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Here's What a Minecraft Producer Says About Gems of War

Today I discovered that Marc Watson, a lead producer of major video game titles such as Minecraft, has just tried out Gems of War.

Here’s what he had to say.

Interestingly, it follows the same line of thinking as most of the long-term forum users demonstrate. I wonder why - could it be that we have a good reason to be unhappy about the game’s increasingly monitization-based direction?

Nah, of course not. Keep grabbin that sweet, sweet moolah, team.


I just wish they would stop trying to squeeze more and more money out of the relatively small current playerbase and instead try to grow that playerbase. How? By focussing on new ways to make the game more fun and word of mouth will grow the game for you.

I don’t know anybody that would recommend this game to a friend currently. A couple years ago I would have but not now.


Oh great another famous person in the video game industry tried Gems of War. So now the actual players of Gems of War will get stuck with a ridiculously scaled achievement named after him.

Keep in mind boys and girls…

Came a year? (I’m guessing because I know it took me a while to complete it) after this…


It’s been years since I would have recommended anyone start this game. Not enough catch up mechanics.

But when I first started, and a year into playing? I used to encourage all my friends to at least give it a try, because it was free and Bejeweled is fun and so is collecting cards.


Same. My first year in the game I was recommending it to everyone I knew who played mobile games. Once the nerfing started to really get under my skin I slowed down my recommendations and was careful to include that it looked like the game was becoming a lot less generous to free players (and let’s be honest, most people who play a F2P have no intention of paying, so this is important). Eventually I quit talking about the game altogether.


Always an important reminder that predatory monetization is a choice, made by certain companies and enabled by those who work in (and those who make excuses for) said companies.

Having checked their upcoming ‘game’ to observe the evolution of this company’s philosophy when building a new product, it has duly met the expectations that their product is primarily a shop: on a positive note, they are not hiding that fact, and therefore anyone investing their time and money in that product would not suffer from the bait & switch that many customers may have experienced during their time at GoW.


:blush: :vulcan_salute:


Unfortunately anyone still playing it; who enjoyed it a lot once ; knows how predatory it has become - we play on but we certainly aren’t encouraging others to start it


What makes this topic even more ironic is that I still regularly recommend Minecraft to other people.


IMHO, GoW is a bit on the intrusive side but is not really predatory or deceptive, except for chests of course. You have about right selection of paying for what you actually need/want and for a chance to get something that you want or might not want, which are more or less clearly stated.

What I wanted to say is that the game does not say something like “Pay 10 bucks to unlock mythic card X” and sells you some random keys instead. Instead, it says "“Pay 10 bucks for a chance to unlock mythic card X”. Which is kind of marginally OK.

I wish GoW has a direct legal age restriction and gambling warning though, which it might eventually get due to overwhelming reliance on chests and random things for progression.

Also, Minecraft is not ftp, which essentially means that Marc’s opinion is largely irrelevant as a fellow developer. It does count as an opinion of generally influential guy though.


It doesn’t sound like he was posting from a developer standpoint. His second tweet states he tried the games out “so he could learn about game types he doesn’t play” and it read like he gave his opinions accordingly.

Agreed. I do feel gacha/lootbox games of all sorts should contain a “gambling” descriptor and that if a game contains gambling mechanics - specifically gambling mechanics you can purchase with real money - it should not be marketed to children, the same way that (in the US at least) children are not allowed into casinos. FIFA, for example, is listed as suitable for ages 3+ and is a notorious gambling simulator under the guise of a football/soccer game. EA has infamously tried to rebrand their lootboxes as “surprise mechanics” to sidestep the increasing stigma.

Gacha mechanics are absolutely predatory. That’s why they’re so profitable. If one player is able to resist the urge of “just one more pull” that’s fine, but that player isn’t the target audience.


I continue to play Gems of War because I personally find it enjoyable and I have everything in the game unlocked that I need to. I have all the troops, all delves, all kingdoms maxed, my pet level is 2175, my hero level is 1576, and I have all classes at 100.

Would I recommend the game to anyone else? Absolutely not, especially given how the game continues to progress. Every patch there is a NEW way for them to ask for money: campaigns (and I do buy the $10 campaign pass, although I haven’t purchased this one’s yet), shrines ($10 LOL), Warbands, now “Tiered Flash Offers” coming, all on top of their already hilariously bad Shop sales – Gems, gold, souls, maps, legendary troops, weapons… all for insanely, outrageous prices that make the game look BAD. Look at any of the Rare troop bundles for $25, the traitstones packs for $35, ANY of their bundles and offerings are just insanely bad. They’re still pedaling 250 epic ingots and 5000 souls for $25.

And the only reason to even buy the $10 campaign pass is because it guarantees a mythic troop. As more and more mythic troops get added to the game, it will become more and more difficult to “find” them randomly in chests (on top of saving your keys for the monthly mythics anyway).

Honestly, one day I really hope to be able to quit this game. I think I’m truly just addicted because I’m afraid of missing out. I’ve logged in every day for over 3 years. That’s probably not healthy.



I can see some argument for the game being predatory (even though I don’t fully agree with it) but the way I see it if you’re a responsible human being and you teach your kids to be said responsible human beings the game being predatory is a non issue.

So a guy who’s looked at something for a little while, may not even be his cup of tea, and it’s supposed to be significant? I should follow his advice for tea or coffee as well then?

About as relevant as… some rubbish collector telling me how safe or not Covid-19 vaccines are.

**Edit - In terms of relevance, he has just described the entire class of micro-transaction based free games. Pokemon Go, Clash of Clans, Asphalt 9 etc. Every single one can empty your wallets, and can “destroy you”, if you’ve never been taught to be sensible and responsible - blame your parents. Where is the “GoW specific” and relevant comment?

FWIW flagged as off-topic. Does not belong in “#gameplay-chat”.

It’s not off-topic. It’s literally a game developer talking about the gameplay loops of Gems of War, which is as valuable as the opinion as anyone else who posts here, at the very least.

EDIT to add that I also find this an interesting perspective if only for the fact that this “new player” (to the genre, but not to games in general) noticed the recent monetization efforts over all other things.

When I started playing the game, what I noticed were loops I liked: collecting cards, crafting and improving cards, accomplishing group tasks.

When he started playing, what stood out were the predatory, obvious attempts to get him to pull out his wallet.

I think that comparison is striking, and troubling.

First impressions are important. And Gems might not be giving off a good one in its current state…


Precisely. This guy is by no means a mobile game expert. But he is a major game publisher; most of us have nothing to do with the gaming industry professionally. If his opinion means nothing, most users on this forum also don’t get to have a meaningful opinion. If anything, he offers a unique and critical view.

Definitely agree with what @Magnusimus is saying about first impressions. GoW used to look so different from other mobile games in this genre - no flashy ads in your face, just a lot of cool troops and features. Those days are long gone and getting further away each and every monetization-heavy update… Which, let’s be honest, is most, if not all, of the updates we’ve been getting lately.


I think you’re being a bit too defensive here. He’s talking from the perspective of someone who’s unfamiliar with this genre and style of monetization. It’s not dissimilar to my experience with gems.

I started playing this game because it was reminiscent of puzzle quest and it was free. I didn’t even know what gacha was back then. I suspect there are a lot more people like us out there who are in the same boat.

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My bridge into the game was “made by the people who made Puzzle Quest”. The design of the old World Map felt Puzzle-Questy enough where that helped pull me in. I got excited about doing the kingdom quest chains and starting to collect everything, looking forward to the day I could sit on top of the proverbial mountain with my collection of shiny things. I knew there was a shop but it was more of an afterthought (although I did buy the DK armor pretty quickly when I realized its value) and wasn’t right up in your business 24/7.

Some of us “oldtimers” might be a little cynical, but we could also stand to try and understand the impressions of a brand new player - especially if that player isn’t a veteran of gacha games, and therefore wouldn’t understand the gist of how they work regarding monetization.

No, GoW is not the only gacha game out there, and yes, there are more predatory ones. However, GoW is the game this person chose to experience, and he experienced it from the perspective of a brand new player to the genre, and the most powerful thing he noticed was the monetization.

That’s telling, in my opinion.


Wait until he plays Puzzle Quest 3.It really shows whats wrong with this company.Huge chest waiting times,extremely limited chest space,insanely greedy shop,horrible story powercreep.Its so money hungry,i dont think they should even release it,its DOA at its current state.Pvp is also limited to 6 battles/day,they really try to be one of those gacha games,that milk the playerbase,then shut down,because everyone quits.


Adding Campaign Mythics now means we average around 1.3 new Mythics per month. It is literally impossible to craft them at that rate, even for people who buy the daily Dungeon cash bundle, if I’m not mistaken.

This is what they’re counting on. I suspect these “$10 mythics” are currently propping up their F2P business to a large degree.

“It’s only $10.” Okay, but it’s also a vote of approval for what the game is doing. As long as people who buy the stuff understand that, cool, spend your money however you like.


Plus all the components the campaign added for Duskbringer and all the other campaign weapons that will be added in the future. Diamond income has been effectively ‘nerfed’ by more than a third of what it used to be, even if you get lucky on mythic pulls.

Add all the other resource sinks that have been added in the past 1 1/2 years and things look pretty daunting to new(er) players…

The medal system raised the mountain of souls from something like ~7 million to a cool ~70 million - troop releases aren’t slowing down either.

Tower of Doom now cycles once every 66 weeks and colours aren’t fixed either. Somebody who just started and missed brown ToD might have to wait TWO AND A HALF YEARS for the next brown ToD.

There’s more to be said for guilds and increased gold requirements, traitstones, the myriad of monetisation schemes flung in your face in your first 15 minutes, gem sinks, campaigns being a net negative for F2P, being forced to spend jewels needed for weapons on chores, the pet pool getting ever more diluted and on and on and on.

The only change in the recent past that has made things better for newer players without taking something else away is the 1% chance for Power Orbs from events.

Are people really surprised someone who makes games might be put off because they can’t find much ‘game’ in Gems of War?