Abbey Games has a new community and forums! Come on over to and don't forget to mention your old username! The old forums will remain available, but read-only.

Opinion Time! Freeplay

Anything Reus-related that doesn't fit the other forums.

Unlocks in freeplay for that game only: how do you feel?

Ruins value of unlocks
don't care
Total votes: 122

User avatar
Posts: 739
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:18 pm

Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by Adriaan » Fri May 24, 2013 10:46 am

Heya again!

We're thinking about improving freeplay, and I have the following question for you:

How would you feel about if you can unlock everything in freeplay by just playing ( a looong time), but you only unlock it for that game?

that means: you play the game in freeplay, unlock X sources, play more, unlock another X sources etc., but once you start a new game, you start from scratch again. If you unlocked something in era mode, you can always use it in freeplay.

Would you think that would ruin the value of unlocks? Would you be ok with it? What we're trying is to see if we can appeal to people who just want to make one big world without too much pressure, and still see all the content.

We're also thinking of other improvements, but this is the most conflicting atm. Please vote!

Ok update time!

This...isn't helping. :P

The votes are very divided, and I can see why. Therefor, in any case, I won't make unlocks so easily obtainable. I don't want to anger one half just to please the other. :P I'm looking for other ways to appeal to everyone.
Don't worry about game modes, they're on my fantastic three list of things that really should be available in the game at some point.

For those who a interested in the dilemma, here is what is playing:

Reus is a bit brutal and roguelike when it comes to progression. It's not unfair, but it's not forgiving either. Also, complexity rises as you become better in the game. This makes the game ideal and super fun for explorer-achievers. It's hard to get to a point, but you're always rewarded with a new option to explore. Aside of Natural Sources are everything we can reward (it's not), this gives a feeling of entitlement, achievement and excitement. I don't know if you ever talked about Reus with a friend, but you're probably bragging about how you got Ginkgo or Panda, while he might be telling how awesome Coal is. It's a great way to soothe the learning curve, add challenge with high exploration value, and give a true feeling of achievement. (kind of like advanced wars did with unlocking different commanders.) It's certainly how I play the game, and I know a lot of other do it as well.
basically: value = effort * reward
and: effort = time * skill

On the side of that, timed games get the best out of Reus' mechanics when it comes to challenge and exploration. The game is more interesting at the end of a 60 minutes game, when you still haven't got everything, some projects are still running, and you think:"damn, I'm pretty sure I could do even better". I find that freeplay and 120 minutes game are more capped by space, end build and possibilities, while 60 minutes game are bottle-necked by you making the right decision with the right execution. Still, they both have their charm. Freeplay is probably now used to make a perfect planet, 120 minutes is used for the challenge with the biggest numbers and highest levels.

However, there are a lot of players who either don't like timed challenges, or challenges at all. They want a challenge purely based on what they build, or just want to build in a god mode. For those people, having the unlocks within reach is important. And within reach, it means probably lower time or lower skill. Which results in lower effort, which results in lower value. This is in direct contradiction to something a lot of people love in Reus.

So now I'm looking for other options. I could indeed create a whole new challenge mode, based on prosperity instead of based on time. However, I know the game is less fun without the time pressure (It's the last added feature so we did a long time without it, and time pressure syngergizes with the greed mechanic so well), and I would imagine seeing myself playing 1 or 2 long untimed games to unlock everything, and then say: "ok unlocked everything" and be done within 5 to 12 hours, against the 30-40 hours a normal player would take to unlock everything now with more difficult dilemmas and excitement. If I would have bought Reus, I would get a lot less value for the game with the extra mode then I would have now. That makes this still a hard decision (also, 67 new achievements. Not looking forward spending time on doing that).

I genuinely think era mode is the best suited for Reus when it comes to challenge and exploration, and people frustrated with it are the people who cannot or do not want to put the effort in it. That might be lack of time, lack of skill, or maybe time is not well spent enough (for example, the early game gets to tedious), or a too high learning curve. That's perfectly fine, and has nothing to do with these people being noobs or lazy, it just means the game currently doesn't suit their needs. Could be just the best and most industrious League of Legends player in the world looking for a relaxing quick building game in between the tense games of League of Legends.

I'm thinking about letting this issue rest for a bit, and to look at different options. Some things I'm considering: cheats, better early game, more game modes with different challenges for a change of pace. I think these solutions have a higher chance to please more people without disappointing the ones who are already big fans of the game.

Thanks all for the good suggestions and elaborated feedback!

Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 5:52 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by UristMcDorf » Fri May 24, 2013 12:17 pm

Personally, I don't care for freeplay, but if you're going with that route, here's a suggestion to make it less frustrating - you can "mark" upgrades in the tech tree (or on already existing resources, on buttons for upgrades if the tech tree isn't implemented by then) to receive priority when unlocking, so you don't end up waiting a few hours to upgrade something you want, instead having upgrades to stuff you aren't even using/don't want to upgrade yet.

I do not care too much about freeplay... I have experienced enough of that at honestly. I want to be able to mark upgrades and all let us do upgrades!
Last edited by UristMcDorf on Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 4:20 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by Ganimed » Fri May 24, 2013 12:48 pm

Currently, the only way to access new natural sources is by finishing a previous game session with certain milestones reached and then starting a new game session in either game mode. However, the last part about starting a new game is not true because you can load a previously saved game session already in progress and make use of your newly unlocked natural sources (there is a presumption that you have taken the correct amount and combination of ambassadors which would in turn allow you to access the aforementioned natural sources).

With that in mind, a player can always choose to "ruin the value" of unlocks by gaining access to a 120 minute game session and saving at critical points in the game. Then, after he has finish the game session with certain milestones, he can load the game and experience what he has unlocked on the same world he has unlocked them just minutes ago.

In the end, I see no reason not to allow people who feel pressured by time and invested in their current world not to experience all the natural sources. After all, haven't they spent their time and put the effort into unlocking them just as anyone else playing with a timer? And if they want to "ruin the value" of discovering new natural sources, they can do that by using the system mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is their choice to make and the outcome will affect only them.

For me, developments are only a means to an end. They are a tool with which I will be able to make diverse ecosystems in which animals, plants, minerals and humans will thrive. For me, they are the ones which hold the value.

As a final thought, I do not think this feature is something worth spending precious development time on and I don't have the right to tell others how they are going to play their game, as I will not be effected by its implementation or its lack thereof.

User avatar
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Vienna

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by TheGodfather » Fri May 24, 2013 1:04 pm

I must say that I agree with Ganimed. It seems like time is so precious for you devs currently, that I would find it "wasted" on this. We'd rather see more content and maybe leave this freeplay "issue" for later.

Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 10:24 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by Zoomba » Fri May 24, 2013 3:33 pm

It's perfect like this. Your unlock system add replay value. For me the free play is the utlimate level. When you have unlock many ressources, animals, plants ... to build a beautiful world.

User avatar
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by Zindaras » Fri May 24, 2013 3:41 pm

I think this is a good idea. The amount of time that this requires for players is large enough that it doesn't somehow make freeplay better than the eras, so one might as well do it.

Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 3:25 am

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by Xain » Fri May 24, 2013 4:23 pm

Personnally I don't care so much because I can see arguments both ways. I think there are better ways to improve the freeplay, like:

1-Have infinite ambassadors, or enough so that your giants can be fully upgraded in everything.
2-Make the planet bigger.

Posts: 8
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 8:05 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by turbogurke » Fri May 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Although I voted the ruin-option, the above posters had some good points. Maybe a mix of unlocks is a good solution. Some things maybe unlocked only by time limited play, others in freeplay.
But the point I agree with most is that there are far more interesting things you could invest your time into. And as we keep telling you, this game is already beautiful and if it has flaws they are not very concerning ;)

Posts: 21
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 2:46 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by blackimperator » Fri May 24, 2013 5:33 pm

It is a good way to improve freeplay for new players, as they can unlock things at their rhythm in one long game.
but 1) it might be a bit confusing for them
2) it doesn't really change freeplay experience for an already experienced player that want to play without the era time limits ( my case actually)

so i'm for it in itself, but i hope it's not the extent of the changes in freeplay you're planning ^^

removing the various limits (ideally configurable as options for a game) on ambassadors ( number per giant, number per giant at the same time, number of projects before no ambassadors are produced) might be a good way to make the freeplay experience more different

User avatar
Posts: 739
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:18 pm

Re: Opinion Time! Freeplay

Post by Adriaan » Fri May 24, 2013 5:46 pm

Don't worry. This is just one of the things we're looking for to improve in freeplay. :) We're also thinking of making Freeplay (and era play!) more replayable with some new options. :)

Post Reply