Communication, the main problem that made the game go downhill.
Hello there. I've already talked about this earlier on discord, but I'll also post a more detailed explanation here since there is no 2,000 character limit on forums.
[This is going to be a super long text, so be ready]
I'm pretty sure the majority of the community knows the lack of communication is by far the worst issue that is causing so many problems and making it difficult solving other problems, which caused more than 96% of the playerbase (using galaxy players as sample size) stop playing the game.
Image 1: Peak of 891,000 galaxy players played 16 weeks ago.
Image 2: Valley of 35,300 galaxy players played last week.
That's 96.038% of the initial playerbase which is not playing the game anymore.
According to Play Store, COTR had over 10,000,000 downloads. So in average, we can estimate from 10,000,000 players that around 9,603,800 players don't play the game anymore and only 396,200 players are still playing at least once per week. Now that I had shown how bad the situation is right now, I guess it's time to talk what should be done to "stop" this non-stop downhill this game is going right now.
The best way to start is by improving the only "sort of" communication that we're getting, which is from patch notes. I'll compare the most recent patch notes to another game called "Mindustry", to show what a actual patch notes should look like:
Image 3: Mindustry 129.2 Pre-Alpha patch notes.
As shown in the image 3, this is how a patch notes should look like. Everything that was changed, removed, added or improved is written there. Now let's look at the most recent COTR patch notes.
Image 4: Crash On the Run 1.80 patch notes.
Let's make a quick summary before reaching into any conclusions:
"We're improving the user interface design and navigation"
Unfortunately, this is the only change from patch notes that is well informed which also benefit players.
"We've fixed a few bugs, mainly affecting bosses and runs"
I mostly assume this is referring to the seasonal bosses, but if a bug was successfully fixed, make it clear. We need to know what specific boss (or bosses) were fixed and what bug that were affecting the gameplay on them was or were patched. Hiding this information from us gives no benefit for anyone and only make the communication issues worse.
"Optimizing run speeds"
It's very weird that they mention multiple times in the other paragraphs that they are hearing our feedback, but they still insists on spending more resources, money, energy and time trying to find the specific speed the player "wants" instead of just making a option to change to the speed the player actually wants. It's impossible (impossible = absolute 0% chance) to always determine precisely what speed the player want for each level every time because of multiple factors, these include: overall skill, reflexes, but most importantly, preference. Please understand that it's impossible to determine a completely human factor, because sometimes I just want to play the level in a faster speed because I want to challenge myself, sometimes I just want to play the level in a slower speed because I want to chill/play causally or try something different.
I mostly assume this is the new feature of completing challenges that give 5 trophies. But once again, same problem - why not just mention what specifically is going to be changed? This whole unmentioned subtle changes is something you not only notice on the 1.80 patch, but in basically all the other patches as well. I'm not sure if the reward is still 5 trophies or not, but anyone that played the game and realized a few trades on Tiki head or played a couple survival runs know the reward is basically nothing.
"Balancing the economy"
If you're going to increase the requirements, at least inform us that it will be increased, not "changed". Considering now you can double up runs more often instead of once every 24h, I mostly assume it's logical to be increased to somewhere around 150~200% of the original amount. So as some of you already figured out, it's a completely unnecessary change, because while the overall resources collected are going to be increased (don't forget the double up AD's are not infinite), the requirements are going to be increased as well, so for new players it will take even longer to progress because the crafting time will remain the same. And I know why this was done, it was because of veteran players stacking hundreds of weapons right? So why not giving a usefulness to weapons via trading for other resources or even special events where you use them for global competitive (or even global cooperative) leaderboards with multiple goals? Or even better, ask for the veteran players itself what they would like to see changed on the weapons to make the experience for these players less boring. Instead they decided to make a completely unnecessary balance that was requested by zero people and ended making the experience for the new player worse.
Let's not forget about the next step, which is also the features that are being worked on and features that are going to be looked/worked on in the future. Once again, I'll use one of the Mindustry discord channels as a example. Something like this would be more than enough to inform the players about upcoming features. (Can also be used to inform about bugs that are being fixed and what patch they will notice the change)
Image 5: Quick example of how the preview channel looks like.
Anyways, I hope this made it clear of how important is to have communication between developers and players. As I said on discord - at least 1 of every 3 problems this game had could be easily solved or avoided with proper communication. This game still has great potential to be a great endless runner game, but from now it only depends of your next decisions since you already have all our suggestions, feedbacks, complaints and bug reports.