Since we are here to help out anybody who might have a question about Gems of War, I figured a good thing to add would be an....
Also known as Frequently Asked Questions, this post will deal with common questions, misconceptions, misinterpretations, and other poorly understood features of the game. Many of these questions may be more fully answered and discussed in the guides linked to above, but here I will give brief explanations.
(Author's note: this will be a work in progress for a while, as I will keep adding questions as either I think of them or someone asks. If you have a common question you think would be good to keep on this list, please let me know. Also, I may eventually add links to a relevant guide along with each question, but generally this is supposed to be just a place to start.)
Note for XBox/PS4 players: There is now a small FAQ post on the Pipeworks forums (aka the console-specific forums) that covers some basics concerning the differences from the PC/mobile version. If it doesn't answer your question, read on!
Let's get to it!
Q: What are the various modes of play?
A: There are five primary play modes in GoW. They include: quests, challenges, PvP, arena, and treasure hunt.
Quests are the storyline fights in each kingdom, rewarding you with a free epic troop at the end. Completing these unlocks all the challenges for that kingdom, and also increases your gold income for that kingdom. The quests are not replayable.
Challenges are a series of special fights against troops from a specific kingdom that reward you with extra souls upon completing them. They are infinitely replayable, but the extra soul rewards are given only the first time.
PvP (player vs. player) are fights played against a team built by another randomly chosen player and set to defend his or her home kingdom. The opposing teams are controlled by the AI, not the player. This is one of two modes that can win you trophies for your guild.
The arena is a special mode where you are given three troop choices at random - one common, one rare, and one ultra-rare - to build a team, choose your hero's weapon, and then take on a series of fights with other arena teams in order to try to win as many as possible out of eight. Two losses and you're out, so however many wins you manage to get determines your winnings. This mode is the second of two ways to win trophies.
Lastly, the treasure hunt is a bit different in play style. Instead of troops with spells and gems to match, you are instead matching coins and chests. You start with 15 turns, and matching 4 or 5 in a row will earn you extra turns. Each coin or chest is worth a reward at the end, and as you match them, one item is changed to the next level up in available reward. Unlike all the other modes, you earn no experience for these matches, but you can gain lots of other rewards. Each treasure hunt requires the use of one treasure map.
Q: There are so many currencies! What is all this stuff used for?
A: Gold, gems, glory, souls, traitstones, and tokens are all currencies used in this game.
Gold is used for purchasing new kingdoms, contributing to guild quests (if you're in one), buying gold keys, and upgrading a kingdom's level.
Gems - not to be confused with the gems you match in-game, these are the ones that look like diamonds - are used for buying lots of things in the store - including armor and various levels of keys.
Glory is used to purchase glory keys and weekly event items in the store, and can be exchanged for treasure maps or souls in the store as well.
Souls are used for leveling up your troops. When you first get a troop, it is at level one. Each new level adds one or more stat bonuses, which makes your troop stronger. Currently, max level for troops is 20.
Traitstones are used for unlocking traits on a troop. Each troop has its own list of traits, though most traits can appear on many different troops. (Currently only available on PC/mobile)
Tokens are only used in guilds. As tasks are completed with contributed gold from members, tokens are awarded, and can only be spent by high ranking members to upgrade a guild's bonus to masteries.
Q: Okay, so what about all these keys?
A: These are a little different between XBox1/PS4 and PC/mobile. Consoles currently have two kinds of keys: iron keys and magic keys. Iron keys can be bought with gold, and magic keys can be bought with gems. Each key gives you three random troops, anything from common to legendary. In addition, each iron key contains at least one troop of rare or better rarity, and each magic key has at least one troop of ultra-rare or better rarity. Magic keys also have the added benefit of a higher chance to get a legendary troop.
PC/mobile has a bit more complicated system. There are gold, glory, gem, event and VIP keys. Each key only gives you one item, and it can be a variety of things: troops, gold, gems, souls, or traitstones. Gold keys only give out common or rare troops or traitstones, and glory keys give out rare or better items, gem keys give out ultra-rare or better, event keys are similar to gem keys but have a higher chance to give out a troop from the featured kingdom of the week's event, and VIP keys guarantee an epic or better. VIP keys are only accessible if you have achieved VIP 5 or better status.
Q: What is armor? What is the best one to get?
A: Various armors are available in the store for purchase with gems. You start with two purely cosmetic armors that offer no bonuses but simply change your hero's appearance. Each armor in the store offers bonuses to either gold, souls, or experience, better bonuses being more expensive. Generally, the most common advice is to save up for a first tier armor of your choice - pick one that best serves what you are looking to get, but any of them is a good choice - then use that one while you save up big time to get one of the highest tier armors, celestial or dragon. Either of these is also a good choice, depending on what you want to focus on. You can always go back to pick up another armor later. These armors can be changed in the hero menu.
Q: What are gem masteries and what do they do?
A: This is a stat that gives you a percentage chance each time you match a particular color of gem to get a mana surge - that is, double the mana gain. Each time you level up your hero, you are offered a choice of two mana colors to gain a point in one color's mastery score. The higher the number you have, the better the chance to surge. If you are part of a guild, you can gain extra mastery bonuses when high-ranking guild members spend tokens to upgrade the guild's mastery bonuses. Each member of the guild receives the bonuses to their effective mastery score.
In addition, as each gem mastery goes up, reaching certain milestones will unlock new weapons for your hero to use. Not all weapons are available from upgrading masteries, as some are offered only as a weekly special in the rewards shop for purchase with glory.
Q: What are the best troops to use? How can I build an effective team?
A: This is a tough question to answer. It's going to depend on a lot of things! As you gain access to more troops, your options for team building expand also. There are lots and lots of troops, and the possibilities may seem endless, but I'll try to give a couple of basics here. Check out the multitude of guides for more in-depth tips, tricks, strategies, suggested team builds, and more.
What I look for in a team is, first of all, all mana coverage. You make best use of the gem board when every match you make will contribute something - you don't want a match to go to waste! So make sure your team uses all six colors in some way. Overlap is okay, leaving out a color usually is not. Second of all, I like to look for ways for the troops to work together. A troop who creates green gems can help another troop who uses green mana to charge their spell faster, for example. Or maybe that green generator can feed another troop who removes green gems to boost their spell instead, giving that spell more power.
Third, if you are playing on PC/mobile, troop types are often an important consideration. It is not always necessary, but having a team built with the troop type or kingdom bonuses can give you an edge. I will not explain this system here, as there are good guides that thoroughly explain everything, but I am mentioning it here as something to consider.
If you don't have enough of a particular type to make use of the bonuses, or if you are playing on console, the synergy and teamwork of troops becomes more important. However, the single, most important thing to remember: make it fun to play!! Winning and losing are important, especially if you want to make sure you're making good progress in the game, and nobody likes losing a ton, right? But an effective but boring team is no good, either. If you like a particular troop, there is probably a way to make a good team from it.
And here's the last thing I'll say about this topic: feel free to experiment! A lot! Build a team, then give it a test run. The best places to do this are the challenges. Even if you've completed all of them, they are replayable endlessly, so it is a good place to try out new builds without worrying about your PvP rank. If you like how it works, keep it! If you find it's difficult to charge the spells you need, or your troops are dying too quickly, or you just can't get enough damage output to prevent long drawn-out battles, then perhaps it's time to reconsider what you've got.
Q: What is the difference between kingdom level and kingdom power?
A: Kingdom level is determined by how much gold you have spent to upgrade the kingdom itself. Once max level, 10, is reached, the kingdom offers a permanent stat bonus to one of the four stats - armor, health, attack, or magic. This bonus applies to all your troops, all the time, except for arena.
Kingdom power is a feature only available on PC/mobile. This is upgraded by three things: gaining additional troops from that kingdom to your collection, levelling them up, and giving them traits. All three things add points to a total, and once certain thresholds are reached, the kingdom's power increases. Each level offers bonuses, such as additional gold earned per day, greater chances of tribute, etc.
Q: When I'm in a match with another player, they have all these green numbers on their troops! Ttheir stats are so much better than mine! What am I missing?
A: There are a variety of things that can do this, and it also depends on where you are playing. On XBox1/PS4, these bonuses come from kingdom bonuses. This means that the troops with bonuses match the kingdom the battle is occurring in (for example, you invade a player whose home kingdom is Broken Spire, and their team has Luther, Ettin, Ettin, and Sheggra). These bonuses get bigger the higher the kingdom level is.
On PC/mobile, there are a couple of sources. First, the opposing player may have one or more kingdoms at level 10. While these bonuses will not show up on the troop in play as a green number, the bonus is still reflected in the number itself. Remember, these bonuses are permanent and across the board, so they are considered inherent. So if your Skeleton has lower stats than their Skeleton but the numbers are all white (aka not buffed by in-game effects), this is why. Another source is from team type bonuses. Teams that have two or more unique troops of either the same type (divine, undead, monster, etc) or the same kingdom (Ghulvania, Khaziel, etc) will receive bonuses to various stats. A third source is from traits. These are easier to tell apart, as they are added to the troop only once the game starts, and it announces itself with an animation - trust me, you can't miss it!
Anytime you are confused about where stat bonuses might come from, try clicking on the troop in question and navigating around the card pages. Any kingdom or troop bonuses will show up here, and descriptions of things like spells or traits will explain what they do.
Q: How come I never get invaded?
A: The only way to get invaded is to invade others! Nobody will invade you if you haven't been playing PvP. So if you only play PvP on Mondays to reach rank 1 and then ignore it the rest of the week, you might get some invades to defend early in the week, but it will stop shortly after you stop invading others. I am not certain of the activity requirements, but as far as I know or can tell, if you invade at least once a day, you will be added to the queue for others to potentially invade.
And sometimes, you know, it just comes down to luck of the draw! I play PvP every day, and some days I see very few defends and some days they just don't leave me alone! There is some randomization in the algorithm, but generally it averages out over the long run. If you invade, they will come.....
The other thing is that if you leave your defend list full of three invades, no more will appear on the list. At this point, you can still be invaded, but it will not notify you, you will not receive any gold or keys, they will not steal any gold, and they will never appear on your list to defend, even after you've cleared it. You will only be notified at this point if you have had any wins, which will reward you appropriately.
(Gonna pause here and add more later. Trust me, more is coming!
Also, PS4/Xbox users: I only play on mobile. I am trying to keep things straight here, so if you see something listed that is not yet available for you, please please please let me know and I'll make note of it so we can prevent confusion. I will be adding a section here eventually with the current differences, for everybody's reference, but for now I'm going to be working on building this up. Thanks!!)