Heya guys, a few might still remember my page long (salty) posts when the game first came out, so I’m going to try to keep this short(er). First of I want to say that making Evolve free to play was the right move, it was that or let the game die. Since I personally think Evolve is one of my all time favorite games (Never forget Splinter Cell: Versus, RIP) I think that I need to explain something and give some really good ‘beta’ criticism.
See the summary on the bottom
I played this game over 600+ hours, played ESL back in the day. Let’s just say I know/knew this game and every pebble in every map. So as it happened to be I didn’t get my founder pack at the start of the game. Peeps from Turtle Rock fixed it in less than 20 minutes so much kudos’s to them! But I saw deep inside the depths of the model and have some things I need to say all in benefit of the entire new playerbase. Because this is something that will benefit the entire model and the fun players will have. Which will add to the commitment of unlocking all the other unlockables over time. Still follow me? Great!
Right now, after you just downloaded this game, you get a few characters of every class. These are all set and exactly the same for every person. But not a single player plays the same, or likes playing that way. I like to compare Evolve to new players as “Overwatch against a giant monster”, and that’s a compliment , but similar to Overwatch, imagine you cannot play the character that you want to play with right of the start. Say you want to play medic, but you dislike the characters you can choose from? I mean Caira is good, but pretty monotone to some players. You earn your tokens, pick Lazarus but other players don’t have the characters to compliment Laz. Speaking from experience, this is freaking frustrating.
So now all the beginners are forced to choose the same characters. And that… is not a good thing. This game shines in diversity and you learn by playing different characters, playing against different monsters. The balance meta isn’t that shockingly “out of balance” when you first pick up the game, so you need to give people the option to get some ‘basic characters’ but also have on or two full unlock tokens to choose a character you want to play with right from the start. This will greatly improve the experience you want to give new players. They are in control, and if they pick something they don’t want, well that is on them. Give people the diversity that this game has, let beginners have a bigger pool of characters to pick from to show them what is possible and what is not.
And that brings me to the second part. There is no way to experience other characters before buying them. Yes in training you can hotswap with characters, but never the monster. You can fight against them, but never actually play them. “Try before you buy” is something that should most definitely be an option. Similar to Overwatch Training Ground, make a hub, or a part of a level to let them experiment with the other characters (minus the versus bit). Characters like Cabot, Sunny, Val, Torvald, Behemoth, they all need to “feel themselves” how they move and play before making a bad choice picking a character they really dislike. In the Vanilla version, Maggie was your first trapper because she makes it a lot easier to find the monster. Abe is now the standard trapper and he is REALLY hard to master correctly. I see new players just running around and shooting the monster, because they have no clue what their skills - really - do. Maggie almost speaks for herself.
And that brings me to the finale of my story. Free to play needs to feel rewarding. That every choice you make is a good one. Blind picks and choosing blindly feels frustrating. Going on the luck of joining a match with a new character is a very lazy way of saying, “we don’t really care, deal with it”. Allowing the new players to pick one hunter and/or one monster freely will give them the opportunity to feel - quite literally - free to start the game how THEY want to play. And that is the baseline of having fun. Evolve is a REALLY fun game, but not every character will be fun for every player. Lose players because they aren’t enjoying what is given to them, is just a shame.
So in short:
- Give new players one or two unlocks for any character of their choosing right from the start
- Give players the option to try out every character before buying. It doesn’t have to be actual gameplay, a dummy map similar to Overwatch ‘Training Ground’ is fine (maybe finally see a glimpse of their ship, or a hive?) - nerdgasm -
- Make sure Fun>Commitment, give them freedom and you shall earn it back.
Much love, your Silverborn