I'm not actually sure how, as a developer, you could take away this stress of losing your tier, but i think this would be a very important thing to focus on if you want people to be more excited for rift battles, considering the amount of work you have already put into it.
One thing could be to normalize rewards between tiers a little, or have all tiers within one "rating", give the same rewards.
For example, no matter if you are Gold V or Gold I, you still get the same rewards regardless, which would make it less painful if you were demoted one tier.
Another idea could be to remove the free and paid ticket system. If you are a F2P-player and dont spend theonite on premium tickets, having only 2 chances a day to make up previous losses could be a source of stress. So perhaps if you could keep grinding in hopes of getting more wins it could alleviate the stress for some players?
Like Liam said, I don't think taking away tension, or at least in large quantities, from a naturally competitive game mode is healthy. Anxiety is one of those things that seems bad, but is good in moderation as a way to inspire action. No tension = no drive for competition.
As far as keeping rewards the same throughout each tier, I think this would be awful. Now people again have some drive of competition taken from them as they have no reason, say, to progress from G4. And while going from Gold to Diamond could be a motivation, the jump from those two tiers is significant. Someone in G4 wouldn't have much hope of getting to D4, so they would remain stagnant. As it is, we can celebrate smaller, realistic accomplishments like moving up within a tier and getting some penance for it. It doesn't seem smart to take that away.
Taking away the paid ticket system doesn't seem like a bad idea, but I can't help but wonder if that will chip too much from the devs. That's completely up to them.
Rift battles would be a lot less stressful if the best rewards in the game weren’t tied to it. The whole idea of putting Diamond rewards (keys and shards) to a PvP mode in a F2P gacha game means the rich get richer while the poor stay poor. And that just makes not want to play, because I’m never gonna be rich. I like games that make me want to support them because they’re good; I don’t like it when games make me feel like I have to support them to get the best experience. Like, do players at Trigg’s level really need more diamond stuff than everyone else? With the rate that the top tier players are pulling away from the average player base, it’s no wonder that the devs need to loosen matchmaking parameters to let them match, because no one else can keep up and there isn’t enough of them to be able to match each other all the time.
A PvE mode that granted the same level of rewards, like a Marie boss battle, would alleviate a lot of the stress I feel from Rift battles, because I’d have an alternative to getting end-game stuff that isn’t jeopardized by unlucky matchmaking.
In another game with ranked matchmaking, the devs have shown data that more uneven matches lead to people leaving the game, which then necessitates even looser matchmaking and becoming a self filling prophecy. I imagine that sort of trend holds true to some degree with Rift battles. I like this game and all, but eventually I’ll hit my tolerance threshold and not want to deal with the stress anymore.
this!! this is exactly why i dont have any sort of desire to do rifts. i dont see the point in doing at the very least 7 (usually difficult and annoying) fights only to get like one bronze key ~500 silver relic shards. so because i dont want to waste my time on subpar rewards, my rift score drops lower, and the cycle just repeats. if the reward system was changed, id be doing rifts every single day honestly
I was having fun before Rifts was a thing and having quit Rifts when Catalysts showed up has made the game fun again.
Honestly, Rifts is strictly more fun for Enfranchised and End Game players. Overall, IMHO, (All) the rewards are just not worth the time/stress since they all can be acquired elsewhere just by doing the basic PF/Mission grind (yes, you can only get Rift Coins by doing Rift, but really don't need them to buy Catalysts if not playing Rifts).
Personally, I think Rifts might have been better received if there was no initial seeding and with Catalysts from the start. Everyone should have started @ Rookie, but only paired by Player Level within +/- 2 levels. Let the tiers/ranks work themselves out based on performance/participation. I started Gold 1 and after the first Rift adjustment quickly fell to Gold 4. Catalysts show up and I stop, probably Silver 1-2 by now due to decay.
I feel the frequent changes to Rifts didn't help either. Just when you get comfortable with Rifts, along comes another change and not for the better.
ATM, Rifts is not how I want to play SGM and I feel that I'm not missing out on anything by not doing Rifts. I might just start again when my Rift score is 0. Maybe I'll appreciate my rewards if I feel like I earned them.
Rifts is not for everyone and once you figure out what works for you within the plethora of options in playing SGM, I hope those of you that are stressed/frustrated will have fun again too.