Shop Titans guide

A beginners guide to Shop Titans

Intro: What is or are Shop Titans?

Here’s the official blurb first:

Design and build a thriving shop in this tycoon simulation adventure! Outfit your heroes and champions with epic gear, and send them on quests to defeat powerful bosses!

Become A Master Shopkeeper
* Create and customize your own fantasy shop.
* Craft and master over 150 different items to solidify yourself as an expert craftsman.
* Come together and form a guild with your friends and build a prosperous city.
* Trade with others from around the world.
* Recruit and customize your heroes, each with their own gear and skills.
* Battle awesome bosses in unique dungeons and earn yourself the rarest loot!

Shop Titans website

First thoughts
If I said Farmville, with a shop counter, you’d get the idea. I’m playing on PC, but it’s a typical, made for mobile, draw in addicts, milk them for cash to make the game go faster type. One best to be dipped into, then abandoned!

That’s not to say it’s a bad game though. Graphically it’s very appealing, it’s not buggy, and I’ve yet to find a fault with it from a gameplay and user interface point of view. It is, as these things go, damned impressive, actually!

If you have the time, or just want to dip in, then it’s recommended. With caveats.

NOTE:
The first half of this post may come across as slating the game. I actually have a great deal of respect for the developers. Yes, it can be an eye-wateringly expensive time sink, or not. You have that option.

Recently they messed up. A glitch, it happens. All progress was lost on a monthly event. Their response? They immediately apologised, reset it for the remainder of the event and unlocked all rewards for the event for everyone, even those that had partially or wholly completed it (thus getting double rewards). Contrast this will say Blizzard who – unbelievably – corrupted the server and lost all backups for archaeology progress for WoW. For millions of players. Not just a weekend’s gaming but several years worth and, for some, thousands of hours of grind. Blizzard’s response: “Stuff happens, deal with it. You’ll just have to redo the work. End of subject.”


The missing blurb

What the blurb manages to miss out on is the absolute importance of the city to your game. If you don’t upgrade your cities building and workshops, they can’t level, which means you can’t progress.

Why is this a problem?

Well, each level is exponentially harder than the last, until, even very early into the game, you will stall. You need help! A lot of help, and from people equally committed to the game as yourself (or equally casual). But to get this help you need to upgrade your town hall, which needs ever more gold (or gems). So, you to find or build a like-minded guild. However, the game’s support for guild recruitment is non-existent. You have to spam World Chat, with thousands of other people desperate to find people of the right level to join them.

Ticks
These investments, these Ticks, start off all nice and friendly at 100g each. In no time at all, they are 1,000, a million. And this is still a low level. It continues like this until the cost is hundreds of millions per tip. And you need over 1,000 ticks per building. The top guilds need investments measured in trillions of gold!

Ours is only a low-level guild and already, you start to see the problem. I’ve been playing (admittedly heavily) for about five weeks now, and it’s starting to look like this:

Shop Titan Ticks
{ Investing quick drains your wealth! }

Bearing in mind this is a ‘free to play’ game, and you have to grind that gold by putting hundreds or even thousands of hours into the game, they are naturally keen to sell you gems to speed things up. Now, this is one building out of many, and – for me – I am already looking at perhaps a billion gold to upgrade it by one level. But let’s focus on what I can afford, in gold. some 250,000g to nudge it 250 ticks. Or, I can take the shortcut and purchase some gems…

Shop Titans gem prices
{ That is eye-watering expensive! $100 to partially upgrade a low-level building! }

Incidentally!
If you think that is expensive, do the maths for their prices on Ascension Shards. It is optional, you can farm them in the game*, but the price is so extortionate to buy them you have to wonder what the hell they are thinking! There are multiple lines of Ascension to focus on, with each needing up to 50 or more points. And up point taking many shards. It’s $6.99 for 35 shards and it won’t even but me one point. Doing it this way, the cost would run into thousands of dollars!

*It will come as no surprise that the drop rate for these shards is incredibly low so one solution is to open chests to try and find them – open them with gems, because of the low drop rate of chest keys.

But it gets worse.
Each person’s investment in a city is their investment. If they leave, they take that with them and all the buildings they invested in are downgraded. The guild and its city are then downgraded accordingly. And there you go, back to spamming chat.

As you can see, this in turn leads to several other problems. High churn rate for one as people get bored or disillusioned. Some people only play for an hour or less a week, while others are more active.

Then there are the parasites, the ones that hop guides and only invest in themselves, leeching off the investment of others.

Then there’s the poaching. Losing a player can push you back weeks, months, possibly even a year or more for a top guild. So perhaps they quit or disband and they all (seem to) start their own guilds, determined to do better, this time.

All of this is a pain in the arse and the one part of this otherwise good game that is completely unfit for purpose. When you absolutely need members and the only way to get them (in-game) is to spam chat day after day, well, it gets tedious. That the developers leave players to discard and external sites to find players is a disgrace for what is or should be a casual free to play (pay to shortcut) game.


Micro management

It also carefully misses out the time-intensive micro-management nature of the game, and – of course – all mention of real money costs, which, if you let it, can add up fast. You have to laugh at an industry that calls sums of $99 or even £999 (a different game) ‘micropayments‘. To be fair, being a non PvP trading game, it is perfectly possible to play to max level without ever spending a penny on the game, and many do, but we’ll come to that in a bit.

It’s a good game if you like just dipping in for a short time, but if you want to progress it is a monster!


Free to play, pay to progress (more quickly)

Like all such games, it has one inherent design flaw – one that is intentional. It starts fast, interesting, enthralling even, then, level by level, begin to drag, then get tedious, then…

It, like many others, is designed to ensnare the bored, the lonely and or obsessive types. It has one aim – to part the impatient with their money! Nothing wrong with that from a business point of view, but as a gamer and game designer, I find aspects of it unsavoury.

In fairness, it’s done well. It’s sneaky at times, but not in-your-face aggressiveness, more nudges and rare reminders.

(If you read my review for Chaos and Conquest you’ll perhaps understand the different. Kabam, in contrast, comes across as professional, while the company behind the Warhammer based Chaos and conquest game came across as an appallingly greedy company, worse than Activision, EA, CCP or anyone else I’ve encountered!)

The problem – I find – is I want to play the game actively. They, however, ideally want you to pay for the game, so they put in a series of gates.


It’s free to play, right?

Already, we have seen it may be free to play, but they are rather keen to take your money if you are willing.

It’s subtle rather than IN YOUR FACE, so I don’t object to this (well maybe the Ascension Shards), development costs and all that, but if you let it, it is a VERY expensive game. There is the tempting monthly sub, the daily, weekly, monthly and season offers, the one-off offers, and more. All eager to hoover cash from you. There there are the locked buildings – those too, I disagree with. Partly because it deters from the game for free to play gamers, but monthly because they priced them around $50, which is like ‘AAA’ pricing for what is essentially optional DLC unlocks.

I could go on, but I found a great article that does it better than I can, so: Sims Corner: Shop Titans, just how free is it?

However, there are workers that you can only get by spending real money to get. The crafty engineer is around $30 and the wise scholar is around $20. That’s $50 for just 2 workers, 4 exclusive blueprints and 2 special bonuses. That’s a lot of money!

So, ‘free to play’ BUT

$17.99 for Mundra the Moon Dragon worker (optional)

$19.99 for the Wise Scholar worker (optional)

$29.99 for the Drafty Engineer Worker (optional)

$9.99 a month for the Royal Merchant benefits (optional)

Then there’s the other 100+ packs of cosmetics and crafting blueprints for Halloween, Christmas, St Patricks Day, Cinco de Mayo, 4the of July, Oktoberfest… all prices around $10 to 20 each.

Then there’s…

You get the idea: Shop Titans Guide: Premium Package History


Energy barrier

The most annoying of these barriers to play is how progress is tied to is the energy.

The aim of the game is to make gold. Billions, even trillions of gold. So, you trade or craft items (time but no energy cost) which you sell. Sell at a standard price (or at a loss) and you earn energy for surcharges. The energy from sales is fixed at 30, the energy from surcharges increases with the value of the item. Earning this way can be mind-numbingly slow, is bound up with shop upgrades (more in a bit) and a single sale often burns it all away. Seeing as the aim is to maximise profits, I find this a tad frustrating! This problem becomes more acute with each passing level.

The number and level of your display furniture dictate your energy cap. Add another vertical rack, your max energy creeps up; upgrade that rack and it nudges up a bit more.
(Further increments can be had with guild perks).

The level of your sales counter affects the energy you earn per sales and the number of customers you can have waiting in a queue before they walk out of the shop.

The counter has 15 levels, the starter counter rewards 1 energy per sale, by 15 it’s 30 energy per sale, so, you definitely want a level 15 counter, right?
It’s not precise, but a good rule of thumb is exponential increases in time, and gold, or in gems. So 10 minutes, then 2 hours, then 6 hours. You get the idea.

Remembering you can only upgrade one shop item at a time, the cost of a fully upgraded counter is 580,000,000g and 33 days.

So, for a month, you can’t upgrade anything else.

Unless you have gems! Gem upgrades are instant! Now, you can earn gems in the game from quests, or earn them trading items in auctions (many do) but it’s slow. Typically you can only sell a few items at a time, and there’s lots of competition. And for this counter, you need 7,880 gems. Which, in real terms, is $50 to $70 dollars.

You can use ornaments and pets to generate scraps of energy, but these too cost gold or gems.

The other factor is the size of your shop. The bigger your shop, the more customers visit at a time and the more energy you can generate.

My next upgrade will cost 50,000,000g and two days (or 2,000 gems). The cost for the 9th expansion rises to a billion gold and 7 days (or 5,000 gems). It goes up to level 17, though after 9 it only affects cosmetic furniture, not display racks etc. (which take up allotted grid space)


Time and cost barriers

I don’t object to the other barriers, but it’s good to be aware of them.

I look at general chat from time to time. It has interesting parallels with guild and progress games like World of Worldcraft, in terms of time and commitment. The chat is mild, not toxic, but there is that element of “If you are not worth ‘x’ billion and investing ‘y million’ a week to our progress, you will be removed”.

Having run a guild for a month, I am fully behind this stance!

Guild level is important, so, you need to grind perks. And there’s a weekly cap of 1,000 points, which don’t go far. So, another time and activity gate.

Then there’s the player level. You can fudge that, after a fashion, but your level equates to base counter sales. Item quality and surcharges are not considered for the experience award, nor are any sales in the city auctions. If you want a billion points of experience you have to sell a lot of items. Manually. One at a time. Limited by your shop size, counter size, the customer flow (which is depend on several factors) and your own actual time.

The first 30 merchant levels go fast.
Going from 39 to 40 (5 million points) it’s a struggle. (40 unlocks the basement).
59 to 60 is 136 million points.
98 to 99 is 88 billion points!

It’s rare to see players over the mid-70s, the highest I could find was level 84, with a personal value of 572 billion. His guild has invested 2.8 trillion gold! That level of commitment is a tad intense. There are individual players worth trillions of gold!

For a greater perspective, noting that I’m still learning the game, finding better ways to play, I’ve currently invested 120 hours in the game and am struggling to get from 39 to 40. As making gold is easy, but everything else is not, tonight I have taken to running back and forth from the auctions to find items close to base cost – to sell at a loss. It burns my greedy soul to do it, but the big jumps in the game are 40 and 60. Sacrificing perhaps 5 million gold to get a level in a few hours instead of a few days is a good investment in my opinion.

Note, however, that I levelled way too fast and in hindsight, would have played differently. More on this in a bit.


Power levelling your shop keeper

There are ways to focus on merchant experience, if like playing with maths and spreadsheets and notepads to…

Shop Titans Data Spreadsheet: Blueprints

That spreadsheet gives source, cost, unlock prerequisites, base values and, importantly, the base value of XP points it will give the shopkeeper to level him or her up. So, a shiv is worth 125xp, while a long rifle is worth 10,500 XP. Spirits and elements add further XP to the sale, so a long rifle with an eagle spirit added is 16,600. Superior or better add further XP for the sale.

He who controls the spice controls the universe 😀

Again, I reiterate, there are good reasons to level up your merchant, but also, good reasons not to.


Crafting for crafting and auctions

A number of crafted items are needed as components for later plans. This makes them potentially valuable. Often ten times their base value, or even worth gems.

There are some 92 plans like this, of which 9 requirement items of Superior quality. Many experienced players focus their ascension shards on these, at least up to 15 points, some all the way.

I was going to drop a sortable database into here, might later, but for speed (and saving money) I’ve simply put it into a Google spreadsheet.

Here: Shop Titans crafting for crafting on Google spreadsheets

The Superior ones, for instance, are:

Bo Staff
Bronze Circlet
Cutlass
Hunting Spear
Knight Sollerets
Light Element
Memento
Monster Manual
Night Cowl
Noble Ring
Oak Staff
Raptoria
Reflex Bow
Scroll of Sparks
Silver Thistle

As an example, the Bo Staff (tier 4) is required to craft the Wild Oak Rose, a tier 10 herb from an event pack (paid for). This they are spending real money to trade on the game, so are more likely to pay top prices to be able to craft quality items for selling in auctions. Against them, limited market, so it can take longer to sell.

Here is the Bronze Circlet, a tier 4 cloth cap needed for the tier 8 Phoenix Staff, which drops from a chest. So again, higher level, farmable, popular. My inventory was full so I put them in Auction at 10x base price to store for later – they sold fast. So, as I wanted some for myself, I put the next lot up for 3 gems each. They sold too. Just gives you an idea.

Other items, such as the Bloodvine herb (tier 6) are needed for the Bramblebane bow. These again will sell fast at 10x base price, and will sell for gems too.


Slow and steady, the tortoise wins the race?

Hindsight is a wonderful and terrible thing, but of “if only” and such. There are no do-overs in this game as you are limited to one account. More than one is a ban. So, playing on your phone with one shop merchant and on your computer via a steam account – is not allowed.

Ban hammer:

Multiple accounts is a direct violation of our Terms of Service Section 1.5. Use of Service:

You shall not have more than one Account at any given time

If you would like to review the Terms for yourself, you can do so here: Riposte Games Terms of Service

Anyhow, if you are thinking of rushing ahead into the giddy wealth of a fully expanded shop, here are a few pitfalls.

Why I wish I’d stayed at a low level for a long time:

1) Bounty bags are really easy at low levels. You can farm all the statues, farm seeds, feathers. As you go up, the rewards can get better, but the time and difficulty for completing bounties rise fast.

2) Energy and bins. It takes ages – years even – to fully upgrade. You need a lot of energy to surcharge items. You need a lot of mats to craft, with means upgraded bins. A lot faster with a full 20-person guild IF they are helping, but still, it’s a time sink. Rushing means you run into walls faster and harder.

3) The Tower of Titans and Titan souls. I levelled 1 to 60 in a little over a month, I’m OCD like that. I ran into the Titan Tower event early, was under-geared, but made fair progress. Next time, I promised myself. And next time came around fast. My heroes were far more formidable now. And they are into the tower’s first level, ready to obliterate them!

Didn’t happen! My swarthy heroes’ faces were purple with fear. At the easier level, what is going on!?

Turns out there are four levels of severity for the tower of titans, set my your merchant level. If you have a level 60 merchant and mid-level under-geared heroes, you are not prepared for it!

From ST-Central: There are 4 difficulties, which difficulty you are given is based on your merchant level. Each step up in difficultly is accompanied with better rewards than the previous:

See, this is where I really went wrong. I could have stayed low and farmed titan souls with over-geared low-level heroes. Against that, the event is only once a month and you can eventually have 20 or more heroes. So, again, time-gated lock-outs.

Tower Difficulty:

Bounty Grab Bags

Bounties are important for guilds (up to the weekly cap), but also have a number of rewards worthy of farming.

Blue: Defense seed, coins for Lilu, Donovan-Coins, …

Green: HP seed, coins for Sia, Yami, Polonia, …

Red: Attack seed, coins for Argon, Rudo, …

Statues and other goodies too.


Spirit slots

Star Ratings and Criteria

5 star: Eagle, Bear, Lizard
BiS in most cases

4 star: Cat, Shark, Lion
BiS in specific cases, but generally good

3 star: Wolf, Owl, Walrus
niche, maybe:

2 star: Viper, Mammoth, Dinosaur
meh

1 star: Ram, Ox, Rhino, Armadillo, Horse, Hippo
garbage, avoid!


t4 (1st level) spirits

Eagle, +2% Critical Hit Chance (*****)
Cat, +2% Evasion (****)

Wolf, +5% Attack (***)
Viper, +15% Critical Hit Damage (**)
Ram, +5% Defense (-)
Ox, +3% Health (-)

ST-Central: “When to avoid Cat: If a hero’s evasion is already above 50%, there is more benefit in using other spirits, such as Lion, Shark, or Bear.”


t7 (2nd level) spirits

Lizard, +3 HP Regen per turn, (*****)
Owl, +5% XP, (***)
Armadillo, +15% Chance to survive one fatal blow (*)
Hippo, -1% Resting Time, (-)
Horse, -20% Break Chance, (-)
Rhino, +5 Threat Rating, (-)

Owl shines on low-level gear (up to level 26) to assist in levelling a hero up to the next tier of gear. A full set is a substantial boost to XP at +30%

Lizard is awesome. The HP regen stacks additively per spirit, making a full set gives you 18 HP a turn! Its application can apply to literally any hero, even the evasion reliant ones. It gives a cushion to stat requirements that might be slightly out of reach, as you can lower HP thresholds and replace them with more ATK. Its biggest downfall is lack of need in the late game, when heroes are ploughing through content so quickly that the regen from Lizard does not have enough rounds to be utilized.

ST-Central


t9 (3rd level) spirits

Bear, +5% Attack and +15 Health, (*****)

Lion, +5% Attack and +1% Evasion, (****)

Shark, Bonus Attack VS injured enemies, (****)

Walrus, +5% Health and -30% Break Chance, (***)

Dinosaur, +25% Attack on the first round, (**)

Mammoth, +10% Defense and +10 Threat Rating, (**)

Lion is a Dancer’s best friend. This spirit was very clearly created with Dancer in mind, and plays to boost its biggest strength and improve on its greatest weakness. Every point in evasion on a Dancer is effectively 1% crit rate as well, because of how their innate ability functions. Lion’s boost to attack also bumps Dancers usual biggest hurdle which is acquiring enough boosts to attack! This is not exclusive to Dancers either, as every “green” type class benefits just as fruitfully in their potential as well.

Additionally, if your evasion heavy hero is already above 50% EVA, you can consider Shark as an alternative to potentially end fights a round or two sooner if your hero crits.”

ST-Central: Spirit guidance


Youtube videos of note

How to Progress for Newer Players – Shop Titans (GUIDE)

Super Profitable Low-Level Pre-craft Items – Shop Titans (GUIDE)

SurualeGamer Shop Titans What to craft Priority Crafting


Links

: Shop Titans Data Spreadsheet

: Shop Titans FAQ

: Shop Titan fandom wiki: Shopkeeper

: Shop Titan Central: hero academia

: Sims Corner: Shop Titans, just how free is it?

: Play Shop Titans: Blueprints

Ack

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

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