I think MAA and video games in general are fueld by two main motivations in the player : completion and victory.
Back in the days those were achieved simultaneously. We finished a game by winning the final stage. Period.
But with online gaming, achievements, unlockables, collectibles and PvP have clearly separated the two motivations who have become dynamic (compete to unlock, unlock to compete and so on.) . We now have highly addictive games who can be played over a long period of time, as long as this dynamic is alive. You can easily see this at work with Special Ops (unlock to compete) and PvP (Compete to unlock),
This dynamic is not easy to keep alive over time as it must integrate the newbies who can feel overwhelwed by the total of items to unlock, and keep the older players onboard as they feel easily disappointed by a single new release which will weigh less and less compared with the sum of what the player has accumulated over time.
Currently I think the main threat to this dynamic is the training time. Going to lvl 1 to 13 takes 135 hours for one hero and there are more than 80 of them. This number is always growing with the new heroes.
- It makes completion look unattainable to new players even by paying for gold.
- It creates an immovable elite group of players who started playing early enough to have their rooster fully trained
- It generates "agent parking" players
Because a ratio of the sum of heroes' lvl compared with the level of the agent decides your ranking in PVP, there is a practice called agent parking which aims at keeping the agent's lvl as low as possible while maximising the training of heroes. This makes one competitive in PVP but also reduces the level of completion and the overall experience of the game as one has to avoid all XP rewards.
It makes Command points harder to obtain (completion) but competing more effective. What I'm wondering is if parking players are more likely or less likely to pay for gold, and by extension, if playdom knowingly encourages this practice or if it's something they resent.
On one hand I think they don't spend cash for gold since they can achieve their goal by using low XP CP farming to recruit heroes and having a solid armory with the consumables from quests. On the other hand, players who have joined recently and missed PVP and SO need a lot of CP to catch up and may be tempted to buy gold as the basic rationale (pay to complete+win) is very strong in this case.
As time goes by, the number of items to unlock with CP increases and I think it makes the second category of agent parkers among newcomers less likely as the cost of completion is too steep to be formulated into a concinving rationale.
Another element is that agent parkers are more likely to feel frustrated and distressed when playing since they cannot satisfy both needs for competitiveness and completion, feeling always tensed, and end up disliking and berating the game whenever they comment about it online. Older players enjoy the game more as they can satisfy both needs (competition and completion) but by definition their number can't grow.
That's why my opinion is that the current trend is not favourable to playdom. The training time is discouraging for new comers and tends to create frustated players who can compete effectively without spending gold.
I wish playdom would do the following to reverse this trend and make the game last longer :
1 - Greatly decrease the training time and greatly increase the XP needed for each level. So that players get competitive by playing the game (XP) rather than by not playing it.
2 - Make event less frequent but last longer. To make them more achievable by weaker players and slowly reduce the growth of the items to unlock.
3 - Release more alts and less heroes. Alt can be game changers, sastisfy the need for completion and collection while not increasing the overall training time.
4 - Implement a PVP bonus for chapter mastery.
5 - Give away a lot more CP to new comers.
6 - Making CP farming without XP gain impossible.