分析《Clash of Clans》 vs. 《Boom Beach》设计特点
心怀抱负的移动开发者常去应用商店寻找灵感，他们不可能无视芬兰开发商Supercell的身影。该公司仅以两款相当类似，但却极为不同的战略大亨游戏《Clash of Clans》（发布于2012年6月）和《Boom Beach》（发布于2013年11月）连续两年雄霸热门游戏榜单。我将在本文并列分析两款游戏，找到Supercell在其第二款游戏《Boom Beach》所植入变化的原因和思维过程。
我将首先比较两者在诱惑、习惯和爱好阶段方面的设计，然后再分析究竟是哪些新机制和游戏设计元素对用户体验和游戏留存率、盈利性产生了影响。为了方便一般读者阅读，我将把文章划分为4部分的详细调查。前三个将分别研究游戏的每个阶段，详列所有的变化以及Supercell植入这些设计的合理之处。在最后一个总结部门，我将批评《Clash of Clans》的错误设计，讨论这些错误在《Boom Beach》中的部分修复情况，并提出两款游戏中最杰出和最无聊的设计。
《Boom Beach》创建于《Clash of Clans》用户行为数据的基础之上，其首个流程的主心骨就严格遵循《Clash of Clans》的首个流程：教程中涵盖了受到攻击，创建基础，建立军队并反攻的步骤，但魔鬼存在于细节中，《Boom Beach》的首个流程更为优化，但不幸的是Supercell有个设计缺陷（即移除了一个吸引阶段的高转化率道具）却抵消了这一点。让我们从最开始入手吧。
在《Clash of Clans》中攻击你的绿色精灵这个进入点换成了《Boom Beach》中的“自我命名”窗口。这一点很重要，因为为一个虚拟城市或角色命名的仪式可以让玩家在情感上融入游戏，即便他们还没有玩过这款游戏。保持相同的操作核心并设置“自我命名”窗口作为初始流程让我们知道，为虚拟角色/基地命名的技巧非常适用于Supercell，他们保存这种设置以便优化游戏早期的流失率、留存率和盈利性。将首个流程中更靠后的“自我命名”操作（游戏邦注：它原来位于《Clash of Clans教程的后半部分）切换到前面，成为首个操作（正如《Boom Beach》的做法）让我们知道他们也发现了这一操作所增加的流失率。与那些同各种游戏题材和不同用户群体打交道的同行讨论就会发现，这是所有游戏将命名过程作为教程一部分时都会遇到的普遍情况。虽然我听说过许多关于玩家面对自我命名窗口时产生极大流失率的相关理论，但最有可能的原因却在于这个过程破坏了游戏流程，迫使用户走出那个自己已经融入的虚拟世界，这实际上为他们提供了一个清晰的退出点。再加上为你在游戏中的虚拟形象命名也要求你费一点脑力来想出一个合适的名称，费一点体力来输入名称，而此时的用户行为瓶颈就更为明显了。《Boom Beach》团队所选择的解决方法就是尽量将其简化和高效化。通过将命名过程切换到首个流程的最开头部分，Supercell同时也将玩家情感融入游戏，在他们还有认知能力和完成任务的好奇心时最小化他们的退出概率。这真是一个高明的举措，对于一家已经靠一款游戏扬名天下的公司来说尤其难得可贵，并且这个输入名称的过程也不会阻止玩家试玩其发布的下一款游戏。
这两款游戏之间的教程长度存在巨大差别。《Boom Beach》教程通过不到2分钟就可以完成了，而《Clash of Clans》教程则会持续超过6分钟。教程长度的变化原因可用这两款游戏发布后玩家趋于成熟的现象来解释，Supercell在这方面的适应性的确令人敬服。《Clash of Clans》刚发布时其中某些游戏机制在市场上还比较新颖，而在2013年末《Boom Beach》面世时，手机游戏市场已经更为发达了，其用户也更为高级。在2012年中期，休闲玩家是任何游戏的主要收益来源，但之后的《Game of War》和《Clash of Clans》则证明中核玩家才是一个可靠的收益来源。这个新视角令Supercell转向中核玩家群体，并通过《Boom Beach》的三个关键转变减少了教程长度：
1）《Boom Beach》中几乎不存在大亨元素。在《Clash of Clans》的教程中，有半数内容是关于创造资源生成器，资源存储和军营，而《Boom Beach》则更关注故事性。多数出现于教程末尾的玩家建筑一开始就已经建设完成了，它也没有提到任何资源建筑。对于新手来说，讨论搜集器和存储器并没有什么意义，因为大部分玩家都能很好地理解构成一个经济系统的所有元素，对于今天更为高级的用户来说，他们在首个流程时就会对此抱有漫不经心的态度，这将不可避免地造成更大的流失率。
2）《Boom Beach》移除了等待时间。该游戏中的整个等待时间是16秒，而加速这几秒的时间甚至都不要钱，也就是你无需花费一颗宝石就能即刻完成建设和建军。而在《Clash of Clans》教程中却有40分钟以上的等待时间，如果要加速就得花上一笔钱，Supercell避免给玩家造成消极印象的全新理念再次得到体现，《Boom Beach》没有让高级玩家看到前面还有漫长的等待时间，要求他们花大量付费货币，而是专注于提供极为短小而令人愉悦，强调游戏操作阶段的教程。
3）教程中投入操作阶段的时间减半。在《Boom Beach》的教程中，约有40秒用户游戏的整体操作阶段，而《Clash of Clans》的这一阶段投入时间将近80秒。《Clash of Clans》中最长的教程战役历时约40秒，而《Boom Beach》的相同战役历时为30秒。这显然具有误导性，因为我计算发现《Boom Beach》战役平均耗时比《Clash of Clans》至少长50%，《Boom Beach》中最大的操作阶段时间为4分钟，而《Clash of Clans》则是3分钟。《Boom Beach》中的战斗需要更多交互性和战略决策，这就需要更长的执行时间，但为了保持教程的简洁性，Supercell不得不在某些方面误导用户。
《Boom Beach》不存在高转化率的道具。我在之前的文章曾经提到，《Clash of Clans》和《Hay Day》的成功在很大程度上是取决于完美执行的初始体验，它以一个惊人的诱惑阶段印象深深地吸引了玩家，并将他们引向一个令其难以抗拒的高转化率道具。但奇怪的是，Supercell却放弃了这种成功模式，并且敢于在极高的转化率上再赌一把，他们跟随《Game of War：Fire Age》的先例，瞄准了鲸鱼用户（高消费玩家）。《Boom Beach》中并没有高转化率道具，其诱惑阶段并没有什么可让玩家尽早掏钱并为之感到高兴的东西。再加上《Boom Beach》在玩家登录时就慷慨赠送的许多宝石，我们可以肯定地说种意在避免明显的低价高回报的投入影响了游戏的留存率和盈利性。难怪《Boom Beach》的首个更新版本引进了纯粹的留存机制——可以每天入海寻宝的潜艇，以便提升游戏留存率，因为没有转化为付费用户的玩家（我猜这类玩家占比在98%左右）留存率更糟糕，抛弃10%的转化目标，Supercell自己的盈利性和留存KPI均受到了影响。
游戏会话以一种兼容用户喜好和免费模式法则的新颖方式结束。当游戏的教程结束时，这两款游戏的主要区别就变得甚为明显——《Boom Beach》有明确的会话结尾，Supercell会在此时告诉玩家是时候停止游戏了，而《Clash of Clans》则不然。《Clash of Clans》漫长的游戏会话的成功实践被保留下来并发扬光大——你仍然可以在线数天甚至数周来保护《Boom Beach》中的基地不被敌人突袭，但在《Boom Beach》中以全新方式，经历如此漫长的会话时间从一个操作阶段过渡到另一阶段却是不可能的。尽管在《Clash of Clans》中，你从一个操作阶段跳到另一阶段却只是一个时间和训练新兵的成本问题，这也是Supercell粉丝抱怨最多的方面，这个问题也已经得到了解决——《Boom Beach》中所有的幸存军队都可以立即再度投入战役。因为免费模式固有的特点，我们不可让玩家老沉溺在游戏中，《Boom Beach》在这方面的做法颇值得称道——Supercell规定了玩家可与之交战的敌军数量，所有敌人都是自动生成的。在所有旧敌人都战败时，玩家获得新对手的唯一方法就是提升雷达建筑，这就需要首先升级总部，而这个操作的前提又需要升级资源存储器。《Boom Beach》地图中没有敌人时，实际上玩家也就无事可做了。持续推进游戏的唯一方法就是花成百上千颗宝石来升级，以便继续向前推进雷达范围。Supercell用这种新游戏机制再次革新了免费游戏设计——他们同时解决了粉丝从一个操作阶段转向下一阶段的最大问题，还在会话限制之前提供了不可见区域来阻止玩家沉溺于游戏之中。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转功，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
Clash of Clans vs. Boom Beach: Part 1 – The Hook
by Dimitar Draganov
This post was first published on my blog where I plan to regularly discuss game design and monetization topics.
As aspiring mobile developers are looking at the app stores for inspiration, there is no way any of them missed the Finish miracle Supercell. The company has dominated the strategy tycoon top grossing charts for over two years with two quite similar and yet profoundly different strategy tycoon titles: Clash of Clans (soft-launched in June 2012) and Boom Beach (soft-launched in November 2013). In this series, I will juxtapose the two games and attempt to reverse engineer the reasoning and thought process that led Supercell to implement changes in their second endeavor on the strategy tycoon front – Boom Beach.
Following the HHH framework outlined in my recently published book – Freemium Mobile Games: Design & Monetization, I will first compare the designs of the hook, habit and hobby phases of both games and only then examine what the new mechanics and game design elements actually mean for the user experience and the game’s retention and monetization. In an attempt to keep even the casual readers involved, I will split this rather detailed investigation into four parts. The first three will examine each game phase separately, detail all the changes and Supercell’s rationale for implementing them. Then in the last summarizing part I will criticize Clash of Clans’ mistakes, discuss how some of those mistakes were partially repaired in Boom Beach and exhibit the most brilliant and unfathomably dull designs in both titles.
Building on all their Clash of Clans user behavior data, the backbone of the first time flow of Boom Beach tightly follows the Clash of Clans first time flow: getting attacked, building a base, building an army and attacking in return to conclude the tutorial, but the devil lies in the details and there are several seemingly minor differences that make Boom Beach’s first time flow better polished, an effect which is unfortunately countered by Supercell’s flawed decision to remove a crucial for the hook phase element – the high conversion item. Let us start at the very beginning…
The entry point has been changed from green goblins that attack you in Clash of Clans to a name-yourself window in Boom Beach. This is important because the ritual of naming a virtual city or character inevitably gets players emotionally invested into a game even if they have not played that game yet, as in the case of Boom Beach. Keeping the very same backbone of actions and the name-yourself window as a part of the initial flow tells us that the trick of naming the virtual character / base for emotional attachment definitely worked for Supercell and they have kept it in order to improve the game’s early churn, retention and monetization. Switching the name-yourself action from much later in the first time flow (second half of the Clash of Clans’ tutorial), towards the very first action (as done in Boom Beach) tells us that they too have observed, similarly to my own experience, increased churn at that action. In discussions with colleagues that deal with very different game genres and very different audiences, this seems to be a common sighting experienced by all titles that include the naming process as a part of the tutorial. Although I have heard many theories regarding the spike in churn when players are faced with the name-yourself window, the most likely cause is that bringing the keyboard on screen breaks the game flow and forces users out of the virtual domain the game had enveloped them in, essentially providing them with a clear-cut exit point. Couple this with the fact that naming your virtual self in a game requires mental effort to recall a suitable name and a physical effort to type it and the user behavior bottleneck at that point becomes much clearer. The solution chosen by the Boom Beach team is as simple and as effective as they come. By switching the naming process to the very beginning of the first time flow, Supercell simultaneously attaches players emotionally to the game and minimizes the probability of their exit as at that point they do have the cognitive capacity and curiosity to complete the task. A brilliant move, especially for a company that has already made a name for itself and the process of typing a name will not stop players from testing the third big title it releases.
There is a big difference in terms of tutorial length between the two games. While the Boom Beach tutorial is usually finished in less than 2 minutes, the Clash of Clans tutorial lasts for more than 6 minutes. This shift in tutorial length can mostly be explained with the maturation of the audience between the release of the two titles and one should really appreciate the adaptive capabilities of Supercell. While at the launch of Clans of Clans some of the game’s mechanics constituted a novelty for the mobile market, at the end of 2013 when Boom Beach first launched the mobile gaming market was much more developed and the audience was a lot more sophisticated. Back in mid-2012 the casual audience was considered the main revenue stream for any title, but later on Game of War and Clash of Clans itself showed that making big money from mid-core players is a sustainable business venture. This new perspective (and probably unsatisfactory results from the lengthy Clash of Clans’ tutorial as of late) inspired a major shift in Supercell’s appropriate introduction to the mid-core players and brought about a solid decrease in tutorial length achieved via three key changes in Boom Beach.
1) Tycoon is almost non-present in Boom Beach’s tutorial. While in Clash of Clans, half of the tutorial deals with building resource generators, resource storages and barracks, in Boom Beach more time is devoted to the story (which surprisingly for a freemium game, somewhat makes sense) than to its tycoon. Most of the player’s buildings present at the end of the tutorial are pre-built at start and there is no mention of any resource buildings at all. Talking about collectors and storages is not only unnecessary for newcomers, as the vast majority of players today have a perfect understanding of all the elements that constitute an economy, but it is also harmful to the game as the more sophisticated audience today might perceive a hand-in-pocket attitude as early as the first time flow and this will inevitably cause a churn spike right then and there.
2) Waiting times are removed from the Boom Beach tutorial. The total waiting time during the tutorial in Boom Beach is 16 seconds and the speed up of even these few seconds is free of charge, i.e. it costs 0 diamonds to finish buildings and army construction instantly. Compare that to Clash of Clans’ tutorial where more than 40 minutes of waiting time and high speed up prices are lurking and once again Supercell’s brand new philosophy for avoiding a hand-in-pocket impression becomes obvious. Instead of letting the sophisticated audience know that a lot of waiting times lie ahead of them and a lot of premium currency will be spent on it, Boom Beach focuses on delivering an ultra-short, deeply satisfying tutorial impression that emphasizes the game’s action phase.
3) Time spent in action phase during the tutorial has been halved. In Boom Beach’s tutorial, around 40 seconds are spent inside the game’s action phase in total versus close to 80 seconds in Clash of Clans. The longest tutorial battle in Clash of Clans takes around 40 seconds and the one in Boom Beach takes around 30 seconds. This obviously is misleading, as I would estimate an average Boom Beach battle takes at least 50% longer than an average Clash of Clans’ battle and the maximum allowed action phase time – 4 minutes in Boom Beach versus 3 minutes in Clash of Clans, clearly supports this notion. Boom Beach fighting simply requires a lot more interaction and strategic decision-making which takes more time to execute, but to keep the tutorial brief Supercell has had to somewhat mislead users.
High conversion items are non-existent in Boom Beach. As I have already explained at great length in Freemium Mobile Games: Design & Monetization, the success of Supercell’s Clash of Clans and Hay Day is to a great extent due to the perfectly executed initial experience designed to suck in players with an amazing hook phase impression and lead them to an offer so good, that it is irrational for them to refuse it – the high conversion items. As strange as this seems, Supercell decided to opt out of that success formula and instead of betting on once again achieving very high conversion rate, they followed the Game of War: Fire Age example and betted on the whales. I will come back to the whale bet when we discuss the habit and hobby phases of the game, but for now let us once again reiterate that Boom Beach has no high conversion items whatsoever. There is nothing inside the hook phase and even outside of it, to make users pay as early as their first session and be glad that they did so. Combine that with the generous donations of diamonds that Boom Beach grants players for logging in and we can state with all certainty that the decision to not implement obvious low-price-high-benefit investments hurt both the game’s retention and monetization. It’s no wonder that one of the first Boom Beach updates introduced a pure retention mechanic – the submarine that can dive in for treasures on a daily basis, in an attempt to lift the game’s retention, because the players who do not convert into paying users (around 98% of the players I would guess) exhibit a lot worse retention and by throwing away the 10% conversion goal, Supercell shot themselves not only in the monetization leg, but also in their retention KPIs.
The session end is implemented in a novel way that accommodates both user preferences and freemium laws. Once the games’ tutorials are over, one major difference between the two titles becomes immediately obvious – Boom Beach has a clear session end, a point at which Supercell tells the user it’s time to stop playing, while Clash of Clans does not. The successful practice of insanely long game sessions from Clash of Clans has been retained and rightfully nurtured – it is still possible to protect your Boom Beach base from enemy raids by staying online for days or even weeks, but going from one action phase to another throughout such long game sessions has been made impossible in Boom Beach in a brand new way. While in Clash of Clans the only obstacle to jumping from one action phase to the next is the time and cost of training new troops, this is also the number one complaint of Supercell’s fans and this has been addressed accordingly – all surviving armies in Boom Beach are immediately available to fight again. As the ironclad rules of freemium dictate though, players must be stopped from binging on a game and the way this is done in Boom Beach is noteworthy – Supercell has introduced a complete monopoly over the enemies players can engage as all opponents are automatically generated / chosen server-side when the player is not looking at the map. The only way to get new opponents once all the old ones are defeated, is to improve the radar building which requires to upgrade the headquarters first, which requires to upgrade the resource storages before that, etc. This is why the point at which the enemies on the map are over is the point at which there is practically nothing else left to do in Boom Beach. The only way to continue playing is to start paying with hundreds and thousands of diamonds for upgrades in order to move the radar along with the whole base forward. With this new game mechanic Supercell revolutionize freemium game design once again – they simultaneously address their fans’ biggest concern by making units transferable from one action phase to the next and manage to prevent players from binging by providing an unseen before session limiter.（source：gamasutra）