We have a daily routine at Hidden Monster Games. At the start of each workday, every colleague tells the team what they did yesterday, and what they’re doing today. This keeps everyone well-informed and motivated and allows us to easily offer and ask for help when and if it’s needed. If you’re familiar with this work method, you know it’s called a “Standup”. After a standup, Jelmer, Pim and I get coffee, the rest of the team gets their tea and we all get to it. We do this every day.
What also has seeped its way into the standup process, is having impromptu design meetings right afterwards, in which a colleague - usually Geert, as the Product Owner (and because his mind is always racing with ideas for Curve Fever Pro) - presents us with a new idea. This happens about once or twice a week. Sometimes these are great ideas, and the rest of the team doesn’t hold back on providing feedback. Sometimes, these ideas are a necessity. This is also the case for the changes I’d like to discuss today.
Curve Fever Pro is constantly being expanded, improved and changed, but an issue we keep running into is an exploit with which players try to drop their rank in order to be matched with lower ranked players, to increase their odds of getting a silver or gold crate.
We’re going to combat smurfing by adding a hidden rank - something separate from your visible rank in the game. Geert calls it “Crate Rank”. If you play normally and earn a spot towards the top, your crate rank and actual rank are very similar. However, if you “smurf” by losing games to drop your rank, with ships you have already earned crates with, your crate rank does not lower alongside your actual rank. You’ll get matched with players of the same crate rank, or should I say the same skill level.
It can be a bit hard to wrap your head around. If you don’t try to gain the system by smurfing, there’s no reason to worry, but do know that we’re taking action against those who are. This prevents newer players from having a bad experience because they’re unknowingly playing against experienced players. It also keeps the experienced players on the straight and narrow.
Combatting smurfing is not all we’re doing. Alongside these changes, we’re continuously balancing and tweaking the in-game economy. We’re enacting some new changes to shift the focus slightly from ships to modules. We feel that modules are one of the core aspects that make Curve Fever Pro what it is, so we want to emphasise them a bit more.
Let’s start with researchers. The way they are implemented is going to change slightly. So, first, the new things: you can only buy them with gems and their effectiveness is being lowered from 3x to 2x. The good news with this change is that all ship points earned from unlocking crates have been increased by 50%, even without using researchers! This evens out the value of researchers in relation to crates. Now you’ll have more coins to spend on module upgrades.
Along with this change, come some changes to the way you earn in-game currency. After some extremely fierce internal discussion was decided to lower the number of gems and coins you can win regular matches. The new setup will be as follows:
- Winner: 1 gem
- 2nd place: 8 coins
- 3rd place: 6 coins
- 4th place 4 coins
- 5th place: 2 coins
- 6th place: 0 coins
The good news is that you’ll now also get gems from crates.
We know it’s quite the departure from what we have been doing the last couple of months, but we realised that the way we used to dole out rewards, opens up too much of the game too fast. Combined with the Smurfing-method, it’s one heck of a way to brute force your way through the game, which is something we never intended.
These changes are all being rolled out in an upcoming update. Playing with friends is a feature that draws ever closer and we’re also looking at other ways to earn crates, by potentially not locking modules for instance. In the next development blog we’ll be discussing custom games and social features, so stay tuned!