The Soulforge Fiasco, an analysis

First, an overview

Let’s start with some numbers:

  • The Soulforge requires 330 Runes to fully upgrade. Cursed Gnomes drop 10 - 15 Runes, for an average of 12.5.

  • Cursed Gnomes are rare. While the true numbers haven’t been revealed, player reports suggest that Cursed Gnomes show up roughly every 500 fights on average. The “celebration boost” likely doubled the chance to find one, making the standard rate roughly one in every 1000 fights.

  • Infinity Plus Two once claimed that the average player fights 25 battles each day. This includes Dungeons (no gnomes), Quests (no gnomes), Challenges (no gnomes), Delves (no gnomes), World Events (no gnomes), Boss Raid (no gnomes), Invasion (no gnomes), Tower of Doom (no gnomes) and Bounty (no gnomes). A generous estimation of the number of fights allowing gnomes would be 10, for sake of simplicity.

So, how long will it take the average player to open up the whole Soulforge?

  • 330 Runes / 12.5 Runes from each Cursed Gnome = 27 Cursed Gnomes required
  • 1000 fights / 10 fights each day = one Cursed Gnome each three months
  • 27 Cursed Gnomes at three months each = almost 7 years

Good news though, there’s probably going to be a few days each year with a higher chance to find Cursed Gnomes, like during Vault Events. Let’s be unusually optimistic and assume that the average player only needs a total of 5 years to get there, this really helps to appreciate this part better:

It’s worth noting that the average player has only unlocked the ability to craft everything within the Soulforge at this point. After 5 years of preparation, the average player can now finally begin with the real work, farming a few more years worth of Runes to actually craft something. Don’t we all love stories with a happy ending.

Second, an attempt to salvage the wreckage

While the 0.1% of unreasonably active players will require less than 5 years to fully unlock the Soulforge, it’s probably not a good idea to tailor this whole feature to their play style.

1.) Unlocking Soulforge levels isn’t a goal for players, buying something in the Soulforge is. Which makes it an Exceptionally Bad Idea to require players to spend the very same currency needed to buy anything at all on unlocking. It’s like offering to sell something in your local grocery store, except that you first have to spend a few years of income on a Grocery Admittance Badge. And it doesn’t help that the peddler doing his rounds sells half of the stuff way cheaper anyway with no strings attached.

The kill counter system to upgrade the forge up to level 10 worked well. Players could make progress in any game mode, each day, in a reliable way, without having to waste hours on the hope that some secret spawn rates actually got configured correctly for once. Those in a hurry could still throw gems at it. Levels 11 - 20 should work the same. Possibly slap some huge kill counters on to make it take a long while, just don’t make it use up the Runes required for actually crafting anything. Change the one-shot recipes to consume a minor amount of Runes instead.

2.) Look at the recipe costs, especially for items that require repeated crafting:

  • Crafting medals requires 5 medals one rarity tier lower, which is overpriced enough on its own to make players avoid it. When upgrading troops, a medal can already be replaced with 3 medals one rarity tier lower. Crafting also asks for Souls and Celestial Traitstones on top, plus several heavily gated Runes. Is this a trap for those mathematically challenged?
  • Crafting a Forge Scroll requires 100 Writs. We get 10 of those every couple of weeks as Ultra-Rare Adventure Board task. It also asks for Souls and Celestial Traitstones on top, plus 5 heavily gated Runes. How are players ever supposed to be able to craft 55 Forge Scrolls to upgrade a single Doomed/Cursed weapon, let alone several dozen of them?
  • Crafting the cosmetic pet requires Souls, Celestial Traistones and a whopping 10 heavily gated Runes. For a single copy, so those actually into collecting visual fluff that doesn’t provide any gameplay benefit whatsoever can feel the pain 31 times, while ascending the pet to max level.

If you really do need to prevent players from using the Soulforge more than a few times each year, for consumables that are actually needed in large quantities, at least make the extra cost on top of the artificial bottleneck resource reasonable. A special occasion shouldn’t need to feel special in a bad way.

3.) Make Runes obtainable somewhat reliably. Possible options:

  • Add a single Rune to each Vault battle reward.
  • Replace the Daemon Gnome (what is it even doing there?) in Epic Vault battles with a Cursed Gnome.
  • Make a Cursed Gnome battlecrasher show up each day, capped at 1.
  • Replace a reward in the 7 day login calendar with Runes.

To whoever is in charge of balancing the numbers:

Try to imagine the following scenario. Your kid asks you when they’ll be able to afford their own place. You think for a second and then choose between one of two answers:

A) Kid, if you keep working hard you WILL be able to afford your own place after N years of steady pay. You’ll get there eventually, kiddo. pat on the head
B) Kid, if you keep working hard you MIGHT be able to afford your own place. Sometimes you’ll get paid. Sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll get paid triple, sometimes you won’t get paid for years on end. Good luck, kiddo. shrugs

Which one of these answers is more likely to encourage your kid to WANT to work for their future? Which one is more likely to make them want to throw in the towel and quit at the tender age of 7?

The point is: By making a resource as incredibly rare as runes, you are hoping to retain absolute control over progression while the very few that get EXCEPTIONALLY lucky serve as an example for everyone else to keep working the hamster wheel.

And those who get frustrated by the hamster wheel because there is NO measurable, appreciable progress in months or even years? Well, they can pay to get off the wheel (for a little while anyway)! Or quit. Or better yet, do both - stop clogging our servers, but make sure to renew your monthly subscription.

You are not controlling progression better by making things rarer, you are not adding to the game’s excitement by being as opaque as you are, you are pointlessly trying to increase FOMO and frustration levels for 98% of players by being unpredictable with resources.

You could’ve just made runes more common and increased prices accordingly. Not that I agree with your decade long schedule (lol)…

But that at least would’ve created a sense of progression - small goals to work towards. Things to keep people playing REGULARLY, instead of throwing their hands in the air after 2000 battles without a single Cursed Gnome and uninstall the game in frustration.

TLDR: No sense of progression because resource laughably rare = bad. Increase resource availability, create a sense of progression, increase prices accordingly if you must → people have a reason to play the game instead of quitting in frustration.



10 characters

1 Like

This is the disconnect. They think they can just sell the solution and that players won’t be frustrated into bailing. (Narrator: they were wrong.)

1 Like

Excellent thread by the Op. Maybe now the devs can see the math. Now. Being able to understand the math is highly questionable considering the answers and replies given so far. They are still clueless. As I said in another thread. DEVS - AT the end the day do you want the vast majority. And I mean vast majority of your players frustrated and angry ready to uninstall your game after a day of playing or do you want them to be happy and enthusiastic about your game and playing again the next day and telling friends about your great game. Amazing to nearly everyone playing these last 9 or days. You choose option A. Have your players ready to quit. Are you Devs humans ?? With any brains. To see your drop rate for cursed gnomes is way way way way below what it needs to be. 50% needs to be 500%. And even that just means 1 in 200 battles. Yikes. And love the idea of deamon gnome replaced with curses gnome in evk.

This mode and all the bottlenecks has nothing to do with the average or even above average player. Everything here was put in place to keep those that have put thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars playing. If you have spent say 500 dollars on this game over the years and have every troop and every mode unlocked you no longer have any reason to spend money. How do you solve this? Introduce a mode that has no way to maximize right away. Then you introduce a way to spend money for those that have to have everything unlocked.

They did not set these limits for most of us…they set these limits for whales…whales who have zero reason to spend anymore. I think they might have underestimated how annoying the average or low spender was going to find this.

and just to follow up…I have seen this so many times in gotcha games

“We did not intend for you to max or unlock everything right away we want you to earn that progression and feel a sense of accomplishment.”

I have seen this statement repeated over and over again on free games…and every single time it is a lie when the monetization aspect is introduced.

If they make a way to spend money and get these resources quickly, then the reason (1000000% of the reason) they made the system so slow was to push whales to spend…


My response to them, because this is exactly what they would say is.

Why then did you add the 6000 gem ransom?

The reason is because they are full of shit and a bunch of grifting con artists.

The answer to all of these is money to gem’s, I hate the way they’ve done it all but hey what can you do except do a post like this and hope a review and change comes into affect, like the Forge Scrolls way to fully upgrade your doomed weapons? Buy them with gem’s when said ToD arrives hurray for gems to scrolls… at a stupid cost. Like near every other game mode but is what it is unfortunately.

Terrific post about the state of the game - summed up as:
it is now only pay to win tripe - it always was a bit - but it was more subtle-now its BLATANT. Its in your face: all the time, every update, every block to progress. Our pockets can be accessed - not fleeced.
All we see now is GREED. It’s sad for a game that once had an actual balance between free to play and pay to progress, a bit quicker. Now its risk paying and still be frustrated. Not a model, for success in 2022.



Unlocked soulforge 20 and the new mythic (430 runes) by only buying 1 tier with gems (60) in 1 day on the vault event+ increased rate last week.

So 370 runes in 1 single day of not even 8 hours of grinding.

Y’all exaggerating how terrible it is


What platform you on?

This just goes to show that the drop rate is FKd then. As hundreds of players have been grinding for close to a week and have maybe 1 or 2 CGs.

1 Like

Yes. 500 players are exaggerating but Corpos is right, says Corpos.

Nobody in our guild had more than one gnome per 750 PvP fights. Most of your runes came probably from the vault which nobody gives a ** about because vault is not the point.

1 Like

Not to doubt your own personal experience completely, but realistically the playerbase calls this a “fantasy-novel”.
Or is this some incognito dev-trolllying?

1 Like

I got 410 runes in 2 days last vault event and I wasn’t farming all day.

1 Like

OK, for those that feel most of us are deluded, please reply with the information regarding the PLATFORM that you are playing on.

I am happy for those that have managed to find 410 runes since the update, maybe the problems are platform specific?

Im playing on playstation. Already found 111 cursed runes so far in 400 battles today

1 Like

Give me your rng. 450 battles with 5 Cursed Gnomes found. All 5 gave me a VK. I’m also on psn

Both sides are probably right.

There are a few very lucky players, but lost of the people are not lucky at all.

Devs look at the lucky players and deduce that it’s all good…