An open letter to the devs
Epic Seven
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An open letter to the devs [2]

This wasn't written by me ,but it makes some very good  points.

I want to make a few things clear before I begin:

1) I love this game. It's gorgeous, it runs well, the basic gameplay mechanics are fun, and it opens up a lot of potential options to players.

2) I am not making this post to rail on the dev team. I am not making it out of anger or spite. I am writing all of this as a fan of the game who has had their concerns, concerns shared with many in the player base, largely ignored or only paid lip-service to.

Those two things established, this post is more specifically going to be a series of questions and, in lieu of proper responses from the devs, I will be instead responding to those questions with a general consensus on why not having answers/solutions from the devs is causing harm. It is my hope that this can foster proper discussion on solutions in a manner that is highly visible, and easily accessible, to the devs.

Epic Seven is a game that has a LOT going for it, not the least of which is a player base that has proven itself to be remarkably resilient, adaptable, and patient. Don't let the hollering down the hall distract you; the vast majority of E7 players have been patiently waiting for the game to make good on its vast potential. However, that same player base currently feels largely ignored or ostracized by the dev team. Patch notes will touch on our grievances but offer no real solutions, instead giving out minute tweaks and "fixes" that do nothing. Add all of this to the players have little to no information on the inner workings of the game outside of our own testing, and it makes for a very confusing and frustrating experience for anyone who's used to the mobile gacha scene. We can see all of the things that E7 does better than other games, but then on the basic tenets of a mobile game it utterly fails.

First, the basic requisite for play: player stamina. I'll frame this by asking, "Why do you allow us to increase our max stamina if we aren't allowed to max our stamina outside of waiting/burning extra resources?"

There are currently two ways to have a full stamina bar if your bar exceeds the current refill limit: waiting on natural stamina regeneration (which is already slow compared to other games in the same genre) or to burn outside resources (liefs, skystone, event rewards). Right now, most players who use a refill are getting about half of their energy bar filled. This means that it's costing 2 liefs, or 60 skystone, to be able to run all of 5-6 more quests. If my choice is between filling up my stamina bar or saving up that 1/15 of a ten pull, right now I'd rather save up for the ten pull. Why? Because of my second point:

A new unit is currently far more useful than a new piece of gear. "Well duh, that's obvious," someone in the back says. Allow me to explain: squeezing another 5% atk onto a DPS unit who's struggling with a particular boss because they counter everything it does is pointless; pulling another unit who can use all of that gear to accomplish the same job much easier is worth much more to a player than a shiny sword that may or may not be worth a damn 15 equipment levels from now.

So I ask, "Is this game supposed to be about building units, or building gear?" Thus far, I have spent MUCH less time thinking about things like team synergy or interesting combinations as I have trying to gear up units so that I can play around with those combinations first. This game is built on the wide variety of player builds that can be come up with. But right now, no one is exploring those options outside of the whales because most players can't afford to move gear constantly, but also lack the extra gear to get other units up to snuff. This was an annoyance when the game was largely PvE oriented with a healthy PvP base. Now that Guild Wars have launched, and many people don't have six full units at level 60 with +15 gear this problem gets MUCH worse. Simply put most players have neither the gear nor the gold to support the current gameplay loop in Epic Seven. My hero list is full of interesting units with all sorts of wacky synergies and potential ideas for shenanigans but I've gotten to try all of maybe 20 out of the heroes in my roster and actively use maybe 6. And of that list, only 1 is sitting above 50k cp while the rest trail between 24-30k-ish and anyone else just doesn't have gear on right now. I don't feel as though I'm making my characters stronger by playing, I feel like I'm hoping my characters are strong enough to last long enough to get potentially get one out of the six pieces of gear I need to either fully kit or to possibly replace one of the pieces on my main heroes. And then on top of that I've gotta hope that it rolls decent sub stats. If it's rightside gear, I have to worry about the main stat and then the substats.

In short, I've spent much more time thinking about what I need for my heroes than actually feeling like I've gotten any closer to attaining it. There isn't a sense of progression, just a sense of "oh cool, that's a rare enough drop that I don't have to get another upgrade for that unit in that slot ever." It isn't a good feeling to have the only meaningful method of progression in this game be completely gated behind RNG.

Our heroes do not get stronger when we build them. They get stronger when the loot tables and enhancement rolls decide that we're worth giving another 5% attack to.

"But Cale!" someone else says from the front. "Didn't you just say that units were more important than a piece of gear?"

Yes I did. If I have the gear and don't care about equip costs (more akin to how the game should function), units are the more vital resource. Being able to change all of your nice attack gear from a water unit to a fire one before going in on a forest fight is far more immediately usable, and useful, to the player than trying to force their way through a fight with a unit who isn't the right unit for that fight but has the gear they need. Right now I have enough gear that, if necessary, I could (read: would) put together all sorts of crazy four man teams I want to in order to test out my abilities as a player/strategist. What stops me is that I don't care to pay upwards of 100k gold each time I wanna stop, **** gear for one character if I ONLY need to **** for one for a mission, run that mission, then put all that gear back on the character who uses it most often. At that point, even if I'd changed gear around to get through Zeno Epic Hell mode it wouldn't be worth the reward.

Gear will always be a requirement, and will always be weighed against the importance of units. However, while great gear can only make a bad unit okay, good gear can make an okay unit great.

The artificial lack of gear makes said gear feel far more important than it should because right now crafting/levelling gear is one giant potshot. My progress in this game is not hindered by a lack of good gear, my progress is hindered because this game treats gear that I own like it isn't mine. Even after running the hunts, the labyrinths, crafting in the workshop, and then enhancing that gear, expending all of those resources already, the game still wants me to pay up to use my own gear.

Am I playing your game or am I renting your gear?

"But Cale!" says the dude from before. "You're just rambling a bunch of crisscrossed issues!"

Yes. And no. The point of my little diatribe in all of this was to illuminate just why this game faces such challenges. Disagreements between players on the value of units vs gear, of what methods are the most efficient for getting players to where, even what units within the same role perform better than others (something we have no real data to back up as hero scalings and such are hidden from the player). Even down to whether or not every character is truly "viable" (they aren't) and how much using the units you enjoy in spite of that is worth in the long run.

This game has so many conflicting ideals going into it that it seems impossible to suss out the truth of the matter, and I'm not going to pretend to know everything here. I'm voicing my opinion, mirroring the opinions of many in the community, but I can't claim to speak for everyone. At the end of the day, I can only speak for myself and for the changes I'd like to see made. Changes which, I hope, can help push the game into a better state. I will list these changes, and address my reasoning behind them.

1) Remove equip costs. In spite of how absolutely awful the gold economy currently is, this is a change that would alleviate SO much of the tension in the players. It's easy to say "give us more gold" or "make enhancements cheaper" but those are both changes that can affect the potentially delicate balance of a game, and have to be handled much more carefully and by people who are FAR better with numbers than I am. I'm, of course, in favor of changes like these. But my goal here is not to make Epic Seven the perfect game for me; its to make Epic Seven as accessible as possible to as many players as possible. Allowing players of all skill levels to be able to move their gear about freely would allow us much more room to strategize for tough fights, and would make getting otherwise "junk" gear not the worst thing in the world to put on a unit for the time being while you get something else. The player loses nothing, and gets to test out all sorts of heroes.

2) Cap the stamina refills to the max that a player can hold, but to even the field for the lower ranked players, who would then get less per lief comparatively, keep the current 80 stamina per lief/30 skystone as a minimum. ex. a player who can only hold 40 energy gets 80 stamina, while a player who can hold 120 energy gets all 120. A low level player will arguably get about as many, probably more, runs out of relevant content for them at that level with only 80 stamina while higher ranked players, who have a desperate need for more stamina, are rewarded for the time they've put into the game reaching that level by fully replenishing the stamina they've worked to have a maximum of.

3) Gear needs a massive rehauling. Or maybe this isn't so massive, I'm not a game dev (yet), so I can't say what all would have to be changed on the back end for E7. My suggestions are as follows:

  • The substats that a piece of gear can roll are already kinda controlled by what set it can have. However, the current system still leaves far too much room for a piece of gear that's looking to be turning into something special to suddenly become fodder for the enhancement of another piece of gear. There is no reason for an attack set to be rolling defense or effect resistance; those aren't the stats you're looking for on a character who utilizes attack sets. The same for something like a defense set, where you care much less about getting attack or speed on a tanky unit. Flat stats also need to be removed. They are purely a junk stat. Keep the ones on the left side, ensuring a basic amount of attack, health, and defense is fine enough. But there is no reason I should be tossing out attack set after attack set when it invariably rolls flat defense and a few percent of effect resistance. This can be done either by better narrowing what substats a kind of gear can get, or this can be taken a step further by:

  • Make it so that gear levels up in an adaptive fashion to match the unit its equipped to, if you have it equipped on one. I.e. a health set on someone like Cecilia will have a much higher chance to roll things like eff res, def, or health, but on Kise it can roll attack, crit, or speed. This actually opens up player build options much more dramatically by giving players yet another avenue to customize our characters to our liking. The gear we put on our characters, and level up with them, will feel much more fine tuned to those characters and, in turn, they will feel much more powerful and give the player a stronger sense of progression and direction in the game.

If this game is supposed to be about using the units we enjoy, open up the progression system to actually allow us to. Let me build my Zeno as a beefy counter mage with 6hp sets who also has a respectable +60% atk and another 30 speed to match that insane hitrate. Let me play with my units to figure out what works.

Much of what I have said here will likely go either unread or disagreed with, and I'm fine with that. I'm just trying to get my message out there, and if there's only one that I can send, and if only one point can be made, it's this:

Devs, you can't keep ignoring us. I get that you guys deal with a lot, I get there there are constant complaints to field while you guys are also working on developing new content. But I'd much rather get everything we have hammered out before more is added to the game built upon flawed systems. If those systems change later on, the balance of the previous modes has to change along with it. I'm not asking you guys to fix all of these problems now, I'm only bringing them up. What I'm asking the devs most directly out of anything here is just why exactly our complaints haven't been properly addressed? I don't mean mentioning that you're planning changes in patch notes, and I don't mean tweaking things that people haven't asked for tweaks on. I mean that when you have so many complaints coming at you guys, but the vast majority of them come down to the same few things, why exactly these problems have gone so long without a direct, rapid response from the dev team. Tell us your thought processes, explain why you guys are running the game the way you guys are. Is there a larger plan? Are there more things down the pipeline that require all of these systems to function the way they currently mostly do, or are you guys just throwing changes at the board to see what we'll be happy with as compensation for not fixing the problems that make us not want to play in the first place?

It isn't that the changes aren't coming quickly enough, or that we won't be happy when they do. It's that we've thus far gotten little to no word on the major issues that the player base is having, and what little information we do get are minuscule changes and promises that things most players aren't even asking about are being looked at.

You can only leave us in the dark for so long before we run out of battery and the lights go out

Reply 2
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And it's killing the game.  

the game is about making as much money as possible without killing off the player base :)

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