分析《Clash of Clans》设计的改进空间
这里我可以看到一个模式，首先是Supercell的首款游戏《Hay Day》成为iPhone和iPad的最佳农场游戏，现在轮到《Clash of Clans》成为iOS平台的最佳策略游戏之首。
《Clash of Clans》之所以成为一款出色的游戏，是因为Supercell的游戏开发制胜法则在发挥作用。首先该作发掘的是既有的社交游戏主题，然后针对该题材游戏中的最佳之作进行反向工程，以便创造强大而自然的核心循环。你可以围绕这一可靠的核心循环创造了一款游戏，对游戏玩法进行优化和调整，并用炫目的图像装点外观。最后通过仅针对加拿大市场的测试将游戏优化到尽善尽美，一旦优化完毕，游戏中的KPI看似可靠之时，便是游戏重磅出击并横扫热门排行榜的时候。
但即使《Clash of Clans》已经是该类题材中最出色的游戏，它也仍然存在一些不尽完美之处。虽然游戏已经过高度优化和润色，但它在一些关键游戏玩法机制、病毒传播性以及盈利功能上仍然存在改进空间。
《Clash of Clans》的核心循环有三个主要部分：搜集资源、建设&训练，以及战斗。但并非所有的环节都同样重要，因为每个环节的重要性要取决于玩家在游戏中的持续目标，这就会产生不同的玩法风格（游戏邦注：比如有些人喜好搜集资源，有些玩家热衷于搞建设，有些则是好战分子）。
Coins和Elixir是《Clash of Clans》中的两种软货币。为了产生Elixir和Coins，玩家只需拥有Elixir搜集器和金矿便可。自动产生资源意味着玩家无需启动资源生产，也不需要等待其生产完毕。还要注意的是，资源生产设施有一个上限数值，这意味着在资源达到特定数量时，该设施才会停产资源，而玩家搜集这些资源之后它们又会继续开工。为了提升资源生产上限，玩家必须为资源生产设施升级。
《Clash of Clans》中的资源生产处理得很完美。首先，你每次开启游戏时都可以去收割你所有的资源；其次，自动化农场机制鼓励新玩家频频访问游戏，因为资源生产设施会在早期很快达到生产上限。
（在《Clash of Clans》的经济系统中一切事物都紧密相连）
《Clash of Clans》中健康的留存率主要得益于玩家在游戏中所取得的稳定而可视性的进展。留存率中的第二个关键因素就是设计极为良好的核心循环，它会为活跃玩家提供奖励，让他们每次重返游戏时都获得一定进展。最后，留存率还与通知有关，每当你不记得重返游戏时，你的iPhone或iPad总会提醒你，不要忘了游戏中一些正在建设的重要内容。
《Clash of Clans》有一些很棒的首次体验流程，因为它创造了玩家与游戏区域的情感依附。游戏始于玩家进入自己的村庄，在此之前玩家会遇到与地精的一系列交锋。玩家用大炮保卫村庄（学习防御之术）并发起反击（学会战斗）。在反击战之后，玩家返回村庄并快速通过核心循环（游戏邦注：建设资源生产设施、建设兵营、训练军队）直到向地精发起第二次进攻。第二次进攻之后，游戏进程降至一般发展速度，并向玩家介绍其取得的成就。
《Clash of Clans》与类似游戏相比的创新之处在于单人玩家任务流。这里的单人玩家任务会单独呈现一个地图，直到玩家参与PvP战斗为止。
《Clash of Clans》的终极目标是打败其他玩家，并成为获胜部落的一员。在开头几天，玩家可免受其他玩家的攻击 ，但这个防御盾消除之后，你的村庄一天之内可能就会遭遇1-3次的灭顶之灾。每次防御失败几小时后才会重新激活防御盾。
加入部落后，玩家就可以聊天并在理论上部署作战计划，或者为其他部落成员报仇。实际上看，你确实可以聊天，甚至捐赠一些兵力，但你并不能协助作战，因为在《Clash of Clans》中你无法真正选择攻击对象。
《Clash of Clans》拥有盈利性极高的鲸鱼玩家，因为其中的物品售价会随游戏进程的发展而增长，多数留存玩家比新玩家更乐意消费高价商品。简而言之，ARPPU（每付费用户平均收益）与留存率关系紧密。
《Clash of Clans》还缺乏增强能量的道具。其实可以让玩家使用强大的易消耗武器来提升战胜率（不要低估玩家为自己的村庄复仇的决心）。这或许有利于将那些已经取得一定进展，但并不认为值得花30美元加速某项生产任务的玩家转化为付费用户。
《Clash of Clans》是一款出众的游戏，Supercell对这一题材的挖掘十分到位，超越了Kabam和Kixeye等战略游戏领域的行家。更令人称道的是，这还是Supercell首次涉猎战略游戏题材。
《Clash of Clans》是核心循环、出色图画与流畅玩家的平衡组合。它在收益榜单登顶的原因则是极为稳固的留存率和经济系统，而由于成本上涨，留存用户的每笔交易额也会相应提升。
但即便如此，《Clash of Clans》在玩法（战斗模式）、病毒性（世界地图、好友互动）以及盈利性上仍有较大提升空间。现在的问题是，是否有人能够推出优化版的《Clash of Clans》，或者Supercell能否在未来的升级版本中持续创造佳绩。我认为后一种情况更有可能，因为Supercell已表明他们有足够的耐心来优化游戏。他们不会被财报所绑架，他们也总是根据产品质量而非高管的意志来决定最终发布日期。我相信Supercell已经掌握了一个制作卓越社交游戏的制胜法则。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转载，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
Clash of Clans – the Winning Formula
I see a pattern here. First it was Hay Day, which is Supercell’s first poke at farming games and hands down the best farming game on iPhone and iPad. Now Clash of Clans is doing the same thing to the strategy games by outclassing genre veterans with ease.
What makes Clash of Clans a great game is the trademark Supercell winning formula approach to game development. First you take an existing social game theme. Then you benchmark and reverse engineer the best titles in that genre in order to create a strong and natural feeling core loop. You follow up by building a game around that solid core loop. Sprinkle a new and improved game play twist and dress it up in stunning graphics. Finally you polish the game to perfection with a limited beta launch by making the game available only in Canada. Once it’s polished and the KPIs look solid it’s time to come out with a bang and take app charts by storm.
But even though Clash of Clans is the best there is it’s still not the best there could be. Despite being extremely polished and reworked on the basis of the genre benchmarks Clash of Clans has plenty of room for improvements in some key game play mechanics as well as in the virality and even monetization features.
The Core Loop
There are three major parts in Clash of Clans’ core loop: Collecting Resources, Building & Training and Battling. Nevertheless not all of the parts of the core loop are equally important as the importance of each part is influenced by player’s ongoing goal in the game, which creates different style game play styles from resource gathering and building heavy to active battling.
Collecting Resources – beautiful use automated farming mechanics
Coins and Elixir are the two soft currencies in Clash of Clans. In order to produce Elixir and Coins player simply needs to have Elixir Collectors and Gold Mines. Resource production is automated meaning that player doesn’t have to initiate resource production nor wait till resource production has finished production. Also to be noted is that the resource production facilities have a maximum cap, meaning that they will keep on producing resource till specific amount after which they will stop production till player has collected the accumulated resource. To increase resource production maximum cap player needs to upgrade the resource facility.
User initiated farming mechanics vs. Automated farming mechanics
The resource production is perfectly done in Clash of Clans. Firstly it’s always rewarding to return to the game as you can harvest all of your resources at the start of every session. Secondly the automated farming mechanics encourage new players to visit the game more often as the resource facilities reach their max pretty quickly in their early stages.
Building & Training – everything is interdependent
Roughly put; everything that has to do with building consumes Coins while everything that has to do with troops consumes Elixir. This means that starting a construction, research or an upgrade takes either Coins or Elixir (never both) as well as time to finish the tas. Time taken to upgrade a building depends on the building’s current level, so that upgrading buildings is fast in the beginning and extremely slow on later levels. Same steep curve applies also to the price of upgrades.
Upgrading buildings is crucial for progress as player needs more and more resources to build bigger and better units. What’s genius about the upgrading flow is that everything is tied to one-another meaning that players can’t just keep on upgrading one specific building but instead have to upgrade everything.
For example take a look at the image below. To upgrade a Gold Mine player need Elixir while upgrading Elixir Collector requires Coins. This ties the resources together as upgrading one resource production facility takes always exponential amount of resources produced by the other resource facility. There’s always a specific maximum level for each of player’s building based on the level of their HQ. Upgrading HQ takes tremendous amount of Coins and in order to store those Coins player needs Coin Storages, which cost huge sums of Elixir… well, you get the point…
Everything is interdependent in Clash of Clans’ economy
Nevertheless the greatest building/progress restriction is the fact that player has only two builders. In other words player can simultaneously have only two building/upgradings at the same time. Overcoming this restriction takes only $5, which is the price of a third builder (I’m sure many of us have made that purchase). In case you want to have a fourth builder, well the price just went up to 10$. Talking about great use of price elasticity!
Battling – stop punishing the player
Training troops consumes Elixir and takes time. The better troops you produce the more Elixir it costs and the more time it will take to produce them. But time and Elixir are not the only ones restricting players from building the most massive army. Every better unit takes also more housing space, which creates demand for bigger Army Camps. Army Camps need to be upgraded, this takes resources, time and of course upgrades to the HQ… and you’re back in the devilish interdependent economy of Clash of Clans.
Units cost Elixir and time. Better units require more space
limiting the size of player’s army.
Here comes the sad part from player’s perspective: all the troops you use in a battle are consumed win or lose. So you face a situation where you build and army, attack and lose every single troop even if you won the battle by a landslide.
Sure from economy perspective consuming the whole player’s attacking force creates a great sink for Elixir but from retention point of view I really think battling should be reworked. Kabam’s Edgeworld does in my view the battles better as it allows player to retreat (raid other players) as well as to keep all the units who survive a won battle. Not only is this approach more user friendly but it also creates demand for super units, which player can take from one battle to another. And believe me, super units, in which players emotionally invest to, sell like pop corn in a movie theater.
Solid retention in Clash of Clans is mainly due to the steady and visible progress players have in the game. Second key factor in the retention is the well extremely well designed core loop, which reward player for being active and promises progress for each return session. Finally it’s also about those notifications, as just when you think you won’t be coming back to the game any time soon, you’r iPhone and/or iPad informs you that the awesome building you forgot you were even building is ready now.
Clash of Clans has some great first time flow, as it creates emotional attachment to the game area aka. player’s village in a matter of 5 minutes. Game starts with Player entering her village, which is after a couple of dialogs attacked by goblins. Player defends the village with a cannon (learn defense) and launches a counter attack (learn battling). After the counter attack player gets back to the village and goes quickly through the core loop (build resource production, build barracks, train troops) till it’s time again to launch a second attack against the goblins. After the second attack the game slows down to normal progress speed and introduces the achievements (which work in the beginning as quests) to the player.
You start small…
But progressing is not only about getting more resources and upgrading your buildings and troops. Progressing is also a lot to due with the way you village transforms visually. The puny village of the first session will slowly but surely transform into a combination of Lord of the Rings and Warcraft.
…but you end up EPIC
What’s cool and new with Clash of Clans compared to similar games is the single player mission flow. Sure it’s super hard compared to the rewards you get for beating goblins and yes Edgeworld had also single player missions but the way they are presented on a separate map makes them just really compelling – till player engages in the player vs. player battles…
Players can choose whether they want to fight other players or AI (goblins).
The ultimate goal in Clash of Clans is to beat other players and be a part of a winning clan. First few days player is protected from attacks from other players but once this shield is dropped you become free game. In other words after the shield is dropped your village will be destroyed between 1 – 3 times a day. Protective shield is re-activated for several hours after each lost defense.
There are two ways player can stay away from destruction (or so we are told). Firstly players need to build up their defenses, which defend the village automatically in asynchronous PvP battle. Walls, traps, cannons, watch towers, mortars – you name it! Secondly players need to join a clan by restoring the castle next to their village (awesome way to introduce clans!).
The broken clan castle is found on the game fiel. Great way to set up a long-term
goal and avoid overwhelming new players.
Once in a clan players can chat and in theory plan attacks or revenge in behalf of other clan members. In practice yes, you can chat and even donate some troop but you can’t coordinate attacks, simply because in Clash of Clans you can’t really choose who you will attack. You can only revenge to someone who once attacked you or you can just attack random opponents who’re close to your own experience level.
So what’s the point of being a member of a clan apart from getting few low quality reinforcement troop for your next attack? Well, if you’re a member in a powerful clan, you all get awarded. There are weekly tournaments and those who wreck the most combined damage get awarded. So yeah, clans are fun for few dozen of people but not for the vast majority of daily players. Plus it would be nice to even get a notification that a weekly clan tournament has been restarted.
Clans don’t really clash because you can’t yet attack other players from this
view nor co-ordinate attacks against chosen opponents.
Second issue is with friends. Players can sync up via Facebook, which enables them to see all of their playing friends. But after syncing up things fall flat. You can visit your friends or view their clans (and join them). You can’t attack your friends. You can’t message your friends. You can’t gift your friends nor can you request anything from them. Not to mention that you can’t even invite players who are not playing to start playing.
All these people I know and no way to communicate with them.
Third issue is the lack of World Map is a serious downfall as map creates true rivalries between players and rivalries fuse retention as well as monetization. For example in Kixeye’s Backyard Monsters you can see you neighboring players, attack them, conquer new territories onto which you can create outposts.
World Map in Kixeye’s Backyard Monsters
Clash if Clans has a whale based monetization because the prices increase as the game progresses creating a situation in which majority of players (retained users) pay higher prices than minority (new users). In short: ARPPU goes hand in hand with retention.
In Clash of Clans players pay for speeding time and boy there are a lot of waiting in the game. As described in the core loop chapter every action takes time from building to upgrading and from training to improving units.
Gems are used to instant finish what ever player is doing. And that’s where the catch is. In the beginning whatever you are doing takes little time, which not only is good for retention but it also encourages to instant complete production with the free Gems you have from the start. So in the beginning it’s pretty useful and cheap to progress fast and the free Gems you get for completing achievements just push you in that direction (+ first time flow forces player to use Gems so many times that it starts feeling right). But as the game progresses the production times increase. Pretty quickly you are waiting days for productions to be completed – and some players will continue paying (now tenfold) to skip the waiting.
Smallest price point is $4.99 creating gigantic ARPPU and ARPU.
Gems can also be converted into Coins or Elixir. I usually like to sell separately virtual and premium currencies as it encourages paying players to make several purchases. For example if resources were sold separately buying Gems would help the player to instant finish a production. Then the player would want to start a new construction right away, which would create demand for Coins or Elixir. Player would lack the soft currency because he just speeded up the production instead of waiting so not enough time has passed and the resource production facilities are empty. Of course players can instant finish resource productions but that doesn’t create re-buys in the same session – only increases consumption of Gems.
Also Clash of Clans still lacks power ups. Magnificent consumable weapons players can use to improve the success of their attacks (don’t underestimate players’ willingness to revenge the attacks on their villages). That would convert players who have progressed far but don’t find it compelling to pay $30 to speed up a single production.
The best there is, but…
Clash of Clans is an amazing game. Supercell has thoroughly gone through all the benchmarks in the genre and created a game, which simply outclasses genre veterans such as Kabam and Kixeye. What’s even more impressive is that this is Supercell’s first poke at the whole strategy genre.
Clash of Clans is a combination of well balanced core loop, extremely compelling graphics and super smooth gameplay. What makes the game top grossing is the combination of very solid retention and whale economy, where retaining users end up making higher average purchases due to rising costs.
But even though Clash of Clans is the best there is there’s still room for significant improvements in game play (battle mode), virality (world map, interaction with friends) and even monetization. Now the question is whether there will be someone else who comes up with improved version of Clash of Clans or will Supercell continue it’s dominance with future updates. I believe in the later one, because Supercell has shown that they have the patience to perfect their games. They’re not moved by financial quarters and their deadlines seem to be tied to the quality of the product instead of a random date set in executives’ mind. I believe that Supercell has the winning formula to make great social games.（source：deconstructoroffun）