out of all of this feeling a little bit more like a pawn and a little bit less like a player. To be honest, it was easy for me to shrug off all of the negative talk towards corporate at first. Capitalism is what it is. I don’t know what can be done about companies wanting to put profits first.  However as time has gone on I do feel as though the leadership of this particular corporation is suffering from lack of direction and commitment to maintaining its core customer base. It wants to implement too much at once without knowing what was good and what was bad. It is almost like a midlife identity crisis. I feel rather sorry for the original King team because I am sure they can’t be happy to see this all happen to the games they love. 

    I also love the games that I play. I hope that whoever is calling the shots at corporate figures it out before they throw the baby out with the bath water. I am not sure if it is worth it for me to post here anymore insomuch as I do not wish to argue with anyone. I did want to say my peace though after I read your post. 🦇
  • Pickles123Pickles123 Posts: 103 ✭✭
    The game is boring, broken and corrupt.
    I don’t care what the data says, they are the facts.
  • Kathy_ShattuckKathy_Shattuck Posts: 40 ✭✭
    @Xarly It's too bad they couldn't offer two versions of the game for download, a "social" version where you can have Soda Squad and MTF, and a "solo" version where you could have the Quests. Then people could decide on their own whether they want to play with others, not be forced to. 
  • candysodacrushercandysodacrusher Posts: 176 ✭✭✭
    After my lengthy post about my frustration with changes to the game, I thought I should post something about why I enjoy this game.
    CCSS is one of only three “entertainment” apps that has held my interest for an extended period of time.  Since the others are a trivia app, a card game app, and a Sudoku app, they are nothing like CCSS.  And there are MANY that have been downloaded and deleted within a few days or weeks.  I did play the original Candy Crush, but quit that when I got to the levels where the time bombs came into play.  It was about the same time as CCSS was introduced and I fell in love with the game as soon as I started playing it.  I thought the design of the game was sheer genius.  Sprinkle Shell, the green soda that generates the fish, the way the candies move in different directions on different levels, those purple jelly beans—all awesome.  Okay, I’m not thrilled about the way the chocolate multiples on you, but...
    I love the features, especially Bubblegum Hill and the Quests.  The rocket races added a little fun without being a distraction.  Rainbow Road is another great feature as is the daily bonus.  The game was challenging and entertaining.  It was fun!  I loved being able to play if a had a few minutes to spare without having to worry about timing my play to take advantage of timed boosters.  I love the varied types of levels. I keep hoping to to see some new ones introduced or maybe a new type of candy.  
  • XarlyXarly Posts: 2,070 Community Manager
    Hi everyone,

    I've been up to a lot lately but have come always to read this thread, as I find that, for us, it is of great interest to hear what the veterans have to say, especially when it's done in such a mature and in-depth manner. The level of insights that you share with us, the way you feel and also your understanding of how the bigger picture might or might not be what you had expected is all very interesting and insightful.

    And to your points, I am very happy we could provide such levels of fun and entertainment to you @candysodacrusher. In the end, all of us here have been enjoying this game for quite some time now and are passionate about it (or else we wouldn't be here). The game is not derailing but I agree that Soda, getting 5 years old in some months, is undergoing some thoughts regarding making this game as successful as it has been and is, for the next 5 years or more. Which brings me to that point @HellsBelle made. I want to confirm that this game is not dying or closing at all. Candy Crush Soda is one of the most successful "match 3" games in the history of video games and we all intend to keep it that way and work hard to make it happen.

    I understand that the studio need to keep the game fresh to attract new players, but, does it really need to alienate the long time players at the same time? This forum particularly seems to value and appreciate the knowledge of experienced players.
    This point made by @Clover_7 is one I also find very interesting. In general, forums such as this, tend to be a space for the most veteran and passionate players, with thousands of casual forum users lurking. That's the usual nature of forums. That said, finding the balance to appeal to both the new and the veteran is a very difficult task, especially in an industry and genre that changes so fast. At King we constantly try to navigate that by focusing greatly on innovation while maintaining games like Soda, that are appealing to millions of players on a daily basis. As hard as we try, we not always get it as right as we wish.

    @Xarly It's too bad they couldn't offer two versions of the game for download, a "social" version where you can have Soda Squad and MTF, and a "solo" version where you could have the Quests. Then people could decide on their own whether they want to play with others, not be forced to. 

    This is feedback that I want to re-emphasise that is being sent to the studio, @Kathy_Shattuck. The ability to opt out is one that I agree should be there, and it's coming at some point soon. Making two versions would not work for the technical complexity of running two different apps, but the option of not playing socially is something that the team is looking into and is feedback that is definitely being passed on to them.

    And that's it! By all means, keep sharing your thoughts on the changes to the game and how, in general, you feel about the game. If you can add how long you've been playing and how often you do, it helps make the picture of your feedback a more solid and real one, when passing it on to the rest of the team.

    Cheers,
    Xarly



  • LauraLMasonLauraLMason Posts: 295 ✭✭✭✭
    Thank You for your response, @Xarly. I have been playing Soda for @ 3 years and made it to level 2400. I try to play every day. I have played other King games but have stayed with Soda the longest.
  • candysodacrushercandysodacrusher Posts: 176 ✭✭✭
    @Xarly, I’m not sure whether you can answer this, but I’m asking anyway.  It seems that one of the results of all the changes to the game is that it has become more random or unpredictable.  Is that the intention, or merely an unintended consequence?  

    To to be clear, I’m not talking about the game levels themselves.  The algorithms should be, and are, at least to me, mostly unpredictable.  That’s the nature of the game.

    What I am talking about is the randomness of the rewards in the new features as well as the randomness of the team configurations.  That assumes that the team configurations are random, and I’m not so sure about that.  

    With the Quests, you always knew what you were playing for, and even with the rocket races you had a choice of a prize.  No so anymore.

    I have found that not being able to pick and choose if and when to use a booster makes the game much more challenging.  I also feel as if I have less control over how I play the levels.  Given that in the redesign of the first few episodes the levels became significantly less challenging, it seems counterintuitive to me that the changes to the other feature make the game significantly more challenging.
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