Shop Titans guide

This post: circa 6,000 words, estimated reading time, excluding videos: 29 minutes.


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A beginners guide to Shop Titans

Intro: What is or are Shop Titans?

Note:
I am still actively playing this game. This review is not about slating the game or its developers*, just opening your eyes before you fall into its snares and pitfalls.
*(but it is a comment about the industry as a whole!)

That said, Seriously, avoid this game! And any game monetized like it.

Cold, hard truth
First and foremost, this is NOT a friendly ‘dip into’ type of game, it is a mammoth time and cash sinkhole that only works if you have (up to) 20 active players with the same enthusiasm (or apathy) as yourself.

Secondly, calling it “free to play” – while mostly true – is both disingenuous and calculated PR-managed advertising. Like all “free to play” games with micropayments, it is essentially a con trick. If they were honest, if they put it out saying, “Here’s this great game. It’s $88, but really you’ll also need the monthly/annual sub for another $100, plus about $100 a month for boosts and blueprints for progress, plus, plus, plus… How many copies do you think it would sell?

If you want to dip in and run away, all good. However, if you want to play with any real interest or commitment, if you are a completist, if you want to progress, you need to know the truth. Growth and costs are genuinely exponential.

Also, they are extremely authoritarian in how they run the game. If the banhammer comes down, tough! They keep all your investments. Their game, their rules.

More annoyingly, you can only have one account. They are no resets, no do-ever, no option to restart.

Any attempt – accidental, innocent or otherwise – is a bannable offence. They are paranoid about players using bots and exploits to avoid handing over buckets of cash for gems. It truly is ironic! They are so scared of losing some money they will ban you for having two accounts (T&C), thus losing them any money you may have given them. However, the people that are going to run bots and exploit the game are basically criminals, they do not care about rules or terms or getting banned. How they are so blind to this is beyond me! Blinded by their avaricious paymasters, I guess.

The real problem though is this: with progress in mind, this is a hardcore raid mentality game. Beyond a certain level (rapidly reached) you NEED 20 dedicated, playing every day, type members. The type that is willing to pay and keep paying to progress. It ceases to become a game and becomes a job. But because the developers want the game to be seen as warm and cuddly and friendly, they refuse to admit this or indeed offer any support for guilds.

At low levels, there are innumerable inactive guilds. They are no use, so you start your own, and grow fast; exponential, easy entry but hard to progress pay to win games are like that. Then the game is flooded with guild leaders but no players, So it gets frustrating; burnout and inactivity are common, both with guild leaders, grinders and casuals. Faced with a mountain to climb, most sane people walk away.

1,2,4,8… “This is easy, I like this!”

16,777,216, 33,554,432, 67,108,864. “I didn’t sign up for this!”

Continue and suddenly, exponentially speaking, the numbers are like: 5.4e8, 1e9, 2.2e10 “What’s going on?”

In effect – as I bluntly told them – it appears they do not care about players, only how much money they can squeeze out of them as fast as possible before they quit in frustration. They have your money, all good. “‘k, bye!”

This is a quote from one of their Q&A:

oolJosh3k asked: “Are there changes that some of Kabam want to make, but will not happen because someone else with the authority says no?”

Kabam: “Not really. It’s mostly a matter of limited time and resources. The Shop Titans team consists of about 20 people, with some of them not directly working on the game itself.”

The community asked: “Also, any hope for a change to guilds or chat so that it’s easier to recruit in-game?”

Kabam: “We understand the struggle guilds can face when it comes to filling their seats. We have plans for some guild tweaks to better automate this process, and potentially assist in getting rookies up to speed.”

In contrast, this below, is a clear sign that the company and the developers do not care about players, or the game, beyond what they can squeeze out of players wallets. If they cared, they would do something about it, as players have been asking them for years. Hmmm!

{ The resigned, even desperate recruitment spam in chat is neverending }

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!

But it is as expensive as hell! Sure ‘free to play’, they say. Pop up ads like the one below, while not intrusive, are a daily occurrence. THEY value a few trinkets at nearly $40, the price of a full game – and there are well over a hundred megapacks like this. If you follow the chat, players spending $100 a month, $1,500, $5,000+ on this game are common. The ‘whales’ of the game spend far more!

Shop Titans Christmas megapack
{ Enjoy scores of add-ons like this, normally $40, yours for just $20. A bargain! }

Yes or no?

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

Beyond that – honestly – avoid it like the plague!

This is just my view but it seems to me that the company behind it are just interested in maximum cash returns for minimal effort. Nothing wrong with that from a greedy capitalist point of view, but this is essentially a group (raid) game and they sell it as a standalone. They support it as a standalone. Within the game, they give no tools or support for guild recruitment beyond a desultory and worse than a useless suggestion.

However, unlike the uber player that solos current content in MMO’s or rolls through old content, this game cannot be played solo to any meaningful degree, ever. It gets soul destroying after a while. Truly depressing.

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 more expensive 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 tick. And you need tens of thousands of ticks per building. The top guilds need investments measured in trillions of gold! And even after two years, the best players in the world still can’t afford to finish their city.

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 buy me one point of progress. 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 (gems at up to $100 a sack), because of the artificially 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. The 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 Discord 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 difference. 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 mostly because they priced them around $90, which is more than ‘AAA’ pricing for what is essentially 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 Crafty Engineer Worker (optional)

Newly added is the Summoner (again optional) – for yet another $20

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

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

Then there’s…

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

Let’s talk about Ascension shards and other cash sinkholes!

Ascension shards can be obtained from quests, chests, task rewards via the Fortune Zone, gifts, the daily Piggy Bank, and bounty grab bags.

Or you can buy them for hard cash.

If I counted right, there are 42 lines to ascend (e.g. maces, wands). Ideally, you want all to about 15 and the 10% discount on energy surcharge on all lines. That’s about 7,000 shards or so. Continuing on to 51 points gives your further rewards and bonuses.

This is a grossly rounded figure, but my guestimate for all 42 lines is around 10,000 ascension shards. Not precise as low-level blueprints from events can greatly reduce the cost of a line. Now, bear in mind it’s $9.99 for 35 in the store, if you are the completist type, that’s around $2,850 worth. If you buy large sacks of gems ($99) and opulent chests (circa 17m gold, 17 gems), allow for RNG (roughly 1 in 4 chance opening a chest with gems) this brings the cost down to about $2,000.

You can farm them in the game. Sure, it will take years, but it’s do-able.
Or you can give thousands of dollars to the developers to speed this up. No pressure, but yes, this is a VERY expensive game.

Add in all the event pack, or buy event items in other ways (e.g. King’s Caprice), that’s upwards of another $2,000 to $3,000 dollars.

Suppose you want the best heroes. That means a LOT of time, or paying to re-roll. Needless to say, they lowered the chance of a successful roll, so again, over a number of heroes, this works out around $2,000 to $3,000

So, this ‘free to play’ game would actually like you to pay them over $10,000. please. No pressure, of course. All optional. All good, clean fun.

The average player is not going to be spending thousands of dollars in the game to open chests to get unlimited shards to ascend everything

Rob Maud, Ascensions 101 (Updated Nov 2020) – Shop Titans (GUIDE)


Energy barrier

One of these annoying 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 set at 1 (up to 30 with upgrades), while 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 randomly earn gems in the game from quests, bounties, tasks etc or you can 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 worth.

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 the amount they extort after 9 for trivial increases is extortionate. And, in my opinion, bad design. The basement takes this naked greed a step further and for a vast sum of money offers almost nothing in return.


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 dependent 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 in chat is 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 :D

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

The best items in the game, for merchant experience points, are wands and familiars, enchanted with elements and spirits.


Let’s talk about that elephant in the room: hero skills

Heroes, are easy, right? Create, level up, gear as you go. Simple, right?

No! Your heroes are DESIGNED TO FALL!

More precisely, there are designed to roll skills so terrible that you will struggle in every quest, every Tower event, every Lost City of Gold event.

But why? Why would they design a game so badly?

“Shame about those terrible skill rolls, mate. But hey, bung us some cash and you can try again. Why d’ y’ say? $10 for a bag of gems. Give it aa go.” … “Oh bad luck, Sir. So close. What you need is the $100 bag of gems. That’ll set you right.”

If this game were a coconut throw at the fairground I can guarantee you that the coconuts would be nailed down!

There do tell you the odds, and RNG being RNG, well, you can have runs of good or bad luck, but even so… You need heroes with 4 decent or better skills. Having really struggled for months with event II decided to recreate some of my worst heroes (Dancers).

5m gold a try (or 750 gems ><), so that's a little big of a deterrent, but gold is easy to get. I am currently at try 44. I've had ONE good skill (then terrible) twice, the other 42 attempts were all heroes with terrible skills. Because they can - and do make a lot of money selling gems to people who are frustrated with bad skills. They are dice, but - no surprise - you cannot create them. They could put it in the game, as a blueprint or a fusion, but they make so much money by making the game frustrating. Good business, really shitty game design. I do not approve of this aspect of the game! *Goes can to throwing gold AND TIME at trying to make one decent hero*

NOTE: Rare and Epic skills can still be terrible for your hero!

Rerolling:

Skill slot 1:
Basic skill die I* (or 100 gems)
chance of rare: 12.5% (was 13.7%)
chance of epic: 4.2 (was 5.6%) … 24 tries = 2400 gems = $18

Skill slot 2:
Super skill die II (or 150 gems)
chance of rare: 18.8% (was 21.4%)
chance of epic: 6% (was 7.1%) … 17 tries = 2500 gems = $20

Skill slot 3:
Mega skill die III (or 200 gems)
chance of rare: 21.4% (was 22.8%)
chance of epic: 7.1% (was 8.3%) … 15 tries = 2800 gems = $18

Skill slot 4:
basic skill die (or 250 gems)
chance of rare: 29.4% (was 30.6%)
chance of epic: 11.8% (was 13.9%) … 8 to 9 tries = 2100 = $18

= around** 9,800 gems or $50 to $60 worth PER hero (for epic skills).
HOWEVER, that is for ‘A’ skill, to get the ones you actually want, you can multiply that gamble by 10, so now it’s perhaps $500 per hero.

* You can’t craft these reroll dice.
** Note: Statistical averages do not care about your runs of good or bad luck!

Seriously, avoid this game!. Any game that sets you up to fail so they can then attempt to exploit your frustration is a game to avoid.

Shop Titans Survival Pack
{ Shop Titans Survival Pack: Struggling? It’s by design as you can pay to win! }


Precrafting: 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 precrafting, on Google spreadsheets

The Superior ones, for instance, include:

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

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:

Alpha unlocks at merchant level 20 through 34.

Beta covers 35 to 44

Gamma is 45 to 57

Delta is 58+


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, …

The loot tables for these bags also offer gems, ascension shards, statues and other goodies too.


Plundering with Polonia

Heroes, quests, Titan Tower, and the Lost City of Gold all run better with the right party.

Welcome to catch-22, hindsight, rigid rules and truly eye-watering expenses.

The ideal team is Polonia (levelled all the way up) along with three tricksters. With these you can run up the Tian tower, max looting and… hold that thought.

To do this you need three trickers. To get three tricksters you need to complete the Titan Tower – 3 times (a once a month, 30 bosses, within 48 hours). To run the tower well, you need to run the tower well…

It’s easiest if you cap at a low level, but by the time you understand this, you are probably too high.

But no restarts, remember. Any mistakes you make, you are stuck with.

Perfect Polonia?
Besides rank 11 (gold), she wants 40 HP seed, 40 defence seed and ZERO attack seed.

Next are the skills for her companion heroes. They need 65% avoidance, (upped to 75% cap with 10% from Polonia), they need high health, high defence, most on gear and skills. Damage, not so much.

Getting good skills, see, they like to screw players over there as well. There are scores of skills the chance of getting the one you want is down well 1%. At 200 gems (or a die) per try, it starts to add up. Talking perfect character here, so 4 skills, times 1% chance, times 200 gems – 80,000 gems per hero. Or about $500 worth of gems or die per trickster. Times 3 to 6 trickers&hellips;

You don’t have to use trickers, of course, but if you were obsessive about perfection, about efficient runs, well, they want both your kidneys for it!

For a less cynical and more ‘just the fact’ explanation, see ST-Central’s guide to Plundering with Polonia

Related, see also Plundering with Polonia: A Versatile Perspective by Tyco


Spirit enchants

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


Champions and their familiars

Like several areas of this page, I have borrowed liberally from ST Central, in this case, their page on champion roles.

Firstly, they say, “familiar choice is going to be highly situational, based on the rank/level of
the champion, quest area in question, and the kind of heroes partied with them”. Clear as mud, so far.

Generally, the higher the tier, the better, but, being new, well, familiars really aren’t well thought out, so it doesn’t apply the same. I dare say, over time, Kabam will offer newer, better and of course, more expensive familiars to raid our wallets for. Until then, this is what we have to work with.

Lesser familiars? Hah, no!

(t8) Cyclops and their evasion and HP buff for champion survivability.

(t9) Tyrants: for their defence and HP buff.

(t10) Mermaid: for less squishy champions, offering defence and attack

(t11) Harpy: actually no, pass on that, because “as no champion provides high crit damage, there would be diminishing returns from the Harpy despite the higher attack compared to the Mermaid”.

(t11) Golem: This new blueprint (from a LCOGevent / chest) offer substantial health and attack and is a good option for most champions.

For enchantments, ST-Central recommends:

For elements, use Opulent enchants as these provide the biggest stat increase. Unless, like the Tyrant, they have a particular affinity.

(I was wondering, hence searching for the answer).

Similarly, for Spirits, affinity spirits, else mammoth or lizards for survivability, else bear.


Elemental Barrier and the Relics of the Ages Update

This is a rough and ready focus for an elemental barrier roster.

According to Kabam you only need the right champion and one (or two) heroes with the right affinity and gear to burn down the barrier. With that in mind, attack is good, defence is not, and aggro pulling is useless. (While noting the boss is probably battering away at you from behind the barrier!)

This is what I’ve gathered from their discord forum and general discussion (pre-release):

Heroes deal damage to barriers according to their elemental score, so the actual attack is irrelevant for the sake of barrier-busting … This was a very deliberate design decision
(Kabam on hero builds)

This means if their affinity is 130 instead of 90, they take down the barrier faster. … So basically it’s 2 attack stats
(Clarified by Kabam)

Barriers expect you to have one or two heroes/champion of the matching type usually with a good elemental score backing them… though if your team is really strong you can get by with slower barrier busting
(Kabam)

Heroes only deal damage with their element. If a berserker is decked with Water, it won’t damage water barriers.
Spellblades have the All element, which damages all barriers at 30% efficiency/

(Kabam on gearing heroes).

Basically, if the hero’s affinity is fire, gearing them in water enchants will do zero damage to a water barrier)

Here are the Champions and their respective elements:

Sia: Air

Polonia: Water
Lilu: Water

Argon: Light

Yami: Dark
Hemma: Dark

Rudo: Fire
Donovan: Fire

Ashley: Earth

Here are the Hero and their respective elements:

Air:
Dancers, 5m, 4 skills, evasion and crit attack
Acrobat (promoted dancer)

Thief, free, two skills, attack
Trickster (promoted thief)

Ranger, 250k, 3 skills, dodge/evasion
Warden (promoted ranger)

 

 

Water:
Geomancer, 5m, 4 skills, attack
Astramancer (promoted geomancer)

Samurai, 2.5m, 4 skills, attack
Daimyo (promoted samurai)

Monk, 10k, 2 skills, crit attack (but cannot equip weapons)
Grandmaster (promoted monk)

 

 

Fire:
Berserker, 5m, 4 skills, attack
Jarl (promoted berserker)

Musketeer, 50k, 3 skills, crit attack
Conquistador (promoted musketeer)

Mage, free, 2 skills, (healthy) attack
Archmage (promoted mage)

Barbarian, 10k, 2 skills, aggro puller
Chieftain (promoted barbarian)

 

 

Dark:
Sorcerer, 250k, 3 skills, attack, with attitude
Warlock (promoted sorcerer)

Ninja, 2.5m, 4 skills, evasion and crit attack
Sensei (promoted ninja)

 

 

Light:
Cleric, 10k, 2 skills, self-healer/regenerates
Bishop (promoted cleric)

Knight, 50k, 2 skills, defensive, tank
Lord (promoted knight)

 

 

Earth:
Druid, 50k, 3 skills, survivor (buffs self with herbal medicine and amulets)
Arch Druid (promoted druid)

Wanderer, 250k, 3 skills, dodge/evasion
Pathfinder (promoted wanderer)

Soldier, free, 2 skills, defensive
Mercenary (promoted soldier)

 

 

‘Earth, Wind and Fire’
(Damages ANY element (but only does 30% damage to it)
Spellblade, 2.5m, 4 skills, buffs equipment by 20%
Spellknight (promoted spellblade)

 

 

See also: ST Central: Hero Academy


Gold making tips 101:

1.
Sigils (crafted or a reward from events) are needed for t11 crafting, but if you are not close to making those, they sell for 2m (or 5 gems each).

2.
If you have a key (from events) or are level 55, you can buy Opulent Chests for around 17 gems and sell them for around 17m (less tax).
This gives a value/return of 1m gold per gem.
So, for example: 170 gems = 10 chests = 170m gold

3.
Precrafts generally sell for up to max price (10x base), Superior pre-crafts, generally sell for max price or 2 gems (1 after tax).
(If you have the Sun Dragon unlocked, or during the full moon if not, you can fuse 4 normals into 1 Superior via the Sol tower.)

4.
Champion requests (generally t6) generally sell for high to max prices, or gems.
For instance, the Holy Symbol requires a superior memento to craft. These sell for gems (or max price).

5.
For any/all the above, as well as crafting, you can request (buy low) in auctions and flip.

6.
Superior upwards also command a premium because of the collection book.

7.
For the king, buy the most expensive quality item you reasonably can (ideally an opulent item) and lock the rest. He will pay 5x its base value.
Save your ‘Limited Edition’ surcharge option for this, then we will pay 10x its base value. (The limited-edition tokens are a reward from the Kings’ Caprice event)
Prices fluctuate, but as a guide, looking today, a flawless luxurious t8 is 8 gems and has a base of 800k. The king would pay up to 8m for this. For a flawless opulent wand (8.9m base, 23 gems) he will pay up to 69m gold

8.
Certain tiers of superior, flawless and epic items sell for up to 10x base or gems due in particular to them being a requirement for fusions.
These include*:
t4: Superior and Flawless (e.g.: dice II)
t5: Superior and Epic (epic are needed for fusing blossoms)
t6: flawless (especially, need for fusing Sigils, needed to craft t11’s)
t7: flawless (e.g.: dice III, mega XP, gold compass, mega loot)
t8: flawless (especially, needed for ascension shards)

*Note this requirement means “of at least” so, t4 (or better), etc.


Youtube videos of note

I’ll start with Viva la Dirt League’s excellent skit on micropayments in general

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


Suggestions for the developers

I do send suggestions directly to the developers but remain of the opinion they (the company) couldn’t care less – unless they are making maximum money for minimal effort. Any suggestion that dares threaten their lucrative gems sales is discarded with a sneer. (My opinion).

Request ESSENTIAL support for guild recruitment? [insert sneer].

Offer suggestions that threaten or change gem sales? [insert sneer].

In my opinion, this attitude has to be losing them money in the long run because unhappy customers don’t complain, they just quit. The endless grind and needless frustration of this game are just too much!

oolJosh3k asked: “Are there changes that some of Kabam want to make, but will not happen because someone else with the authority says no?”

Kabam: “Not really. It’s mostly a matter of limited time and resources. The Shop Titans team consists of about 20 people, with some of them not directly working on the game itself.”

ST Central: Developer Q&A 2

Anyway…

Here’s what they need to do:

1. Add a warehouse for bins, freeing up shop space for racks. (This is separate from the basement. I’ve worked in supermarkets, they have warehouses as standard!)

2. Add support for guild recruitment, set by player level, town hall and trainer ticks, and or investments.

3. Auction worth as well as net worth. It matters, and it bothers me that they hide this when they must have it.
Investment ratio is why this matters. As explained, to function well, along with participation in bounties and events etc, guild members has to invest in the city for it and for them to grow. Some players, too many in my opinion, use the market to hide their true worth, spending it all on themselves. Leeching parasitically from the rest.
So, for example.

Tom has a net worth of 200m and investments of just 1 million. He is clearly holding back all his gold for himself; you do not want him in your guild!

Dick has a net worth of 200m and investments of 100 million. Seems reasonable but – without auction sales – it is not a true picture. His shop is not extravagant though, so it seems about right.

Harry 200m and investments of 400 million. Still not a true picture, but he is clearly selling a lot through the auctions to invest in the guild.

I have seen cases when the player is constantly begging and pleading poverty, only has a tiny counter, few racks – but maxed bins. It is obvious they are crafting heavily for auction only sales. You have no idea just how much they are keeping back. When challenged (and I’ve seen this a few times in guild and in ‘world chat’) their argument is “I need all the gold for my shop.”

As an aside, for my guild, I use an extra ratio, invest to level. So I aggregate the 40s, 50s, and level 60 players and look for patterns. (e.g. invest/level, and sum)

4. Also suggested by others, was to allow two upgrades at a time. My suggestion to Kabam was to incorporate this into the ‘Royal Merchant’ (monthly sub). This would add more value to the expensive sub, and also promote sales of it. My suggestion was to allow a bin and a rack at the same time, but that players choice of two would be more popular.

5. Alongside 4., I suggested they add a Smalltalk bonus to the subscription, suggesting 3 to 5%. As it happens, this is what (already planned?) they added to the Summoner worker. I (and others) are of the cynical opinion that about a month prior to this release they nerfed Smalltalk (so you got a LOT more backfires) so as to push sales of this worker.

6. (Appealing to their bottom line) the option to buy renown with gems (cash). My argument is you can boost everything else with gems, so why not guilds? The weekly cap is just another time gate, like all the others.

7. Buffering the town hall to help replace inactive players. Using the analogy of racks and bins and inventory/basement, shove the inactive in ‘storage’ (set rank to inactive).

Here’s how I see it working, as an example
Guild 20/20, needs to remove Fred, but that would drop the town hall to 19, meaning they need a massive investment.
Flag Fred as inactive, his investments – for now – are still counted, but your guild now effectively has a free slot.
Recruiting a new member take the guild to 21/20 and clears the ‘buffer’, removing Fred.

If it was me, I’d make the buffer a guild perk around level 40. and or Town Hall level 10. Perhaps increase the buffer to +2, +3 players at high level.

Jonathon in support did reply to an email about the last two, saying:

I love your idea of the buffer spot, so you can put an inactive player there while you seek to recruit a new one to replace the inactive player.

Your suggestion on spending gems for more renown is also a good suggestion. I’ll forward both of your suggestions to our team.

8. The option to reset (ideally) recover seeds from heroes AND champions. Thinking mostly of Polonia here, but yes, the option to remove and recover seeds would endear me more to the game!

9. Send this suggestion to Kabam today (Jan 5th). Add a 1% per line King’s Caprice bonus to ascended lines (e.g. Medicine Titan). This would be in addition to the surcharge bonus and be applied to KC, speeding up completion of that event by up to 42%. Time is money.
It would, I believe, result in more gen/ascension shard sales for Kabam, so that’s their incentive (more profit for little extra work).


Links

: Shop Titans Data Spreadsheet

: Shop Titans precrafts spreadsheets (updated for Summoner worker)

: Shop Titans Gear Affinity spreadsheet

: Play Shop Titans: Blueprints

: Shop Titans FAQ (a little dated)

: Shop Titan fandom wiki: Shopkeeper (a little dated)

: Shop Titan Central, THE ‘go to’ place for the game.

: Shop Titan Central: hero academia

: Shop Titan Central: heroes TL;DR version (for dancer skills etc)

: Shop Titan Central: trickster farming with Polonia

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

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