CR: The brutality of a shorter feedback cycle

One of the big differences psychologically between Clash Royale and another PvP game like say League of Legends is the length of the feedback cycle. In LoL a win or a loss takes about 30 minutes, which means the average player isn’t likely to string 3-4 games in a row. In contrast, CR game’s take 2-3 minutes, meaning it’s entirely possible to ‘casually’ play 10 or so games in a row.

What this means is that CR gives you far more feedback on your skill level than LoL over the same period of time, and this is further driven home by the fact that CR is a 1v1 PvP game rather than a team activity. When you lose in CR it’s all on you.

Well, mostly anyway, which brings up another important factor; CR gives you far more easy excuses to make. You didn’t get the ‘right’ cards, you’re opponent had better cards, you ran into ‘the perfect counter’, etc. It’s very easy to lay blame for a loss on a number of factors without blaming yourself and your mistakes. And the crazy part? If you watch a replay of your own game, I’m guessing 9/10 times you can spot enough mistakes made that likely could have lead to a different result.

And CR isn’t just about in-battle skill. Putting together a cohesive deck is also more difficult than it initially looks. This is further complicated by what cards you have available, because while you aren’t going to have access to everything, you will have access to more than one option, and that is a player-skill decision in picking the right card to fit the other 7.

But that kind of reflection and personal honestly is somewhat rare. People don’t like admitting that not only was the other player better, but that overall they aren’t nearly as good as they want to believe. CR drives this home too, because where you are in terms of arena rank is a surprisingly accurate reflection of your player skill, especially because most players are ‘free’ players, so running into a whale is very, very rare, and even more so in the lower arenas. But even the existence of whales is a built-in excuse in you want to take it.

CR really is a fascinating social experiment in PvP psychology, because more so than most games, its absolutely brutal to thin-skinned players, both in quickly showing them their lack of skill, and also giving them plenty of reasons to quit and lay blame elsewhere.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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18 Responses to CR: The brutality of a shorter feedback cycle

  1. Kobeathris says:

    I’m curious how their servers are holding up. When I first started, everything was very smooth, but more recently, I have been running into more lag, and potential lag issues. The other day, I had a match where I 3 crowned my opponent and they never did anything. Ok, could be someone dropping trophies or something, but I got no “Opponent has left the game message”. Just a little bit ago, I started a game, and before I could do anything, my elixir bar was full, a prince came across the screen at super speed along with several other mobs, and I lost a tower. After that, speed went back to normal, but recovering down a tower and half a bar of elixir is, well, if not impossible, beyond me at any rate.

  2. Azuriel says:

    I dunno. If you have perfect information, e.g. watching the replay, then I’m sure there are scenarios in which you could potentially turn the tables against someone with higher-level cards. On the other hand, someone with those higher-level cards gets more of a buffer to recover from their own poor decision-making that you simply do not. I’m hovering around 1500, and one mistimed Arrow Volley is generally enough to lose me the game, given the frequent troop disparity.

    Just as an example, at level 6, it takes my towers 3 shots to kill a member of a level 7 Minion Horde, instead of two. This turns the Minion Horde from a troop-clearing play to the equivalent of an uncontested Hog Rider. I’m barely halfway to level 7, and it’s going to take… 8,000g worth of upgrades to get there? Nevermind needing 100s of duplicates to even get the ability to make that number of upgrades. If I dropped some cash on the other hand… I’d be back in parity with most of the opponents I’m facing, whether they were whales or had some other kind of head start.

    • SynCaine says:

      Both my accounts are currently level 6, both are in the 1600-1800 range right now (arena 6). Spent $5 on each, although haven’t used all 10k gold yet on epics. I’ve beaten level 8 accounts, beaten people with level 5 epics, etc. Now granted if the other guy is decent and has higher cards, its a struggle (and often a draw), but I very rarely lose a game that was even level/cards, though most of the people I face now are level 7 with at least a few cards a level higher.

    • Eph says:

      Minion Horde is a particularly egregious offender in this regard since, as you’ve observed, the difference between MH that of equal or lower level compared to your king and one that is at least one level higher is massive. After finding myself at the wrong end of the phenomenon once, I’ve started watching MH levels like a hawk and saving Arrows exclusively for it if it’s high.

  3. weritsblog says:

    Yeah, I really like CR, but it’s almost just too much. I’ve hit Arena 4 without spending any money, but you get so much if you do. Seems like I am always worrying about chests, which I don’t like. It is fun overall though.

  4. Rapand says:

    For a while I was stuck around arena 3/4. Then I got a prince and sailed effortlessly through arena 4, where I was lucky with cards in a large chest. This took me to arena 6. Unfortunately I am now completely stuck waiting for gold to level up. At the lower arenas I could beat people 2-3 levels above me, but now I’m utterly outnumbered to the point where enemy towers sometimes have more than a thousand health more than mine.

    The core game is fun, but the business model is making me think about quitting because I basically only bother to play for gold and chests as its kind of pointless to bounce around in an environment I can’t control.

    It’s entirely possible that I suck, but I’d like to see a match of a low level with level 5-6 cards beat a high level with level 10+ cards. Because that’s where I am. I realize no game can be free, but at least in hearthstone I could get to legend as f2p.

    Honestly I’m probably just done with mobile card games, because it’d be impossible to go back to the shitty gameplay of HD after clash royale.

  5. zaphod6502 says:

    I’ve decided to adopt a very casual attitude to this game. When I first started playing this game I privately raged whenever I lost games but I have now accepted my 1-in-5 win rate as the norm for my skill level. I play enough to get my win chests and my crown chests and support other SC! members with card requests but no more than that. It becomes obvious very quickly that it doesn’t matter how much you play you will always face the enforced deck balancing the game imposes on you.

    There is no real incentive in this game to spend money and I have no intention of ever spending a dime on it. There is no incentive to struggle to the top as the only reward you get is better arena level chests and new cards to allow you to be somewhat more capable in the higher level arenas. There is no “end game” as CR simply exists as a match generator. There isn’t even any reward for an organised clan except some arbitrary e-peen feeling of getting into the top clans list which is already dominated by the Asian clans that have official sponsorship and have their virtual gold paid for by sponsor funding.

    So as a casual time wasting clicker game Clash Royal is fun. It is also a big win for Supercell who are raking in the cash by the truckload from whales who want their very temporary e-peen fix. My advice to anyone considering this game – don’t waste real money on it since ultimately it is pointless doing so.

  6. Mikrakov says:

    I love how well balanced CR seems, and the nature of the game means that sooner or later you will end up around the right trophy level and your win rate will be 50-50, giving you reason to rage half the time. I definitely agree with you that a vast majority of my losses I can look back to either experimenting or bad choices on my behalf. It is very rare that card strength or counter-decks can be a legitimate excuse for a loss.

    Randomness of cards in chests can be a bit of a pain (I would love to get a second skeleton army for example) but sooner or later everything comes up in the shop and if you are smart and try to keep 2000 gold around you will have a close to full set of cards. I haven’t spent a cent on the game yet the only ones I am missing now are Goblin Barrel, Mirror and Golem, none of which I care about overly.

    However, as fun as the game currently is, the thing that concerns me is the lack of a long term hook like the wars in CoC. Once the core gameplay starts to lose it’s lustre, what’s going to keep me coming back?

    • SynCaine says:

      I think a clan wars-like feature is a must sooner rather than later, but I wonder how that would work considering both sides would need to be online at the exact same time. Maybe set timeslots that both people agree to or something, but that goes way beyond a casual mobile game in terms of player requirements and commitment.

      I would like to see an open tourney style thing, where the tourney has card level limits (your card gets downgraded if its over) and player level caps, and then scoring is done round by round (5 matches per round or something, where you randomly match up against others in the tourney).

      • Eph says:

        Or they could make them asynchronous: set up a defense deck and an AI will play it against your attackers.

    • Eph says:

      Second skeleton army? Why? It’s one of the worst scaling epics. It still counters everything that it’s supposed to counter at level 1, and it still dies to any AoE at level 12.

  7. Caldazar says:

    I’m probably a special snowflake in my situation, but I disagree with you on losses mainly being misplays. (Yes, I do make misplays, but they don’t seem to be the deciding factor anymore)

    I do agree that ‘perfect counter’ and ‘I got the wrong cards’ are not valid reasons. This whole game is based on countering, and you can cycle your cards if you want to to avoid not having the right ones.

    I am currently level 5 (and 280/400 xp), and in arena 5. I can’t even remember being matched to the same level, and most of the time I fight against level 7. At that difference enemy towers do 15% more damage and have 15% more hp when compared to a level 5 tower.
    Enemy troops commonly are 1 or 2 levels above mine. Now, troop levels don’t make the biggest difference, but when the difference hits a breakpoint (like azuriel said above, their minions needing 3 hits to die vs mine only 2), it makes a very noticable difference. The difference is big enough, that my unopposed minion horde does LESS tower damage than their opposed horde. That gets frustrating.

    At this time I draw more often than not, and usually the win is decided by 1 tower dieing. The last time more than 1 tower went down was when a lvl 8 smashed me to bits. The health difference is low enough it would have often meant a win for me if their towers did not have the bonus health.

    Also, the card RNG from packs is just plain dogshite. I’ve gotten 4 baby dragons, 2 rage and 1 lightning. That is it. I did buy 1 loon, 2 prince and 2 baby drag with gold. No RL money spend.

    The level discrepancies are really starting to be annoying (especially when grinding 10 crowns to get that chest), but there really isn’t a solution to it except play worse. The card rng is just dumb.

    That said, the trophy system works well and my matches are very balanced, so there is that. Just the core arena gameplay is getting to be a bit dull.

    • Mikrakov says:

      If you are facing higher level towers it means two things – you are actually pretty good and are higher than average for your level, and that you aren’t donating enough so haven’t gotten your level high enough yourself.

      • Caldazar says:

        Probably both? I donate when I can, but I am not online often, so I don’t see many requests

  8. tsuhelm says:

    Having a couple of idle moments this weekend between the idle moments when able to play CoC (actually very little play time) I was bored so installed CR… and it is FUN but very very quickly the pointlessness of it all (F2P) is rubbed in! No more chest spaces, no reason to keep playing, no more fun, just time to wait 3 hours… n 3 hours, n 3 hours , n 3 hours, ad infinitum… and now lv3 going on 4 and no more gold available to upgrade…so more grind ahead… should I join a clan and get more peer pressure to participate?

    The game itself is great and some kind of tourny or hourly competition would be far more interesting than the grindy gameplay present at the mo.

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