Through the power of advertising, I downloaded the “Clash of Clans” applet to my iPhone. I do not like games as a rule, but simulation games I find fascinating (at first).
In this game, you are the head of a tribe (Clan). The introduction has you building your first gold mine and elixir pumps, and from then on, you are on your own. The idea is to grow your clan, build more and more defences, and pillage the goblin camps.
This is where the makers start to earn their money. The more you build, the longer it takes to complete. So after a little tease, you have to wait minutes, then hours, eventually days before you can play again. Of course, if you buy a sack of gems with real money, you can immediately start playing again. Personally, I am not taking in by that form of marketing, so eventually I just end up playing the game for a few minutes each day during a toilet break. 😉
After a few days, your protective shield runs out. This allows your fellow players to attack you, and you can start attacking others. Again, this is were the clever marketing comes in. You will only be matched against people of a similar level, which puts you into a pseudo arms race – your weaponry is never quite powerful enough. If you were always matched against weaklings, you have no incentive to upgrade.
Eventually comes the interactivity. Once you have saved enough gold to rebuild your clan castle, you get to join a clan. Clan members donate troops to each other to help with defence and attacks.
So I was merrily logging into the game a couple of times a day, increasing my defences and occasionally attacking. When other clan members request troops, a donate button appears in the chat. I donated to every button I saw, but I noticed my donations were in the low hundreds, others were donating thousands. The etiquette is to keep donations and receipts around the same level, so there wasn’t a problem.
Eventually it happened. During one of my 2 minutes online, I noticed someone in chat (BIG_DMR) say “When are you going to start donating Mortimer”? I replied saying that I dont log on much, but I always donated if there were buttons. I left but logged on a few minutes later to see that this BIG_DMR had continued ranting. “Are you going to donate to that one?” (someone had requested troops in my absence), “How had I become an elder”, he was asking others “have I ever donated to them”.
That killed the game for me. I was getting bored with it anyway, and why would I want the added pressure of having to log on every minute of the day like some of the other clan members? I carried on playing out of curiosity as a imminent update was announced, and I was about to increase my level which would mean some different goodies would be available.
The update arrived. The new feature involved a war between clans. Each clan member attacked a member from the opposing clan during a 24 hour period. The clan with most wins won the plunder. Okay, it was another feature, something else to keep the game interesting. However, a recording of each attack was available to all clan members and in reality, each attack was subject to critical review by the rest of the clan.
The first war, my clan did well, even I won my attacks. The second war was not going so well for my clan. The sad full-time players in the chat room were getting nasty. “Why don’t they listen, draw out the troops from the castle first” “how do they play the game for so long and still have no f*ing clue?”.
I held off my attack to a quiet time zone, which resulted in a defeat. I still got the “That was not good Mortimer, didn’t you see the traps in the previous attack”. At which point, I typed into chat “I am bored with this game and you sad people who take it so seriously”. I deleted the app and returned to my normal life.