The image below is an extract from a report on App annie for top grossing apps in games category (UnitedStates). Supercell’s games Top the charts with Clash Royale and Clash of Clans being in the top 5. King’s Candy Crush Saga still maintains it’s spots in the top 5 grossing games.
The titles that I feel really stand out from the list in terms of F2P design point of view are:
- Clash Royale by Supercell (First release date, January 2016)
- Candy Crush Saga by King (First release date, April 2012)
We will see why Clash Royale stands out in this post. Candy Crush Saga will have it’s own post
Clash Royale is a Free2Play mobile strategy game by Supercell that combines elements of collectible cards games, tower defense and MOBA style gameplay.
The core gameplay revolves around unlocking chests, collecting cards, upgrading them and using them in a battle.
WHY CLASH ROYALE STANDS OUT
- Clash Royale is a mix of two most popular game genres, Strategy and Card Game.
- Targeting to deliver a game that the players are likely to play is easier than finding the right target audience for your game.
- Well balanced economy, stunning graphics and lack of bugs makes the game feel polished and complete.
Clash of Clans core-loops is divided in 2 parts: Battle and The Meta Game (Building Your Card Deck):
- Players get in a synchronous PVP online battles.
- Battle don’t consume resources and allow players to always be engaged, with no downtime in playing.
- Winning battles rewards players with Trophies, Gold and Unlockable Chest (For a limited number of battles).
- Losing battle reduces the player Trophy count.
- Winning Trophies, unlock new arena with a chance to unlock new and better cards.
- Players Unlock chest by waiting for a countdown timer, alternately using Gems (Hard Currency) to bypass wait timers.
- Unlocked chest offer rewards like Gems, Gold, Rarity based Cards of 4 Levels, ranging from Common to Legendary.
- Collecting cards of the same type to upgrade them to increase their stats and gives XP, required to Level Up.
- Creating and maintaining a battle deck with the right balance and synergy between 8 cards.
Clash Royale follows the famous 2 currency model. Hard currency (Gems) and soft currency (Gold):
Hard Currency (Gems)
- Gems are very rarely obtained in the game but can be purchased using real money.
- Gems have multiple uses, they can be used to bypass wait timers and purchase Gold (engagement currency), purchase chest.
Soft Currency or Engagement Currency (Gold)
- Players can earn gold in multiple ways such as winning battles and rewards in chest.
- Gold can be used to upgrade cards and buy cards from the in-game shop.
- Clash Royale monetizes mainly in one area i.e. selling progression. Clash Royale does that by doing the following:
- There are 4 chest slots and players can unlock only one at a time.
- Using gems to unlock the chest slots bypasses the wait time and frees up a slot for unlocking the next chest.
- Players can spend gems to buy larger chests, where they have high chances of unlocking better cards.
- The Gacha Element, where the chest contains a random selection of cards and Gold makes them more compelling to purchase and unlock.
Clash Royale has one of the best monetization design. It first gets the players hooked by making them progress fast, giving them a “False Achievement” of progression. At the beginning, the game allows them to upgrade their cards faster at a very low cost. As they play further, they get pinched by the increase in the cost of gold for their next upgrade, resulting to an urge to use gems to get the required gold.
The clan feature further amplifies the urge, as when the players get the required cards from their clan, they still need that additional gold to upgrade their cards.
MIX BETWEEN STRATEGY AND MASTERY
Winning in Clash Royale takes a great deal of Strategy and Mastery:
- Strategy is needed to build a card deck with the right balance and synergy between the other cards in the deck.
- “Using Elixir Effectively is the key to victory”. The tool tip in the game is the most effective tip. Victory in Clash Royale boils down to how effectively the players have used their Elixir in the battle. The more troops the players can deploy the better are their chance to victory.
- Mastery is required during the battle to use the right card at the perfect time and location.
- Every card has its own strength and weakness, a classic example of how Clash Royale Cards play with each other will be the Rock, Papers, Scissors.
Like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale has put great emphasis on its social aspects. Clash Royale delivers the social experience through the following features.
- In Clash Royale, players can get together as a clan to help each other progress faster, through troop donation within the clan.
- Players can ask for cards every 8 hours, clan members can donate limited number of cards, donating cards rewards the donating member with gold and XP.
- Players can challenge their clan members in a friendly battle to test their battle decks and to have a more personalized battle experience with people they know.
- Clash Royale is fun even when spectating other battles. Players can watch their clan members battle against other players.
- It also provides player an option to spectate games with an option to choose the arena, where players can watch other players battle and to pick up their strategy.
- Players are entitled to larger rewards on completing clan objectives.
Clash Royale drives retention through:
- Wait timers on unlocking chest, ensure the players return to the game to collect rewards.
- Players get 1 bonus chest every 4 hours, a maximum of 2 bonus chests can be stacked, this ensures the players return after 8 hours. No wait timers on unlocking Bonus chest.
- Players can unlock a “Crown Chest” every 24 hours, by battling and collecting “crowns” upon destroying enemy towers. No wait timers on unlocking Crown Chest.
To conclude Clash Royale delivers is a great experience of two great game genres combined, Strategy and Card Collection game. The game is packed with great graphics, well designed and balanced cards, epic battles, successful monetization and engagement features. Allowing the players to engage in unlimited battles for the thirst for winning trophies and moving up in the battle arena, is most exciting engagement feature seen in F2P games.