A small analysis on the monetization strategy and gameplay of Glu's popular mobile game Heroes of Destiny, and the reasons why I've stopped playing it, with suggestions to enhance the game better for loyal customers.
Heroes of Destiny
– A brief look at the gameplay and monetization strategy
AND WHY I’VE STOPPED PLAYING IT
Heroes of Destiny (HoD) is developed by Glu Mobile, one of the
top developers for both Android and iOS games.
Some of their top games include Blood & Glory, Contract Killer, Gun Bros, Eternity
Warriors, Frontline Commando etc.
Glu Games perception among regular mobile gamers-
• All their games are freemium
model, meaning free to play.
• Graphics are of good quality
• Games are engaging, giving users a
good gaming experience
• In-App Purchase too expensive
• For most of their games, it is not
possible at all to progress further
without making any IAP, as the
game becomes impossible to beat
Image source: http://marketplace.veer.com/stock-illustration/A-dealer-selling-drugs-to-IZI0009784
Freemium - The drug pusher method
Offer free samples
Once user is
more likely to spend
on In-App Purchase
Rs. 2689 + Rs. 5399 = Rs. 8088
Total amount of money I’ve spent on HoD so far
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Heroes of Destiny In-App Purchase
(For a while, that is)
Heroes of Destiny In-App Purchase
Take Hill Climb Racing for example. It earns an estimate $40,967 daily* with $1.66
ARPU (data collected from US Market & iOS only).
* Source: http://thinkgaming.com/app-sales-data/49/hill-climb-racing/
Freemium advantage - Freedom of choice
HCR gives me the option to play from a
range of different vehicles, and later if I
want to upgrade them, I can make In-App
Purchases (or play over and over again to
This works well with me because I can
upgrade only the vehicles I truly enjoy
Similarly, HoD also offers me a host of different characters, divided into three main
types – the typical slasher melee units, the ranged units, and the healers. Ranged
units are further divided into archers and mages.
Just because you have a lot of Glu Credits for now, you may think buying a higher
level premium hero is better than Level 1 premium hero right?
WRONG. If you buy a Level 15, you’ll have 15 skills. But if you buy a Level 1 hero and
spend 2 skill points every level-up, by the time you’re Level 15, you’ll have 30 skills!
Yes, if you have a lot of Glu Credits anyway, it is smarter to invest them on skill points
when you level up. The rare items that only the higher level heroes have, you’ll find
them along the way anyway by the time you reach that particular level.
Skills are extremely important if you want to beat tougher enemies. Even passive skills
like “dodge” have played a huge role in winning boss fights. I really regret not investing
my premium players on skills in the beginning. And now it’s too late.
But what made me really stop playing this game?
I can understand characters with full xp not gaining any xp, but it
really sucks when somebody who was fighting all the while and died
in the very last fight or blow, doesn’t gain any xp at all. Maybe half xp?
It took me a really long time to figure out which type of boot, shoe, helm,
cloak, slipper etc can be worn by which class of Hero. Please label them!
I hate the long wait, in spite of the fact that I have purchased all the
heroes via IAP, I am still treated like any other player playing for free.
Irregular pricing. No correlation between an item’s class & cost. Also, an
upgraded item doesn’t affect it’s cost! Comon, it is more valuable now!
If I invoke one of my hero’s super power but another hero kills that enemy
just before my first hero manages to use his super power, then that super
power is wasted! I now have to wait for it to be recharged. I mean, WTF?
Discrepancy in stats. Again, this is something I noticed for every premium
Hero. Let’s take Nyxx for example. As the level of your other playable Heroes
increases, the level of a Nyxx that you can buy increases too (which makes
sense), but take a look at Level 1 Nyxx in all three scenarios below. Why does
the stats of the same level 1 Nyxx keep changing? Sense it makes none.
Same in the case of Logan or any of the other premium heroes. I fail to see
the logic behind why a character of the same level and same cost will have
completely different stats.
And sometimes it borders ridiculousness. The two shots below were taken
in the same day. All three pairs of levels are the same, but some of their
stats aren’t. Clearly, the calculation or algorithm they’re using is flawed.
Don’t say I’m over-analyzing or anything, because I’m spending my hard-earned
money so I’d at least like to know what I’m getting into. It’s not just 50 bucks. It’s
8000 bucks. When I saw the discrepancy in the stats, it almost made me think twice
about spending money. Almost. Because to me, it felt like the level designers did not
think it through properly.
BUT THE MAIN REASON WHY I’VE STOPPED PLAYING IS THIS…
Ridiculously expensive Hero level-up cost! And it’s doubling at every level-up!
Level 28 Level 29 Level 30
Completing just one mission, especially from world 10 onwards, fills up even
a Level 30 Hero’s XP by almost 70% in one shot! At this rate, it is impossible
to proceed without buying more silver coins to level up a Hero.
Which is so wrong! I’m already spending a lot of money on In-App Purchase by
buying Glu Credits (I’m even willing to buy more Glu Credits in the future if it
will enhance my game playing experience), but NOW I have to make a different
In-App Purchase to buy more silver coins at the same time? Seriously, WTF?
This gave me nothing but an extremely annoying feeling that I’ve been royally screwed,
while the developers at Glu are laughing their asses off at me.
At this point, it didn’t make any more sense for me to keep playing. Yes, new
characters, new missions, new weapons etc etc may enhance my gameplay
experience, but what’s the point when it’s going to be impossible to proceed
once my Hero reaches around Level 30? Why would I wanna play till there and
then suddenly stop? I’m just wasting my time (and money) then.
* Image Source: http://gamerfitnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/frustrated-gamer.jpg
SUGGESTIONS TO GLU
I know the chances of Glu reading this small grievance presentation I have made is zero ,
but if they’re truly interested in feedback, here are a few suggestions I’ve made to retain
loyal players –
• Increase the number of XP it takes for higher level heroes to level-up. Sure you may
say technically, that’s the same as playing a Hero with a maxed-out XP for a few
missions. Well, gameplay experience-wise, it’s a totally different ballpark.
• Reduce the number of silver coins needed to level up! Doubling it is ridiculous at a
higher stage. Even if I keep playing, that means Level 32 I require 40,000, to reach
Level 33 I require 80,000, and to reach Level 34 I require 1,60,000? That’s BS man.
• Increase the number of silver coins one can win in a mission. Seriously, we need that!
• Last but not the least, don’t offer me two forms of IAP please! It just gives the
consumer a feeling of being screwed over and makes Glu look extremely profit
oriented only (We all are of course, but there’s a limit to that too, naw?)
If Glu makes some changes regarding this silver coins issue which everybody’s seem to
be facing and fixes it in their next update, then I am so going to purchase this bad boy!
Until then, I’m not playing this game. Hope this presentation can serve as a warning to
other gamers, to let them know what they’re getting themselves into…