Hey Mages, as our closed beta players have noticed (and as we announced on the Discord) we have changed the way you acquire Influence between the closed beta and the public early access. As promised, here is a detailed explanation of our reasoning and our motivations.
However, this post will cover more than just the Influence change. We have chosen from the beginning to treat our community as adults, so we are going to detail the financial and team involvement constraints we are working with, to make sure we are all on the same page regarding our choices. You may not agree with those, but at least you will be able to understand it.
Let’s start with how Influence works:
There are two factors when calculating Influence.
The first one is how many games you played today. Whether you win or lose, your first games will always bring you the following.
- 1st game: 100 Influence
- 2nd game: 75 Influence
- 3rd game: 50 Influence
- 4th game: 25 Influence
- 5th and subsequent games: 0 Influence
We wanted to make sure that players who could not play a lot of games, could at least get something out of it. Regardless of their performance.
But we also had to make it degressive. Making it possible to win even 1 Influence on loss all the time is an open door to people farming influence endlessly (including automated cheats).You would get grief play tactics like people surrendering right away and we get a whole bunch of frustrated people who can’t play Mage Noir. If we let that happen, nobody wins, except cheaters.
The second factor when calculating Influence is if you won, and how many wins you had that day. If you win, you get additional Influence:
- 1st win: 200 Influence
- 2nd win: 100 Influence
- 3rd win and subsequent wins: 50 Influence
This requires the player to play the game and is not something a cheater could easily farm. It seems logical to us that a win should award you something. So you always get Influence.
Since these two systems work together, your first game will award you 300 on a win or 100 on a loss.
Then your second game will award you 75 on a loss, 175 on a win streak or 275 if that’s your first win of the day, etc.
This system is set up so that you generally don’t feel obligated to play more than 4 games a day and you only need a couple of wins if you want to maximize the amount you gain each day. Players who don’t have a ton of time to put into the game each day can play a reasonable amount of time and get roughly as much Influence as big players. Setting everyone on equal foot concerning the time they have.
Quick math so you don’t have to:
New system: 4 games - 2 wins: 550 Influence
Old system: 4 games - 2 wins: 480 Influence
Why did we design it this way?
It was always thought like this from the beginning
Here is the part where we apologize: we should have stated more clearly from the beginning that the beta Influence system was just this: a closed beta Influence system, designed to maximize the cards gathering for testing purposes. We are sorry it was not clearer for everyone.
So why now ?
As a beta tester, you’ve been used to a system that was designed to maximize your card gathering for test purposes. As a token of our gratitude, we did not wipe the accounts at the end of the beta like it is sometimes done.
Now that the game opens up to a lot more players, we do not want them to also get used to a system that will not be the final one. The more we keep it in place, the harder it will be to change it later on, and the more the change will hurt the game and player base.
“But why can’t it be definitive?”
It had a lot of major flaws. The first and biggest was giving Influence on losses which makes the game vulnerable to cheaters.
The second is that by giving a constant stream of potential income, you reward players with more time, subsequently penalizing both newer and casual players.
This will not be the only way to acquire resources.
In an ideal world, we would have had the time to add daily quests, challenges for you to earn more Influence with more playtime. However, we stated earlier our priorities : bugs and optimization first for a greater experience for everyone. And we still believe it’s the right thing to do.
You know us, either we do what we say or we explain why we can’t. This is one of the former options: this content will come, as soon as we can. We know it’s important for you, it will be there.
Let’s address the elephant in the room though.
“This is all just marketing talk, now I can’t farm the whole collection for free and all you want is just that we spend money on the game.”
Well if some of you want to get on that topic we’re glad we can have this discussion.
About being free to play.
Is the game really free?
As a straight fact, yes it is.
Let us reiterate : Mage Noir Infinity is free, and will remain free, no matter what.
You can still farm your whole collection for free. You can get all of the cards just by playing the game and without spending a single cent. A lot of players play that way and we’re perfectly fine with that.
Is it slower? Yes indeed, Is it impossible or discouraged ? Not at all. New content coming soon will also improve your Influence farming and daily experience.
Is the game pay to win then?
Hardly. There are no specific resources you can only gain by spending real life money, no shortcut to win games. You do not need the whole collection to win your games. You need a good deck, a good strategy, a solid game plan, and a bit of luck.
Does paying give you more options quicker? Yes.
Does paying give you a significant boost in winning your games? No.
If paying players would start the game with 5 more HP we would agree that the game is pay to win. But as it is, Mage Noir is “pay to try other decks quicker” at best.
Why do you want paying players so badly ??
Well for starters, your love and support brings us warmth and joy, but unfortunately pays neither the bills nor the team !
But seriously though, a general consensus for free to play games is that 5% of players are actually paying for all the others. We’re totally fine with it and we’re happy that such a big portion of our players can enjoy the game for free. More matches launched means more life on the game means more fun for all of you… and more costs for us.
To ensure the sustainability of Mage Noir Infinity, we have to play along for all of you, those who will support us and the game, and those who will simply enjoy it. We need both to bring Mage Noir to its full potential.
Because developing the game, making it evolve and maintaining it has costs. Here are a few glimpses at what we need to juggle with.
What it takes to make a game.
We’ve been developing the game for 2 years.
- 5 developers
- 2 graphic designer
- 2 game designers/project managers
And we’re not even counting the (10 !) artwork illustrators, communication and administrative parts.
We are very respectful of people’s work so of course, all of these people received a salary. But for now, most of the money to pay for those salaries comes from loans and personal savings.
Not everyone received a salary though. The authors have been working on their personal time and living on their personal savings for 3 years to ensure that the rest of the team could be paid properly.
(On a side note, as we said many times, not a single cent from the physical board game kickstarter was spent in the development of the online version. Backers paid for a physical game, and as such, all of the funds went towards making the physical game)
But that’s not all. As you’re playing Mage Noir - Infinity remotely, we need servers that can host your games. These have a cost that needs to be paid otherwise you would not be able to play.
This is why three years after the original Mage Noir idea, thousands of hours of work to bring you the best game we could without any financial or technical support from the big wigs of the video game industry, we still believe in a full free to play experience as more people will come to enjoy our game and hopefully support us one way or another.
We’re trying really hard to be respectful of all your contributions. Financially or otherwise. We believe our current choices are the best to ensure both the sustainability of the game and your overall experience with us. We hope you understand that.
For those who do, we thank you very much and we’re really proud of making all these efforts for you. You make it all worth it.
For those who don’t, the physical version of the game is coming soon and will give you the chance to experience all possible card combinations at a fixed price. We really hope you’ll like it!
We thank all of our players who are helping us make Mage Noir a great success, and we’re going back to work to fix those pesky bugs and implement those additional Influence reward systems as fast as possible.
Long live Mage Noir!
~ The Mage Noir team