The new player experience, and the current state of Gold League



I haven’t played Atlas nor read up on it, so I’m not sure if it would work well or not in that that situation. From what little I do understand, it seems Atlas is a separate function of the game that you have to enter into. So maybe the caps could only be implemented for the current side, or maybe just implement for the War and event pvps?

Atlas sounds like it is a free for all, so gold and platinum level players are going to have a rough time there. Not sure what can be done to balance the game there.


The top tier Points Achievement for this event was 4.00M, my entire Gold II team finished with a combined score of 3.44M. Just some food for thought.


Thanks for all the thoughtful replies! There are some common threads in the responses, so I’ll attempt to address some of the broader themes:

1. Does level really matter, or is it more about how you use it?

A lot of experienced players here have said that player level is less important, as it can be outweighed in impact by player skill; hence, higher levels should not be so intimidating.

This is somewhat true for newer players, but I get the impression it becomes more significantly true at the 126+ bracket (i.e., the Post-Hauheset World) that most of you guys play in, or even the 70-126 bracket when you start to see real differences emerging between the dragons that players of the same level have, than it is at levels 30-60. This is by design; higher-tier dragons are more complex, so the gap between performance at the skill floor and ceiling is wider. Dragons available to newer players are simpler, so levels form a harder barrier. Flying well still helps you hit above your level, but in this case that means hitting the occasional level 70 as a level 40, and even then success relies more on the target’s mistakes than your own flying skills.

Past a certain level difference, even the worst base has towers that 1- or 2-shot everything a low-level player can fly. Their available spells give them fewer options for countering these obstacles.

Secondly, half of the game’s events are based solely on resource spending, and for two of them, higher-levels have orders of magnitude more resources. Breeding events are somewhat less unbalanced in this regard because the resource advantage for egg tokens is less overwhelming, but in fortification and feeding, it’s just impossible to compete.

2. Divine scaling

Yep! Anuba worked that way, as @PrideDemon86 noted. I think other elements of Anuba’s design made him ill-suited for new players, but having a red tier seasonal divine again was a good idea. (Among factors like lack of starting rage research and slow XP progression, new players didn’t understand that he’s balanced to have comparable stats at 15 to orange divines at 1.) I think this idea probably only works if all the seasonal divines start lower tier, though. Otherwise, what happens is that someone on a newbie team grabs the orange warrior and realizes he can just beast his way through everything, and everyone else does the same.

The proposed change should have no or minimal effect on players past level 50; the goal is just to amortize divine progression so that divines don’t make the low level base-building portion of the game irrelevant.

3. League solutions

I read and liked Red’s league restructuring proposal (and it seems like some parts of it have been adopted between then and now), but I think it is both broader in scope than my Veteran’s Pool idea, and independently compatible with it.

I read all the comments here discussing the legitimate reasons why high-level players might be in gold league (viz.: experienced players wanting to play with their friends, refugees from Atlas, experienced players seeking a lower pressure experience), but none of them argue against any component of a veteran’s pool, and none of them argue in favor of making new players compete against players who can outperform a week’s worth of their effort in ten seconds. The only effect would be to make higher-leveled players in lower leagues compete against each other instead of against newbies; they can stay in gold if they’ve got reasons to want that.

4. Who is and isn’t sandbagging

It’s true! Stealing from a legit Gold team is a lot easier.

I don’t think anyone has a problem with veteran players who start new teams that get placed in Bronze and crush everyone on their way back to platinum+. I’d prefer that they be sensibly calibrated into leagues based on player level and activity, but until PG makes that possible, the players have no choice but to make their way up. All I can ask is that they go quickly.

The problem teams are the ones in Gold 5 with one level 300, who waits until the last day of a resource event to press one button, and in so doing makes his team shoot from 10th to 1st and undoes the level 40s’ teams’ days of fighting to the top. Then they do the same thing again during the next such event, and the one after that.

This is not gameplay that anyone should defend, and it’s making new players quit. “Good news, gamer: with a mere 1 year of work and a few hundred dollars of strategic spending, you will have a shot at competing in a new player area” sounds less like reassurance and more like a targeted ad to remind new WD players that Words With Friends is pretty fun.

5. Progression

This is outside the scope of my suggestion, but I do want to say it’s an area where I think PG’s made the game genuinely better for new players. I’m a new player who’s only spent on elite. My account’s about 7 weeks old; I just hit the end of green tier and should start gold next breeding event. So, 10w total to start gold, finish at 14. This isn’t the average new player progression rate, but it’s possible.

(As far as I can tell, the average new player moves quickly from red through purple and blue, then stumbles on the Orange Traffic Cone or gets stuck in the Green Hedge until someone tells them about breeding guides. (They’re easier to get around than the Sapphire Wall.) Otherwise, they spend months there.)

I don’t know if more should be done or not, but the existence of the seasonal egg token branch definitely helps new players. It’s as good for us as it is for higher level players, and our costs are lower. The only difference is that new players may not figure out that they should beeline it at the season’s start.


@TheRedDelilah It would be great if you could post that as a refresher again in new forums so that the thread doesn’t die with old forums


That progression rate you are promoting is not sustainable without spending. You need 150,000 tokens to get through the green dragons, how did you manage that in seven weeks?


With a slight modification of Red’s best guide, it takes only 108k tokens to go from Draco to 3 green legendaries, and I shaved off another ~20k from that by spending mystic fragments well. (Thanks, @TheRedDelilah!) The egg token branch helps a lot, too, and I joined at a good time in the event/season cycle.

I can make a separate post about it if it’s interesting; I did some planning before I started. The gist is that this is more of a silly optimized build than something a reasonable new player should expect to get, though I’d love to hear if someone’s done more in less time.


off topic warning
:thinking:I like this guy.


This is her path that you used yeah?

Step. Dragon Offspring|Parent|Parent|Tokens Spent|Minimum Level|Running Total

  1. Leviathan|Frigg|Hext|74|1|74
  2. Kastor|Leviathan|Hext|133|1|207
  3. Aetrix|Leviathan|Kastor|133|1|340
  4. Hantu, Ember|Leviathan|Aetrix|122|1|462
  5. Kinnara, Merk|Zin|Aetrix|820|1|1,282
  6. Borg, Dactyl, Laekrian|Hantu|Kastor|1,000|7|2,282
  7. Arborius, Alikorn, Garuda|Laekrian|Merk|2,400|7|4,682
  8. Yanari, Vladimir|Dactyl|Arborius|1,333|17|6,015
  9. Jura|Merk|Arborius|1,000|17|7,015
  10. Gog|Zin|Vladimir|111|17|7,126
  11. Klax, Grypp, Kromon|Gog|Borg|1,000|17|8,015
  12. Viscus, Baldr, Bolt|Kromon|Yanari|3,200|17|11,215
  13. Amarok|Baldr|Viscus|24,000|28|35,215
  14. Lucius|Bolt|Amarok|4,000|28|39,215
  15. Gaspar, Garzev, Hydron|Amarok|Lucius|8,200|31|47,415
  16. Ith, Ettin|Gaspar|Garzev|26,240|40|73,655
  17. Ankor, Nassus|Jura|Ettin|8,200|43|81,855
  18. Danzig, Munin, Ruma|Nassus|Ith|26,880|43|108,735


More or less. There were a few added expenses for detours because I progressed faster than the guide anticipates, and trying to level legendaries to breedable mid-event is not fun at low levels. I’m doing fine for tokens; getting near level 70 in the next two fort events might not work, but we’ll see.


Don’t remember how long it took to incubate all those dragons, or level the castle, incubator, farms, builder, and storage necessary to level and progress. Maybe not a lot of timers at that level, but certainly would still be a significant amount.

My reference to taking a year before reaching gold is as a non spender, or maybe just elite account.


A year seems long for an active player. I’ve been playing about 10 weeks with just an elite account as spending, and I’ve got three green legendaries flying and one gold egg queued to hatch when I reach level 63. Even burned some egg tokens on dodo along the way and haven’t really run out until last breeding event. I expect to hatch Whale in another 10 weeks or so, less than half a year in.


That’s far too long. I completed 14 weeks and already have Yersinu and waiting for fortification to get to level 70 and breeding after that to get Whale and Cons.
Maybe all of us are really extremely active, but still considering players play half the time it would still take 6 months to 8 months at worst to get to Gold dragons.


I don’t think they move down to score higher in events. I don’t recall the exact numbers but often times, the bottom level prizes in higher leagues are better then the top prizes in lower leagues not to mention the token pay out is far less. Perhaps someone has a payout spreadsheet to confirm? I have heard many higher players speak of dropping in order to avoid atlas. For some it changes the game they have enjoyed too much without the ability to catch up to those who have built up for so long with Beta.

That all said, I think the initial write up here was a great post and brings up many valid points.


Honestly, I don’t think it’s too long for non-spender. As I am one myself (yes I do have an elite account but that’s it and it’s fairly recent I got mine). I have been playing for a little over a year now I am 104, and I do play daily and I am active. However there was for a while when I only leveled up twice a month (I didn’t speed anything up [I am a hoarder😂]), and I had an accident that basically led to a lot less play time for about 2 months. Dragons wise for me, yeah, I am not proud. I have no gold Legendaries (Except for Donvailis), and my divines are at level 12 (which unlocks at level 84). But all in all I think a year is fine for where he is at and where I am at. But that’s just my opinion. It also depends on the resources that you used, such as older player experience, breeding guides etc.


I love this and absolutely agree! I was level 54 player and I’m as active as a working adult and new parent can be and I find it very discouraging that I just my hump and use all of my resources and I have only hit 9 achievements at the end of the event which isn’t even close to half.


@crankypants @AMS8409

Ummm, guys. You do realize that the personal awards are the same for all players. It makes complete sense that low level players do not get as far.

It would be a real bummer if you got the same amount of prizes in an event as a level 300 that you would as a level 50. There is nothing wrong at all with not maxing the prize bracket as a low player. If you could, that in of itself would be a serious problem indeed. It is the team awards that he was saying had problems.


Points achievements values being the same across leagues is the issue. As it stands currently a level 300 account is rewarded for getting 4.00M points in Gold II the same as elsewhere. As I posted somewhere up there my team was not able to put up that number combined. So players like Mr. 300 and his buddies end up running the table for team rewards as well. So my Gold II team with 50 members, and 92/100 activity over winter break gets 18th place in an event where a team with half as many players and activity grabs first. This is not motivating us to put any effort in, we get 125 sigils whether we bust our backsides or do absolutely nothing. PG needs to limit Points Achievements rewards by league to stem large accounts from owning these weaker leagues. This is why boxers have weight classes, so the monster does not kill the little fellow. Same should apply here, it is common sense.


So what you are saying is perhaps personal event awards should have a league dependent cap…that makes more sense


When I originally proposed the League Restructure, this is how I addressed personal prizes:

Personal Prizes based on League

No matter what team a player is on, they have always been able to earn the same personal rewards each event as someone on a different team or even a different League. This does not encourage players to seek out the best team, but rather teaches them that they can be on their own or even in a low league where opponents are easier to do just as well as another player in a higher league. In a game where competition and drive to the top is supposed to be the leading intrinsic motivator to be active and play, this personal prize system simply encourages the opposite. This Proposal keeps an element of equality across the leagues but also provides an incentive to improve one’s own account (dragons, base, level) so that they might find a place on a better and higher ranked team so that they may earn better personal rewards. Encouraging activity and competition will drive players to play, and spend, more.

The proposal for creating personal progression prizes based on a person’s league has benefits for both the players and Pocket Gems. As the progression prizes currently stand, they have to be a good fit for low level new players and high ranking Diamond Players. Making the personal progression prizes partially personalized for leagues would allow Pocket Gems to meet the needs of lower levels and leagues while also pushing the larger players with shiny rewards.

All leagues would have the same first ten reward tiers, the next five only Silver and above would have access to, and so on. Having 7 reward tiers specifically designed for the top 50 teams in the game to reach would allow Pocket Gems to push the envelope regarding required points each event to encourage spenders, with 3 of those final 7 tiers designed only for the top 25 teams in the game.

This system would also encourage newer players to slowly spend and push themselves in a way that makes them feel good, with this intrinsic motivation. For the lower levels in lower leagues, maxing out an event would be obtainable and give them a sense of satisfaction. When they move up a league and there are just a few more reward tiers, they will grow excited and want to push themselves just a little bit further to max the event again as it’s still in their reach. The more they go up, the more they push themselves until they get hook on maxing an event.

Lastly, similar to the proposal around team prizes, this would allow Pocket Gems to perfectly cater to the needs of each league, by offering them Glyphs (and other special event items) that are in high demand for that league, thus pushing the players to work harder for that prize.

Should high level players be in minor leagues?

:heart_eyes: love this post… it is frustrating trying to grow a team, when you get knocked out of the kiddie pool because u can’t beat the 300plus team… who are sometimes not that nice about kicking you cos your puny!