CoC: Supreme Cream! Vs Ganu Bersatu

May 20, 2015

(Stats and writeup by Delpez)

Another close war and another come-from-behind victory! With 90 minutes on the clock we were still 15 stars behind, but a solid clean-up strategy and some impressive attacks sealed the win. We also got the wrong end of the matchmaker, as the following tables show:

Nr. of TH’s

SC! Enemy
Nr of TH10 2 3
Nr of TH9 13 15
Nr of TH8 26 24
Nr of TH7< 4 3
Ave TH level 8.20 8.36

Average experience per TH

SC! Enemy
TH10 107 115
TH9 94 94
TH8 78 75
TH7 60 60
Overall 81 82

Not a complete mismatch, but certainly not in our favour. The 0.16 difference in TH level is significant, and they had three more high level bases. Their TH10’s were also more advanced, but our TH8’s compensated somewhat – both in numbers and experience level. The attack stats and stars left per base are shown next:

Attack stats

SC! Enemy
Score 112 109
Total Attacks Used 85 81
Total 3 Star Attacks 28 22
Total 3 Star % 32.9 27.2
3 Stars Against Same Level 21 14
3 Star % Against Same Level 30.4 21.2
3 Stars Against Lower Level 7 6
3 Star % Against Lower Level 63.6 50.0
TH8 3 Stars 14 13
TH8 3 Star % 29.2 28.9
TH8 3 Stars (same level) 13 9
TH8 3 Star % (same level) 29.5 22.5
TH8 Ave Stars / Attack (same level) 2.0 1.7
TH9&10 3 Stars 12 6
TH9&10 3 Star % 40.0 18.8
TH9&10 3 Stars (same level) 6 5
TH9&10 3 Star % (same level) 28.6 20.0
TH9&10 Ave Stars / Attack (same level) 1.62 1.72

Stars left

SC! Enemy
TH10 3 5
TH9 9 12
TH8 14 6

In isolation, the 3-stars numbers suggest an easy victory. However, we left a lot of 1-stars against their TH9&10 bases. This was a deliberate move towards the end of the war to clean up TH8 bases, and the strategy worked out well. However, it also shows that we can improve quite a bit by getting 2- or 3-stars against high level bases on a more consistent basis. The performance and attacking strategies per TH level are discussed next.

We have a couple of new TH5’s, and wars are difficult at that level. Your only real option is a giant/healer army, backed up by archers/wizards. Giants or a high level healer in the clan castle can go a long way in ensuring a successful attack. The strategy is to first take out the clan castle troops, then take out the air defence with your giants before dropping the healers. Once the giants have most of the aggro, deploy your ranged troops. This strategy is also viable at TH6, and some of the skills you’ll learn are also applicable for higher level attacks (such as GoWiPe), so this is an ideal opportunity to practice. Just keep in mind that you are not expected to make much of a contribution until TH7, so just have fun and learn!

At TH7 dragons are still the only effective attacking option, and even the new air blower is not enough to prevent an easy 3-star against another TH7. However, at TH8 the blower has changed things quite a bit. During this war it appeared as though our TH8’s were struggling, but looking at the numbers they actually smashed the opposition pretty hard. TH8 3-star percentages have certainly dropped – in the past it ranged from the high 30% upwards. These days 30% 3-stars against other TH8’s seems like a good number, and that includes TH8 GoWiPe attacks. This presents an opportunity – previously TH8’s pretty much cancelled each other out in wars, since the attacks were easier. Since that is no longer the case, one can now build up a substantial advantage at this level. This means that GoWiPe and Hog attacks are becoming more important at TH8, as their 3-star percentages have not changed with the blower, while dragons have taken a hit.

At TH9&10 we scored more 3-stars at a higher percentage, but left a lot of stars behind as well. As discussed earlier, this was partly due to the fact that they had more high level bases, but also because we decided to clean up TH8 bases towards the end of the war, leaving a number of 1-star bases behind. Attacking options really opens up at this level (I can only talk about TH9 – not sure how this changes at TH10). GoWipe and Hog variants are strong against the right bases, and Lavaloon seems very powerful against some low-mid TH9’s. There’s also a lot of scope to improvise, like using Hogs in a GoWiWi attack to clear a cluster of defences (see Syn’s attack against #15). I guess matching the base to an attacking strategy is key, and one of the most important skills at higher levels. This link (provide by Jonneh) is still pretty valid, even though it was posted before the air blower. It shows how to attack the popular bases, and how to execute most TH9 attacks:

https://www.reddit.com/r/clashofclansmu/comments/2mcxx5/common_war_bases

A final comment – the air blower has made dragon attacks at TH9 much harder. Dragons used to have a decent chance to 2-star a TH9 base, and although still possible, that percentage have certainly decreased. Even more reason to max everything at TH8, since you really need GoWiPe and Hogs to contribute as a new TH9.

SynCaine edit: To add to what Delpez wrote, at TH8+, especially once you have multiple attack types maxed (hogs, gowipe, lavaloonion), it becomes very important to carefully review the base you are attacking and build the correct mix of troops. To do this successfully you have to learn how many troops it will take to get something done.

For example, if there is a cannon or tower on the outside of the base without air defense coverage, a loon or two to take it out might make sense, but you need to learn and correctly estimate how many loons you will need to get the job done. If that attack can also pull the CC, that is a major bonus, and is again something to factor in to your overall attack plan/build.

In addition to bringing the correct troops, you should also actually plan out the attack how you expect it to go, as you often will have to drop certain troops at a certain time, rather than just dumping everything at the start like at lower TH levels. This takes a lot of practice, as predicting the AI in CoC is very difficult, and traps/teslas will also change things up for you. You will screw attacks up often, so don’t get discouraged.

On the other side of things, designing your base correctly is the reverse of attack planning. You want your base to be as difficult to predict as possible, and to ‘trick’ someone into thinking something will work against you. This is why taking a base off the internet isn’t recommended; while it might work well vs the average player who doesn’t do his research, against a skilled clan you are easy stars.

The best way to make a great base is to understand the basics of CoC AI, the basics of base design, and then refine your base design anytime someone around your level has a successful attack against it (if your are a TH8 and a TH10 gets 3-stars, not much you can do in terms of design).

Question for the clan: Would people be interested in the occasional trophy push? One weekend every month or so we all try to go as high as possible in trophies, just to see how high we can get our total as a clan. Just a ‘go for big numbers’ thing, but perhaps something fun to do as a clan? Drop a comment for yes/no and why.


Mobile games the HC community is involved in, and why you should be as well

May 5, 2015

One of the major aspects we originally loved about MMOs is that they got updated, which was somewhat unique to the genre. In 2015 that is no longer the case, with just about every genre having at least a few examples of games with regular support. This means if you played a game at launch, coming back to it later might result in a much different experience, one that is hopefully much improved.

This is certainly the case with Clash of Clans (CoC) and Boom Beach (BB), and something that I hope happens regularly with DomiNations (DN?).

The biggest and IMO most important addition to CoC have been clan wars, as they provide a solid ‘end-game’ activity that is available shortly after you start playing, but that lasts and evolves in complexity, right up to maxing everything out and executing top-level TH10 attacks. With the end-game established and sustainable, updates can focus on tweaks or expanding options, such as new troops or defenses. IMO CoC is in a great spot right now, and doesn’t feature any major design flaws or glaring problems that SuperCell needs to address. I think it’s easily the best mobile game out, and if you haven’t given it a real shot, you are missing out big time.

BB is similar to CoC in the basic concept (build base, attack other bases with troops, upgrade stuff), but has a lot of design tweaks that, beyond the surface, really don’t give it that “CoC-clone” feel. I think BB is far less a clone of CoC than, say, LotRO is of WoW. One of the major differences is that BB has more of a PvE focus compared to the mostly PvP-focus of CoC. You can still attack and be attacked by other players, but the ‘end-game’ is working as a group on very tough PvE bases, and hitting random PvE bases is a constant, more consistent focus.

The big flaw BB had was that being too active resulted in your medal count going up, which exposed you to higher-level players who could attack you for easy loot. This made upgrading very difficult, since you in turn had a tough time hitting players with far more advanced bases. This flaw still somewhat exists, but has been reduced greatly in a number of ways.

First, hitting just the PvE bases that spawn don’t increase your medal count greatly, as usually you only get one medal for a win, and you lose a medal when a new enemy base spawns. 10% (I believe) of the time you will get a second medal, so slowly you will go up, but this is balanced out by the fact that every time you are attacked, you lose a medal.

Second, and more importantly, the latest update will add more PvE events, including one that attacks your base and how well you defend determines your reward. BB is surprisingly fun as a PvE game, especially the group-based stuff, so more focus on this is great. If you tried BB but got frustrated by the “don’t play to do well” aspect, give it another go once this next update is live.

Finally, DN is the newest game I’ve tried of this type, and I like a lot of its basics. It’s more similar to CoC than BB in that it’s pretty heavy on the PvP focus (hitting other players for loot), but differs from CoC in that it allows a good bit of specialization and different game systems. Right at the start you have to pick one of four wonders, each with a different bonus. A bit later, you then pick a nation (Japan, China, France, etc), which gives you access to a unique unit and architecture style. Still further you pick more wonders, and I’m sure more stuff later on (I’m only at the 4th (Classical) age right now). Once a choice is made, it appears to be permanent, which is both perhaps frustrating in that “I picked the ‘wrong’ one”, but I also like because it means you customize your base/army to feature certain strengths/benefits, something that doesn’t exist in either CoC or BB.

DN also has a lot of either new systems (buildings that spawn defending troops in waves) or tweaks to something similar that CoC does (hunting animals around your base is like resource gathering, but is more on-demand and frequent, with various builder requirements), and so far I like the changes and think they provide a lot of depth and interesting decisions to make. It does feel more like a CoC-clone than BB, but I think it’s different enough that playing both doesn’t feel like doing the same thing with a different set of graphics.

The major flaw for DN right now is the lack of end-game. It’s basically pre-Clan Wars CoC; you upgrade your base to better attack/defend, and you attack to get more resources for upgrades, but other than maxing everything out, there is no greater ‘point’. The game already has alliances (clans), so I hope alliance wars are added in a future update soon. The game itself is fairly new, and CoC went over a year without Clan Wars, but still, this or something else is greatly needed.

This blog community has groups in all three games. For CoC you need to be a non-rushed TH7 to join, and we only have two spots open right now. No requirements to join in BB or DN, both with plenty of room. CoC group is “Surpreme Cream!”, BB and DN we are “Hardcore Casual”. Disable the language filter in DN to find us.


CoC: TH8.5 strategy writeup

April 24, 2015

(Written by Delpez)

TH8.5

Since we have a number of players on the brink of TH9, I thought I’ll share my experiences as a new TH9, especially the upgrade system known as 8.5.

A while ago we ran into a complete mismatch against a clan called War & Glory – compared to us they had a ridiculous number of TH9’s with very powerful attacks. It turned out the mismatch was orchestrated by manipulating the matchmaker. Defence carries a higher rating than offence, so by focusing on offensive upgrades first the clan gets matched against weaker opponents. This is especially noticeable at TH9, and bases that follow this philosophy are referred to as TH8.5 (TH8 defence with TH9 offense). Ever since hitting TH9 I’ve also been following this system, not to manipulate war rankings but because I find attacking more satisfying than defending. This method gives you access to powerful TH9 attacks earlier, which suits my playstyle to a tee.

The strategy can be roughly divided into three stages: offense, existing defences and new defences. Although the system I’m discussing is based upon War & Glory’s strategy (I did make some changes), it’s pretty common for serious war clans. Note that the upgrade sequence within a stage is not that important, although the first four are pretty non-negotiable:

Stage 1:

Laboratory

Clan Castle

Archer Queen Altar

Spell Factory

New Air Defence (level 6)

Army Camps

New Walls (level 8)

New Traps (same level as existing traps)

Dark Elixir Drills (at least level 4)

New Hidden Tesla (level 6)

First Dark Elixir Barrack (level 6)

Archer Queen (level 10)

New Gold & Elixir Storages (level 11)

Barbarian King (any upgrade a bonus)

Traps (dump excess gold)

Stage 2

Archer Queen (at least level 15)

Barbarian King (at least level 15)

All traps (maximum level)

Walls (start level 9)

Dark Elixir Drills (level 6)

Air Defences (level 7)

Hidden Teslas (level 7)

Second Dark Elixir Barrack (level 6)

Existing Wizard Towers (level 7)

Existing Mortars (level 7)

Existing Archer Towers (level 11)

Existing Cannons (Level 11)

Dark Elixir Storage (level 5)

Stage 3

Build and max X-Bows

Build and max Wizard Tower

Build and max Archer Tower

Max King and Queen

Walls (dump excess elixir and gold)

Laboratory upgrades depend on your war and farming strategies, as well as dark and normal elixir availability. I’ve done archers and barbarians first to speed up farming, after which I’ll focus on war troops (balloons, hogs, golems etc.) Currently I’m about three-quarters through with Stage 1, and by far the biggest issue is elixir availability. Troop upgrades are ridiculous at TH9 (6 million elixir is typical), and most stage 1 structural upgrades also require elixir. Combine this with very few gold sinks and it’s quite hard to keep your builders occupied. The upshot is that you’ll be swimming in gold during stage 1, so it should be easy to upgrade your new walls and lots of traps. Also, once you get to stage 2 you’ll have a ton of elixir to dump on walls – all the more reason to max those walls at TH8! To overcome the elixir shortage during stage 1 you have three options: raid like crazy, make peace with the fact that some builders will be idle or cheat a little. That means starting some of the stage 2 gold upgrades in stage 1 already. Obviously this will dilute the positive and negative impacts of TH8.5; just don’t touch stage 3 prematurely because that will defeat the purpose of the exercise.

So is it worth it? For wars it’s a bit early to say. I’m still ranked last of the TH9’s, although I’m also the newest TH9. Have a look at our TH9 bases and troops and decide where I should fit in. The bases I get ranked against in wars are invariable weaker than mine, which is the point of the exercise I guess. Another big advantage for me is that I really enjoy attacking, and those additional troops, spells and the queen makes raiding much easier and enjoyable, not to mention war attacks! I also believe that splitting your elixir and gold requirements into two distinct stages helps a lot with wall upgrades. On the negative side, besides the elixir shortage your defences are not very powerful for a TH9. Other TH9’s and especially TH10’s will raid you quite hard – the only way to overcome this is by raiding at a lower trophy level, or to just out raid them! In wars the lack of defensive strength is not such a big issue; 4 AD’s and teslas mean that TH8’s and low TH9’s can’t 3-star you, which is all you can ask for as a new TH9.

In summary, I really enjoy the rush to offensive power this strategy brings, and I just relax about idle builders and TH10’s bullying me (most guys still just snipe my TH). So if you raid a lot, or like easier match-ups in clan wars, I would recommend giving this system a go. If you don’t raid that much, or enjoy building intricate defences and traps, I guess you’ll find more value and enjoyment from your new X-Bows!


GTA V: A monster of quality content

April 21, 2015

Quick plugs first: The CoC clan has one spot currently open. Anyone with a non-rushed TH7+ that will be active please apply to “Supreme Cream!” and mention the blog. Also the Boom Beach group “Hardcore Casual” has spots open as well. More relaxed in that game so no reqs to join.

Moving on.

GTA V is an example of a massive budget used well. For example, the amount of top-notch voice work you will miss or have in the background easily outnumbers the total amount of voice work in most ‘AAA’ games total. Or how some of the side activities are better ‘games’ than other products that do just that one thing. Or just the sheer size and detail of the world, right down to traffic patterns. It really is mind-blowing when you stop and think about all of the work put into the game, and how somehow, amazingly it all comes together to form such a great game. From a project management aspect the game is a huge accomplishment.

It has been said in the past that WoW is impossible to replicate because it has so much content, but WoW over time has been replacing stuff rather than just adding more and more on (unlike, say, EVE). It’s why you can launch FFXIV and not have it feel like a much smaller version of WoW, despite WoW having nearly a decade head start. GTA V isn’t that. Sure, it builds off of what worked in previous GTA games, but GTA V itself is a massive package of content that few if any games can even come close to matching (Skyrim is really the only title that comes to mind).

It also brings me back to when I played Saint’s Row 3 (a solid game itself), and why that game is smart to push what it does well (over the top action and comedy) and not just try to straight-up be a GTA clone. If it did that, it would get slaughtered, because it would be nearly impossible to stack up in terms of quality AND quantity, and the corners cut would be noticeable.


HotS: Shut up newbie

March 24, 2015

First, we have one spot open in our CoC clan, “Supreme Cream!”. If you are at least TH7 with lvl 2 dragons and a functioning brain, feel free to apply and just mention the blog. Also the Boom Beach Task Force has two open spots as well; Hardcore Casual. No requirement on that as BB is more casual than CoC, so the braindead are welcome!

Moving on, a few follow up points from yesterday’s HotS post:

If HotS is your first MOBA, I would expect you to enjoy it, but that has more to do with you finally playing a MOBA rather than specifically playing HotS. Imagine if your first-ever MMO was current-day LotRO. You’d enjoy it more than a seasoned MMO player because all of the normal MMO stuff would be new to you, and only after some time would you come to realize that LotRO is a pretty poor MMO.

MOBAs until LoL were the hidden gem of gaming, and the core ideas behind the genre are solid and great. There is a reason DOTA was such a popular WC3 mod for so long, and why LoL today is the top game out year after year. The model works long-term, and HotS doesn’t appear to destroy that model (it does, but that’s not something you will notice immediately). Much like I wouldn’t put a ton of stock in someone telling me LotRO is amazing because you can group with other players to complete quests, people who haven’t played a MOBA before saying HotS is a lot of fun should be taken in the correct context. Not saying you’re wrong, but… you’re kinda wrong.

The “Blizzard wasn’t aiming at LoL” argument. This goes back to the Hearthstone discussion about that game being a bearly-top-50 mobile app. Old Blizzard didn’t release niche products; they made niche products/genres mega-hits and mainstream. If the argument for New Blizzard with both HS and now HotS is that New Blizzard is just aiming at a little slice of the pie, that alone shows how far Blizzard has fallen. Also I’m not sure investors on the stock market would agree that Blizzard is the little guy just hoping to attract a niche audience to one of its ‘different’ titles.

I think it’s more accurately to say that with both HS and HotS, Blizzard simply missed the mark and created two sub-par games. Games that area very easy to pick up, but also very easy to put down due to a lack of depth, a quality previous Blizzard titles always had. And with both games not having a box price, and business models that rely on long-term retention (and continued spending as the dev teams continue to work on them, although I’m not sure I’d call the Hearthstone support ‘work’), that’s a big problem.

Shorter games: I haven’t played a HotS game under 20 minutes yet, while I believe the average ARAM in LoL is less than that, and I’ve personally had plenty end in 15 minutes or less. The surrender time in a ranked game is 20 minutes as well. Worse still, every game so far in HotS has taken that long regardless of what is actually happening. Very close game in terms of kills? 20ish minutes. Complete faceroll? 20ish minutes. It’s almost like what you do in the game doesn’t matter, which linking back to Hearthstone, is perhaps the New Blizzard design mantra? Creating games where player action matters as little as humanly possible?

Same for the community; don’t confuse people not caring to flame you because actions don’t matter with somehow the actual community being better. Let’s not even get into the whisper spam from bots/hackers that doesn’t happen in LoL but is rampant in HotS already.

Where HotS is facing an even bigger challenge than Hearthstone is that we have direct comparisons to other games. People got very upset when I compared Blizzard’s mobile game to the top mobile game out (oh how crazy of me!), but at least there they are very different games. HotS is a very poor LoL, and there is no denying that. Regardless of how much you try to explain the ‘Blizzard twist’ on HotS, it’s a MOBA. And in the MOBA genre, updates are expected to come quickly and with solid depth. Mechanics get tweaked, skills get adjusted, and new heroes are released. Blizzard can get away without updating Hearthstone for months (as is currently the case, in the last few months exactly two cards have been tweaked and NOTHING else has been done with the game), but that won’t fly in the MOBA market, especially when said MOBA is already a kiddie pool of depth banking mostly on a gimmick rather than core gameplay.

That rapid update requirement is going to be a big problem for Blizzard when HotS underperforms, especially after you take into consideration how slow in general Blizzard is about updating anything. How big is the HotS team going to remain when things go south? And how quickly will whatever players the game has left begin to jump ship when the updates slow due to the dev team getting cut back?

HotS is shaping up to be a rather beautiful disaster, one that will be fun to watch unfold.

 

 


CoC: Supreme Cream! vs Texas Knights

March 14, 2015

(Stats and writeup by Delpez)

Great war and very nice write-up by Syncaine. Anytime you win by 1 star it’s very satisfying, especially if you have to come from way behind like we did. But firstly, let’s see how the clans matched up in terms of strength: Read the rest of this entry »


CoC: About as good as it gets

March 13, 2015

Delpez should have the stats and writeup soon, but I wanted to jump ahead and post this:

Final war events

Final war events

In a 110-109 war, that we were down by ten stars or more for much of it, not only were our final five attacks all three-star hits, but the last moments saw four attacks happen in rapid succession, first Tirn bringing the war to a 108-108 tie, then their guy put them ahead by three-star’ing Durad (a 10 vs 37 matchup).

The two final attacks were even more critical. Their #4, a near-max TH9, attacked Jenks, our 35. He went GoWiPi, which should have crushed a mid-range TH8, but he didn’t pull the clan castle troops, and then sent all of his golems into the same spot, where they ended up banging on a wall while the defending wizards and others nuked them. He could have bailed himself out in a number of ways (like using his jump spell), but he didn’t. He also made a few more critical mistakes (not using his archer queen ability), and ultimately failed to three-star Jenks, which was a huge upset.

With that the stage was set for Justin, a fairly fresh TH9 (so basically a TH8 with a low-level AQ in terms of troops) to pull off a three-star using dragons against a near-max TH8. We have learned over time that while dragons at TH8 are very strong early on, a well-designed near-max TH8 base is very tough to three-star using dragons. Usually the attack is stopped by the last few defenses, and the margin of error is so small that even a single air bomb hitting too many dragons can be the difference, as can the placement of your heal/rage spells. If you use them well but not perfectly, you might come just short.

Justin pulled off a perfect attack however, especially with spell placement, and with the war clock at zero, the go-ahead star was scored and victory was ours. Crazy how thrilling the last 30 minutes or so of the war got, and plenty of cheers went out in chat right after. Good times.

PS: Silk pulling off two three-star attacks in the final hours was also huge, as were a large number of others with clutch attacks. I’m really glad we won too, because I derped badly with my main account’s first attack and also on my alt, so very happy that the clan picked up the slack and carried us all to victory.


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