Japan has just announced they will be reducing the stamina recharge rate from 5 minutes to 3. This will allow for 20 stamina per hour and thus 480 stamina per day (instead of 288). This is a sizeable increase and first impressions are of course jumping for joy. I remember when stamina took 10 minutes to refill and was simply a nightmare as you could barely accomplish anything on a day to day basis. The change from 10 to 5 was badly needed and allowed players to enjoy all the content that was being released. However, when changing from 5 to 3, the implications go beyond simple quality of life improvements.
Puzzle and Dragons is a freemium game that allows players to experience the game completely for free, but can hasten their progress through purchasing magic stones to either refill stamina, increase friend/box limit, and roll the Rare Egg Machine. I go into more detail on my perspective of IAP (aka In App Purchases / purchasing magic stones) HERE. Naturally, GungHo wishes to turn a profit and needs to find new ways to generate revenue. At first glance, reducing stamina may induce less income generation, but their rationale is most likely to focus on having you play more in order to develop a dependency/loyalty. As such, their focus and attention may shift towards limited time REM machines (such as the back to back Christmas and New Years in Japan) or perhaps even new pantheons to roll for. Holiday themed REMs are great as they tend to not break the meta and allow players to collect novelties of their favourite characters.
However, it is the pantheon part that scares me the most because it may accelerate powercreep too fast for the average player to handle. Powercreep is a term to convey the idea that older content (in this case REM gods) becomes less powerful overtime due to newer mechanics and more powerful options. Every game needs a certain element of powercreep to keep it alive and interesting, but the pace needs to be contained. When designing or releasing new cards, there has to be a certain element of excitement to encourage players to roll. This excitement may come from amazing art work, but will mostly stem from new and powerful awakenings/actives/leader skills/team synergy. As such, powercreep will raise its’ ugly head and may cause players to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new monsters and the need to have more powerful teams to combat harder dungeons and challenges.
On the subject of powercreep, we are currently experiencing 10x drop rate for plus eggs in descends. This is leaps and bounds ahead of other plus egg farming options and has given numerous players new +297-ed cards. I will write another post covering my own experiences with 10x shortly, but keep in mind that powercreep is happening, you just may not see it because it looks like a major buff.
Lastly, with the change in stamina recharge rate, we will have to readjust our PAD playtime accordingly. The helpful tip of limit your play time to 1 hour per day is dated and is more humourous than anything else. With 480 stamina per day, it may feel overwhelming to not cap out on a regular basis and may psychologically cause an extra element of stress. I try to never cap out on stamina and I am partially helped by my high rank that allows me to pool up to 264 stamina on Mantastic. However, for lower rank players, you will most likely cap out on a consistent basis and possibly remove the notion of managing your stamina and planning your playtime around it. I like the fact PAD does not need hours invested everyday to maximize efficiency, and unless I am repeatedly dumping 50 stamina in descends, it will be challenging to optimize my 480.
Overall, I am looking forward to more playtime as I am at the point where I only run high end content and only having to wait 2.5 hours for 50 stamina seems amazing. I am just concerned PAD will require too much investment (time and money) to achieve end game goals as well as scare away newer players due to higher expectations and possibly being overwhelmed. Let me know what you think and if my ideas or points are crazy or valid =)