Clash of Clans vs. Game of War -- Which Is Better?

Author:buy Clash of Clans Gems Release time:2015-10-15 15:23:24 hits:663

Three mobile games ran ads during the Super Bowl last night, and two of them are the current titans of the scene, rival titles with similar formats both dying to get you to spend real-world money on their digital goods. That would be Clash of Clans, Supercell’s long-running megahit, and Game of War: Fire Age, from Machine Zone Inc, a newer game which has spread around a $40M ad budget to become the most widely marketed video game on the planet.

The third game advertised last night was uCool’s Heroes Charge, a card battling game from the makers of Evony. Right now, it’s only on Android, and barely cracking the top 100, even after the Super Bowl ad, and it’s the two titans that are more important to focus on today.

Clash of Clans and Game of War are currently the #1 and #2 highest grossing games on Apple and Google’s app stores respectively (both are free to download, but feature in-game mictrotransactions), and will likely only increase their revenue after a pair of memorable Super Bowl commercials. I was under the impression that Game of War’s Kate Upton commercial would be the most prominent video game ad of the night, but Supercell kept their Liam Neeson-starring Clash of Clans commercial a secret until it aired. While supermodel Upton donning battle armor was certainly eye-catching, it’s Neeson’s Taken-inspired “Revenge” ad that was the more memorable spot, and one of the better commercials of the night, as it turns out.

But the fact remains, both commercials did very little to actually show what either game was about. Both features sword wielding characters doing battle, but Upton’s ad looked like a trailer for a fourth Hobbit movie, and most of the footage shown in Neeson’s ad looked like it could be a from a new Pixar feature. The realities of both games are very different, but mobile games usually rely on “enhanced” footage that presents the “theme” of their game without showing anything resembling actual gameplay. Many video games used to do this, but these days for most PC and console titles, we tend to see actual footage of the game in action more often than not. Some ads will still be entirely cutscene-based, but we have less of those than we used to.

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So if you’re one of the many who downloaded either Clash of Clans or Game of War last night, it’s logical that you’re wondering which of the two are better. Obviously it’s a matter of opinion, as any “review” is, but I have a firm answer, and it’s unequivocally Clash of Clans, but with some caveats about the genre as a whole.

Both games are base-building, army-training simulators that are part of a new era of RTS type games that used to be popular on PC. This new, mobile variant of the genre has build times that are often hours or days, not seconds or minutes. A large part of the monetization scheme is to get players to shell out real-world cash to skip these lengthy wait timers, and buy more resources that allow for more construction. While games in this genre can be played for free, the difference is stark between F2P players and ones who pay, as the latter will have bigger bases and more powerful armies, much, much faster than those who don’t.

It’s not necessarily a “scam,” as if you have a smaller base and army, you’ll simply continue to battle with other players around your level. And if you pay to become dramatically more powerful, eventually you’ll be matched with opponents who are just as fearsome. And it never ends. Someone will always be better than you, no matter what level you are or how much time you invest. The former #1 Clash of Clans player in the world used to juggle iPads wrapped in plastic bags when he was showering, in order to avoid being attacked by a hundred different players after his crown. This is what it takes to “win.”

So, you have to start these games with the expectation that they don’t end, and they are designed to try and make you sink as much money as you can manage into them. You can play for free indefinitely, chugging along at a snail’s pace. You can be a mid-size player, paying out $5 or $10 on occasion for a boost. Or you can be completely obsessed, a much-coveted “whale” that sinks in thousands to games like these, and this type of player has been around since Farmville.

I will say that this genre is an upgrade from a straight-up base builder like Farmville, where the building and maintaining of your farm was more or less the entire “point” of the game. But with these types of games, there is at least some competitive element to them, where you can form clan alliances and attack other players in a way that does require some amount of strategy, and more of it as you advance in rank. At least they’re “games,” in short.

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And yet, if given the choice to waste your free minutes of the day playing Clash of Clans or Game of War, one is tolerable and sometimes fun, while the other is just kind of gross. Though both are in the same genre, one makes subtle use of its monetization strategy, while the other constantly assaults your eyeballs at every turn, trying to extract money from your pockets in a half dozen different ways from the moment you log in.

Clash of Clans is beautifully animated, its cartoony style well suited for mobile, and over time, its little Barbarians and Giants have become pretty iconic in the mobile space. It’s a sharp contrast to Game of War, which tries to go for more “realism,” yet ends up looking like a browser-based RTS from 2003. Its “icon” is a two dimensional version of Kate Upton dressed up as a Greek goddess, a kind of Vanna White, pointing at things you should build and upgrade.

Clash of Clans is the highest grossing game in the market right now, yet it hides its microtransactions well enough so that they don’t constantly interfere with gameplay itself. There’s only one form of real-world currency, gems, which can be used to skip wait timers, buy in-game currencies of gold and elixir, or purchase protective shields. There isn’t even a “store” button on the main screen. Rather, just a few little “plus” signs next to the items that are purchasable with gems, which will then take you into a very streamlined store interface that tells you exactly what you’re getting for a certain number of gems. The gem store itself has packages ranging from $5 to $100, with the usual bonuses for getting bundles.

Paying to skip wait timers is always annoying in my mind, but once you accept that it’s just a part of this mobile subclass of games, I’ll admit that Clash of Clans monetization system is somewhat elegant, especially when compared to its competition. Ironically, the most offensively tacky microtransaction system I’ve ever seen in a mobile game is without a doubt the monstrosity found in Game of War.

Here’s a brief walkthrough of what you’ll find when you log into the game, right this moment.

- A “Super Sunday SUPER SALE – Kick Off to VICTORY!” takeover ad right as you start the game up, which has a countdown timer encouraging you to spend $5 for a bunch of in-game resources and reward chests, presumably to celebrate their Super Bowl presence.

- X-ing out of that ad will take you to the main game screen where in the top right corner is a large animated GIF ad showing a “5x” sale on gold, which takes you to a page offering no less than ten different gold-themed packages to purchase for real world money, or some elaborate gameplay scheme. The first one is a confusing paragraph stuffed with buzzwords like “Get Gold Store,” “Special Gift Streak” and “Bonus Gifts Gold Meter,” that make no earthly amount of sense even after playing the game for an extended stretch of time

- Back to the main screen, under the gold ad is an “Up” arrow implying perhaps some sort of upgrade has been completed. Rather, it’s another ad page featuring over a dozen different boosts you can buy with gold (ie, real world cash, most of the time, as it’s painfully slow to earn it in-game).

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