Good things (or is it bad things?) come in threes, so first we had Real Racing 3 repair timers getting nerfed, then today GolfStar heart regeneration got buffed, and now Gameloft is joining the party by reducing the cooldown for potion regeneration in Dungeon Hunter 4 [Free] to four hours down from eight. To back things up a bit, Dungeon Hunter 4 is the last of a long line of Gameloft dungeon crawlers. Over the years, they've gotten more and more free-to-play-y, climaxing on the release of the fourth iteration which among other free to play elements made players wait eight hours between getting additional potions.

We thought this felt particularly gross in our recent TA Plays video of the game. Eight hours seemed like a long time to us, and the general vibe on our forums was in near-complete agreement. This time around, Gameloft has been uncharacteristically active in our community, gathering feedback and actively responding to it. They even mentioned the possibility of the timers going down to two hours.

It's a really promising sign that all of these different companies are listening and responding to player feedback when it comes to balancing the timers in their free to play games, but I'm starting to feel like a broken record here in that much like with GolfStar, I wish we just had the option to buy DH4 and play it like a normal game. Either way, it's nice to see some leeway from developers when it comes to tweaking their free to play elements to be a bit more player friendly.

  • Chanandler

    4 hours before you can play again unless you spend cash! It's a fucking joke. Whenever I see that joke of a price (£69.99) as an iAP I just hit the delete key. Sadly you just know that whatever that amount buys you, it will run out pretty quick and just want more. These developers are having a fucking laugh.

  • SportsGamer

    I think it is about time that TA stop posting articles about IAP tweaks. From what I can tell by reading the comments on the last few stories, it seem readers are shying away from playing games with this type of pay model.

    • MidianGTX

      Wanna bet?

    • themostunclean

      You can't judge iOS gamers by what you read on these forums, we're mostly outspoken core gamers.

      Look at how many of the top 10 grossing games are freemium and then rethink that statement. It's such a successful model that many developers don't have much of a choice if they want to break even.

      • metalmandave83

        Sadly you're right.

      • visualplayer

        Who reports those numbers and how can we trust them?

    • speedyph

      U r rite sir on DAT note

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=789334798 Mike Kohary

      Agree completely. Is TA a schill for game companies, or are you here for readers, consumers and gamers, to tell us what's good and what's not so good? There was only one sentence in this entire article that needed to be said: "...I wish we just had the option to buy DH4 and play it like a normal game." Bingo. Tell it like it is, stop grading on a curve and stop going easy on these guys. The freemium model blows - PERIOD. We all know it, so stop insulting your readers by soft-pedaling it. I love your website and appreciate your efforts, but these walking-on-eggshells posts really grate on my nerves. Just as I'm not downloading any "freemium" games, no matter how awesome the developer used to be, I'm reading your website less and less because you don't seem to be on board with telling it like it is.

      • metalmandave83

        TA reviews a lot of casual games and not many core games. It's obvious who their audience is, the same sheep shelling out hundreds on IAP

    • Piph

      I actually thinks it's important that TA keeps posting these articles. Sure, maybe it benefits a company that looks at the comments and sees the response, but whoop-dee-doo. It also benefits us.

      Seeing these follow up changes allow the Free to Play conversation to keep going. If we didn't hear about revisions to this model, then how could the conversation ever expand beyond, "FTP SUUUUCKS,"?

      All people would know about are the first attempts.

  • jindofox

    I agree. The only way to win is not to play.

    • themostunclean

      I was positive this game would blow, especially after i heard about the potion thing. I actually started mentally outlining the negative review I was going to write before even playing it.

      I've now gone for over 5 hours without having to use a single potion. Your health and mana both regenerate automatically and if you know how to invest properly in your passive skills you can make this even more efficient.

      Freemium blows but in this case I found it to be implemented in a way that more directly targets those who normally pay for IAP- people that absolutely SUCK at gaming. If you're a Diablo or Torchlight vet, obsessed with killing and smashing everything you can find as well as playing with multiple characters it actually works out OK. The characters play differently enough and have unique dialog so the replay is less of a "grind".

      The constant teasing with super weapons and asking if you want to buy stuff during loading screens is annoying but hey, it's free.

      • metalmandave83

        Yes, millions of people suck at this game because we don't play rangers or hide in the corner waiting for our health to regen.

      • visualplayer

        It actually sucks because I HATE POP UP COMMERCIALS... I mean what kind of mental narrative does that make? Gack, slash, pivot and DON'T BE NAIVE DON'T BE LAX GET SPENDING FOR THIS AWESOME AXE?

  • Arshin

    Stop talking about shamegame like this, give it a one star rating and madr aware all of people about in app poison

  • blackbear219

    I think its worth mentioning, because there is a significant difference...

    it's 4 hours until you get another potion in your inventory, not 4 hours between individual potion uses.

    The reason Brad couldn't use a potion in the video is because he was at full health. As soon as he got hit, he was able to use his remaining two potions and was then given the option to buy more.

    • chanandler

      So the game gives you free of charge one potion every four hours? Otherwise it's 20 gems to buy them? I'm almost level 6, am finding that I can't get further than the woman asking for help at the well as my health keeps dropping due to combat and I have to run away or die! This happened three times and I have now used up my free potions, so now what do I do? Am bored with doing the same bit of run over and over! Oh yeah I know what to do, spend some money on some way too high level gear and buy some potions! Or spend some money to rez where I died! Or spend some money on some potions to help. I wonder how much of my £69.99 that little lot will use up? Well actually none of it, I'm not spending a frickin penny, just delete delete delete!

      • blackbear219

        apparently there is an arena where you can go to grind some XP. not sure if you're to the point where it is accessible yet. I haven't had a chance to sit down and really dig into the game yet, I will after I get the kiddos to bed tonight.

      • themostunclean

        Really? That's pretty early in the game. Are you upgrading your weapons and armor? The only way I can see that is if you're not familiar with action games or are woefully mismanaging your character.

        I'm at level 20 and haven't died once except in the arena. It's almost been too easy. Potions are pretty much pointless.

    • Vestid

      +1. It's a non issue.

  • bigred447uk

    In other news the best game of the year is releasing tonight .... Especially if you like SRPG.

    Kingturn ... It's a beautiful, playable SRPG with enthralling narrative and awesome gameplay. Weeks of play and various difficulty levels....

    .... Oh and it's free to play to see of you like it , then there is one single full game IAP unlock for a further 67 scenarios after the first 6 for free in the prologue.

    Full game unlock IAP is the only kind I can get behind really.

    • shadax

      Is this iPad only? I can't find it in the AppStore.

      • bigred447uk

        No for iPhone two !

  • michael bluth

    Stop being so nice. Stop supporting this crap. What's happening to gaming is disgusting. Oh, they're listening, really? They're being patronizing and they're being manipulative.

    • Allen Arcelo

      Agree. I don't care if they listen to what I have to say the fact that they even considered to put an 8 hour waiting period for an extra potion is so in your face offensive. Do they think we're idiots? Do they think iOS gamers should make THEM happy and not the other way around? Frankly, I'm savvy enough to know when I'm trying to be duped.

      • themostunclean

        It's not their job to make you happy, it's their job to release games that make money.

        The companies aren't forcing freemium into the market or trying to "dupe" you. They're doing it because it works and people are forking over tons of cash. It also helps curb rampant piracy. If it weren't for idiot consumers and thieves, the freemium model never would have taken off like it has.

        Not defending freemium, I hate it, but those are the facts.

      • speedyph

        Yes great comment

  • iValerio90

    Freemium SUUUUUUUUCK

  • Korenaren

    The rebalancing trend (Golfstar included) leaves a really sour taste in my mouth, even more than IAP itself. Don't they play test their game (with IAP turned on) before releasing it? How much do they think we pay per game? Does an average gamer put $5 into IAP, maybe $10? Then test the game with that in mind, and let your studio know if it's still fun. Are you going to hook me in the beginning without sucking up the $10 right away? Or do I bail out right away because you look too greedy? Tough balance, but why risk frustrating people in the forums...err on the side of generous.

    Who thought an 8 hour heart replenish was a reasonable amount of time, in which to release the game? Did they really need forum feedback to figure that out? I haven't played these particular games, and don't think I will just because of poor decision making. There are plenty of other games I can play with reasonable/tolerable timers and IAP.

    • witedahlia

      VERY good point.

  • toxiccheese

    Only 4 hours? Well that certainly changed my mind about the freemium model! What a joke. Just because its free doesn't make it a good thing. No thanks. I have better ways to spend my time on my iOS device.

  • chanandler

    Well if nothing else, all the freemium talk is good for the discussion groups :)

  • Wizard_Mike

    I don't know why people are saying for TA to stop talking about this. It's news and it's indicative of the state of iOS gaming right now.

    I'm ok with freemium price models, just like I was ok with pumping quarter after quarter into arcade machines back in the 80's. But once arcades started costing $.50 - $1.00 per play (a 100% - 400% increase), they started to lose some of their appeal. We can see where the arcades of the 80's went. If mobile gaming continues to get more and more ridiculous with these types of freemium schemes... er, I mean price models... then mobile game devs will be keeping each other company in the arcade halls of video game valhalla. Players will get burned out and stop paying, devs will stop making money and move on to other fields, and mobile gaming will just plain fail.

    It's a losing situation for everyone in the long run, and we're cruising on down that road. So yes, TA should post about this stuff, because the community needs to be talking about it. The more people talk about it, the more of it gets back to the devs.

    • speetz

      See I just don't think they are going that far with the gaining money path and still being fair . I'm a. Bit drunk, but it only takes so much and u break even. With GAMELOFT resources And engines and previous revenue I dunno man. It can't be hard; I feel more like they are catering to their fans than anything especially after the hate towards arena DH3 so again......

      Chill . A game of this quality and depth is going to require a couple bucks to play and fully enjoy. With iOS it's especially true after the dumb lite/free versions that don't cross over. This is better in every way IMO.

      idk maybe I am intoxicated and don't know shit but I've been playing games like this and MMOs for over around 10 to 12 years. This is a great way for people to play and pay what they want and get what they want. And then premium games are left for MMOs like PC games and more extreme situations like O&C online which it's IAPs are asinine and otherwise yet to see situations or well, I don't really know anymore with iOS.

      So many amazing, fully fledged, beautiful games cost a buck that would cost 10x that on PC and either don't have the crossover tech from device or platform or etc. give the working men some IAP. They don't make what you think even at GAMELOFT . Yeah. For realz.

      Idk ima go play have fun. Maybe 2morrow ill post more on the actual forums in general. In the end I hope you all have fun and good will and $$$!!!

  • diaskeaus

    RR3 timers work. You can race to you hearts content, and when you are feeling tired, use some of your money to repair so you can play in the morning.

    But the DH franchise is known for rather unforgiving difficulty, and if you get in a battle and end up wasting your potions, you need to wait, what, 12-20 hours just to play again?

    A better model would be:

    1) Every 15 minutes, generate a 15% HP potion.
    2) Trade 2 15% HP potions for one 30% potion.
    3) Trade 3 30% potions for 1 100% potion.

    Or buy more.

    Also, sell Repair Potions, which speed the rate of repair for broken armor, but are not required to repair armor. You could still play with broken armor, but you would of course take more damage, and therefore require more potions.

    Sell other kinds of potions, like Invulnerability Potions, which protect your body from damage but not your armor. And Armor Potions, which do the opposite. And allow players the chance to unlock these potions in-game, as well as a chance to unlock the ability for those potions to also regenerate. You could even spend real money (0.99) to speed up the regeneration to ridiculous amounts, up to a maximum if 20 potions per type per player.

    But the basic gust is, let people play the game, and if the want to play the game for the leaderboards or high scores, let them pay or grind. But don't lock content. You might as well just provide an in-app Unlock Option for $10 that gives the player all access to every potion with reduced optimization costs, instead if turning each player into an MMO subscriber.

    • Allen Arcelo

      How about I just pay you X dollars for a game with IAP solely for enhancing gameplay, not hindering it every 15 minutes or so?

      • diaskeaus

        Wishful thinking.

  • grits

    It's a start. And this is the reason why we need to make our voices heard and push this crap into the past.

  • grits

    Obviously this is barely a scratch but if they get terrible reviews and people keep ripping them apart, maybe they'll get rid of the whole idea altogether for their next game.

    • Zeldaniac

      Gameloft + an IDEA? It'll never happen.

  • xhoffzillax

    Good now that it's down to 4 hours I won't have to sell all 4 of my kids on the black market just 2 of them. I hope one day they will understand there sacrifice, DH4 first and family second!

  • echo_pdx

    Not good enough.

  • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

    £69 for something not remotely as good as Diablo 3 which is half the price? Enough is enough, surely?

  • WonderingIf

    I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I have been way more likely to spend money on IAP in games that are unlocked from the start and I can beat the game without IAP, and the IAP is only for "special items" or "special skills" or "costumes" and stuff like that. If I enjoy the game enough, and I think that I'm being treated fairly by the devs, then I am happy to toss them some cash to support their brilliant efforts.

    • witedahlia

      That's pretty much how I feel about it, to the extent that IAP exists at all. My default position is always, "Let me pay you for that game you made."

  • Reignmaker

    That Diablo-looking icon is such a shameless ripoff. It's like Moneyloft's not even trying to be original. "Hey kids! Come play the EXACT SAME GAME...But on your iPad, with cool new iAP functions!!!"

    • Zeldaniac

      When's the last time you saw Gameloft trying to be original?

      • Reignmaker

        I see your point. I'm just saying I don't respect their "copy everyone before they come to iOS" business model.

      • Zeldaniac

        Neither do I. Pretty much all their new games coming up are clones or sequels. (Blitz Brigade looks like a clone of The Respawnables, which is a clone of Battlefield Heroes for PC, which is a near copy of Team Fortress 2, the sequel to Team Fortress. Interesting.)

  • speedyph

    I can't stand free to play I hate timers an all just make it a price what is so hard to understand

    • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

      Piracy for starters.

  • lewsheff

    Free to play games suck

    • Zeldaniac

      Not all of them. Look at Tiny Tower, Tribes: Ascend, and many others. It's just that it's so frequently abused that it gets a bad rep. I'm not against F2P, but I will always prefer premium games.

    • speetz

      Have you played punch quest? And jet pack joyride is free ATM too. ..........z

  • bunnyfoofoo27

    ALL OF YOU STOP THE BITCHING!!! This game even with all the timers/waiting is epic and so far after 4 hrs of solid play I haven't had to pay nothing AT ALL and I don't intend to. REAL RACING 3 pissed me off to no end AT FIRST... But after re-downloading it and giving it another shot, its now in my top 3 ipad games and I still don't intend to spend a dime on IAP. But seriously you don't actually need to spend anything to still experience a beast of a game that you really can keep playing nonstop if you approach it correctly. Love you guys

  • Mister Bump

    Exactly. I'm not even downloading this shit. I enjoyed DH1+2 - they were good fun, if nothing special, but I can't even see why I'd want to waste my time downloading 'free' to play stuff any more - it's not fun and even if you pay to play the games are so geared in the wrong direction they lose what made them fun when they were paid for games.

  • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

    Let's face facts. Twisting IAP like this isn't fun. I'd rather pay to unlock a level (if it's free) or IAP for bonus content for paid. I don't like a game that constantly rises and falls in capability based on how much I'm waiting or spending. When it ceases to be fun, it affects the game as a whole. So this game ultimately for me, isn't fun.

    • speetz

      What? I would love to pay for free things too in backwards land. What did you mean to say?

  • speetz

    I like most freemium games.

    Omg. I'm getting RPG'ed and machine gunned by fellow gamers.

    Seriously; if used right a lot of freemium games can be played with great fun and minimum debt to your wallet. I would know as I am broke most of the time as being a dad at 22 with me and my wife having many, many mental and physical health problems. I had open heart surgery blah blah blah but that's what is cool about free, freemium and games like that among other premium games. I can do and SPEND what I like and can afford .

    The difference between 1 and 4 bucks can be huge In my life. So freemium in my mid is great.

    Of course there are the ones who spend over a good grand or whatever inane amount in one game but for every one of those there are those not posting who love this type of thing. How do you think GAMELOFT Reallly makes its cash?? Us.

    I have spent no more than 10 to maybe 15$ on all my GAMELOFT games.

    So there ya go. I will be DLing DH4 as soon as I have the space for the new O&C update on my iPhone 4.

    For the rest of ya; take a Valium or have a drink and chill.

    • metalmandave83

      Drink the Kool-Aid bruh

    • Piph

      You're right; Free to play is not inherently bad.

      Dungeon Hunter 4 is NOT Free To Play. It's free to try. And then it wants money.

      Free to play should be offering you a choice to pay to enhance your experience, not to pay to remove some arbitrary limiter placed on some of the most basic game mechanics out there.

      Wanna charge me for a potion that boosts exp or gold? Word. Wanna charge me for extra character skins? Sure, I guess. Wanna charge me to heal myself just so I can keep on playing? Eh. No thanks.

      See what I mean?

  • lanights

    So, after all is done and said, is this game worth the monstrous download, despite the IAP issue? Assuming there is no IAP, is this game freaking recommended?

    • blackbear219

      It's definitely worth checking out. I sat down with it for 3-4 hours last night. I used two of my potions, which are now replenished. I spent zero dollars. I had the most fun I've had with an iPad game in a while.

      These are the facts. I'm going to post a more lengthy analysis on the official thread later today.

  • lanights

    Thanks, downloading. I'll give it the college try. :)

  • Alex Thompson

    Oh, only four hours versus eight? I'll definitely check it out now!... said no one, ever.

  • _Jc_

    Why not just create a SOLID GAME and sell it for a reasonable price (somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99). iAPs would be cosmetic, and gamers would be happy.

    Instead they are COMPLETELY SNUBBING any self-respecting gamers (real gamers DO NOT BUY pay-to-win games!) and catering to the idiotic I-want-to-pay-to-be-better-than-you crowd.

    I hope people see the scam and don't even download it.

    Gameloft seemed to have potential in the early days - you have to respect a company that takes PC and console games and re-creates them for the mobile space. These days they are among the worst of the F2P scams and should be completely shunned by any self-respecting gamer.

  • Blackshadow

    Omfg , this game is awsome. Very diablo 3 like and its smooth . Cry all you want but for my ipad 2 this game smokes. Good job guys.

    • PadreTomasito

      And your thoughts after two days with this game? Happy about paywalls? Happy about constant waiting for anything to complete? Happy about endless and boring grinding?

  • Piph

    They can reduce the timers all they want for portions, but it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. If they REALLY want to make the potions work, then:

    A) Make it so that they can be purchased at a REASONABLE price by the IN GAME CURRENCY. The gold, that is. NOT the gems.

    B) Re-balance the game so that potions truly are JUST a luxury. As it is, the likelihood that you'll need to use a potion or two in quick succession in a given room of enemies is pretty damn high. The health does regen, yes, but not fast in enough for it to matter in the heat of battle.

    Until then, the pay-for-potion system in this game is STILL going to gross out any player with common sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xkitox Kito Zeo

    Honestly, the only reason they are responding is because of the rating people are giving it. Keep rating it 1 star until they release a P2Play version that doesnt have ridiculous IAPs!

  • PadreTomasito

    Paywall after paywall after paywall. Pay and pay more after every level otherwise you will spend the rest of yor life on grinding after grinding after grinding after grinding after grinding after grinding after grinding. This model of gaming is a disaster. Game deleted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gedmins Gediminas Peleckis

    Yep if not for piracy fremiums wouldnt exist that much....but personally ill pirate everything thats possible....fuck developers straight forward...they the ones should be losing, not us. Let them work for free like in old days....no remorse!