I think I am just going to start this article off by saying one thing, which is ‘Wow this is going to be fun’! That pretty much sums up my reaction when Small Giant Games (SG) asked me if I would participate in a video chat where myself and a few other players would get the opportunity to ask questions and chat with Tim, SG’s Lead Designer, on behalf of the Empires & Puzzles game community. And I was absolutely right. The call included SG’s Petri and RubiKinga, SG’s Community Managers, myself, Rook, and Talisax. Unfortunately life, and a large difference in timezones kept the other players invited from being able to participate, though they still had input in what questions we asked during the call. Questions were collected from hot forum topics, our alliances, community Line chats, and our own experiences.
We sent in our list of questions, hoping that some of them would have answers that SG would be willing to give. I was impressed that Tim gamely took them all on, and stayed a bit late on the call to finish! I am going to make one quick word here. Please be careful when repeating this information. Some of the things are definitely happening, some are being looked at to happen next year, and some things were touched on but might never happen . I’ll try to be as clear as I can which category each response falls into. Another player, @Heidi has thoughtfully translated this post into Spanish/Español. Without further ado, here’s what we learned!
Alliance Wars. Any tidbits for details or timing?
SG is really pushing to get this feature out. That being said, we’re still looking at a little bit of a wait. Tim mentioned that beta testing this feature is still a month or two out, and then time to actual release of Alliance Wars will partially depend on how that testing goes.
As far as detail about the event itself, that’s being left to our imaginations for now. I suppose I should mention that it gave me great pleasure to watch Tim talking about alliance wars. He showed a lot of passion and excitement about the upcoming Alliance Wars, saying it was going to be ‘great fun’. And at one point discussing this topic he actually did lean back and tap his fingers together as an evil genius might…
We were told that Alliance Wars will be another way for players to collect ascension materials. A tidbit dropped at this time was that SG’s general plan is to increase opportunities for us to get ascension mats from large features that will be added as the game grows. Giving us more access to these items is actually one reason why SG is putting so much of their resources into this one feature! Also, we were told that the feature is something that can be expanded on in the future.
So until Alliance Wars is into beta, or even close to release, there won’t be much planning/work on other features. Tim did say that they are still doing their best to implement some of the smaller improvements and player requests while work is going on for Alliance Wars (thank you SG!), and a new challenge event should come in December or January. So if you notice that there isn’t much definite talk on what is coming after alliance wars, it’s because very little is 100% set right now. For example, Season 2 could come next, with some higher level player content included, or the focus could be on higher level player content for a bit before working on more levels. For that we’ll just have to stay tuned!
When will season 2 start? What kind of plans are there to keep the high level players engaged?
As mentioned above, season 2 is one option for something to come after alliance wars, with the possibility of including some things for higher level content. However, season 2 might not cover everything high level players want, so that will be a consideration for what actually gets developed next.
Actual ideas for possible new content include, but aren’t limited to, new advanced buildings, quests just for higher level players, or grow our heroes in some new way…
Heroes of the month. Are they one time only exclusives, or will there be some chance to get them in the future? (and what would this look like?)
The plan was never to keep them locked forever. The hope was to have something around Christmas that would allow people to get a new chance at them. However with the current focus on Alliance Wars, this will instead be something to look forward to sometime in the New Year. Tim did mention that the old heroes of the month aren’t likely to be returning in the regular HotM rotation.
Will more avatars be available in the future?
Well, now we know to thank one unnamed SG employee for the new avatars that people are winning in the special events. Apparently he likes to collect avatars in other games, and really pushed for that in Empires & Puzzles. At the moment it’s just rewards for winning the events, but apparently this was a good test, and hopefully it is something that can be expanded on in the future.
Note, at this time the plan is to have five different special events that rotate in some fashion, and each would have custom avatars that can be won. If you want a sneak peek at the artwork for the next new event, check out the forum in the News & Updates category! The new event, currently being called Knights of the Round, is hoped to be released in December or January.
Are more features going to be added to the game for chatting / friends lists?
The answer here is that bigger chat expansions aren’t high on the priority list for possible development right now, and in fact it might be some time before they look at the feasibility of new chat options. It’s always a struggle to plan what gets worked on next. New features, new content, what would best enhance the game at this time? ** Some of the smaller requests from the community for things like alliance chat they’ll try to squeeze in though! **
What the heck is that Dragon Scale for?!?
Me being the information gatherer that I am, I had to ask this question! (I’m laughing a little at myself for this.) There are two items no longer obtainable in the game, Dragon Scale and a Set of Maps. Once there’s more things to do in the game with the heroes, there will be more items in the game as well. These items will have a use someday though.
Regarding the request to be able to battle alliance members for no energy or prizes:
SG recognizes that this is a popular request, and it is something that they recognize would be fun and useful, and is honestly something that that they have been discussing as well. However it’s not as high on the priority list. Alliance Wars, and raiding are more of a priority at the moment. It’s something that could be looked at in the coming year.
!Raiding! I was not expecting this, but apparently there’s plans for an upgrade/refresh for raiding that will hopefully come sometime in the next couple months. The biggest tidbits here are that there will be better rewards for being higher on the leaderboard, and the addition of crafting materials and consumables as rewards. This might not come in the next update, but is likely for the one after.
Some form of time reduction for builds - a second builder, or maybe time tokens?
As some will remember, shortly after the game was released globally there was a second builder available in the game, but only to Android users, due to reasons outside of SG’s control. Out of fairness to Apple users the feature was removed from the game. They are hoping that this is something that they can get back in the game in some form sooner rather then later, but there’s really no set time frame for this (a nebulous possibly of 1-3 months was mentioned). Tim did mention that the idea of time tokens was tempting, and is something that they could look at in the coming year. He was clear that there is no promise that time tokens are going to come to the game though.
What of the possibility to trade/donate within our alliances?
This is probably one of the most asked for feature to have added to the game. What Tim said on this is that there will probably never be one to one trading in the game, and doesn’t really want a WoW type trading house either. He would personally like to have someplace, possibly an advanced building, that would allow people to donate surplus items that would allow another member to get something nice.
There was no mention of timeline for this to be looked at, though around this time Tim did talk about how there are so many smart ideas from the community, and other things they see that the SG team thinks would be a great addition to their own game. It’s just…how to do they get all these great things out with his team of 20? (At the end of our conversation I did confirm that the team of 20 refers to all the people that work for Small Giant. This would include coders, artists, support, and community managers. But the team has already grown and is continuing to do so!)
More ascension materials please!
Rest easy friends, more ascension materials are coming! SG does want us to have more chances at ascension materials, but also doesn’t want to undermine the work players have already done by flooding the game with ascension items. Their long term plan has always been that when new features are added (eg. monthly events, Alliance Wars), that they would give new chances to attain these much sought after items. The tricky thing is that these newer features do take considerable time to develop!
What are the drop rates for Training Camp 20?
Well, we still don’t have the numbers, and none of us thought to ask why at the time. They did say that they wanted to make sure that once players got to this point that they would have higher chances at getting better heroes. But since we aren’t at the end of the game, they aren’t making the 5* heroes highly available. We did learn that the drop rates for the 4* heroes is quite a bit better at camp 20 then at 13, and that it is quite a bit higher than when summoning. There’s a thread on the forum where Talisax is collecting data on this, and you can check it out for some rough estimates!
Many are wondering, what is the damage formula!
Well, the damage formula isn’t a secret per say, but it’s a lot more complex than it seems, because it has to fulfill so many requirements. Apparently a mathematician had a hand in building it. Again this has a discussion on the forum, if you’re wondering what players have come up with. I think we have got it right as a basic idea, we’re just missing the exact factor for probabilities and other nuances.
Does speed of kill affect the amount of points awarded for the titan score, or what titan spawns next?
What is the formula for the degradation of the titan score?
The titan score portion of the alliance points is reduced a small % as a function of time. Because it is a % and not a hard number, this will affect larger scores more.
Will there be a fix to counter the recent reduction of crafting items and other consumables?
So some background for those not reading the forum, or at least this particular thread. One of the players, Revelate, has done a lot of work gathering data on the loot received on different levels. (He’s looking at large samples, not individual results.) He reported some time ago that he noticed about a 10% drop in items received from completing level 8-7 in the game. The community response has been a concern for having enough materials to create feeder heroes for levelling, and to create items for titan battles. As a result of the reduced time for regeneration of alliance flags (this was a player requested tweak), and the subsequent increase in titan health, we are using more forged items on each titan.
The short answer for the rather long question that we submitted, is that SG never intended for us to be short these materials. Tim said that the reduction occurred with some of the bug fixes, and other cleanup in the programming. They do want to get back in line with the amount of crafting materials and consumables needed. There’s the upcoming update with crafting materials and consumables being received as loot from raids, and possibly some tweaks to the loot tables to complete balancing this out again.
And that’s it! Lots of great little tidbits for what’s coming and what’s being considered for this awesome game as it continues to grow! A big thank you to Tim, RubiKinga, and Petri for the information and this opportunity to chat. Small Giant is a small, but growing team, so I know that some of these new things will take time…but all I can think is ‘WOW! This is going to be FUN!
A quick public service announcement, as it is something that comes up often - connecting to Facebook doesn’t save your game, only saving to Game Center (iOS) or Google Play (Android) will keep your game progress. However, having your account connected to facebook is extremely helpful if you ever need to have your account recovered, or you wish to switch game platforms.
If you want to be kept up to date on what’s being considered as additions to the game, keep an eye on this thread in the forum.!