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Thoughts on "King's Raid" From an Intermediate Player
What's that you say? Another Korean RPG with sexy girls and jiggle physics? I'm in.
Well that sums up how I notice the game King's Raid. I have to say Korean mobile developers are truly blessed with the gift of designing cute and lovely characters. Although the story design of the game seems generic and the English translation is a little lackluster, but who cares it's 2017, an age that cute anime girls dominating the internet.
Joking aside, despite being at its youth, the game does provide enough content for me enjoy for quiet a long period. At the same time, the game also has some space for improvements. I'm not going to bore you with how this game look like and its basic game mechanism because this is not a game review. Instead I will talk about the problems of this game and how they can/should be fixed. You are expected to know or have played this game already. Warning: potential spoilers alert.
King's Raid poster
Yes it's a Korean mobile RPG and yes it takes an extensive amount of grinding to reach the end game. The worst part is that the dungeons that drop character awaken materials only reset every midnight. For instance, a player wants to awake a character into 5 stars from 4 stars require 840 fragments. Assuming he/she used all daily entrances on the highest level possible dungeons(which yields more fragments), it takes exactly 21 days to gather enough materials. And this isn't even the end game yet. You have 4 characters to awaken into 5 stars and each character can be transcendent twice that require event more ridiculous amount of fragments.
The game does offer you some other ways to acquire fragments, including a purchasable fragment package using almost 8 million gold every 15 days, some occasional fragment drops from story mode and the monthly log in rewards. However, players like me that are not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on in game shop will still suffer a lot from the lack of fragments.
Another big problem with this system is that players like me trying to reach end game feel strongly discourage to do gear farming. Right now I'm only able to farm T5 gears. Knowing the fact that after transcending all my team I will be able to farm T6 gears which completely outclass T5s, I really don't want to bother with gear farming at this point of the game.
The way I'm playing this game right now is that I wait until 11pm (reset time for my time zone) and finish my daily dungeons before I go to bed at 11:30pm. During the day, I might spend a few minutes everyday doing some arena PVP. If there is an event, I might spend a little more time doing it. I'm basically waiting for the fragments to pile up so I can awake my characters, instead of activing playing the game to improve them.
As someone played games for over a decade, I understand the reasons behind some of the choices made by developers. They want to keep player playing their game and not finish their game too fast. The thing is, I doubt purposefully delaying players progression in the game is the best way of doing it. For players, any progression in the game is a strong positive feedback and stimulate their desire to keep playing. For instance, another grinding heavy game Diablo 3 has uncap paragon levels that players and keep ranking up. So during gameplay, even if players did not acquire an gear upgrade for hours, they still feel like they have achieved improving their characters by raising their paragon levels.
I believe this is an unhealthy system and will slowly lose the attention of players even with the most patient. So instead of giving me a big FU every time I open the character screen, why not remove the entrance limit and make the dungeons cost a specific amount of stamina to play? Players should be given the ability to choose how they like to improve their characters, either by character enhancement or gear farming. Waiting for enough time before you can improve your character is simply dumb.
Also if you wonder, here's a solution to the problem. The game itself has very interesting combat system and very deep game mechanism. This makes the story mode and raid mode very fun to play. I feel I'm challenged by the difficulty of the high level quest line and the dragon dungeon raiding so that I have to keep adjusting my characters and gears to conquer them. I can keep trying out new gear and stats build, new spell rotations and new team compositions until I find out what work best for me. My thought is that the game developers should really extend on what they are doing correctly at the moment. They can add some more difficult content that are not level limited and reward players with items which do not diminish in value as player level up. For example, a rune dungeon that rewards rare runes. A rare rune has the same value for player at any level, so high level players will appreciate the addition while low level players can find something to do when trying to awake their characters.
Vac, balance in all things
What makes a RPG game without some sweet PVP actions? It is not surprise King's Raid has a PVP mode, and I'm here to rant about it.
Just to be clear, I like the PVP system in King's Raid. It has a lot of strategies in team building, gear choice and spell casting. It's fun and interactive just like its PVE counter part, and you actually play against online players rather than AI controlling their characters. However, all these good things are overshadowed by the poor match making system. I have a team with an average level of 58, but I keep finding myself facing people with level 70 character who can stomp me with ease. All my strategizing and stats building are a complete joke against superior power in the area. So I end up stop playing it even though I really enjoy PVP.
I believe this can be easily solve by distributing players into different league base on their highest level of their characters. For someone like me, I should be match against people with characters from level 50 to 60 (5 stars character range). So without any other factors, me and my opponent should have an equal opportunity of winning.
Another problem in the arena is that character balancing. To be honest, King's Raid is a lot better at character balancing than many other mobile games. But there is still a consistent pattern of character choice in high rank arena. Out of the top 10 players in the challenger league, 9 people have Tanya in their team, all of them have either Laias or Kaulah as their healer, 6 of them have Jane as tank, and not to mention the sheer number of Arch in the arena scene. This shows that in order to be successful in arena, players have to have one or two of the 10 best arena characters and build teams entire around them. This can be a big problem because some players might be unaware of this information when they first start playing. They might choose the "wrong characters" in their early games and invest heavily into them. And at mid to late game, they found themselves at a disadvantage at some part of the game, mainly PVP, but unable to adjust.
Another game I used to play handle this problem elegantly. Dragon Heroes is a game with both PVP and PVE elements. This game tags it characters with either dungeon specialist or arena specialist which provides them with a huge bonus in either scenarios. The bonus is the same across all characters with the same tag so they are relatively balanced between each other. This system makes it very clear to newer players each character's strength so they can build their team according to how they want to play the game.
The final problem i have with the PVP system is the unique weapon. Each character has a unique weapon available to them only. To get those weapons, players need to spend money rolling gotcha, or pay 30k arena points. I played this game for 2 months and play PVP regularly and I'm only able to gather 13k points. I will need 2 and a half month more to purchase my first unique weapon from arena shop. Why does it matter? Unique weapons are the strongest tool characters can have. Some of them effectively double your damage output or toughness in the arena. Playing without them are considered a huge disadvantage. It's ok to make unique weapons hard to acquire, but making them only acquirable in PVP is unreasonable. Think about this, to get unique weapons faster you need to win more arena games, to win more arena game you need powerful unique weapons. Most players doesnt spend money buying gotchas ended up in the loop they can hardly make any progress. And the result is rage quitting.
It feels good to let all of these out of my chest. And I believe you must have the same feeling if you manage to read until this point. But I have to say, I love this game and by all mean i wish it to be successful. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, and game on everyone!