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An Analysis of the 5.3 Update

I haven’t been up to date with patches and dev streams for a while, so I thought I’d make some comments on the recent 5.3 update. I’ve just watched the preview stream for the update, so I can also talk about some things that didn’t make the patch notes.

I’m including all of the patch notes, as posted, following each section with my thoughts. While this is probably a waste of time, I think the analysis can only support the TL;DR section. Speaking of which:


Prior to reading the patch notes, update 5.3 felt like it was nearly all about monetisation, with only the Arena changes being significant and for the players. After reading the patch notes:

  • Warbands are behind a paywall for most players
  • Shrines are purely about dumb monetisation for dumb players
  • Tutorial Tweaks are great, but only affect new players, briefly
  • VIP Chest changes are basically irrelevant
  • Arena changes are excellent, but fundamentally incomplete
  • Troop balance changes are basically irrelevant
  • Boosted Ad Rewards are a very welcome surprise
  • Green Orb conversion is priced with complete ignorance of game realities
  • The Tower of Doom Bug Fix is a major fix, for a bug introduced by the previous patch
  • There are at least 100 outstanding QoL and User Interface issues that have not been addressed
  • Not a single lesser bug has been fixed all year

The version 5 series of updates would feel a lot less like repeated slaps in the face if you actually spent as much time working on removing player annoyances as you do on new features and monetisation. And you might actually keep some of those end-game players that are leaving as the game feels like it’s becoming more and more just about monetisation – they might even pay for the Campaign Passes…


Supporting Analysis

Warbands are not a terrible feature. I don’t honestly know how useful they will be to new players, but I think it’s a good initiative.

The downside is that the new banners are effectively behind a paywall for non-beginning players. There’s really no reason to do this – except a directive from the publisher for more monetisation. Otherwise, this really doesn’t make sense: long-term players won’t need the troops, will get the weapons from Masteries, and don’t compete against beginning players, in any case.

There really needs to be a way to get War Coins for resources. I would not mind buying them for Gems or crafting them from Traitstones, for example.

Patch Note Problems

The patch notes fail to mention two things:

  1. That the weapons will automatically be added to inventory for players with high enough Masteries. (Go upgrade those weapons, people.)
  2. What happens once you’ve bought the Warband and the Booster Pack? Is there another Booster Pack? How many can you buy?

Nobody ever asked for this, and I very strongly doubt anyone will ever buy it. It’s whale monetisation, pure and simple.

In fact, the Chaos Orb aspect is precisely the same as a Loot Box.

What’s more, the additional Shrine card on the Victory screen pushes out of sight more important battle rewards.

Even if you actually find a market and manage to justify this, it’s an extremely bad look.


If this is true, I’m totally all for it! Documentation and help for new players is hugely important.

A small change that won’t really affect anyone much. By the time you can afford the Gem cost of VIP chests (2250 Gems for the best efficiency), you already have most of the Mythics and other troops. Of course, that has nothing to do with this change, and any increase in drop rates is a “good thing.” You could argue this is tied to monetisation, but only insofar as it fits a larger pattern…


I think what’s most remarkable about these changes is what hasn’t been done. All of this stuff is good, sensible, and I welcome it.

However, the Arena is still missing huge chunks of User Interface!


  1. As mentioned by a viewer on the preview stream, there is no way to see how many offers you’ve accepted or rejected each day (ie: how many Arena runs you’ve completed).
  2. There is no mention that there even are any post-Arena offers, or what they might comprise, anywhere in the game!
  3. It is impossible to see your progress during an Arena Event if a Pet Rescue is active.
  4. The drop table for the various Tiers of an Arena Event is not shown anywhere in the game!

All of this stuff is a major oversight, and I simply cannot understand how anyone could think the Arena overhaul is complete without this stuff!


Salty specifically said on-stream, that they no longer make any balance changes to troops as part of updates. And she gave good reasons, too.

So why are these changes part of the update? Why did Salty not know about them? Someone has some communications issues!


Only two of these are worth commenting on:

Better Ad Rewards

The increase in rewards for Rewarded Ads is very welcome. However, I think it points to a misunderstanding of the game’s economy when the ads were initially added. The ad rewards are now slightly meaningful, particularly for early players. This is a good thing.

Converting Orbs of Growth

This is fundamentally a good idea. But economically, it’s missed the mark by about a factor of 1000!

For those who don’t know, the conversion rate is 3 Orbs of Growth for one Rare Treasure, and 3 Greater Orbs of Growth for one Epic Treasure. Plus a Soul cost.

This is insane!

First, Rare Treasures are essentially useless after about 6 months of play. I haven’t used a single one since Frostfire Keep, when I got smart. Why? Because the Gold cost of using them is unjustifiable. To reach Hoard level 49 costs 327,000 Gold using 50 Rare Treasures, versus 150,000 Gold using 25 Ultra-Rare Treasures. And the Ultra-Rares build up quickly.

My current Treasure count is 664 useless Commons, 2537 Rares, 790 Ultra-Rares, 291 Epics, 1 Legendary, 2 Mythics. And this is quite standard amongst late-game players.

When you first start delving, Rares are usable on your Hoard, but you quickly get plenty of Ultra-Rares, so you might as well save the Gold. Incidentally, a good upgrade pattern uses about 40 Ultra-Rare treasures, and once you can spend the 8000-9000 Chaos Shards to get all of a Faction’s troops to 4x Mythic (usually takes about 5-6 Factions to reach this point), you’re simultaneously receiving about 60-70 Ultra-Rare treasures (and 100-120 Rares).

On the other side, I have 122 Orbs of Growth, and 32 Majors (after crafting both Zuul’Goth and Enraged Kurandara). Those 32 Majors count as about 45% of a Doomed (Mythic) Troop. There is no way I would ever want to craft (or recommend) 11 Epic Treasures. And even regular Orbs of Growth, used wisely, are worth at least 900 Souls.

I don’t know how they determined their values, but they are so way off, in the context of real play.

Proper Orb of Growth Economy

This is admittedly arbitrary, but I reckon 3 Orbs of Growth should create one Epic Treasure, and one Greater Orb of Growth should yield one Mythic Treasure. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

Even if I was starting the game right now, and needed to get all my Hoards to level 250-odd in order to be able to have a chance at Pure Faction level 500 without potions, there is zero value to me in any boost to Treasures lower than Epic. And to reach anything over Hoard level 155 (which is the target that used up all my Mythic Treasures) only Mythic Treasures are actually viable. I’d rather keep those 32 Greater Orbs of Growth for the next Doomed Troop that’s sure to come along.

Keep in mind that smart, early- to mid-game players are going to save most of their Orbs (especially Major Orbs) for Zuul’Goth. The only people who complain about too many Orbs of Growth are end-gamers!

I want to be really clear: the conversion rate I suggest has nothing to do with economic calculations; it is purely based on actual perceived value/usefulness in real game-play.


What’s Not in the Patch Notes

I’ve forgotten what I actually wanted to say in this section. The only thing I will say is that the Twelve Days of Christmas was clever, and much-appreciated.

However, I believe there were a number of things omitted from the patch notes that really should have been included.

What Else is Missing from the 5.3 Update

Salty said, on-stream, that there’s a bunch of quality-of-life improvements in the patch. There isn’t.

There are 5 QoL improvements in the patch. The Arena improvements could be counted as multiple (2-3), but 4 true QoL improvements were ignored for Arena.

Despite Salty’s repeated requests for Quality of Life suggestions, there are at least 100 outstanding QoL and User Interface issues that have not been addressed, nearly all of them dating back to the launch of a particular feature that never got revamped.

On top of that, someone pointed out that we have not had a single bug fix all year, aside from four or five game-stopping bugs (such as the Tower of Doom bug in the Patch Notes).

Kafka once pointed out that the great thing about a Live Service is that you can always go back and fix things. But this simply isn’t happening.

Many people will quit the game over this sort of thing, simply because these annoyances accumulate emotionally over time. So ignoring them is really bad business. This is especially the case now that the game has a almost reasonably-priced, regular, subscription payment (Campaign Passes). That means you are more likely to make money from end-game players, so their retention is more important than ever.


In any case, of the 9 items actually in the patch:

  • Warbands are behind a paywall for most players
  • Shrines are purely about dumb monetisation for dumb players
  • Tutorial Tweaks are great, but only affect new players, briefly
  • VIP Chest changes are basically irrelevant
  • Arena changes are excellent, but fundamentally incomplete
  • Troop balance changes are basically irrelevant
  • Boosted Ad Rewards are welcome but overdue
  • Green Orb conversion is priced with complete ignorance of game realities
  • The Tower of Doom Bug Fix is a major fix, for a bug introduced by the previous patch

This was communicated. Maybe not expressly that it would be in the next update but I also believe it was mentioned on stream as something she wanted to do for Xmas but I can’t 100% confirm that. I do remember it being a thing she had mentioned might be coming up.

This thread wasn’t meant for the minority group in this forum so I’ll stay silent on most and just nod silently in the corner as the mob starts to gather around the table with pitch forks and torches.

I will say though that using the argument of “welcome but overdue” is not a good argument. You can make that argument about every single change in the game. Pause menu speed being a great example. Whether the changes take 5 minutes or 5 years doesn’t matter, it got fixed. Your other points about things not being fixed is really the main points you should focus on.

Carry on moves out of the way for rabblers to come through

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Obligatory “you put way more into the analysis than they did with the 5.3 update” post.

carry on


Thanks, @ButtStallion for the feedback.

In the context of just having watched the update preview, the troop balance changes were really weird. I think they should have been held for the post-update update, for the very reasons Salty said. But yeah, not a big deal.

As for increased Ad Rewards, I was really pleasantly surprised to see this. It’s just that it didn’t feel in any way connected to the patch. It was only when I later read the Patch Notes that I understood.

You’re right, that saying it’s “overdue” is dumb. After all, I was happy to watch the ads before. I think I will edit that out.

I just have really mixed feelings about the recent patches. All the big stuff feels like it’s about monetisation, while the player-focussed changes seem to ignore the huge list of issues and annoyances Salty seems to constantly forget about. (Even that business, from the stream, about the ? icon being hard to hit on a mobile phone is something I reported when I started playing the game, over two years ago!)

Anyway, that’s enough from me.

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LMAO, @TheIdleOne

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Funny enough, I don’t think this was actually fixed, judging by the accompanying messages after the most recent ToD.

Also, this was a gem in the 5.25 update:


My biggest gripe with this update is that War Coins are basically unobtainable in game for most players, which means that Warbands basically don’t exist. This follows the trend established by deeds, deed books, epic vault keys, higher kingdom levels, etc. Please stop introducing new features that we can’t use for an arbitrary amount of time.

Is there any confirmation in the game files that the new War Coin AB tasks are live in the game, and how many coins they provide?

Yeah, the update completely broke the previous band-aid fix (PS4) and caused frequent crashing.


I have obtained a small number of War Coins on my main account. I can’t remember if it was a Daily Deal, or the 5.3 calendar.

My alt is able to buy one Warband, but again, I wasn’t paying attention to how I got over 50.

No sight of an Adventure Task yet.

I believe that 35 were given on launch, which are useless until you get more from another source. I’m not optimistic about the “player level” offers because they really shouldn’t appear for endgame players who don’t need Warbands. I assume most people just want the banners, then War Coins will be dead content.

It’s just odd that new players can earn them through kingdom quests, and existing players are at the mercy of Adventure Board RNG for yet another currency.


They just don’t want to give us new stuff anymore. Anything new now falls under at least one of the following categories:

  • Paywalled
  • Useless
  • Broken
  • Literally unobtainable

Campaigns are stupid. Warbands are stupid on a number of levels.
Not fixing basic UI things is stupid. Not fixing really easy yet impactful things like weapon affixes is stupid.

If they want me to stop saying everything they do is stupid, they’ll have to do something that isn’t stupid.

I mean, okay, fine, they did a slew of balance changes. Good effort. But next to zero impact.

And the forthcoming faction team features three out of four troops change the team order for what will obviously be the most fun mirror match ever


Wanted to add a hidden feature that I didn’t see mentioned here:

  • Major orbs of chaos have a 1% chance of dropping Orbs of Power

Except this feature is likely justified based on Shrines allowing whales to buy infinite lootboxes Greater Chaos Orbs.

I bet people do buy them. If you’re a whale one Power Orb away from a craft, it could be tempting. Lootboxes are intended to prey on peoples’ gambling tendencies already and I don’t think something like this would have been implemented without being thoroughly vetted/researched/etc.

There are already some significant in-game spenders who have bought Shrines despite no current need for Power Orbs. Not me, but I’m personally grateful for such spenders.

I’m purposely avoiding the term “whale,” as I have heard that it is typically used as a pejorative. Is that the case or do I have bad information?