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Lets Critique This Week: Flight Rising


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So, lets try this out for size, for the next week (until next Friday), lets choose Flight Rising as a topic of critique. This thread will be open until then. Offer any input about the game, along the lines of:

  • What game mechanics do you like?
  • What game mechanics don't work?
  • Community healthy and well managed? Yes or No?
  • Art Style Critique
  • Website Navigation Critique

Next Friday, I will give any member who participates 5 Power to their Adoptable after the thread closes as a reward for their time. Since Flight Rising is a often closed site, not all members have an account, however there will always be other things to do on the forums. If this is a successful topic, we might choose a pet or sim site every week to critique.

These are designed to be quick initial impression critiques. If you have played the game exclusively for a while, feel free to go into more depth. I am not expecting a full review, but initial impressions about the games, something any player would notice or get after a short period of play.

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I enjoy all the color combinations you can get in breeding, and that you can always continue battling so there is at least something to do. I also really like the puzzle game. 

I would prefer there be some way to completely remove bad combinations for breeding so that it doesn't clog up the offspring list forever. The breeding cool downs are long and so since the main draw for me is breeding, means I don't login that often.

Can't really say anything about the community from personal experience since I've never been involved. There has been drama in the past I know.

I think the art is attractive and I like it. The navigation is fine. Simple enough to find things I think.

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My main issue is that the site caps it's members so regularly.  I've tried to sign up a couple of times and it's not let me and for that reason now I have no interest in signing up in the future. I don't get why a site that successful hasn't invested more into handling higher user counts... Maybe there is a reason but who knows? (If you do know tell me! )

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Well, it looks like I can't remember the password to my old account or the email attached to it, so I can't log in or make a new one (due to their restrictions). I, like @Callum, don't quite understand why they limit registrations. It is because the site can't handle more users? If so, why don't they fix that? Is it to create the illusion of a having a site that's more interesting than it is? "Only a few limited people will be able to join this month. You may be one of the lucky ones." Personally, the limited registration just puts me off. And I have no intention of stalking their social media accounts to wait and see when I may make a new account, so I won't be back.

 

I'll review this site based on what I remember and what I can see as an outsider.

 

The dragon art is well done, and I love that they continue to come up with new genes for the dragons and even new species. The Bogsneak is new to me. I think the success of the dragon illustrations comes from the lead artist and her interest in dragons for a long time before the site came out. When people are passionate about their games and the "product", you can really see it shine through.

 

I remember seeing some apparel art in the past that was done in a lower quality and didn't seem to fit with the rest of the site. I can't remember the name though, so I can't say whether it has been redrawn or what. But in looking through some dragon lairs, everything looks rather cohesive and consistent as far as art goes in general. They added an Invisibility Cloak to remove the dragon image, and I think that allows some interesting designs. And I think it suits the sense of humor of their main audience. Here is a dragon that is using the cloak: http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=90489&tab=dragon&did=31651051

 

@Sparren pretty much said it all for how I remember the gameplay being:

 

Quote

That said, I'm bored with most of the gameplay. I no longer breed my dragons, participate in dominance battles, or play the fairground games. I only venture into the coli when a festival rolls around or new familiars are added to collect there. Even then I prefer to wait and buy the familiars and festival currency I need on the auction house instead, the coliseum just feels like a chore. What keeps me around is the community and my collections, not so much the game mechanics although I do think they have great potential.

The coliseum suffers from a lack of diversity when it comes to attack patterns, stat distribution, and strategy. There are three kinds of enemies casters, melee, and boss; but no matter which you're up against the prevailing strategy remains the same (scratch, eliminate) all that changes is the order in which you target them (melee first, casters second since they need to build mana a few turns before becoming a threat). It is very repetitive and requires no real skill or engagement. Often during festivals I'll grind it for currency with a movie open in another tab since it requires so little attention. Just mindless clicking.

I've also grown to resent the flight festivals. They are too frequent, shallow, and repetitive. At this point I am no longer really excited for them. Like the coli they've become a chore. I'd much rather have just one or two a year in exchange for more surprises and interactivity. The festivals in their current form are really just glorified monthly item releases from which everyone knows exactly what to expect (a sigil and vista that will be offered yearly, one apparel item, one familiar, and a dozen or so skins). The only FR holiday I still look forward to is April Fools because I know I can always expect something different.

 

I got tired of breeding my dragons, because the cool down and hatching period lasted so long. I also felt like I had seen all the combinations that would interest me from dragons bred by other users, so there was nothing unique to stumble upon when breeding. Maybe it would be different with the new genes they added since I last played, but I feel like in time, it would end the same to me. New breeds or genes just add a bit of excitement for a little bit of time, and then that fades away when they become more common. I would have appreciated if they had some type of random occurrences in breeding, so it wasn't so formulaic.

 

These are the current mini games in the fairgrounds (as quoted from Wiki):

 

Quote

 

I found the games to be pretty dull. I think that comes from 3 things.

1. Some of these games wouldn't be considered fun by most people (Memory and Higher or Lower), so just having those games to "play" for site currency makes it a job.

2. The better games like Tidal Trouble and Shock Switch are variants of games that have been seen so many times, it's no longer exciting or fun to play them. How many times can you play games like "Bubble Witch" or "Bejeweled", for example, and truly find something new when you play. It just becomes repetitive. I think if games rehash these kinds of mini games, they should try to do something unique with them. For example, Meerca Chase on Neopets is a variant of "Snake", but if you play it using the code superextrahypergravitymode, it's unique enough to feel like a new game, one you can only access by playing on Neopets. That extends the game's life.

3. I think any site that keeps the same few games up every day for users to play for currency runs the risk of having players grind until they have overplayed the games so much it is nothing more than a chore. As a game designer, you can say that people will still play for the rewards, so the set up works as planned. But I think game makers should desire to create a system that is actually fun and offers new things, not the same things every day.

 

In conclusion, I lost interest in Flight Rising previously, because breeding (one of the main draws of the game) became too predictable, and I also didn't like how the battle system was set up. Sparren explained nicely why the battle system comes across as nothing more than a time sink; it's not stimulating to the player. I think beyond those two features, Flight Rising becomes a dress up game with a collectible feature (the familiars) and some reused "events" (item releases). Because I'm not into the dress up aspect or collection feature, I see no point in returning. 

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On 4/1/2017 at 5:08 PM, Callum said:

My main issue is that the site caps it's members so regularly.  I've tried to sign up a couple of times and it's not let me and for that reason now I have no interest in signing up in the future. I don't get why a site that successful hasn't invested more into handling higher user counts... Maybe there is a reason but who knows? (If you do know tell me! )

 

39 minutes ago, SingSong said:

Well, it looks like I can't remember the password to my old account or the email attached to it, so I can't log in or make a new one (due to their restrictions). I, like @Callum, don't quite understand why they limit registrations. It is because the site can't handle more users? If so, why don't they fix that? Is it to create the illusion of a having a site that's more interesting than it is? "Only a few limited people will be able to join this month. You may be one of the lucky ones." Personally, the limited registration just puts me off. And I have no intention of stalking their social media accounts to wait and see when I may make a new account, so I won't be back.

I know originally when it opened (after the 3 day head start for Kickstarter backers) registration was completely open, so I don't think the current limitations were the plan from the beginning. Unfortunately FR experienced big problems almost immediately because they had hugely underestimated its popularity and rate of growth and also (by their own admission) didn't code it in a way that was very efficient to scale.

Things got super bogged down. It's a big part of why early festival items were so rare and also a factor in why eggs no longer 'die' if not tended daily. The coli at the time (if not the site itself) was constantly down or unplayably slow. It was a real fight to do anything. At some point they closed registration 'temporarily' while they tried to manage things and never fully reopened it again.

They've been undergoing a pretty drawn-out behind the scenes recode of the site for some time now to improve its efficiency/scalability. They even hired some kind of consulting company to help with it. Once that's done with I think they've said they'll finally abolish the current registration limits. They have loosened them a little in recent months at least. Now registration opens one week a month. Last month it was the 12th to 18th so the next should be somewhere around then. Next week possibly?

So in short... they've said they are trying to make the game stable for a larger number of users it just seems to be taking a long time.

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Yes. I do remember them mentioning something about that now that you mention it. That's unfortunate that the site wasn't built to handle to many users initial. I wonder how much more successful the site would have been had that not been overlooked. Thanks for sharing what you know, @Sparren!

 

It seems like the majority of us are agreeing that the repetition of the features on Flight Rising has made the game dull as a whole. What specific changes would you like to see be made? What things could make you excited about Flight Rising again?

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The thing about Flight Rising is that it would've been so much better as a mobile-ready game. It's long breeding times lends itself to the same long "stamina" waiting games as a lot of phone/tablet games, and it's (here I am complaining about user experience again) early 2000's esque forum and PM system was a big turn off for me.

The art is fantastic, and it attracts similarly many fantastic artists to the scene, and (from what I remember when I last played) they're fair and creative with giving people the option to customize dragons with skins. But this is where the problem starts (and the problem that many pet sites have in common)--the community and even economy as a whole is now revolving around the art scene. And if you're not in the art community or able to penetrate it somehow, you're locked out of a major amount of circulation of the game. FR tries to mitigate this well by promoting the Flights rivalry, making sure that people are interested in the more complex battle system, but it doesn't have the intense drive and power of selling art.

I don't have the perfect solution for that, it's a difficult problem.

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