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5. Reward system created issues with player expectations
At the end of every battle, the player has a chance to win a number of rewards ranging from in-game currency (gold), XP, and gear. In the current spread, currencies are common and gear is a little more sporadic.
Defeating enemies and getting a random reward sounds like standard RPG fare, right? To make things a little more interesting for players, we decided to present them with possible rewards. Players can make their pick, get their reward and ogle the remaining randomly populated rewards as well. The idea was to compel players to do the mission again once they realized what the other rewards were. We felt this added extra pizzazz to an otherwise boring rewards screen while detailing the different kinds of loot available to players.
It did add pizzazz, but it also added frustration!
Though players can win more than three items, showing three choices inherently implies that the players' chances are equal for the items themselves, whether gold or gear. In the end, showing a player what they could have won made the game frustrating even though it followed the same rules probability-wise as the winning reward. As a result, almost every negative review we received mentioned the reward mechanic. Correlation isn't necessarily causation, but it was obviously a major issue.
Had we used a simpler interface to communicate what other items the player could have won, this wouldn't be an issue. It would also have made the game easier to develop.
We've recently revised how the system displays rewards and dramatically changed the odds of winning "nicer" items. This has reduced a lot of the negative feedback on the reward mechanic. We'll continue to keep an eye on it and may completely revisit this gameplay mechanic at a later date.
More and more iOS gamers download Animal Legends every day. We will continue improving the game based on player feedback, like we do with all Appy titles. Since launching Animal Legends we've added one new hero and five new monsters to fight. Our next patch will include more content and a player vs. player mode that allows players to fight with their heroes against others!
The lessons we've learned from Animal Legends and the tech that we've built will also apply directly to our next yet-unannounced-game, which is now in preproduction.
Developer and publisher: Appy Entertainment
Release Date: 11/14/2012
Number of developers: 7
Length of Development: 7 months
Platforms: iOS universal app for iPad and iPhone/iPod touch
Development Tools: AppyEngine (Proprietary), Versions, Objective C, Ruby on Rails, Motion, Photoshop, AppCooker, Xcode