Today you made some major changes to how the game plays. In general, I think the update is excellent. Scrolls were overused and that is fixed, I like how all of my characters are going to level up, etc.
However, you seem to have a lot of unhappy current customers.
1) You might want to announce outages before you take the game offline.
2) You have completely changed the currency by adding shards.
I, for one, had over 500 spirit stones. I could have recruited quite a few heroes, but I was saving them. That seems like a mistake because now I need shards.
1) It seems like you should reward existing players with shards since they lost their ability to recruit that they had yesterday.
2) All of the world rewards are completed, so we can't get those shards. Perhaps you should reset the world rewards?
I actually think that they have designed a better game. The skill system looks great. The character types look interesting. There is less of a focus on the weapons and more on the characters.
I am less concerned about the healing staff. The Tank characters get 2xHP. The characters that have skills at healing can have those skills upgraded. You certainly have to plan your group, instead of just having the largest weapons possible.
I do agree with you on the difficulty, however. I was a couple days away from hiring the Bloodmage and getting my first level 5 weapon. That would have allowed me to progress in the game (wasn't finding gems to upgrade my own weapon). Now, as you say, we are farther back in the worlds and will be finding even less stuff than before. So I can see a month or two of using my maxed level 4 weapons, where I just grind away trying to level my characters and get my skills up. Without being able to "buy" a new character, it doesn't seem like there is much of a way to progress. With no shards and no way to get all of the world rewards that I have already done, getting shards seems like it will be a grind as well.
So I'm not done yet, but it does seem like I am going to get bored playing the same worlds over and over and over again waiting for random drops and for my characters to get strong enough to go back to where I was before.
You are right about some of the content getting better but the parts that have set me and others back who have full lives are not willing to do that much work again. We have kids, jobs, and no time to "grind" as you say for things we already had worked hard on between our full lives. I sent my husband with the kids out for the night just to see how this game is now and spend some time on it. I used the tips that told me where to get the shards needed for my next hero. I only need 50 of these new ones even though I had 400 of the old ones. I used 500 energy where they told me and not one shard dropped. The fact that drop rates on stuff, as you have said yourself, are so low STILL; as they were before, makes this game plain old not fun. Its bad enough ive been playing this long and havent been able to craft one potion other than a healing, one general item, or one higher level key as the items never drop from my buildings ever. Even with them upgraded fully or 500 deco placed about. They have ruined the best parts of this game.
the new structure definitely benefits 'new' players but seriously penalises 'old' players. I am having to upgrade weapons that are spares which means I can't increase hero skills. As my heroes are so weak I'm having to play 5 worlds behind where I was to beat 3 waves which might give me shards to upgrade low level heroes. As I am on low level worlds I am not getting evolve gems to upgrade weapons I have.
Heroes seem to be in totally random places in the hall and have to scroll through low level heroes to find high level ones. It looks a mess, surely they could be organised either by element or level [or even have a sort feature.
Crashing while on missions is also back [usually 2nd wave] etc etc
Emily, why are "new" players more important that players actually playing the game?