IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. submitted by
The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster.
In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly.
The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged.
Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms.
The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist.
The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale.
‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing.
It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment.
Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge.
That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted.
The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions.
Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge.
Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it.
Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales.
Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others.
This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse.
Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away.
These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk.
If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced.
If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober.
The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs.
The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them.
This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame.
Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier.
There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language.
What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand.
That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough.
If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses.
As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial.
The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt.
Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame.
This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’
So Stokes punches him.
It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road.
Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks.
Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him.
Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended.
Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop.
Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance.
‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’
The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’.
The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back.
After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed.
If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence.
Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued.
‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass.
A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’.
The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now.
Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa.
It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’.
The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
Alright so, I took the default database from there https://skribbliohints.github.io/
and with the help of html, I extracted the words to a list separated by commas. It's useful when you want to translate those words into your native language. Word of advice
, when using google translate, do not put all words at once there, it can rapidly worsen the translation.
(And there is a last thing
. Their algorithm of picking only custom words is not working really good, at least for me. Meaning that I often get duplicates, despite having a list this big and without duplicates. I'm still trying to find some solution to this, so if somebody is experiencing this as well, share the knowledge please, I will do the same.) SOLUTION:
Thanks for the reply from PepegaWR
who identified the cause. I also tested it and there seems to be a custom words limit of 5000 characters. The easiest way in my opinion is to shuffle the words before each session to minimize the impact. Also thanks to the flynger
who had the same idea before me :)
Finally, here it is, enjoy the scribbling ^^ :
ABBA, AC/DC, Abraham Lincoln, Adidas, Africa, Aladdin, America, Amsterdam, Android, Angelina Jolie, Angry Birds, Antarctica, Anubis, Apple, Argentina, Asia, Asterix, Atlantis, Audi, Australia, BMW, BMX, Bambi, Band-Aid, Barack Obama, Bart Simpson, Batman, Beethoven, Bible, Big Ben, Bill Gates, Bitcoin, Black Friday, Bomberman, Brazil, Bruce Lee, Bugs Bunny, Canada, Capricorn, Captain America, Cat Woman, Cerberus, Charlie Chaplin, Chewbacca, China, Chinatown, Christmas, Chrome, Chuck Norris, Colosseum, Cookie Monster, Crash Bandicoot, Creeper, Croatia, Cuba, Cupid, DNA, Daffy Duck, Darwin, Darwin Watterson, Deadpool, Dexter, Discord, Donald Duck, Donald Trump, Dora, Doritos, Dracula, Dumbo, Earth, Easter, Easter Bunny, Egypt, Eiffel tower, Einstein, Elmo, Elon Musk, Elsa, Eminem, England, Europe, Excalibur, Facebook, Family Guy, Fanta, Ferrari, Finn, Finn and Jake, Flash, Florida, France, Frankenstein, Fred Flintstone, Gandalf, Gandhi, Garfield, Germany, God, Goofy, Google, Great Wall, Greece, Green Lantern, Grinch, Gru, Gumball, Happy Meal, Harry Potter, Hawaii, Hello Kitty, Hercules, Hollywood, Home Alone, Homer Simpson, Hula Hoop, Hulk, Ikea, India, Intel, Ireland, Iron Giant, Iron Man, Israel, Italy, Jack-o-lantern, Jackie Chan, James Bond, Japan, JayZ, Jenga, Jesus Christ, Jimmy Neutron, John Cena, Johnny Bravo, KFC, Katy Perry, Kermit, Kim Jong-un, King Kong, Kirby, Kung Fu, Lady Gaga, Las Vegas, Lasagna, Lego, Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo da Vinci, Lion King, London, London Eye, Luigi, MTV, Madagascar, Mario, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars, McDonalds, Medusa, Mercedes, Mercury, Mexico, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse, Microsoft, Milky Way, Minecraft, Miniclip, Minion, Minotaur, Mona Lisa, Monday, Monster, Mont Blanc, Morgan Freeman, Morse code, Morty, Mount Everest, Mount Rushmore, Mozart, Mr. Bean, Mr. Meeseeks, Mr Bean, Mr Meeseeks, Mummy, NASCAR, Nasa, Nemo, Neptune, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nike, Nintendo Switch, North Korea, Northern Lights, Norway, Notch, Nutella, Obelix, Olaf, Oreo, Pac-Man, Paris, Patrick, Paypal, Peppa Pig, Pepsi, Phineas and Ferb, Photoshop, Picasso, Pikachu, Pink Panther, Pinocchio, Playstation, Pluto, Pokemon, Popeye, Popsicle, Porky Pig, Portugal, Poseidon, Pringles, Pumba, Reddit, Rick, Robbie Rotten, Robin Hood, Romania, Rome, Russia, Samsung, Santa, Saturn, Scooby Doo, Scotland, Segway, Sherlock Holmes, Shrek, Singapore, Skittles, Skrillex, Skype, Slinky, Solar System, Sonic, Spain, Spartacus, Spiderman, SpongeBob, Squidward, Star Wars, Statue of Liberty, Steam, Stegosaurus, Steve Jobs, Stone Age, Sudoku, Suez Canal, Superman, Susan Wojcicki, Sydney Opera House, T-rex, Tails, Tarzan, Teletubby, Terminator, Tetris, The Beatles, Thor, Titanic, Tooth Fairy, Tower Bridge, Tower of Pisa, Tweety, Twitter, UFO, USB, Uranus, Usain Bolt, Vatican, Vault boy, Velociraptor, Venus, Vin Diesel, W-LAN, Wall-e, WhatsApp, William Shakespeare, William Wallace, Winnie the Pooh, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Xbox, Xerox, Yin and Yang, Yoda, 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broomstick, brownie, bruise, brunette, brush, bubble, bubble gum, bucket, building, bulge, bull, bulldozer, bullet, bumper, bungee jumping, bunk bed, bunny, burglar, burp, burrito, bus, bus driver, bus stop, butcher, butler, butt cheeks, butter, butterfly, button, cab driver, cabin, cabinet, cactus, cage, cake, calendar, camel, camera, campfire, camping, can, can opener, canary, candle, canister, cannon, canyon, cap, cape, cappuccino, captain, car wash, cardboard, carnival, carnivore, carpenter, carpet, carrot, cartoon, cash, casino, cast, cat, catalog, catapult, caterpillar, catfish, cathedral, cauldron, cauliflower, cave, caveman, caviar, ceiling, ceiling fan, celebrate, celebrity, cell, cell phone, cello, cement, centaur, centipede, chain, chainsaw, chair, chalk, chameleon, champagne, champion, chandelier, charger, cheek, cheeks, cheerleader, cheese, cheeseburger, cheesecake, cheetah, chef, chemical, cherry, cherry blossom, chess, chest, chest hair, chestnut, chestplate, chew, 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cruise, crust, crystal, cube, cuckoo, cucumber, cup, cupboard, cupcake, curry, curtain, cushion, customer, cut, cute, cyborg, cylinder, cymbal, dagger, daisy, dalmatian, dance, dandelion, dandruff, darts, dashboard, daughter, day, dead, deaf, deep, deer, defense, delivery, demon, demonstration, dent, dentist, deodorant, depressed, derp, desert, desk, desperate, dessert, detective, detonate, dew, diagonal, diagram, diamond, diaper, dice, dictionary, die, diet, dig, dinner, dinosaur, diploma, dirty, disaster, disease, dishrag, dispenser, display, diss track, distance, diva, divorce, dizzy, dock, doctor, dog, doghouse, doll, dollar, dollhouse, dolphin, dome, dominoes, donkey, door, doorknob, dots, double, dough, download, dragon, dragonfly, drain, drama, drawer, dream, dress, drink, drip, drive, driver, drool, droplet, drought, drum, drum kit, duck, duct tape, duel, dwarf, dynamite, eagle, ear, earbuds, earthquake, earwax, east, eat, echo, eclipse, eel, egg, eggplant, elbow, elder, election, electric car, electric guitar, electrician, electricity, elephant, elevator, embers, emerald, emoji, employer, emu, end, engine, engineer, equator, eraser, error, eskimo, espresso, evaporate, evening, evolution, exam, excavator, exercise, explosion, eye, eyebrow, eyelash, eye shadow, fabric, fabulous, facade, face, face paint, factory, failure, fairy, fake teeth, fall, family, farm, farmer, fashion designer, fast, fast food, fast forward, father, faucet, feather, fence, fencing, fern, festival, fidget spinner, field, figurine, filmmaker, filter, finger, fingernail, fingertip, fire alarm, fire hydrant, fire truck, fireball, firecracker, firefighter, firefly, firehouse, fireman, fireplace, fireproof, fireside, firework, fish, fish bowl, fisherman, fist fight, fitness trainer, fizz, flag, flagpole, flamethrower, flamingo, flashlight, flask, flea, flight attendant, flock, floodlight, floppy disk, florist, flower, flu, fluid, flush, flute, fly, fly swatter, flying pig, fog, foil, folder, food, forehead, forest, forest fire, fork, fort, fortress, fortune, fossil, fountain, fox, frame, freckles, freezer, fridge, fries, frog, frostbite, frosting, frown, fruit, full, full moon, funeral, funny, fur, furniture, galaxy, gang, gangster, garage, garbage, garden, gardener, garlic, gas, gas mask, gasoline, gasp, gate, gem, gender, generator, genie, gentle, gentleman, geography, germ, geyser, ghost, giant, gift, giraffe, girl, gladiator, glass, glasses, glitter, globe, gloss, glove, glow, glowstick, glue, glue stick, gnome, goal, goat, goatee, goblin, godfather, gold, gold chain, golden apple, golden egg, goldfish, golf, golf cart, good, goose, gorilla, graduation, graffiti, grandmother, grapefruit, grapes, graph, grass, grasshopper, grave, gravedigger, gravel, graveyard, gravity, greed, grenade, grid, grill, grin, groom, grumpy, guillotine, guinea pig, guitar, gumball, gummy, gummy bear, gummy worm, hacker, hair, hair roller, hairbrush, haircut, hairspray, hairy, half, halo, ham, hamburger, hammer, hammock, hamster, hand, handicap, handle, handshake, hanger, happy, harbor, hard, hard hat, harmonica, harp, harpoon, hashtag, hat, hazard, hazelnut, head, headache, headband, headboard, heading, headphones, health, heart, heat, hedgehog, heel, heist, helicopter, hell, helmet, hen, hermit, hero, hexagon, hibernate, hieroglyph, high five, high heels, high score, highway, hilarious, hill, hip hop, hippie, hippo, hitchhiker, hive, hobbit, hockey, holiday, homeless, honey, honeycomb, hoof, hook, hop, hopscotch, horizon, horn, horse, horsewhip, hose, hospital, hot, hot chocolate, hot dog, hot sauce, hotel, hourglass, house, hovercraft, hug, hummingbird, hunger, hunter, hurdle, hurt, husband, hut, hyena, hypnotize, iPad, iPhone, ice, ice cream, ice cream truck, iceberg, icicle, idea, imagination, impact, incognito, industry, infinite, injection, insect, inside, insomnia, internet, intersection, interview, invasion, invention, invisible, iron, island, ivy, jacket, jackhammer, jaguar, jail, jalapeno, janitor, jaw, jazz, jeans, jeep, jello, jelly, jellyfish, jester, jet ski, joker, journalist, journey, judge, juggle, juice, jump rope, jungle, junk food, kangaroo, karaoke, karate, katana, kazoo, kebab, keg, kendama, ketchup, kettle, key, keyboard, kidney, kindergarten, king, kiss, kitchen, kite, kitten, kiwi, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knot, knuckle, koala, kraken, label, laboratory, ladder, lady, ladybug, lake, lamb, lamp, landlord, landscape, lane, language, lantern, lap, laptop, laser, lasso, laundry, lava, lava lamp, lawn mower, lawyer, leader, leaf, leak, leash, leather, leave, leech, legs, lemon, lemonade, lemur, lens, leprechaun, lettuce, levitate, librarian, library, licorice, lid, light bulb, lighter, lighthouse, lightning, lightsaber, lily, lilypad, limbo, lime, limousine, line, link, lion, lips, lipstick, litter box, lizard, llama, loading, loaf, lobster, lock, log, logo, lollipop, loot, loser, lotion, lottery, lounge, love, low, luck, luggage, lumberjack, lung, lynx, lyrics, macaroni, machine, macho, mafia, magazine, magic, magic trick, magic wand, magician, magma, magnet, magnifier, maid, mailbox, mailman, makeup, mall, mammoth, manatee, manhole, manicure, mannequin, mansion, mantis, map, maracas, marathon, marble, margarine, marigold, market, marmalade, marmot, marshmallow, mascot, mask, massage, match, matchbox, mattress, mayonnaise, mayor, maze, meal, meat, meatball, meatloaf, mechanic, meerkat, megaphone, melon, melt, meme, mermaid, message, messy, metal, meteorite, microphone, microscope, microwave, midnight, military, milk, milkman, milkshake, mime, miner, minigolf, minivan, mint, minute, mirror, missile, model, mohawk, mold, mole, money, monk, monkey, monster, moon, moose, mop, morning, mosquito, moss, moth, mothball, mother, motherboard, motorbike, motorcycle, mountain, mouse, mousetrap, mouth, movie, mud, muffin, mug, murderer, muscle, museum, mushroom, musket, mustache, mustard, nachos, nail, nail file, nail polish, napkin, narwhal, nature, navy, neck, needle, neighbor, neighborhood, nerd, nest, network, newspaper, nickel, night, nightclub, nightmare, ninja, noob, noodle, north, nose, nose hair, nose ring, nosebleed, nostrils, notebook, notepad, nothing, notification, novel, nugget, nuke, nun, nurse, nut, nutcracker, nutmeg, nutshell, oar, observatory, ocean, octagon, octopus, office, oil, old, omelet, onion, open, opera, orange, orangutan, orbit, orca, orchestra, orchid, organ, origami, ostrich, otter, outside, oval, overweight, owl, oxygen, oyster, paddle, page, pain, paint, paintball, pajamas, palace, palette, palm, palm tree, pan, pancake, panda, panpipes, panther, pants, papaya, paper, paper bag, parachute, parade, parakeet, parents, park, parking, parrot, party, password, pasta, pastry, path, patient, patio, patriot, pause, pavement, paw, peace, peach, peacock, peanut, pear, peas, peasant, pedal, pelican, pencil, pencil case, pencil sharpener, pendulum, penguin, peninsula, penny, pensioner, pepper, pepperoni, perfume, periscope, person, pet food, pet shop, petal, pharmacist, photo frame, photograph, photographer, piano, pickaxe, pickle, picnic, pie, pig, pigeon, piggy bank, pigsty, pike, pill, pillar, pillow, pillow fight, pilot, pimple, pin, pinball, pine, pine cone, pineapple, pink, pinky, pinwheel, pipe, pirate, pirate ship, pistachio, pistol, pitchfork, pizza, plague, planet, plank, plate, platypus, player, playground, plow, plug, plumber, plunger, pocket, pogo stick, point, poison, poisonous, poke, polar bear, policeman, pollution, polo, pond, pony, ponytail, poodle, poop, poor, popcorn, pope, poppy, popular, porch, porcupine, portal, portrait, positive, postcard, poster, pot, pot of gold, potato, potion, pound, powder, prawn, pray, preach, pregnant, present, president, pretzel, price tag, priest, prince, princess, printer, prism, prison, pro, procrastination, professor, programmer, promotion, protest, provoke, prune, pub, pudding, puddle, puffin, puma, pumpkin, punishment, punk, puppet, purity, purse, puzzle, pyramid, quarter, queen, queue, quicksand, quill, quilt, quokka, raccoon, race, racecar, radar, radiation, radio, radish, raft, rail, rain, rainbow, raincoat, raindrop, rainforest, raisin, rake, ram, ramp, rapper, raspberry, rat, ravioli, razor, razorblade, read, reality, reception, receptionist, record, rectangle, recycling, red, red carpet, reeds, referee, reflection, reindeer, relationship, religion, remote, repeat, reptile, rest, restaurant, retail, revolver, rewind, rhinoceros, rib, ribbon, rice, ring, ringtone, risk, river, roadblock, robber, robin, robot, rock, rocket, rockstar, roll, roof, room, rooster, root, rose, royal, rubber, ruby, rug, ruler, run, rune, sad, saddle, safari, safe, sailboat, salad, sale, saliva, salmon, salt, saltwater, sand, sand castle, sandbox, sandstorm, sandwich, satellite, sauce, sauna, sausage, saxophone, scar, scarecrow, scarf, scary, scent, school, science, scientist, scissors, scoop, score, scream, screen, screw, scribble, scuba, sculpture, scythe, sea, sea lion, seafood, seagull, seahorse, seal, search, seashell, seasick, season, seat belt, seaweed, second, security, seed, seesaw, semicircle, sensei, server, sew, sewing machine, shadow, shake, shallow, shampoo, shape, shark, shaving cream, sheep, shelf, shell, shipwreck, shirt, shock, shoe, shoebox, shoelace, shop, shopping, shopping cart, short, shotgun, shoulder, shout, shovel, shower, shrew, shrub, shy, sick, signature, silence, silo, silver, silverware, sing, sink, sit, six pack, skateboard, skateboarder, skates, skeleton, ski, ski jump, skin, skinny, skribbl.io, skull, skunk, sky, skydiving, skyline, skyscraper, slam, sledge, sledgehammer, sleep, sleeve, slide, slime, slingshot, slippery, slope, sloth, slow, slump, smell, smile, smoke, snail, snake, sneeze, sniper, snow, snowball, snowball fight, snowboard, snowflake, snowman, soap, soccer, social media, socket, socks, soda, soil, soldier, sombrero, son, sound, soup, south, space, space suit, spaceship, spade, spaghetti, spark, sparkles, spatula, speaker, spear, spelunker, sphinx, spider, spin, spinach, spine, spiral, spit, spoiler, sponge, spool, spoon, spore, sports, spray paint, spring, sprinkler, spy, square, squid, squirrel, stab, stadium, stage, stamp, stand, stapler, star, starfish, starfruit, statue, steam, step, stereo, sting, stingray, stomach, stone, stoned, stop sign, stork, storm, stove, straw, strawberry, streamer, street, stress, strong, student, studio, study, stylus, submarine, subway, sugar, suitcase, summer, sun, sunburn, sunflower, sunglasses, sunrise, sunshade, supermarket, superpower, surface, surfboard, surgeon, survivor, sushi, swag, swamp, swan, swarm, sweat, sweater, swimming pool, swimsuit, swing, switch, sword, swordfish, symphony, table, table tennis, tablecloth, tablet, tabletop, taco, tadpole, tail, tailor, take off, talent show, tampon, tangerine, tank, tape, tarantula, target, taser, tattoo, taxi, taxi driver, tea, teacher, teapot, tear, teaspoon, teddy bear, telephone, telescope, television, temperature, tennis, tennis racket, tent, tentacle, text, thermometer, thief, thin, think, thirst, throat, throne, thug, thumb, thunder, thunderstorm, ticket, tickle, tie, tiger, time machine, timpani, tiny, tip, tiramisu, tire, tired, tissue, tissue box, toad, toast, toaster, toe, toenail, toilet, tomato, tomb, tombstone, tongue, toolbox, tooth, toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpick, top hat, torch, tornado, torpedo, tortoise, totem, toucan, touch, tourist, tow truck, towel, tower, toy, tractor, traffic, traffic light, trailer, train, translate, trap, trapdoor, trash can, traveler, treadmill, treasure, tree, treehouse, trend, triangle, trick shot, tricycle, trigger, triplets, tripod, trombone, trophy, tropical, truck, truck driver, trumpet, tuba, tug, tumor, tuna, tunnel, turd, turkey, turnip, turtle, tuxedo, twig, type, udder, ukulele, umbrella, uncle, underground, underweight, undo, unibrow, unicorn, unicycle, uniform, universe, upgrade, vacation, vaccine, vacuum, valley, vampire, vanilla, vanish, vault, vegetable, vegetarian, vein, vent, vertical, veterinarian, victim, victory, video, video game, village, villain, vine, vinegar, viola, violence, violin, virtual reality, virus, vise, vision, vitamin, vlogger, vodka, volcano, volleyball, volume, vomit, voodoo, vortex, vote, vulture, vuvuzela, waffle, waist, waiter, wake up, walk, wall, wallpaper, walnut, walrus, warehouse, warm, wart, wasp, watch, water, water cycle, water gun, waterfall, wave, wax, weak, wealth, weapon, weasel, weather, web, website, wedding, welder, well, werewolf, west, western, whale, wheel, wheelbarrow, whisk, whisper, whistle, white, wife, wig, wiggle, willow, wind, windmill, window, windshield, wine, wine glass, wing, wingnut, winner, winter, wire, wireless, witch, witness, wizard, wolf, wonderland, woodpecker, wool, work, workplace, world, worm, wound, wrapping, wreath, wrench, wrestler, wrestling, wrinkle, wrist, writer, x-ray, xylophone, yacht, yardstick, yawn, yearbook, yellow, yeti, yo-yo, yogurt, yolk, young, youtuber, zebra, zeppelin, zigzag, zipline, zipper, zombie, zoo, zoom,
Hi. Just as the title says, this is my comprehensive feedback. I have spent many, many hours pondering and writing these ideas. I have tried my best to give substantive suggestions; not just what is wrong, but also how to make it right. Lastly, note that I primarily focus on the negative things here, because those are the ones requiring change. There are plenty of good parts to this game as well.
Hope you enjoy!
A common theme throughout this article will be ways to encourage players to use a diverse set of plants. Let's kick this theme off with my first suggestion: Let us have more than 6 slots. By restricting the number of plants I can take, you discourage me from upgrading a variety of plants, because I know I won't end up having enough space to take other plants anyway. Either give us 8-9 slots and remove switching plants in Stage 2 completely, or keep it at 6 but let us change plants Stage 2 everywhere, including the tower.
Feedback on the arena.
I enjoyed the arena in the Pre-Alpha release. There definitely was a lot of strategy involved, and I say this as a person who got #1 in Ultimate Birthday. Unfortunately, there are huge problems now. Right now, the arena is more about grinding than finding proper strategies. This is why I'd strongly suggest implementing a mechanism by which, if you are about to pass someone in your leaderboard, you are highly favored to get matched with that person. It's only fair to have to face someone directly if you want to be ranked above them. If you implement this, the arena will finally again be about who has the best strategy.
Another problem is that when winning against someone with even a couple hundred trophies less than you, you only get 5 trophies, but if you lose, you end up losing too many. I have seen someone lose over 400 trophies in 1 game. Please cap the number of trophies you can lose per game at 50, and make sure each win gives at least 15 trophies.
I suggest that if you beat your opponent's score by, say, 35%, you should get double the trophies you would have earned if you had won with a smaller margin. A tiny win should not give the same number of trophies as a huge win.
It would be great if we could have a league-wide leaderboard, where your highest score in the arena for the week would be displayed. Naturally, the people who got the highest high-scores would get some sort of a sweet reward.
It would be cool if we had an arena streak like the one in PvZ2. It would also be great if we had a separate global weekly leaderboard ranking everyone in a league by their high scores.
Finally, I would like to mention that if I were in charge of the arena, I would completely rework the system. You see, trophies are not really a measure of skill. What is a better measure of skill is winrate. There's a problem though; a player who won their first match would have a winrate of 100%, which is the same as someone who won 50/50 matches. Clearly, the algorithm should rank the latter above the former. The mathematically rigorous way of ranking by winrate is to add 1 to the denominator. So then the former player would have a winrate of 1/2, which is much lower than 50/51. If you would like to learn more about the mathematics of why adding 1 is the right thing to do, you can watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8idr1WZ1A7Q&feature=emb_title
Anyway, I would then have the algorithm match you with people with similar winrates, calculated in this way, and then the leaderboard would rank people by these winrates.
Alternatively, you could keep the trophies and match people in the following way. First, calculate the percentile of the number of trophies you have. Maybe you have 2k trophies, and say that currently puts you in the 1.7th percentile of trophies. Then you will get matched with a random person with a score in the top 1.7% of scores. Then the number of trophies you earn depends on the percentile ranking of the opponent's score. For example, if you get matched with a person with a score in the 1.6th percentile, maybe you get 20 trophies, and if you get matched with a person in the 0.6th percentile, you will get something like 60 trophies.
I am the leader of the club "The Rockers", home to many of the best players. But I have trouble screening players before accepting them because you cannot even see the level of the players applying. Please let us see the levels of the players who apply.
Also, there should be a way that leaders can directly message the people in their clan. I need this feature to ask after the inactive people in the club so I can screen who to kick.
It would be fun if there were "Club Events". One type of event would be a specific hard level. After a member beats the level, the club gains 1 point. At the end of the event, everyone who participated would get a reward based on the total number of points the club earned. I personally think the level should be a conveyor belt level where everyone has the same level plants.
Another type of event would be the club battle. Each club should have a "Club Power," which is the sum of the levels of all players in the club. In a club battle, two clubs with a similar Club Power would be matched against each other. The "Club Score" would be the sum of all the scores each player earned on a specific level. The level would be an endless mode styled level, with each wave getting harder and harder. The winning club would be the one with a higher Club Score. Then all players in the winning club can collect a specific reward.
I feel like games are too short right now, especially in the arena. In Silver Donut, I was playing 5 games in 8 minutes. It was extremely repetitive. With longer games, and stronger final waves, more strategy would be involved, and players wouldn't have to play the same game 100 times over, since each game takes longer, meaning everyone would end up playing fewer games.
Also, I'm not going to lie... the game is not in a good place when one can complete the whole tower in 1 week. This is mostly due to 3 things that should be addressed.
STALLING. Just don't kill the last zombie in Stage 1. Keep it eating something like a Wallnut. Meanwhile you can fill the board with plants. Address this by cutting off the production of sun 45 seconds after you are down to 1 zombie.
RESTARTING. If you restart your game in the middle of a tower level, you restart the level for free. Address this by causing a life to be lost if you restart the game mid-level.
POTATO MINE. Makes too many mines with PF. Make its PF upgrades sometimes increase damage of the spawned mines.
Plants & Zombies & Buildings
There's a mechanism in place that makes freeze/chill/push/stun plants obsolete. When the zombie level is 4 or more levels above the plant, the freeze/chill/push/stun part of the plant is severely reduced. For example, if you give PF to a level 10 Wallnut, a level 16 zombie gets pushed like 1/2 a title, instead of 4 tiles. This is a great way to trick players (you see one description and another thing happens), and it's also a great way to all at once ruin Pushywillow, Chard, Buttercup, Snowpea, Kalestorm, Kernel Pult, Butternut Squash, and Ragweed, as well as a bunch of PF&Taco abilities. The only way to use any of these plants throw all our coins at seeds for one of these plants, which is the exact opposite of what you should be trying to encourage. Please get rid of this absolutely terrible mechanism and make these plants useful!
Starfruit is pathetic. Zombies are barely ever in it's range. Maybe a zombie is in its range for 5 seconds and then it's not any more! Either double the damage of Starfruit or make it cost 3 sun.
Gravitree has potential but again, its range is too small. You can't protect it with Wallnut because if you do, its apples don't go far enough to do damage. Double its health to compensate. I'd also suggest that it can hold 3 apples in orbit after growing once, and 5 after growing to full size.
Gloom shroom has the same problem as Gravitree. Change the length of its range in its lane to that of Bonk Choy's
Why does a tacoed Bonk Choy's uppercut not create a fireball?
Lighting Reed is truly pathetic. It basically just tickles zombies, and it's expensive tickling with a cost of 6 sun! Either double its damage or make it cost 3.
Blockbuster also just tickles. It needs to get double damage.
Chomper should do the same damage as Squash.
Lemon-Aid is a good plant, but 3% extra speed per upgrade is just not enough. 5% would be fair.
Wall-nut's extra health from its Taco-Ability does not scale with Wall-nut's overall level, quickly making the extra health obsolete. Garlic has the same issue, and maybe Dogwood, but it might just be visual for Dogwood. I think I remember Kernel Corn also having this problem (the plant is not in this version.)
What does Nightcap's Taco Ability do?? I don't see anything happen even though the shadow barrier is supposed to be 100%.
Caramel Popcorn should cost the same as Kernel Pult.
Peashooter... I know it's a basic plant, but why is it always so weak in every game? I propose a radical ability. You know how common plants start at lvl1, rares at lvl 3, etc? Well Peashooter's base level could be the level of the lowest leveled common plant (other than Peashooter itself.) For example, say that all my common plants, other than Peashooter, are at least level 3. Then my Peashooter would automatically have a base level of 3. Say I then upgrade Peashooter twice. It would then become lvl 5. But now say I upgrade all the other common plants, so that every other common plant is at least lvl4. Then Peashooter's level would automatically be increased to 6! This would encourage people to upgrade a variety of plants.
Fairy Ring Mushroom is too strong. It also is too similar to Gloom Shroom. It would be fair to make it only be able to attack in the rows above and below it (and in particular, not on its row).
Kalestorm is too weak because you can only play 1. I suggest that it should throw snowballs down 3 adjacent lanes, but only 1 snowball per lane.
Blackberry is not in this version, but I remember it needing a serious buff due to it attacking zombies at the back while being eaten. Increase its base damage by 50%.
Dog walker should interact with Dogwood somehow! I suggest the 2 dogs just start barking at each other... in particular, Dog walker should stop advancing when it hears Dogwood's bark.
In terms of overpowered zombies, I'm looking at Jetpack and Drone. Levels with these guys are just way harder than other levels. This is in large part because of a lack of strong lobber plants early on. Move Melon to an earlier floor and decrease Jetpack and Drone's health by 20%.
Sunbather Zombie just doesn't absorb enough sun to be a problem. Either increase the rate of sun soaking by 30% or do something more radical... decrease the rate of sun soaking by 20% but make it so that you don't get the sun back once you destroy the sun absorber.
Pizza Delivery Zombie should not be able to throw pizzas over trees. Instead, it should attempt to throw pizzas at trees, but the trees should be immune to the pizzas. This would encourage people to use trees (Dogwood and Gravitree). Similarly, Plunger Zombie and Pitchfork Zombie should both attempt, and fail, to use their abillties on trees. Lastly, King of the Grill gargantuar should only be able to toss trees backwards one tile at a time.
Similar to Sunbather, Crossing Guard needs to use his ability 30% more often. I'd also like to see it be able to put multiple cones on one zombie.
Safe Cracker is not in this version, but it was too weak when it was around. Their health is just too low and Wall-nut destroys them. Increase their bite damage to that of Imp's.
Firewall zombie is weak. It could be the perfect opportunity to get people to use plants like piercing plants or plants that attack backwards. Make the firewall actually burn plants, doing massive damage, and increase its speed by 20-30% so it can actually reach your plants without getting, say, squashed. But make it extra susceptible to plants that bypass the firewall by cutting the health of the zombie coding the firewall in half.
As for buildings, Your House is extremely weak. Why would I spend 4k coins upping it from level 3 to 4 just for 1 more (usually common) seed per 1.5 hrs? To make matters worse, it is the only generator building which does not stack the resources it produces. Make the number of seeds it produces per hour double with each upgrade (lvl 1 should just give 1 seed), and make the resources stack before maxing out 9 hours later.
The Bank was nerfed crazily this update. Considering that all coin costs were reduced, it would be fine, but also the time before the resources max out and stop stacking was reduced to 4 hours. That is down from over 8 hours before. Let people have a proper night's sleep and increase the time before coins max out to 9 hours.
Last but not least in this section, here are some ideas for new plants, zombies, and buildings:
Double Mint: 9 cost Legendary shooter. Shoots 1 leaf every 2 seconds. Leaves have a base damage of 120 (so its base displayed damage per second is 60, the same as Fairy Ring.) Leaves can hit as many zombies as there are in the lane. When a leave hits a zombie, its damage doubles. For example if there are 3 zombies in Mint's lane, the first one would take 120 damage, the second 240, and the third would take 480. Mint's PF would be to send some number of needles down each lane, and the needles would come from both ends of the lawn and go both forward and backward. Mint's taco ability would be to increase the damage exponential rate, i.e. taco level 1 would make each leave triple its damage upon impact with a zombie, and taco level 2 would make the damage quadruple, etc.
Taco Tree: 7 cost Legendary tree. Its ability is best explained with an example. Say you have two lobbers in play, side by side. Then you can plant the tree on then, like you plant Cob Cannon over 2 kernel pults in PvZ1. Taco Tree would then give a taco to all lobbers. And if you planted it on 2 scrappers, it would taco all scrappers, etc.
We need more support plants, especially since they are really good at creating synergies, and synergies can really add strategy to the game. Here are some ideas.
Blooming Hearts: 4 cost Epic Support. Plant this on a plant. Each time that plant damages a zombie, the zombie takes 50% more damage. For example, if you buff a level 1 peashooter with Blooming Hearts, then a zombie would take 10,15,20... damage per pea. This works best with fast attacking plants.
Coffee Bean: 4 cost Epic Support. Plant this on a plant. Each time that plant destroys a zombie, Coffee Bean increases the speed of the next 3 attacks by that plant by 100%. Each upgrade to Coffee Bean increases the speed buff by 20% (so a level 9 bean would buff by 260%.)
Ra Zombie: Double the cost of all your plants. Base health: 40. The ability is not additive, e.g two Ras would not quadruple the cost of your plants. This would help discourage players from relying on a single, expensive plant, like melon.
Overstuffed Zombie: Heals itself to full and adds a base of 500 health every time it destroys a plant. Also doubles its bite damage. Base health: 1000. This is to discourage players from just spamming walls.
Hungry Zombie: When you play a Plantfood, it steals one of your Plantfoods. It will stick around and steal one of your PF even if the plant's PF ability destroys it, similar to how Shakespeare Zombie sticks around. Food once eaten is gone forever; it does not return your PF even when destroyed. This is to discourage players from just relying on Plantfood to complete most of a level (which was my tower strategy.)
Headless Zombie: When this reaches a plant, it puts that plant on its neck, and that plant starts attacking your plants, like in Zombotany from PvZ1. Base health: 190. You must do enough damage to destroy the plant on its neck before you can damage the zombie itself.
Pig Zombie: Eats all projectiles which would have damaged this by at least 10% of its original health. Instead of taking the damage, it heals itself by that much. Base health: 250. For example, if you shoot a 24 damage projectile at it, it would take the damage like any other zombie, but if you shot a 25 damage projectile at it, instead of losing 25 health, it would gain 25 health. This would encourage players not to spam their coins on upgrading a single, powerful plant, because high level plants would shoot high power projectiles.
Windmill: Building. Gives you a 1 time use Blover. Blover blows away all flying zombies, but also can now blow walking zombies backwards. Upgrades would increase the blow time.
Mine: Building. Gives you 2 gems per hour, which stacks for 9 hours. Upgrades increase the number of gems produced in the same way as BBQ Stand.
Mountain Peak: Building. Gives you an Ice Shroom, which freezes all zombies for a given, upgradeable amount of time.
Casino: Building. Gives you a specific, upgradeable chance of doubling a reward when you collect it.
Gym: Building. When you play a plant, this gives you a specific, upgradeable chance of having that plant recharge instantly.
Pricing & Levels & Seed Requirements
Plants that are unlocked later in the tower end up having a much lower level than those unlocked early. This encourages people to just ignore those later plants and use the earlier unlocked plants. Fix this by implementing a feature that is unlocked on floor 20. This feature allows future plants to instantly be leveled up to the average level of plants of that type. For example, if the average level of my common plants is 5, the next common plant I unlock will instantly be leveled up to 5. This feature also encourages players to level up plants that have a low level, because low level upgrades are cheap, and every upgrade increases the average by the same amount. Note that I am not saying to change the base level (the base level is level 1 for commons, level 3 for rares, etc), so to level that lvl 5 common plant to lvl 6, you would still need the normal number of seeds, 20, not 8.
After playing a breakout battle, you occasionally get a deal to spend gems for seeds. The price for 1 epic seed is 22 gems! That's way too much. Even 10 gems per seed is too much... for example, to get an epic plant from level 8 to 9, you need 20 seeds, which would cost 200 gems! Make it 6 gems per epic seed, or less.
The cost of refreshing a store deal with gems is too much. You could just wait 6 more hours, and then you would refresh the deals automatically, and you could watch 5 ads to refresh the deals 5 more times! Consider skeleton keys or gloves. There, you spend 20 gems, and you get the equivalent of 5 ads. So either keep the refresh cost at 25, but make it so that you can immediately watch 5 more deal refreshing ads afterwards, or cut the cost of a refresh to 5 gems.
Level 5 Taco Ability and PF Ability cost too much. It takes over 6 times as many coins to get from PF/Taco level 4 to 5 as level 3 to 4!
Store pinatas are waay too expensive! A silver pinata for 100 gems?? It's so easy to get those from The Star Tree! A silver pinata should cost 20-25 gems. Why is this fair? Well, consider that you can summon a breakout for 20 gems, and the seeds & coins earned from the breakouts are usually already more than a silver pinata! That is not even considering the stars earned, which will get you a Silver Pinata from The Star Tree! So clearly, summoning a breakout is a better deal even if the silver pinata costed 20 gems. Similarly, if you do the math, you will find that a Gold Pinata should cost about 60 gems, and a Turbo-Outrageous should cost about 250 gems.
If you add up the total number of seeds you need to get a common plant to level 20, you get 2845 seeds. For rares, it's 1345. For epics, it's 895. For legendaries, it's 670. So the ratio of common:rare:epic:legendary seed drop rate really should be about 12:6:4:3. Adjusting for the fact that there are only 2 legendary plants and slightly more common plants than others types, the ratio turns into 16:10:6:1. Right now, it's about 80:22:7:1. That means that commons and rares eventually completely outstrip the other types. In the beginning, the more exotic plants are higher leveled, since they start that way, so low level pinatas don't need to be changed. However, higher level pinatas should give seeds in a ratio more akin to 16:10:6:1.
Now, in the store, the price of seeds shouldn't depend on the number of plants of that type in the game, so the ratio should be the 12:6:4:3 ratio. According to this ratio, and other considerations such as the fact that it's too easy to level up common plants right now, I'll give you what I think would be a fair price of seeds from the store. The cost of each common seed in the store should be 30. Each rare should cost 65. Each epic should cost 90. And each legendary should cost 150.
Breakouts are a seriously dumb grind. You concede matches until your breakout strength is negative, and then you can just breeze through them with your eyes half closed. Here's a suggestion on how to make breakouts less boring.
Make the "base strength" of a breakout the same as your current team power. Then you can modify the strength by adding or subtracting 100 from the breakout strength. Whenever you add or subtract 100 strength from the breakout, you add or subtract 1 star from what you will earn once you beat the breakout. If you don't modify the strength at all, you will get 3 stars per win.
For example, say your team strength is 781, and say you increase the z strength 6 times. Then the breakout strength will be 1381, and if you manage to beat it, you will get 9 stars.
Currently, the events are too easy to complete and give too few rewards. Also, there are too few events, and the events are all too similar and not at all interesting to complete. Here are some suggestions for more interesting events.
This is one of my favorite ideas. I strongly recommend implementing "Plant Events." Each plant has its own 1 day long event where the following occurs:
A. When you select the plant to be in your team of 6 plants, it increases its level to 2 above that of your highest level plant that you did not select. This is perfect for encouraging people to leave behind their highest level plant and try out new plants.
B. Upgrading the plant and buying its seeds in the store will cost 20% less coins during the event. Nothing is like a sale in encouraging people to spend and try out the plant!
C. Every store refresh will have that plant for sale, so if people want to spend and try out the plant, they can!
We could also have "Building Events." Each building could have its own event where it doubles its abilities for a day.
Quests don't currently exist in the game, but I think they would be perfect for encouraging diversity! We could have a 10 part "quest" for each plant, like PvZH has for each hero. The quests would grant rewards for getting a plant to a certain level, or using the plant in a certain way. For example, for Aloe, there would be "The Aloe Quest." Part 1 could be "Unlock Aloe. Reward: 200 coins + 10 gems." Part 2 could be "Level Aloe to 8. Reward: 1k coins + 30 gems." Part 3 could be "Plant 10 Aloes beside Puff Shrooms. Reward: 10 Aloe Seeds +10 gems." Part 4 could be "Level Aloe to 11. Reward: 2k coins + 20 gems." Part 5 could be "Plant 20 Aloes beside Buttercups. Reward: 20 Aloe seeds + 20 gems." Part 6 could be "Buy 50 aloe seeds from the shop. Reward: 80 gems." Part 7 could be "Level Aloe to 14. Reward: Gold Pinata + 40 gems." Part 8 could be "Chill 100 zombies with Aloe's Taco Ability. Reward: 50 Aloe Seeds." Part 9 could be "Level Aloe to 17. Reward: Spectacular Pinata + 50 gems." Part 10 could be "Level Aloe to 20. Reward: Turbo-Outrageous Pinata + 3k coins + 50 gems."
It would also be cool if we could have quests that keep track of, and give rewards for, the total number of trophies we have earned, the total number of points we have scored, the total number of stars we have collected, the total number of gems&coins&flasks&sauce we have earned.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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