"…he added: ‘Some people might consider this cruel, Mr. Wilkinson.’
‘Yes, sir, we asked him about that, sir, but he said no, it wasn’t. He said it provided-’ his forehead wrinkled ‘-occ-you-pay-shun-all ther-rap-py, healthy exercise, prevented moping and offered that greatest of all treasures which is Hope, sir.’
‘Hope,’ muttered Moist glumly.
I am grateful for the random nature of the match 3 combat mechanic in Puzzles & Empires.
In 44+ years on this planet, I have played a great many games. Some, like chess, are deterministic. If both players repeat a sequence of moves, they will obtain the same outcome. Sometimes, I like games like that, that are 100% strategy.
Most of the time, not so much, especially in the casual mobile game format that fills the little bits of my spare time. Some mobile games are very deterministic. In these games, the build META is often simple and obvious; and so if one follows that path, then play time in becomes the sole determining factor of character growth. When you fight another player in PvP, if they have been around longer than you have, you lose. Period. I dislike these games, and the P2W aspect of most of them only makes it worse.
But Empires & Puzzles is not like that, not entirely (I will ignore the whales here, as they break everything anyways). There are a great many low-frequency random occurrences that alter one’s progression as a player. Then, when “PvP” happens, the clash itself has a random element. I enjoy this because it offers that greatest of Treasures, Hope.
Some battles, and some players rosters, are far, far outside my ken. But many are just a little better than me. In a deterministic game, they would win every time, but the vagaries of The Board means that with moderate skill and luck, I can actually beat them, and collect a little loot for doing so. Whether it’s War, Tournaments, Raid, or whatever, I always have hope. Even when I’ve had a couple of Heroes eliminated, and it looks like I couldn’t possibly win, I rarely flee because I just might get that on-colour cascade and get the win anyways. I have Hope.
Now, hope is not expectation. I’m not crazy. I’m not disappointed when my little band of 4* at - 500 TP can’t pull out a win every time. But hope is a wonderful thing.
And I’m grateful for a little space to enjoy that Hope, in an uncertain time. Thanks, devs, designers, players, forum peeps, and all the other people that maintain all this infrastructure. You guys all make my day.