Kabam has just posted an updated short-term Road Map in response to recent criticisms of the game. Let’s break it all down, and I’ll share my take on the changes.
Good – Book 2 Act 1 Delayed
The Book 2 Act 1 Beta received overwhelming criticism for its fight difficulty, node combinations, and path structure. Acknowledgement that this content needs significant a change of direction before going live is an excellent start.
Good – Back Issues (Variant 5) Moved Up
Variants are my favorite kind of story content. I know many of us hoped Variant 5: Blood and Venom would have been released earlier in the year, but it seems clear Kabam wanted to focus development time on Book 2. Now that Book 2 is temporary on the shelf, they are shifting gears and bumping up the release of Variant 5 from September to August. This is a piece of content I’m very excited to see because of the continual improvement we’ve seen in Variant design, and that fact that the story focuses on Venom and Guillotine, two of my favorite MCOC champions.
Mixed – Alliance Quest Update
The Alliance Quest update is a bit of a mixed bag. The shift to Tickets will be a good one, as it reduces Officer stress, lowers donation cost, and will have a significant impact on the viability of arena bots. The donation issue for Alliances that run split Maps does need to be sorted out though, as they are hurt by the current change.
When it comes to the day-to-day of Alliance Quest, we’re going to get more of the same. None of the quality of life suggestions like reduced timers, a reduction in paths on the Map, or an increase in the energy cap are being instituted, or even talked about at this time.
What we are going to see is a reward update in July for v27.2, which is good, but coming with it will be a refresh of the maps. The biggest change will be the introduction of a higher level of Alliance Quest modifiers, which will offer the chance to earn Tier 5 Class Catalyst Fragments, presumably from the Honor Rewards.
While some see a refresh as good, as it updates what they consider a stale game-mode, others like the predictability of Alliance Quest. Changes tend to lead to an uptick in potion use, at least in the short term.
See my full breakdown of the Alliance Treasury Update.
Bad – Alliance War
To be blunt, it’s just going to get harder. Kabam appears to be doubling-down on Defense Tactics. While admitting that Defense Tactics haven’t currently met their design goals, the development team seems convinced there is an opportunity to make them work. Instead of scrapping them, they are going to introduce more to deal with. If the new Defense Tactics are under-powered, everyone will still gravitate toward the most difficult one. If they somehow balance them, and they are all as difficult as Flow currently is, then there will be even more deaths in war then there are now, because players won’t get enough experience fighting all the different defense tactic/defender/node combinations, leading to even more deaths.
The one “player-positive” change, a boost to Attackers with the same hashtag as the active Defense Tactic when fighting against a defender boosted by the Defense Tactic is a Band-Aid fix at best.
For those like myself who are convinced the current design of Alliance Wars is inherently flawed, there is nothing to look forward to here. At this point, I’m in favor of scrapping the mode and rebooting it with a smaller scale PvP as Brian Grant has been suggesting for years.
Good – Alliance Leadership Tools
As an Alliance officer I’m very excited for these updates! We’ve been asking for years for the ability to assign Battlegroups. The fact that a member can have a different AQ and AW assignment is excellent. Hopefully path assignments are next. The ability for leadership to view the rosters of members in-game is also a great time-saving feature, especially for lower-tier alliances that don’t rely on third-party communication apps.
Good – Abyss Rewards Update
While we don’t know what the update will be, this is great to hear. There are too many stories of Summoners 100% exploring Abyss and having the satisfaction of their accomplishment diminished by RNG rewards. Since anyone who has already completed Abyss will receive the updated rewards when they go live, some people are going to get a nice bonus.
What did you think of the Road Map update? What does Kabam still need to work on? Leave a comment below.