Is luck such a differentiating factor in this game? Feedback from 2 players after 5 months of play

Disclaimer: As I finish writing this post, I realize that it is muuuuuch longer than I thought it would be when I started, so for those who don’t feel like wasting their time reading the all thing:

TL;DR : A dude and his wife have been playing Empire and puzzles for five month under the same conditions. For some reason, they have the arrogance to think that their experience is worth reporting. So far, they are both rather happy with the game.

Hello everyone,

I’ve been lurking the forums for a while, and after reading the multiple threads/debates regarding 5*/4* stars heroes drop rates, ascension mats scarcity, RNG cruelty, the Luck factor, the pace of the progression for new players, and so on… I thought I could bring a somehow singular feedback by providing a side by side comparison between two accounts which present the particularity of being quite similar in almost every aspect.

I started playing E&P just before Christmas 2017 and my wife joined the fun just a few days later. Since then, we played at the same pace, with the same level of dedication, joined different but very similar alliances, fought the same level of titans and spent the same amount of money…

Since the beginning, we clear 2 monster chests a day. I took us a couple of weeks before really engaging in raids but since then we also clear on average 1 raid chest a day (both of us don’t speed up chests with gems). As for alliances, we waited something like 2 months before joining one: the time to assemble a team that wouldn’t get wiped out by a single titan hit and when we reached the point of the game where we needed non farmable ascension mats to improve our heroes.

For some reason we decided not to join the same alliance but it turned out that they were and still remain very similar: 15-20 members alliances struggling to recruit new members and with only a dozen members who are daily active. That is to say that we both end up fighting 5*/4* titans and we fill on average one titan chest a week (she defeated 78 titans, I did 77). Using all our hits every day we currently both rank A or A+ on every titan we fight and our loot tier is generally VII. As for wars, we didn’t keep track of all the results but there again I think that I can safely assert that the win/loose ratio is roughly the same between our two alliances (with more wins than losses).

We went strictly F2P for the first two months or so and, when we decided that this game gave us enough fun to be worth putting in some money, we made this rule between us of keeping the spending reasonable (for what is just a mobile phone game after all…), and strictly the same amount. So we end up spending 10 to 15 € per month on monthly VIP pass and on a couple of 1,09 € / 2,29 € offers for gems or 3* mats + gems.

This (I hope not too) long introduction was to underline the fact that, in the end, both our accounts offer pretty much the same characteristics.

So, after 5 months, this where we both are today:

1. Experience, building, map and raiding:

We are both at:

  • exp level 28

  • SH 18

  • 1 TC 18 and 2 TC 14

  • 4 mines at level 18

  • 8 farms (levels not exactly the same but between 15 to 17)

  • 1 barracks level 3

  • 2 forges (1 lvl 17 & 1 lvl 13)

  • 2 houses at level 13

  • neither of us finished the map yet : I’m at province 21 stage 1, she’s at province 19 stage 4 ;

  • we are currently both raiding mainly in platinum arena but we are in this area where we occasionally drop to gold due to night attacks ;

  • my highest titan damage: 57251 / hers: 53434

2. Heroes:

Neither of us did a x 10 pull yet, so all our heroes come from epic or elemental single pulls (sometimes, of course, we did 7 or 8 in a row) or from TC 13 (sorry but we didn’t keep track of the exact numbers of summons or TC13 trainings)

My current roster:

5* (1)
Purple: Aeron (1/1) (bonus pull)

4* (12)
Blue (2): Grimm (4/70), Boril (1/30), Boril (1/30)
Green (1): Caedmon (4/70)
Red (5): Boldtusk (4/42), G. Falcon (3/60), Gormek (1/14), Colen (1/7), G. Falcon (1/1)
Purple (2): Rigard (4/70), Sabina (3/19)
Yellow (2): G. Jackal (4/70), Li Xiu (3/60)

Fully ascended 3* (15)
Blue (3): Graymane, Karil, Ulmer
Green (3): Carver, Belith, Friar Tuck
Purple (3): Oberon, Tyrum, Balthazar
Red (4): Nashgar, Jahangir, Azar, Hawkmoon
Yellow (2): Bane, Bane

Hers:

5* (1)
Yellow: Delilah (3/1) (bonus pull)

4* (10)
Blue (2): Grimm (4/70), Sonia (3/60)
Green (0):
Red (5): Boldtusk (4/70), Scarlett (3/60), Colen (3/60), Kelile (2/7), Scarlett (1/1)
Purple (1): Cyprian (3/60)
Yellow (2): G. Jackal (4/70), Hu Tao (3/60)

Fully ascended 3* (15)
Blue (3): Graymane, Valen, Gunnar
Green (4): Isshtak, Brienne, Belith, Carver
Purple (4): Oberon, Prisca, Balthazar, Tyrum
Red (1): Hawkmoon, Nashgar
Yellow (2): Bane, Gan Ju

Regarding 4* troops, I have two (one blue, one purple) and so does she (1 red, 1 purple)

Some thoughts about our respective rosters:

  • raw figures may indicate that I’ve been luckier than she was on this area and in some way that is the case (I have 2 more 4* + I’m very close to a fully ascended rainbow 4* team when she failed to pull a single green 4* yet, and she’s saving mats in the hope for a better purple because lol… Cyprian) but I would like to point out the fact that she’s doing really fine with her current roster. In fact, she did better than me in the last event and she often struggles less than I do on the last levels of rare quests. For instance, in the last Frostmarch quest, despite my all 4* team, I had to “buy” my victory in the last level (with a 75 gems retry) when she finished it quite easily using Gunnar and his spirit link (+ 63% defense can be a tremendous help). It made me realize that a wisely used 3* can, in certain situations, be as, if not more, effective than a 4*, and therefore that this game is not just about accumulating powerful heroes but also knowing how/when to use them.

  • to contradict a bit my last sentence, we found that there were some “game changer” heroes that, once we get them, boosted our scores a lot: at 4* level, Boldtusk and Grimm, by providing the buff attack / debuff defense combo, were a great improvement in our teams (and there is of course Wu-Kong but neither of us pulled him yet)

  • as you can see, we are still very poor on 5* heroes but, for now, that doesn’t prevent us of enjoying the game. Our current goal is to reach TC 20 as soon as possible and we’ll rely on it, more than summons, to gradually improve our rosters.

3. Ascension materials:

I only have one month (we started tracking April 22th) of solid data to provide, but I think the side by side comparison still can be instructive. Here are the numbers:

My account:
image

image

Hers:
image

image

Obviously, she’s been the lucky one there, and we can only note that it was the number of elemental chests (3 vs 1) that made the difference in the final outcome.

Of course this isn’t enough data to be conclusive in any way but I have to say that seeing that we got 20+ mats in this first month of tracking was rather reassuring for our future ability to ascend our heroes. We’ll keep tracking and we’ll see if it was just a lucky month…

But in the other hand, I’d also like to point out the fact that, in five months of play, none of us has gotten a single tome of tactics.

So, to summarize: After 5 months, with the same amount of time, dedication and money spent, we are today more or less at the same point and our rosters are roughly equivalent in strength, at least in the sense that they allow us to reach the same kind of results when facing the same kind of adversity. In any case, there is not one of us who is far ahead of the other.

Can we draw the conclusion that we’ve been equally lucky, or that luck is just not that much of a factor? Maybe it is still too early to tell and we are curious to see how things will evolve in the next months.

To add some more feedback on this already too long post, some miscellaneous thoughts:

  • we had and still have a lot of fun playing this game and I might add that the fact of starting a precise tracking of our rosters’ improvements, ascension materials, etc. has been an addition to the fun in the sense that it introduced a bit of a competition between us ;

  • I wasn’t much into mobile games prior to start playing E&P and I don’t have a lot of elements of comparison but I think this is a great game overall: the combination of puzzles, farming, fighting, ascending, maps, raids, titans, wars… all of this provides a rich and enjoyable gaming experience ;

  • regarding our heroes, I really can’t tell if we’ve been more or less lucky than average after five month. All I can say is that, for now, we are quite happy with what we’ve got. Are we sometime envious about 5* heroes or past HOTM we do not have? Sure, but the current state of our rosters does not prevent us in any case of enjoying the game. We do not have the ambition to reach the top of the ranking; just keep playing, progressing and having fun;

  • that said, I totally understand that some players could feel very frustrated with the game: waiting for months for one last ascension material needed to ascend a hero, spending a lot of money in summons only to get multiple 3* duplicates… I agree that it can be very frustrating and ruin the fun. Maybe not EVERYTHING in this game has to be so scarce and random;

  • there are two things that I dislike and they are correlated : in my opinion the prices for gems are too high for the value they bring because the odds are too low. This is of course subjective but I personally find that paying the equivalent of 30€ for a x 10 pull and not getting anything valuable for it is a terrible risk / reward, especially considering that the marginal cost of these virtual cards and items is close to zero. But what keeps me the most from spending more on summons is the lack of transparency surrounding those odds. I don’t mind to gamble from time to time but at least let me know what the odds are.

  • Raids: it’s seems they’ve been the subject of a lot of controversy, especially since the release of 1.12. I don’t want to add on the debate about food/iron reward nerf, that have been already largely covered, but I want to say this: I really like raids, I personally think they are the most thrilling aspect of the game (my wife prefers Titan hits) but they are too often similar to a Sisyphus’ task and it is very annoying. For those who didn’t see it yet, I’d like to point out this thread. Trophies & Permanence - a rewarding PvP system with more depth and climb incentives idea (even without extra loot) It is a very well and deeply thought idea and I think its implementation could be a huge improvement for the game, I encourage everybody to vote for it.

  • Finally, we would like to thank the 7DD gang. These guys are sometimes unfairly criticized while they are not stingy with their time and energy providing so much helpful content to the community. It helped us a ton and made us avoid a lot of mistakes in the beginning. We particularly recommend watching Anchor’s videos and streams from which we learnt a lot.

That’s it. Thanks for reading

English is not my first language so I hope I have been able to express myself clearly enough and I apologize in advance for any gross mispelling

23 Likes

Fantastic case study @Octavius. Thanks for the effort in writing your post.

3 Likes

Nice to read an account like this, and I think you both are doing very well at 5 months. Fairly close to SH20, that took me somewhat longer, even using a VIP pass in the end… I think your strategy of focusing on getting to TC20 is also smart, I wish in hindsight I’d focused on that sooner. But I have no complaints, I’m happy where I am and the journey I’ve taken to get there. In more ways than one I think it has been similar to your experience.

Which brings me to this… I have never gotten a 5* from any summons, and got my first 5* only after 8 months of playing, and this was 3 weeks ago. It was from TC20; I’ve gotten a 2nd one since. While I felt a bit frustrated probably the several months prior to that every time I failed to get a 5* from the summons (especially as much as I wanted Delilah), what I have learned now is that getting a 5* too early is really not that much of a blessing. Until you have the capacity (the many rare ascension materials, and much hero fodder and food for leveling up) to ascend a 5* to its maximum level (or are reasonably close to it), a 4* will give you much more bang for your buck so to speak, and will take you further. I had 9 fully maxed 4* (and more not at max) when I got my first 5*, and those 4* guys have served very well and still are… they have on occasion gotten me the highest score on Titans and in wars, while there are some people with 5* and higher team power in my alliance, some by hundreds of points. I should note Wu Kong is one of my maxed 4*…

So basically I would say don’t be in too much of a hurry to chase the 5*… sounds like it may still be a tad early for you to get the max out of them, you do not have any Tome of Tactics yet for example. Assuming you’ll get to TC20 soon which it sounds like you are, I would maybe start with running 1, maybe 2 after a while. Incidentally TC20s also produce ~20% 4*, so that’s quite good also… but so leveling up everything that comes out of them will take a quite a lot, but that’s probably not a bad problem to have… :slight_smile:

Finally, as to whether luck is a big factor, despite the similar experience of you and your wife (a sample size of 2 is just not enough to draw any conclusions), I think that yes it can be a significant factor… we have some members in our alliance with alt accounts, and they are seeing meaningful differences. Yes that is still a very small sampling size, but only makes sense, with so much in this game based on RNG. Of course over time, differences should shrink to some extent. I think… :slight_smile:

Reading your entire post, not a single time did I get a clue that English wasn’t your native language. You speak it better than many who do speak it natively!

7 Likes

Thank you for the effort that you put into your case study. Though I skimmed it, I found it informative and I plan to return to glean some more information. And as for English being not your first language, your writing was excellent.

I can subscribe to your observations. I’ve basically ran my ship very similar to yours in my first 5 months. With quite similar results.

I think this game rewards small gradual spenders like us the best. If you spend nothing at all, things just go really, really slow. You’ll get there but ever so slowly. If you spend a lot early on, you end up with a great pool of 5* heroes which are all somewhat worthless because you can’t ascend them.

Luck is a huge factor on the micro scale of this game. But averaged out over months of gaming it does indeed even out somewhat. And then you hit those blocking points where 1 item will stop your progression stone cold and you’ll huff and puff at your lack of luck getting that 1 item.

You’re going to love your TC20’s once you’ve got them running. They’re the free/small spender player’s best friend. Give them time and feed them well and they will slowly but surely fill up your roster with additional depth. A Wu, extra 4* color hitters for the titan, the odd 5*. It’ll be slow, but it’ll still be perceptible progression.

Do consider aiming for obtaining titan loot tier IX or better, where the 3 ascension materials drop. This probably means you’ll have to find a stronger alliance. Hitting A/A+ all the time is a hallmark sign that the others are holding you back in titan killing potential. If you like the “strongest shoulders” role, then by all means wear your laurels proudly and stay though.

1 Like

Great write up - I hope many new players read this and understand that going it slowly can be very rewarding in this game.
So nice to read something that is not a whine about not getting (insert whatever here)… :slight_smile:

I recently started tracking my rare ascension items as well - which I strongly advise everyone to do - it is surprising how they add up at the end of the month. It could well put an end to much of the above mentioned whining…

Many thanks for this post! I hope to hear more about your progression in the future.
Happy hunting!

Thank you all for your kind words

Yes, this is probably gonna be our next move although I’m personnaly still a little uncomfortable with the idea of abandonning a sinking ship while our leader is spending a lot of energy trying to reboost our alliance. The wife doesn’t have that kind of moral dilemma since, in her alliance, the leadership seems to have given up…

What level of titans should we aim for loot tier IX ?

7* Titan level A gave me loot tier IX.

You get the first third ascension item roll at 6* for a A+ score. That’s probably beyond @Octavius 's grasp unless he lvls /uses flasks.

So the better bet would indeed be 7*, where the 1 A+ and the 5 A scorers get the third roll.

Of course for an 8* the B scorers get the third roll as well, but @Octavius would be hitting way above his weight there, probably not able yet to get over 3,3% of the titan’s damage (approx. 66k depending on titan).

Yep, an alliance that has 7* on farm would likely be the best bet. You’d be a good addition, given your room for growth. So finding one that’s active is a boon because you can stick around and grow with them to farm 8*'s or better.

I joined my current alliance when it was farming 6* and helped pushing them over the hill to farm 7* s, and now we’re actually almost there farming 8 * s.

The (perhaps surprising) thing here is that - while our heavyhitters do cause the most (and most reliable) damage - it’s actually the players with weaker teams that are growing stronger that is the main engine behind moving up titan tiers.

1 Like

Fascinating case study. And good to see that over the longer term, the behavior of the RNG gods does average out pretty well.

Titan loot tier is the titan *s with a bonus of 0-2 added depending upon your grade.

You get Tier IX with A+/6*, A/7*, B/8*, or C/9*

I’m assuming that you are talking total damage to a titan, not damage per hit, which I believe would make A+ on a 6* beyond your reach or your wife’s for now.

Shameless plug time: Our alliance, Paisley Power, is recruiting, we have two slots open as I type, and are killing 7* titans regularly, and have killed a couple 8s. (And we are still growing; we will be killing 8/9* titans next…) Either you, your wife, or both of you would be very welcome with us. Your shot at Tier IX loot would be improved. A lot.

No, i was actually talking about single hit scores. I don’t remember for my wife’s but mine was on a purple titan with the following lineup : Boldtusk - Grimm - G. Jackal - Li Xiu - Bane and, of course, a very good board.

With 5-6 hits I regularly do beetween 70k and 150k damages against 4/5* titans, depending of the color, and so does my wife (stacking strong color and with the combination of BT + Grimm + G. Jackal, we do particularly well on purple titans)

Thank you for this proposition. We might seriously consider it.

That’s good titan damage. If you can do that on our 7* / 8* titans you’d be getting A & B grades in our alliance. I suspect your damage will drop a bit against bigger titans, but like I said … you will be moving up at least a loot tier on average for sure. And we are still growing nicely. I figure in a month we’ll see a 9* titan, even if we have to let the first one go.

And more importantly, you won’t be grumpy about members not pulling their own weight hitting the titan. We don’t have that kind (except for the occasional real life issue that takes somebody from the game…)

Wow! In all my alliances I’ve never seen single hits higher than 36000. Especially taken in account that one of your heroes is 3*.

Well… it doesn’t happen everyday. But when you add the attack power of Jackal at 4/70 (765) + Li at 3/60 (511) + Bane at 3/50 (469) (total = 1745) with the - 54% against holy provided by Jackal, a nice cascade of yellow tiles can generate a huge amount of damage.

That’s the power of stacking strong colors that I discovered thanks to 7DD Anchor videos. I still struggle to convince some of my alliance’s mates to give it a try as some of them think that tripling the strong color is too much of a risk. Sure, you have 2 colors of tiles that don’t do any damage but if the board is favorable it is totaly worth it. Personally, using this “tactic” has allowed me to significantly improve my scores.

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Yes, I know about a stacking and use it for quite a time. But my highers damage is 34 900. And average against purple with Chao maxed, Justice 3/70 and Li Xiu 3/60 is 12 000 - 15 000.
I wish I had Wu Kong, but no luck so far. :slight_smile:

Oooooh, now I really want Jackal!!! I didn’t notice/understand what the -def to holy could do to a titan!

Gotta wait 'till Guardians come back again, probably July, since we get a brand new event in June. Purple titan with Delilah, Wu Kong and Jackal; that’s gonna be good if I manage to pull Jackal!

Jackal is very good. Glass cannon, but he’s in most teams I use, except for the reflect yellow Guardians event. I even had him, and Boldtusk, in the team when I went as far up the board as I could and got to 37th before being summarily kicked back out of the top 100 because my defense team doesn’t match my offense.

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