Q&A with Rawson Stovall (3)

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Not long after PGA TOUR was first released and players started hitting level 8, there was some cries from level 7 and under players for The Rocket to be banned because it gave those who unlocked it a huge, unfair advantage. Now there’s semi-regular complaints on social media about Magnesis being a “cheater’s club” that Concrete should remove from the game. What would you say to golf purists who argue that there are some totally unrealistic clubs that shouldn’t be in the game?

I’m not totally against banning Magnesis but at the same time I’m not a huge fan of reducing the power of some clubs – it can be a huge negative for some players. But we can limit its impact through some future features such as level-gating tournaments, where, say, there’s a tournament but only for Level 9 players, or only for Level 6 & 7 players. We might also have tournaments that require specific clubs or disallow specific clubs.

One of the great, recent updates to PGA TOUR was the addition of multiple active tournaments. Following up on my previous question, it appears that most tournaments are being dominated by the same 30 or 40 level 9 players. Many level 8 and below players say they can’t possibly compete with the advantage that Magensis gives the level 9 guys, so they don’t even bother playing the tournaments. Could you see an update on the horizon where only same-level players compete against each other in tournament groups? The new tournament setup makes getting 50 clubhouse points so quick and easy now. It’s a shame that such a large percentage of players aren’t taking advantage of it.

All of the backend work to have concurrent tournaments and making that tournament page was a huge effort. And we didn’t do it just to have more tournaments… We want more variety and different modes and things like the previously-mentioned level-based tournaments and newbie and expert tournaments and club brand tournaments and specific club tournaments — and all of this is one area where we are currently doing work! This stuff will start rolling out pretty soon.

Are there any future clubhouse improvements in the works that you can talk about?  Could we maybe see a ranking system that shows the top 20 clubs based on their total clubhouse points? Or – and I’m not sure exactly how this would be done – a way one clubhouse could challenge or compete against another?

Nothing that I can talk about at the moment, but I will say that I feel that Clubhouses really make the game special and give it a sense of community. You know, during pre-launch doing Clubhouses was risky – it required a TON of effort to pull off and we believed it would be important to players, but we didn’t really know. One of the top suggestions we get is Clubhouse vs Clubhouse features. (But we have to flesh out the Tournaments first.) I’d love to hear people’s suggestions!

People seem to get really attached to their favorite clubs in the game and just sort of mix and match them in all their bags. Are there any clubs that you think are underrated and under-used by the player community? Or maybe the club’s true potential, with the right boost combination, has yet to be discovered?

Cody is our club master. And so I asked him. He says that if you’re building around the club, then the new Neon Impulse would be his recommendation as it is the best wood (besides The Rocket, that is) in the game for newer players. He adds that if you can master the Power Shot ability (increasing control as much as you can) you can really get a lot of distance that others simply can’t do.

A few updates ago, there was some minor stat boosts made on a few clubs and there was a vague mention in the patch notes that other stat changes could be made in the future. Do you think there’s a possibility that some higher level clubs could be subjected to nerfs?  Does Concrete feel that any clubs are overpowered?

I think some amount of re-balancing is necessary. However, we have to be very cautious about nerfing. I would rather improve other clubs, introduce new clubs, and minimize the impact of those certain clubs without too much nerfing by having tournaments and events built around level gating, set club bags, or brand bags.

Getting into game mechanics a bit: sometimes a shot with backspin will roll backwards 3 feet, other times 30 feet using the same club. Besides a club’s spin stat, are there other factors that control the amount of spin you’ll see on the ball?  Is there a way to manually crank up or down the amount of spin you get on a shot?

Ground spin is affected by the the spin stat of the club (high stat = more spin), the type of the club (wedges add more spin than drivers), the angle of landing (shallower angle will make forward momentum have a greater affect on the ball’s resulting movement), and where the ball was touched during aiming. For instance, the closer to the edge, the more spin that will be added. This also affects the speed of the blue arrows in the ground reticle, while aiming. Additionally, there is also the amount of pull back when aiming — the closer the ball is to the bottom of the screen, the more spin it will have.

Clubs & spin, in order of most spin potential to least spin potential:

  • Wedge (the most spin potential)

  • Iron

  • Hybrid

  • Wood 

  • Driver

  • Putter (the least spin potential)

Why do updates hit the App Store and Play Store as rollouts over a period of days that most of us end up manually downloading, rather than forced updates that everyone gets at the same time?  Could you maybe send out a push notification to players that a new update has been released as a workaround?

We do this for risk management and is super common in the industry. You know, there’s almost never an issue with LASIK surgery and yet they never do both eyes at the same time. Just in case. 

Worldwide there are tens of thousands of different device configurations and we use dozens of different services and SDKs. While we have a ton of testing, you can’t test everything. So, we do the rollout as a safety measure. That way, if there’s any issue it will only affect ~1% of players vs, say, all of them. 

We try to release on Sunday evenings — that way we have feedback on Monday morning and can start increasing the rollout if things look good. 

We almost always release both at the same time but the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store operate differently. For instance, Google doesn’t let you “force” the update by going directly to the page, but Apple does.

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