No spend trap OR past 5* HotM, small team, alliances and Valor points OR why SGG ignores most suggestions

Hero Academy v1.0, a Bad business decision?

Click for Hero Academy v2.0 rant

In my opinion, Hero Academy was a bad business move from a business analysis

using HA10 retraining 5* heroes, and spending resources, to change

5* Horghall ->> 5* Quintus ->> 5* Horghall or

5* duplicate->> 5* duplicate

is just bad business

It does not give you a small prize in return for your spent resources


3* / 4* / 5* heroes used for Hero XP, or 4* 3.60 heroes used to complete rare quests, or 5* Magni / 5* Vivica from Legendary recruit training ( RT20 ),

Alchemy Shards from spending 200 gems ( 2x attempts), and resources, to change 4* darts ->> 4* Tabards ->> 4* darts again or 4* extra ascension item ->> 4* extra ascension item in Alchemy Lab v2.0

HA10 retraining 5* just burns your resources

Lab v2.0 as a model

Alchemy Lab v2.0 is a great model for spend depth

The below suggestions are from a spend depth point of view. Not a player point of view

Color Classic 5* retraining

Alchemy Lab v2.0 is a great model for spend depth

= If you use every possible result except one ( example all 1* battle items except 1* mana potion 25% ) then that result is guaranteed ( result 1* mana potion 25% )

For Hero Academy have

a set of 5x recipes ( Color Classic 5* retraining ) were 3x Classic 5* heroes of the same color produce 3x Classic 5* heroes of the same color


3x Horghall

gives you

3x random green Classic 5* heroes ( that are not Horghall ) including a 5% chance per hero of a matching costume

Total 3x 5* in and total 3x 5* out

So using 3x unique Classic 5* heroes of the same color guarantees the missing Classic hero of that color



gives you

3x Lianna ( only non duplicate choice ) including a 5% chance per hero of a matching costume

Total 3x 5* in and total 3x 5* out

Color Classic 5* retraining only works with Classic 5* heroes

To use other 5* heroes, use HA10 retraining 5*, or below Advanced Color 5* retraining

Advanced Color 5* retraining

a set of 5x recipes ( Advanced Color 5* retraining ) were 4x unique 5* heroes of the same color guarantees a random limited availability hero and 3x Classic 5* heroes of the color STRONG against the ingredients


Ingredients ( all blue )


Ingredients ( all blue )
Perseus ( limited availability hero )

gives you ( all green which is strong against blue )

1x random green 5* limited availability hero and if available a 100% chance of a matching costume

3x random green Classic 5* heroes ( different color so no duplicates ) including a 5% chance per hero of a matching costume

Total 4x 5* in and total 4x 5* out but color change ( in example from blue to green )

This color change is cool, useful and solves the problem of no duplicates in the results while still returning 3x random Classic 5* heroes and still requiring 4x unique heroes be a matching color

While not technically illegal, this uses a variation of a banned gacha technique since players need sets of 4x same color, Classic 5* heroes to get a random matching color limited availability hero


Classic color 5* retraining will chain with Advanced Color 5* retraining since you can use Classic to get matching color, unique sets of 4 for use in Advanced

Duplicate 5*

This helps deal with complaints of Classic 5* heroes in every summons and duplicate Classic 5* heroes

This helps deal with complaints of unwanted duplicate 5* HotM ( looking at you triple Perseus )


This would add 10x recipes

All could unlock at Lv10, or they could be spread out

Academy Shards

Alchemy Lab v2.0 is a great model for spend depth

= Shards offer 6x random choices in 3 categories

For Hero Academy shards have

Ascension items

2x Academy shard choices of 3* / 4* Ascension items ( same as Lab v2.0 )

3x 3* Orb or 3x 3* Cape
3x 3* Orb or 1x 4* Darts


2x Academy shard choices of Classic 4* / 5* costumes and matching base heroe ( same odds for 4* versus 5* costume plus base hero as 3* versus 4* ascension items above )

3x 4* costume, and base, Rigard or 3x 4* costume, and base, Gormek

3x 4* costume, and base, Rigard or 1x 5* costume, and base, Magni

Like summons, heroes could temporarily exceed available hero slots if 3x 4* costume, and base hero, are selected by user

For maximum spend depth change it to ANY 4* costume, and ANY 5* costume, with matching heroes. Classic costumes 95% chance and Limited availability costumes would only have a 5% chance in this version

Summon currency

2x Academy shard choices of Summon currency ( all possible, including new summon currency as added to the game )

900x Atlantis coins or 900x Challenge coins

900x Underwild coins or 900x Challenge coins

6 choices

For a total of 6 choices when turning in 1000x Academy shards


Yes I am bored
Yes I am bored in Empires
Yes I am looking at jobs in the game industry and spend depth is a useful skill to master ( also practicing my forum skills, bug hunting skills, and customer/ Devs support skills )



Something like this would give me - as FTP - hope that I’m not about to hit a wall sometime in the next few months to a year. The main thing that keeps me going is leveling unique heroes. I feel like every hero can bring something, no matter how niche, to my roster. Presently, I have a relatively ready supply of blue and green projects. In yellow, I have to finish Devana and a Gan Ju costume. In red and purple, I have only to finish Kong and Obakan, respectively. I end up basing my very limited summons on what color project I need next as much as the quality of the hero I’m targeting. For example, I went like a mother after Russell, who looks good but not great, because I needed a red project. (This was before HA 10 delivered Kong.) And I didn’t get him.

I do have a decent cache of gems saved (5600+), a little bit of Google Play credit from surveys ($5 or so), and a few Underwild and challenge coins. I’ve usually been fortunate to land a few new projects each time I do a summoning binge, but what happens when I run out of projects in a couple of colors and I strike out on a big summon attempt, which is a likely outcome? Is the prospect of finishing my first Horghall and a weekly 5% chance of getting a hero or costume I (probably) don’t have from HA10 enough to keep me coming back? I doubt it.

In your example, the combination of a guaranteed way to get a non-S1 hero (Advanced color 5* retraining) and the possibility of landing four-star mats and/or useful costumes through Academy shards would likely be enough to ensure I always have something interesting to work on. I especially like the version that includes the possibility for non-S1 heroes and their costumes. It was a depressing week for me this week as the costume for Poseidon released. My long-time avatar and a fixture on my defense team for ages is now relegated to second-class status by the existence of a costume that I have no reasonable shot of getting, especially since Atlantis coins as loot are basically non-existent. This problem will only continue, as costumes for my most beloved heroes (looking at you, Onatel) are inevitable and look to only be available from the ToL with its abysmal odds.

I hope your ideas are not falling on deaf ears (blind eyes?) here on the forum. If Zynga is in this for the long haul, they need to retain the awesome player base they have now, including a few bones for us FTP folks. Otherwise, the whales have no one to beat up on.

Good to see you back around more, @Gryphonknight . I noticed you posted on the Trials of Piety threads, so it looks like you are playing again, too. This makes me happy. Keep dropping that sweet, sweet knowledge on us, my friend.



Doing some research on

Solo play,:white_check_mark:
Lab v2.0,:white_check_mark:
VF gnome,:white_check_mark:
Underwild gems versus Valhalla rocks,:white_check_mark:
New Challenge events,:white_check_mark:
Costume chamber,:white_check_mark:
War chest life hack,:x::black_square_button::black_square_button:

and some Seekrett Projekts ( which may or may pan out ):no_entry_sign::no_entry_sign::no_entry_sign:

Killing time

Basically killing time until I can afford a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X or a new laptop or my chronically ill friends can safely meet in person for table top board games and RPG s



Well, we all benefit from your boredom, I guess. :laughing: Brain exercise is a great way to spend one’s free time.

Oooh. I’m intrigued. Good luck.

Ms. Weasel and the Weaselettes got me a Nintendo Switch for my birthday back in July. Thoroughly enjoying that. Typically has more family-friendly fare for the little ones, and also has Skyrim and Civ VI. Hoping TES 6 and Civ VII will be available on the Switch when they release. If not, I shall console myself with the new Legend of Zelda game (if it ever comes out!) and the various Mario offerings.

I wish the best of health to you and your friends, and a renewed giant middle finger to COVID in all its forms.



Reminds me we have an old Nintendo Switch around somewhere

Stopped using it because of some motherboard flaw ( hack able USB port? )


Pokémon games cannot be backed up at all ( SD card, cloud, etc. ) because some users will hack back ups

I should find it and see if the problem was ever fixed

1 Like

Empire and Trading

Word of God

Devs original said trading was a huge challenge, but possible

This is likely connected to the emergency plan for a pity summons mechanism they had sketched out if 5* HotM did not work

Devs have backtracked and said, trade was never a real consideration, but now that costume 5* heroes are successful, trade is firmly in the Never happening category

Successful costumes for 5* hero also likely doomed any pity summons mechanism

Spend depth ( see notes )

Spend depth is not just about money but TIME and money ( grind, speed ups and loot boxes )

Grind for candy, stardust, 100% IV, shiny, exclusive moves, etc

Speed ups for the above

Raids, and eggs, as loot boxes

To preserve spend depth, PoGO trading is heavily restricted

Compared to the Main Series Game, PoGO significantly nerfed trading ( level reduction when trading to starting players, IV reroll, scaling stardust cost versus rarity for pokémon not in your inventory, limited special trades, maximum of 2x owners before locked )


Click for notes

pity summons mechanism

Spend depth

Choke points


Yet, ever since its release it was the single best feature the game has got. It completely reshaped the game to a point of “before” and “after”. I would know, I was using it so much to the point where I was the first player in the world to solo 5* Moltres, right before I left ~1 year ago. The only reason SGG don’t want a trade system is because they don’t want players like me (I was ftp in PoGo too) to have such accomplishments, to give grinding ftp players a competitive edge. In this game I know that no matter how hard I grind, a paying player that will grind as much will always be better than me. There’s no other reason than that, the spend depth wouldn’t be hurt otherwise Niantic of all things wouldn’t design a trade system in the first place.

1 Like

SG would care of F2Ps reaching the top only if it was bad for business¹.
While it could be, I stand by @Gryphonknight : they don’t implement trading because it reduces spend depth, just like more or less anything valuable is up to merciless RNG.

¹ while that fact being good or bad depends on the specific ecosystem, it is generally considered a good thing if [at least] every now and then David beats Goliath.
In E&P it’s still not very likely though :woman_shrugging:t3:

1 Like

Cake spend depth

Not my preferred solution

Original base had multiple copies of buildings so you could upgrade one camp while using another

2x to 3x Hero Academies would have been nice

Unfortunately SGG is trying to increase spend depth ( grind, speed ups, loot boxes, etc. ) so their team can stay ahead of the players while also having said players log in multiple times per day

It is like throwing a party, placing the cake in a time locked vending machine, and dispensing one bite every hour

So SGG killed multiple advanced training camp and gave us one Hero Academy

(🤦‍♀️ Oops mistake [Photo enlargement] Two new flagpoles on Advanced Training Camp- See Hero Academy - #2 by Gryphonknight)

Who says you cannot have your cake and it it too?


This is something I think gets missed too often. It’s frustrating for casual players and casual spenders, but with the amount of money that some people can - and apparently do - throw at this game, things have to be slowed down just to give the devs time to cook up new content.

1 Like

Boutique shop versus Ubiquitous manufacturer

I think you have chosen the wrong analysis

SGG is more like a Boutique motorcycle shop making one of a kind vehicles than a Ubiquitous motorcycle manufacturer making carbon copy scooters for millions of customers across the globe

F2P watch the shop’s 24/7 webcam

C2P buy T-shirts off the company website

But the deposit for the waiting list is more than a stand alone, family house in most countries [ see costume 5* HotM spend depth ( grind, speed ups, loot boxes, etc. ) ]

The shop will often use to raffle off the latest product ( looking at you Beta Beat )

Which is why SGG is trying to design costumes so one version ( base hero or costume ) is good on attack, and the other on defense, so you need to win the raffle, twice ( see below )


5* HotM spend depth is $ 3,972+ USD per year for 12x 5* 1.1 HotM, with special offers pricing the 3* / 4* ascension items at $1,200+ USD for 12x 5* 4.80 HotM

Total $5,172+ USD per year

Costume 5* HotM spend depth is $8,977.33+ USD to $26,932+ USD per year in Tavern ( Featured heroes 6x to 18x 5* 1.1 ), with special offers pricing the 3* / 4* ascension items at $600+ to $1,800+ USD for 6x to 18x 5* 4.80 HotM

Total $9,577.33+ to $28,731.99+ USD per year

If two copies of the hero are needed AND you missed the initial release month, that jumps to spend depth is $17,954.66+ USD to $53,864+ USD per year in Tavern ( Featured heroes 12x to 36x 5* 1.1 ), with special offers pricing the 3* / 4* ascension items at $1,200+ to $3,600+ USD for 12x to 36x 5* 4.80 HotM

Total $19,154.66+ to $57,463.98+ USD per year

This does not count emblems, and aethers

Last mentioned, they employ 60 people

No time

My spouse runs a sole proprietor, boutique yarn shop. Her advertising budget is zero. She has no time to run an advertising department if she had the money

My wife has made her shop expenses for 5 years now

SGG has no budget, or time, for content creators

Rumor from Beta is forum volunteers have always helped the content creators but SGG never had time, or budget

I expect Empires to be more profitable in the next 3 years


Spend depth

([Math, Transparency] 2021-Nov Black Friday summons spend depth and loot box unit pricing [ Gaillard, Peñolite, Balbar ])

Calendar offers



I see it a little more simply… either you are selling a product or a brand.

Because I can replace a product with another product… brands on the other hand is more about experience and relationship.

I understand the boutique shop concept… and the various manifestations of it,

But Look at Supreme, a cult brand with only a few shops and limited product drops a year … with a deep understanding of their consumers and ability to increase hype through consumer advocacy they built it into a billion dollar evaluation with only 8 physical stores and less than 60 employees. And they have NEVER taken out an Advertisement. They created a winning formula of releasing highly desirable limited edition products through understanding how to motivate brand advocacy and loyalty. They changed the fashion industry through their “drop model”… their connection to their audience is so strong lines would form to just purchase a crowbar or a brick. Which are just as useful as digital in game skins lol.

(But I don’t think a boutique shop comparison fits this conversation TBH. )

As for budget… I think they should be ok. LOL. Maybe they aren’t profitable yet, but I doubt they won’t have trouble finding the financial resources.

As for time, if a business can’t make the time to listen and engage their consumers… it’s just not going to go well in the long term.

Digital has amplified consumer power to grow a beloved brand (see right side of the bow tie)… and the business benefits from that side as consumers increasingly become advocates (bringing in new users.) The right side has higher ROI and continuously grows itself by investing time and attention to the segments of the audience that are highly active in those roles. The left side is a one time spend with less CLV.

I am happy to advocate brands and bring new people into the funnel. But one insight I have noticed is that mature players in E+P base overwhelming seem to discourage people to spend and don’t like to advocate peers to join. Thats a major red flag on brand health and business future.

1 Like

We will have to agree to disagree


That is fair

How about the freemium roulette game model

Instead of focusing on content creators, they spend advertising on luring new users

Content creators would only point out the house always wins, digital prizes are leased to the players, and micro transactions are not purchasing any goods only unlocking additional pieces of the already leased software

With a software lease - transfers are not allowed, refunds are not allowed, and continuing service is not guaranteed


Yeah agree to disagree.

1 Like

Brand is about marketing your product as “superior” to your competitor’s product. Having a successful brand allows you to charge more for the same thing.

Advocacy has better ROI. just like earned media has better ROI than paid media. paid media and ads is just easier to track in short term. But the data is out there online.

The E+P fan content creators aren’t pointing out that the house always win… they are doing a lot more than that. There isn’t anything more powerful than authentic fans storytelling and sharing their passion for the brand. It doesn’t cost anything to post those videos on your facebook. And you can divert some of your current marketing budget (they are doing paid ads) to amplify and push User Generated Content. That content is stickier than typical ads.

What’s the ROI of inbound marketing?

When it comes to inbound marketing ROI, the stat you’ll hear most often is this:

Inbound marketing yields three times more leads per dollar than traditional marketing methods.

That’s 3x leads for every dollar you spend.

That in itself is a pretty convincing stat for the ROI of inbound marketing.

But, if you’re not convinced, here are a few more stats that outline the ROI of inbound marketing in general terms.

  • The average cost per lead drops 80% after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing. (Impact)

  • Persona-driven content generated by inbound increases the volume of sales qualified leads (SQLs) by 45% (Weidert)

  • Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads. (Impact)

  • Businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost that’s 33% less than leads that aren’t nurtured (Weidert)

  • Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising (Weidert)


Game balance versus Spend depth

Click for old, tired rant, that will never change Devs mind because Empires is first and foremost a company with shareholders, and shareholders demand profitable

Game balance

Disclaimer, BoH is a privately held company, so they can care about fun instead of profitable

Spend depth

Capitalism versus Family Fun

I find it interesting that Pokémon GO has a larger fan base so weirdly they can put more pressure on Devs for QoL, game balance, and fun since Whale++++++++++ ( looking at you Brandon Tan^ ) often play with their whole family from aunts, to moms, to daughters, to granddaughters

Empires is so time consuming, and will never have trade, so much less family friendly


Click for Soul exchange data

Spend Depth

5* exchanged Gems USD ~Days ~Days / 3 ~Food ~ Recruits
20x 5* 156,000+ 1,940+ 800d 266.6d 118.8 mf 40 kr
15x 5* 117,000+ 1,455+ 600d 200d 89.1 mf 30 kr
10x 5* 78,000+ 970+ 400d 133.3d 59.4 mf 20 kr

~= Approximate
d= Days
mf= x1,000,000 Food
kr = x1,000 Recruits

Soul Exchange 420 days

Soul Exchange is perfect from a spend depth point of view

Those numbers are just beautiful from a math point of view

I keep rechecking them, but every time they come up the same

Just beautiful

420 days of not fun

But from a FUN point of view, forget it

Because from a fun point of view, that is a 1.15 year rotation away from friends, and family, not a 1.15 year trip abroad discovering new sights, sounds and flavors

Re retirement

Makes me really glad my semi retirement is fast approaching the end and I can go back to paid full time work and full Empires retirement


Great resignation

Click for notes

You have a point


I play games to relax ( or in the case of Empires a case of freemium game sunk cost ( monetary and man hours ) and back injury recovery, actually looking forward to quitting Empires against and going back to full time work that pays me instead of other way around )

As a game designer, and undergrad human factors student, I just find it fascinating how much Empires resembles full time employment ( looking at you Titans, quests and Map Season Monthly Events ) were the workers pay their boss ( looking at you PoV and Tournament 75 gem continue )

And just like pandemic deaths, and retirement, have opened up opportunities for workers

A lot of great players quit and moved on to less predatory freemium games ( lesser of multiple evils )

( even if @DoctorStrange is not great at leaving clues for forum users about a certain game that shall not be named )


Is not quit ( typo or Freudian slip? ) the persuasive argument, in my personal case, you might hope it to be



Business versus Fun


Click for Business


Black Friday

Soul Exchange


Sid Meier warns the games industry about monetisation

(Sid Meier warns the games industry about monetisation)



lol happy…! Thanks for the crowbar Supreme!

Mature players observe the end result:

I feel like the brand lays on thick f2p sauce.
When I first downloaded the verbiage was something to the effect of:
"everyone gets the same chances"

I would say that if the person who pulls 1,000 times has the same chance as the person who pulls once, then protecting the entire ecosystem should take more precedent.

Even when creeps were mild and gradual, audible concerns about the ecosystem linger from the very beginning.

They fully admitted, that mild and gradual are to be replaced with faster means of progression.
One year later… the ecosystem is disrupted enough for them to take near IMMEDIATE action.
The brand has portions of content requiring gems to continue.
So now…

Becomes the inescapable experience even if you do spend. Perhaps… especially if you do.

Because the envelope for content is pushed to the point where 14* are annoying flies.
The definition of challenge is a longer grind.
And unique skills just had to be combined with lucrative strength…
a costume…
so… lol… how do they increase the challenge without also adding more hours to the 2nd job?

Even with some "single use starter items"
I absolutely can not imagine maintaining a F2P in this environment. Talk about work…
And for what… to match-3…?

There is a sweet spot of gameplay
That’s somewhere in the middle
That preserve should be examined
and protected

But alas… human beings are all thirsty