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  1. #1
    World Champion 2012 iClipse's Avatar
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    False Hopes, Broken Promises

    Disclaimer: This is a long read. There is no TL;DR, so make sure you have at least 15 minutes free time before you start to read this post.

    Hey everyone,

    First, Iíd like to thank A1 into supporting me, and giving me ideas on how to best write this article. Also, before starting everything I have to say that I absolutely love Shadow Era. I want it to succeed, and become one of the biggest Card Games out there. However there are multiple reasons for why itís not accomplishing what it could accomplish, and I think that most of these things are problems that could definitely be fixed. If there was the willingness to actually accomplish these things, the game could go (or could have gone?) very far. Do note, Iím not trying to talk bad about the people who are putting a lot of effort in this game, I love you all. That doesnít mean that things canít improve though.

    Iím going to try and break down my post into multiple sections. First Iíll post the things that me and the guild think are the most important things on why Shadow Era isnít moving forward as fast as it could, as to not dilute the attention too much to other things that also could be greatly improved.

    Core issues:
    Issue 1: Extremely slow progress.
    1.1 Coding
    Why is it, that everything in this game needs to take ages to be implemented? Of course, there are always issues that can arise. Unexpected turns, family matters, professional problems, or what have you. But these things are recurring every single time things need to get implemented. There are very often periods on MONTHS without a single small update or a things that has been done (code-wise). As a customer, it feels very much that this thought progress is followed:
    ďHmm, it has been a while since we did something for Shadow Era. How about we quickly do this one thing over the course of the week, so the players are happy again for the next few months.Ē Thatís how it often feels. Of course, itís not always like that, and there are people working hard behind the scenes, but I have very often trouble seeing that.

    As to give an example on how slow Shadow Era is progressing, Iíll compare it with Might and Magic: Duel of Champions. Thatís another digital card game. It can be found here: http://www.duelofchampions.com/en/index.aspx
    I agree that itís not an entirely fair comparison, since Ubisoft is a big company, with lots of resources at its disposal, so fast and efficient coding is easily done. That said, itís still a game that is very close to shadow Era, being a full digital card game.

    Might and Magic was released the 18th of December 2012. So at this time, itís out for less than 5 months (not including the beta, which started in the summer 2012).

    Release notes from Shadow Era the past year (heck, Iíll start at 1/1/2012 for Shadow Era) versus the notes of the time that Might and Magic is out:
    Shadow Era (2012 Ė 2013):
    9th March 2012: v1.503 was released: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread.php?13198-v1-503
    26 October 2012: v1.612 was released: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread....-612-released!
    14th December 2012: v1.700 was released: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread....ight=drag+drop
    14th March 2013: v2.000 (DP) was released: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread....cies-Released!

    Now Might and Magic Ė Duel of Champions (2012 Ė 2013):
    18th December 2012: The game gets released. It gets multiple features, as well as an expansion pack on release date, making it already a total of 344 cards released. And thatís just the release date.: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php...ber-18th-2012?
    17 January: First patch: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php...Prison-Cavern?
    19 March: First update with features. New tournament type + bug fixes: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php...to-6pm-UKtime?
    30 April: Next expansion is announced, and will be live by the end of May. : http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php...LD-OF-THE-VOID
    To summarize: Shadow Era got 4 updates in the past 16 months. Might and Magic got 3 (and another one coming at the end of May) updates in 4 months. Thatís an update almost every month. At that speed, Shadow Era would have had 12 updates, instead of the 4 we had now. Note that not all updates are big things, and they donít have to be (2 of the 4 updates from Shadow Era also had close to no content). Anything that makes it feel like that the game is progressing forward is good. But we are getting very little of that in Shadow Era.

    1.2 Physical cards

    I have the feeling (and Iím not alone in this) that physical cards are slowing down the digital game extremely. In my eyes, the physical part of the game is a terrible thing for this game. Why would a game, that is still in itís infancy, try to conquer the physical market? That market is over-saturated already as is, with card games like Magic: The Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, and Pokťmon already dominating the market. Having these physical cards does 2 things for the digital game:
    First: it slows things down immensely. We used to have regular updates to the digital game, but that was before the physical cards were a fact. It was once these cards were introduced that we had months of no updates, no word from developers except on physical related stuff.
    Second: With the physical game out, the digital game can never be as flexible anymore. Remember updates like these: 1.24: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread.php?3093-v1-25 or 1.25: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread.php?13198-v1-503. What these updates did, was make cards that were too powerful, a bit less powerful, and buffed cards that could use it. What that did was revitalize the game. It made it so that the people could play longer with the cards they already had, because the game itself changed. And thatís what made the game awesome. Now, especially because of the physical cards, underused cards will never see the light of day, which is sad. Especially if we need to play with our cards for so long.

    My suggestion:
    Regarding coding: Hire a headhunter, and try and get some decent coders into the company. Iíve heard multiple rumors, but Iím obviously not sure which ones are true. Most rumors do come down to one basis, and thatís that there are not enough coders who are CAPABLE (important word here).
    Regarding Physical cards: Iím not saying that the game should get rid of them, but they should be greatly reduced in importance, and only be showcased as a collectorís edition item. In my eyes, the digital game should still be subject to change, even after the cards are printed. Itís what makes the digital game interesting. Why hamper evolution? Why change something that was fundamental in the past to this game?
    iClipse - A1's Twilight Manipulator - A1 : Evolution in Theory
    Part of PFG


    • My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.

    • Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

    • With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

    • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

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  2. #2
    World Champion 2012 iClipse's Avatar
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    Part 2:
    Issue 2: Poor communication
    There is not enough information available. This is especially regarding the physical cards. People are often outraged by the amount of information available. Physical cards were being shipped in month X (I’m not entirely sure which one), and then only months later, all we get is some posts like: “The cards are shipping now!”. However, over half a year later, there were still multiple people who did not receive their cards yet.
    Another example regarding poor communication. Do note, I'm saying a big thumbs up to Kyle for posting this, but it was still a post with false promises.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    It's with a heavy heart today that I must finally admit defeat in the scandal over physical bonuses to people that preordered.

    Although the card sleeves were finally produced thanks to sub-contracting Cartamundi, the playmats, tokens and collector's tins had numerous manufacturing delays through companies in China. Although we paid a deposit and were given start dates, they constantly failed to deliver on those dates and things got pushed back again and again. After finally canceling the orders and attempting to restart the process by contracting through more reputable companies, the product samples we ordered have been stuck in Vietnam customs for almost two months now due to increased import controls. Again, even a ballpark date when the items can be manufactured and delivered is completely unknown.

    The physical world is new and uncertain to us, and we've learned a lot about what went right and what went wrong. The greatest pain is that we couldn't provide updates during this waiting period, as we didn't have any new information to give. It made a lot of people unhappy, and angry that they didn't get what they were promised. Although we've tried to add more and more bonuses, such as the exclusive digital sleeves, that still didn't solve the problem.

    So today I have to finally say that enough is enough. We can no longer put the reputation of our company at the mercy of third party manufacturers. It's for this reason that an exchange has to be made on the promises of playmats, tokens and collector's tins. Instead, you will be shipped the premium Zaladar card sleeves and a free Dark Prophecies booster box - a $65 value - when they are produced early next year.

    I can only hope that you all sympathize with our position on this, and accept the exchange that we're forced to make. Thanks for your support and incredible patience!

    TL;DR - we had to cancel the playmats, tokens and collector's tins. But you'll get a free Dark Prophecies booster box instead!

    Note: The people that preordered the Epic Collection and Complete Playsets will still get their limited edition playmats.
    So. In some way, we’re still early 2013. BUT: Balance changes are still taking place, so the cards are not being printed yet. When would we get extra information regarding when the cards were going to be printed/shipped? Not at all? By the end of 2013? I’m obviously exaggerating here, but that’s how it has been the past year. Close to no information for the customers, and this makes a lot of people frustrated (and they should be). In the end, it’s something that has been promised, for which they paid. I’m not saying that the physical cards were a bad deal, they were a seriously good deal, BUT if you can’t deliver something (all the bonuses), then don’t promise it.
    Situations like the one above are continuously plaguing this game, and they are not seeming to improve. This angers a lot of people greatly.

    My suggestion: Put someone in charge over the physical cards who is ALSO in charge of the communication towards the players.

    Issue 3: Promises pretty much always get broken

    Why do you guys post things like these if you can’t accomplish them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    The foil effect for DP cards is not yet complete, the foreground character is not masked yet and should not be shiny. Don't worry, your foil cards will automatically update in about a week when the work of manually masking all the artwork is complete, no Apple approval required.
    The animation was turned off when the card is not moving because of the number of complaints about it, and it simply wasn't realistic looking.
    That was posted almost 3 weeks ago. Well, where are they? I wouldn’t mind waiting for them for a bit. I do mind waiting for them when they were promised 2 weeks ago.

    Here’s another one. It’s almost hilarious at this point:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    The old Merchant for buying and se
    lling individual cards should be replaced with a player auction system. It would function like the stock market, and a player can enter the price that they want to buy or sell a card at, or just accept the current market rate. For example, a card might have sell orders like the following (players wanting to sell a card)


    Qty Price
    1 190
    20 200
    8 210
    3 220


    While the buy orders (players wanting to buy a card) are:
    Qty Price
    10 150
    30 140
    21 130


    If a player just wants to sell his card quickly, he will be matched with the best buy order, which is 150g. Likewise, if a player wants to buy a card, he will buy it from the lowest priced seller for 190g. The card stock market has a real inventory, meaning that players selling cards have it already removed from their inventory, and players putting in a buy order have already spent the gold and are waiting for their card at a good price.


    The supply and demand in the marketplace will determine the price that players use. The system will prevent players from sending gold to their other accounts by only allowing trades at the best market price.

    We're working on this much-requested feature for v1.28
    We’re working on this much requested feature for v1.28.. v1.28 was released over 18 months ago. How can this have taken so long? I mean, even Dark Prophecies was not going to be released before the card market was finished. Yet, here we are, DP released. Not Card Market seen so far.

    How is this even possible?

    These are obviously just a few examples. There are multiple of these promises floating the forum. Why promise something that can’t be accomplished? And why can’t they be accomplished in the first place? 18 months should have been more than enough time to code a card market.
    Also: Where are the epic avatars? They were promised, yet we still don’t have them. Adding in some images into the code can really NOT be that hard!

    My suggestion: Hire better coders, so it’s actually possible to promise things that can actually be done.

    Summary: These are, according to many of the people in my guild, the most important things that need to be fixed. However, I’m going to continue some more with other issues that are in my eyes also important, though maybe not as important as the ones above.
    Last edited by iClipse; 05-06-2013 at 08:56 PM.
    iClipse - A1's Twilight Manipulator - A1 : Evolution in Theory
    Part of PFG


    • My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.

    • Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

    • With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

    • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

    • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

  3. #3
    World Champion 2012 iClipse's Avatar
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    Part 3:

    Other things:

    Lack of features
    Why are there so few features? And the features we do have are only half finished. I mean, look at the friend list. What’s the deal of it? It’s just there, but it doesn’t actually do anything.
    In fact, we even LOST a feature: Seeing the last 3 games in your history. I know it was removed to improve server/game stability, but it’s still a feature we lost. And in exchange we got… Close to nothing. There is meltdown, true, but other than that?

    There was an awesome thread about features a while ago: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread....light=features

    This thread is 10 months old. It’s FULL of awesome ideas. Yet we haven’t seen a single one of the things mentioned on the ‘road map’. Simple things, such as a different toggle for sounds and music is still not available. I was recently watching the JIRA, and I did see something mentioned there about having a sound to play at the start of a turn, and thus having a different toggle for that one. So that’s definitely good, but it’s still not here yet, and it would only be the first thing of a very long list to see the light of day.
    Auction house, campaign, tournaments, improved rating system, …. are all epic features that could definitely make people play more and thus pay more money.

    Also: Where are the daily play bonuses? They were in the JIRA a year ago, but they never came through. They are one of these things that would make people play a ton more.

    The forum:
    This one is more personal. In my eyes, the forum isn’t as interesting as it used to be. Nowadays the forum is used primarily for tournaments, and announcements. Only, there aren’t many announcements, and if you don’t regularly play tournaments, there is little to do on the forum.
    In general, while it also often makes for very heated debates, balance changes are something very interesting to talk about. As an example, the latest balance changes (and those are only 2 very minor changes) made for 2 threads. One of 45+ pages, and another new one for 11 pages. Other than big tournaments and announcements, we rarely get to such amount of posts on one subject. Having more of these is interesting, keeps the forum lively and inspires more people to keep on playing. As a Starcraft fan, and an avid visitor of the site Teamliquid (teamliquid.net), I often see popping up balance changes. And they ALWAYS get the most responses in the shortest amount of time. That’s because they are interesting, and spark a lot of debate.
    Of course, with physical cards, I understand this is not always possible, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to make the forum more attracting. For example: Card creation contests. Remember Dimension Ripper? Armor of Ages? Those are cards created by the community (or Martin in this case). I’m of course not saying that the community should design the next set, but having 5 of these over the course of the 5 weeks for example would make the forum already more interesting for example. Even with contests like that, the DT can STILL choose the card effect, tailored to the next expansion.
    There are a ton more complaints from other people in the guild (like: How is it possible that Serena doesn’t work? It’s literally copy pasting of code. Was the update tested at all before it got released?), but I think I made my point by now.

    Anyway, if you’ve made it so far: Congratulations. Please let me know how you think about the issues I touched.
    Last edited by iClipse; 05-06-2013 at 08:57 PM.
    iClipse - A1's Twilight Manipulator - A1 : Evolution in Theory
    Part of PFG


    • My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.

    • Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

    • With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

    • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

    • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Airact's Avatar
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    Couldn't have done it better myself.

    Hard to comment on specific things when I don't know if I'm allowed to T_T


    Now let's hope this doesn't get swept away like a damn lot of things did.

  5. #5
    Senior Member CyrusKhane's Avatar
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    Massive +1, interested to see what Kyle has to say about this thread.

    Edit, cause Demnchi had to call me out on my +1:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the entire post, but I definitely wanted to say something about the physical game pretty much halting the digital game's progress. Shadow Era, in it's current incarnation, has absolutely no place in the physical game market. There's too many more well-established games out there for anybody to find an interest in a small game like SE. I get that Wulven wants to establish a physical game, but now is NOT the time. I would suggest waiting until they have perhaps 5-6 sets out (not counting DP, as DP was an expansion to CotC, not really a "set" of it's own) before even thinking about the phys. game, as well as making sure it's in their budget to change and reprint cards that may be gamebreaking.
    Last edited by CyrusKhane; 05-06-2013 at 09:45 PM.
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  6. #6
    Chat Mod SamuelJ's Avatar
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    Skimmed and agreed.

  7. #7
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    iClipse - agreed on all points. Well said.

    Generally speaking I play this game casually. I've spent at least $60 since my first download but the general lack of progress the game has made has kept me disciplined from spending more money on it. I truly think going into the physical market was a huge mistake and has cost the digital product tons of employee time that could have enhanced it at a much greater rate.

    It's kind of sad to me, I browse the forum almost more often than I play, just hoping that things with this 'could have been great' game are going to change for the better.

    I was sold on Shadow Era as a potential premier digital card game, cross platform!, but it has not lived up to the praise I once gave it among friends. I never even talk about it anymore where in the past I sold it through word of mouth to a bunch of mobile gamers. The lack of updates and just general care by ownership seems to have dropped off since the implementation of a physical product was made.

    Sadly, it reminds me of what happened to the mobile version of Wesnoth. Something that could have been great, but just kind of fell off the map.
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jo3yb0i's Avatar
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    I empathize with u my friend. I love this game as well and the not-so-fast updates does turn me off. I also agree that physical cards is nice to implement however its still to early in the game. Maybe after 4 - 5 sets physical cards should be printed. It does hinder the evolution and the tempo of advancement for Shadowera. The DP release did satisfy my hunger for new content but for how long? Hopefully a new set is within 3 months but it does not seem so bright based on the last update. I'm pretty sure this game will evolve itself to a point where some cards will be specific to certain heroes and/or change past cards to accommodate and avoid game breaking combos. I love shadowera and i dont want it to fall. The points you pointed out might be the reason (God forbid) its unwanted downfall. Hopefully, your post can be an eye opener and lead to a better future for Shadowera
    "Try and try until you die...or succeed...whichever comes first"

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  9. #9
    World Champion 2012 iClipse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo3yb0i View Post
    I empathize with u my friend. I love this game as well and the not-so-fast updates does turn me off. I also agree that physical cards is nice to implement however its still to early in the game. Maybe after 4 - 5 sets physical cards should be printed. It does hinder the evolution and the tempo of advancement for Shadowera. The DP release did satisfy my hunger for new content but for how long? Hopefully a new set is within 3 months but it does not seem so bright based on the last update. I'm pretty sure this game will evolve itself to a point where some cards will be specific to certain heroes and/or change past cards to accommodate and avoid game breaking combos. I love shadowera and i dont want it to fall. The points you pointed out might be the reason (God forbid) its unwanted downfall. Hopefully, your post can be an eye opener and lead to a better future for Shadowera
    Well, it's definitely meant to be an eye opener

    Thanks for the support already, guys! Really appreciate it.
    iClipse - A1's Twilight Manipulator - A1 : Evolution in Theory
    Part of PFG


    • My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.

    • Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

    • With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

    • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

    • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BDK16's Avatar
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    Read all of it and fully agree.

    I remember the card contests being one of the reasons why I liked this game even more and it even made me stay

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