Why FTP and Paying gamers should be friends [A neutral point of view]

This is a bit of an ambitious post but I’d like to throw off my FTP hat for a time and step into the shoes of all players, be it paying players, both cheap and whales, and those who spend $0 and everything in-between.

I’d like to think of this as a neutral post on behalf of all players. You might disagree but let’s see how I go.

Ultimately I want what’s best for gamers and there’s not much point tearing into your fellow player when both of you are after the same thing: fairness from SG.

You’ll note that I said ‘best for gamers’ rather than the game. It might seem like semantics but there is a significant difference, because if you treat all gamers well the game will naturally prosper.

Let’s run through the different categories of our friends on this forum.

Paying players

If I was a moderately paying player I’d want the value of the heroes I purchased to be fairly consistent over time. I’d appreciate that newer versions of heroes might be somewhat or slightly better but I would not want my say, 2017 HOTM to go completely obsolete.

Ultimately I’d want value for my money and I’d be annoyed if all my spending could be undone by the new kid on the block who could buy a 2020 improved version of Alby, unless I could secure that new hero myself – but the thing is I can’t always secure the new hero so easily. I might have to dump a few hundred dollars to grab the new hero.

If I had A LOT of cash I wouldn’t be that concerned about power creep or obsolete heroes.

I’d only be concerned if my moolah$$ had a limit.

I assume most people here have finite cash for obvious reasons.

Cheap players

If I was a player that survived on deals and waiting for great offers, I’d be thrilled with all the $0.99 and $1.99 deals.

But there will come a point in time, including grim patches when the odds are not so much in my favour, when I might ask: is this spending giving me value for my money and is it worth it?

How do I keep up?

I’d say if you have hung around long enough the answer to this question is more likely to be a “No” or “I’m not sure”

Now you might be the exception but I think a fair amount of CTP ask this question from time to time.

Non-paying players or FTP

Non playing players are OK with reasonable advantages given to paying players but they still want a fighting chance themselves to do respectably

They sometimes hoard gems and wait for the right moment to make their pulls.

They use what they have and they are powerless if their maxed 5* get made redundant by flashier, newer heroes.

They will be frustrated by the lack of rewards for their grinding but there is nothing they can do.

Sometimes they stay in the game resentfully, at other times they do so cheerfully and accept all the game has to offer.

Sometimes they fluctuate between the two moods.

What everyone has in common

If you look at all the groups, the single greatest cause of their misery is really the lootbox.

You can defend the lootbox and say it is a great equaliser – that a noob might randomly be able to draw the best hero on a single pull.

But exceptions to rules do not make good rules.

The odds predict that most of us will not be able to draw the best heroes all the time.

You might also argue that ‘if all paying players have the same heroes that would be boring’.

There’s some truth to this - but which is the greater travesty?

Over-represented heroes or empty wallets?
Similar teams will arguably encourage better use, and strategizing of, heroes. And there will still be a chance for FTP to get good heroes in a non lootbox world, just not as many as they’d like (which is only fair).

The proposed solution

Let’s do away with lootboxes and have more guaranteed rewards - if lootboxes are to play a role in the game they should play a minor role.

If paying players want to pay to get ahead, they should pay for guaranteed rewards and not be forced into a situation where they need to break the bank. Lootboxes are addictive in nature and can cause gambling-style problems. Paying players should not be obliged to spend exorbitant amounts “to protect” the value of their existing investments or spending to date.

If non-paying players want to progress, they should be able to grind their way for guaranteed rewards. They will still be frustrated but I’d argue the frustration will be mild, competition-inducing and even healthy, and not as toxic as would be the case with a lootbox in the game.

The rate of progress for non-paying players should be considerably slower so as to allow paying players to have a decent lead, but it should not be so crippling so as to induce discouragement to the entry level gamer.

After all, entry-level players convert to cheap-to-play players and that is where the money comes from. As @sid1207 observed, C2P probably represent the majority of the market.


I would encourage everyone to think about the big picture - the spending can obviously be quite rewarding but who does it benefit in the end?

The answer is sometimes you but ALL THE TIME Small Giant or Zynga.

And the ‘sometimes you’ is the part that I have a very big problem with. We should always benefit from our spending because money = time = our most precious resource.

Obtaining value for our time and money spent is something all players can identify with and we should put pressure on Small Giant to give us better value.

Nothing may result from this but at least I tried.



This is the only part where I disagree. Wouldnt guaranteed rewards even further widen the player base power gap. Right now I have a decent chance to compete with almost everyone. If you are guaranteeing emblems, costumes, heros, etc., I dont see how this would help the situation.


Good post. Well thought out.

Unfortunately, i do like the loot box mechanics. If i would have got every hero and mat i wanted, I’d be done with the game. I’d have no reason to keep playing outside of my teammates which i think would be over the game as well.

You made valid points. But if everyone gets everything they want when they want it, there’s no longterm profit to be made unless they ramp up the prices of the guarantees to equal or greater than the current amounts they make from summons. The game would be short lived. Everyone in each spending class would have all the same stuff and there would be no more “max who over who”, “when should i take advantage of this portal”, etc

It would just be boiled down to “well i have 201 maxed 5s now but cant figure out how to get another 1k damage out of my titan hits”

Idk. Maybe I’m over thinkin it. But without the lootboxes, it’s a different game and as I’ve said for quite a long time, those that want a different game should play a different game

I’m all for trying to improve the game in different ways but this isnt just a slight change. This would be a scrap empires and puzzles and replace it with something else.

I’d like to improve the game, not replace it. If i wanted to replace it, i could do that without devs having to lift a finger

Just my 2 cents


@Richter @Rigs

I suppose there are other ways to create VALUE for gamers in a lootbox environment, but this post is trying to dig that out really.

How do we create great value for all parties

Guaranteed stuff is a difficult topic and I can’t claim to know the full solution


If there was the option to train a specific hero it would have to cost something silly like 1 million food, 10,000 recruits and take say 6 months. I much prefer the excitement inherent in randomness.


Well what exactly is it you mean by value?

I mean my monthly spending is my entertainment budget. I get what i pay for no matter what i pull, I’m entertained and i have stuff to either work on or continue to look forward to. That is my value.

Think biggest issue with summons, is too many people are unrealistic or they get way too focused on a shiny 5

I mean I’ve had my chases here n there. But It’s typically “goin to do a 10x pull in event, 10x pull in atlantis, hope i get x heroes, but if not i got other stuff i can work on” and that’s actually part of the reason i like the mats the way they are. Sure i wouldnt complain about getting more mats, but I’m not too tore up about the whole system. It lets me strategize more. “Well I’d like to get zeline in december, but i have 1 tonic, so might as well wait until she comes back around and apply those gems elsewhere”

If any of that makes sense. Idk what value people are really looking for.


If the rate of new heroes being released for sale could slow down to allow FTP to maintain a decent gap that would be fine I think. At the moment there are too many new heroes being released, which is why the power gap is obvious.


But you might not always feel that way during consecutive bad runs - which are bound to happen - when all you get is 3* - essentially nothing. No value for me there I think if I was a paying player.

I know it’s against your policy but have a look at the paper in the Are Lootboxes Gambling [Australian enquiry] thread, it’s really interesting. They talk about the concept of value a lot.


That’s just it though, I’ve had plenty, plenty, plenty of bad summons

I mean i threw my budget completely out the window for 2 heros. Ares and gravemaker. Spent 1k+ on gm. 500+ on ares. Got neither. But i was able to afford it(i cant always afford that, I’m not the monopoly guy). Sure it sucked i didnt get em, but it didnt discourage me from the game or make me wanna rage out. Just like all the summons i did for 2 yrs chasing panther didnt discourage me. It entertained me, it gave me somethin to plan for, somethin to look forward to. Was it disappointing when i didnt get the hero i wanted? Sure but you cant have all joy with no disappointment, that’s not how life works. You get the good with the bad, you make the most out of the good, shrug off the bad, and you go on.

There is so so so so much to do in this game and in this community. I’ve never missed a hero and just “oh god what am i going to do for another month until the next portal opens”

There are always better synergies to work out, different opposing team compsitions to figure things out on, troops to level, new cup highs to hit, new titan damage scores to hit, teammates to help out, recruiting to do, helpin out random players, having forum discussions, havin non game related cut up sessions in line, watch youtube vids, break down different areas of the game that maybe you havent seen someone else break down yet, try new strategies in events, number crunch wars and see where yourself and your team can improve, i mean the list is endless. And if all that stuff i find fun is costing me $100 a month, I’m ok with that. I used to spend 4 or 5x that much every weekend just for fun. And that fun lasted what? Maybe 5 or 6 hours with a ton of regret the next day? Way way less valuable.

So if player’s are trying to buy heroes, yea they’ll be headed for disappointment and not feel like they got any value. But if they’re workin with what they have, staying within their budget, and just spinnin the wheel of chance at a reasonable amount a couple times a month, there shouldnt be any disappointment there cause then you are always gettin back what you invest. Ok u spent 20 bucks on summons in a game you play every single day and you didnt get the hero you wanted. Could have taken that 20 bucks, went to a movie for 2 hrs, that you wanted to see and then what? Go to another movie? Have a small talk convo in the breakroom at work about the movie and then forget you’ve even seen it until someone else brings it up?

As long as a player is playing and spending within their means and not just relying on the heroes as their sole enjoyment of this game, they should be ok i think

Idk maybe I’m naive. But just way i feel about it.

It’s a funny thing. But a war loss disappoints me more than a bad summon.


Well said @Rigs.

20 cheers


It felt rambley as hell. Was just typing it off the cuff without really back reading or editing.

But thanks. Hopefully it makes as much sense to others as it does to me.


I agree there is plenty to do in this community, but that doesn’t make it right that you had to spend so much to get nothing.

The amount you spent didn’t go towards the community and other things being there; all that stuff was already there, great as it was

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Amen brother. We still don’t have GM after spending so much. :rofl:


Thanks for the shout-out. One thing I’d like to clarify is that it was my assumption. I haven’t worked in gaming industry yet, nor am I aware of SGs financial model. My observation was based on an experience of models that many other companies follow on how they build up their cash cow via mass subscriptions and have premium tiers for elite few.

I agree that loot boxes are bad and gambling should be discouraged. But two things I want to highlight

  • Guaranteed rewards can be either construed as a) P2W where you pay $x to get something of your choice, b) or it means you have one major part of game behind paywall. Very much akin to map DLCs, weapon packs etc that are common in many multiplayer games. Both of which have serious cons to consider even if alternative is loot box. So let’s consider those before jumping into it
  • This is a problem with casinos and other gambling avenues too IRL. Solution to loot box is user education and not getting rid of it IMO. It’s same as any other vice including smoking, drinking, TV (yes too much TV is bad). People are going to do what they want to do, and they can be warned but taking that option away from them seems wrong. There are many grindy RPGs in market, maybe not in match 3 digestible format like SG created, but give it time and it’ll be there. And those casual RPGs should be alternative to people who have addiction problem.
    It’s kinda a touchy subject that ill revisit some other time, but holding corporation/companies responsible for civic duties instead of governments feels anti-democratic to me :man_shrugging:

One thing I’d like to temper here is that I want good mileage out of my purchases. As @Rigs shared, chasing Gravemaker and Ares was expensive, and it’d suck if they were made obsolete in couple of months. But at the same time as game progresses, I expect my base and my hero roster will get stronger. Some of the heroes will eventually serve less purpose and fade away, and that’s fine and expected.

Because if I’m not progressing or don’t really have anything new to look forward to, I’ll get bored. It’s simple as that and it’s at core of any RPG, where you’ll keep chasing new and better armor/weapons. Do you know why I love Skyrim so much? Because I can keep on modding it and keep it fresh by having new maps, areas, weapons, armors etc.

So I’m not saying I support significant power creeps, where a milestone you reached via grind/cash becomes insignificant so quickly that you don’t even get to relish it. But at the same time, I’m also content with the fact that this is a game where x (dollars or man hours) is going to get me entertainment value for y amount of time, if the tradeoff is that there’ll be better entertainment in future.


This is our issue. That’s where people get a little confused i think.

I didnt have to spend anything. I absolutely didnt. No one held a gun to my head or kidnapped my dog or put me under some legal obligation.

I did it for the hell of it. I always know i can get by without any hero i want. I know i could not do another summon again for probly the life of the game and never run out of things to do.

I did it cause i wanted to. I enjoyed it, had fun with it. Sure maybe that plays into the gambling sense but whatever, i dont regret it. It didn’t upset my finances, i had a good time, no harm no foul and i still kick a** without ares or gm

That’s what I’m trying to say. I don’t pay for heroes, i pay for the entertainment. The heroes are a bonus. I always get what i pay for. Just the mere conversation piece amongst teammates about which of us got what and which hero we wanna try next and all that crap, it’s worth it for me. The banter that was goin on with my off the rails pulls, it was hilarious. I still catch crap for it and yea i mean what else can you pay for that gives you that much entertainment with 30 other people at a monthly expense with no ill wills to your health, freedom, or sanity?

Sure i could go f2p and still enjoy the game. I started out f2p and actually have resorted back to f2p a couple times but not cause of summons, just cause sometimes i do think about hangin the game up but it hasnt been because of the game itself yet, even when i think it is, i notice if i just quit talking to people for awhile, i still play the game but without the headache.

Game’s issue isn’t a game issue, it’s a people issue


I understand, it’s good in a way that you enjoy the thrill of paying money for a spin.

Would you agree though that, while it didn’t negatively impact your finances, it’s quite likely to set others off onto a dangerous path?

Ie. Some spend more than they can afford to seek the thrill.

I accept that people pay money for a thrill with no actual return but I have an issue with a company trying to exploit this on a large casino like scale.

I understand that many consumer behaviours are thrill seeking or add minimal physical or return value if I can call it that but gaming lootboxes are a different category I’d suggest!

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Honestly, just sounds like you’re tryin to kill the game and i gotta part from the convo while i still like ya

The game is fun. It’s people that make it anything less, both devs and players.

Asking me to quit my pass time cause others that do it may have a problem… Kind of a pretty disrespectful request.

I mean if i was an alcoholic that had an addiction(which I’m not). I’m not gonna drive by the local bar and burn it down cause it’s a danger to others that cant control their drinking.

Players that cant handle their finances and time and whatever else goes with the whole thing, shouldn’t play the game. Not my fault they do, no one else’s fault they do but theirs. They leave it on their phone, they continue to dump money into it. Blamin me, or sg, or lawmakers, or anyone else is a cop out and it just enables them to find some other way to repeat the same behavior cause “it’s not their fault”.

Sorry but idc what someone is addicted to or havin problems with. Lack of self accountability is 1000% their fault. Shouldnt drink? Dont keep a bottle of liquor in the cabinet. Shouldn’t smoke cigarettes? Quit buyin em. Shouldnt drive? Take the bus. Shouldnt play a game on your phone? Uninstall it. Those are all choices people themselves have to make.

So go on your game killin mission, but it wont do a bit of good. It’ll just force people to find other pass times since someone else deemed the one they used to enjoy “unsafe for others”. And those others? Guess what, you can find em at the casino, strip joint, bar, etc still throwin their money away and still screwin up their lives

That’s just life. Put it this way, closest casino is another state. So we dont have any gamblers in my home state right? No one messin up their lives spendin money they shouldnt and blah blah. Wrong, they drive to the closest state that has a casino lol.

No different here. Kill empires & puzzles, they just go somewhere else.


I guess we’ll have to leave it at that, there’s no such thing as two people on earth who can agree on everything, even if they like each other :joy:

I don’t think removing lootboxes would kill the game. And I think, if required, there’s a way to make lootboxes exist in a better way, it just requires a bit of creativity.

I haven’t worked it all out but I don’t think I should bother as I’m not going to be paid for it :joy:


OK done with this topic discussion.

My conclusion from this topic:

  • People choose how they want to spend money
  • People spend money for pleasure/entertainment/satisfaction
  • Developers designed the game to make money
  • People who can’t control their spending and risk financial predicament should just cut their credit cards
  • People who don’t pay should enjoy the game as it is and always have the choice to leave the game
  • This game is already much better compared to other P2P games
  • P2P and C2P/F2P will always have a gap that will never be closed and will widen slowly but surely
  • Expectations must be managed by all levels or your stress levels will shoot through the roof
  • Everything is about choices, to spend or not to spend. The choice comes from the players. Loot boxes or not, no one is pointing a gun at you forcing you to buy them.
  • The feeling of entitlement - 100% effort in grinding does not result in 100% results


This topic is ULTRA old with different headlines.


I think you sir are overreacting and…



@FrenziedEye if you wanna talk about introducing summons alternatives, we can talk about that. But let’s leave politics, addictions, etc out of it and just make it straight game talk. Idk about everyone else, but i enjoy those talks much better. Problem is idk what to add to those talks that hasn’t been added so i can’t exactly kick off the convo


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