Game Status?

Anyone playing this? Is it even released? I keep seeing an occasional tweet from them with a new feature, but it doesn’t seem to have reached version 1.0 yet …

It’s still in the beta phase, unfortunately. There are the regular updates like you sorta mentioned and they have been improving it gradually to the point where it feels mostly finished, but there’s still absolutely no news on when it’s actually releasing. The game is still pretty good, but that said, it isn’t the most active tbh. The discord isn’t really that lively and matches usually have bots. Tho that’s probably bc there’s not much incentive to play when there isn’t much progression outside of gear grinding and fresher/weaker geared players can get completely stomped by those that have grinded.

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Is it playable? I haven’t seen it anywhere to download it.

It’s not on the US App Store, at least. Maybe it’s on the Play Store for those on Android devices, though.

IMHO they didn’t really learn from their past mistakes and that game is kinda dead on arrival. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s really my honest opinion.

I believe the folks that ran marketing for VG are still with SEMC, which would explain the inscrutable approach to promoting Catalyst Black …

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Looks like it, yeah… quite sad, instead of letting devs quit when things didn’t look good after 5vs5 release, they should had optimized the marketing+monetisation teams. Because instead of the new system they came up with, they should had taken example from those who do it right - riot and PC league. Changing to that type of monetisation and keeping the experience premium was going to lead to a lot more income to the point that they didn’t have to do what they did (letting basically most of the devs behind VG leave, dropping entirely esports, stopping developing the game, giving it to another company, etc).

At the very least no matter how catalyst black turns out, it will not be even near what Vainglory achieved and was - as polished premium experience, revolutionary visuals for mobile, decent controls, unique MOBA single lane 3vs3 gameplay, great lore, esports before mobile gaming was a thing and so on.

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I’d have to agree on how I see the game turning out tbh. The game is fun in short bursts like intended, but it definitely doesn’t come close to VG at all. Whereas VG was rlly unique for mobile game/MOBA standards and was super memorable, CB feels a bit more like a run-of-the-mill mobile game, albeit with a lot of polish bc it’s SEMC.
At it’s current state, I don’t see CB doing too well. Marketing for now is still pretty much the bare minimum with stuff like content reveals on social media and not much else and a lot of the draw towards it seems to be aimed at people who have brand loyalty to VG/SEMC which isn’t exactly gonna be effective anymore. Monetization doesn’t seem too good in its current state either tbh. It’s mostly based around speeding up the process of acquiring and upgrading gear that’s otherwise extremely grindy f2p. It’ll more than likely make some money off whales, but with how super costly it is to get a full maxed build, I feel like it’ll probably push away more casual players that the game seems to be aimed at. I also feel like the inherent p2w nature of it is gonna push away casual players from even playing at all when they’ll just get completely stomped by a whale without even being able to stand a chance against them.

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Yeah, that type of monetisation classifies under the pay to win category. It’s not like WR for example, where you have equal playing field and pay for basically cosmetics. It’s even not that grindy to unlock heroes really as they give plenty blue notes.