Comedy Blogging – Clash of Clans
We have a new obsession at my house.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the commercials for “Clash of Clans” but if you have and you want to know what the game all about, you should come over. We have clans clashing all over the place. If any of us can take a moment to put down our mobile device to talk to you, we’ll give you a guided tour.
Let me explain how the game works. Basically, you have a little town that looks a bit like a medieval SimCity. You can build and upgrade buildings and you can also train troops like archers, giants, Agents of SHIELD, rabid Chihuahuas, and Smart cars.
Your troops are used to attack other people’s medieval Sim Cities. If you are successful, you make off with their gold and elixir, the two important resources you need to build and upgrade your town. There is a third resource, gems, which I will describe in more detail later.
Buildings in your town have three functions. The first function is to produce and store resources. The second function is to produce more powerful and varied troops. The third function is to protect your town from other invading armies.
Nobody in this town lives anywhere. There are no houses or schools or stores or libraries. The quality of life for your little SimClan is pretty much tied up in producing more and better troops so you can steal more resources so you can build and upgrade more buildings so you can produce more and better troops. It is the digital equivalent of the circle of life but with fewer zebras.
Honestly, the whole thing is pretty dysfunctional. At the same time you are building troops, you are building defenses for your own town because the more resources you steal, the more attractive your town becomes to other players who will jump in and take the resources you just took from someone else.
At first, everything happens quickly. You can upgrade a building in fifteen minutes. With time, though, you are forced to wait hours or even days for a building to finish upgrading (I’m not making this up). Your troops grow restless waiting for that next upgrade that will allow them do three additional damage every second (trust me – that’s impressive)!
That’s where gems come in. You can spend gems to speed up the production process! Don’t want to wait four days? How about we upgrade that Barbarian Flesh Rending Factory to level six immediately????
So how do you get gems?
Two ways. First, you can chop down trees that occasionally pop up (fully grown) on your property. Those trees might have somewhere between one and six gems in them.
Expediting something that takes a day to build costs somewhere around 250 gems. A tree pops up about once a day. Which, you have to admit, is a very impressive growth rate for a tree.
You do the math.
Of course, there is another option. You could always buy gems.
Herein lies the engine that makes the creators of the game rich and the players of the game poor. If you want to continue the perpetual motion machine of building troops to steal resources to build better troops, you may want to speed things up a bit. To do that costs money. $100 will get you 14000 gems.
Which sounds like a lot.
It isn’t. As you grow mad with power and you greedily eye that level five flightless waterfowl who will finally allow you to knock over ILoveTomBombadil56’s town after seventeen failed attempts, you will decide you can get by with Ramen noodles for a few more weeks. Your kids might complain but they just don’t understand.
My kids, actually, understand, because they are playing the game as well. Regular conversations involve how many gems they can purchase with their allowance money.
The thing is, the more you upgrade your town, the more your building start looking a lot more sinister and nasty. Your town hall, which starts out as a quaint seat of government, will eventually turn into a blackened hulk of doom that spews lava!
Yes, it spews lava.
As you upgrade your military might, it slowly dawns on you that you are no longer the protagonist. You are the villain. Your only goal is to lay waste to other less developed towns in order to upgrade your building so they look even more sinister.
Then it dawns on you that everyone is the villain. This constant fighting has reduced every player to a paranoid warlord trying to hoard every conceivable resource.
Eventually, all the buildings will be upgraded and the resources will continue to accrue but there will be nothing to spend it on. Every player will have become the equivalent of Smaug, sitting atop a mound of treasure but doing nothing with it.
Until the next expansion comes out.
The whole game is the strangest and, at the same time, most accurate analogy for the perils of escalated military spending I’ve ever seen.