I started playing Empires in Puzzles in late 2017. In August of that year I took my last steps, as an SCI (spinal cord injury) had robbed me of my ability to walk. It cost me my career, many friends, my social life, and my health, both physical and mental.
One of the things that come with that was pretty crushing anxiety. The only real way to combat that was to keep my mind busy, even with trivial tasks, like matching colored gems. So I found a game that combined my love for fantasy, and my need for routine, and found E&P struck the perfect mixture.
I started out as F2P. I’d never spent money on a mobile game, outside of Pokémon Go, which was my game of choice until I couldn’t walk. I had always justified spending there because it legitimately kept me active, and I always felt like I got return on my investment.
After a few months, and being a bit competitive, I decided I would start spending small amounts. It was $2 here, and maybe $5 there, until I eventually talked myself into a monthly budget as a higher end C2P player. Luckily I don’t have an addictive personality, because I could see how easy it could be to run yourself into thousands of dollars in debt chasing a hero. (I admittedly chased ONE hero in my 3+ years, that being Seshat, and it was around 100 pulls.)
Over the last year the game has pushed further the divide between players who spend, and those who don’t. They’ve made it where in order to compete at a higher level, you don’t just want to have newer heroes, but you NEED newer heroes.
Emblems widened the gap.
HotM power creep widened it more.
S3, new event heroes, new events, all widened the gap.
Costumes were supposed to be an equalizer, but instead of making them easier to come by, they made them another cash grab. I even made suggestions on how they could make costumes easier for F2P, while keeping it worthwhile for players to spend still, but even in beta we got zero feedback on our ideas and our opinions oftentimes seemed irrelevant.
The wearing of the last year on me, between covid, a few personal issues, and the direction of the game, led me to take a vacation right before Christmas. My goal was to log in once a day, do all my tasks, and move on.
Every day become every other day, and then suddenly 3-4 days, and then finally a week.
Then, all the news dropped of costumes for characters already op, more events to spend on, a new season of heroes with a further ridiculous power creep, and I must finally say enough is enough.
I have moved on from feeling like I’m losing an investment by walking away. Seeing the way that the player base is treated, and hearing way too many horror stories, I have no desire to try and rekindle my love for the game.
So, with that I say goodbye. My leaving won’t make a difference to SG, or their bottom line, but it does to me.