In the last 4.7 Preview stream, players were asked “How would you like to spend money on Gems of War?” I think this is an awesome question to ask the community. It was noted that “cosmetics” aren’t really feasible, so “more avatars” aren’t coming. That out of the way, here’s my take on the current situation and how I would like to see it changed.
First, let’s go over all the ways players can spend money to support Gems of War.
Not included in the list: Guild Clan Keys, Steam/Android exclusive pets, and Flash offers, and the Guild Clan Keys are getting a major upgrade in 4.7, so I didn’t feel like listing the old version here
Now… I’m sitting at level 9 VIP. I have absolutely no problem supporting Gems of War. I play it all the time, I’ve spent an average of $30 a month. Of everything I listed above though, I’ve only ever purchased Growth Pack 2 (for the random Mythic Troop, and thank god it wasn’t a duplicate), the Deathknight Armor (one of the best purchases, if not the best, you can make), and several purchases of Ring of Wonder (that’s on hold at the moment though). I also nabbed the Steam pet when it was discounted by 90% in this past November sale. It was a steal at $5 because it still gave 250 VIP points (which you would normally get for a $50 purchase).
I also purchase Flash offers if they are appealing to me. I like the Vault key flash offers because they are typically 50 Gems per $1, which is the high end of gem offers, with 45 gems per 1 being the baseline for most Flash offers. The lowest Flash Offer for gems per was 25 Gems per $1 – it was offered at 50 Gems for $2 + 3 Vault Keys, but I’ve only seen that once, all the other times it’s 100 Gems for $2 plus 1 Vault Key.
Some other Flash offers have been 1800 Gems for $50 + 1 Orb of Power. There was an offer at Halloween for $25 for 750 Gems plus +2 Minor Orbs of Wisdom and +2 Minor Orbs of Ascension. We’ve also seen a 225 Gem + 2 Deeds of Magic for $5, and some 100 (or 90) Gems + 1 VIP Key for $2. There was also a pet offering with 5 Crimson Batlings, 15 Purple Pet Food, and 250 Gems for $5.
I think the Flash Offers truly show what should actually be realistic prices of most things. I think the cost of nearly everything in the above list is utterly ridiculous, that or what you’re getting is terrible, especially things like the $25 Rare Troop, where you don’t even get enough troops to upgrade him fully to 20, and the Weapon Upgrade Pack, and the weekly Bundles. I think these offers look really trashy.
Salty: I really, really appreciated what you said in the stream about Gems of War being a Free to Play game and wanting to keep it far away from ever becoming a Pay-to-Win. And I understand that the game needs to make money. That’s why I do support it, because I get entertainment from it and I want to see it thrive.
One of the difficulties when it comes to selling things in Free-to-Play games is that if you don’t have things available at high prices (like the offers that cost $50-100), then other things don’t have comparatively high value. For instance, 50 gems per dollar in flash offers only sounds good because the amount of gems you get for $1 everywhere else is atrociously low: The Motherlode at $100 for 1500 Gems is only 15 gems per $1. Even when it scales with VIP level, it never reaches a point that I would ever buy it. So when I see a Flash Offer giving me a much better deal, it looks great. In the best Flash Deal, 50 gems for $1 would get me 5000 gems in The Motherlode, but even at VIP level 9 with a 45% gem bonus, I only get 2175 gems from The Motherlode… so it’s not a very attractive deal.
I’d like to outline just why I won’t spend money on certain things, because I think that’s really important. A friend of mine wanted me to play a game with him, but I looked at the price and it was $60. I said just wait, because a sale is coming up and it will go down. Sure enough it went down to $35. I bought it and I’ve sunk a lot of time into it – not Gems of War time (I’m at 4516 Hours on Steam…), but I really like this new game I got. And it cost me $35.
So when I think about spending money in Gems of War, and I think a new player would think the same thing, I consider a few things:
- How long is what I’m buying going to last? Deathknight Armor for instance lasts forever and is a one time purchase, so you could take the cost of it and divide it over every month you play. Plus, it’s an item you want to buy as soon as possible if you know you’re going to play for a long time, because I looked at it as a “Here’s my $50 for Gems of War.” Like, the game is free to play, but there’s obviously a cost associated to create it, and most games are around that price range, so for a one time purchase, it’s really good.
- That all said… Gems of War gets new content all the time, which is why a simple one time purchase doesn’t fund it. Even if everyone in the game bought Deathknight Armor, it wouldn’t fund the game alone. That’s why there are things like Flash Offers and Ring of Wonder. And I am very aware of the concept of “Whales” – people who supposedly fund the game with their massive spending to offset people who don’t spend anything. I am firmly against this. I think there should be ways for people to spend more if they want, but I also think everyone should be able to feel like they’re getting a good deal.
- Regret - if you buy something and at any point regret it, you’re not at fault, the game is. If I spend $50 on this Legendary Behemoth troop, and then I use my 50 keys and get another Behemoth, I might think “Wow, well, I wouldn’t have gotten that second Behemoth without spending the $50 to get those additional 50 Event Keys.” But if I use 50 keys and get all epics and lower, and then someone does a legendary task and, look at that, everyone in the guild gets a Behemoth, I’d be pretty upset, because now I’ve spent $50 for what? 2 Celestial and 10 Arcane Shield Traitstones? Well, I couldn’t farmed that… 4500 Souls? That doesn’t even scratch the surface of leveling up the one legendary I just got, let alone the troops I get from the 50 event keys. The only sure-fire thing I get in fact from the $50 is the Fiery Claw, but I don’t get any ingots to level it up. In short, my $50 is an impulse buy on this that, when my senses come to me, I’ll regret. You don’t get enough souls or traitstones to level up Behemoth, no ingots for the weapons, and a weapon that, honestly, never gets used (Fiery Claw is not a contender for best weapons in the game…)
- How does this purchase impact my game right now? As an end-game player, I have almost every troop (missing 9 mythics, Zuul’Goth, and one Legendary that I skipped out on using event keys to get). So any purchase involving troops is getting skipped. Any “buy this weapon you’re missing” is getting skipped, because I have all the weapons I need, I don’t need to be a completionist if it means spending money on weapons I will literally never use (Sun Chakram Epic weapon is available this week for $5. When would I ever use this?) Now my wife also plays this game, and she has like 3 mythic troops, and only one of them is even traited and fully leveled. But even she wouldn’t buy this weapon, because she already has legendary weapons and a few mythic class weapons that are far superior to this Epic weapon. So you talk about not being able to sell cosmetic items because of the cost, but you’re selling things people will never use too. Maybe it doesn’t take as much design time, because the weapon is already programmed, you’re just collecting $5 from people who think they’ll use it (and won’t, which goes back to that Regret topic), and people who want to finish their collection.
I also heard on the preview stream that a player said they had orbs of ascension ready for the new guardians. That’s something I did for half the old guardians, so I could get back to collecting regular troops from guild chests. But you know what? I wish I hadn’t. Because at the time, I wasn’t considering how hard it is to get orbs of ascension (~10% drop rate when you get any Orb) and how many you need for Zuul’Goth (8 Orbs of Power, which is 24 Major Orbs of Ascension, which is 96 Minor Orbs of Ascension).
When you consider that, flash sales that literally sell an Orb of Power seem really good, but I would -REGRET- it immensely if I actually used an Orb of Power on a troop instead of saving it for crafting Zuul’Goth, and the people who already have Zuul’Goth have millions and millions of Souls and Traitstones and don’t need to use Orbs of Power on troops. So in a way, there are lots of ways that the game “tricks” players.
For instance, when I started playing, I really wanted to level some of my troops, and I thought Diamonds were kind of useless (4000 to craft a mythic? I’ll never get that much!!) so I used my Diamonds to craft souls and even a Legendary troop. Wow, I wish I had those Diamonds back… because when you’re down to just getting a few missing mythics, you want every Diamond you can get. As you get more and more mythics, the chances of getting a duplicate mythic increases, so you’re left with crafting mythics to get specific ones.
So what are the reasons we spend money in this game?
- To prolong our own entertainment. We might buy gems so we can participate more in an event to help ourselves or the guild.
- To help guild members – either through events or guild items.
- To support the game.
So without further ado… I know it’s been a long ride, but here are some ways I would spend money and a few recommendations:
Deathknight Armor is a giant hint for you guys. People like bonuses because you aren’t selling resources directly, you are selling a way that scales with a players own investment of time. But it also can’t be something that allows a player to “win” more. (This is one of the reasons people were upset that Flash Offers were going to include Deeds. Players who purchased them would get the kingdom bonuses faster.) Ring of Wonder is pretty fun because it’s like Deathknight Armor (well, half of it anyway), and you get some other stuff on top of it.
Something I would like to see with Ring of Wonder is for the Gems to scale with the VIP bonus (so instead of 200 gems, I would get 290, 45% more cuz of VIP level), and instead of Gem Keys give me Event Keys. Event Keys are great because they allow players to target the troops they want.
I’d also pay for Ring of Wonder alternatives. Like a Ring of Travels:
- Higher chance to encounter Gnomes
- 1 Additional Class XP per battle
- Additional Mythstone Bonus (4 kingdoms would be 20%, one might be 40%).
I don’t want to buy troops, I don’t want to buy weapons, I don’t want to buy stats, but I will pay to increase the “fun” I’m having in the game, if that makes any sense. Hope my feedback helps even a little bit!