Clash of Clans: The Grind Never Stops

Image: Supercell

Almost 12 years ago, Supercell games released what was to become their most popular game, a staple of childhood for thousands, Clash of Clans. Amongst the release of many other still popular games such as Bad Piggies, Plague Inc. and Subway Surfers, this online base builder stood out and grew to extraordinary heights. 

Clash of Clans is a top-down defence/offence base builder that looks similar to Ludia games such as Dragons: Rise of Berk and Jurassic World: The Game but is vastly different in content. The game starts with a few dialogue boxes and introduces you to your town. It consists of a simple layout of your town hall, a couple of resource collectors and storage, as well as a level one cannon. The tutorial begins and instructs you to build a few more structures before leaving you to yourself. Everything is easy, and the game teaches you how to fight in battle; this can be described as early game euphoria. Oh, how that will change.

Image: Supercell

Now you’re hooked. The game has lured you in with its simple appearance, and you can’t stop. The ease carries you through the first couple of town halls, your base growing and gaining small defences, and your army, which is just simple Barbarians and Archers. You learn basic strategy but heavily rely on your targets having similarly weak defences. Something that surprises you is the wait times for upgrades and construction: 2 hours for this, 5 hours for that? It’s alarming but not deal-breaking. You can live with waiting a while before using these new items. In the blink of an eye, you’re at Town Hall 6, you’ve grown stronger defensively and offensively, and you’re more experienced in attacks, but now resources are a problem. With the exponentially higher wait times, you’ve neglected upgrading your collectors, but to do that, you have to wait crazy long times, and it only gets worse.

This is where many people leave the game, realising that continuing will only mean day-long wait times and million-dollar prices. Pushing on from here is tough, but it’s worth it if you are willing enough. The new requirements are difficult, but you can overcome them. You try out the other game mode, builder base; it’s almost the same as your main town, but it’s refreshing to be at the early, easy stages of something again. At this point, you may have joined a clan, which is one of the main aspects of the game. Clans can be a fun, friendly experience, or they can be boring and dead inside; choose wisely. 

Image: Supercell

Now you’re acclimated to the game and are decently good; you may have turned your sights to the rankings. Now you have to have a better army, fight, upgrade your troops, retrain your army, fight, repeat; the grind never stops. Now you’re Gold I and Town Hall 10, or maybe you threw your entire life into battle and got to crystal, a hefty feat. Whatever the case, you’re feeling good, at a high level, with good skills, but it’s not enough; you can be higher, you can get better, but you return to a familiar problem.

Four days, six days, you’ve gone further than you thought you could, gotten town hall 12 or above, but your willingness to keep going is dwindling. Now, everything is costing you millions and weeks of wait time; you start to get bored and play less, and you realise you sunk almost a year into the game, only to come to a grinding halt. You start to miss days, maybe take a couple of weeks off, dropping down the leaderboard, but you remember when you started a year ago, the game was fun and exciting, and even now, you know that your younger self would be disappointed that you didn’t finish what you started. The grind never stops.

Screenshot: Yelling At Children

Maybe it takes you weeks, maybe months, maybe another year, but you will persevere, to get this close and quit is not an option. One day, you open the app you both love and hate. You know what’s about to happen, but you can’t believe it; after waiting an excruciating two weeks, the game opens, and you see your brand new, shiny town hall 16. You’ve finally done what was thought impossible, gotten to the highest status, and then you realise you still have to max out the base with its 15-day wait times.

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