This game is full of dark patterns

Hello everyone!

I recently discovered this game and felt in love with its art style and concept, but quickly realized how disgustingly unfair it can get.

I know this is a free to play game and that developers need a way to make the game profitable, but I feel like this is not the right way to proceed at all.

Not being able to be on an even field in a competitive game completely prevents me from aiming for top ladder. Not aiming for top ladder completely removes any long term objective I have in this game, so I know I will basically quit in a few weeks, so why would I bother paying for a game I will not play for long?

I understand that you don’t want players to progress too quickly to still incentivize paying, and it’s perfectly fine, any free to play game does that. But it’s all a question of balance. If you’re too greedy, only people with a gambling addiction will play your game and your playerbase will never grow. Economically, it might work for some time, but one day they might get fed up to play a dead game and will quit. I am confident this game can get as successful as a Supercell game. But you also need to adopt Supercell marketing strategies. I feel like they managed to strike the right balance between keeping their core and hardcore players along with casuals.

Right now, I refuse to pay for a game full of scummy deceitful patterns.
Here are some things I would suggest that would make me interested in investing money in Phobies:

→ Being able to see what phobies my opponent can play: even if I only have suboptimal counters, I can at least adjust my strategy depending on what my opponent can do and mitigate this unfair surprize effect that happens when an opponent plays a completely new and cheesy phobie that I cannot see in my album.

→ Being able to choose which phobie to upgrade: this would still require colossal efforts to max out just one phobie but hopefully this would allow good players to prioritize spending and be able to get a decent core of upgraded phobies to face overleveled opponents. They would still be disadvantaged because they would still lack versatility in the options they could choose but at least they’d have a chance to win.

Basically, you could make the max level for a phobie… Attainable (I can’t believe I am writing this but I am). As of right now, I am not sure there is even ONE player who has a ONE level 30 phobie, which is absolutely absurd! I cannot even imagine this is a thing but apparently it is. For a very slow and painful progression, I’d say that a free to play player should be able to max out ONE phobie every 3 months if they get every possible reward the game offers for free without missing anything (which means reaching all the caps every day, and getting the best possible weekly and season rewards). Like this, it would still take 42 years of diligent playing to max out all 168 existing phobies. So don’t worry, there will still be money to make for some time.

I am perfectly OK with totally random phobies drops and caps per day, they are necessary for your free2play model to work.

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Just had my first match against an overleveled opponent. He made a ton of huge mistakes but due to stats differences I was not able to punish anything. Feels like playing a rigged game. No strategy involved whatsoever. Every check becomes a counter for my opponent, and every counter becomes a check for me. Until I see an answer on this topic, I will not play the game again.

I’m playing Phobies for its tactical and strategic gameplay, I’m not playing to be a punching ball.

This is such a shame to waste a well polished product like that…

2 Likes

I agree with you that the game seems to have a power gap with it’s average player and pay to win players. I’ve experienced this two when I was playing the game. I’ve just got back on it after a few months and I was already having fights with more powerful players. But I fixed this by purposely losing enough matches to lower my rank until I had matches with people my own level, at least close to it.

But I don’t agree with your solution to the problem.

  1. Removing the phobie cards resource… Thingy.

You kept paragraph 7 pretty veuge but I’m pretty sure you were talking about the challenge of getting the right amount of card points to a specific card before you are actually able to upgrade it with a different resource.

Don’t you see the problem with this?

Half of the game is you the player fighting other player. THE OTHER HALF is you upgrading your cards. If you remove the card points you would be removing an important resource from the game. This ingredients is important because it makes the player feel like they made progress in the game after leveling up a phobie. But removing the card resource means removing that feeling. ALSO, after that your left with people who payed real money on the game to buy these points. These people will feel ripped off since their card points are worth nothing.

Besides, even if you remove the card resource, your still left with the… The, uhhh… Purple goop resource (forgive me I don’t know what’s it’s called?). This would actually make the game MORE unbalance since now you only need to pay for the purple goop to upgrade your phobies. Unless you made the purple goop more expensive. Which intern will have less buyers, which intern will make the game gain less money, which will kill the game more faster.

  1. Seeing all the players phobies beforehand.

I like this as a game mode, but not as a permanent feature. I like playing like this, it keeps me on my toes and wary about my actions.

Just picture yourself as a new player. It’s your first match and you encounter a new phobie. You lose, in the 5th match you encounter a new phone and you lose again. But on the 12th match you learned your lesson, you need to play smart not aggressive or how ever you were playing before. You developed new strategies like IDK uhh playing defensively and learning to play the waiting game. This game is like chess, I know that sounded stupid but you know it’s half true. This game is all about being strategic with your moves. It’s about figuring your opponent attack before you make an action. And that’s how this new player won his 12th match even after fighting an unknown phobie.

If you don’t learn at least 1 of these strategy before your 12th attempt, it’s really your fault for being so angry. I mean come on, you should be expecting new phones there’s a whole album showing you like 70 unknown phobies you haven’t encountered.

Expect the unexpected.

What I feel like we should be changing is the rank system.

-PICTURE THIS-

You’re a knew player and your name is Sierra#6771 and picture the leader bored as a ladder🪜. As you play the game you fight other new players with the same power level as you.

Until you meet ubertank#6772; he is a pay to win player. He easily outmatched Sierra with his powerful phobies AS YOU POINTED OUT.

The problem is that Sierra will most definitely going to be fighting him again base on how the rank system works right now.

Climbing the ladder is not a difficult task for ether the new player and the pay to win player. The reason why is because both players don’t get very punished for a lost. No matter how many losses you get your going to gain more benefits from wins that makes losing a match have no effect on your position on the ladder :ladder:.

And it sucks even more If your good at the game because now your going to be fighting people who are always going to be out matching you.

-My solution-

Add more barrier :construction: on the ladder :ladder:.

Maybe add a challenge you need to do before you can go past a rank, like what their doing in Apex Legends. Make it more difficult to gain points on your rank as you climb the ladder :ladder:(I’ll stop using this metaphor). Or just add more rankings to the leaderboard.

You just need to make it more difficult to climbe the leaderboard. If you do that then it will make it harder for sierra to encounter another ubertank since ubertank is further ahead in the leaderboard and Sierra is stuck in the back fighting people at his level.

Hi, here’s someone who quit the game a while ago. The only reason I came back is because frankly, this game is more entertaining than Subway surfers :skull: and while I disagree with a few of your proposals it is clear that this game IS pay to win.

My biggest problem yet is the in-game currency. If micro-transactions were replaced with ads things would be a little better. Sure, it might be annoying for some people but think about it;
In the long term people will get tired of paying and will quit, but if they switched to ads, the game would focus on what I think are more important aspects, like:

  • Shorter tear cap waiting time (seriously I had to wait 20 HOURS to play again)
  • A little more coffee after every match
  • Of course a tighter matchmaking system
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I see what you mean @L1ttleSamu , I did a little research and there is many different types of revenue that can be made.

Here’s the website I got the information from.

beamable .com / blog
/ the-many-ways-to-monetize-your-game

Sorry if the link looks terrible. For some reason I can’t provide a complete link on a post.

But, don’t you think my solution can work two?

Thank you for your answers @Jjsocool909 @L1ttleSamu !

I noticed that losses weren’t very punishing, that is true. And I know precisely why: they have to to do this, because there are matches that are statistically impossible to win so they have to take this into account, otherwise you would get punished too severely to ever consider reaching SOAF, even if you are very good (until you get high level OP phobies too). So yeah we don’t really have a ladder. It’s just a score which tells approximately how long you farmed this season, and maybe just a little bit how well you performed and/or paid. They also can’t really force which stress level your opponent can be, otherwise at high ranks you would be unable to face most veteran players so there would be no challenge at all.

So I think they can’t change the ranking system, that would be even more unhealthy for everyone :frowning:


Unfortunately, ads do not make enough money and I feel like they put the maximum acceptable amount of ads in the game without being annoying.

For the cap system, this is purposedly long to make you wanna buy the daily double, and I understand, this is a free2play game and they have to do this, I don’t blame them.

I feel like they give a fair amount a coffee TBH! Per month, you can get for free something like the equivalent of 25-30$ worth of coffee, by just playing and enjoying the game.

I wouldn’t even say the game is particularly pay2win, it’s just “pay to get out of the punching ball phase just a little sooner and become a newbie bully yourself”

Since your stress level is directly equivalent to how upgraded your phobies are, you can be almost certain that if you face an opponent with the same stress level as you, your match will be almost fair.

Basically, paying raises your stress level faster, that is all.


What I absolutely hate is that there is virtually no end to the level-up system for phobies, the cap is unreachable (even Hopeloy which is 45 levels ahead of anybody else in the leaderboard does not have one phobie above level 26 due to how absurdly exponential it gets). Also, the developers really seem to avoid answering when they are asked how much XP is required to get one level 30 phobie, because they know it’s way too high.

But that’s also what makes some people spend thousands in the game so they won’t take the risk to change the XP curve, they probably think that this will negatively impact their financial situation. I am convinced of the opposite, since a healthy competitive scene improves retention of customers and makes every player more likely to spend since the value of what they get is higher and that they can have projections of their future with the game.

Maybe they are waiting for the whales to stop paying to change this and I cannot control people unfortunately, so…

Hmmm :expressionless:… So your saying there’s no easy solution to this problem. :pensive:

Well, I see 2 easy solutions:

  • Reducing the amount of upgrade cards it requires to reach level 30 on a phobie (but this is not likely to happen)

OR

  • Reworking the upgrade cards system and replace all the different upgrade cards with a generic upgrade pool that you can use to upgrade any phobie of your choice. This would still require a lot of XP but I think patient players would be able to get 25 keys worth of high level phobies to have a chance to beat top players if they play very well.
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@Jjsocool909

I just read your answer from a week ago again and didn’t remember that it was so detailed! Did you edit it afterwards? Anyway, I’ll answer it :stuck_out_tongue:

Having to lower your rank to face players of your level is exactly what’s wrong with that game! Weekly rewards depend on your rank, and if you’re good, you’ll rank up, no matter what. So basically what you are implying is that you cannot compete with high level players until you level up too, which is exactly what I am complaining about. I think your rank should mostly depend on how good you are, not how much you played. Currently it is the case because losses aren’t punishing at all. I know I’ll get to SOAF soon because due to how the ranking system works, there are low level players in all leagues. Statistically, the only thing that determines your rank is playtime. You just have to win 1 out of 5 matches to keep ranking up. This seems completely rigged. Maybe this changes after Primals though, I’ll see.

I do not agree with you when you say that having only purple goop to upgrade your phobies would break the feeling of progression players have. This is the game with the slowest progression I have ever seen in my entire life, and this is not an overstatement. I also don’t agree with the unbalance argument, because this fix would allow players to reach max level way quicker on specific phobies, and once max level is reached on enough phobies to build a “main team”, basically they would be able to face any opponent. After that, they would still have around 160 phobies to unlock and upgrade for versatility purposes. The upgrade process would still be fun, addictive and motivating.

Until getting maxxed out phobies, yeah players are going to have a rough time, but after some time they would hopefully be able to compete. For example if you think that a level 40 player should not be able to win against a level 140 player, then we can just disagree with each other and that’s OK!

It’s funny that you say that this game is like chess because I’m precisely asking for it to get closer to chess! There is a key thing in chess that makes it so balanced: you have all the info, all the time. In chess, there is nothing hidden. Your opponent cannot play a pawn for outside the board, that would be weird. If you get surprised in chess, it’s not because something was hidden, it’s just because you did not pay attention or had a flaw in your strategy. I don’t see what problem knowing what your opponent can play would cause. For me there is strictly no reason to hide this info.

@Para I dont understand why you want to make this game more like chess. I just said that they had similarities with each other, most likely this game drew inspiration from it. But that’s where it ends and should END.

Look,

Chess… I don’t like it, and this game isn’t chess and let’s keep it like that. Your opinion on the gameplay portions is purely opinion, including mine.

Let’s not use opinions as a reason to change how we want to play our fights. Different people have different taste in strategies game and your just gonna have to accept that.

But hey, again I wouldn’t mind having this as a game mode. BUT, only as a game mode.

ALSO, please quote me where I said the upgrade system had a flaw, because I don’t think I precisely said what you think I said. The upgrade system is great, the cost to upgrade our phobies needs to change though. This is what I said, I said NOTHING that implied that this was the problem to the unbalance fights in game.

The upgrade cost is an issue, but not the only issue in game AND not the problem to end all the problems in the game, that makes no sense. (Please explain if this is actually what you think this is, this makes no sense)

What makes you think I need this, what makes you think want these changeges. The game resources are find, the upgrades system I like it, and the gameplay is fun to me. Don’t start with your solution with removing these things, think about how we can twik it so it can better work how it was intended to work. If we all start basing our opinions on how we like things then nothing new or unique would be made.

Listen to me very closely, Your opinion on how the max upgrade thingy is correct and I would like that to be changed as well. But it is not the solutions to fix everything, there’s still issues to fix like the ranking system with it’s easiness to climbe because it’s impossible to be punished player. It’s also not a reason to romove things from the game, everyone has their opinion on this game and should be all heard. We should be thinking it so that everyone is happy, we only remove things when it’s FULLY NECESSARY.

But that’s my own nerdy opinion, we could agree to disagree.

The p2w thing can get annoying, but its not that bad. someone pulled 4 ot 5 urs on me, and they were over leveled. But playing enough gets me a disease phobie, as well as enough experience to counter opponents. the gap can be closed with skill (ofc when theres a 10 level diff in phobies you might have to go off hopes and dreams), if your patient enough then you can be top

Dont take it from me tho, im only in Doomsday 1.

@OblongShawty Yeah I noticed that too, I’m in Primals 3 and I have already beat people with lvl15 phobies and tons of URs (my account is lvl26 and my strongest phobie is lvl8), but in my opinion it was just because they didn’t play well. At an equal skill level, it still counts unfortunately.

But as you said, yeah, it’s not as bad as I thought. Still sad that lvl20 isn’t the max level for phobies anymore. That seemed fair to me.


@Jjsocool909 If opinions do not matter, basically I cannot debate about anything. Opinions can based on facts. Feelings are not. Of course I am opinionated and biased. It’s OK if you tell me you prefer the game as it is and that you don’t like the changes I propose. You’re probably not alone in this case, so that’s good to know!

But I don’t understand why you think it’s not legitimate for me to expose my subjective point of view if it relies on tangible observations.

I didn’t say that you said the upgrade system had a flaw, but I think it has flaws yes.
I agree with you when you say the costs have to change but as you pointed out weeks ago, that would make players who paid tons of money really angry so we can’t do that :confused:

Otherwise yes, what you propose would be ideal.

What you said is:

“I’ve just got back on it after a few months and I was already having fights with more powerful players. But I fixed this by purposely losing enough matches to lower my rank until I had matches with people my own level, at least close to it.”

And I said that was a problem because in a fair game you shouldn’t have to do that. I think account level shouldn’t matter too much past a certain point to be able to win.

@Para I did not say “opinion do not matter” I said,

“Listen to me very closely…It’s also not a reason to romove things from the game, everyone has their opinion on this game and should be all heard. We should be thinking it so that everyone is happy, we only remove things when it’s FULLY NECESSARY” (located in my last paragraph)

I said that everyone opinions matter, not just yours. When I said “We should be thinking it” I was saying that ‘we should be thinking about other people’s thoughts and options when creating our own opinion’ because their their logic might have better reasoning to be believe their opion than our own opinion.

But I clearly see that I didn’t make that clear enough.

I messed up there in my last paragraph, should have made a few more sentences in it to make it more description on my statement. I’ll try to better my texting skill in my next rant.


Anyways, back on track.

Firstly, Thank you for agreeing with me that your upgrade proposal wasn’t the best solution. But that doesn’t mean it could work dude. The developers could just change the price of the card resource so that it can be more easier for players to upgrade their phobies.

Stick with your guns dude, they can still work. They might be all dirty and used. But that doesn’t mean you can’t replace them for newer parts so they can better suit your need.

Your proposal to the upgrade system can still worked, it just needed to be tweaked a little.


Secondly, I still believe that the ranking system could be tweaked with.

The ranking system isn’t working as it supposed to be working. In my opinion, it’s supposed to split the player based by how powerful the players pobies are and how smart they are when fighting.

You got to think of this in a business perspective.

If a developer added your proposal without changing the ranking system then a PRESENT DAY players will have an easier time upgrading their phobies. then it would make it easier for them to reach higher levels on the board.

As it is right now, it doesn’t seem like phobies power level are being given a factor on the ranking system. If today’s players have an easier time leveling up their phones AND have a easy rank system. Player would reach SOAF in like a month, up most a least.

All I want is to keep a sense of progress in the game. But since the ranking systems is easy to climbe, you lose the whole purpose of the ranking system. It’s supposed to make you feel like you are becoming stronger over time.

But if suddenly half of the player based made it 2 SOAF. You lose that feeling of you becoming stronger and left with a leaderboard. A leaderboard that could make some players stay.

But I’m pretty sure many players would just leave the game after achieving the final stage of the game.

This is why I believe that both your proposal and mind should be use so that progression is still in the game, nothing had to be removed, and the player based will have a more balanced game.

I don’t think there anything wrong with this. But if you think I’m wrong then go ahead and put your logic in me, I might just learn something from it.

Hi again @Jjsocool909! Thank you for taking the time to answer me!
I think I somehow understand your point of view now. Tell me if I say something incorrect!

  • Progression : it is true that being able to reach SOAF after one month of playtime seems ridiculous and that it would kill the feeling of progression. To me, the ranking should change to make it very hard to climb, and I think we both agree? Tell me if you don’t, but I think we both said that climbing the ladder was currently too easy.

  • Ranking system : for me, the ranking system should work like in most 1vs1 strategy games. In my opinion, there should be a “fixed” proportion of players in each league, something like 0.1% of the playerbase in SOAF 3, 0.2% in SOAF 2, […], 3% in doomsday 1, etc…
    However with this system I think end of week and end of season rewards should not differ too much based on rank to make it more fair for everyone. Also, rankings could be at least partially reset in end of season? I know that seems crazy, but the speed at which you progress would be more based on whom you win against so that could take less time than now.

Currently, there is no difference between winning against a player who has 4000 rank points and has 60 more levels than you and winning against a lvl1 rank 0 player. The game just always gives you a fixed amount of rank points, which seems weird to me.

  • Long-term objectives : I think you and I don’t don’t perceive the leaderboard the same way. To you, the top players of the leaderboards should be the players who progressed the most (tell me if I’m wrong!), but in my opinion it should represent the most skilled players, independently of how long they played. Well, not exactly. I would say that players over level 50 should be able to aim for the first place. Of course, it would be insanely hard to reach because you would have to beat all the best players and they would not have all the phobies so they would have to be extremely good to avoid being countered by specific, dangerous phobies. The only difference with the current situation is that the levels of phobies would just matter less during a match.
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Yep that’s my perspective…where do we go from here now???

I mean I agree with you that the game should have a restart day on the leaderboard. Like what they do in marvel snap.

But with that out of the way, I don’t know what else 2 talk about?

I have already introduced a solution to these problems in my first published post. They can keep everything as it is but just introduce a new game mode where the two players can enjoy a perfectly fair match with the same equal number of Phobies and the same level. Additionally, we will have a new ranking stats for this mode.

I outlined this suggestion in my first published post on this forum. I can’t add a link here to the post, but you can view it from my profile by checking what posts I have published on this forum.

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This doesn’t fix anything. We still have the unbalanced mess in the normal competition field and issues with the upgrade system.

This could actually make things worse if you think about it. If they added this, players would just play this game mode since it’s less challenging and more fun. If so, then that would mean less people would be upgrading their cards since there’s no point in doing so which means less sales in the shop. Which means less profit for the game.

I know I’m exaggerating the effect of this, it will probably only be like 0.7% of the player base doing this.

But still, this doesn’t fix anything and it could add a negative effect to the game.

Many top games, particularly those with significant profits, operate stores exclusively for cosmetics. If you check the leading games across PC, console, and mobile platforms, you’ll see what I mean (I prefer not to name specific games here).

From the outset, the element of pay-to-win should be absent. By doing so, all players can enjoy the game equally, and many are more likely to invest in the store to customize the game’s appearance and feel.

Furthermore, this approach allows the game to foster a competitive environment, encouraging worldwide competitions and real-life events. These can generate substantially more revenue for developers and the company than mere store upgrades alone. This isn’t a new profit model; a look at all top games will illustrate this approach.

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Is it easy to do something like that? Just asking, never reacher about the process of making a cosmetic skin.

Edit: also Merry Christmas :gift::christmas_tree::gift:

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