Throne of Lies is mechanically the best game in the social deduction genre imo. Despite me taking multiple year breaks I have logged nearly 1300 hours in to this game so to say I love it is really an understatement.
However, for quite some time now (since the end of 2018?) I have noticed this game has been going through a steep decline in population. While there is enough players right now for me to usually find a match within five minutes, one must consider the future and how healthy it is for this game to keep going on like this.
As it stands we do not have a ranked play, which is a crime in itself seeing that the mechanical depth of ToL vastly exceeds most other games in its genre. Ranked aside we also completely lack other game modes and really anything that can serve as a hook to keep people playing consistently.
One must look ahead to the future and consider how things could be for this game in one ~ two years from now with the above in mind. At peak hours right now we average around 96 users online playing at a time. In a couple of years however with nothing in place to really keep people here… I can see this games population dropping by half or more.
And frankly this is something that needs to be addressed sooner than later. I am aware the developers are trying to fix this games population issues with sales and possibly advertising but I don’t believe it is working as well as it could be. ToL right now is a game that is GOOD but is relatively unknown and has a payment wall of $9.99 one must pay in order to play. Making things worse, it’s in a game genre that is becoming more and more saturated as time goes on with the genre itself slowly shifting its way to becoming best suited for mobile game markets. Let’s also not forget to mention that this game is no longer “fresh!”, it’s past the point of leveraging being the shiny new game on Steam for people to purchase and play.
The short of it all is there are just so many barriers right now that are preventing this games growth. I believe it is time for the developers to set aside game balance for the most part, focus on fixing bugs only and growing the game whilst tearing those barriers down.
And this is where this post finally begins suggesting things and earns its place in this forum. So without further adieu… suggestion # 1:
Make ToL Free to Play
This one’s a big one but I believe we’re at the point where drastic measures are necessary. ToL is a game with so much potential and as I said earlier, I honestly believe this game is the best in its genre right now and I have played quite a few other games of deceit. Despite me favoring this game personally it would seem other games excel in population over it simply because of either their accessibility (be they more accessible by having mobile or web clients OR just being simpler to play and get in to) or at one point being free to play.
I believe making the game F2P would open the doors for many more players to try it out. I personally stand by my belief that this game is the best and people would play AND stay should they be able to try out this game without much risk or expense and if it had a good outlook.
I understand the developers can’t work for free and truly deserve being paid for making a game like this. And that is where the next suggestion comes in…
Rework the in game shop & Add items only purchasable with real money
If games like League of Legends can sustain itself being F2P with micro-transactions I believe ToL could as well. The “premium” content just has to be enticing enough for people to buy yet not overbearing to the point that people that don’t pony up money won’t be too upset by not having things.
Games like ToS went the wrong route with their premiums IMO by making it an expansion. A tried and true route is honestly skins. I would suggest considering adding premium cosmetics in the future in the form of death animations, armors and even outrageous emotes. Just make it awesome and people will pay up money for it and be HAPPY with their purchase.
Aside from exclusive micro-transaction only content I believe it would be a good idea to make people desire to buy gold more as well. As it stands, I personally just shake my head then shrug whenever I see the option. Doesn’t help that I own most things in the shop already having obtained them for free…
Equally as big as my first suggestion. Social deduction games are a booming market for mobile. Yet ToL isn’t present there! So many missed chances for pulling in new players… A pity.
I understand that many tweaks would be necessary to make this game playable on mobile and that it would not be an easy task. However, a mobile release could serve as a second wind for this game; a new release along with partially a new beginning.
The Return of “Casual Mode” and transitioning it more into a "Speed Mode"
I mentioned some tweaks being necessary in order to make a mobile client work. And this is one of them, IMO. A game mode that is both easy for phone users and newbies to play on is necessary SHOULD a mobile client be added.
The mode itself should be geared to rely less upon logs and more upon investigative results and trust. I suspect the conversion based gameplay would honestly make such a mode a mess, so I’d suggest removing classes like Mastermind and Cult Leader and replacing them with some other leader role that doesn’t convert at night, only directs. (Think ToS’s Godfather here.) Evil faction could start 3~4 players, with a starting Evil King not counting towards that; serving only as a rare godsend.
Speed mode would be the default mode for phone users and would not have as many roles as Classic. Phone users could play classic should they desire to but they would need to understand it’s a a little more difficult. ToL’s classic would then be essentially ToS’s Ranked Practice and “speed mode” would serve as the classic equivalent.
Ranked Play & exclusive ranked rewards
I’m sure a lot of us have wanted this for quite some time. Ranked play is good for player retention. It serves to make people desire to be on top and improve if they are not. Both of which keeps people around longer and if ToL offers something to retain players past them having their fun in casual modes which is limited to say the least in itself then I would dare say it would be very healthy for this game to have.
Ranked could be season based with two seasons a year:
Season one start could start in Spring and end before Summer begins. Season two could start in Fall and end as Winter begins. With seasons being 3 months in length with a 3 month break in between each other, essentially.
All players in ranked would be rewarded for their playing with a suitable reward depending on their rank at the end of the season.
Consolation Reward / Thanks for playing:
- Season Avatar & 2,000 Gold
Rank 50 or higher:
- Season Title
Rank 25 or higher:
- Season Emote
Rank 10 or higher:
- Season Armor
Rank 5 or higher:
- Season Weapon
- A literal throne to sit on during the day in game that has the season number engraved upon its headrest to give it a little personalization. It could have flashy particle effects or an aura around it to make it extra special and differentiate it from the King’s throne.
Rewards would also be cumulative.(IE: Rank 1 gets all rewards.)