Analyzing the effects of the mad tyrants whims
Author note: This article is based on both my experiences and feedback I have received from players of all different progression levels/play styles. Skip the timeline section if you just want to know what the feedback was.
The King’s Caprice is the first cooperative crafting event Shop Titans has received and it was given a very lively reception by the community. Let’s take a look at what happened and the impact it had on the game.
King’s Caprice was first teased back in July, where the video for upcoming features mentioned “crafting.” This was later expanded upon towards the end of August where the event was announced in another video (by someone in Kabam using a Tamas overlay on their face which is kind of weird but hey maybe that’s what sells.)
Finally on September 8th update 5.0 was released which announced the imminent arrival of Caprice (approximately 36 hour warning, same as what happened with Tower of Titans.) Members of the content creator program were permitted to start taking questions a few hours before it began to help build hype and provide some insight/clarity for players – clarity that turned out to be in short supply.
Launch Night: 00:00 UTC 2020-09-10
The clock strikes midnight, the players await eagerly as the king arrives at their shops to begin the event. This was the moment they had been waiting for, a collective crafting effort. Was the initial reception one of awe? Of amazement? It turned out to be one of confusion. This is the screen players were presented with:
Immediately the official discord was lit up like a christmas tree with players questioning what did the king actually want. Was he only interested in inflatable mauls? Would the other slots be revealed after the timer reached 0? What was the circle around the items for?
The answer to most of those questions could be discovered by tapping on the different icons for what the king was requesting (tapping the sword for example revealed he was looking for any sword type) but this was not immediately obvious to some players – the combination of the wording and the x2 item having a specific picture did not help.
The developers were on hand on discord and quickly provided answers as the questions came in, allowing players to get immediately working on the requests knowing now what was required to generate favor. Everything from there onward should be pretty self-explanatory.
Time since launch: 1 hour
Or at least it would have been, had there not been 2 bugs which helped create confusion among the players.
The first of these two was the favor counter itself. Players were asking why they seemed to be getting such a wide variation of points from crafts – their display was indicating different numbers each time the same item was crafted. They would craft for example 3 Squire Swords and receive 5 favor for the first, 196 favor for the second and 3,408 for the third one.
The counter turned out to be displaying the amount of favor the guild had earned since the last item the player had crafted, not the amount of favor generated by their latest craft. This bug also led some players to believe they were gaining favor for buying items from workers, unequipping gear from their heroes and so on.
The second bug came in the form of the accessories request:
Whilst the request itself called for any type of accessory, it quickly turned out to not be the case – Herbal Medicine, Potions and Spells did not count for the request (and to add further confusion, runestones did.) This was quickly confirmed by the developers to not be intended however the bug would persist for the rest of the event (this bug caused herbs to be missing 2 of their main lines, making them not incredibly useful for Caprice.)
Okay so knowing the favor counter was just a display issue and the accessory bug could be worked around, guilds could focus on crafting and making steady progress towards the goal.
Time since launch: 24 hours
The goal turning out to be 20 million favor required to earn all of the rewards. After 24 hours of crafting guilds were able to start getting a rough picture of where they would be after 7 days and for many it was not looking promising.
At 20m favor guilds were looking at needing to gather just over 2.857m each day. Divided among the members of a 17 man guild for example the numbers were not looking promising for many (at that time it was estimated 30 guilds at most would clear all 21 milestones.)
This realization began creating tension – some members of guilds were so disheartened seeing the requirements they decided to just not participate in the event at all. Others were starting to turn hostile, demanding that those who were not performing well be removed (even those who had been members of that guild for a long time) and replaced with people who were willing to do whatever it took to get to the goal (mainly a willingness to spend gems.)
Facebook, discord, twitter etc – wherever you looked the topic of the day was if Kabam would intervene during the event to help guilds out, whether they should get involved or wait for the event to finish and use the data from that, what strategies were viable for players who wanted to push for that 20m marker and so on.
Time since launch: 44 hours
44 hours since the start of the event the first guild cleared the 20m marker. This acted as a indication that the goal was achievable by guilds in the top end of the leaderboard.
The situation for guilds outside of that however was looking grim. Although the amount of guilds predicted to clear the event had now been expanded to encompass around 50 guilds there were heated debates on if that was considered a fair number for a first-run event (the first LCoG for example only had approximately 30 guilds complete it) or if measures should be taken to allow more to finish.
Time since launch: 47 hours
Having now collected 2 days worth of data from their playerbase and hearing the feedback that was being posted everywhere Kabam decided it was time for an intervention:
A drastic reduction to the favor requirements was introduced, halving all of the requirements making the new total required for guilds 10m and setting personal contributions to 400k.
This level of intervention had not happened before in Shop Titans – a direct adjustment to the milestones of an ongoing event. A developer had previously stated during the event they believed there would be no adjustments whilst it was running. For this to happen, the numbers Kabam were seeing reported had to have not been generating happy faces among them.
This move was the cause of a massive spirited debate among the players. Guilds that had previously not looked like they would be able to finish were now given a ray of hope, allowing them to reinvigorate their members interest and quell tensions between them.
On the other side of the debate were players who felt this reduction was too drastic and unnecessary. They had seen the previous 20m as a goal to work towards for the long term – even if that meant they were not going to complete the event this time around, they were happy to see it as something to strive for in later Caprice’s (caprice’s? capricies?)
The resulting debate between the two sides would span the remaining duration of the event, though it was largely held within the next 24-48 hours – both sides arguing their cases on why they felt they were in the right and the other side was ignorant to not see things their way. Fair credit should be given to the community here – whilst at times the debate did seem to be dropping to low blows and insults it was largely all clean and above board.
Time since launch: 110 hours
3 days after the intervention and with 2 days left on the clock the picture was becoming a lot clearer now for many guilds. Having now had the weekend to work on their crafting the amount of guilds predicted to finish was now numbering in the hundreds.
A perhaps unintended side-effect of the adjustment though was the lack of drive that had been created by guilds who had sailed past the 10m milestone – some players felt that there was no incentive to continue and were beginning to get event fatigue. With Caprice running for an entire week this meant there were no mini-events held on the weekend, the Tuesday or the Thursday as normal so for them the event was a drain on their enjoyment.
Time since launch: 168 hours
After 7 days the event reached its conclusion. In the final hours of Caprice there were guilds pushing out every last bit of favor they could in the hope of crossing the 10m marker. We estimate approximately 450 guilds to have completed all 21 milestones (this is based on pictures provided by guilds who finished in the final hours and what position they had achieved.)
With the conclusion of the event I decided to create a feedback form to allow players to give their thoughts on the event without having to be concerned about any public backlash they may receive. I will now cover those answers (and if you read the timeline, I hope I was able to provide a good summary of what happened.)
The survey itself consisted of 5 straightforward questions:
- Did they enjoy the King’s Caprice
- Did their guild clear the event (that is, hit the 10m milestone)
- What did they like about the event
- What did they dislike about the event
- What would they change about Caprice to improve it in future
I also asked as an optional question if they wouldn’t mind including their merchant level and guild size. This was so I could try to make sure I had heard from players of different progression levels instead of being too focused on just a small group.
Did they enjoy the King’s Caprice
Just under 75% of the players who responded enjoyed the event. Of the players who disliked the event there was a reasonable spread, a mix of people who hadn’t completed it so were unhappy but also people who had managed to but had reasons for disliking it.
Did their guild clear the event (that is, hit the 10m milestone)
The completion rate chart has slightly under 2/3 of respondents clearing the event. When shown in comparison with the enjoyment chart we can see that some players who didn’t clear the event still had a fun time (well, presumably fun, maybe it was just mildly amusing or something.)
What did they like about the event
The first of the questions where the participant was free to write whatever they wanted (side note: thank you everyone for keeping it clean.) Here is a sample of the most common themes that appeared in those answers:
A large amount of the positive responses were to do with the event being crafted related. With both LCoG and ToT being focused on your heroes, Caprice has brought focus back around onto the shop itself (also got players who were doing the no bin strategy crafting again which is a miracle in my eyes anyway.)
The Antique shop was well received as it allowed players to use currency earned in the event to purchase items previously only available for real money. This gives f2p players a chance to acquire some of the meta blueprints as well as allowing newer players a chance to catch up on packs without much expense.
There was also positivity with regards to the event not being constricted to the weekends like LCoG and ToT. For some players their jobs give them time free during the week to play but are always busy at weekend, meaning they can miss out on participating with their friends. Though as you’re about to see, not everyone was a fan of that.
What did they dislike about the event
The feedback on what was disliked during the event can be summed up by just showing all the responses that began with a t:
3 recurring themes can be seen throughout the answers. The first is the duration. Whilst there were a few players who were happy having an event running outside of the weekend, the majority of responses did not really appreciate it running for an entire week.
Whereas LCoG and Tower are both largely hands-off in that you can send your heroes and check back in an hour or so, Caprice calls for players to be more attentive with his requests rotating every 30 minutes and crafting not being as polite for timings. Over the course of 7 days this perhaps felt to some as requiring too much compared to the other events.
The second theme (and this also ties into the first one) is regarding the intervention Kabam did 2 days into the event. Although a majority of the playerbase were supportive of the change it did leave some players deprived of a challenge. With them having cleared the 10m in a few days, the remaining week without having any sort of mini-event or reason to pursue higher generated feelings of discontent towards it.
The third main theme was regarding the way the Antique Shop worked. Whilst the feature itself was well received there were complaints about the costs of the blueprints and the shop itself. To reroll the selection required a player to pay 25 Antique Tokens which felt expensive, more so if the player was trying to save for a tier 9 blueprint. Some players also did not like the way the shop forced you to buy the missing prints before you could purchase consumables from it.
What would they change about Caprice to improve it in future
The last of the five questions asked for any changes the respondents would make to improve Caprice in their eyes. I received a lot of ideas for this: I’ve included many of them below but if you’re reading this Kabam I can send you all of them.
There were many suggestions on ways to improve Caprice, some being mentioned quite a few times. I’ll list off a few of the ones that kept coming up.
First there was a fair amount of players asking for the event to be shorter than a week. As we touched on in the dislike section players felt a week was too long as well. 4-5 days seem to be the happy medium players are wanting.
Another common one was for the king to no longer clump resources. There were occasions during the Caprice where all 3 item lines he was asking for were iron/steel making it an incredibly annoying 30 minutes cause your other resources basically got to sat around twiddling their thumbs.
There are also a lot of requests for the event to have some sort of “endless” mode, where guilds past the 21 milestone can keep going and get some small rewards for every 1-2m favor they gain. These rewards could be in style of things such as ascension shards and champion coins and would provide an incentive for the guilds capable of clearing 10m in the first day or two. Someone also mentioned awarding a cosmetic for guilds that kept going, maybe some merchant rewards or something they can put in their shop.
Finally there were also some requests to calm the King down and have his mind change at a slower pace instead of every 30 minutes. This would help the players who were feeling overwhelmed at times due to the event pacing.
Taking all the answers of the survey (including the ones I’ve not shown), King’s Caprice was an event that many players enjoyed, however there were concerns about the length, the difficulty (too easy/too hard), the lack of initial information and how fast the timers rotated. Going forward into future Caprices the developers may wish to look into addressing those concerns so there isn’t another repeat of the debates all week.
That marks the end of the survey part. I’d like to thank everyone who participated and I will do my best to ensure your feedback reaches the developers. I’m going to write my own thoughts about the whole event now, if you don’t care for them you can bounce at this stage.
So as a bit of background, I’m part of the guild who were able to clear caprice before the intervention.
I really enjoyed King’s Caprice. I was excited with crafting again and I really enjoyed the king being so indecisive – I started crafting blueprints I hadn’t touched in a very long time, I was swapping between lines left right and centre, I had a great amount of fun.
When we managed to break past the 20m marker I was incredibly happy. As a team we had set out to try and be the first ones to clear and we had achieved that. It was a couple of hours after that the news came through that the favor requirement was being cut by half.
Personally I am 100% fine with the lowering of the threshold. Changing the number didn’t ruin the fun I was having with the event, it didn’t make me feel like I had wasted my time/resources or anything (unlike well, you know the patch, I know the patch, let’s move on.)
These events bring guild members together, helps develop kinship among them as they work on hitting whatever the goal is, whether it be crafting, plundering and despoiling ancient ruins for artefacts of historical importance, or whatever else Kabam is planning to do in the future. It’s important that they make sure the content is going to achievable by many guilds (doesn’t have to be all guilds) cause tailoring it just towards the high end is going to be demoralizing as hell for people not there, what with there being no mini-events like better deals/multicraft/etc being ran during it.
By lowering the threshold mid-event they allowed for far more guilds to actually finish the first Caprice and get their antique tokens as well as being able to keep around with their friends (and the original threshold was too high I feel for one that all players will be subject to.)
Having said that, whilst having major event content being accessible to everyone, there does need to be some incentives for the top-end guilds to keep pushing. If they can clear it on day one (which if the marker stays at 10m is incredibly likely) and have no further things to strive towards you risk losing some of your higher players from the game as they have nothing to do for 6 days.
Now you may argue that Lost City of Gold also has this issue where a guild can clear quickly. However there are some fundamental differences:
- After reaching the goal marker you can still keep sending teams into the Lost City to acquire more golden chests, keys and loot. Once you reach that point in Caprice, there is literally *nothing*.
- Lost City only runs for 48 hours. It doesn’t block out an entire week of events.
Some of the suggestions people have given I feel could help fix this. For example, the infinite track. Have the main reward at milestone 21 and then for each 1 or 2m favour over that the guild gets another reward like 20 ascension shards. So long as it’s not primary event currency, lower guilds can still aim for their 10m for all antique tokens, the higher ones can push for just some extra stuff.
Or what about adding some cosmetic stuff for guilds that place in the top 3? Like a trophy stand for your shop that can hold trophies and each one gives a large amount of prestige. Or maybe a crown you can wear on your merchant. Or something that spruces up the guildhall screen, like having fancier looking drapes and stuff. Or heck, what about an event leaderboard on the official shop titans site? And it can track the winners from each event over time. Maybe even add a stat to people’s character sheets where you can see their performance in events, like “gained X total gold bars”, “generated X favour all time” sort of thing. Just some sort of acknowledgment saying “congrats on your victory”.
One final thing I’d like to see in future events: an official event faq. So much of the confusion players had could have been solved I believe by having an official faq that explains things like how the crafting options work, the 2x slot always being a premium or chest blueprint, that you did get to keep your antique tokens after the event. I mean hell i’ll happily write you one for free, just point me at the content and I’ll have one assembled before you push it live.
Overall, really enjoyed the event even in the form its currently in. I think King’s Caprice is a fantastic addition to Shop Titans and I look forward to seeing it again in future.
If you made it this far congrats, I hope you had a nice time reading everything and I hoped i’ve explained everything well. You can leave your comments below or get in touch with me via my details in the footer. Going to attempt to tl;dr this now.
- Event was fun
- Marred a bit by bugs, maybe get some people to help test
- When making event threshholds factor in both casual and hardcore guilds
- One week is considered too long
- Spam-crafting T1 probably shouldn’t work.
- Much better documentation required