As the title indicates, these are some things I’ve learned in the 2 1/2 years I’ve been playing. Understanding them before you spend your hard earned money may help save you a lot of frustration. I’m not saying don’t spend, but understand what you’re doing.
TL:DR If you choose to spend, you are buying entertainment. Not gems, not heroes, not anything tangible. Is spending going to increase your enjoyment or your frustration?
Here we go:
- This game is designed to convince you to spend money. That’s how the developers get paid. There’s a whole field of marketing focused on the psychology of spending. Even if you’re dedicated F2P, the bells and whistles, the ads, the special deals are all designed to persuade you to change your mind.
- The odds of pulling any specific hero are really small. The odds of pulling a given rarity are posted in each portal, by hitting the ? on the portal. Those percentages are divided among all heroes of that rarity. There is NO GUARANTEE that you’ll pull a specific hero in 10, 30, 100, 1000 or more pulls. You might get them on the first pull. You might pull 1000+ times and not get that one elusive hero. That doesn’t mean summons are rigged. It means you gambled and lost.
- The odds in the loot box deals in the shop are even worse. When it says “get at least 2 of…” you are going to get farmable items almost all the time. The only sure purchases from the shop are the ones that say “get all of the following” For example, Ascension Pack is a “get at least 2 of…” type deal. You’re going to get a whole lot more tall boots and scabbards than you are compasses and gloves. Might of Fire is a “get all” deal. You will get 4 EHT, 3 specific 3* heroes, specific troops, etc.
- RNG. This game lives and dies by it. Summons are random. Training camp output (which hero) is random. Loot rolls are random. Boards (both starting and tile fills) are random. RNG is, by its very nature, streaky and frustrating. You might go six months without a 5* from TC20, then pull 3 in a row. You might get 8 blue titans in a row. My alliance just did that this month. It may feel like RNG hates you sometimes, but it is part of the game.
- Confirmation bias is real. It’s human nature to remember things that are outside the typical pattern much more that we remember things that fit the pattern. It is also human nature to remember things that bother us more than we remember things that please us. That’s an old survival instinct coming out. If it hurts, we remember not to do it again. The blue titan streak I mentioned above is a perfect example. Without checking any records, most players could not tell you the last 8 color titans they faced. I know I couldn’t. But I remember the streak of 8 blues in a row, precisely because it was unusual. Same with boards. We don’t remember the boards where the tile distribution was in typical ranges. They don’t stick out. We remember the boards where every move caused massive cascades, or the ones that had a disproportionate number of tiles in one color, precisely because they were unusual. With the streaky nature of RNG, that means what we tend to notice are the streaks of really bad luck, and to a lesser degree, really good luck. We don’t tend to notice the periods of average luck in between the streaks.
- RNG, for all the frustrations it causes, is the one thing that keeps this game from becoming exclusively Pay to Win. You can pay to speed up progress by buying energy refills, food/iron refills, building upgrades, and ascension item deals. You can pay for extra summons to increase your likelihood of landing more powerful heroes or troops. But due to RNG, you can also land limited edition heroes (HotM, Atlantis, Valhalla, and Event heroes) from lucky pulls with gems or tokens earned through gameplay. You have the exact same odds of landing a particular hero on a single pull whether that pull comes from gems you bought or a token you earned through gameplay.
- I think this is the most important point to know before you decide to spend. This game is a marathon, not a sprint. You can buy tons of summons and have a 5* rainbow team at level 1 if you have an unlimited budget. However, you still need to grind to level those heroes up, and that takes time. There is no way to get around the grind. If you do get that 5* rainbow at low levels, it’s going to take you forever to level them up enough to be useful. They’re going to eat every bit of your resources, which will slow leveling up your base. You’ll hit the mat wall at 2/60, and they probably won’t be strong enough to complete the quests to get the ascension materials to get past that wall, and you won’t be able to stack colors because all your resources went into those 5 heroes. In addition, you won’t have developed any skill for hero selection, because you won’t have any other heroes to choose from, because all your resources went into leveling the first 5.
That’s when the frustration will set in. You’ll feel like the game is rigged, or conspiring against you, when in reality, it’s just a question of how it’s designed.
If you track ascension item drops compared with hero progression, this game is designed so that ascension materials keep up with hero acquisition rates for a Free to Play or Very Cheap to Play account. You work on 3* heroes first, since you can sometimes get them from the free daily summons. They’re strong enough to complete the quests that will get you compasses, gloves, etc. While doing that, you build your base and level up your TC to produce 4* heroes. Then you work on those 4* heroes. By the time you have gotten them, either from your TC or token pulls, you will likely have the ascension materials to max them. Then repeat the process for TC20 and 5* heroes. By the time your 5* heroes are ready for last ascension, you should have the materials to ascend them, and the playing experience to use them effectively.