Now that I’m fairly close to the ‘end-game’ of both Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, it’s interesting to see the differences in the two games, and how the game and business models works for them. CoC is very much the ‘hardcore’ choice, while BB is far more casual and forgiving.
I’ll start with BB. Progressing in BB is easy for a large number of factors. For starters, farming is much easier. It’s all or nothing, and getting nothing doesn’t set you back nearly as much as failing in CoC. On top of that, if you get even halfway decent, you can do a full clear of your map (or as much as you need) in one go, giving you a guarantee to start your next upgrade. Once you start that upgrade, you also don’t care if you get attacked because you have used your resources and aren’t saving up for anything. It’s very easy to make solid progress in BB playing for 30min every day, or even every other day, and that doesn’t require deep strategic planning and knowledge.
Beyond farming/progression, the group activity in BB are Operations, which are almost raid-like in that it’s your guild vs the computer (rather than other players). Operations do require some skill to make a significant contribution, but even a poor attack helps the group. Also since you only get one attack, and we don’t start Ops more than once every few days (due to Intel requirements), participating and contributing isn’t a huge time demand either.
This is not to say BB is a game without skill or depth. I’ve been playing for over a year now consistently and still feel challenged and see room for improvement. It’s a great game, with a great business model (you absolutely never feel the game pushing you towards spending) that can be enjoyed even at a fairly casual pace.
Clash of Clan’s, a game I’ve now been playing for well over a year straight, is far more demanding and difficulty, with far more depth. For me it’s the ‘better’ game, but that’s because I do have the time to invest in it, and because I absolutely love games that reward the effort you put in.
Farming/progression-wise CoC is much harder than BB. For starters, even successful farming is much slower progress, and unsuccessful farming can actually leave you deep in the negative in terms of progress. You need to know the right farming composition to use, pick the right base to attack, and then execute the attack properly. Even with all of that, you need to hope you find a base with a decent amount of loot, which either takes more time hitting ‘next’, or you lower what you are willing to settle for. If you plan to boost and do multiple attacks, you are looking at an hour or more to maximize your time, and even after that hour you might not reach the goal you were aiming at.
Defending against attacks in also far more important in CoC than BB, because losing a lot of resources in CoC means you need to do more farming, and the more resources you have, the more you can lose. It’s also much harder to use all of your resources at the same time compared to BB, so you generally always have something to lose, meaning if you don’t play for a day, it’s going to sting. Finally, setting up a decent base isn’t as easy as it is in BB, and the meta changes in CoC far more than it does in BB. In short, once you reach the upper levels, progressing in CoC is a far more serious time and effort investment, and ‘stalling out’ is very much a possibility.
The group activity in CoC is Clan Wars, which is a PvP activity that makes farming/defending seem easy in comparison. The meta is always changing in clan wars, and at the higher end planning attacks is both time consuming and rather difficulty, requiring a lot of game knowledge and pinpoint execution. You also get two attacks, and with how we war, this requires that you, at a minimum, play twice in 24 hours to execute your attacks. Plus if your attack is poor, it’s basically a waste, rather than a trickle of progress like in BB. We war twice a week, so that’s at least four times a week you are required to do more than just check in with the game. I easily spend multiple hours every war, both watching others attack, filling troop requests, and planning out my attacks. I love it, but it is a time commitment on par with playing an MMO full-time (it’s not top-end raiding in terms of time though).
For me CoC is the ‘better’ game, but I love both, and for me they work perfectly together. CoC is my ‘serious’ mobile game, while BB is far less so while still providing solid entertainment and that sense of progression.
Both games are made by SuperCell, and I think it’s very interesting to see these two games, that on the surface look like clones of each other, play so differently once you get into them. I can see the merits for both styles, and I can also see how both games have remained so insanely popular year after year. Finally it’s refreshing and reassuring to see two of the most successful mobile games both use a non-abusive form of the F2P model that respect the player. Make a good game, and you won’t be forced to sell hotbars or other garbage to your players to keep the lights on, what a concept huh?