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A short and long term solution to the "Empty world" problem in Genshin Impact
The following post intends to suggest a short term and long term solution to the late game lack of exploration/continued play stimuli and maybe even the Resin shudders issue.Also, I would highly recommend reading:
- The post by u/Iracy7 on the situation of resin: The situation
- The post by u/Vartio on a compilation of solutions taking financial viability into account: Possible solutions
I've just received an official (Mihoyo staff) notice that Reddit threads outside of the megathread are being removed to ease the moderators work. It was recommended that I move this to a google doc, so thats what I'm going to do.
Link to the doc: Journey System
Official forums post: here
I don't know where I could continue to take feedback on the idea so I'm taking suggestions.
The problems for the peopleThere are currently several problems the community has found with the game so far but I will list the ones I'm aware of and trying to think of a way to solve with the help of the community.
- Resin: There are many complaints about the system, plenty of them involve the limit on meaningfull playtime being relegated to 10-50min
- Progression: People don't want to wait a month worth of time to grind their characters to their maximum achievable level. This also ties into resin in a way since exp and mora can be obtained through resin.
- Boredom: After around AR30 most chests have been found and enemy camps become scarce and unrewarding, there are no more oculi nor seelies to find and if you've finished the storyline available (~AR35) then the world feels completely empty in comparison to the initial GI experience.
TLDR: People want to play more of the game. There is no proper continuous gameplay loop (something you can keep doing indefinetely). And just asking people to roam around Teyvat trying to find mobs that have a low chance of dropping a 1* artifact does not caracterize a proper gameplay loop.
Mihoyo is a company and profit IS importantAs pointed by u/Vartio the solutions must take the business side into account. I currently work as a Unreal/Unity dev and while 100mil is plenty of burst cash, its not something that will last forever while paying their 500-1k employees. Considering the minimum employee count and only 2000$ a month for each (very low for a lot of tech positions) this results in ~67 months of sustained development, since the game took around 3 years and 8 months to develop (44 months total) then this means they should have around 23 months of sustained development time from that money to further develop the game, and they must achieve profit to appease the higher ups.
It would be great to know the actual analytics of the game but I will proceed with this post considering the biggest draw for cash in this game are the character banners and not the use of genesis crystals -> primogens -> daily resin refills. I believe thats the case since the Resin is a daily refill of a resource that is not really aesthetically appealing and also require you to put effort and time (time is really key here) into converting such resource into what you are actually looking for (Artifacts/Exp/Boss drops/books) and that is after the genesis conversion to primogems. Meanwhile the banners have a conversion from genesis crystals to primogens(very fast) and then you are only 1 prompt away from a beautifully animated pull with usefull weapons for refinement/weapon exp and maybe a new/usefull/interesting character with gorgeous design and phenomenal voice acting that will either immediately strengthen your party if its a duplicate or make you extremely excited to try them out.
And thats where we hit a big issue. People can't try out new characters if they can't level them up. that is awfull for the money perspective. It takes away the point of the massive investment on the quality of these characters. I for once find Klee to be absolutely adorable and the basic attack that proc elements, effectively mine, destroy both geo and other fatui shields (not affected by the melee DMG reduction) make her a very attractive option as a party member. However, I can't afford to bring her up to speed with my current party, and having her get one shotted in the overworld makes me not even want to have her out in the field even for just exploration.
Other posts that tackle this situation: 1(Reddit), 2(Reddit), 3 (Forbes)
In short, Primogems are the most important resource for using the gacha system and I imagine thats where most of the money comes from, while character exp, artifacts and mora are the most important resources for advancing the game and making the overworld exploration worth it. Not having the advancing/leveling resources serves as a detriment to the desire of getting new characters. Thats less money. The rates are low enough that most F2Players are not gonna buy genesis crystals, but the value of the Blessing of the Welkin Moon (BWM) is probably enough to get the F2Players if they spend enough time in the game (I know I would purchase it every month as long as I'm playing).
I also believe rewarding extended play with more primogems (enough for a daily wish on top of the commission rewards) could maybe play enough into the banner urgency factor. F2Players that are close to their pity pull would maybe get the genesis crystals missing to hit the pity. In the current state buying genesis crystals require too much cash for too little reward for people with only 300$ of disposable income but 5h/day of disposable time, but the offer will be far more attractive if the exposure to the gacha system is more frequent. I know of at least 11 other players that will not touch the system untill another banner rolls in since they know they are not even close to having enough resources to hit the 5* pity counter in time. Reaching that edge of missing only 10 pulls while having only 5 hours left to purchase in the limited character banner is what I think will break the first purchase barrier for many. But that can only happen if they experience the gacha system more frequently.
TLDR: There is no point in getting new characters and spending money in the gacha system if players can't level that character up. You will not help many players break the first purchase barrier if they can't engage in the gacha system with enough frequency. Getting more people into spending is better for sustainability and extended development and there is much content still on the roadmap.
AcknowledgementsThe way to solve these problems must encompass the desires of both the people and the company.
While many complain about the Resin System, plenty of the problems caused by it are due to the lack of availability of the resources obtained by spending resin.The biggest culprits when it comes to those resources are talent books and boss drops for ascension of the main party and character experience for newly acquired characters + mora for pretty much everything.
When it comes to the time for maxing out a character the biggest culprit is character exp (11 days of optimal farming). Plus the ascension materials that can be farmed within 3 days of extended playtime, which I believe its fair.
When it comes to gearing up a character the biggest culprit is artifacts taking a whopping 16 days to get enough to fully level some 4*s.
Now if you remove those times (occupied by artifacts and character exp), its possible to max out a lvl 70 character in around a week with optimal farming due to the mora constraints. And while that may sound too much for some, it seems fine for me, its a month to get a entirelly new party up to speed for doing Abyss/Exploration, that seems pretty reasonable.
TLDR: Lack of mora,char exp and artifacts are the main source of player dissatisfaction when it comes to resources, lack of guided activities is a major problem as well, both get in the way of players and the company's profit.
My proposalsI know some people will not like this, but my solution for the current situation does not involve a rework/removal of the resin system. But instead alternate means of obtaining the most restrictive resources in terms of time investment (artifacts, Mora and Character exp) through what I believe is GIs strongest point, exploration.
The solution would come in 2 parts, one for the short term since the amount of rage against the current situation is massive. It will not solve the issue completely but should be a great measure in terms of return in player satisfaction per effort to implement. And another for the long term meant to solve the problem from the game while increasing sustained engagement and offering more spending options for players.
Short termPreviously collected Common and Exquisite chests respawn
- Suggested rate: 80-100¹ a day with 3/4 being exquisite
- They should be guarded by monsters/puzzles whenever possible to extend engagement time
If there is not enough chest locations for all daily respawns to happen, they will spawn untill all available locations are filled with extra spawns simply not happening
- Players would each have a chest pool that would fill at the rate above (capped at 700), as players reach a new instanced sub-region/sub-scene (when monsters/puzzles/chests are loaded) this pool would be used to populate the place, when the player leaves the region unnopened chests enlist themselves back into the pool. This happens until the pool is depleted. (credits to u/JumpingJackFlashMike for pointing out chests would still be hard to come across, I believe this fixes that issue)
- They should NOT award AR exp²
- They should keep awarding 1-2 primogens each³
- This should fill the world with content to explore every week so people that only log in on weekends can enjoy the exploration to its full extent while grinders have enough places to farm for resources each day.
- You've collected this before so its not a new experience (lore explanation), Throttiling AR is important and not having it entirelly tied to quests,teleports,statues was a mistake in my opinion. As it is, players can reach max rank before there is quest content appropriate for that rank that will hamper the desire to complete new content if things are not scaled properly and make balancing more difficult. That being said the game currently does not have a proper gameplay loop so players need the AR gain as the drive for engagement. This is a band-aid measure that I believe is already costing more than its helping since the abyss is balanced for maxed out characters so people want to achieve maxed characters even if there is no proper storyline progression to support that climb in power level and AR. The max AR for the current state of the game should be 35-40 and the endgame content should expand as the actual game content does so things are kept balanced and engaging.
- As previously stated, in the current state, engagement with the gacha system is far too low due to lack of free sources of wishes/primogems, I actually believe it should be 2(common) and 5(exquisite) primogems but I don't wanna push too much and get this measure overlooked entirelly. With 700 chests to open during the weekend giving an average of 1.75 primogens each, thats around 1200 primogems, thats almost enough for a weekly 10 pull and if you did all comissions everyday then its enough for a 10 pull. That should be the minimal engagement with the system to make it at least somewhat attractive. with the 2-5 primogems per common-exquisite chest its around 2800 per week or 3220 if you've done your daily comissions thats 2 weekly pulls for highly dedicated players which I believe to be close to the ideal rate of engagement since it amounts to 80 pulls a month, close enough to the pity amount to maybe drive some Genesis Crystal sales. The optimal would be enough to get 70-80 pulls per limited character event banner duration consistently but since this is only the short term measure and the long term one will also involve primogem rewards, it might be worth it to consider using the 1-2 primogem rewards even if the situation seems dire for now, since the long term system is something that will greatly help with the gameplay loop problem.
The first phase should just have the system respawn previously opened chests that are unguarded. Since there will be no puzzle/monsters to keep track of/respawn synched with the chest it should be quicker to implement.
The second phase should tackle the easiest of the two options monster protected chest respawn or puzzle locked chest respawn.
The third one should be directed at making proper UI/tutorials/resources for explaining the respawning chest mechanic. I.E. Paimon - "Don't be afraid to collect every single chest, they come back after some time, since monsters always have new adventurer loot to store. I don't wanna think about where they got that loot from though..."
The fourth one should prepare the respawning chest system for the Journey system, described in the Long term section of this post
All of these should be permeated with surveys to check if high AR players are noticing the respawns (if the spawn rate is significant), if they are engaged (if the measure was effective), if the rewards are balanced and if that has alleviated the resin issue after all exquisite chests can drop talent books.
TLDR: Previously collected chests should respawn togheter with their puzzles/enemy guards. They should spawn at a rate that will fill the world with treasure in about a week.
Long termWhat I'm going to describe is a system that will take a good chunk of time to implement but would go a long way to provide longevity for the game.
Introducing the Journey System (bounty was already taken):
- Players can engage with the system by either talking to an NPC, a board or an option in Paimon menu (whichever is best for Mihoyo) I'd suggest having an NPC to introduce the system/spend journey rewards and a board for starting/choosing journeys, they should be geographicaly close to each other.
- A journey is a guided exploration experience comprised of 8-20 encounters. They are divided by length in Short(8), Regular(14) and Epic(20) encounter journeys. And titled based on the last encounter: "Defeat the shielded mitachurl in Dadaupa Gorge"(Short), "Retrieve Lisa's book from the Abyss mages" (Regular), "Investigate the rising temperature near Luhua Pool"(Epic, ends with fighting Pyroregisvine).
- An encounter consists of any previously cleared monster camp/puzzle/boss/elite boss/domain and anything else Mihoyo manages to add to the open world that could be repeatable, have their chest rewards customized and trigger a step of progress on the Journey System.
- At any time there will be 3 journeys, one of each length, available on the board until the player picks one. Then the player will have that journey tracked similar to a quest and be unable to chose another journey until the current one is completed or abandoned.
- Journeys are proceduraly generated, there will be a list of viable last encounters internally on the server for each Journey type, a random viable one would be selected to be displayed on the board for each of the journeys and display the encounter description. When a journey is selected, the board generates a journey of that type with the selected last encounter by:
- Choosing a viable location for the last encounter
- Doing a Physics.OverlapCircle around the selected area to find nearby viable encounter locations until there are enough for the journey type
- populating each encounter with the appropriate mobs given the difficulty curve and region (Lyiue/Monstadt) and the chests
- After that a prompt to navigate to the first encounter will appear and completing all encounters unlocks the final one. That or you have to beat each encounter in order to unlock the next (might cause visible mob spawning, but I wouldn't mind).
- Difficulty wise journeys should be as hard as their length, with Short ones being easily cleared, regular ones taking some effort and Epic ones taking a properly built team with decent gear.
- Rewards can be given during and/or at the end of each journey.
- There are 2 structures for the rewards that can be implemented. A new currency type (lets call it Jpoints for now) that is awarded for each journey encounter with a higher amount being awarded at the end. The other being chests placed on each encounter and at the end of the journey.
- Having minor rewards along the way with massive rewards by the end depending on the length of the journey.
- The reward type distribution for the encounters and end of journey should be based on the length of the journey (amount of total encounters)
|Encounter count||Chests type||Journey points|
- As for difficulty:
|Journey length||Monter type at the start of the journey||Monter types by the end of the journey||Suggested last monster|
|Short||Basic Hilichurls(-10)||Whopperflowers(-5)||Whopperflower(0) or Shielded Mitachurl(-2)|
|Regular||Shield Hilichurls(0) with Samachurls (-5)||Abyss Mages (-5) or Geovishap Hatchlings(-5)||3x Abyss Mages (0) or 2x Cicin mages (0)|
|Epic||Geo shield Hilichurls (-5) with elemental Archer Hilichurls(-5) / Treasure hoarders(0)||Rock shieldwall Mitachurls(0) or Ruin guards(0) with plenty of lesser mobs||2x Ruin Hunters (+5) or 3x Fatui Agents/Skirmishers(+5)|
- As for rewards:
Why not just journey points then? Well chests are VERY satisfying to open, while just seeing the Jpoints number go up after clearing an encounter would feel just... good, but not enough to maybe keep doing this every day.
Would those chests award AR exp? No, as stated in the short term solution, providing a way to endlessly grind AR while the game does not have all of its story content in place is really detrimental IMO.
Would those chest reward primogems? Maybe. I think primogems should be rewarded mostly at the end of each journey, something like 60/100/240 total sounds like great number for me. I hope Epic journeys to take around 40-80minutes and 3 primogems a minute for a tough challenge sounds fair. Maybe Mihoyo disagrees, but like I said before, keeping players from touching the gacha system for too long will hurt the bottom line, there has to be just enough exposure to hook them.
- Other expected questions:
What are the expected rewards to be gained daily? Assuming you always do the same journey type:
|Journey type||Expected Jpoints / journey||Expected clear time (minutes)||Expected Jpoints / hour||Expected chests / hour|
|Short||160||10-30||480||12C + 18E|
|Regular||340||30-50||510||6C + 14E + 5P|
|Epic||740||40-80||740||4C + 9E + 6P + 3L|
Suggestions for each include:
- Nomad's Offerings
|Item type||Jpoints cost (per unit)||Available stock|
|Cycling 4* character of a set pool (the pool contains 8 characters that can appear in this slot that are expected for F2P users)||20000||1|
|Cycling prototype weapon material||5000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Claymore||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Sword||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Spear||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Catalyst||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Bow||1000/10000||1|
|Random Skin (when added)||8000||1|
|Random furniture (when/if added)||3000||1|
- Limited Goods
|Item||Jpoints cost (per unit)||Available stock|
- Journey Exchange Post
|Item||Jpoints cost (per unit)|
|(locked by AR20) Random 3* artifact||30|
|(locked by AR30) Random 4* artifact||120|
|(locked by AR40) Random 5* artifact||500|
How would all this be monetized?
Since the entire system draws power from time investment which is pretty common to be the most demanded currency from F2Players, I'd suggest making a high value monthly deal:
The Journeyman's pocket guide/Blessing can be purchased for 5-15$ and grants you 3-5x Jpoints gain for an entire month, thats a pretty sweet deal, and greatly accelerates character leveling.
Supply packs of Jpoints / Genesis crystal conversion to Jpoints ("who said the Journey NPC can't be bribed?"), suggested rate 1 genesis crystal -> 10 Jpoints
Nomads favor can be purchased for 10-20$ and grants you the current nomad offered character, skin and furniture + the current 4* weapon in a neat package.
- Having this work on co-op might be difficult but would be a phenomenal way to promote co-op mode if the rewards (Jpoints + chest drops) could be shared.
- It might be worth time gating the refresh of each journey type by having its cooldown after acceptance match the time expected for completion listed in this post (20/40/60 minutes). We don't want people rushing like absolute madmans through the journeys trying to min/max the hell out of their party. As some wise guy at Wizards of the coast or GGG (I think) once said: "Players will optimize the fun out of your game if you let them".
- If there is a need to do this implementation in phases as well thats alright but I think it would be a more impactfull update it it came up fully working. It could be announced 3 months before being ready with a beta test in order to start building hype. Ithink players would love to at least know something like this is coming.
Possible/common questions**Why is this post so disorganized/made use of feature x or y?**This is my first Reddit post, letting me know what is wrong will help me improve the post.
Why did you make such a long post as your first one?
After joining the Genshin Impact discord server it came to my attention that the posts deemed more relevant were posted on Reddit and were very detailed in their description. Since I already had a decently fleshed out idea of what I thought would improve the game I decided to create the Reddit account.
Why are you defending the resin system?
Because I think its but a shadow of a far more concerning issue, which is the lack of a repeatable and rewarding gameplay loop that benefits players that are engaged and deeply in love with the game's experience, or at least what was experienced in their first 2-3 weeks of play.
You wouldn't say this if you were AR4x+!
Maybe, enlighten me as to why please. I'm currently at AR37, 0 quests left to do, can't find a chest for the life of me, missing 2 documented seelies, all timed challenges done, all oculi collected. As of right now I don't see why I wouldn't understand the problem yet.
Hey OP do you take constructive criticism?
Heck yeah! Specially if you think of ways to increase the chances of this getting seen/approved by Mihoyo
Would you allow Mihoyo to just take your idea and run?
It would be my pleasure, no credit needed. After all my idea is derived from systems I've experienced in other games that tackled the issue of lack of repeatable content.
What do you expect from posting this?
The dream is to get Mihoyo to implement a similar or outright clone this system. The hope is getting the playerbase to help me refine this and shape it to be a plausible solution. I've only made premium style games before (pay once get everything) so having the help and opinions of gacha veterans would really help with shaping this post.
Anything you would have liked to do in this post but couldn't?
Polls, I think people can do polls on reddit but I might be wrong. I would really like to know the percentage of people that would buy the Blessing of the Welking Moon monthly should the game get an update with the contents of this post and the amount of players that would be willing to buy any of the monetization options offered here. Personally I feel like Genshin Impact would deserve a monthly 10-20$ depending on how well they could maintain the joy I felt in the first 2 weeks.If anyone knows how to do polls let me know, thanks.
Summary: Genshin Impact suffers from a severe lack of stimuli for continued exploration in the available late-game. Another issue is the cap of obtainable character experience and Mora required to level new characters. The first issue will push both whales and F2Players away over time (not long) and the second one severely damages the desire to engage in the gacha system since getting a new character is meaningless if you can't engage the current content with it. It is important for the game to have sustained development funds to keep the content flowing and the devs paid, so solving these issues is a must. Having chests respawn would alleviate the first issue since chest include the most restrictive rewards in the late-game. That should keep the F2Players engaged for at least one more month post 1.1, after that starting development on a system similar or equal to the Journey System should keep the F2Players engaged for a period long enough to start breaking their first purchase barrier. Until such system is developed its recommended that events be far more abundant when it comes to their rewards in primogems, since players need a minimal level of exposure to the gacha system and need to see minimal results coming from it to even consider a purchase. So 10x wishes should be an occurrence every player has at least 4x a month consistently on the analytics, if this is not being achieved then one of the greatest drives of a gacha game (the actual gacha) can be considered unsuccessful in capitalizing on the potential it has given the game reached such high engagement on PC and PS4.
TLDR: The game needs more chests and/or ways to get resources, this will be good for whales, F2Players and the bottom line of the company.(Edit) u/Tigger3584's TLDR version:
IssuesThank you for reading and have a nice day!
When you get to lategame, there's nothing left to explore, so the game gets stale. The limit on Mora and EXP is an issue for F2P and whales as well- what's the point of pulling new characters if you can't level them?
Rework chests- remove AR EXP from rewards and replace with a few prismogems. Also increasing chest respawn rates & adding mobs. Also introduce some sort of new system to take combat quests, with the ability to earn more better rewards for longer ones. The new system uses some sort of point system- that allows players to exchange for 4* characters, weapons, materals, etc. on a rotating schedule.
Removing AR EXP from chests slows down AR progression and gives MiHoYo more time between expansions. Extra prismogems incentivizes players to keep grinding for the gacha. The new combat quest system allows resources to not be bottlenecked and for MiHoYo to create a monthly pass for it.
Synergetic/Parasitic Design: Analyzing New Pokémon Mechanics [LONG]
Preamble: The past few times I’ve done this it seems to have been well received so I’m going to take another shot at this. I’m a game designer with ~10 years of experience and since I was younger I always wanted a game like Pokémon GO to exist. Seeing aspects of the game suck makes me sad and I really want this game to be good. Today I’ll be talking about Synergetic and Parasitic Game Design and how that relates to the recent mechanics introduced to Pokémon GO.
Games are made up of many mechanics that all combine to make a whole experience. The mechanics, like ingredients, can be very simple but combining them in different ways can make for a completely different result. I’m going to be using Pokémon GO, Teamfight Tactics (TFT) and Super Mario Bros (Mario) to explain these design concepts. It helps if you have played all these games but it’s not necessary to have played them. Afterwards, I will explain how/why Pokémon GO is doing this wrong in a way that hopefully makes sense to everyone having read this.
I’ll use the original Super Mario Bros for the first example and a few very simple mechanics. In Mario you can move left and right and you can jump. That’s it for player control. It’s also a side-scroller where the more you move right, your ability to move left is blocked off. Your objective is to navigate the world and get from the far left side of the map to the far right side of the map. Starting with just these base mechanics you can build on it in ways that synergize with the initial base mechanics. You can create enemies that you encounter that you can jump on or enemies that you want to not jump on (for example pits you can fall into). These are examples of synergetic mechanics – mechanics that work well together.
Following the same original Mario example, let’s say we added a new mechanic to Mario where you stopped to solve a puzzle in the middle of the level. You jump on top of a special puzzle block and a puzzle pops up on your screen and you have to solve it to continue the level. The puzzle involves you doing a word search to find the words “jump” and “Mario” in a 10x10 grid that pops up in the middle of your screen. Does this puzzle mechanic synergize with being a side-scrolling platformer where you move left/right and jump? No, it does not. This is an example of a parasitic mechanic. A game mechanic that doesn’t synergize with the others and is a parasite taking away from normal gameplay
In general (and there are exceptions) you want the majority of your game’s mechanics to be synergetic mechanics and very few (or none) of your mechanics to be parasitic mechanics. In order for a parasitic design to have value, the mechanic needs to synergize well enough with itself to warrant its inclusion. TFT has its share of parasitic mechanics but they are included in the game in such a way that it works. In TFT you collect sets of 3 champions in order to power them up and each of these champions has a role that gives you a bonus as you collect more of them. Most of these are synergetic designs which work together however some of them are “sets of one” where you look to collect 9 of a champion that doesn’t synergize with anything else in particular but does synergize well with itself. This is a parasitic mechanic executed properly.
The reason this parasitic design works in TFT is because one of the core mechanics involves collecting sets of champions that nobody else is collecting. If multiple players are trying to collect the same champion it’s going to be difficult to complete that set. Because so many champions synergize with each other that creates a lot of competition to collect those specific sets. In contrast, a parasitic design in this game allows a player to choose a champion that they hope nobody else will be collecting because it doesn’t really synergize with anything else. Other champions that are created with synergetic design allow these parasitic designs to thrive in tandem.
I’ve now detailed both synergetic and parasitic designs. Overall, synergetic design is always desirable while parasitic designs are edge cases that need a really good reason to exist. Parasitic designs force players to care about things they would not normally care about. In the TFT example, you can see the parasitic design having value in making the player care about a champion that doesn’t synergize with much else but delivers a path to victory if invested in. In the Mario example I put forth a ludicrous mechanic that interrupted the core gameplay and added little to no value to the Mario experience. Yes, you could add a puzzle in the middle of the game to complete your objective but why? And finally this brings us back to the mechanics that have been added to Pokémon GO lately.
Lately Pokémon GO has been laden with parasitic designs that take away from the core gameplay. They cannibalize other aspects of the design or break the gameplay loop entirely. There needs to be a really good reason to include parasitic designs in your game because it breaks the flow of the gameplay. Fairly recently Niantic introduced Mega Evolution and the execution of the mechanic was so grossly parasitic that it was very poorly received. Efforts to make Mega Evolution more synergetic and less parasitic are hopefully underway. However a new mechanic was introduced to this game that functions very similarly to the Mario Word Search example in that it’s a parasitic mechanic that completely breaks the core gameplay of the game.
I am next talking about the new Red/Strange egg mechanic to which I proposed a solution here in that it forces players to effectively stop playing the game in order to focus on the new parasitic mechanic. This new mechanic forces the player to focus on a thing that previously they didn’t need to in egg space. By locking seven new Pokémon behind a new special egg the player now has to remember NOT to spin stops in order to obtain the new egg and engage with the new mechanic. This is parasitic design that is mentally taxing for the player and breaks the core gameplay loop.
And continuing on this trend of parasitic design which prompted me to write this for everyone is the introduction of AR Tasks. Remember the Word Search Mario example? These AR tasks are basically exactly that. They add nothing to the gameplay and are parasitic designs that take away from gameplay to make you do an unrelated task before you get to continue your adventure. There are definitely ways to make the AR tasks part of the Pokémon experience in an enjoyable way but their initial implementation definitely isn’t it. And while yes you can give rewards that encourage players to do these AR tasks, they’re not going to enjoy it and will find ways to cheat/break the system to optimize gameplay.
Like many players, I’m frustrated when parasitic mechanics are released one after another like this. Too many parasitic mechanics make for a bad game. The game designers really need to identify the core gameplay loops and make sure when they introduce new mechanics that there is some level of synergy with the way the game plays beyond rewards/incentives.
I’ve identified three recent mechanics in Pokémon GO that are parasitic that do not warrant being parasitic mechanics. I’ve already covered in depth how/why Mega Evolution is flawed and how it could be fixed here. So I’ll look at the other two mechanics and suggest two different ways to fix the problem:
1) Most often the solution is to kill and replace the parasitic mechanics with synergetic mechanics so the gameplay flows freely. Here’s a proposed solution to the Red Egg problem that takes the parasitism out of the parasitic mechanic (quoted directly from a previous post I made):
With the addition of Red/Strange eggs, the egg system is in dire need of an overhaul. The easiest/best solution is having "Egg Settings" which allow you to choose the following with checkboxes:
[x] Obtain eggs from Pokestops.
[x] Obtain eggs from Gifts.
[x] Obtain eggs from Adventure Sync.
[x] Obtain eggs from Rocket Leaders.
Simple checkboxes that allow the player control over when/how they get eggs. Each with a clickable toggle to decide where you want to get your eggs from. This would be incredibly easy to code by calling a function with a binary check before running whatever egg code already exists. And this is now necessary. Full explanation below. Initially there was only one source for eggs and that was pokéstops. Obtaining eggs passively was fine as you could only get eggs from one place and the type of egg you would get was random. No need to control when you get eggs because it happens in the background and it doesn't matter.
The addition of 7k eggs from gifts changed this but it was still manageable. You now have the added frustration of accidentally getting a 7k egg (or a non-7k egg) upon opening gifts or spinning stops but because you could fill your egg inventory upon hatch, this was mitigated somewhat. Annoying but manageable.
And then we have Adventure Sync eggs. Because this only happens once a week, it's still manageable but annoying. Countless times players have missed out on Adventure Sync eggs due to having a full egg inventory and having to be careful about when they get eggs only happening once a week is not too bad. The problem with the new red eggs is it isn't on a weekly timer but it happens every time you fight a Rocket Leader which could be more or less depending on how often you engage with the new mechanic. Note that the new mechanic is the only way to receive Red/Strange eggs which contain new Pokémon otherwise unobtainable.
Currently we now have 4 (FOUR) sources for eggs which makes an update necessary. No longer is receiving eggs a passive thing. It is now a thing you must actively pay attention to and that is very taxing on the player. The player must now manage their egg inventory to make sure they don't spin any stops to pick up non-red eggs AND make sure they don't open any gifts for that same reason. The easiest current solution is to constantly run at 3500/3500 Pokémon box space in order to spin stops/open gifts without receiving eggs. This makes catching Pokémon very slow. Alternatively, don't spin any stops or open any gifts in order to catch Pokémon en masse. Bluntly: This sucks.
Playing the game has now become incredibly cumbersome as core mechanics are being stunted by new mechanics on an antiquated egg system. The new Pokémon are gated behind eggs that are received only through meticulous inventory management. This takes away from the enjoyment of the game because of the limited ways the player can control their reception of eggs. This makes my proposed solution necessary.
As far as UX design goes, egg settings can go both in your settings toolbar as well as the eggs tab with a button that pulls up the proposed menu allowing the player to control where they get their eggs from. All of this is easy to code and implement and could easily be pushed in an upcoming (emergency) update.
Recap: With now 4 ways we can receive eggs and players needing the choice of which egg they want to receive, the egg system needs to be updated in order to give the player control. Implementing red eggs without updating the egg system is a massive oversight that should be corrected ASAP. Proposed solution above.
Note that by giving the player these options the mechanic is no longer parasitic because the red eggs no longer take away from the core gameplay of catching and spinning stops. Now that the player doesn’t have to be concerned about managing their egg inventory they can play with the new egg mechanic in its new synergetic state. The player is given the ability to control and customize their gameplay giving them a feeling of control and not a feeling of dread when interacting with the new mechanic. You really want to reduce those moments of accidental gameplay errors.
2) With the AR Tasks, here’s how to make parasitic design actually work in your game:
The AR tasks as a standalone by their nature are always going to be a parasitic design. Much like the TFT example, there needs to be a good reason to include parasitic designs. In TFT there is enough depth in the design to allow for such a design to exist because although it doesn’t synergize with anything else, it does synergize with itself. How can Pokémon GO do this? They would need to create an entire questline with a storyline and more around the AR tasks as something that the player can opt into. Any rewards you can get from this also need to be obtained through normal gameplay (even if at a slower rate) so the player doesn’t feel forced into a part of the game they don’t want to interact with.
Instead of breaking away from the game to do an unrelated AR task, the design needs to make that the focus and really delve into what makes this ‘fun’. On that note, is the AR task fun? Because if it isn’t fun, that’s a whole other issue and maybe the mechanic shouldn’t really exist at all. But assuming they could make it fun somehow, how they’re framed is the biggest way to make this work.
As part of an event that focuses on AR Tasks, the experience could be positive because the player would be engaging in the AR tasks willfully and focusing in on the parasitic design. Each task would further the questline towards the goal of the event. Because of the nature of pokestops as points of interest, it’s likely the events would need to be designed specifically for each region but it’s not entirely impossible. It would require a great deal of investment to make this successful and fun. Is this worth the investment? Not sure. But this is just giving an example of how this parasitic mechanic could be done as there’s no way to turn this mechanic into a synergetic mechanic.
TLDR: Pokémon GO has been introducing too many parasitic mechanics to the game lately. I explain what parasitic mechanics are, point out the parasitic mechanics in other games, then point out the parasitic mechanics in Pokémon GO. Finally I propose solutions including turning a parasitic mechanic into a synergetic mechanic as well as making a parasitic mechanic work by changing the focus and framework. Honestly if you’re interested in game design stuff just read the whole thing.
Edit: Minor text fixes.