I Hate Clash of Clans. Please Help Me Stop Playing.

Clashofclans

Clash of Clans…  another “free to play” (see: soul sucking) game that’s addicting by design – and designed to rack up the microtransactions.

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Clash of Clans is a fairly straightforward strategy game:  Build your base, grow an army, upgrade your warrior’s skills, and see your enemies fall before you!  It’s an admittedly fun game, pitting your wits and base design against those of your opponents.  There’s a certain amount of joy associated with watching your army flatten the enemy base, and a necessary degree of disappointment in seeing your own base fall.  The game succeeds in making base building fun, with careful design to allow for custom (but lightly guardrail) expansion of your base.

Sounds good so far – why the hate?  The game is designed not only for entertainment, but to elicit microtransactions from the players.  In fairness, and without a doubt – the developers are entitled to make a solid profit from their work.  As far as games with microtransactions go, the ones in Clash of Clans aren’t even that bad – they’re not terribly intrusive (though for those who play – the inability to get a 3rd builder without plunking down the cash for 500 gems is definitely an impractical limitation), and not required to advance.

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The point of frustration comes in the form of time – the component most likely to ultimately drive players to pay.  Building, upgrading and similar – all takes time, and a significant amount of it.  The better your base gets, the longer upgrades take.  Very quickly, it becomes 1 day to upgrade your resources, 2 days to upgrade each of your defenses, 3 days to upgrade your base, etc.  All the while, a quick purchase of gems (in game currency) allows you to fast forward any pending time intensive project – completing it instantly.  In this manner, a new player could spend $30, $50, $300 – and immediately jump ahead in terms of progress and base strength – far exceeding the efforts of someone who has played for weeks.  Therein lies the challenge, because if you remove some kind of limiting factor (whether time or other), the game loses its challenge – strategy (in terms of deciding where to place your resources – again, time or other) becomes less important, and the game less interesting.

And so it goes that Clash of Clans is fun, but tragically frustrating in the implementation and impact of microtransactions in the game.

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