Well, the title looks like a clickbait… and maybe it is a bit. But the story is true - I spent 10 bucks and 8 days, and I really managed to get to the best content this game offers. Do not believe? Read on…
I started the game one week ago. From the very first moments, I knew it is exactly a game for me. I love match-3 games, I love combat games, I like nice and colorful graphics, and when I ignore kind of infantile story and dialogues, everything seemed to be put together with a great care.
However, I am also aware of the biggest issue of most free to play games - they have no climax, no end, no real goal. People rarely leave them satisfied. They usually leave bored, or even frustrated. In order to enjoy such a game, I have to set my own goal. After the second day in this game, I decided for me, it will be lvl 10 stronghold, as I guessed it will be about one week of my time.
And I must say, it was a nice and intense ride. I was optimizing my way through the game and synchronizing it with my real life: It feels great when you level up exactly at the moment when all your energies were empty, when there is a titan, both wanted quests are active, and at the same time, your kids are in school and your wife went shopping :). You all sure know it - but do you remember how it was when you could experience it several times a day? Plus the thrill of unlocking the unknown, fast progress, completing mission after mission, free gems everywhere, rewards everywhere… You do not care how small the chance of pulling a 5* event heroes is and how hard is to ascend them. You just got your first 3* one, and you are enjoying her brisk leveling and ascending.
I have spent $10. I always pay something in F2P games - I value work of the developers, and I want to pay for it; and the fun I had was more than worth the money. However, I didn’t want to pay more - not that I can’t afford it, but with each payment, a small bit of fun is sucked out of the game.
What do you pay for? Basically for faster progress. And the more you pay, the faster you leave the initial phases of the game - which are actually the most entertaining ones. They have to be, the devs need you to really start to love the game, and they put lots of effort to give you the smoothest and greatest experience they can. In my case, they sure succeeded - I enjoyed it a lot.
Seems level 10 stronghold as a goal was a good choice. In 8 days, I have seen almost everything this game offers. Progressed through most of the campaign, joined an alliance (and found a very friendly and entertaining company - hello my fellow players from “13 Doctor Who, Dr Jodie” :), we killed 8 titans and won 2 wars, I have found and ascended a 4* hero, enjoyed an event… And I swapped just the right amount of gems so it was still fun. There are players with better teams, there are players with weaker teams, and the app shows me just the right amount of both
Yes, if investing 20 or 50 times more time, I could get a bit more. Ten more provinces to conquer. A fifth star on the heroes. More of the same buildings. More nice pictures and perhaps few cool abilities that the less rare heroes do not have (I can see all that in the summon gate teasers, so no big surprise here :)). But generally - just the same stuff with higher numbers on it (and there would be still players with better teams and with weaker teams, just with different numbers :)).
All that would be more and more accompanied by tons of grinding and/or waiting and/or paying, in whatever ratio I choose. Would it be 20 or 50 times more fun than the great ride I just enjoyed? I doubt so. Actually, I am really sure the most entertaining part is behind me, and what’s ahead is just more of the same, but slower. And that’s the point of my post - the best stuff in the game are not heroes with high stats, it is the experience the game provides to the new players.
It is great, I even stayed a bit longer than planned, to try the troop leveling that just unlocked, to reach level 18 and to help my alliance with rare titan that just appeared. But now, it is really time to say good bye. I know I will miss the colorful feeling of the game for few days, but I also know it is needed.
Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining. I knew this is going to happen, planned that, and I really leave as a satisfied customer. Thank you, Small Giant, for very well spent time ($10 is not that great, but still decent LTV, right? )