Even nicer Pay2Win
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 February 2016, 9:32 am
Sometimes I feel that I started my exploration of Pay2Win games at the deep end with League of Angels, which makes you pay in order to not lose your position. My second attempt, Dungeon Boss, was already a lot nicer, as you basically competed against yourself. But now I have been trying another game a reader recommended, Gems of War, and it turns out to be even nicer.

Gems of War is a game based very much on the Puzzle Quest series of games, but with a collectible card aspect. The match-3 gameplay is a lot more interesting than the combat systems of the other two games I mentioned, as it involves player skill. Thus potentially more longevity. And the collection system is the nicest Pay2Win you could imagine: Buying "keys" to open chests with random cards quickly isn't about a gaining power any more, but rather about new content, getting more different options of cards to play with. This is helped by getting more and more team slots while leveling, so you can play around with different options without always disbanding your old builds.

What all three Pay2Win games have in common is a VIP system. Basically the game sums up all the money you spent on it (displaying it as points, not as money, as that would probably hurt), and gives you a VIP level in function of that money spent. And the VIP level gives you various free daily goodies, for example glory keys in Gems of War. A typical case of "the rich getting richer": If you don't spend money you won't open all that many glory chests, but if you do spend money, you are given free keys for them every day.

Gems of War has a solution to the problem of random cards risking to give you the same card in multiple copies: Once you have 6 of the same card, you can sacrifice 5 of them and turn the remaining card into a higher rarity version. The next level costs 10 cards to sacrifice, and so on. If you end up with the highest possible rarity, you can still sacrifice cards for souls, which are used to level up other cards. Of course money is a much faster way to high rarity level cards.

What I like about Gems of War is that all the money you spend results in something permanent, or even like the VIP status in a gift that keeps on giving. There is no system of energy or stamina or something which runs out and asks you to spend money if you want to play more right now. All purchases go towards more cards, stronger cards, or the power of your kingdoms (which also result in gold and tribute every day). Playing Gems of War completely for free appears difficult to me, as even with good cards this is by no means a trivially easy game. But Gems of War certainly is a game where you could spend a fixed amount of money once, preferably at the start (some of the starting pack offers are really nice), and then keep enjoying the game without further spending.
Tobold's Blog

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