How to Lose Friends and Mismanage People
The r/ClashRoyale subreddit was going through a revolt over the “Clan Wars 2” update, and the Community Manager was, uh, not managing well. In one of the early threads that highlighted the fact that small clans are stuck facing the same large clans for five weeks in a row, Drew said:
to play devils advocate here (i know the sub won’t like this opinion) but shouldn’t the solution here lie with the clan themselves?
if you have an inactive clan maybe the clan needs a shake up and more active members?
just asking some hard questions that i would like some opinions on!
Do you even need context to understand how monumentally stupid this was to say?
Context makes it worse. The old Clan War design made it so that the people who did Collection Battles were the ones that needed to do attacks on War Day. The system was opt-in and every clan you were competing with had the same number of attacks. The new design just gives everyone in the clan four attacks per day and matches you against clans of varying population. This leads to situations where you can be in a 20-person clan with the highest-skilled players in the world who win every battle, and still lose every race for five weeks in a row to a 41-person clan filled with people who AFK lose every battle (losses still award some progress).
So while Drew tried to back-peddle with the “just playing Devil’s Advocate!” card, it’s hard to read the Clan Wars change as anything other than what it appears to be: a concerted effort to destroy small clans in favor of zerg clans. Drew all but confirming that with his “question” did not help anything.
Know what it reminded me of? Guild Leveling in WoW. Remember that? If not, here’s a post from six years ago when Blizzard finally removed the “feature” that was the death knell of my own tight-knit guild. Like this Clash Royale update, it essentially penalized smaller guilds and rewarded large ones, as if that is something that ever needs additional encouragement. “Everyone can earn rewards… eventually! Just choose between getting them immediately, or hanging with your friends while knowing everyone is paying an objective, tangible price for being together.”
Don’t worry though, Drew has the easy solution: get a
better bigger clan!
To be entirely fair, Drew released a new Reddit post titled “Quick Update from the Dev Team” on the subject as I was typing this out. It’s not a roadmap, but he does highlight just about every complaint from the community that Supercell received in the past week, e.g. since the update, along with some potential fixes. The relevant section:
SMALL CLANS NOT BEING CONSIDERED IN MATCHMAKING
WHY IS IT BAD? (COMMUNITY FEEDBACK)
- Small Clans can’t finish the race
- Small Clans getting outmatched by bigger Clans
- Small Clans matched against maxed Clans
- Small Clans not getting rewards so can’t level
- Not fair/equal footingvDamages close knit small Clans/family & friend Clans/IRL Clans
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Introduce “small Clan Wars”?
- Have smaller rewards but also smaller Fame thresholds
- Matchmake based on Clan Size
- Introduce new Clan creation stats (10/25/50 member clans with different rewards and leaderboards) and make separate system & leaderboard for them (like boom beach task forces)
- Give extra War Deck resets for players (like extra attacks in Clan Wars 1)
Hmm… yep, that’s a pretty accurate assessment of how terrible the update has been.
None of this is particularly relevant to me anymore, as I left my clan and uninstalled Clash Royale already. Do I miss it? Eh… not really. As with most things in life, holes get filled in with random crap if you let it. I find myself on Reddit more, or lowering the bar even further for random trashy manga via Tachiyomi. It’s not as though I got any extra time in the day after I left WoW either.
Nevertheless, I do find it infinitely amusing (and annoying) about how Time is a Flat Circle when it comes to developers making the same sort of mistakes, over and over, forever. When the forums are in revolt, don’t play Devil’s Advocate. Maybe never play Devil’s Advocate at all. Don’t go out of your way to reward big zerg guilds, as they almost always have an advantage already. And when you inevitably lurch away from an immensely dumb design decision, take a look around the table and see if there wasn’t anyone who was warning you about how dumb the idea was at the time.
If there wasn’t someone there at the table, well, maybe you need to add a few more chairs, eh?
Posted on September 17, 2020, in Commentary and tagged Clash Royale, Devil's Advocate, Game Design, Guild Leveling, Zerg Guild. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Wasn’t that always the case? The only reason I’m in a clan is to request/donate cards and play one clan war per cycle to get the chest (under CW 1 – not leeching, my clan has a donation requirement but not a CW participation requirement). The bonus of an active clan is huge from requesting cards alone.
But I agree, a guild must always be a pure social structure and must never have any in game advantage. That’s something most devs get wrong.
The correct solution would be to have a guild for social structures and a “fight unit” for rewards. Take a look at e.g. WoW Vanilla and that’s exactly what the community came up with. You’re in a guild with your friends or for social interaction and you join a raid for your weekly raiding – often raids don’t only consist of one guilds members.
What Blizzard fucked up and still doesn’t get is that these raids should also get in game support like a guild does. Like… why does the calendar only work for guild events?
GW2 went in the right direction with allowing you to be in 5 guilds at the same time.
“GW2 went in the right direction with allowing you to be in 5 guilds at the same time.”
That is a positive, true, but ANet also completely destroyed small guilds with the changes they made when they introduced Guild Halls with Heart of Thorns. Prior to that a two or three person guild was perfectly viable for just about all the purposes guilds had at that point. After the revamp small guilds couldn’t even get a guild bank.
Luckily they at least grandfathered in the gains small guilds had already made. I’d have levelled two more guilds if I’d known what was coming.