Three ways to get rid of the mechanisms, timers and energy in free-to-play game

Free-to-play (F2P) for mobile platforms is changing every day. The audience becomes more Mature. Her tastes change. And I feel now is the calm before the storm. Stagnation at the top of the App Store kept for a very long time.

But the taste of the audience of mobile games will change, and designers have to decide how for them to adjust. As the tastes of audiences change, you have to adapt the design. We have to find ways to make the old system was felt in a new way.

Today I would like to discuss with you the mechanics of the regulation of promoting the game, and how we can customize the currently existing mechanics to our more Mature audience better than they were treated. Mechanics are usually advance the game appear in the form of timers or energy systems, they are always embedded in the basic cycles of any F2P project. Regulation of promotion of the game is what prevents burnout players from content or mechanics. It is the cause of habits.

If correctly to arrange the promotion, it is possible to achieve stable long-term retention. And long-term retention is a key metric that you want a successful game. However, it is not easy to make the mechanics of the promotion were not felt artificially contrived. So, I made a set of three tactics that I use, if you have to adjust the mechanics of promoting the game.

These three tactics will help you to rethink creating a structure of promotion so that it was felt a new, completely different and seemed more natural. Sometimes in game design you want to add in game timers for longer periods of time, which will govern the users interaction with a particular function in the game, and will not give too often opportunity for this function to apply. In many F2P games serve this purpose long-term timers. 4 hours, 8 hours or even 12 hours.

In my experience I can say that these timers may cause the feeling that the user limit. Instead, ask yourself, can you instead use the cycles of day, week or month. It would be better if you instead of the features available “every eight hours”, make a choice in favor of features available “once a day”.

This will give players the opportunity to build using this feature. In addition, users in this case will be more natural feel, since the game will be built on is innate in us the sensations of the day/night cycle. The player is much easier to go back once a day, than to return in exactly eight hours. As a result, you set more hard pace (because once a day is much less than once in eight hours), but this is easier to get used to.

A good example here is Hearthstone. In their system of the missions just involved the daily rhythm. Instead of using timers they adjusted the loss of the missions in the game there is only one new mission per day.

In total cannot be more than three. So returning to the app at any time the next day, you already know that you will get one additional mission. This is the easiest source of getting free coins, so the players are thankful for this opportunity, and besides, shes tied to the basic cycle buy decks of cards. But, of course, the main thing here is the daily rhythm.

In the game there is no precise timer, which forces to return to the game after X hours, instead, the user has all the flexibility of the natural daily cycles. He wondered. “I have already fulfilled the days mission?”. But the daily cycle is not the only loop that you can use. Weeks and months are also suitable to adjust the players progress.

Hearthstone uses a monthly cycle for the seasonal competition. As each month has its own unique card shirt, the player is interested in coming back to the app, especially at the end of the month, at least, to get new shirts. Another good way to add to the game a certain rhythm of progress — use of visual animation instead of timers.

For example, in the game Hay Day is fairly smartly designed mechanics, which you cant make a deal for the sale of goods with the characters until they leave you and not come again. After the transaction, the character slowly goes away, and soon returned for another trade. In this case, and given rhythm makes sense and there is no need to poke a timer into the users face.

Want to make another trade. Wait until you return the merchant. And in these games that have big maps of the worlds and you need to send the army to different parts of the world, adjust of promoting the game is hidden behind the time the army needed to get to places. As if to show the scale of the world in comparison with the troops and create the illusion of movement, the players are easier to believe in what the troops actually need time to get to places.

Does your game any short timers that you can visualize the animation and not the timer. Maybe there are long-timers who better to imagine as an animation. To ensure that players are treated better regulation of promotion of the game, you have to go to all sorts of tricks with the economy of games and game systems. Instead of forcing the player to wait several hours until the building is constructed, start to increase the complexity and cost of construction.

For most systems passing through the timer looks like this. The best example is Fallout Shelter — the game developers that put a lot of effort to promote felt different, stand out from the gray mass. They decided to achieve this by changing the economy of the game.

Instead of handling the promotion for the game by using timers to build rooms, they decided to regulate the promotion only through the initial cost of the rooms. As a result of the Fallout Shelter is very different from most simulation games. Users feel a constant gratitude and satisfaction with opportunities to earn coins.

The Fallout Shelter all turned out, and the game differs from most F2P titles. But the increase in the cost of the purchase may take different forms. The cost can be realized in the form of collecting currency (such as bottle caps in Fallout Shelter), or be a combination of luck and effort, as it works in most games that uses the gatcha system, including Contest of Champions. In order to adjust the advance through obtaining the best character, players must first go through the tedious collection of hundreds of crystals.

If you are trying to develop new mechanics of promoting the game, consider the following. Instead, to ensure the player a reward at the end of a long cycle, engage him in shorter cycles, but make an element of randomness in the progress toward the goal. As psychology teaches us, this kind of mechanics would lure much longer than a certain value.

There are a huge number of possibilities to regulate the promotion for the game. But Id many times thought before you just add a timer or the high cost. If all of the above is not suitable, then the minimum that you should do to implement the game timer is to ensure that such action makes sense.

Why all F2P games there is the construction of buildings. Because construction is one of the few places in which the introduction of timers makes sense. This is the main reason why in most games by default, there are urban component, even if the genre of cor-gameplay that does not require.

Take, for example, Walking Dead. Road to Survival, a game that recently released Studio Scopely. It is obvious that they added urban component solely for the ability to use timers for the construction. If the game didnt have this component, they would have had a very long to find the place where it would be natural to implement a long-term timers.

A good example here is the game Agent Alice, the creators of which had to Tinker with the implementation of timers. Agent Alice is the recently released game in the genre of “search objects” from Wooga.

The creators of Agent Alice went on a huge risk, removing the urban component of the game Pearls Peril, its predecessor. Because of this decision the creators had to Tinker to find an effective idea for timers. Where in Pearls Peril timers were used for construction, to regulate the progress of players on the game, Agent Alice had to use other timers. The timers were the various steps that have to be taken by the Agent Alice, to regulate promotion for the game.

In the example in the screenshot below, Alice should plan your next step — this step performs the role of a long-term timer. This timer is unexpected for the player. The purpose of the timer as best as possible to approach the topic of the game.

Every time a user is confronted with the timer in the game, he must think. “All right, it is understandable why it takes so much time”. In another game in the genre of “find object” — the Criminal Case from the Studio Pretty Simple — the timer is used whenever you need to send something “in the lab”. It makes sense.

In all the detective serials that I have ever seen, it was expected and understood by everyone. Sending evidence to the lab makes sense, it is understandable why it takes time. Keep this in mind when creating the structures for regulation of the promotion of the game.

The introduction of timers in the game should be expected and logical for users. It may be very difficult to create the right mechanics to advance through the game. The introduction of timers in all the system is not reasonable, especially when you consider that the audience of our games is becoming more Mature and more sensitive to game mechanics. There are three ways to improve promotion mechanics.

But if none of the above not possible, do whatever it takes to advance was reasonable, made sense within the game loop. The time you need in order to build something, to send characters on the road. These actions can be timers. Do not add timers where they will not logical, not clear why this action should take time.

Using these tips you will be able to make it so that players didnt seem that the design of your game than their restricts, so it was more natural and was completely happy with this more Mature audience.


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