Poll: Defining Dragon vs. Base Performance Expectations


I think I understand where you are on the issue. In very general terms you don’t think any single dragon should take a defended base? Like say 0 defenders-1 dragon; 1 def-2 dragons; 2 def- 3or4 dragons; 3 def-4or5 dragons…something like that? While I think this would make far more interesting wars and not rely on 250ing everything, it would truly be a 24 hour battle. It just currently not the way the game is and would require a complete rebalance across all tiers. That said it would also be terrible for atlas at the current troop loss rate.



Don’t taint it. We can go there after.

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Note the OP said average flier. Not exceptional. Not good. Not great. AVERAGE.


Ah yes that’s right lol


I’m just going to /bump this thread in the hopes of getting a few more participants. If there aren’t more votes by Friday I’ll close the poll and summarize the data.

Thanks all!


Thanks for participating, all. I’ve closed the poll. Sorry it’s a bit later than expected, work has been brutally busy. Will try to get some summary analysis out this weekend.

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Alright folks. The results from the poll are below, along with some of my own interpretations. I do hope that a few people chime in on this as they see fit, because there is a lot of nuance that this poll (and the resulting analysis) are simply going to miss.

There were four questions in the poll, and the number of responses varied between 103 and 108. I’m not sure what to make of that difference, if anything, but it’s only fair to point it out. The poll was designed to capture the community’s thoughts on balance, in terms of dragon power as compared with base power. The scenario description held gear to be equivalent for the attacker and defender, and the player flying the attacking dragon was assumed to be no better than average. The poll was open between March 13, 2019 and April 5, 2019. The raw results can be seen by clicking on “Show Results” in the original thread, so I’m not going to post that information here. I will, however, provide the following summary table:


Now, it’s hard to draw any concrete conclusions from this information, but there is one pattern to see here: Lots of folks who responded to the poll (77%) think that a single dragon should completely destroy the base with no defenders, and a similarly high number of folks (85%) think that a single dragon should achieve a victory (i.e., 70% of the base or more).

It’s at this point that I bring in the arguments that were made by @mechengg and @Lutrus: These destruction values don’t really mean much. Why? Because the percentage of destruction on active in-game bases is heavily weighted by the farms and mills. The destruction ratio is based on the total amount of hit points for buildings on the base, and on a well-designed base, farms and mills account for 40% or more of the base’s hit points. By this logic, anything over 60% may as well be 100%; when you collapse the categories to reflect this, the data looks like this:


Looking at the data in this way leads to a few more tentative conclusions. First, many, many, many people believe that a single dragon should be able to beat an undefended base, and a fairly high percentage believe the same for a base with one defender. Interestingly (and I use that word in a tongue-in-cheek fashion), nearly half of the responders believe that a single dragon (legendary, mind you) should be able to defeat a base with 2 defenders, while most of the other half of responders (45%) appear to support the notion that, with 2 defenders, a single dragon should be able to soften the base sufficiently that a follower would easily be able to clean up (first dragon gets 30% to 50%, second dragon only needs another 30% before getting to farms).

Finally, a total of 40% of responders believes that a triple-defended base should allow no more than 20% destruction for one dragon, with another 44% believing that, once again, a single dragon should be able to pave the way for any other follower to clean up; a minority (16%) believe that a single legendary dragon should be able to effectively beat the base even with 3 defenders.

So where does all of this leave us? Well, I think it’s safe to say that participants in this poll heavily favor dragon power and assume that dragons should largely be more powerful than bases. The degree to which this view is aligned with the game’s design philosophy can’t really be discussed, because to date (and that I am aware of), PG has never really disclosed to the playerbase what that design philosophy is; it would be great if they would (@PGLawson) .

Why would they want to do that? Well, because if the playerbase believes that dragons should be able to accomplish complete or nearly-complete destruction with average flying and one legendary dragon, but that is counter to the intent of the game’s design, then dragons will be designed that fall short of that player expectation (e.g., “oh, dragon sucks, will not get”; “breed and bench”; etc.).

When considering the question of “what should one dragon do”, things become particularly muddied when the context of the attack changes. For example, currently wars are won by first ensuring that every attack is five flames, but the only way to get 5 flames in a war is for one dragon to be used by the attacker and a single wing. But in Atlas, attackers can rely on multiple wings and up to three of their own dragons. Yes, the troop loss ratio is in your favor for using only 1 dragon and 1 wing, but the expectation placed on team members by leadership (and for lack of a better term, social mores) are significantly reduced in Atlas compared with the expectations in wars. This means we’re trying to balance dragons for two different victory conditions, which seems…silly.

Potential take-home points from this, from what I can see, are as follows:

  • Lots of people seem to over-estimate the capabilities of legendary dragons in the hands of average flyers. PG should do a better job of communicating what their expectations are in terms of dragon performance, so the playerbase can be more fully informed when considering dragons;

  • PG should maybe consider modifications to war mechanics that make it less punishing to have fewer than 5 flames, which would reduce the pressure and expectation for 5-flame attacks all the time;

  • I think, as @Lutrus and @mechengg pointed out, the way bases are front-loaded leads to some confusion in expectations. One possible solution to this might be to remove farms and mills from the calculation for victory, basing victory entirely on the offensive and defensive towers on the base. This would allow for a more clear set of parameters when considering dragon performance, since the 40% of bases currently wrapped up in farms and mills would be removed, and destruction percentages would be more clearly understandable by everyone.

The standard caveats to all of this apply: The sample size for the poll was relatively small and from what I can tell, not really representative of the playerbase at large (for example, I’m not sure how many high-end players participated, because I have a hard time believing they thought their bases should be steamrolled the way the poll showed). Additionally, there are many possible additional variables that could be considered when asking these questions, including (but not limited to) the quality of the flyer, class of dragon, and whether or not the dragon is a set-up dragon (like Hauheset). I am hopeful that these considerations will find voice among the discussions ahead.


I also want to circle back to something @henfon said:

By and large, I think the idea is that a legendary is a legendary, whether it’s seasonal or lineage. I don’t think that a dragon being seasonal should automatically grant it any kind of benefit or detriment, and I don’t think the design team necessarily sees it that way either. I do think that they see some legendaries as being less viable by design – such as the festive dragons; PG has officially stated that they are fine with festive dragons being less effective than other legendaries because they are “just for fun”.

Having said that, inherent differences in the three dragon classes throw that idea out of the water immediately. No warrior is going to match up to a hunter, unless the warrior’s skillset is simply overpowered and the hunter is mediocre by design; I can’t think of a single case where that has occurred among the legendary dragons – in lineage tiers or seasonals.


First of all, props. Nice analysis.

I’m not sure. You described an average flyer, but the base you described is not average. So you put up an average flyer against a good base. And I don’t think most people answering on a forum poll would look that well into the premises. I think most people just assumed you’re putting an average flyer against an average base. Since most legendary dragons are in fact capable of destroying an average base of an equal level, as far as I can tell; the discrepancy you assume between what they expect and what they’re getting might be smaller, simply because they didn’t read your question correctly.


I don’t know what to say to this. The scenario I described is fairly straightforward in terms of the base being flown against - Unobtanium towers, max level gear, on one of the two most popular base designs in the modern meta (the other being the micro base). I don’t think that means the base is anything more than average, because all it takes to have that base is some guidance from teammates and the self-control to build according to a plan. Learning to fly dragons at a skill level above “average” takes more than that, because it takes time and effort to “git gud”. A lot of people aren’t willing to spend that kind of time and effort.

One key to constructing a good survey is that you want to provide the information necessary to get the participant to be able to make an informed response, understanding that you can’t possibly control everything about how they’re going to interpret the question. I provided a relatively clear set of parameters on the defended side of things, but if folks interpreted that as “ok, so it’s an average base”, there’s not much I can do about that.

But it’s entirely possible that your point (“most legendary dragons are in fact capable of destroying an average base of an equal level”) ranges beyond the scope of this poll, because it’s delving into the question “what is an average base?”

That’s a question that could be answered through means other than a poll. For example, we could randomly select bases to view and note the characteristics of those bases, and draw conclusions based on those observations in order to determine what might be considered average. I’m not sure I’m going to have time for something like that until…September or October maybe. But if people are interested in it, I could coordinate such an effort; I’d recruit a few people to help with data collection using a Google Form or something like that. I don’t know. Might be fun.


I agree, although it would have perhaps been easier to just use the description ´average´ for both the flyer and the base. That way whatever mental picture of the meaning of ´average´ the participant has, it applies equally to the two parameters being compared.

What would be more interesting is how PG could improve these expectations. And do you mean that they should aim to give more clarity for every dragon an sich (by making in-game tutorials for example), or just a general understanding in the relative strength of dragons and the factors that add to that strength (better explaining impact of gear, riders, flying techniques e.d.)?


I guess if folks interpreted it as average base the results make more sense. I’d say the average base is much different than even close to max for your level. When I am raiding resources (I’m 261), I’d say the average base around my level has 45s to 52s. Most gear is mediocre meaning most are in the 150M to 250M DP on the attack screen. I know I’m not max for my level and I show somewhere between 3 and 5 times that. My gear is ok and I have some wasted xp. I have no towers in storage to keep my base long for atlas but if I store all my garbage it might move my number by less than a quarter percent of my DP.

If folks are saying a legendary Obsidian should be able to take 45s or 52s that’s significantly different than 56s or 60s are even possible at my level.

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People either missed this or they don’t know a legendary from their cat


i mean if that also depends on how everyone thinks of a base set up. short bases are a pain in the ass, sometimes i bite off more then i can chew with them, highly effective undefended and defended. not to say a long base cannot be a good base however.


I would say average flyer vs average base vs average defenders the collapsed view is probably about right up until 2 defenders when it is a tad too high.


I assume you’re talking about this:

What I mean here is that if the design intention for dragons is anything other than what this poll shows to be the players’ expectation (i.e., say PG thinks that a base defended by 2 players should never, ever be defeated by an average flyer using a single legendary dragon), then PG would be well served by communicating that design intention to the playerbase, so that players are not expecting more than what the actual goal is. It’s not an each dragon, or every dragon, or relative strengths and what goes into that strength, as much of a holistic accounting of what developers are shooting for, such that, (assuming the following statement is a design goal) players understand that a legendary dragon maybe shouldn’t be able to solo a defended base with three, or two, or maybe even only one defender.

Legendary obsidian dragons were designed for level 50 towers, and mythic obsidian dragons were designed for level 55 towers. In an ideally balanced situation, and if gear and boosts (both dragon and base) are held constant, these dragons would not really be able to punch above their weight class at all without the unmeasured variable of skill coming into play. If you (not specifically you, but anyone who might be identifying with this) are in Obsidian and defeating double and triple defended bases with level 60’s towers (consistently, and with a single legendary dragon), then there are only a handful of possible explanations for that: 1) gear differential (yours is better than theirs); 2) skill differential (either your expert flying or your opponents’ sub-optimal base defense); or 3) the game is officially broken.

Now don’t get me wrong - I’m not saying you’re a liar or that you’re wrong; I’m saying that if you’re punching multiply-defended Harbinger towers with Obsidian legendaries, you may not be operating within the bounds of “average”.

I think it’s pretty clear that the expectation vs. undefended bases is nearly universally agreed upon. But I think the more interesting conversation piece here (and I think the point that some folks might be missing) is, what is the impact of active defense (and the related question, what should be the impact of active defense)?


When I mentioned the towers that were possible I was talking possible to build. I was trying to compare the average base vs a well built base. Average base is 45s to 52s where well built could be evenly leveled kill with 5x56s or some 60s with the rest 52s.

If I go against similarly geared 60s I take an add on spell and use a mythic. No defenders I usually don’t use the add on. 1 to 2 defenders it depends on the base layout whether I can solo it, but I’m using my add on.


How can you know whether you can get defenders or not? :flushed:


I think he means it’s still equipped, but he doesn’t have to use it.

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Yep. I equip but don’t always use it since unused doesn’t consume the spell.

closed #40

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