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Clash Royale: My Latest iOS Addiction

Clash Royale

Clash Royale MenuMy latest iOS game addiction is Clash Royale by SuperCell. Clash Royale is a real-time 2-3 minute battle game where you are matched up with an opponent and duke it out to see who can destroy the other person’s towers before the time is up. Each player has a deck of ‘cards’ comprising their “Battle Deck.” Your Battle Deck can have up to 8 cards at a time that must be carefully balanced around Elixir Cost and tactics.

During battle you generate Elixir in real time up to a total of 10 Elixir. You can then play cards that cost elixir at any time. Elixir is constantly regenerating, and toward the end of a match (again only 3 minutes long) it will generate even faster. Cards are placed into your hand 4 at a time. As you use a card, a new one comes out of your deck into your hand.

Each “Arena” has two lanes. You and your opponent are positioned on opposite sides. You can drag your units onto the field anywhere except within a radius of enemy towers. Destroying enemy towers means you can put units onto the field on their side of the Arena. Units are pre-programed to simply move toward the enemy base and attack units or towers. Gameplay then becomes about pushing lanes, countering pushes, countering units, and out-thinking or simply out-playing the enemy’s hand.

Clash Royale BattleSo the gist of the game is very simple. Build a good deck, play cards onto the field by dragging them out of your hand, and outsmart your enemy. There’s a lot more depth here than one might initially think, and as Syncaine points out in his post it’s definitely more than rock, paper, scissors. Units have stats, aoe damage, some generate more units, there’s strategy behind putting a tank ahead of a DPS, and even concepts like blocking and flanking.

Clash Royale is free to play. The cash shop system seems, at least to me thus far, fair enough. You can have up to 4 chests at a time and be opening one of them at a time. A chest could take 3 hours, 12 hours, etc., based on quality to open up. You can open them immediately by paying gems. Cards can also be purchased with gold which — surprise — can be purchased. I haven’t felt at a disadvantage YET. I imagine the disadvantage will come later when people have cards that are higher level than me because they’ve bought more of that card. I guess that brings up a good point that when you open chests and get more cards, duplicates go towards leveling up your cards. So if I have 1 barbarian card and get two more barbarian cards, the barbarian can be upgraded to level 2 — 4 more upgrades to level 3, etc.

I’m enjoying the simplicity and straight-forward gameplay enough that I enlisted in a Clan. I joinedd up with Syncaine’s “Supreme Cream” group and I’m enjoying myself.

Clash Royale is a fun, high-intensity, deeper than it looks game that you can pick up and play for 3 minutes or 3 hours. Definitely the right price to download and give it a try. I’m struggling to find any flaws with the game other than the principle argument of whether or not a cash shop is ultimately fair or unfair based on paying to win.

  • The pay model is basically Pay-2-Skip, in that if you spend a ton and get yourself max cards (or as close to max as you want to spend), you will end up facing others with great cards shortly after you crush people and move up in rank. You also just paid to skip/remove the chest and card collection aspect, so congrats on that I guess.

    Now given that cards do have a max rank, it just sets a ‘when can you face other max players’ timeline, much like Clash of Clans or Boom Beach does. If you pay you get their quicker, but that’s basically it. And while the game isn’t CoC in terms of depth and strategy, it isn’t simple, so like in a lot of P2S games, you’re going to have a real rough learning curve once you move up to face those on your level, and I suspect a lot of whales quit at that point. I’ve seen it in CoC, and I’m sure it will/has happened in CR.

  • Yep, agreed on the depth and learning curve. There’s a surprising amount of depth to the game, especially as I start facing people with more deck diversity.

    Pay to win and pay to skip or pay to get to the end or pay to get the best — it’s all the same. It’s fair, though. I’ll happily get there not spending a dime. I think that’s fairly easy to do in Clash Royale — at least get pretty far.

  • I have also been playing this game.
    I like it, for the reasons you listed Keen, but unlike you I there is something that annoys me
    and that is the matchmaking.

    See strategy and outmaneuvering an opponent is nice and all, but your effort gets almost nullified,
    by getting matched against someone 1 or even 2 lvls above your lvl.
    They will have higher lvl and more advanced cards then you and on top of that
    Their towers and castle have more health and do more damage.

    The matchmaking is pure based on trophies ranking.
    Why should someone that is better then the average player be penalized like that?
    If you instead match an equal lvl vs another equal lvl then strategy and outplaying someone would feel much more rewarding and awesome. Now mix in some additional matchmaking so it takes into account the strength and rarity of the cards you use in the deck and the game would be great.

    Still fun, but admit it. there are matches where you know you have no chance to win due to the opponent outleveling your cards and towers.

  • It would be P2W if matchmaking wasn’t random and/or if progression was ultimately locked behind the shop. That’s not the case here, so if I’m in arena 5 and face another arena 5 strength player, it doesn’t matter if he bought all those cards or not, he doesn’t have anything that I don’t (and so you can’t tell if he is a paying player or not). And ultimately when you reach the top, everyone is equal. In P2W games that’s not the case, like in AA with the stat clothing found in the shop. For me that’s an important distinction, because I know that if I don’t spend a dime, I can still reach the #1 spot (max power) theoretically.

  • @Zyler: The matchmaking seems random enough to me. Yes, occasionally I’m against people with better cards. Actually…. a lot of the time. That doesn’t mean I lose, though. In a vacuum with the same skill level I suppose I would. What’s pissing me off is not getting a baby dragon. I want one for my deck. It all seems fair enough and the system does try to match me up with people at my level/trophies.

  • System only cares about trophies. If you are consistently facing opponents above your level. You are good. Be glad about that 🙂

    The higher arena you get the better rewards you get (more gold and cards). So being good means you progress (a bit) faster.

    Tbh a system that did not only care about trophies, would be a “bad” system. The system is supposed to make matches where each part has a roughly equal chance of winning. If it matched based on level. A bad strategist would consistently lose most of his matches, rather than just being confined to lower level arenas. It may feel unfair to be fighting higher level opponents, but if you are matched against them you are more or less equally lilely to win (winstreaks makes the system think you are better than you are therefore resulting in matches where you are likely to lose).

    If there is one problem with the system it is maybe that you rise and fall through the ranks a bit too rapidly. But the alterntive would be that payers would take too long to get to the top leading to many more unfair matchups on the way