---------CUT AND PASTED FROM YOUR OTHER SUGGESTIONS THREAD----------
Okay, after about 2 weeks of owning my own ST prem, I'm ready to weigh in (not like anyone was waiting for it, Hardeeharhar). I'll do my very best to just keep the critiques/requests vague and constructive, rather than just say, "I think my idea is better, they should do this....." And then tell "them" what to do......although having said that, I'm sure I'll have a couple moments of weakness where I'll get specific
-----NOTE: this is all my opinion; pinball is subjective, if your opinion differs from mine; that's awesome. I welcome counter points, but I doubt it will get me to change my opinion.-----
Overall, flow aside, ST plays pretty flat, IMO. I can't play more than 2 or 3 games without getting "bored" and moving on to something else. This fatigue is mainly due to the "chopping wood" nature of the mode layout and content.
The modes feel like work, as others have previously stated. And I agree that ST has "fake depth", it touts 18 modes, but most of them are exactly the same, save some minor differences. And the biggest issue with this code, currently, is that there's no "lateral movement" in gameplay, or side goals. You pretty much just keep building up the grid, with stacking one Multiball at a time being the only lateral movement, which ends up being pretty shallow. In fact, you can't even stack a Multiball into every mode. I know that I was playing Nero II and started Vengeance MB and it paused Nero II until I exited out of VMB, which I thought was kinda dumb. This game needs something like Deadpool in XM, or Crank It Up/Fuel Scoring/Lady Justice in MET, a side mode that you can always work towards, no matter what mode or Multiball you're in. But anywho, I'll just go through, section by section, giving my long winded, convoluted opinion
I think the basic idea of the Level one missions is good: you get a certain amount of time to make as many points as you can before the mode ends in order to get awarded 1/2 the total mode amount (I believe it's 1/2) as the 2nd JP shot for that corresponding shot in KM Multiball. The modes just need FOCUS. They all seem identical, so I feel like I'm playing the same mode 6 times with different colors and DMD animations. And while there ARE differences in how the shots light and which shots are lit for these modes, it's not drastic enough to give the modes any "personality" and they still all feel the same. FOCUS is my suggestion. For instance: Nero III is basically a loops round; shoot the left or right loops 5-6 times to finish the mode. So Why not make all the Nero missions similar in goal? So Nero is shoot the left or right loops to get as many points as possible within 25-30 seconds. Nero II is make 6 left or right loops, period, no timer, and your progress is saved should you drain. Nero III is shoot 6 left or right loops within a 55 second period, with no progress saved if you drain of time out the mode. I use specifics to give example to why Maybe a principal similar to this is needed for all tiers?
This is needed because whether level 2 or 3 missions are timed or not is inconsistent. Some modes are timed, some aren't. Yes, you can sit and memorize which missions are timed or not, but it's much more easy and accessible if the tiers all follow the same "laws". Like the above Nero scenario, for instance. Level I missions have a small timer to collect as many points as possible to bring into KM Multiball, and are completed when it times out. Level II missions have no timer, but require a set amount of shots and save progress if you drain like some of them are now. Level III combines the two previous tier "laws" to have a 50-60 sec timer with a set amount of shots to complete mode, no progress saved if drained or timed out. This way, the player can expect the overall parameters of each mission tier to behave the same, while still making sure each tier has a higher difficulty than the previous tier.
Some may be thinking, "But Ryan, won't it be super boring if, like in your Nero example, each Nero mission is the same loop shots as the goal?" In short: no, I don't think so. I would much rather have 3 missions that have same focused goal, with rising difficulty, than have 18 modes that all play somewhat the same -_-. I hope that makes sense. I think it's okay to have each specific mode to have the same focused lit shot goals to complete for all three tiers, so long as the difficulty and parameters change along with each tier. And any such boredom would only set in if you're going straight for the three missions high; but if you go around to the other missions, that also have differently focused shot goals for the mode, you'll always be getting a change in gameplay focus. There's 18 modes, people, it is unavoidable to not have repetitive shot goals for modes with that many modes. But my point stays: I'd much rather have 3 modes that play the same, with raising difficulty, than have 18 modes that all practically feel and play the same anyways.
Off my soapbox (about time)
-------Vengeance Battle Rounds-------
I like the vengeance battle Multiball round to start off with; it's fun and players can figure out what to do, a good, fun and accessible Multiball for many player types.
The second Vengeance Scoring round is good as well, still good. Got the raptor pit kickback gimmick going on. Scoring is fine, but I think a little low for the risk.
The third Vengeance round is......the same as the second....-_-. Boo. I don't like the Vengeance Scoring mode THAT much to want to play it again. Again, the risk/reward is just not good enough IMO. in it's place I will make my only real suggestion to the programmers of what to do (hey, I said I would probably break down and do it ) since this is three "levels" into the Vengeance modes, I feel like it needs to have some pretty good risk/reward to it, since it's a good achievement to make it that many Vengeance missions in.
I propose to have another Multiball round for a final Vengeance battle. 4 ball Multiball mode where the goal of the mode is simple: lock balls and light the SJP shot with a dynamic value dependent on how many balls are locked. Basically like T2, which I thought pretty appropriate seeing as how it's another Ritchie game ^_^. The three lock areas would be the left eject, the Vengeance and the Away Team shot into the shooter lane. So, let's say you lock a ball in the eject, the Vengeance and the away team, so you have one ball in the play. Then the Warp ramp would light for a SJP. SJP would start at 5mil and would increase by 250k (or whatever) for each non-lock shot hit., to a cap of, let's say, 10mil. When you lock a ball it starts a 15 second timer, locking another ball within that time resets the timer, with all balls locked, the timer stays at 15 secs for the SJP. If the timer ever reaches 0, all locked balls are released. If you drain a ball, the game will keep track of how many "valid" balls are in play, therefore if you have all four still in play, it knows to light the SJP after you lock three, if you have three balls in play, then it knows to light the SJP after locking two, and if you have two balls in play, the SJP lights after you lock one ball. The SJP is worth whatever the accumulated amount in the mode is x's the amount of balls locked. You can make multiple Warp ramp hits after the SJP shot and keep collecting the SJP amount, but after the player hits the Warp ramp for the SJP shot, the next time a non-warp ramp switch is hit, the balls release and the SJP is reset and the Multiball goes back to square one, except no extra balls get ejected. Note: in this scenario, if the player is down to three balls; the locks lit are the left eject and Away Team. If the player has only two balls in play; the Away Team is the lock shot.
In that scenario is it possible to plunge the ball "locked" in the shooter lane? Yes. But why would you want to?!
As others have said: the SJP in this mode is SAD. I actually attained it and was a B!TCH to do....all for 3.5mil?! Boo I say to that! Should be 10mil, minimum. Other than that, I like the mode.
EA wizard has a great opening animation, but is ridiculously long and currently is all text, aside from the opening. It's basically a switch mode with I *think* 4, maybe 5 levels. In each "level" you're going for a certain amount of switch hits to move onto the next level of the mode. Each shot on the playfield increases the eventual SJP by a certain amount. Once you get enough switch hits to get past the 4-5 levels, the vengeance light to collect the SJP amount, which can get very large. The problem is with how many switch hits are needed in the later levels. Upwards of 250 switch hits are needed past level three, I believe. That's a LOT of hits, and is definitely possible, but it's just a long way to go and could use shortening up a bit. Maybe decrease the amount of "levels" and increase the SJP amount increase per shot? Hoping that additional animations and callouts in this mode in the future make this seem less tedious.
-------5 Year Mission-------
5YM is currently pretty much the Lonnie special on PEDs. All shots are lit on playfield, except for Away Team, and you hit each shot FOUR times to unlight it. Each lit shot hit increases the SJP. Unlight all shots and then the SJP lights for the accumulated amount. No Dots really for the mode except for the opening animation, the rest is all text. But other than that, that's pretty much it. Okay I guess, it's certainly better than just the plain ol' Lonnie Special with the accumulating SJP. Will be interesting to see how the mode will get filled out with animations, hopefully they will give the mode more "personality" and "life".
The Warp ramp is the most fun shot on the playfield, aside from the Away Team. So not a lot to complain about its use other than to scale its scoring better. The add-a-ball at 9.9 is pretty cool, but I think it is overall pretty useless. God forbid you're unfortunate enough to finally hit 9.9 when in a Multiball, only to lose it :-/. The game plays so fast, and there just isn't enough good stuff that can happen by merely adding an extra ball into play. I still would like to see it stay in there, but bring in some other "bonus" with it other than just the extra ball in play. Maybe something like a 2x playfield multiplier as long as there's the extra ball is in play (or if you're in a Multiball and already have four balls in play, the multiplier is active until you drain down to three balls)? Something like that would be cool. Other than the level three mission bonus (which is a PITA to attain) which end up not being that worth it in context, IMO, ST is lacking on playfield multiplier bonuses that are player "controlled".
The 2nd most fun shot to hit on the playfield, I think it is criminally underutilized. Why not use it as a SJP shot? Or a valid goal shot in A mission mode (as long as it's not the last shot). I dunno, just use it for something else other than just to start a mission mode, please!
The pops levels mean nothing to me; the scoring just doesn't make a meaningful dent in the game currently.....Unless there's something I'm missing, haha. Give some better meaning to the pops levels, give me a REASON to want to keep my ball in the pops during gameplay. Maybe tie them into a side mission? *shrug*
They increase the spinner level, which is okay I guess. They can make a Super Spinner shot worth 125k+ a spin rather than 110k and such. But again, the benefit of completing the lanes doesn't really make me go out of the way to make sure I keep completing them. I'm not hyper aware of keeping the lanes completed like I do on ACDC or XM, where lane completions mean a lot to the game play. I'd like to see them have greater impact for scoring or gameplay.
Overall, this game just needs nuance, side goals and a little focus to keep players of all skill levels coming back for more and more, rather than having a great couple of fun games and then moving on due to the repetition.
Seeing as how I wrote a goddamn novel, I applaud anyone sphere who was able to suffer through my longwindedness, lol. You deserve a medal!!
Having said all this, I'm sure Steve, Tanio and the rest of the "crew" have some great stuff up their sleeve and hopefully will address a lot of this stuff in later update(s) with some more cool ideas that none of us even considered