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Brawl Stars Monetization Discussion

06-19-2017, 11:43 AM
#1
Brawl Stars Monetization Discussion

I played for a few hours now. The game is a lot of fun, but the IAP system seems broken IMO, curious what others think. In a nutshell, here are my concerns.

1. You can buy power. While this more or less worked for their 1v1 games, now it means that each game is a mix of low-skill paying players and free players who know what they're doing. I'm finding most of my games (wins and losses) feel hollow because it plays out in a very one-sided fashion.

2. When you boost characters, it's permanent and irreversible. As someone else noted, the characters are currently imbalanced (Poncho and El Primo probably being the most OP currently) and this problem is made worse by everyone using them as mains and pouring all their potions into them. Normally this is a solvable problem for MOBAs, but with the above-mentioned power-selling, I can see the community getting pretty upset about nerfs.

3. Even if it turns out to be possible to balance characters, the selective power boosting wreaks havoc on any strategy building. Without knowing which of your teammates and opponents are boosted and by how much, it's very difficult to develop an enjoyable and intuitive strategy, where you feel good about the game outcome.

Just my thoughts, curious how others are finding it.
06-19-2017, 02:24 PM
#2
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 3,037
Its their limited release, of course they will balance more before release.

Currently addicted to Clash Royale

06-19-2017, 02:46 PM
#3
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,895
People looking at this game as a pay to win / buying power perspective aren't seeing the long-tail of this game. In League of Legends (like most other MOBAs), there's three passive systems at play: Your overall account level, runes, and masteries. As you play the game and level up you gain access to more slots for runes and more points for masteries. Runes and masteries provide small customizable bonuses like decreased cooldown times, increased hitpoints, etc. Basically every stat in the game and character play style can be enhanced through this system.

Does this result in a massively imbalanced play experience? Not at all. Skill can easily beat a 2% passive damage boost, and games are won and lost based on teamwork, not because a character on the enemy team is passively capable of doing 2.3% more damage than you. More importantly though, games like this are designed to be played for a very long time. In League of Legends, once you hit maximum level, the matchmaking system adjusts and you rarely see lower level players unless they're being piloted by a way better player on a new account.

Similarly, the way Brawl Stars will eventually shake out is a lower tier of players with no buffed characters, a mid-tier of players with a few buffed stat points, with an "end game" of only playing against people who have leveled up their characters all the way just like you have- Effectively equalizing the game to being fully skill based once you've made it through the "tutorial" period of getting all your guys to max rank.

If you want to win reliably, just join up with other people in our Discord - http://discord.gg/toucharcade

Playing in a premade with two other people who actually play as a team instead of just randomly wandering around is a good way to win tons of games. In a MOBA skill and teamwork are the only things you need, that universal constant is true as well in Brawl Stars.
06-19-2017, 03:47 PM
#4
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,145
The thing is that people do complain about runes in League as being pay 2 win, so it's maybe not the best example. You can also only unlock the runes through in game currency as far as I'm aware, and can't just turn dollars into every single rune you want. You might be able to buy a pack of some at best. Either way, it's sort of a dicey comparison. Particularly because the function isn't quite the same as just permanently boosting all your damage and health. Runes are more a round to round temporary build that is dependent on the matchup.

The bottom line is that this is a pay 2 win situation as per usual with Supercell games. You can just dump dollars into the game and get elixired out. My upgraded unit at max will do dozens of points more damage, and in some cases have hundreds of health more compared to yours. Every single bit counts in a game like this, just like in CR. The argument used in CR was that if you gemmed out, you would eventually just run into higher level people anyways, and therefor it wasn't pay 2 win. That's actually the perfect example of pay 2 win, as running into the higher leveled people shortly after stomping the people that used to be equal to you is called "the next paywall." Supercell knows what they're doing.

So similar to CR, we have one of the single greatest examples you could have of a mobile PVP title, absolutely tainted by freemium nonsense. Having all of the core gameplay elements tied directly to an RNG chest will always be hot garbage, anti gamer, and morally dubious. So remember, when you dump your money into this game, you're not supporting Supercell, but a horrendous business model that only serves to make all gamers' experience worse. That said, this is the best MOBA related game you can possibly play on your phone. Fans of games like Battlegrounds or The Culling will even get a kick out of this because of the survival mode. Great stuff all around with an unfortunate monetization system.

Last edited by nodoctors; 06-19-2017 at 03:50 PM.
06-19-2017, 04:01 PM
#5
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 898
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
People looking at this game as a pay to win / buying power perspective aren't seeing the long-tail of this game. In League of Legends (like most other MOBAs), there's three passive systems at play: Your overall account level, runes, and masteries. As you play the game and level up you gain access to more slots for runes and more points for masteries. Runes and masteries provide small customizable bonuses like decreased cooldown times, increased hitpoints, etc. Basically every stat in the game and character play style can be enhanced through this system.

Does this result in a massively imbalanced play experience? Not at all. Skill can easily beat a 2% passive damage boost, and games are won and lost based on teamwork, not because a character on the enemy team is passively capable of doing 2.3% more damage than you. More importantly though, games like this are designed to be played for a very long time. In League of Legends, once you hit maximum level, the matchmaking system adjusts and you rarely see lower level players unless they're being piloted by a way better player on a new account.

Similarly, the way Brawl Stars will eventually shake out is a lower tier of players with no buffed characters, a mid-tier of players with a few buffed stat points, with an "end game" of only playing against people who have leveled up their characters all the way just like you have- Effectively equalizing the game to being fully skill based once you've made it through the "tutorial" period of getting all your guys to max rank.

If you want to win reliably, just join up with other people in our Discord - http://discord.gg/toucharcade

Playing in a premade with two other people who actually play as a team instead of just randomly wandering around is a good way to win tons of games. In a MOBA skill and teamwork are the only things you need, that universal constant is true as well in Brawl Stars.
Thank you. Well said.
My thoughts exactly
06-19-2017, 04:09 PM
#6
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,145
Some things that absolutely need to be looked at from the gameplay perspective are the control options. We need both an option for a fixed stick, and an option to make the stick waaaay smaller. The stick being as huge as it is makes it feel like you have to move your thumb an unnecessary amount for split second movements, and it can be detrimental if you're trying to shoot into the bottom left of the screen. You have to know to move the stick on the top of the screen and then aim into the bottom left with your other finger. Super awkward. It's also painful when the game can't decide if you're trying to shoot stationary or move, and for certain this has gotten many of us killed many times. There has to be a way for that to be smoothed out. There's also some major questionable balance going on, but this is what the beta is for. Characters like El Primo, despite being easily kited, are still way too strong. My main dude Barley is also pretty questionable, particularly in the heist mode. If they buffed Ricochet I'd pretty much only play him, but in the current state of the game I'm not so sure he's worth it.
06-19-2017, 05:22 PM
#7
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,895
Ehhhhh the only people who complain about League of Legends being pay to win are people who download the game, lose once, and decide the reason they're not winning is because they didn't spend money- Shockingly similar to some first impressions of Brawl Stars here. Just like League of Legends, the meta of Brawl Stars will evolve over time. These games are designed to be played for years, not days. Once again this just feels like desperately searching for a reason to be mad about free to play in a general sense, with no real concrete proof that Brawl Stars is a pay to win game other than you might have lost a few times.
06-19-2017, 05:50 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
Ehhhhh the only people who complain about League of Legends being pay to win are people who download the game, lose once, and decide the reason they're not winning is because they didn't spend money- Shockingly similar to some first impressions of Brawl Stars here. Just like League of Legends, the meta of Brawl Stars will evolve over time. These games are designed to be played for years, not days. Once again this just feels like desperately searching for a reason to be mad about free to play in a general sense, with no real concrete proof that Brawl Stars is a pay to win game other than you might have lost a few times.
I don't think Brawl Stars is p2w, but it certainly has p2w elements. Clash Royal was similar, and the card levelling mechanic only hurt the balance of the game, but it clearly didn't damage the games popularity. Likewise, Brawl Stars is fun despite the levelling aspect, but definitely not because of it. As long as matchmaking is at least somewhat decent it'll be fine. That said, claiming the levelling system is intended for the good of the games longevity rather than encouraging monetary investment seems naive.
06-19-2017, 06:14 PM
#9
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,145
Brawl Stars Monetization Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
Ehhhhh the only people who complain about League of Legends being pay to win are people who download the game, lose once, and decide the reason they're not winning is because they didn't spend money- Shockingly similar to some first impressions of Brawl Stars here. Just like League of Legends, the meta of Brawl Stars will evolve over time. These games are designed to be played for years, not days. Once again this just feels like desperately searching for a reason to be mad about free to play in a general sense, with no real concrete proof that Brawl Stars is a pay to win game other than you might have lost a few times.
I also don't feel that League is pay 2 win. I'd argue that buying heroes is a stronger pay 2 win argument than runes since it actually equips you with knowledge and skill others with limited champion pools have no access to without a severe grind. And even still it isn't a pay 2 win game to me. This absolutely is. Imagine if League actually worked the same way instead of comparing it to a different system. You couldn't buy any heroes outright, you have to win them randomly in a chest or grind a literal third currency in the game which comes at the slowest possible drip feed of hero duplicates coupled with ludicrous champion prices. You don't customize characters on a match per match basis with a rune system which is a further extension of knowledge, skill, and risktaking, and that carry over to be used for every hero. You just flat out drop dollars and gem your way to having a Karthus with more health, more damage, and a higher damage global ult permanently.

This isn't desperately searching for a reason to be mad about free to play, it's right in your face. The line "these games are meant to be played for years, not days" makes me sad. Eli, that's an excuse for a vapid low substance experience that can't carry itself over years without a bullcrap system locking you in place. Games like Starcraft and DOTA, the inspiration to all of these games we are discussing lasted over a decade because they didn't have to lock you down. They were just that damn good. You see how these are all excuses for a worse game experience just to cash thousands out of the willing?(I'm sure you saw that post in the Angry Birds Evolution thread, and I don't even blame that guy. For certain there are people who have spent significantly more.) I don't like it. I'm sorry you're offended by that, and that you think it's a lack of skill that is to blame as you mentioned it twice. Or maybe you thought that was a subtle dig.

Last edited by nodoctors; 06-19-2017 at 06:17 PM.
06-19-2017, 06:18 PM
#10
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maelwolf View Post
I don't think Brawl Stars is p2w, but it certainly has p2w elements. Clash Royal was similar, and the card levelling mechanic only hurt the balance of the game, but it clearly didn't damage the games popularity. Likewise, Brawl Stars is fun despite the levelling aspect, but definitely not because of it. As long as matchmaking is at least somewhat decent it'll be fine. That said, claiming the levelling system is intended for the good of the games longevity rather than encouraging monetary investment seems naive.
Of course these kind of progress gates are to extend the longevity of the game, that's how games as a service work. If you don't want to slowly grind your way there, you can spend money. I genuinely wish I could understand why this makes people so angry.

Once we have a sample size of more than five days of playing the game in one geographical region, it'll become immediately obvious that the matchmaking system is working as intended just like Clash Royale.

This is always how soft launches go.