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.

CoC: Please continue to pay to lose

March 6, 2015

Guys, guys, I’m going to buy a ton of gems, rush up to TH10, and help us crush people in wars. It’s going to be awesome! – Wallet Warrior

Nope. (just an FYI, video is a bit loud for some reason)

This is part of why I do (people are dumb) but also don’t understand how SuperCell makes so much money with CoC. Rushing ahead in the game is, generally, a bad idea. The game is so complex that you really do need that ‘growth time’ at lower town hall levels, as each step increases the challenge considerable and trying to learn after the fact leads to, well, the above. As I’ve said before, CoC is more than worth paying for, but I literally have less-than-zero reason to do so.

But hey, I’ll gladly take dummies funding future development for me while also entertaining all of us with their failures. Solid win/win all around.


CoC: Required reading for our TH9+ players

March 5, 2015

Fantastic writeup on TH9 base design.

Everyone in Supreme Cream at TH9 or who is about to move up should read the linked info above and start working on improving your TH9 layout, and then continue to improve your layout based on war results.

For non-CoC players, the above is just a small glimpse into why CoC is far deeper and more difficult/complex than it seems at first glance. The game really is a monster of a strategy title, and as soon as you think you have it figured out or are getting decent at it, you either move up and have to learn a bunch of new stuff, or you have a war like we are having right now and realize you have a LONG way to go to be more than a pub-stomper player/clan.

Easy to play, hard to master is an old game design mantra, and CoC is a prime example of it done perfectly.

CoC: Supreme Cream! vs Red Scorpion 2/25/2015

February 25, 2015

(Stats and writeup by Delpez)

Supreme Cream! vs. Red Scorpion

Brilliant war, with the result in the balance right until the end (literally, according to the log seven attacks were completed after time ran out!) The clans were equal in strength – we edged them in average TH level, while they were slightly ahead in experience level.

Read the rest of this entry »

CoC: Who wants more war?

February 24, 2015

CoC released an update today, focused around clan wars. Clans can now gain XP, with perks unlocking as you go. There are also a number of ‘quality of life’ changes like being able to opt-out of a war.

This post is mostly for Supreme Cream members; should we go to war 3 times per week? Thinking start wars Monday noonish, Wed night, Saturday morning. So battle days would be Tuesday midday->Wed midday, Thursday night->Friday night, and Sunday morning-> Monday morning.

Ideally we get all 50 members opting in, but so long as we have at least 40 (so up to 10 people opting out per war), I think that would work well. I want to get us up in ranks so we unlock the perks asap, as a number of them sound very helpful (loot bonus, troop discount). Comment away, even if it’s just a simple yes/no.

Quick recruitment note: While we are at 50 members, there are a few potential open spots due to ‘compliance’ issues. If you have a decently developed TH7+, and are active and willing to learn/improve, apply in-game to Surpreme Cream! mentioning the blog and I’ll get you in.


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