A reasonably simple way to improve the current paradigm

Home Forums Archived (Inactive) Forums Leap Day LD – General Discussion A reasonably simple way to improve the current paradigm

This topic contains 23 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  dornbeast 6 years, 1 month ago.

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    In this post, I talked about a few of the issues brought up lately. People feeling robbed about game availability, stages being too hard or too tedious to complete, annoyingly unavailable item drops and gold chest drops, the idea that the current paradigm is more tedious than interesting at higher levels due to massive factory chains and resources requirements that extra shrines really don’t ameliorate. So I came up with a system that I think would be fairly simple to implement for the devs, and at least partially address many of these issues. I’m going to call it…

    The Multiple Requirement Altar System

    Key points:

    • Has a better selection of games to choose from, and a better selection of choices in game, allowing players to fit their play styles better
    • Changes the timed star system for a requirement based one, removing the need to rush stages, and preventing players from avoiding already begun stages since they could not meet the star requirements for them
    • Makes the difficulty of stages more flexible, meaning the stages have a greater range of challenge and scale better in difficulty
    • Prevents much of the tedium and frustration from wanting to complete difficult maps but being unable to
    • Makes rewards more reliable, and removes the need for carrying over gold chest drops to the next level
    • Exponential Golden chest rewards make players want to aim for five stars and not simply play the easier one star level for the guaranteed loot



    • Add all game types to the game list: Sad Uncle, Sophisto, Murderous Baker, etc. All twelve.
    • Have each game replace itself when full (when Sad Uncle fills, another Sad Uncle is spawned)
    • Each stage will have multiple ‘requirements’ – their altars can accept any item from a given list of items.
    • Change the tooltip text of each star to reflect which items need to be delivered
    • Remove the star timer


    • The item ghost overtop of an altar changes to the next item up the list if the current item is delivered.
    • Altars have no items floating above them, and will accept any item specified by the star.

    • At the end of the level, golden chests are automatically added to your inventory based on your existing factories
    ___• One for one star, two for two stars, four for three stars, eight for four stars, sixteen for five stars
    • The automatically added chests appear in the victory rewards
    • The game selection list shows a list of usernames playing the stage on mouseover


    • Superior UI representation of multiple deliveries to the altars: possibly through star selection, changing the icon above the altar on each fade in/out, or another system yet to be determined.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  Tempus.


    Level Examples

    Sad Uncle:

    • 1 – Gem, Wood, Water, Food, Stone
    • 2 – Ring, Oak, Barrel, Bread, Brick
    • 3 – Ring, Lumber, Perfume, Polished Gem, Ore
    • 4 – Ring, Black Oak, Large Barrel, Black Bread, Fired Brick
    • 5 – Earring, Flour, Cooked Food, Stew, Glass


    Darke Lorde:

    • 1 – Shadow Sceptre
    • 2 – Shadow Earrings
    • 3 – Crowned Statue
    • 4 – Black Armor
    • 5 – Black Heart


    Mr Jones:

    • 1 – One Flamingo
    • 2 – Two Flamingoes
    • 3 – Three Flamingoes
    • 4 – Four Flamingoes
    • 5 – Five Flamingoes



    • 1 – Arm Party, Mana Orb
    • 2 – Arm Party, Wine of Death
    • 3 – Arm Party, Absinthe
    • 4 – Writ of Seduction, Fine Brandy
    • 5 – Writ of Seduction, Chocolate Statue



    • 1 – Porcelain Bust, Chocolate Bust, Wood Bust, Ice Bust
    • 2 – Porcelain Bust, Chocolate Bust, Wood Statue, Ice Bust
    • 3 – Porcelain Statue, Chocolate Bust, Wood Statue, Ice Bust
    • 4 – Porcelain Statue, Chocolate Statue, Wood Statue, Ice Bust
    • 5 – Porcelain Statue, Chocolate Statue, Wood Statue, Ice Statue
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  Tempus.


    Seems reasonable. I like it.

    The Mr. Jones one would be kind of tricky. “Hooray, you delivered 3 flamingoes! What, you had two more that just didn’t arrive in time? Too bad! Game is over!”

    How about instead of using altars, having Shrines of Better Boss Loot scattered about the map? I think that would be simpler, and accomplish most of what you want. If the shrine’s activated when the game is won, you get better boss loot.

    I agree with your premises, but I don’t see how this makes a level 5 Cougarina any more fun. You still have to do a lot of “hammering”.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  azuckuss.


    As I said, it’s not a perfect fix. But it’s easy to implement, could be done pretty quickly, and it has a lot of advantages. As far as making level 5 Cougarina more fun, it doesn’t do it, but what it does do is allow you to beat Cougarina anyways, in an arena where you can earn chests to make subsequent levels easier.

    So you are like “It’s about time I take on Cougarina.” You manage to two star it the first time – you’re guaranteed a scarcity emblem, one random item, and two random chests. You hopefully managed to make a few more chests, and your Arm Party is a little easier. You try Cougarina occasionally, and usually manage three stars, which helps with MrJones. After about three run throughs you manage to get Arm Party to level 5, lowering the gem cost considerably. You don’t have the space for five star yet, but you team up with some other guys who’ve also been playing around, and you manage to four star it once. Considerably more chests come your way for squeaking it out, and that eight chest bonus feels good and helps a lot with pushing some recipes up when they’re taking 2 chests a level. You hope that in a few more tries, you can manage 5 star.

    In the above scenario, the important difference from the current scenario is that you never get stuck. If you feel like you can’t do it, you settle for an easier star, and still get rewarded. No abandonings, no unreachable, unattainable prizes. A nice way to work towards a goal without having to be able to succeed at the goal already.

    As for Mr Jones, yeah, it’s a bad example. The other examples all retain the same amount of altars. I’m not sure I agree with extra shrines – the problem is the same as the current problem: factory chains are too long and doing hordes of super long recipes is really tedious and annoying. The advantage of having them exchange is that you don’t need to tediously make ‘extras’, because the original is no longer needed. For example, if you were doing Mr Jones, and had to make 5 flamingoes… Five in the center means one factory setup and some daylight shrines. Five scattered across the map means five full flamingo setups. I would throw up my hands in disgust and curl up in a corner.

    A better choice for the MrJones listed above might be… 1 – Three Hearty Meals, 2 – Three Flatbread, 3 – Three Birthday Cake, 4 − Three Abinsthe, and 5 – Three Flamingoes.



    It seems like there is already too much conflict among player styles on existing maps (with static objectives) that if you mix everything up by adding hard-mode to easy maps and easy-mode to hard maps it will just make matters worse. It could be neat with a static team, but I think it would be miserable for pick-up play. Players wanting an easy map and a casual experience should be able to find that on an easy map, and players that want a hard experience should be able to try it with similarly minded folks. Having some folks building for 5 stars while others are building for just one star is a recipe for conflict far beyond what the star timers currently do.



    As much as I like the idea I have to agree with qonen. There’s too much disparity in what two people going into the map might want to accomplish.

    I feel like the golden chest rewards, compared to how it is now, would be too punishing under this change. I think it would just cause people to play easy maps way more often to level up low level recipes since they’d be guaranteed more that way, instead of a lot over time as it is now and that would just exacerbate qonen’s point.




    No, not 5 flamingos scattered about the map. Gosh no. But something like 3 flamingos for the main boss, and many mid-level (grog, crockpot, glue, etc) shrines around. This way:

    – Expert planned teams can still make 3 flamingos and a bunch of crockpots, and have a good challenge to hit the full max loot
    – Mixed teams can still hit the main goal without too much heartache, even if some players aren’t pulling their weight
    – New players can make a meaningful contribution by knocking out a nearby Boss Loot Shrine, without getting in the way.

    And I disagree with claude and qonen – I think it’s possible to have it so players of different levels can work together. It just hasn’t been a priority up til this point.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  azuckuss.


    Not sure I agree about it. There seems to be a lot of gruff at people who are good at the game who don’t want to play with people who aren’t. There’s a good reason that Blizzard implemented the ability on the ladder to play only with people at about your skill level.

    I still hate the entire RPG mechanic that has been added. Leveling up princes just to be able to make everything is horrific. Leveling up recipes is just boring and tedious.

    And the 3×3 shops still make everything binary – either you have the room or you don’t, and as one person said – if you don’t place things perfectly on the hard maps, you just run out of space.

    I tried playing again, and it’s still boring. There is no approaching the boss. It’s all about getting lucky enough that you get close to a skilled player, setup some stone ring chains, and then tear it all down and build toward the boss. There is a huge recipedia that I have no reason to ever build. Most of the shrines on lower level bosses aren’t even worth building to.



    To be clear, my point is not about players of different skill, but instead players with different objectives or effort levels. An eager but inexperienced player that actively works with other players would do fine in most groups working on a hard objective. That said, there is a lot of correlation between the two. Someone who is inexperienced but puts forth strong effort probably won’t be inexperienced for long. Someone who logs in at most once per day just to scatter as many flame towers as they can will remain in the unskilled group.



    I think this is an interesting idea, but my first thought was the same as qonen,that there will be a lot of issues where players disagree on a target star level to shoot for. The two solutions to this that first came to mind were as follows:

    1. Allow map difficulty to be set upon generation. This would probably also require the lobby to support the manual generation of new maps, so that if you’re a relatively new player and the map you want is currently set to 5-stars, you can still start a new instance of the map at lower difficulty. The reverse situation would of course also apply.

    2. Retain time based star difficulty, and when you lose stars, the requirements of the altar change to easier goods. For hardcores, missing the star is already incentive enough to redo the map, and any team that isn’t ready for the full 5-star version of a map can wait for it to reach a level they can handle. If taking this option, I’d also recommend building in the ability to sacrifice stars and lower difficulty on demand via unanimous vote (or perhaps a number of votes greater than half the map slots). Please note that I said map slots, as distinct from players currently on the map.

    I personally prefer the second option. As a side note, the Jones issue could be solved by simply replacing the “missing” Flamingoes with an easier good (eg. Four star = 4x Flamingo & 1x Mana Orb, Three star = 3x Flamingo & 2x Mana Orb, and so on).

    @jchrisholmes: At risk of furthering my image as a jerk… Aren’t you the person who posted in the bug forums saying that it was impossible to deliver a ring to the boss because there was only 1 tile of room between two resources? People having trouble on Sad Uncle probably shouldn’t be trying to talk about the demands of a high end map, since they generally won’t have a solid enough grasp of the mechanics involved to accurately judge difficulty.

    Regarding income… You haven’t played any particularly difficult maps, have you? Generally speaking, you’ll probably almost never see a truly skilled player making stone rings for long, and certainly not as their primary source of income through the point where you’re going for the boss kill (unless they’re being lazy or on a easy map or something). In my experience, Stone Rings are just a stepping stone to get you some seed money to build out your real economy.

    Also, I’m not sure what you’re talking about regarding “a recipedia that I have no reason to ever build”. I can’t offhand think of a single item that is not either required directly by a boss or as a component of something required by a boss. I suppose that Wood Bust 15 eliminates Fine Lumber, and Stew Barrel 15 eliminates Stout Barrels, but I’m fairly certain that’s not what you meant. Even if that was the intended meaning, it doesn’t make sense, since you have to build those components in order to level the higher tier good anyway.



    Delha – you aren’t understanding my point at all.

    My point is that the progression through a level is always the same – and there is no reason to explore the recipedia.
    1) stone rings with a neighbor
    … until you have enough money to
    2) build something more expensive
    (which is probably the same thing for any given player – one person suggested having a strong preference to a leveled up stone bust). This is where the huge number of recipes puts people into paralysis – and what I mean by a ton of things that I would never bother to build. I’d find something relatively easy to build with a high enough multiplier. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time studying my resource availability and exploring the recipedia.
    … until you have enough money to
    3) actually start tackling the boss.
    where you build what you’re told to build. No trying to figure out what you can build in your area, but just figuring out where to build and how to route.

    The key things I’m not liking about this:
    1) the reward for stone rings is so much higher than you can possibly get from your starting goods that really, you’re just better off setting up a delivery of a jewel to the nearest player and waiting for them to build the stone ring chain (or doing that if you’re the second person).
    2) no real reason to do anything but focus on whatever your favorite high-yield, easy to build recipe is in the middle.
    3) throw everything away and start over trying to route to the boss.

    Where does skill come from? The best player in the game isn’t going to be able to hit the fast times on anything other than easy maps without support, which means good players get held back by bad players. That is distinctly not fun. If I have to tear up everything at some point and just start over, that’s not fun because I feel like I was wasting time having to do layouts in the first place.



    Open to ideas that would encourage players to try out different recipes during the build phase. The player’s urge to focus on a single path and ignore everything else is something we’ve been struggling with since the early days.

    Various related attempts.
    – Mixed starting resource to encourage alternate build paths
    – Trade bonuses to that trading even non-gem items can be very profitable for all parties thus opening up more recipes.
    – Altars and bosses giving you gold. If you build the right object and deliver it you can combine the gold accumulation phase with the delivery phase.
    – Single use items. Since you don’t always have the same tools you can’t always just repeat the same building plan every time. Here players tend to find the lowest common denominator strategy and grind that.

    Though I can’t say any of these have worked given their current form.

    One idea is to simply remove the gold accumulation phase entirely and just make it about beating the boss. Though there is something quite joyful about trying to maximize your daily gold.



    A couple off the cuff ideas…

    Have you considered giving the first copy of any given good turned in for a day a bonus? I suspect the bonus would need to be relatively large, to make the incentive strong enough, but it would definitely push people toward making several different goods within a map. I think I recall there previously being a suggestion to penalize repeated goods, but incentives presumably feel nicer to the players.

    Alternately, perhaps a building bonus per level where a given good wasn’t turned into the castle…? Eg, any good you did not gain income from (excluding shrines and bosses) gets a stacking +10% (or 5%?) bonus to value (cap at 30%?). Once you actually utilize it on a map, the bonus resets to 0%. The ramping nature encourages people to use a given recipe only once every X number of maps, depending on how you tune the numbers, which helps prevent “stone busts this map, wood busts next map, stone busts next map, etc…”




    In most iterations of the game, I’ve noticed that Statues were by far and large the best income generating recipes. Recently, now that Statues are so hard to make, and require lots of space and cooperation, it’s now Busts. Specifically, Stone Busts. In previous builds, Wood Busts and Statues were pretty good, too.

    The way I see it, there are six main aspects of what makes a good income recipe:

    (1) The Income Value of the Recipe
    —- The more the recipe is worth, the more desirable it is to build it.

    (2) The Cost to Build the Recipe
    —- Factor in the cost of Torches, Factories, Paths, Houses, Rails, Trains, and a bit extra for helpful stuff like Emblems and Cranes.

    (3) Quantity and Diversity of Raw Resources Needed
    —- It’s not just the amount of raw resources you need, but the diversity of them. It’s much easier to Torch out to gather 5 Rock needed for a Pottery than it is to get 1 Rock, 4 Trees, 2 Ponds, and 2 Bushes. Even though the total resources gathered is the same, its harder to Torch in such a way to get this diversity, especially early on, or if you’re in one of those Water-and-Food-Only starting locations. More diversity in resources also means you can’t use the “Dragnet” strategy as effectively, where you set up paths leading from resource deposits into a locked loop near your factory cluster. Also, it means you have to work harder to make sure all the resources are diverted to the right destinations, while less resource diversity means less of this.

    (4) Number of Factories Needed
    —- Since the Factories are now all 3×3, this is even more important than before. More factories means more space needed for them and more space needed for the paths/rails to interact with them, and the more Torches that are needed to offer that space. This is closely tied to the cost of building a recipe. Recipes that require too much land just can’t be done early on.

    (5) Trunks and Branches
    —- Each recipe has a tree-like structure to it. Busts are only trunks, and have no branches. It’s one direct, linear progression of factories. Incense has a strong trunk, and short branches that plug into it along the factory chain. Dull Earring is mostly branches, to the point that it’s structured more like a bush than a tree. There is no determined trunk. Building a tree is much easier than building a bush, especially since the branches on bushes tend to intertwine. Incense is a pretty neat factory chain because it has flow to it. You can set a start point, estimate the end point, and build your way to it. Dull Earring is much harder because its very difficult to estimate what land you will end up using, and which resources will be unusable or locked out. Many times, building a bush results in locking out resources that get trapped between factories and rails.

    (6) Scalability and The Exponential Factor
    —- How easily can the player make enough income by building a factory chain that they can afford to continue and eventually finish the chain? How easy is it to multiply the number of outputted goods with the same factory chain? Busts are very good here. At the beginning, you can gather up enough Stone to make a Porcelain. Pretty soon, you’ll have enough to gather the rest of the stone and make a Pottery. Then, you’re making enough money that you can soon gather enough Stone to make a second Pottery. Continuing this, the player is eventually able to make the Bust. At every step along the way, the player is growing at an exponential pace needed to pay for the next part of the recipe, and at no time during the process, is the player making anything worthless. And then, when you want to make another Bust, it’s relatively easy to bring more stone into the one place you need it, making it easy to scale. It’s preferable to not have to tear down one factory cluster that you can’t push more income out of in order to build a more profitable cluster. When the player spends time building a factory cluster that works and is fast, it’s kind of heartbreaking to have to tear it down. After feeling like they’re forced to destroy their creation, the game then demands that they rebuild a new one, putting in even more effort and time than the one they just destroyed. It’s not a pleasurable feeling, and having to rebuild feels like insult added to injury. It’s much nicer to be able to scale your existing cluster to make a continually more valuable recipe or make multiple copies.

    Busts qualify for every single one of these aspects. I don’t think there is a single other recipe that meets all of them. Let’s consider the Rowboat recipe. Point 1: No problem here. They make pretty good income. Point 2: The cost is pretty high because it doesn’t meet points 3 and 4 very well. To make one Rowboat, you need 5 ponds, 3 Bushes, 9 Trees, and 12 Stone at L0 recipe levels. While you need 100 total resources for Busts and only 81 for a Rowboat, making sure you have all these resources and they’re where you need them is much more taxing. That’s not to mention that with only 20 more resources, you could have a Bust and be making 4.5 times what you will with the Rowboat. Multiply the resource requirement of the Rowboat by 5 to have all of them total more than one Bust and you’re at 405 total resources. Busts are significantly more cost effective here. Factory-wise, there’s a minimum of 15 needed, and that’s if you’re being super clever with reusing factories like Ore for the Glass, Metal Ingots, Jewelry, and Gunpowder. Compare the 15 to 25 factories needed for the Rowboat to the 5 needed for the Bust. On point 5, the Rowboat is so-so. It’s pretty branchy, but not too bad, especially since some of the branches can be multipurposed. Still, there isn’t much of a trunk. At point 6, the Rowboat is very hard to build towards while making enough to pay for the expansion of the factory line.

    Let’s say you start with the Cat Statue. You might be making around 500 gold for a moderately difficult early setup, generating a few of them. You then have to wait around until you can make the glass, which might not be too bad, but you need a couple more factories, space for routes, and likely at least one more tower. Now you’re making a few windows, but still have to wait a while before you can afford the rest of the stuff to make Spyglasses. Now, you might finally be making decent enough money, but before you can continue, you still have to make Gunpowder and Glue. This means you need even more torches, more space, more houses, more factories, etc. Neither the Glue nor the Gunpowder are worth very much, and even if they were worth more, they’d be hard to deliver if you’re building them to connect with the Spyglass to make the Rowboat. You have to wait until you can make both of them before you can plug them into the factory cluster and get an increase in income, and even still, you have to make enough of each to match how many Spyglasses you’re making. The curve that plots how much the player makes over time isn’t very exponential. It takes a while to get to the point where you’re making even just a couple Rowboat, and at that point, you’re making less than half of what you would have had you been making a Stone Bust. When you have that set up and you want to make more Rowboat with the same factory chain, you have to add resources to every entry point, usually requiring at least one torch and more houses/paths for every few entry points.

    Before the changes that lead to the 3×3 shops, it wasn’t too uncommon to see players making Spyglasses and turning them into Rowboats. I saw Qubits doing it a number of times. It was less common than players making Busts, but since these changes, I don’t think I’ve seen it happen a single time. I also saw players going the Sundials route. I haven’t seen a single Sundial made in a few months. Even Prayer Stones are less common since the most recent update that amplified the recipe requirements. Tempus and I used to do Stone Rings -> Prayer Stones pretty often to get going, but now that making 3 Prayer stones takes 11 Rock (in addition to the 2 Gem and 6 trees), we’d much rather make Pottery out of them and easily upgrade that to more Pottery and eventually a Bust (and then another Bust soon after).

    I apologize if some of this doesn’t make sense. I had written all this out already and accidently hit backspace without having focus in the textbox, and lost it all. This is what I can remember.



    At the risk of being preachy, I wanted to add a little bit more to this. If you agree with my assessment of the six aspects, I’m confident that it’ll spark discussion over there and the following would be derived, but I can’t hold it in.

    Recipes are built for two reasons: 1) Income, 2) Objectives (Bosses and Shrines). Recipes intended for Objectives and Recipes intended for Income should be built specifically for that purpose.

    Income Recipes
    For Recipes intended for Income, I believe that all six are important and should be considered. There should be a bit of balancing for decision making reasons. For example, Recipe X could require less factories, but more Resources, while Recipe Y could be less valuable but have less branches. Perhaps Recipe Z has a trunk-heavy structure up to a point, and then becomes more branchy, and as it does, is worth more. Also, Recipes intended for Income should be varied in terms of what resources are required, at least for the low-end of the exponential factor, ideally hitting each combination of the four basic resources. One Income Recipe with an emphasis on Water and Wood, one with an emphasis on Water and Stone, etc, for each combination. At least, for the beginning part of the exponential factor. Possibly, for the first five or so factories, it takes Recipes heavily focused on Water or Food, then start introducing Recipes in that factory chain that focus more heavily on Wood and Stone. I’m not sure if there are enough recipes to do this for every possible combination, but I can say that I have had starting locations where I felt like I didn’t have much choice to make something worth making. Specifically, Water and Food bases. I’ve even abandoned games because of a lack of nearby Wood and Stone. Basically, no matter what unique distribution of resources the player has available, they should have an option of what to build. Ideally, it would be nice to have more than one option per resource combination, but I’m sure there just aren’t enough recipes for that. On that note, I would like to see more factory chains that only take two resource types.
    As a very arbitrary example, consider this recipe:
    Food + Water => Spirits, + Bread => Beer, + Barrel + Black Bread => Grog, + Large Barrel => Whiskey, + Whiskey + Whiskey + Black Bread = Black Whiskey, sells for 5000 gold.

    All of it is Water and Food. Then, the recipe could continue by adding in some need for Wood and Stone:

    Black Whiskey + Potion of Joy (Perfume + Spirits) => Sweet Wine, + Wine of Joy (Sweet Bread + Beer + Cinnamon Rolls (Cooked Food + Flour)) => Fine Brandy, sells for 9000 gold.

    Like I said, an arbitrary example, but I wanted to illustrate my theory. Also, I took care to make sure that the Scalability and Exponential Factor was considered, as well as the Quantity and Diversity of Raw Resources Needed. The Number of Factories and the Cost rank low on the scale of desirable recipes, but this is the sort of balance I think would work out because to make up for it, for example, another recipe could exist that takes the same two resource types, is easier and cheaper to build, but earns less income or is possibly less scalable.

    Boss Recipes
    With Boss Recipes, its not as important to ensure all six factors rank high. The challenge comes from one or more of these factors ranking rather low. A Boss Recipe could take few factories, but require a crazy amount of core resources or factories. Or, it could require a low amount of resources but be made up of a long branchy factory chain. I think though, that the important thing to consider is that at about half of the factors rank high.

    Right now, the bosses for Hard and Expert maps all rank very low on all of these points. They’re expensive to build, don’t scale well, super branchy, aren’t worth much compared to how much goes into them, require way too many resources, and way too many factories. The Writ takes 100+ factories to build, and 5000 resources are required to beat Mr. Jones. Even the Black Heart, now that the Flamingo isn’t needed, still requires over 2000 resources.

    That the recipes for these bosses don’t address a single one of the factors in a desirable Recipe are why players are unable to beat them, and why maps just don’t have the capacity. Additionally, I think it’s why players are just ‘tired’ of trying to beat these maps, why the Hammer/Scalpel analogy is apt. Our endurance is being tested, not our skill, and that’s why we feel sort of cheated, or that the game is unfair – because it kind of is! We get no relief on these recipes.

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