Tobold's Blog
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Shop Titans

I've been playing a Free2Play game called Shop Titans the last few days, and it has been pretty fun. The game is available on Steam and on mobile platforms, with cross-platform play possible. As the name suggests, you play a shop keeper in a fantasy village, supplying weapons, armor, and other gear to fantasy heroes. But you control basically the whole chain, from resource gathering, crafting, selling, equipping the heroes, to the heroes going to dungeons and coming back with loot and resources.

Making a profit in Shop Titans is very easy. You get the resources for free, over time, and there is a constant stream of not very price conscious AI customers coming to your shop. You can even use energy to charge them double, and they won't complain. So the challenge is more in the time-management aspects of the game. Resources take time to replenish, crafting takes time, upgrading the furniture in your shop takes time, sending heroes on dungeon crawls takes time, you get the idea. You have limited number of "slots" for various activities, so you can only craft X items at a time, with X going up with level.

Of course, Free2Play means that impatient people can speed up a lot of those processes with real money. However, there isn't really a "paywall", I haven't seen features in the game yet which I wouldn't be able to reach by playing for free. You can also speed up your progress by interacting with other players via a guild or the auction house. That works a bit like the auction house in World of Warcraft, where the fact that some players are further advanced makes them willing to pay good money for low level stuff they need.

What I like about this type of game is that it has a good mix of progress through playing, and progress through waiting. It is neither a complete idle game, nor a game that just freezes in time if you don't play. Of course, your tastes may be different than mine in this respect. But for the moment I am happily evolving my various gear tech trees (I can make level 4 items of most types right now) while playing rather casually. Not every game has to be very complex.

Idle games fill the niche of "feeling like you're progressing while doing nothing" :)
I've settled on Crush Them All, which, unless you PvP, also doesn't have a paywall and progression is purely time-based.
I've played "Swords and Potions" back in the days (old Flash games) and I like this genre. I like that you say it's not really P2W if you don't want to.

However, I'm reading some other reviews that tells me you need to be part of a guild if you want to do anything once you're out of the starter stage. I despise relying on multiplayer to progress in a single player game, so can you tell us more about this part ?

Thanks for your time, I like your blog.
The guild is an interesting concept in Shop Titans, because you are far better off if you join one, but it doesn't require you to do much. This is how it works:
Imagine you were playing all alone, or in a 1-person guild you created just for yourself; then the level of your gatherers, crafters, heroes, and other things would be limited by the level of their respective buildings. For example if your training hall is level 3, your heroes can only be level 7 maximum. Getting a building up to high levels gets more and more expensive, so investing in all the buildings of your village is a very expensive job.
Now you join a guild, and the investment level of each building becomes the sum of the investments that each guild member contributed.
What I did, more or less by lucky accident, was to find a guild in which the guild leader had stopped playing, but where the guild was automatically accepting all applicants. As that guild leader is of much higher level than I am, and had invested a lot in the village buildings, I profit from relatively high level buildings. Without having to contribute anything.
How is this different to Shop Heroes, that you blogged about many years ago, and that I played until recently?
It is very similar to Shop Heroes, but looks a bit nicer, and has a few more elaborate systems.
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