Warhammer: Chaos and Conquest, an overview

Intro

Is Warhammer Chaos and Conquest worth looking at?

If it was a PvE game, I’d say yes, if you are patient. As a pay to win PVP, pay to progress (at a tolerable rate), nope!

Most of the game is actually PvE based, in fact the vast majority is, but PvE players and F2P types are seen as fodder or worse by pay-to-win players. And – it seems – by the developing studio who I can only assume see F2P gamers as parasites to be gorged upon by the ‘real’ players.

I played for a few months, had 3 accounts, got a really good feel for and understanding of the game (hence guide) and walked away ‘cos it is poison. From the top down it is toxic as anything.

If you know Eve-online, if you’ve played that for any length of time, you’ll understand when I say that this game is quite possibly an order of magnitude more toxic. At least in Eve top level players won’t fly to zero space to crush players for scraps of ISK. In this game they are rewarded by the developers for doing so!

Here’s a rough example, if a low-level fortress (say level 7) attacks a mid-level fortress (say level 19) and throws their entire army of 10,000 at it, and the fortress has no defences except one champion, they will wipe out. 10,000 troops cannot beat a single solitary champion.

That’s an idea of the level imbalance.

Yet the developers are OK with a level 23 fortress with 500,000 troops, or a level 30 fortress with millions of troops crushing a new player into oblivion, just to be rewarded a few thousand points (when they need hundreds of millions of points). That’s the point I gave away several hundred pounds worth of resources and deleted all my accounts. Realm verse Realm (coming ‘this’ month) will take that nastiness to a whole new level and I want no part in that.

The game isn’t “players verses players” into more like the USA launching a full scale attack on Barbados to loot the island’s bananas. And the UN declaring, “Well played, Sir! They should have built a bigger army if they wanted to be safe from attack.”

The IP holders (Games Workshop) don’t care, they get their royalties, doesn’t matter if the game damages their franchise for a few hundred thousand folk.

The publishers (Tilting Point) are all about the bottom line, their share of the cash it makes, they don’t care.

And the developers, the studio (Hunted Cow), well, they are obviously happy with a game that has ZERO balance, so they don’t care either.

This is shot of general chat, as at 24th May, 2020. Sums up the game in a nutshell. It bears out earlier comments about the game and the nature of it and its player base.

The problem though is not the community, which can be toxic, it’s not the herding towards pay to win at extortionate rates, it’s the manipulative design changes, hidden gates with absolutely no forewarning that can raise the challenges a fivehold or more and yet offer no commensurate increase in reward.

As I’ll show, the difference – in time and difficulty and cost (resources and tokens/cash) – are many orders of magnitude higher, for nearly identical rewards. That’s just crazy, it’s the worst design imaginable.

Originally I said: “I’m not going to slate it for being what is it, but neither can I recommend it for being what it is!” On reflection, the game needs slating. It’s garbage. It’s designed to intentionally be garbage, interesting, perhaps, but still addictive garbage. And in its own ways it is just as unhealthy, just as poisonous as smoking, narcotic drugs, or diabetes-inducing eating habits.

As an educated guess, based on a little digging, the game is carried by around 400 ‘whales’ and several thousand minnows. A back-of-a-cig-packet calculation says the top players are spending perhaps £2,000 a year each on average, or £50 a week. Players I’ve spoken say, certainly for the top players, it is several times this amount.

Unless you can afford over £50 a week, every week, to barely keep up, do not get into this game. It’s that simple. If you want to play as ‘free to play’, budget about £20 a month to keep your fortress (but not your armies) shielded and hunker down for, oh, about 10 years, until you catch up.

In short, play THE game, but do not play THEIR game.

Oh yes, a word of warning first:
If you take a break from the game, regardless of how much you spent on it, your shields will fall, your fortress decimated, then, apparently, your fortress will be deleted. This, I’m told, occurs in the (frequent?) realm mergers. Basically, be active, keep playing – (keep paying!) – or be purged.

In case you haven’t got the message now, they claim to be ‘free to play‘, but really this, and all the many other games like it, are ‘free to pay‘.

It’s ironic really, to get you to p(l)ay, they suck nearly all the fun out of the game by employing time gates, then repeatedly, incessantly nag you to pay to remove the gates, which in turn sucks the fun out of the game ‘cos it’s a pyramid scam and you will never be more than fodder for the top tier of players. You hate being the low player, hate having to pay to catch up, you hate if you can’t, and you hate if you can.

Some like it of course, if they have deep pockets. Very deep pockets. Or are thick-skinned enough to keep going after any number of crushing defeats. Fair play to them.

For instance, I totted up today’s offers*, the ‘special limited’, the ‘time-limited!’, the ‘just for you’. Altogether they wanted £3,717.25. And that’s wouldn’t scratch the surface. Power up your prestige? That appears to add up to £25,000, give or take. You want to power up your champion? This appears to be 100 levels of incremental increases, £25,000 probably won’t begin to cover it. Want to boost that fortress to level 30, of course, Sir, please come into our VIP lounge. Platinum Mastercard? that will do nicely, Sir.

Sarcasm aside, no, I am not even remotely joking. They will happily take and take and keep taking until you are maxed to your credit limit. All purchases are final. Thank you. Have a nice day.

*(as at 8th May 2020)



Menu



First thoughts

Before we begin I will state – categorically – that it is possible to play this game to completion without ever spending a penny on it. But remind you it is not only ‘pay to win’ but also ‘pay to progress’ at any speed faster than a slug on a hot summer’s day. But don’t let that put you off.

The game itself is actually very interesting, if incredibly boring. By design. That’s not to say it’s a boring game as such, BUT (‘cos there always a but), for the greatest part, it’s not an active game. You are waiting hours for stamina to refresh before your champion can attack a foe, or for armies to heal (which, for really big armies can run for up to a month, apparently), or day, weeks, months, even a whole a year for a level of training to unlock a monster or to marginally improve a buff. Unless, of course, you want to pay, you know, remove that annoying timer.

You know the type: 3 days, 3 weeks, a YEAR to learn a skill – or speed it up with items from the shop. £20 here, £99 there, you know you want to.

BUT WAIT! WE HAVE A SPECIAL OFFER. JUST FOR YOU!

I’ve highlighted the salient bits. The ‘time-limited’ banner to push the “Get it now, before it’s gone” message. The ticking down timer to push that message. Look, there’s only three hours left on this fabulous offer. Buy NOW! And again, below, the 2x reminder, to press home how great this offer is. And the final sales push, sleazy car-salesman’s arm around your shoulder like you are his best mate in all the world, “Purchase limit five per customer.”

As the countdown progresses, the £99 block starts to pulse with a golden glow, beckoning, “Here I am, gorgeous person. Just one touch, you know you want me. Yes, yes, yes!” *bangs table* *Click* “That’s it, release those endorphins, buyer’s remorse is for later, for now complete the purchase and unwrap this glorious booty!”

Just in case you haven’t got the message about the nature of the game yet, the purchase cost they are pushing down your throat is 5 x £99. That’s right, £495.

I can tell you now, while five hundred quids worth of warpstone is a huge amount when you are a low level, it can still disappear fast, as you are constantly, insidiously persuaded to part with it. At the highest levels, a single unlock can cost up to 1.25 million. Might not surprise you by now that there are a great many things to unlock or upgrade in the game, 165 just in the sorcerer’s tower, for instance.

It’s literally a licence to print money for them. It’s hard to estimate, but I would say if you were rich and stupid, you could easily spend £50,000 on power-ups in the game and still have training ahead of you, if you wanted to tick all the boxes. And every time you log in, filling the screen is another offer, hoping to squeeze money from you, to milk you dry, because, to companies that employ these methods, you are just cattle. Fodder to be used until you have nothing left to give.

(If you think I am having a go at this game, these developers, then don’t, this is the nature of globalism and capitalism. What’s true here is true of big name companies like Asda, Primark, M&S, Apple, Google etc. The only difference being some of the latter are often linked to exploitation and to child and slave labour in their pursuit of bigger profits.)

Buffs aside, (gained from talents and, less so gear), the raw cost in warpstone to ‘instant’ learn a high level skill is up to 1,250,000 warpstone. And it ain’t cheap. Eve-online or at least a similar sales model, padded with oodles of loot boxes, was clearly an influence here, though, for a PVP MMO, it’s not proving as toxic as others on the market.

In it’s favour, Warhammer Chaos and Conquest has a lot going on in it at any one time.

Warhammer Chaos and Conquest lets you create vast armies, unlimited in size, though you never seem as such, i.e. visually, en mass, which is reasonable – having millions of 3D animations running at once would choke any computer, let alone a smartphone, which the game also plays on.

The sorcerer’s citadel has a lot to offer (given time, or at a price if you can’t wait). There are plenty of other skill trees too, giving the game a great deal of scope.

Against that, the developers, Hunted Cow, and their publishers, Tilting Point, do love to sell you things. Virtual things that cost nothing to create (materially speaking), in return for cold, hard cash. All they can take.

Warhammer Chaos and conquest pay to win: why farm when you can buy crafting materials for real money?

A big part of the game is fighting foes. Fights take stamina. Stamina is really, really slow to regenerate. Like hours at my level. In a hurry? Want to kill that foe before it gets sniped (and it will get sniped). No worries, you can buy energy to play the game. For another minute.

If you have played World of Warcraft for any length of time you will have heard the term, “working as intended”. It’s when something is so bad, so wrong, that you think it’s a bug. Only to be told, it’s ‘working at intended’. Below is stamina working as intended.

At my level, for an event, it takes me around 4 attacks to kill the lowest level ‘Foe’. That’s attacks, not hits. For clarification, after a few weeks of constant play, I have a level 12 fortress, and a level 26 champion. It takes me around 6,000 stamina to kill a level 4 Foe. Allowing I start at full resources (~1,500), that’s 4,500 needed to finish the fight – during which time any other player at or above my level can ‘snipe’ or steal the kill. 1,500 at 8/min is 187 mins, or for arguments sake 3 hours. Then I can get it down from 75% to 50%. And wait another 3 hours, to get it to 25%. And then another 3 hours to finally kill it – unless, as sometimes happens, it hangs in there at around 2%. That’s 750 minutes, or 12.5 hours to kill one single mob!

Why waste money on stamina when you can pay to level up?

Like all ‘dealers’, these guys are happy to start small, whether taking 99 pence pocket money from a kid, or emptying a student’s wallet, all’s fair in commerce.

Be ‘the chosen one’ – for a price. Could be £99, or here, £49.99. But be fast, it’s a time-limited offer. Once it’s gone, it’s gone (until the next one, of course), so buy, buy, BUY!

If you drag your Facebook friends into the game, the warpstone mine will reward you. As long as they are active, that is. You get scraps of warpstone, pitiful dregs a day, while they (the publishers), they hope, empty your friends banks. Bet your friends will thank you for that!

As can be seen below, the game is a true money pit. The 80 million in resources, while a lot, are farmable without stress, the 1,000 other components are another matter. And on top you require nigh-on a million warpstone – which as you’ve seen above would cost a seriously hefty stack of cash.

You will find little nuggets of warpstone spawning inside your fortress, but as these amount to, at most 3, and you ideally want tens, even hundreds of millions of warpstones, it’s like picking up pennies to buy a house. Never going to happen like that. Ever.

In fairness, though rare and quickly pounced upon, there are warpstone nodes to harvest, each offering 100 warpstone. Can add up if you get enough each day.

But, really, they want you to pony up for the big deals. And use them up, and buy more. They see customers in precisely the same way crack dealers see their addicts, which is a rather disturbing insight to the business, when you think about it. The warpstone is their ‘product’ and they want nothing more than to get YOU hooked. And no narcos to worry about. All legit business.

But again, it’s not essential. I might slate them for their business model, but they do allow active players to gather everything in game, if they put the time in. It’s a matter of players deciding whether they want to play the game or their time is more valuable than money, they have the latter to spare, so why not. Fairs do, if that’s how you are.

Whatever you decide, there’s a great deal to keep you busy for years – like these unholy rituals.

By now you will have realised that, by design, you can’t farm, or trade, or quest for this warpstone in-game currency in any meaningful quantities. Thus you head to the games online store – where, bonuses and special offers aside – that could cost you up to MANY £1,000.

That expensive skill early is just one of the 165 in the sorcerer’s citadel, just one skill in a very long list of skills. There are, of course, a number of other skill trees and upgrade paths, all exponentially expensive with each level of progress, both in time and difficulty to accrue materials and cost. It just keeps going up and up and up.

So you are not talking chump money here, you are talking hundreds, thousands of pounds a year if you want to get serious in a hurry. If you wanted to go from zero to capped hero in a day, then you could be talking several tens of thousands of pounds!

And, as other other pay-to-win PVP games may have taught you, what can be built can be destroyed. Naturally large part of the game is about doing just that: smashing your defences, looting your warehouses, capturing your heroes (warlords), destroying your armies, and murdering your champion. Grinding you into the dust and savouring your tears, to the delight of dark gods and darker publishers. The newly added Realm verses Realm will only take this pain to a new level.

Fortunately you can shield you fortress for a short time, or a few days, for a price. It won’t protect your gatherers and champions if they are outside the fortress, but it will stop anyone attacking you as long as the force field is up. Though if you attack, the shield falls. After all, the game is about strategy, baiting and gaming opponents, and gambling that your trap isn’t your own demise.

So, from the get-go, this game was designed to be grindingly slow and nudge you – at every. single. step. – to spend, spend, spend. We take it all, boyz, keep it comin’ £$€¥…

Loot boxes with RNG-based materials, we got your back, bro. You might only get a few random items in each crate. Sure, you need several thousand components, but that’s better than waiting a few hours to regenerate stamina and be able to do anything in the game. Am I right? Am I right? You know it!

It IS a good game, BUT it’s also designed to be a bottomless cash sinkhole, created purely to milk players dry. It is what it is and is a symptom of a diseased industry. (Nurgle would be proud).

If you are happy to throw a LOT of money at a game to win OR if you are patient enough to wait years – LITERALLY several years – to complete the training, then go for it.

Otherwise, it’s a hard pass.

Not knocking the game for its play, much, (thought spawning needs a lot of work), but equally, even though, for now, I’m playing it, I am very much not a fan of naked greed and predatory exploitation by developers.



Now for the grumbles: Their site.

OK, this is one of my ‘things’. I can tolerate sloppiness at low levels, but a developer that can’t even make a decent web site, that doesn’t understand long established and rudimentary design standards? No, that’s just crass.

Hop over to Chaos and Conquest and you’ll perhaps see what I mean.

Front or home page. OK, I’ll give that a nine, maybe an eight. Not perfect ‘cos they messed up the embedded video, but it looks good.

Personally, under the warlords slides, I’d have arranged them by god. For instance, I’d have the first group emphasising Nurgle, complete with glowing icon, title and menacing, pus-dripping deity. Pick a side sort of thing.

Also, you bloody cheapskates! You festering pile of misers! You offer a measly, derogatory, and frankly objectionable ‘reward’ of “up to” 1,000 warpstone for a video promoting your game. It costs you nothing, absolutely nothing, so you are getting free promotion which, given the sheer expense of the game, is money in the bank.

Secondly, you are saying to content developers that their time is – at best – worth a few quid. That is disrespectful and while I guess a few desperate individuals do take up the offer, you will get few if any creators of any skill or following to take interest. Shooting yourself in the foot much?

Furthermore, which I take personally, you only offer this piss-poor offer to twitch and youtube type streamers, and not to writers. For a post like this, fair enough, but a serious review or guide would take a several hours, more probably several days to prepare properly – and yet, apparently, it means nothing to you. You who can’t even developer a ruddy web site properly! Ask yourself this, Scrooge McHuntedCow: where would WoW be without wowhead?

For instance, said content FORM yoiks you away from the site to Google pages. What the heck?

Your entire menu is either hash links to the same page (fair enough, but could be better), or spins you away. The ‘news‘ page, for instance, rips away the menu, which is bad design. You simply do not do unexpected changes like that to visitors.

In a similar way, rather than being located on your own site, your ‘press’ page sends you off to a Google drop box. Really? That’s what you think of the press?

Cheap, lazy, and sloppy. The front page might rate an eight, but overall you can’t be bothered to make any effort, so get a barely passable 5.



Patch day. Good times!

Couldn’t help myself. 😀 I shared the video and comment below with Tilting point on their Facebook page.

Patch day, good times. Can I have 1,000 warpstone for a video of the game falling on its face?

Snarky, I know, and bugs happens, but when you tell your customers it will be ready at 1pm UTC and to “stay tuned for more updates”, it’s kind of Nurgly to have the game stuck in a loading loop thereafter and not send a minion to update your social media pages saying something like:
“Ooops, Orc boyz got gremlins into the works, we are working on it”.

We know you are, the point is it’s good PR to tell us you are. You ain’t a one-man band, eh. You know I’m right!



Suggestions for the developers

Carrot with the stick

I like to be harsh but fair, if I gave the game a kicking above, it’s because it needed a boot to the seat of the pants, and players need to be aware what they are walking into. Anything that says it is “free to play” then hold out its hands for fist-fulls of cash for every little thing is not really ‘free’.

Even WoW is the same (Activi$ion, eh!), they say it’s “free to play”, but only to level 20, and you can’t open mail, you can’t look at auctions, you can’t… That’s not ‘free to play’ it is crippleware. Warcraft, and games like it are crippled beyond use – unless you hand over a wodge of cash, and more. The ‘F2P’ is often barely even a demo, in their cases. In this respect at least, Hunting Cow are marginally more honest than the big players. Or all those that release a partial game (e.g. only two races, or zones)* and then take the DLC route to continually squeeze money from players, in stages. *(This is different from (genuine) expansions).

That said, at least for now, I’m still playing the game, though how much is enjoyment and how much is my unhealthy propensity towards obsessive gaming, ‘cos OCD (Anankastic Personality Disorder). The true irony is I’m a mature psychology student, and I know for a fact game companies use and manipulate cognitive biases and mental disorders as a way of profiting from players, yet I still play.

So, below are suggestions to the devs on ways to improve their game, (and, to follow, will be a guide to the game – even if the misers won’t thank me).

Freebies for the devs:


Colour-coded shields and fortress borders.

Default: neutral, so no border, clear shield.
Pact alliance: Blue border or shield.
Enemy alliance: Red border or shield.

For the latter, either a) the alliance leader declares an alliance a foe and you see them accordingly.

or b) if a player of an alliance attacks another pact member, they instantly become a rogue enemy. The flag is applied for a set number of days (say a week, or a month) to prevent them abusing the system by attacking someone, then going another alliance to ‘hide’. Basically, a debuff is applied, preventing them from creating or joining another alliance. They could still be shielded, but their gatherers would be fair game for anyone with a grudge.

An addition to this – in the in-game Alliance section (as below) – could be a counter to ‘Pacts’, so ‘Foes’. Pacts lists the ‘do not attack our friends’ factions, what is wanted, needed even, is a Foes list listing those considered to be: ‘our enemies’. Perhaps with the reason for the enmity.


Dynamic entities

Entities being resources, foes and NPC armies, but not player owned units. I’m not always a fan of Activision-Blizzard, but they coded this brilliantly in World of Warcraft. If you are unaware, here’s how it would work here.

Two players teleport to a level 20-ish area. Sam the Unwise is level 1, Faust the Flayer is levels 30.
There’s a lead node, a wizard foe, and a Dwarf army.
To Sam the Unwise these are level 1, and attacked or farmed as such by him. To Faust the Flayer they are level 10.

Whether you allowed this to be sniped is another matter. A fair system would be perhaps be one that if Sam the Unwise did over 50% of the damage, and gets the kill, the kill box goes to him.

This – of course – would not be applied to cities.


Fix spawning

Node generation is OK, could be better, but it’s not a huge issue. Foe and army generation is a mess through. The balance and respawn times are out of whack and need balancing. The suggestive above for dynamic entities would go a good way towards this, but is still needs to be a lot better. Stop penny-pinching and code the damned thing.

If you have a 20 or 30 radius area that’s empty, that is shitty development.
Equally, if the area is packed with foes that no-one is attacking because they are too low to bother with, or too high to attack, then that too is really bad development.

Warhammer Chaos and Conquest is dull if the area is cleared out. Not a bit busy here.


Default army and march options

It is rather ridiculous that you cannot save constantly used option.

I am ‘this’ level, every single PvE fight I used ‘this’ champion. ‘this’ warlord and ‘all these’ minions. The game needs an option to send ‘these’.

Similarly, if I’m sending out four marches to low level events or nodes, it will always be the same 4 groups. Why do we have to tell the game the same information every single time. Why? Because the developers don’t think it matters. (P.S. We nerfed ‘this’, buy more warpstone, I need a new pair of Guccis!)


Aggro circles

Personally I like to see dynamic aggro circle in the game. Whether you love or hate the idea, at least hear me out first.

Having dynamic entities (as above) would alter the equations and balancing, but not the essence of the idea, which is PvE mobs (NPCs) see everyone as a target.

There’d might have to be some interesting risk analysis going on, but, for instance, teleporting your level 5 city to a clump of level 10 armies would see said armies stomp you into the ground. Conversely, dropping a level 30 fortress in a clump of level 1 foes and armies would see them scatter out of your immediate range. (Aggro circle being really a fortress level).

Want to go gathering resources? Well, maybe you’ll want to clear a path first, ‘cos if you march an army of 5,000 past 3 foes and 2 NPC armies, expect all the latter groups to attack as soon as you are in range. The advance is you get the some loot etc from the kills, the disadvantage is – if they even make it – you might only have 500 infantry left to mine, and they have to survive and make it back first, so you’ll have to keep the path clear for the duration.

More work, but more realistic, and more interactive.


Ladder for ‘individual’ events and challenges

Some may disagree (predictably those who most benefit!) but I feel the system is fundamentally flawed as it is skewed towards high-level players. It should be proportional.

Now, in some ways, this is partially to low-levelled players advantage. For instance, a challenge may only need 125,000 points for a level 10 fortress to win a gold and a warlord, but level 20 will need 1.25m for the same. Depends on what it is, of course, whether power, Foes, armies, etc, but, it seems, some things are easier at low levels. Still, it is scaled, thus at this stage fair and balanced.

HOWEVER – which I see as an unfair advantage – say it’s points from rituals. A low level player might throw everything they have at the sorcerer’s citadel and finally, barely, just, scrape in with 125k points. Then a level 20 or 30 players finishes or boosts something to get 5, 10, 20m points or more. (Noting that you can argue it can take far longer for high level items to finish).

Similarly with Foes. A low level players will struggle to kill even a level 3 or 4 Foe (sniping being an issue also), whereas a level 30 can hit 10 or below. In terms of the challenge reward itself, the system is fair, but for the ladder reward, not at all as the difference is a disparity that lower level players can never catch up to.

This is highlighted in the two leader-boards below, one for power, the other for units. I got gold in both, so was happy with that. The scaling was working as intended.

Until you look at the board and see that the leaders aren’t just 10% or 50% ahead, they amassed over 50x, over 275x the amount – the latter is around 29,000% more, if my maths is right. They are highly rewarded simply for being a higher level, not for the amount of effort expended. You may also note that the leader has four times the points of even second place in both instances. (Perhaps, being cynical, it costs more money to rank higher at higher levels. The reward is a lure for heavy spenders. Working at intended!)

Thus, I suggest, the ladders, where appropriate, factor in fortress level to ladder ratings. (This, of course, would not apply to Legion and alliance events).


Target information

This can go under the category of ‘not essential, but handy to have’.

You see a weakened Foe nearby, you have the stamina to finish it off, and you see the golden line telling you it’s been targeted. Do you be kind and let them take it (risking someone else getting it while you dither), or do you snipe it immediately, possible upsetting an alliance or a pact ally?

Or do you scroll back along perhaps 400 miles or more to see who launched the attack before deciding. (During which time someone else may snipe it)?

Decisions, decisions.

Or Hunted Cow can code the Foe with a note saying something like:
‘Targetted by [ABCD] ImmaGetU, arriving in 1m13s.’ They could, if they wanted, tie this in with my earlier suggestion with colour coding. A gold line and circle on the Foe can a neutral faction, blue for pact, red for enemy.


Improved scan information

When you do a search in your local area (a range decreed by level, research and upgrades) to will be give a list of your chosen resource (e.g. farms) within range (e.g. 25 miles).

It might be a very long list, with 20 or more results.

All or none of which my be available.

There a few ways of improving this, any or all or which are possible to code. Ideally these can be saved as ‘preferences’, e.g.:

Only list available nodes (for ‘this’)

Only list full nodes (e.g. ignore partially farmed)

So, for instance: list all available ([full]) nodes (for [this]) (at level [5])

Basically, it’s easier to manually scroll around the map to find a resource than use the scan, making the scan largely pointless. This is because the search results can and do offer large number of unviable targets, so you scan, go to the resource, see it’s occupied, rescan, go to… Rinse and keep repeating. Pointless! You may as well just scroll.


Auction House

Yes, I know, developers and publishers tend not to like this, they prefer, they love their RNG-based lootboxes. Naturally we are not talking micro-payments, we are talking, tens, hundreds, thousands of pounds. Mind games, eh.

Just one money try, drop a tenner in the slot, go on, you’ve put £390 in so far, it’s bound to drop now. Oh bad luck, sir, but you’ve come this far, just another tenner. Shame to give up now, eh?

It can be farmed, not arguing that, but you need to be high level and in a top alliance and active every day – and buy warpstone and lootboxes to really progress at any speed, so no, just bloody NO!

It’s our own fault: if players didn’t buy into these confidence scams, the games companies wouldn’t use them. But players do, ‘cos mind games. And they, the publishers and such, love our stupidity. Ignorance and malleability can be profited from, after all.

The problem – and it IS a problem – is that you might only have a small chance to get a few of the items you need, but the game, by design, doesn’t require a few, it requires scores as a minimum, then hundreds, typically, then thousands for some. Pure and simple, it IS gambling, and the genre was designed – with the help of doctoral psychologists – to be as addictive as slot machines. (See my post on cognitive dissonance and forced compliance behaviour).

This behaviourial exploitation is the same sort of mind games that persuaded supermarkets to put chocolate displays and the like all around the cashier tills, so as to add impulses buys to the basket, perhaps to shut the nagging kids or partner up while standing in line. Just to squeeze an extra few pennies from the customers, to get every last penny they can, now they have them through the door. It is merciless.
"Go on, buy that candy bar, oh, and those paracetamol you know you forgot. And maybe an energy drink. Excellent. Excellent!"

Do the maths.

Suppose you need 200 ‘worked gromil’ for an epic glove.

First, you can’t make an epic item, you have to make a core, then farm or buy the materials to upgrade it to uncommon, repeat for rare, and so on through epic and legendary. So, here we are at the epic stage. And you need 200 gromil, 10 of which can be found in a superior crafting case.

Simple, you need 20 superior crafting cases, so require 40,000 warpstone, which can cost between £100 and £200 depending on offers. Or you can buy 20 of the ‘Blacksmiths of Ruin’ bundles, £4.99 which have extra stuff and are far better value. But still, £100.
(Again, I acknowledge it is possible, (e.g. through being the top player in the game), to farm so many from quests, but to be that top player, you have to buy your way to the top. They Gotcha!)

But you don’t actually want 20 crates, you want the right 20 crates. So, allowing a 8.3% chance, that’s around 12 crates. For ease we’ll round it down to 10, so 400,000 warpstone. Which is between £1,000 and £2,000. Or again, much better value, around 200 ‘Blacksmiths of Ruin’ bundles – yours for £998.

But it doesn’t end there, because that’s only 1 items from a set of six, so now we are looking at 2,400,000 warpstone.

And still, if you are serious about the game – you know you are, you’re still reading – then that’s just that set. There’s the gathering set, the defence set, the foe farming set, the army and pvp sets. So, you have to choose, just one or two, maybe three, if you can afford it.

That is bloody mental. NO!

There’s lots of ways they can make an auction house work, allow players to farm and sell mats, or not. It all comes down to setting the baselines in the auction house, and the price of warpstone in the store.

I doubt I am alone in this, but there is zero chance I will pay £10 or £20 for even a single rng-based loot box like that. But being close to an item that would be a game change, just need to buy £10 of warpstone. Heck, it’s a tenner, it will save me hours of farming, why not.

In their greed, and lack of imagination, the developers and publishers are enslaving themselves to a loot-box model. A business model that the whole world, that whole governments are turning against (e.g Belgium, Australia, the EU) due to the gambling nature of said boxes. Break the chains.

Bear in mind, people, that the developers control the spawn rates, the loot tables, the drop rates. It in in their best interest to make these as intolerable as possible, so as to push multiple sales of components. Ask yourself this: would you pay £1,000 for a pair of pants? Because that is what they are asking. And another £1,000 for the coat, and again for the hat. And so forth. They will only change the system when players stop feeding their slot machines.


Expansion(s)

One option, for the future, quite probably already considered, is expansions. So, adding the option to play as Dwarves, Humans, Skaven, Elves, Dark elves, Vampires etc (in stages). This would require allowance for a one-off FREE race and skill reset. Cities such as Altdorf would have equivalents in other races.

Obviously this requires a much bigger player base, so it’s up to the developers and publishers to balance their naked greed and sales model with numbers. Half the store prices, double or better the active players sort of thing. The right marketing would do that, whether it’s the lure of Dwarven Slayers, or warp-addicted Skavens.





It’s not just me!

From the Steam community:

Player with: 32.9 hrs on record (4.6 hrs at review time)

Another click and wait, click and wait. Give us money if you don’t want to wait. If you liked Evony, you might like this.

player with: 70.2 hrs on record

Pure pay to win

Player with 146.1 hrs on record (143.5 hrs at review time)

PK so Ive played now for nearly 150 hours, not sure why, sheer boredom I think.

Lets be clear,.. this erm “game”!? is a pay to win money war just like all the other games that have you click the upgrade button and wait ten days,… unless of course you pay to speed things up pfff…. wtf people this is 2019-2020, why are we playing these games.

there are some very sad people with more money than sence that sit there all day throwing money at this game to see their power strength number get a bit bigger wtf!!!! guys realy?

Il put it simply for you. STAY AWAY,… if you are not spending the same amount of money as the big spenders then you shouldnt spend anything at all as you will still be useless and food for the big boys.

there is nothing to actually see dispite what the trailer would have you believe, you just watch one dude (who is the simbol of the whole ary) walk 20 minutes to a fortress or whatever, swing his weapon once and,…. well thats it!!! the fight is over and computer calculates the result.

The sad sad addiction here is watching your number get bigger!!!! 2020 people wtf wtf wtf

we have playstations, xboxes, switch,…. yet idiots throwing money at this junk woooooooooooooooow

seriously peeps just go play an actuall game!!!!

Players with 51.0 hrs on record

JUST ANOTHER WHALE HUNTING MOBILE TRASH

Don’t mistake this garbage for a game, not even for a minute. This here is the example of everything that is wrong with gaming industry, when this preying algorithm is allowed on Steam. GAMES WORKSHOP made a huge mistake to allow their IP to be smeared with this dung and it can hurt their brand in the long run.

The player did a great review video too. I love his sarcasm. And agree with it wholeheartedly. Completely worth the 11 minutes before deciding on this game. The review is 100% spot on.

And externally to Steam, for instance Game Guru:

Pay is the way
Yes, you’ve heard it, Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest is heavily pay-to-win.

However, once you visit the store within the game, you’ll soon see a huge range of gems available to purchase. Well, that might be the moment when you realize how Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest can be a total money sink. Of course, you can totally progress by yourself, through patience and persistence. It’s just that you won’t be seeing yourself in the top leaderboards. Why? Because there’s no way that would happen, unless you spend loads of real money on it.

You don’t really need to be a mastermind of strategic knowledge or skills, because you can master the game using your credit card! The ones to win the most is the ones to spend the most, it’s as simple as that!

All in all, Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest isn’t a title where skills and practice and strategy play a factor. Because of that, it’s pretty much only recommendable to the rich players, whoever have the finance power to become the best.

Similarly, on an industry scale, I suggest to do a search for this: “forced compliance behaviour” loot boxes.

Or variations of that, of course. Either way, you end up with scientific papers like:

Xiao, L.Y., Henderson, L.L., Towards an Ethical Game Design Solution to Loot Boxes: a Commentary on King and Delfabbro. International Journal of Mental Health Addiction (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00164-4

This paper argues that the proposed measures are unlikely to be widely adopted by the video game industry, given the industry’s economic interests in the continued unhindered implementation of predatory monetisation, their preference for continued ‘self-regulation’ and their past resistance against potential regulation.

… contributed crucial game design (or ludological) perspectives to the loot box debate which has hitherto been preoccupied with the potentially abusive psychological manipulations caused by the game mechanic (King and Delfabbro 2018)…

Virtual Currency Pricing Conceals the True Real-World Cost of Loot Boxes
Research on consumption in the virtual world and how it differs from consumption in the real world has been limited.

You get the idea. this game, and games like it, are based on – by design – predatory mind****ery. These are tactics of (arguably sociopathic and psychopathic) people who want to line their pockets and do not care about the physical, mental or financial toll it may create with players. They, of course, will seek to disagree, but, well, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Arguments and lobbying to the contrary use same reasoning that the tobacco industry employs to argue smoking is good because it creates jobs and generates taxes for the government, while for decades hiding the evidence it was a vile, addictive and known carcinogenic.



By the numbers

OK, these are based on a little background digging, some rough calculations and simply counting, or looking. They are correct as at 5th May, 2020, but obviously are free to fluctuate from this point on.

Warhammer Chaos and Conquest on social media:

Twitch: does not exist. The game does link to Twitch, but it takes you to the publisher’s general page, not this game, not the developer.
Therefore, Twitch followers = zero

Hunted Cows’ forum followers: zero.
While their forum supports the developer’s other games, it does not support this one, it seems.
Therefore forum followers and support = zero

Facebook page: that is a bit healthier, at 33,000 likes

Twitter is mediocre, at 1,549 followers

Discord is where the ‘whales’ appear to hang out. Here you will find 5 of their staff, and 475 subscribers (of whom all but 109 are labelled as ‘chaos cult’ (fodder, basically)).

Steam Community. By the time you get to the games pages on Steam, the review are mixed, but increasingly negative.

Screenshots: Bar one from the intro, most I have never seen in the game. In fact several of the ‘screenshots’ from the game are from Warhammer 40,000, so not remotely this game. (That, in my view, is misleading!)

Artwork: none

Guides: none

Reviews: Mixed. On the 3rd of May it stood at 52% negative over the last 30 days, and 39% negative since release.

As at 2020 their financials appear to be down around 15%, so I would expect tactics such as drop rate and event manipulations to be a target to claw the money back*. Server mergers are a thing, which is generally due to player attrition and cost-cutting, so not a sign of healthy growth. They do appear to be in the black by £298k, but have liabilities of £196k, so basically £100,000 (plus income) to pay their overheads and 19 directors, developers and ancillary staff. (Back of a faq packet maths, 19 staff, £30k a year average, that’s about 2 months wages. So hand to mouth, perhaps. Still, the report says they took on 6 staff since last year, so they must feel hopeful).

*As an example, in a recent event, with a Warlord reward, if I had had all tier 3 armies researched, and never slept, I would need 12 days to create enough armies for ‘gold’. It was a 48-hour event. At the same time I was bombarded with speed-ups offers, which, along with resources, would have cost me several hundred pound. They could be honest and say “this hero costs £249”, instead they choose psychological manipulation. Sharp practices, arguably.

With all the mergers, there are now only 15 realms, with perhaps between 500 and 2,500 active players per realm (based on observing Throgg-5). These are utterly dominated by the top 1%, or on this realm one single player, predominantly. (e.g. A single, wealthy pay-to-win whale can have more troops and more power than the combined strength of a lesser alliance of 50 players.

An update will soon add Realm vs Realm battles, that, I suspect, will crush all opposition. My feeling is the developers hope whole alliances will be decimated and the players will spent large sums of cash to recover. I rather suspect they are wrong. The minnows will give up, ‘cos what’s the point, and the lesser whales will start to leave, perhaps 20 to 50 at a time, ‘cos they can’t afford (or justify) that level of repair. That gives the game 10 to 20 RvR events before the cost hits home and you have one player or one alliance dominating everything. They, therefore, have no challenges, and few if any with the purse to challenge them. Game over?



The players

‘Players’, not us gamers, that is:

Tilting Point:

THE WORLD’S LARGEST USER ACQUISITION FUND.
$132,000,000
to provide risk-free capital for independent developers to scale their free-to-play games.

You’ve launched a great game but you need help to scale it. We will provide you with risk-free capital, user-acquisition technology, and the right ad creatives to make that happen.

For select games, we can provide 360º publishing services.

You remain in total control of your game while our talented team takes care of accelerating its growth.

*Dusts off Visual Studio* OK, I’m interested, where do I sign?

 

Hunted Cow Studios
Well, any doubt I had that these guys are rubbish at web design has been firmly dispelled! Guy, responsive design is a thing now, we ain’t still back in the 90’s!

Also of possible interest: Bleeding Cool, Talking ‘Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest’ With Hunted Cow

 

Games Workshop and Warhammer – should need no introduction!


Exhaustive game guide

To follow, probably June (2020), I have stuff to do first.

Ack

Been playing with computers since the stone age, online since the '80s, and developing websites since the '90s.

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