Kabam’s F2P brawler Marvel: Contest of Championshas been making headlines recently.
It, and its development studio Kabam Vancouver, have been sold to upcoming Korean publisher Netmarble for what’s rumoured to be around $700 million to $800 million.
Not a good time, then, for the game to be slipping down the top grossing charts.
Beware loss aversion
The trigger was the release of one of the biggest changes ever made to the game, the v12.0 upgrade released on 1 March.
Its aim was to create a more level playing field for all the hero characters in the game, and hence ensure a wider mix of characters being used, rather than a small roster of over-powerful heroes most players were using.
“These changes will encourage strategic play,” the game’s forum stated.
However, because of the way the original game had been set up, in order to do so, the developers had to fundamentally rework how heroes and their stats levelled up.
Moving from absolute stats to percentages proved confusing, and combined with the necessity to downgrade the strength of the most powerful heroes to create the new more level playing field, resulted in a strong backlash from players.
The strength of loss aversion should never been unestimated, as can be seen in the game’s top grossing ranking on the US Google Play store.
Of course, the developers were quick to pick up on the feedback and quickly communicated with the players.
“In this update we tried to do a lot, and we didn’t work with you, our community, on how these changes would impact you,” the follow up forum post - entitled ‘V12.0 We have heard you. We’re making it right - stated.
It continued, “We missed the mark by effectively making the game harder in a number of areas.
“And while we weren’t shy about the fact that we intended to “nerf” some long entrenched strategies, the changes were too deep, and we didn’t give you enough new strategies in their place.”
A new update is now being rushed out.