This game has a lot to offer so far (and is fun until the tedium kicks in) but it is currently hindered by tedious management of Jerks in Chat and the arbitrary progression and bug systems.
I don’t mind manually having to warn or ban jerks, I just need a better way to find them than randomly clicking on hundreds of players. All we need is the ability to filter the player list by tag and issue warnings/bans from that list. If you can add that to the players-list window in the game info screen it will go a long way toward fixing this large management issue.
Management of the Dev team and progression of the game version feels very arbitrary and pointless. Too many bugs? Hire more devs. Or fire some, doesn’t matter. Just change the number a bit. Still nowhere near the next release? Plant more grass… lots and lots of grass.
I would like to see the Dev team progress the version number of the game. Based on the size of the team and their bug load, a new “innovation” bar fills up over time. The more bugs they have to handle and the smaller the team, the longer it takes the bar to fill. Major design activity, not necessarily every plant you place, but adding a town to a region, expanding monster zones and/or quests, adding classes/monsters, etc. can also contribute to the innovation bar. Filling the innovation bar completely unlocks a new feature. Additional ability points can be granted at various percentages of completeness each time you fill the innovation bar.
This would make the dev team more integral to the game’s progression rather than simply serving as a loose balance for bug complaints. As for bugs themselves, they seem too numerous and frequent. Random virtual bugs should be concentrated around releases and then taper off to near nothing over time if nothing about the game changes. Making changes should increase the chance of bugs, where the rate of implementing changes is a primary factor determining the amount of increase.
In this way, the management of bugs becomes slightly more predictable and something that feels like part of the strategy rather than simply a negative factor that must be responded to.
The GM staff can then serve as a reduction influence for both jerks and bugs. More GM staff reduces the number of new players that become jerks based on your manual moderation behavior (the more heavily you moderate manually from the players-list, the stronger the influence of the GM staff on new players’ behavior). GM staff can also be set to auto-ban repeat offenders after ‘n’ manual warnings. Some percentage of bug reports are user errors, and available GMs can handle those before they go to the Dev team. The busier GM staff are with tickets, the lower their influence on new players, the fewer bug reports they can filter, and the longer it takes them to ban repeat offenders.
As with the Dev staff changes proposed above, this makes the GM staff feel like more of a part of the strategy of success rather than just a responsive squad of problem solvers.
These are the main pain points hindering my enjoyment of the game. Beyond that, amazing work and I look forward to more depth, variety, and micromanagement (just not tedium!).