Resource imbalances - low on coins, high on scrap, strong focus on gems


Although I have only played a few games, one bit of feedback I would like to offer is that, as many have said, the game is incredibly centered around gems in a way that I feel takes away from the potential amount of fun that could be had from the game. I have felt completely starved for coins such that coins (and the army you build from them) are useless.


I have had the experience that "merc-money" (gems) is the real center of the game. For the entirety of the game, I feel like I am battling over gems. Mercs give gems; merc camps house gem mines; the end-game units come from gems; gems are everywhere and at the center of battle; towers reward gems; and buildings cost gems.


In comparison, gold is used for just upgrades and units, you have absolutely no control over it (which means there is no fun that can be derived from it; no reward for accomplishing tasks for or with coins), and you get so little of it. From a design perspective, the current system of coins serves as a slightly dynamic in-game timer rather than a source of interest for the player - they are not a central mechanic of fun. However, I absolutely feel that they could be (gold mines, plz!), much like how gems are now.

Moreover, my first impression in my few games as I enter them has been "Oh, I immediately buy things with coins - cool, I like that and I seem to need coins for something. Therefore, I will want to get more coins." This hope for more coins is slowly crushed as the game wears on and I simply can't use coins because I don't have them and its out of my control. Instead, I find myself using gems and focusing on gems - sometimes completely forgetting the fact that there are coins in the game.


Finally, I feel that scrap is a weak and unstable resource at this current time. Scrap is used for mercs and teching and can be mined right off the bat. Seems good and logical, but what happens after you get your tech? There are six main tech items used for scrap - tier upgrades and merc compound upgrades. Unless you're experimenting with units (which is only for the first few games), you're only going to be gunning for 4 - either air or ground t3 merc tech. As soon as you have them, which is presumably very quickly, if you're gunning for a win, scrap becomes an absolutely moot resource. In many RTS's, the resources in the game are in constant use and can be spent in a wide variety of ways - there is always something that can be bought. However, scrap is not quite that way, at this point in time. Mercs are insanely cheap on scrap, and with the abundance of scrap resources right from the get-go (in limitless supply), once you've got what you're going for, scrap piles high and quickly. In all of my (again, few) games, I have run incredibly high on scrap while starving for coins and spending gems as quickly as I can.


I love the gem system - I enjoy fighting over gems, strategically deciding when and where to be for gems, making critical decisions on which camps to go after, when to expand, what to defend, etc. I love the punish behind losing an expensive gem unit - it encourages micro and macro at the same time, with emphasis from one to the other as the game time increases. It's also somewhat unique to my moba/rts experience, which gives it a bit of charm and makes me want to find out how best to manage this interesting resource. Although it is very strong compared to the other resources, it feels good, which makes me think you guys have it on a great track.

I greatly enjoy resources that have to be fought over. It gives a sense of accomplishment and really makes me think about when, where, and how to attack. This delves me deep into the gameplay and is a central point of fun for me!

I love the simplicity. Normally in an RTS, a massive amount of strategy revolves around build orders. However, Atlas gives much greater focus to combat and positioning - when and where to rest control of resources - by having a very minimal amount of focus on buildings and upgrades. Although the order of units and what they are is critically important, I don't have to worry about building placements, building upgrades, or tech trees nearly as much and can instead focus on battle.


I have been an RTS/MOBA competitive gamer for years and am a game designer as well. That being said, I hope my feedback above helps point you guys in directions towards identifying and solving potentially difficult problem areas of the game. I apologize profusely for the length of this document. I have so much more to say, but I'll have to come back later. Sorry!

Keep up the good work and cheers, y'all!

  • Enderdxg


  • SpideyCUSpideyCU Member

    One suggestion for your scrap glut - have you gotten two Charms for your hero?

  • TheUlfTheUlf Member

    I found myself with a ton of excess scrap in my first games, but have actually since actually found it to be tuned fairly well.

    Once I was more aggressively contesting gems and clearing reward Titan camps and expanding, I wound up with plenty enough gems to unlock my scrap spending. It would usually go in waves of building up, then getting a new influx of gems and spending down, but as games progress into the later stages, I found myself with no scrap to spare.

  • KfcnoobKfcnoob Member

    I want to echo Enderdxg's points, and add additional perspective.

    Personally, the squad dynamics with your core unit comp trio is great. It adds the fun of MOBA micro to a RTS gameplay experience. This has been my favorite part of the game. For example, in starcraft2, MMM synergy is math-based, not micro-based (im not counting activating stim pack as micro). In contrast, in atlas, the synergy within a unit comp comes from player decision's and micro (which thus activates the math advantage). Overall, I expect that players really want to use their squads.
    This desire is contrasted by Enderdxg's description gold being in too limited of supply. Economically , we are forced to make use of our plentiful scrap/gem. I found the mercs (purchased with scraps/gem) to be situational tools and accessories to my core army (i dont like building them en masse), so why do the ingredients for my accessory army make up the core of my income? Whereas my core army is fueled by my accessory income? There seems to be a flip-flop here in terms of player desired gameplay and income directions.

  • Day9Day9 Member, Administrator

    Thanks for the long and thoughtful post Ender!

    We're actually planning on doing an economy overhaul due to the similar motivations that you've spoken about. In particular
    1. There isn't quite enough coin to provide the army size growth that's desired. We've had more coins in other builds so we'll likely be going back to that growth rate (about 50% more)
    2. There's a disconnect between your squad (the awesome thing) and the on map resources (which seem only used for mercs?). We're hoping to unify these under the same economic model in the future.

    Our big goal for TW2 is to see how people fought over gems/scrap and whether different and interesting strategies emerged from mercenary choice. The smoothness of the economy is something we planned for post TW2. That's part of the reason why there's the awkward "coin on a fixed track" in game.

    Woot for being on the same page \ o /

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