The New Player Experience After 112 Levels

Hi all,

I got a Nintendo Switch on Black Friday, and since there is no way to get an account to migrate over, I figured I would start a new one so I could enjoy my new toy. After 112 levels, and very many hours, here’s how the new player experience has worked for me.

(Note: Gems of War is truly best in class. There is no Match 3 game even close to it. The collecting and variety are exceptional, the gameplay is compelling, and I have had well over 2000 hours of fun playing it on my PC/Android account. The following is a lot of criticism, but only because I see ways it could be improved, not because the game is bad.)

  1. Troops - Holy cow there are a lot of troops. You are inundated with new troops week after week, but don’t use almost any of them. Most Common and Uncommon troops are just bad/weak/useless, and you have to spend your souls wisely. There’s no ‘testing them out’ so unless a troop seems amazing, you cannot afford to spend your precious souls on sub-par troops.

  2. Souls - Souls are a slow slog in the beginning with Arena being your only way to guarantee yourself a chunk of them. You cannot afford to level even a tiny fraction of your troops, so you are stuck investing in a very few integral ones. (Alchemist, Apothecary, and the like) If you are lucky enough to get a Legendary (which I did at Level 65) the cost to level it is truly astounding, but the power level is so over the top that you cannot afford to let it sit on the bench.

  3. Traitstones - Traiting a troop is…well, it’s best ignored. At low levels, you have no easy way to grind stones and the low level traits are pretty much without value. 2 Extra Health for Humans is nothing worth saving up for, and Arcane Traitstones for better traits are dumb luck at best.

  4. Gnomes - Thank goodness for Gnomes. Those fellows are a godsend and … wait, he escaped. New player teams rarely close the deal in time and most gnomes are lost. Just a tad frustrating when they represent shortcuts that could save you hours of grind. 5000 Souls from a Soul Gnome…I dream about that.

  5. PvP - Even your early teams fare pretty well until you get dumped into the REAL pool at Level 50. After that, 3-Trophy PvP might as well not exist. Level 3 is supposed to be challenging, but at low levels it’s just a one-shot extravaganza with 12k teams in abundance and your “Do nine damage” troops sitting there looking useless. PvP is still a good way to get gold, but the gold ramp makes little sense and you are often playing 500-700 gold matches, which does not add up quickly.

  6. Kingdoms - That sweet sweet gold doesn’t go very far leveling kingdoms, and there are a LOT of kingdoms to level. Kingdoms open up in chunks when you finish their questlines. Each questline takes about an hour, and you MUST do them in order to progress to open up alternate game modes. This is the least fun time sink in the game. (Soul grind is a close second)

  7. Underworld - Underworld is an amazing place to get some good troops and experience a new type of gameplay. Oh, it’s also gated behind 25+ kingdom questlines. Using math I should have that unlocked by the year 2037 and enjoy the benefits it offers.

  8. Battle Narrator - MANA SURGE! This guy keeps the hype going letting you know when you are gaining mana faster than normal. But he is also a big weirdo whispering Epic and Legendary and Feel My Wrath at completely random times. It’s pretty off-putting. There’s not even rhyme or reason to it, so it’s just confusing.

  9. Guilds - a low level player can get into a 10k guild pretty easily, but until you figure that out you could be stuck in a dead guild for weeks. Guilds are a big necessity in Gems of War, but they are fully designed around “The rich get richer” instead of encouraging the most active parts of the community to accept new players.

  10. Guild Events -
    a) Guild Wars - Big guild versus big guild is super fun. Lots of variation of opponents and the feel that you can make a difference. Your guild versus one guy with a 12k team…well that’s a lot less fun.
    b) Invasion - Towers will quickly teach you that newbies are not welcome in Invasion.
    c) Tower of Doom - Excellent game mode. Very fun. Team effort all the way.
    d) Raid - Okay let’s see what troops I have that fit the Raid…um, none. Wait I have two and they are Level 1. See you next week I guess.

  11. Other Events -
    a) Bounty - Super fun. Best game mode. Players of any level can feel good and get prizes.
    b) Pet Rescue - Pets are a fun collectable part of the game…I’m assuming. Even though they don’t give big bonuses, getting them as a low level player is very unlikely. I have zero so far.
    c) Class Events - A great addition to give you a chance at classes you don’t have access to.
    d) Dungeon - I’m sure it will be fun later when I have any chance to get past the first battle.
    e) Soulforge - an excellent way to get troops you don’t have. Both Legendaries/Mythics over time and random lower level troops also…except I don’t have access to the Soulforge yet. The design decision to lock this away for so long makes no sense to me.

  12. Adventure Board - I love the idea and most of the execution, but I’ve been trapped on “Unlock the Underworld” for two weeks. I would much rather have those sweet sweet “kill x troops, get gems” quests instead. If there is a way to skip the new player quests, I have not found it, which means it is not obvious.

Gems of War has grown to a huge game with a lot of depth. The new player experience has been changed over and over, and I think it is not quite there yet. There are so many currencies to grind over your career that souls should not still be this hard.

Bear with me on this idea, because it will reduce a LOT of frustration: remove souls from leveling troops. Like Arena, start all troops at Level 15. Troops can still be increased through Traits, Ascension, Kingdom progress, medals, etc. Encourage players to use all of their troops right off the bat.

Finally, Ragnagord should be given to all players after their first battle. I hope I get a Mythic soon and it’s not Undine.

Thank you.
Love, Zepp.

Gem’makin Bobsled Team 4eva. For any GBT peeps reading this, I promise I did not play my main account ANY less during this Switch time. (Shoutout to Let Gem Eat Cake on Switch!)


You made me do this :joy: and this :ok_hand: and this :100: a lot :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:.




:100: This so much!!!


:ok_hand: This! :ok_hand: This! :ok_hand: This!

100%!!! I struggle to believe being matched against 12k+ teams is intentional, but even if so, I think it’s a little silly.



:ok_hand: Mmhm!


This has been my :joy::ok_hand::100::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: reaction report. You have done the community a great service!


I had a small discussion about this today. Which led me to immediately reiterate that I can’t recommend people pick up this game as of something like three or four years ago.

I reiterate this again now.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t the devs stated multiple times that their primary focus is on the new player experience? Based on what I’m reading here, it appears they have missed the mark. We already know that veteran players are low on their priority list because it makes up such a low percentage of the players.

It’s a shame to read this. If we can’t recommend new players to the game it’s just the beginning of the end.

I suggest the devs do some soul searching or, I don’t know, play their own game. It seems they are so out of touch, it’s baffling.

Here’s an idea. How about creating a Player Experience Survey through Google docs. I remember something like this being done in the past for Guilds and Guild Leaders. A survey would provide valuable data to the devs that could be used to “right the ship” so to speak and take the guess work out of their road mapping.


Not wrong.

Also not wrong.


I guess it’s partially intended, so newer players will feel the need to spend real money for mythics/gems, which is sad


I’ve recommended the game to several new players. All of them were totally turned off by how complicated it is with no explanations. Like getting thrown into the deep end as a way to learn how to swim.


That’s my point. I’ve also tried to recommend this game to friends of mine but they get overwhelmed and frustrated so quickly they stop playing and move on to something else.


I am really pleased that new players such as the person creating this post are enjoying the game. I am also unsurprised that some new players can quickly become frustrated or overwhelmed. I truly believe that successive updates do very little to assist the development of newer players. There are so many demands on fundamental resources (gems, gold, souls, stones etc) that it must be difficult to prioritise. I don’t envy that predicament. Also, to compete in many events etc there is the need to buy potions etc so there is definitely the incentive to spend some cash. The game needs new players but I am not sure the way the game has evolved and is evolving is the best approach if the aim is to attract and retain new players.


Thanks for taking one for the team and giving this a try! A lot of what you said is what I’ve been suspicious is the case, but couldn’t confirm without actually restarting.

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Actually, @Zepp was creating a new account on the switch to see the new player experience.

I do agree in that making the game more and more complicated makes a bigger and bigger barrier to entry. Every daily or weekly event needs at least some competent team selections, which, with the ever expanding resource pool, gets harder and harder.


My best recommendation is that the devs should collect all the kingdoms that gate other parts of the game and have those in the first zone. The kingdoms to unlock underworld, soulforge, treasure maps, etc. should all be in the first group. Seems like that kingdom zone change leaves beginners with less than half a game.

Once you get an effective team like rowanne, you can use that until at least level 400. Focus upgrades on that one good team and getting kingdoms up to 10 and then multiple stars.

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I like throwing people off the deep end. I take issue to it being freezing cold antarctic waters filled with predators. And, uhhh, screw it its full of acid too or something.


So, I see what the devs were attempting by gating content behind progression. If you expose too much of the game at once, you risk overwhelming new players. Perhaps there need to be more tutorials, or different kinds of tutorials. Maybe a very basic Delve at level 10 when the mode unlocks; or a set of dungeons (again low level) that points out the availability of the gem offer and gives the player a 50-gem bonus (once only). Given the chance to experience these modes fully, they could be opened earlier in the progression.


Same, I recommend the game to a friend a few week ago and he have already drop it after a few day. For some reason the devs are just making the game harder for everyone, not just endgamer but also the new guy who just pick the game up and few left behind

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There is also the oft forgotten Treasure Hunt mini game that can provide much needed souls (and other resources) early on in the game.

OP’s assessment of a new player’s experience is pretty much on point. There’s just so much to learn and (want) to do, that a new player can easily become overwhelmed.

But, with a more deliberate approach, just maybe the experience could be different?

My advice to any new player is to take some time working on bolstering one’s account before embarking on much of what Gems of War has to offer.

Also, the Treasure Hunt mini game (even in its current state) can be your friend early on. Trust.


More or less my advice to new players has always been to treat GoW like a game that takes at least six months before it starts opening doors. To some, a long-term game is very appealing.

So I kind of reject @Shimrra’s view though it’s a valid approach to game design. I prefer a game that applies training wheels and is honest that things like Raid/Invasion are just going to be beyond your ken unless you get weird lucky with your troop pulls.

I think it’s worth identifying the vicious cycle for newbies is something like:

  • Certain events require troops + resources or it’s not worth your time to even make an attempt.
  • Guild events are among those events.
  • So guilds who take on newbies are at a disadvantage and may not get as many rewards.
  • Those rewards are what a newbie needs to get troops + resources.

So I’ve suspected for a while the message to newbies is, “Life sucks until you get lucky.”


I mostly agree, but there are several catchup mechanisms like Mang and Titan that let players punch far above their weight class. The problem is that a new player won’t know the random combination of masteries to beeline for if they want an early Mang, will play as the starting class for weeks, etc.

I caught up extremely quickly when I started playing a year ago, but I was using the Internet to learn how to play optimally. Most people don’t do that for a random f2p match 3 game.

Edit: It’s also very helpful if you start doing Mang delves ASAP. Delve payouts are disproportionately valuable for new players. You can easily get piles of 3000 souls, 30k gold, high tier ingots, etc.


I think the perspective of a new player who already knows the in-and-outs of the game is completely different from an absolute newbie to the game. It can still be fun to be anxious about what’s coming rather than wondering about how long until there.

We might all be missing that point of view here.


This is a BIT of an exaggeration. Within the first month of playing, new players should be able to get Rowanne or a legendary troop, allowing them to tackle non-scaling content at their level. I started playing 7ish months ago, and though I probably play more than the average newbie, I didn’t really feel at a loss for troops after that first month or so.

The early levels of raids/invasions are definitely not closed off for new players either, and it allows them to contribute somewhat to the group objective. Yeah, they can’t contribute enough to be in an endgame guild, which would accelerate their progress, but I don’t see that as that too big of a systemic flaw.

Agree that this is a problem. Why the weapon rewards for mastery levels isn’t more transparent is baffling, given how important they are to new players.