Last week we received news the New Smaug was introduced. It was highly anticipated, and a lot of players took to the forum to explain Kabam how NOT to ruin the experience in the process of upgrading the dragon. Unfortunately, the new Smaug was highly disappointing and was met with a lot of negative feedback.
But in a surprise move, Kabam decided to listen to the critiques within a week and upgraded Smaug again. Read on to see what has changed form the old familiar lizard and a possible way to fix him once and for all…
1. The Old Smaug
Back in the day, Smaug was the place to be. With the introduction of Hero Equipment, the then best sets (Pilfered and Prisoners) could be farmed from him, as well as the elusive Erebor treasure chests. These chests could contain RoF and RoI, HBC’s but also 16x Galadriel tokens. Non paying players farmed Smaug to get in the action of premiums, and times were good.
But with the months passing by, the loot from Smaug became obsolete pretty quickly, especially the gear and Hero Renown 215. Tokens were still in high demand, but for some (business) reason, the drop rates were also nerfed tremendously, resulting in farming Smaug becoming tedious, boring and even frustrating.
2. The New New Smaug
But as stated in the introduction, Kabam revamped Smaug, and then revamped him again after much negative feedback. All good and well, but what is the dragon currently hiding in its vaults? Lets first look at fighting him.
2.1 Smaug stats
The old Smaug sported 720k might, on par with Moria Azog, and a prime target for GK tournaments. The new Smaug has increased in size considerably to 4.8 M might. Instead of 3000 of each Tier 3 troop, he now has 66,666 or 66,667 of them! For a total of 200k Tier 3 Goblins.
The increase in might means it is almost insane to fight him without a RoF burning or without your highest Hero with his/her best gear. Without a RoI, one attack will take out between 1000-2000 Stone Giants (!), and many more troops if you use support.
2.2 New drops
Smaug has his rewards seen upgraded. There are now four possible drops, and a drop is guaranteed (no more wasted attacks, sort of). The drops and what they (chests) can contain are: (drop rates are estimates)
- Erebor Vault Chest (~25%)
- 1x Galadriel Token (guaranteed) PLUS one of:
- Battle Cry
- Shield Wall
- 4x / 19x Galadriel Tokens
- Hero Renown 245
- Various Hourglasses
Please note that the drops within this chest do not all have equal chances. Expect to see a lot of hourglasses, and more RoF/RoI than BC/SW.
- Smaug’s Legendary Loot (~20%)
- Smaug’s Scorched Gear
The Smaug Scorched gear replaces the Pilfered and Prisoner gear from both the Loot and Plunder chests. It is a purple gear set with 4 random attributes. Not too awesome…
- Smaug’s Legendary Plunder (~20%)
- Ancient Drills
- Orc Ears
- Legendary Pages
- Erebor Coin (~35%)
- Can be traded in Sage Tower for one of the three chests above (random) at 10:1 exchange rate.
3. My thoughts
So the new Smaug is much tougher and has better drops, but is it really worth the might? One of the New new features is the 100% drop rate, but this basically translates from 9 empty drops and 1 chest in the old situation, to 10 Coins in the new, which is 1 chest again. It may be psychologically more rewarding to never have a ‘no-drop’ anymore, but the final result is still basically the same amount of chests.
The added possibility of BC and SW I guess should be seen as a big improvement, but as can be expected, they drop very rarely. Like in the old situation, you will most likely gain a lot of hourglasses.
Now although the new gear is definitely better than Pilfered and Prisoner’s, it is still not top notch. Most players wouldn’t expect a set that would beat Replenish or Necro, but something along the level of Void would have been nicer. 4 Random attributes simply means you are gonna need a lot of tries before finding a piece which has great attributes. At the current cost of might per attack, that is simply impossible for most players, especially non paying ones.
So in the end, we have a Smaug which is definitely stronger, and which definitely has better drops than before, but I do not get the feeling this is going to be rewarding for players to farm. My main problem with it is the fact that it has been moved out of reach of ordinary players.
Spenders and long time players will have an opportunity to farm some nice stuff and maybe get some perms and tokens, but the rest of the drops are mostly useless to them. On the other hand, small to medium sized players will not be able to cough up the might to farm Smaug for any extended period of time due to the enormous might costs.
So, how could Kabam cater to all types and sizes of players? Very simple actually. Here’s what they could do:
- Lower the might for Smaug, but higher than the previous Smaug (~1.5 M?)
- Lower the drop rates of the very rare and wanted items accordingly (BC/SW)
- Keep guaranteeing a drop on every hit
- Lose the Erebor Coin drop, it’s not necessary
- Add in (many) more possible drop items, and make drop rate reflect item quality
- e.g. renown 230 common, 240 rare, 245/249 very rare
- Bit similar to all the possible drops from extraordinary Caverns
And voila, a Smaug that is enjoyable for every type and level of player. Why? Simple.
- Everyone wants to be able to attack Smaug for loot (appropriate for their level)
- Also, everyone hates having a ‘no drop’
- Loot level should reflect the amount of effort/might put into the farming
Going form the old Smaug (low effort/crap rewards), there were two ways to accomplish this for Kabam. One is to increase all loot levels and effort needed (the current situation), and the other is described above.
Now with my solution, low level players can attack Smaug as they used to, with medium amount of might lost, and get some nice rewards that they need. And I would like to suggest a lot of possible drops like with extraordinary Caverns, which sometimes drop over 10 items. Also case in point, that psychological factor. Even though I do not need half of the items dropped by caverns, I love to see those reports with a list full of rewards.
For the higher level players, Smaug can pay off just the same way as he does now, but instead of wasting a lot of might in a few tries, you lose a lot of might in, well, more tries. It will cost you Stamina, but in the end, the smaller drop chances of very rare items will pay out. Watch it Kabam, business tip: added revenue from Stamina Refills bought *wink* *wink*. They will also get a lot of junk items they do not need, but who cares, if they can walk away with a BC or SW in the end (again the same as is now).
Now these concepts aren’t new to gaming, and farming/grinding is necessary in a lot of games. The key is finding the right balance between effort and time needed versus the rewards given. Right now, Kabam chose to go for a very high effort model, which does not suit all players. Im sitting on 2B might and even I am not looking forward to farm Smaug at the moment. The downside of my suggestion is that if you make the drop rates and Smaug might too low, people will need to attack TOO MANY times for good drops to appear. Then it becomes boring again. But somewhere in between no might/no drops, and high might/high drops, is the perfect combination every player is looking for.
And one last piece of advice: Smaug farming has become synonymous with Tokens. That is practically the only reason people still farmed Smaug, and given the current drops, it will still be. So make sure that whatever the solution becomes, reward players with Tokens, especially since the newer chests do not drop tokens like they used to.
Thats it for now, I hope I can persuade someone at Kabam to change Smaug again, but chances are probably slim. Let me know what you think of my suggestion, or let me know your own if you have a great idea! A poll about Smaug can be found in my blog post on him.