New Clash Royale Update Revives the Game

Introduction of Mastery and New Champion


Everywhere you look around the school, you can’t help but see students playing Clash Royale. This mobile video game offers quick, less than 5-minute matches that test skill and strategy. The matches are 1v1, making them extremely competitive and even rage-inducing. When you battle, you use a deck composed of eight cards that are all unique with different functionalities. There are over one hundred cards in the game to choose from. Usually, when a new player begins, they have a blast and play games after games. Every time you win, you gain trophies and vice versa. It can be quite addicting. However, eventually a player will hit a wall with their trophies, regardless of their skill. This is for one main reason: card levels. In order to give users an advantage for playing more, you can slowly upgrade the cards you use in battles to make them much more powerful. For players who either can’t or won’t invest money into Clash Royale, an extremely potent disadvantage arises between them and the spenders. Some understandably claim that the entire game is “pay to win,” which is completely true to a certain extent. Clash Royale’s company, Supercell, is always trying to address these disparities and keep as much of the playerbase satisfied as possible.

   Earlier this April, an ambitious new update launched. For the first time since October, a new card was added to the game. It is called the mighty miner, and it has some tough stats for a relatively cheap cost. It appears on the surface to be ridiculously overpowered. Although it can melt a golem in just a few seconds, the mighty miner rounds out to be around an average card because of the array of counters to it. Unfortunately for most, the mighty miner is exclusive to only maxed out players. This further widens the gap between those who are “free to play” and the spenders because the mighty miner either requires money or a ridiculous amount of dedication towards the game in order to be unlocked. And as usual, there were a handful of balance changes from Supercell to ensure that certain cards are not getting too oppressive and others are receiving the proper spotlight they deserve. Most notably, the mirror and the elixir pump have been revived from the dead, giving needed diversity to the meta.

   The issues for “free to play” players have been pervasive for the entire lifespan of Clash Royale. It is clear that spenders should receive some type of incentive, but the gameplay can simply be unenjoyable when your opponent wins only on the basis of their stats, disregarding any room for skill. To remedy this apparent problem, Supercell introduced a system called wild cards a while ago, which in theory should allow players who are “free to play” to progress much quicker. However, in practice, there was still something keeping the leveling up process at a standstill: gold. This is the primary in-game currency of Clash Royale, and gold can be collected in many ways. Every time a player upgrades a card, they need a certain threshold of gold, and the gold adds up very quickly. That is why Supercell introduced a mastery system for this recent update, which seems to be quite an intelligent solution. The mastery system hands out quests for players to do, and upon completion, they get compensated with extra cards and more impactfully gold. Rather than users needing to pour real money into Clash Royale to speed up the path to maxing out their cards, they can still move forward at a reasonable pace by attempting to complete the tasks, even if they are incredibly time consuming. The mastery system has not been in the game for long enough to properly evaluate, but the rewards are plentiful enough that it has been making a significant difference towards keeping the “free to play” playerbase actively engaged despite still being outclassed in matches by the spenders.

   Looking forward, the state of the game looks bright. Unlike its brother game Clash of Clans, Clash Royale has been the product of enough attention and updates from Supercell to keep the game from ever getting stale or uninteresting. If all goes according to plan, the combination between the wild card system and the new mastery feature should prevent those who are “free to play” from coming up with too many gripes to Clash Royale. There will still always be a disadvantage if you choose not to invest money into the game, but this dramatic effect can be lessened. Regardless of the problems Clash Royale faces, the game still manages to be extremely popular and generally well received.