Prefix (probably read me)
Let me prefix this wall of text by saying I respect the developers and what they do. I think they are on the good part of the spectrum of game devs in this modern age. Also, this is a post primarily about the casino. If you think the casino is fine, I still hope you’ll read this and challenge my points, because it’s not just about the casino.
TU = Tower Unite
GMT = Garry’s Mod Tower
Dev(s) = Developer(s), the people making Tower Unite right now
Suite = Condo, back in GMT
I think Tower Unite has an identity crisis.
I want to avoid bringing up GMT in this argument because GMT was a mod, and Tower Unite is a game. However, it is very hard to not bring it up, when TU is clearly based on / influenced by GMT.
GMT was a collectathon. The reason people came back to play GMT was to get more currency to buy more things to have more fun in their suite or the lobby. It was a social-focused collectathon, and it worked. It worked because you had to invest time and effort to get what you wanted. A shrine was the end-game for most people. Once you had a shrine, you were rich. You were now the elite and your condo probably looked like a group of ravers threw up in it, but weren’t quite finished partying just yet. You could grind gamemode-specific rewards for weeks before you’d have the end-game items for that gamemode, and there were multiple gamemodes. There was expensive player models, and so on and so forth. The point I’m getting at is that GMT worked.
Tower Unite, although still in Early Access, seems to suffer seems to suffer an identity crisis. It wants to be a collectathon, it feels like you’re supposed to play Minigolf a few times a day if you want that one hat, or the expensive Condo item. Unfortunately, there’s an odd imbalance in the current economy, and a shift of focus towards condo building.
Tower Unite, to me right now, is a condo-building game. This is because I have 40 million Units and I don’t ever need to worry about being able to afford anything ever again. How did I get 40 million Units? Did I plow through harsh grinding and learn all the minigolf maps by heart? Did I start speedrunning Ballrace? Do I just have a lot of hours? No, I don’t. I have 650 hours and 200-300 of those are in the casino. That’s right, the casino! Boy oh boy, a touchy subject.
The Casino, and the Economy
The GMT casino was an odd balance between losing money and having enough time to get the jackpot. If you didn’t have enough money, you didn’t get the jackpot. If you didn’t have enough time, you didn’t get the jackpot. Though, it wasn’t unfair. If you sat down in front of a GMT casino machine for 5 hours, you had a jackpot. The jackpot wasn’t high, but it was a considerable boost to most players economy.
TU’s casino is a whole different story. It is impossible to lose money on most of the casino machines, which makes it not a casino by definition, but that’s besides the core point I’m going to explain in this next paragraph.
The current Tower Unite casino will allow a sub-20 hour player to win a 10 million unit jackpot by sheer dumb luck, meanwhile the guy who sat there for 2 weeks gets to leave with only 2 or 3 million. This completely ruins the game for that new player. They now have everything. There is no progression, it’s gone. They’ll buy a catsack and never touch the game again. I’m not complaining that the sub-20 hour person got an undeserved jackpot, the casino is a game of chance, after all, the problem is when you tie in the collectathon aspect and the economy. The collectathon is tied directly into the economy, as everything revolves around the currency. If you want something, you pay with that currency, with some exceptions.
This would be fine if there was multi-million Unit items and everyone had a decent shot at being a millionaire. Most people don’t have a shot at being millionaires, because for most people, being a millionaire is just a question of how long you’re willing to spend in the casino, doing essentially nothing. It’s unhealthy to the players who do spend countless hours in the casino, it encourages cheating and poor behavior, and it hurts the economy. The prices, as they are right now, are in a very good sweet-spot for people who don’t go into the casino, but the casino throws this balance off for those that do. It stops being a collectathon and becomes an AFK grind.
My own experience and observation with the casino is that the high jackpot machines are the worst offenders on this issue. The Wheel of Money slots are often fought over by the people that spend a lot of time on them, whereas most people seem to enjoy playing Grand Quest. Grand Quest is a low-risk low-reward, but it’s balanced into the economy and jackpots don’t take hours. It’s a quick little game you can burn an hour or two on if you want, but it’s not necessary. Grand Quest has an actual sense of progression that’ll tell you if you’re getting somewhere or if you’re wasting your time. Wheel of Money is a pure chance with 0 real input or ability to tell if you’re anywhere close to winning. Video Poker is a bit the same as Grand Quest. It’s low-risk and low-reward, but it’s not an AFK grind. You get to participate in the game.
My proposal is that the devs take a step back and carefully examine the economy they’ve created and are nurturing with the casino. I think something should be done. If that is a rework of the casino, or the economy, or something third or fourth, I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think the game is nurturing a healthy community.