First of all, I want to congratulate the devs on making such an awesome game. The game mechanics are really well designed and make for riveting play.
However, the current environment in online games is such that most games need even more things to encourage players to continue playing.
My experience with Faeria was the following:
The first 2 weeks I played some of the solo missions, a bit of pandora practice coins and a few ranked matches. That was fun and it very much got me into the game.
After the first ladder reset I was was able to build a solid green deck that took me all the way to the slot 9 in the ladder. At the same time I was able to gain 100 points from pandora, gaining a cool silver card back. Great! I felt I was really progressing.
The next month I got all the cool stuff from the monthly cup stream and I had enough gold to purchase some of the Oversky cards and made a sweet blue-green ramp deck with whales and frog tossers and that is currently getting me to god rank. I was also able to get to 150 pandora points and snag that sweet mythic chest.
And then what?
Because the ladder doesn’t fully reset I only have to play a few games each month to guarantee all the prizes in the ladder up to the mythic chest, but unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to play the necessary amount of games to get even close to getting a meaningful ranking within the god rank.
Just getting the 150 points on the pandora was kind of a grind for me since I only usually get 5-7 wins so I had to do around 8-10 runs. That basically means that because I have a family, job and other activities, I don’t have any hope of getting anywhere else in terms of progression in the game.
I will eventually have all the cards and continue to level up but having all the cards doesn’t really mean much if you already have the specific cards you need to play at the highest level of competition.
While the game itself is a lot of fun and a reward onto itself, I think it could benefit from a persistent leveling system, similar to what they have implemented in the very successful game Clash Royale. In that game there are what they call Arenas that you climb based on a score that you keep. The higher you climb, the more rewards you get from each win and from the chests that you open. This climb does not reset at all, except at the very top where things are slightly different. Given this, I would like to suggest a version of this that I think would work well for Faeria.
Lets say you have 10 levels that you can climb. The first levels would be fairly easy and fast (to bring new players in and give them confidence) with the later levels becoming much harder and slower to extend the mid game. Once past the 10 levels, you enter the end game mode where there are 5 tiers to climb but these ones do reset every month and give rewards based on ranking.
To climb the levels you must play and win games. How many games it takes can be tweaked but I think a good amount would allow an enthusiastic new player to climb the first few 3-4 levels over the course of a couple of months, but then require about 6 months to climb the next 3-4 and then another 6 months to climb that last couple of levels, extending the persistent progression of the game. It is also important to apply different rules of strictness for winning. In the lower levels losing will not remove points, but as you climb, losing will start having consequences. I would recommend locking players level so that they can never go down below the second to last level they reached. This prevents people purposely losing games to play easier opponents and go on a winning streak.
To make the climb feel rewarding, the value of the per-game rewards would be proportional to the level that you are in. There are other things that could be done like giving small bonuses when opening chests or increasing the odds of getting a higher rarity card.
I would also recommend restructuring the existing ladder so that it fully resets each month for everyone but making the prizes you get from each milestone a little more interesting. Since there is already a persistent system that doesn’t reset, people will not mind having a ladder to climb each month, as long as the prizes are worth it.
Since this would increase the reward revenue in general, you may have to tone down some of the other rewards, like the daily login or the daily quests, but I think that having rewards be given in this way, through a progression system, creates more engagement from players and encourages extended play.
There are a couple of related but independent suggestions I have related to progression that I think could benefit the game regardless of using a persistent system:
Use points instead of stars for ladder progression for a more accurate representation of what the win was worth. For example, instead of getting 1 star for a basic win, you would get 10 points. But if you won against a better opponent, you get 15 points and this could be tweaked based on how much better your opponent was. This is specially significative when losing points since it would be nice to lose fewer points when the lack of player base forces you to face a high ranking player.
Separate ladders (both pandora and battle) into a phase where there are guaranteed rewards and a phase where there are ranked rewards. Give out the guaranteed rewards immediatelly upon reaching them and give out the ranked rewards at the end of the season. For example, change the Pandora ladder so that it only goes up to 150 points, and you get the little rewards in the ladder immediately as soon as you make enough points. Once you get past 150 points, you can start looking at a ranked leader board. At the end of the season, the best 10% of players would get something amazing, then the next 20% of players would get something still quite special, then the next best 30% would get something a little worse and the last 30% would get something less exciting.
This has a couple of psicological effects. Having the immediate reward makes it more likely that a player will continue to play to just get one more thing than if it is given at the end of the season. Having the end of season rewards be ranked means that people will be competing against each other and also encourages more play.
Add a pandora style tournament for constructed, with a gold cost of entry and significant prizes. The key to making this work alongside a ladder is to make the game for the tournament also affect your ladder standing by giving you points for it (otherwise people only play the ladder since it’s free and has the guaranteed prizes at the end of the season). Having this lets people who aren’t interested in playing pandora (or limited style of play in general) continue to progress their collection at the same rate that a pandora player would and have more exciting stakes in their games.
Shorten the length of a pandora run by switching it to a hybrid mode: 4 guaranteed games, win or lose. If you win 3 or more, you move on to the next stage where its single elimination for 3 more games.