I'm coming to the end of my first completed Bonus run, and want to compile and get off my chest all the outstanding issues I have with the game I love. I'm sure I'm going to miss stuff off this that I would like to post, so I'll probably update this as I go!
This list isn't supposed to be things I think work but could be improved on, like the tutorial, fight lists, or the layout of CB, but rather of the parts of CB that I feel are either broken or don't work to design, that need to be fixed.
This was masked somewhat in CB1, where XP costs also increased, the larger an ability got. But the existence of this leads on to the requirement of Number 2.
The Bonuses force players to know the game from the very start, making every fight worth so much. They create disposable teams. With fixed life spans they have to be continually rebalanced. The NCB comes with a horrendous restart tax, which will get its own point below. The NUB also encourages multis, and encourages playing to sell out (It does. While once questioned by Jon, we have far more than enough evidence now to support this).
The NCB restart tax is silly. The increase in BA cost impacts on more than just it's ability to get you to 95% of the top MPR with equivalent effort. It also impacts CP generation and your chance of getting an item drop. The 20% reduction in cash rewards also carped this.
A side effect of the current NCB is the abomination of hording 1600 BA saving it for a wacky XP time and getting someone to gimp a higher level team for you to wail on. This isn't strategy, it's abusing mechanics and the pressure of the NCB is such youﾒre forced into doing so.
What is this lottery supposed to achieve? If it's excitement over getting a drop, this fails for two reasons. First, it's not frequent enough to care about, or make any impact. Secondly there's not enough items of importance that drop, making your rare drop suck when you get a Katana, or GoM.
CB is filled with useless items that are at best boring wastes of space, and at worst new player traps. What's the point? Due to the nature of CB, its unlimited growth, and the Bonuses that have to be put in place to make that work, new players don't move up item ranks, They never really had. This problem was only ever obscured by rarity. And rarity should never be a balance, especially in a strategy game. Random Drops and Moving up item ranks are for item based progression games. CB isn't one of those.
Some items need balancing. The EXBow for one. Binary Win/Loss switches suck, and the EXBow is one of these. Have a large enough one (or hit with a large enough one) and you Win. Don't have a large enough one (or hit) and you lose. The ELBows 100% BCTH is too much, but that will get it's own point later. The MoD is fast becoming the default Melee Weapon, dealing double damage versus the most common and largest trained spell in the game, able to work with the SoC and the only thing in the game that bypasses PL. On top the PL bypass has the added benefit of allowing any VA you have to work on PL teams, that the PL would otherwise stop. It's the top damage dealing Mace class weapon and 1 handed so has the lowest penalties when used with a Shield.
We're at a point where we need to decide what the reason for distinct Ranged rounds are. We can kill off teams in the first round of Ranged, and kill teams entirely before Melee starts. Is the design for Ranged to be a viable 'killing/winning' strategy? If so, then everyone needs to go Ranged, as as it goes first, *nothing* else can compete. If Ranged is supposed to be a softener (and with the split of combat round based 10%/90% in favour of Melee this is implied), then Ranged damage needs further reductions in order to stop it's ability to wipe out teams before they get a chance to do anything. Whether by more Ranged nerfs, or new items/ability/mechanics changes to increase survivability to Melee. It's one reason why the EXBow is currently needed, and any rebalance to it would impact this.
This change to BCTH has swung the attack balance too far in favour of natural Dexterity and away from the PTH/Evasion duality. PTH/Evasion is more or less balanced among itself, but the only way to impact BCTH (bar the AoI, which can be hard to use for this purpose) is Dexterity itself (or the totally inefficient EC). And Dexterity is only worth training on other Tanks, so weﾒre back to the situation where only a Tank can successfully defend against another Tank. One of reasons the EXBow is required to remain in its current broken incarnation.
They're not balanced. With Single Minion teams receiving the paupers purse here. If CB is supposed to be a balanced Strategy game, then the impact of minion counts need to be part of the design. Currently Single Minions lose out on so much that the once vaunted benefit of XP concentration is no longer any sort of favour (Especially as it can often be duplicated by multi minion teams). Lack of using a powerful Body Armour and Tattoo together, lack of access to Leadership and lack of use of PL are a small part of the issues with Single Minions. CB could always claim that minion choice isn't balanced, and that Single Minions are the 'Hard Mode', but if so, then tell players before they waste a 6 month Bonus run on the 'Hard Mode'. The only benefit that Single Minions have over other minion count teams is they take the least damage from a SoD, as they suffer no extra splash damage.
Junction is too powerful. A standard Mage or UC minion cannot compete with its Junctioned counterpart.
It's non linear, being based on the increasing curve of the UC skill. UC remains the only non linear damage dealer in CB. There is no good reason for this.
Stopping Tournaments continually reducing the score of lower (10/20 and 9/20 BA zones) teams went a long way to stopping the problem getting worse. But the damage done needs to be redressed. It's far harder for new teams to grow (and this impacts the potential of the Bonuses as well...) as the majority of targets have had their plumped scores (and the increase in rewards gained which comes from that) already ravaged. And there's not the new teams being played and abandoned there to replenish the target pool. The cynic in me thinks this is the reason for retaining the current disposable N*B team system, in order to create and leave a stream of targets throughout the BA regen zones. Unfortunately, we need to retire disposed teams in order to not be penalised by their size when we start another. So this, if it was the intention, is moot.
It has far too much impact on the game, from item increases to BA purchases. ENC isn't the counter it needs to be to USD.
CB has for a long time revolved around Tattoos and Tattoo size. Strategy aside, whoever has the largest Tattoo wins. With Tattoos being transferable across teams like items, and the design of the larger you are, the larger you grow, it remains as difficult to compete with a Tattoo as it does reaching the Top MPR.
In no way do I want to detract from the awesome work NS and other have done, and continue to do, to improve CB, but we require old school Change Months. Even if it's random and not to the old set timescale, we need a time when aspects of CB game play are shaken up and turned on their heads. If only to keep us on our toes and reignite our interest.
Phew! That's all for the moment! I really don't want this thread to be viewed negatively. I'm not posting to moan, belittle anyone's efforts or scaremonger. The sky isn't falling! ;)
But I really do want to have an open and concise list of what I feel are issues that do need to be addressed, and do so positively.