Update: I’ve added another point…
We need to talk. Lately, I feel like we’ve lost that lovin’ feeling. It’s totally not me…it’s you. I try and try to bring that feeling back, but time and time again you just disappoint me.
What happened to the way things used to be? You’ve tried over the last couple of years to fix something that wasn’t broken, and instead, you broke what was already great. You used to be cutting edge in mobile gaming, doing things no other game was doing. Now you’re stuck in a rut and I’m not the only one noticing.
Day after day, event after event, I see other players say you’re losing their interest. They’re grinding for the sake of grinding, and not because it’s fun. They too have lost that lovin’ feeling. That excitement and joy that made them come back for more, over and over again. They’re missing what made them Addicts in the first place. And it needs to be fixed, pronto, or I’m afraid TSTO will lose players faster than that other mobile game has.
I get it, this game is over 5 years old. It’s had a long life and maybe you’re running out of ideas. But, the best thing about TSTO is it’s based on the best show. So running out of ideas isn’t an option. You have 28 full seasons of The Simpsons to work with. And unlike some of those other games, by that other miniature company, The Simpsons is actually funny (and doesn’t rely solely on “fart jokes” for a laugh) and has never been canceled. So really, running out of ideas isn’t an option. If we’re still watching a show after nearly 30 years, clearly you should still be able to hold our interest after only 5 years.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a “Dear John” letter. I’m not breaking up with you. No, this is a “let’s fix things so we can get back that lovin’ feeling” letter. So what follows is a list of 10 simple changes you can implement to make TSTO Events great again. (when it comes to those mini-events I actually think you’re doing a great job) So let’s get to it…
Let’s start with the easiest first…
#1 Make Major Events Shorter
While I know you tried to keep things fresh with the 3 act method by introducing a new act/items every 2 weeks, it’s getting boring. Too often events are exactly the same for each act and by week 4 everyone is done and bored out of their minds.
When an event first hits everyone is super excited. They can’t wait for what’s next and what they’ll uncover as they play. But when an event is 6 weeks long you overplay that excitement hand, and in the end, players become so sick of the event itself they just want it out of their games.
If you limit events to 4 weeks you should be able to end this “just get it over with” drama everyone experiences by weeks 5 and 6.
#2 Hide the Game Files
I know this one isn’t going to make me popular with A LOT of players, or fellow bloggers, but I honestly think that if you hide the game files better for later stages of an event. If players don’t know what’s coming for Acts 2 and 3 it’ll build a lot more excitement. When you can go to other sites and see exactly what’s coming and how it’s implemented it takes away the fun and excitement of what’s coming next. It makes you feel stale, instead of fresh and new.
Some of the best TSTO conversations are over speculating what’s coming next. Everyone loves the app store update teasers that come out when an event is removed that potentially teases what’s coming next. So try that instead of releasing the game files in advance.
However, still keep the in-game character collection teasers. Those are fun.
Side note: Yes, I know a lot of you players will yell at me for this one. I use the files too…but I really think this would make TSTO fun. If the files are hidden until the Act is released at least there’s an element of surprise for everyone.
This was fun because you had an entire event to work on the overall prize goals. It was fair to new players and old. Also, allowed for players to miss a day without worrying they were going to get screwed by the Act Timer.
What’s happening now with the stagged prize track (Acts) some players aren’t unlocking everything by the end of Act 1 (typically because they started late due to a delay in the app store) and others spend a week of each act twiddling their thumbs because they finished each track early. By bringing back the 1 prize track you’ll put everyone on an even playing field, prevent the thumb twiddling and give players an incentive to keep tapping until the very end.
#4 Bring Back Community Prizes and not in the half-assed way they were done for Tap Ball. The REAL Community Prizes we saw during Halloween and Christmas 2013.
There’s not much else to say about these other than they were awesome. Kept everyone tapping with a specific Community Goal in mind. Everyone worked together to unlock prizes as a group. It was fun and it kept players engaged.
#5 Better Neighbor Interaction
In the past, we were able to do things like egg a neighbor’s brown house or TP their elementary school. Now we just tap and run. Really, it’s gotten to a point where visiting neighbors is almost pointless.
TSTO is different than other games BECAUSE of the neighbor actions. It’s what has allowed for the community feeling in TSTO. Those other games, from that miniature company, don’t allow for neighbors to interact the same way. Visiting neighbors in those games, if you can visit them, literally means nothing. In TSTO it used to mean a great deal. For Halloween 2013 you could possess their buildings and they’d earn Goo. For Christmas 2013 you could leave them presents for more event currency.
Make Neighbor’s important again. Bring back fun ways to interact, like leaving gifts (that are easy to find…some of the stuff recently has had a timer and has been difficult to find. I’m talking about you, stupid lawyers). In today’s world, we could use to be closer to our neighbors, not further apart.
#6 Get Rid of Crafting, Instead Leave the Craftables in the Store for In-Game Cash
Let’s face it, crafting is annoying and in-game cash is becoming useless. Eliminate crafting and put the items you would have had as craftables back in the store available for in-game cash. That’s a win-win for everyone. Craftables go away, cash becomes relevant again and you (TSTO) may get some cold hard cash back from actual donut purchases, as players decide if they should spend in-game cash on items or donut farming.
#7 Bring Back Hidden Easter Eggs
Finding free donuts in TSTO because of a hidden Easter Egg is a blast. We’ve had a few during events in the past…during Halloween 2013 there were donuts rewarding for correctly guessing who should confess, during Stoneutters they were awarded for tapping the Stonecutter table 10 times while the appropriate Stonecutters were signing and there have been others. This has always been a fun scavenger hunt way to get players engaged in various things while playing an event.
#8 Bring Back Riddles/Puzzles To Unlock Bonus Prizes (ala Stonecutters)
This was one of the coolest things you ever did, answer a riddle (by sending a character on a task) to unlock bonus prizes.
Bring this back. Players really loved it and still talk about how awesome it was today.
#9 Bring Back Characters Being Posessed/Attacked/Zombie’d etc by Neighbors When You’re Away From Your Town
These were great. For various Halloween events, characters would get bitten by Zombies (2012), possessed by ghosts (2013) or attacked by an alien (2014)…while you only did these for Halloween somewhere along the line you stopped. Bring them back.
Oh, and while you’re at it…bring back trick or treating costumes…
#10 A Search Feature In Inventory AND A Way to Delete/Sell All Items In Inventory
Let’s face it, we’ve been together a LONG time. So naturally, we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff from our adventures together. Who could forget those pink fountains or that construction yard or even that larger than life gingerbread mansion?
We’ve had a lot of great memories over the years and I love the memories we’ve made, but they’re just that memories to me. Some items are better off as memories than features in my Springfield. It would be great if there was a way to sell of some of those old items to keep my inventory down. So when I look for items I really need that I’ve stored away, like those special fences or trees, I can quickly find them. Of course, a search feature (where you can type in what item you’re looking for, not physically scan for it) would be handy for this as well. If I can’t have both, I’ll take either.
Ok those last two aren’t event Specific…but hey you really need to tidy yourself up and look presentable, so when I introduce you to my parents they don’t think you’re a scrub.
While I know I’m no expert in mobile games or video games in general for that matter, I have been playing TSTO for nearly its entire lifespan. I’ve seen many events come and go, good ideas come and leave and bad ideas come and stay. I’ve also been running this site for a long time, listening to players on a daily basis, so I think I have a good finger on the pulse of the TSTO Community. And even if you don’t think so, I had loads of readers write in with their ideas to make things better…so if you won’t listen to me at least listen to them.
In short, I love you, TSTO. I’ve loved you ever since I found my first donut in the trash, way back in 2012. This community loves you. We all want you to stick around for a long, long time. Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas to freshen yourself up and bring back that lovin’ feeling between all of us.
This community loves you. We all want you to stick around for a long, long time. Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas to freshen yourself up and bring back that lovin’ feeling between all of us.
P.S. If you bring Sarah Wiggum into Springfield (Ralph really needs his mom) and FINALLY introduce the World’s Largest toilet…that would go a long way with me as well. #justsaying
Share your thoughts in the comments below about what can be done to make TSTO Events Great Again…