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Super Awesome Quest

07-23-2015, 08:46 PM
#1
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 12
Super Awesome Quest

Long time lurker, first time posted.

I'm the Tech Director for a company called Boomzap; we launched a game called Super Awesome Quest last week. So far the reviews have been good, both in the AppStore, and in the press. Gamezebo gave us a 5/5, and declared it one of the top 25 iOS games of 2015 so far.

Despite that, it didn't do much at the charts, and total number of users is about 10K after a week. Which is a little heart-breaking for a game we worked 18 months on.

Anyway, I wanted to do a post-mortem of the launch process and launch, describe what we plan to do post-launch, and see if anyone here have any good ideas. There's a lot of very smart people here, both on the dev and user side, and right now I suspect I could use some advice.

So. Super Awesome Quest. It's a tongue in cheek RPG; we wanted something that felt a bit like Bards Quest, but designed to be played with a single thumb. Your characters (3 so far) level up as they go, but the bulk of character customization comes from what gear you wear; various pieces of weapons and armour give you different skills, and the skills show up on the battle board. Basically we wanted to take the randomness of the dice-roll, and replace it with exploration (some people have called it the love-child of Minesweeper and an RPG).


You can find the launch trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QiZmC355nc
Youtuber playing the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaQM6ewWvnQ

Your character is on the left (together with an optional pet); the 1-3 enemies are on the right. Each time you tap a token, it advances the turn, the enemies (and pet) trigger the attack when the turn-counter reaches zero. There's quite a lot of strategy in terms of watching what the opponent is doing and picking the right token to use, searching for combos that multiply your damage, and picking the right character and gear for a specific enemy.

So why did the launch fizzle? We had a small feature with Apple (best new apps, for South East Asia), which was nice, but didn't generate a lot of downloads. We sent personalized emails to about 3,000 websites and journalists (which is a lot like real work). It got a lot of reviews, almost all of them 4/5 or 5/5 stars, but again didn't generate a lot of downloads. We did fully localized translations into 12 languages, which got us a lot of good attention (apart from in France, where the freelancer we got to do the translation seems to have done a less than stellar job, generating some 1 star reviews). We didn't buy any CPI advertisement, though we'd be interested in fixed-cost advertising.

I think one of the biggest issues we've got is that from a screenshot, it looks a lot like a Puzzles & Dragons clone; it's not immediately clear that it's a turnbased RPG, not a puzzle/match-3 RPG. We also screwed up by not being in constant contact with Apple/Google, only approaching them towards the end of the dev cycle. Maybe that would have generated a bigger feature, maybe not. Hard to know. We should probably have had better support for Twitter / Facebook; there's a Super Selfie Booth, where you can take snapshots of your character and post it, but it's not seeing a lot of use. I'm uncertain if that's because people don't WANT TO, or because they don't know it's there; we'll add a tutorial in the update to at least point it out


I also wonder.. the game is VERY light-touch F2P. There are no timers, no energy mechanics; monetization is by selling packs of gear that you can also craft yourself, and the Super Welcome Pack (which gives you +25% HP/Gold, and some free gear). Maybe we should have just ignored common wisdom, and made it premium?

So what's next?

We're planning updates every ~4 weeks; one new 'Map' (whole new set of enemies, about 20 primary missions, 15-20 sidequests, 1-2 minibosses and a boss fight) per update. There's also timed events (Thanksgiving, Halloween, Xmas, Easter, etc). That keeps the game alive and well, but won't move the needle much in terms of bringing in lots of users.

We've also got a lot of features we wanted to do (and here's where getting feedback would actually be really useful).

We break them into 3 parts:

Social features. Basically various ways of tapping into social media, as well as using the game's in-game messaging, chatting, gifting, friending, etc functionality. It's at a beta-stage now, which is why it's not enabled in the build.

Multiplayer features. We've got an asynch PvP system that works (we had it running during soft-launch), and is planned for 6 weeks from now. It needs a ladder and better match-making to become truly useful though, and probably quite a lot of surrounding architecture (bragging, challenging specific users, ranking, personal enemies, etc). We also built a prototype realtime PvP system, which is a lot of fun, but strictly Alpha completeness atm.

Game Features. We're finalizing a system to generate lots of little quests (similar to YMBAB, or Crusaders Quest) to drive the grinding. There's also daily challenges being rolled out, and more unique gear.


So. We're going to push this to our best ability, though a bigger bang off the bat would have been nice.

To the hive-mind out there; what are we missing? What else did we do wrong, tactically and strategically? Are there features we're missing out on that would turn things around? Features we're looking at doing that you think is just dumb?

All advice welcome, and feel free to AMA..

Allan

Last edited by odin; 07-23-2015 at 08:48 PM.
07-23-2015, 10:06 PM
#2
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 28
Been following you guys for quite a while, here are my thoughts.

You introduced a new style of gameplay called "token flipping". I have no idea what these means. At a glance, it just looks like a match 3 game which the app store is flooded with.

Lack of a video on your app page. I'm pretty surprised by this. You guys are a decent sized studio introducing a new game with new gameplay concepts. Lack of a video is very disturbing. Your video should get me excited for this game and also explain a bit about gameplay.
EDIT: I found the video on the appstore, nothing shows up on the desktop itunes page. The video is good, but should be slightly longer. It gives good gameplay information, but it doesn't get me excited. There should be some footage of armor/weapon enhancements on my Paladin/Valkyrie/Mage that makes me go "I'm going to work towards that".

Give me purpose in this game. Is it multiplayer? Am I supposed to become the strongest combo maker (token flipper) in the game? If it's single player (or a mix), who is the ultimate boss I'm supposed to be defeating. What is that awesome item I should be grinding for in order to obtain? Is there a storyline?

Lack of community, this could be the result of not that many downloads so far, but if you have a community manager I would put him/her to work on creating a community around this game. Things I look for:

1. If I google "super awesome quest" a wikia of the game should be within the first page of results. Wikia should describe the gameplay, items, crafting, monsters, and strategies in the very least.

2. A Subreddit of the game. I often measure success of a game when I see it has a dedicated and active subreddit.

There's definitely some more things, but that's what I have so far.

If all else fails, a UA budget always works, but requires significant capital. I wouldn't pursue UA until some of the above is addressed.

PS: I would definitely join the Growth group of gaming insiders if you haven't already. Feel free to PM me if you need an invite, but the link should be searchable.

Best of luck and looking forward to your (super awesome) success!

Last edited by Unlockabear; 07-23-2015 at 10:10 PM.

07-23-2015, 10:29 PM
#3
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 12
Thanks for the feedback, Unlockabear!

Okay, let's go through your feedback, since I think you've got a lot of good points.

Quote:
You introduced a new style of gameplay called "token flipping". I have no idea what these means. At a glance, it just looks like a match 3 game which the app store is flooded with.
I think this is a key issue; from a screenshot it DOES look like a match3. The actual gameplay isn't actually puzzle-based, but an animating GIF, and a properly assembled gameplay video would go a long way towards dealing with it. I actually liked the reviewer who says it's a Minesweeper RPG

Quote:
Lack of a video on your app page. I'm pretty surprised by this. You guys are a decent sized studio introducing a new game with new gameplay concepts. Lack of a video is very disturbing. Your video should get me excited for this game and also explain a bit about gameplay.
Not as surprised as I am. Turns out video's missing from 4.7" and 3.5" (it's present for the rest)

Quote:
Give me purpose in this game. Is it multiplayer? Am I supposed to become the strongest combo maker (token flipper) in the game? If it's single player (or a mix), who is the ultimate boss I'm supposed to be defeating. What is that awesome item I should be grinding for in order to obtain? Is there a storyline?

It's basically a story-based turnbased-RPG. Clicking on tokens are equivalent to selecting a move in a traditional RPG, so attack, block, charge, heal, magic, etc. What tokens show up (and their probability) is controlled by your gear. Clicking on a token opens the tokens around it, so you're juggling opening up what moves are available, against using the attack right now. To make things a little more complex, you can chain identical tokens if they're next to each other, causing much higher damage.

Quote:
1. If I google "super awesome quest" a wikia of the game should be within the first page of results. Wikia should describe the gameplay, items, crafting, monsters, and strategies in the very least.

2. A Subreddit of the game. I often measure success of a game when I see it has a dedicated and active subreddit.
Subreddit is a great idea, I'll tell Monica. There is a Wiki, but it needs a) More Content and b) Better visibility.


Quote:
PS: I would definitely join the Growth group of gaming insiders if you haven't already. Feel free to PM me if you need an invite, but the link should be searchable.
Thanks I mostly hang out in TCE, but I probably should expand my horizons


In general all good feedback; I think your first points in particular highlights why a key issue we have.. how to get across that this isn't a puzzle game, but a tactical RPG.

Allan
07-24-2015, 04:16 AM
#4
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 12
So, I was explaining the game to a friend, and how a lot of people think it's just another puzzle-rpg.

After I was done, he said "you've basically made a CCG here, not a match3". Which is basically true, when you dress your character you're assembling a Deck. Each piece of equipment can link in up to 3 'tokens' (skills), with weights.



You've got 3 purely decorative slots (skin, hair, special), the Pet slot (the pet is an NPC fighting on your side), and 5 Weapon/Armor slots (which is where you skills from).



For example: blood hammer unlocks skills Attack II[4], Attack III[2], Shockwave1[1] (so 4x as likely to get an Attack II as a Shockwave attack). Most items give you 3 unlocked skills, though the weight changes (better skills have a lower probability). In general we've tried to group offensive in the weapons (sword + shield) and defensive in the armor (helmet, chest and legs)

When you play, those probabilities impact which skills are generated for the board



If two tokens of the same kind show up next to each other, they're linked (see the chain), and their power is multiplied up. Link 2, and you get 220% damage (it consumes both at the same time). Link 3 and it's 330%, etc. Each time a token is consumed it opens up tokens around it, or you can spend a turn clicking on a tile to open it up, trying to expand a chain.

You can see the info-bar above the skeletons on the right; basically the top number is their HP, the round icon is the next attack they'll throw, and the number underneath is how many turns until they attack. For most things you can press+hold on top of them to trigger an info box, listing what the attack does. So you're constantly balancing getting more tokens, dealing damage/buffing and healing yourself/poisoning or slowing opponents and looking for blocks, absorbs or reflect tokens that can help turn the next attack against the opponent.

Basically we wanted a full tactical turnbased RPG, but packaged into a really simple, single-thumb-playable game that is designed for playing on the mobile while on the train or waiting for something.

Allan
07-24-2015, 11:00 AM
#5
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 579
I like the odd match game as long as the fighting is really fun.
Hero Emblems was the one that held my attention the longest, though it always felt
like something was missing.

What you are talking about sounds really cool.

Just a few thoughts, wondering how far you can take the gameplay.

Eg. Can you have the player use his shield to shield bash to injure the enemy with a chance to stun?
Can you strike the enemy with a chance to disarm him?
Can you knock an enemy into another one damaging both?
Can you cause fear where you make one enemy drop his weapon and run away? After
the battle, you gain his weapon.

Thanks
07-24-2015, 08:42 PM
#6
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 12
Hi, Gemineye62;

It's out already, if you want to try it.

To answer your question, it's not a match3, it's an RPG (A match 3 on a 5x5 board would be pretty self-limiting anyway). Your skills in a traditional RPG (things like Attacks, blocks, spells, etc) are basically tiles on the board; chose when to attack, when to heal, and search desperately for a block before the dual-wielding skeleton knight attacks in two turns.

As for loot; you occasionally pick up hardcoded loot (you'll always rescue the cat first time you win level 3, for example, who becomes your first Pet). Most of the time you get crafting components, which you combine with your existing gear to make better gear.
07-28-2015, 11:47 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 28
If you haven't already, ask your current players to ask their friends to play, then reward them for it.

A lot of these games have this tactic and it seems to work well.

Try to make it an aesthetic change so it's not "game-breaking" or "too OP", but make it worth getting. Tier it out to encourage people to work hard, but reward accordingly.

Something like:

5 friends reached level 5: New weapon (exclusive)
10 friends reach level 10: Previous rewards + gold
20 friends reach level X: Previous rewards and more, etc, etc.

One thing that makes me want to play the game is the pet feature, love collecting my pets! Maybe you should make a really cool one for people who invite a lot of friends =)