The Concept of Fairness in Games

The concept of fairness is a big rabbit hole though.

One could argue the game is fair in that it doesn’t discriminate. Everyone gets the same odds in the portal. So all players are treated the same and thusly fairly.

Equity/Inequity is where it gets more interesting. Because someone summoning with no budget and someone with a large budget will end entirely differently.

But that by definition doesn’t mean it is unfair to either player.

I remember a quote from a training session some years back along the lines of “Fairness can still have inequity”.

One of the more interesting days of training we had to go to back in the day


Big rabbit hole indeed.

Personally, my argument is that success in a video game should be granted to those who grinded the most / longest and those who play most effectively.

Do we all have the same odds when we do a summon? Sure. But come on now, when the odds of getting a good hero are 3% or less, and a low spender or non spender only has 1 or 2 summons vs. a heavy spender who can easily afford at least 10x that? Let’s apply that logic to a game of poker. You get dealt 5 random cards. Your opponent gets dealt 50 random cards. Best hand wins. Seriously, man? Everybody knows the guy with 50 cards is going to win 9 times out of 10. That’s just like… basic math.

Reality is that this game is very much skewered to favor heavy spenders. That is not even debatable. I don’t even know how or why anyone would try to dispute that very basic fact, when it should be blatantly obvious to everyone.

But I will play devil’s advocate for a minute here and say that it’s also maybe unfair if one player has a quicker mind or sharper reflexes than another.

Let’s use a sports analogy. Let’s use golf as an example. If I play a game of golf against an equally skilled golfer using the same ball and clubs that he or she is using, our win/loss ratio should average out to 50/50. If I play against a professional golfer using the same equipment, well they’re probably going to beat me most of the time. Is that fair? Yes, in the sense that they are a better golfer, I shouldn’t have been paired against them in the first place. That’s why most sports have different divisions and leagues and such.

But let’s say I’m playing against someone of equal skill. I have top of the line equipment - lightweight, aerodynamic, etc. My opponent has an old rusty set of bent clubs. I beat him easily. Is that fair? I would say no. Just because I have better equipment, doesn’t automatically mean that I’m the better golfer. All it means is that I’m able to afford better equipment. Switch clubs in that situation, and I’m sure the outcome would be the opposite.


@TGW Golf is an interesting game to use as an example though.

Let’s say in your scenario I have met my friend for a game. For the argument of this we are both 18 handicap (which is easy as that was mine back in the day :joy:) and we both have a lovely set of the latest Pings

Now I have a natural draw and my friend has a natural fade. The course we pick is pretty tight and has 8 holes with a left dogleg and 4 with a right dogleg.

Equally skilled with equal equipment but the course is going to be harder for my friend than it is for me (on a normal day)

The handicap system in golf is a nonsense though as 0 handicapper is going to beat the 18 handicapper 99/100 times.

To swing back to the devil’s advocacy you could argue this game has leagues (silver, gold, platinum and diamond raid tiers) and whilst the war matching is a mess due to over-complication it at least tries. It’s just near impossible to get it right due to the war score algorithm (IMHO)

But for a laugh the club pro at my local once played with an old set of wood shaft clubs and still beat the 20 handicapper he played with using the best set he had :joy: It became the stuff of legend as it was an argument about not needing the best kit until being good enough to use it properly so no clue exactly how it all went down but that’s the legend. (Not really relevant but it’s a good golf story)

So it’s very hard to set the line of “fairness” in any game with a lot of variables. Other than the playing field is the same for everyone there’s not much more you can do I don’t think.

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And there are probably a number of F2Pers here who can beat the snot out of most of the whales they encounter, but they are the exception, not the rule.

I probably should have stopped at the poker comparison. I have 1 epic hero token. I summon 5 cards. Oh look, a pair of Jacks! My opponent has 10 epic hero tokens. They summon 50 cards.

What are the odds that they’re going to be able to beat a pair of Jacks out of 50 cards? Fairly good, I’d say.

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And thats where the point of fairness goes into the point of inequity.

You both have the same odds of getting an Ace (so fair) he just as the ability to draw more cards (inequity)

Going to go very political but sat in a bar with a beer I’d happily chat to you for hours about it.

Unfair would be your summons cost 2 EHT to his 1 EHT. Same odds but twice the price.

The fact that the model allows for people to spend to win doesn’t make the game unfair. Same as me not being to afford a Ferrari isn’t unfair. If I had the money I could buy one.

It’s all interesting stuff and games like this highlight the issues with wealth we have in the world.

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Those are wealth issues in real life. Games are not supposed to be based on real life. If they were, I wouldn’t play them, I would just play real life - after all, real life has better graphics and a more immersive storyline anyway. In real life, I can’t put on a suit of armor and cast lightning bolts from my fingertips. If I could, I’d be the most famous person on the planet, and I’d have more than enough money to summon every hero I ever wanted.

Point is that this is a game. I play games as an escape from real life. I’m more than happy to pay a basic reasonable fee to play a game. But when my progress in a game is limited by the amount I’m willing or able to pay? I guess it wouldn’t be a huge deal if they told me I had to pay a few dollars in order to access certain endgame content, but this is a game where individual heroes cost upwards into the thousands??? That’s crazy. Might be less crazy if they actually sent you a 3D printed model of the hero after you pulled it that you could put on your trophy shelf to admire, or turn around and resell it on eBay, but no… you’re spending thousands for virtual sprites with zero real world value.

Of course, as you say, the spending is about the enjoyment you get… in that case, I have gotten far more enjoyment from games that cost me far less than what I’ve already spent on this one. This game is not worth anywhere near the amounts they expect us to pay for individual heroes IMO. If you think it’s worth it? Publicly, I’ll say “good for you, congrats,” but privately I’m thinking that either you have way too much expendable income, or you’ve lost your damn mind. Or both.

Appreciate the Ferrari comparison, and I’d also say you’d have to either be crazy rich or just plain crazy to buy a Ferrari… but at least in the case of a Ferrari, that’s a real thing that you actually get to own and drive. This game is pixels, man. Pixels. Pixels that we don’t even own after we “buy” them. Pixels that we set up to fight against other people’s pixels, supposedly for fun, but it’s not fun at all when one pixel can easily smash the living :poop: out of all the other pixels. Unless you happen to be one of the lucky wealthy few who is currently leasing that particular pixel… then I suppose it’s loads of fun, squashing everyone else in your path, pretending like you’re a giant stepping on tiny villagers. Only… if you’re wealthy enough to afford to do that in this game, you’re probably also wealthy enough to tromp on poor people in real life. Do you really even need a game to escape from reality? If you can afford to spend $50,000 on a mobile phone game, I’m pretty sure you can probably afford a real life Batmobile. Why spend thousands for Black Knight in E&P when you could be the real deal Dark Knight in real life? Seems like a huge waste of time and money to me, just to boast about how you’re top 10 in leaderboards in a game that most people have never even heard of.


Second to final note: I know, you’re thinking, “if you don’t enjoy the game, just don’t play it.” I used to enjoy the game, not so much now. I am kind of approaching my final days in this game. Only reason I even still play at all is because of my awesome alliance, the people there have enriched my life and I owe it to them to at least help them kill titans. Otherwise, though? The normal gameplay became tedious and boring to me a long time ago. I downloaded it seeking a mobile role playing game; I stayed for the people I met. People are far more interesting than matching colored tiles ever could be.

And final note: in an attempt to stay on topic… seriously, 30 gems for 500 titans? That right there says it all. Grind for 2+ years in exchange for less than $1 USD worth of game currency. I’m sorry, but that is beyond pathetic.

(seriously man… 500 titans gives you 1/10th of a Dawa…? LOL what a sick joke)


[quote=“TGW, post:6, topic:230879, full:true”] In real life, I can’t put on a suit of armor and cast lightning bolts from my fingertips.

There’s loads of interesting points I want to reply to when I have more time but I just wanted to say I feel bad for you missing out here. Lightning bolts from your hands is the best :rofl::rofl::rofl:

this is probably the most important premise to remember when it comes to talking about games.


Don’t know why the quote didn’t work :joy: Probably because I’m rushing

But when I die in Call of Duty I just respawn again :joy:

I wonder where the view of Unfairness comes from though as I’d wager if you asked 100 players what “Unfair” means to them it would be different.

The person with the whiz bang roster that he spent $10,000+ on might argue that a F2P expecting the same for no cost is unfair to them. And vice versa.

Or is this model inherently unfair to everyone unequally??? I mean unless we all had the exact same heroes it can’t ever really be fair.

It’s a genuinely interesting debate. Let’s please continue with it.

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I have nothing I want to add to this thread, but want to thank you for discussing the issue.

I enjoy reading thoughtful perspectives on these issues, of which there are many now, and hopefully more to read later.

Edit - this was meant to be a response to the thread as a whole, not Cheds’ comments - sorry.

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I don’t want fairness.
I want my Guardian Panther.



Heck, I’m still trying to get Jackal!!!


Heck, I’m still trying to get Bauchan!


I’m with you Sleepy. Reading a list of heroes:
Need it
Need it
Need it.

Summoning at the challenge event portal:
I want X, Y or Z, or really anything that isn’t season 1.

Duplicate of the hero you got last time and 3 season 1 heroes.

Don’t worry - I’ll get to try again in 5-10 months. :crazy_face:


story of my life with Valhalla summons, CCG :slight_smile:

It all comes down to why you are playing the game.

Are you playing to win (whatever it is you define that as)?

Well, I guess in a sense we are all playing to win but we all have widely differing definitions of what that is. If you are, by your definition, prevented from winning because you are being vastly outspent and cannot compete at the top then yes, you have entered the realm of inequality. You can then change your definition of win to what better suits your circumstances or you can get frustrated and eventually rage quit.

My definition of win as far as the game goes is: be competitive in a limited way without worrying about challenging for the top tier, and enjoyably spend some amount of time escaping the pressures of RL. In that sense, I do win and to me the game is fair. Is it equitable? No. Can it be improved? Undoubtedly. But until I no longer enjoy playing and cannot be competitive (maybe with the event Costumes that is on the horizon?) I will continue to win in my own fashion. And that is all irrespective of what other players do or spend or achieve in the game.


Questions of Justice, equity, fairness… Takes me back to my undergrad before I got into a career in HR and Data.

I agree Nevarmoor - the real question to answer is: Are you having fun? If yes, play more. If no, stop playing.


Fair/Unfair, Equity/Inequity, that’s interesting question that only exists because of “free game concept”. I’m a gamer since 30 years and before playing mobile game I’ve never been facing this. EP is my second mobile games (I play several more but for few time, most of them being really free games). In the first one purchase were quite limited. I should have spend 100USD in 7 years and was able to compete in all events. In each event players were split in groups no larger than 500 players. So reaching top 3 with my investment was quite easy (imagine, only 100 USD :slight_smile: ) At some point company introduce new type of events to try catching more money. They were really time consuming and it decides me to let the game.

Then I discover EP. At beginning it was new, everything was fun. New events were coming, providing more fun and so on. I was leading an alliance that starts to be in top 100. That was great because I was able to recruit players with strong rosters (CB players). Alliance starts to be heterogeneous, new CB players were pushing to climb in top 100%. I guess that at his point I start spending in the game,a bit at beginning then too much. I guess I realize that EP became for me a second job in the Teluria’s period. I didn’t get her after spending too much one more time. She was everywhere making my game play bs. Fun was gone but I was continuing because of teammates.

Fair/Unfair, yeah it’s subjective. From my point of view, raid tournament are unfair in the defense aspect. You can be attacked once in the week or 100 times. If you are attacked only once on the first day and got a A or a E defense your tournament is defined by this single attack. Unfair!

Equity/Inequity, once you understood that CB players, whales can chase every 5* in the game you have to decide what can still be fun for you. Being in top 100 is no more an option and you have to define a new target that will give you fun. The point for me here is that real life has nothing to do in a game. I’m playing for fun, not to be facing real life constraint in a game.
I know I’m close to the end in this game. Man only knows how to live in hope. Finally it has been a good lesson:

  • I now know I should not linked my cb to my mobile :slight_smile:
  • RNG games, P4N (Pay 4 nothing sounds better to me) are not for me.

People generally don’t like being told this though. I subscribe to a circles of influence viewpoint where I accept the things I can’t individually change. So as I can’t change the game, I can only chose whether I play it or not. And in that decision I can also decide whether I will spend money or not. Those are things within my influence. Life is too short to keep banging my head on a wall. If something isn’t worthy of my time and input then I won’t do it anymore.

And so back to fairness. If I felt this game wasn’t being fair I’d be gone from it. But people will do 100 pulls and get no 5* and state the game is unfair. The odds are printed and we know the chances. It’s unlucky but since we all have the same chances on each pull we are all treated the same.

It’s a deep discussion and everyone will have a different perspective.

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