I don't know how high level players feel about this, but I feel this game needs to balance grind and the sense of accomplishment better, especially for lower-level players. I feel that this games makes high-level look like a distant dream for many low level people. It kinda defeats the purpose of a fishing game being fun.
This begs the question, what makes a game fun? (theoretical stuff below, skip next paragraph for actual suggestions)
Speaking purely in terms of a game being fun and attracting more players, it needs to have actual progression and senses of accomplishment along its progression.
This is universal in terms of games. This is the same reason why in many games you have very simple starting level or levels. In fact, many online games would make sure you win the first few matches so that you have a sense of accomplishment. This way you will stay hooked to this game. Furthermore, many online games will make sure you win a few games if your WL rate is too low or loose a few if it is too high. All this too make sure you don't feel like winning (progression) is a faraway dream nor do you feel that victories (progression) in game offers zero achievement.
Ideally, a game should spread its progression along the progression spectrum (from noob to intermediate to pro to whatever) wisely. Players should not feel zero sense of accomplishment when they achieve something, nor should they feel that this game is too grindy, such that higher-levels are only achievable via cash or impossibly long hours of grind. However, videogames, being consumable in nature, when at its end of its cycle, will loose its balance of this. They will often be a cash grab so that it can earn as much money as it can before it....dies.
(end of theory, in practice with RF4)
I find RF4 being one of the best fishing games out their in terms of quality and content. I do not want to see this game die, at least not before Covid-19 ends so I can have some actual fishing experience during lockdowns.
I kinda feel that this game needs some VERY MAJOR BALANCING in order for it to keep newcomers motivated. If the RF4 team haven't hired a game psychologist to evaluate their game, they should.
I do not say that RF4 should eliminate its grind. It should not, because grind is the most direct thing to make progression in this game feel like achievements, not empty names. But right now, RF4 is in a state of the other extreme - making grinding amount to very little progress and making higher levels look like a distant impossibility. It discourages players to continue.
Now, I am no expert in this field. But here are a few VERY common implementations that should be extremely easy to carry out and has great effects to motivation of players, hence its widespread use:
- Daily check-in progression: Every day we sign in we get free stuff. Then, when we sign in for, I dunno, 4-5 days, we get a certain amount of silver depending on your level. This is extremely widespread and proven effective if used well
- Map progression: The higher level the map is, the more trophies/big fish in general and less small fish. This also makes sense given the amount of silver that increases to travel to each location as the map level increases. This should not affect realism of this game. If I pay a certain captain of a ship 1,000 bucks and he takes me near an oil rig and we fish there, I will have very low chance of catching things smaller than what I catch if I drive for 5 min and fish off the coast. The more I pay, the better I should catch given the SAME GEAR. I am no high-level player, but from what I have heard from those who are it is concerning for me. I do not wish to grind another hundred hours to catch the same old stuff I do at mosquito lake if I pay 22 silver to travel there. It might affect the realism a little, but it is definitely worth considering.
- Level progression: As players level up, they should be able to have perks given to them in a separate systems. Unlocking new maps is NOT a perk. More experience or more silver per fish, or perhaps a certain amount of gold for each level-up with some free gifts or maybe even an instant happy-hour bonus etc.
These above are just the most common out there. They are REALLY worth considering and should be, theoretically, easy to implement. Especially those that only affects the economy.
I do have some other RF4-specific ideas that could be implemented as well.
1. Eliminate the 3-rods only policy: More rods might not always equal more fish but in most cases it does. I am not sure if this is a technical issue or a economical issue, but its neither realistic nor player friendly. I have seen people fishing with a whole rack of rods, thus so much for realism. And this limits the amount of fish you can catch per active time period, thus bad for players. If possible, I would suggest increasing it to 5 rods. I mean, for most fellas out there, who doesn't just set their 3 rods and put on a bell and watch netflix until the bell rings? Its just player-unfriendly
2. MORE OPTIONS FOR NEWCOMERES: I have stated said this before in some other thread, but I will say it here again. RF4 really needs more options for new players when they are transiting from "new" to "just learned the ropes" to "alright, I've played enough to handle most stuff out there". There is just not enough transit. I doubt level 1-12 players can save more than 200 silver given their gear. I myself, a level 13 (almost 14) player count a 149 silver saving as a "helluva lot of money" earned through at least a 3-day 2-3 hr real time per day grind. I do not know how many 3 day grinds like that I can go through before getting bored out of my mind. I feel a sense of achievement when I see my 149 but the prices and the tiny movement on the level progression bar makes higher level gear and maps look like a dream. Its ridiculous and needs to change. Either prices needs to be compressed, more transitional content added, or something. Otherwise, I will say its just too unfriendly.
I do need some stats on this, I, unfortunately do not have stats other than my own. If people can send their in-game hours + levels that will be great
e.g 117.5 hours on Steam, level 13 in game.
Continuing on from point 2, 117.5 hours would put me on-par with my Company of Heroes 2 in game hours, which is 241.1 hours. However, for my CoH, I can assure you that even when I was at my 100th hour I have already learnt the ropes, I am able to compete against multiple hard AI alone or solo against some expert AI. A 100 hour investment into any other game would give me an extraordinary amount of progress. However, the same investment in RF4 gives me almost nothing.