Tobold's Blog
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Star Trek - Wrath of Gems

I am so old that the Star Trek I watched as a child was the original series with Captain James T. Kirk; and I'm fan enough to know what the "T." stands for. :) Many of the early Star Trek computer games were very bad, and then the brand wasn't used that much any more. So I was happy to discover Star Trek - Wrath of Gems on iOS / Android. This is a Puzzle Quest type of game, and in fact copies a lot of game mechanics from Marvel Puzzle Quest. I like match-3 games in general, and the added story adventures of the original series and the next generation were an added draw.

Unfortunately I then discovered that Star Trek - Wrath of Gems is one of the more exploitative Free2Play games. Basically the problem is that the enemies become stronger faster than you do if you don't spend money. And you can't very well farm the lower level content either, because after 4 wins a scenario only gives out very minor rewards. You can do PvP or special events, but you can't win anything with a weak starting team there either, the other players are already too advanced. Plus whenever your star ship or characters get hit, you need to wait some real time for them to heal before trying again, if you don't want to start with a disadvantage.

So you need more slots for ships and characters, and those cost coins you mostly get for real money. The same coins also buy you the booster packs in which you find those ships and characters (you can buy very basic boosters for dilithium crystals which you can either buy or get from playing). And you don't need to find those ships and characters just once, but need either several copies to upgrade them or spend coins for the upgrade. An upgrade then raises the level limit, but you still need a lot of dilithium crystals to actually level up.

I got sucked into that and feeling generous towards myself I spent more money on this "free" game than what I would have spent on a full price PC game. I did that consciously, and it enabled me to get to a point where my team was strong enough to win and earn the rewards I need to play on. But I really can't recommend a game like that. Even if you can afford it, it leaves a bad aftertaste of having been exploited.

Gems of War (which you mentioned a few months ago) is pretty good - if anything they are not aggressive enough on the monetisation, as there is zero need to pay. Paying gets your legendaries their max traits, which is hard to do otherwise. But you absolutely don't need that.

The T stands for Randy.
I'm still playing Gems of War every day, level 148. I have over 200 different troops, but I only ever use the same 3 of them (Luther, Infernal King, Sheggra) which I found make the best combo which can beat much higher level enemies. So for me there is a design flaw in that game, because it doesn't force you to use different troops for different battles.
Yes, it's a flaw in our natures that we are more apt to grind with a winning team than try out new things. I'm more apt to put strange loadouts in defensive teams where it's harder.

The game is a bit too easy anyway. My team of Gloom Leaf, Rowanne, Green Seer and Owlbear is hardly optimum, but I nearly always win with it. A human would kill me easily by shutting down purple and yellow - the computer only ever does that by accident, and if it does you can sacrifice skulls to force it to leave you colours.
Gems of War is GREAT. Yea, it can get a bit stale since it doesnt force/encourage you to try different troop configurations, but it is good fun without the overdone f2p junk.
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