A Nod To Greatness #10: Clash Of Clans

A positive review. It is possible!

A positive review. It is possible!

I’ve taken the time to write some negative posts about games that are free but allow you to pay money for them in game if you so choose. I’ve played many of these in the past and I’ve wept in the streets like the rest of you. Is it really so hard to make a balanced game with the potential to pay money? Well, apparently it is. It’s harder than you’d believe. Look at Rage Of Bahamut. I believe in this case, Bahamut refers to anyone’s parents who had to pay for a pile of useless cards they purchased. There’s certainly been a lot of rage on that front. I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to put my phone in a sock and twirl it around above my head and then smash it to the ground. I was ready to go back to playing my Super Nintendo. It was that real, folks. Then I made the mistake of going camping with a bunch of people I don’t know and with a couple of friends. One of my friends asked me if I’d had a chance to play Clash Of Clans. I told him I had not, and he told me I should get it right away. It was a good game.

I’ve heard that saucy little lie in the past, Readerland, and it’s always stung because some part of me always believed it could be true. That same part of me wailed in the dark when the greed monster reared its ugly head and started biting at my wallet. When fun decided to take a couple of months off and duty and boredom watched the house for it. I was not convinced. Said friend, Steve, started playing on his phone and showed me the game. I was, to say the least, a little shocked. It looked really good. There had to be a catch. I kept saying things that started with, “Yeah, but I bet you can’t..”, and ended with, “Oh shit, really? You can?” I downloaded it right away and I’ve been hooked since. It is a free game that you can invest money in, if you so choose, but you certainly don’t have to spend a cent. You could even compete with the top players. Holy crap.

Always important to floss between meals.

Always important to floss between meals.

The game’s money system (not the currency in game so much as the currency that you get by paying actual dollars) is such that you can acquire free gems so long as you continue to play the game. Anything that someone else can get by paying you can also get for free. Paying money only makes things go faster. The people who do pay money have a slight advantage, though they have to pay a great deal in order to make that advantage really worth it, but you can do anything the rest of them can without making whoever pays your credit card bill want to kill you. I’ll grant that the game does its best to make it easy for you to spend if you want to, but so long as you’re not a complete pushover you should have no trouble at all playing it legit. If you spend twenty dollars at the start you’ll get four out of the possible five builders and be fairly close to the last one. The builders help you build and improve the buildings in your base, and as these all take varying amounts of time to upgrade (to the point of taking more than a week for one building in some cases), it’s in your best interests to have as many as you can at any given time. You get to keep these builders forever, so the money you spent doesn’t go to waste. After playing for a week I decided to drop the twenty bucks, as I enjoyed the game so much and was actually very happy to pay money to the company that made it. You could spend ten or five dollars as well, or none. It’s brilliant.

The game is similar to Warcraft in battle but without the need to build your base from scratch each time. Instead, you have one base and you continually upgrade it, adding new buildings and units as you go. As previously stated, the time it takes to upgrade buildings can get extreme and the resource costs generally double with each level. Your base may get beaten down, but you don’t have to repair a thing. The money stolen is the real burn. You can create buildings that mine resources for you but they ultimately take too long. The real source is from smashing other bases and taking as much as you can. There is no limit on how many times you can attack, no tokens that have to regenerate, none of that bullshit. If you have units you can attack. It’s really that simple. Essentially you can play the game for as long as you’d like, if you’re good. You steal back more than it costs to produce your army and you’re sailing. The only thing that’ll slow you down is the build time of some of the more powerful units. The plus side of this is that the game doesn’t require your constant attention after a point. The downside is you want to keep attacking people.

All of your base are.. well, you know.

All of your base are.. well, you know.

When at least forty percent of your base is destroyed or your town hall, you get a twelve hour shield where no one can attack you. If they push it to ninety percent then you get a sixteen hour shield. This prevents you from having all of your resources drained while you’re away from the game. You can also pay for shields if you’re concerned about being attacked during some point in time, though I would contend that these are always a waste of money. You can join a clan and send and request troops to and from each other. You get clan chat. You can share defensive or offensive replays. The troops you get from your friends can either pop out and defend your base while you’re being attacked or you can use them as you please in an attack. I really have to credit Supercell with the way things in game work together. You can tell there are some people there who have played some games in the past and have an appreciation for what’s good.

You attack by selecting a type of troop and deploying it by tapping on an open zone in the map to drop troops one at a time or holding your finger down to drop a stream of them. There are fifteen different troops at the time of my writing this, though there look to be at least twenty planned. You cannot control your troops after they’re placed, however different troops have different preferred targets, so with a little practice you can have them behaving just the way you want so long as you correctly plan their route. Units and buildings can be upgraded, making each battle unique and interesting. So far as I can tell everything is on the level. There’s no bullshit scam to take money from you. I’ve been playing for months and I’m still hooked. Supercell does regular updates for the game that are actually updates. They listen to the complaints their customers write to them. They.. they actually care. It’s such a rare and wonderful thing to behold, an app game that’s actually a lot of fun. Even the most difficult of my friends to win over is currently playing and loving it. If you’re looking for a new game for your phone, especially one your friends can play with you, I would definitely suggest Clash Of Clans. It’s available for android users as well as of October this year.

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