Please change play-to-win

ABC City

Approved user
Nov 9, 2018
This is directly for Nexon and Big Huge Games, but please feel free to contribute in whatever way you like to this thread.

Dominations is becoming increasingly more pay-to-win. Ever since the stronghold came out, there has been an increase in availability of things to buy, whether that be troop tactics, artifacts (be they legendary or mystery boxes), the newer speed ups (which are almost exclusively recieved through buying them), or exclusive buildings. I understand this as a good thing for Nexon and Big Huge Games, being that they are making a lot more money, however, I will tell you from experience that this will not last. By the game becoming more play-to-win, the masses who do not pay money are being left behind. I, the alliance I am in, and many more that I have heard in YouTube videos or the comments thereof, are struggling with the pace the game is progressing, not because there is so much more to upgrade and build, but because there are so many new editions to how the game is actually being played.

Going back to when the stronghold was released, I remember countless wars having to fight through elephant archers (bought, given the amounts they were in), and not only I was having that problem. I remember specifically going through YouTube trying to find a better army composition, yet everywhere I went people were struggling. There was a reason for people creating the 0SH (no troops in stronghold) movement, because it creates such a difficulty for one of the main parts of the game, World War. Armored cars and howitzers/artillery also make this matter worse.

I will admit, I was excited for the potential artifacts brought to the game because it gave another level of complexity that was widely available to any player that a duly played the game. Then the legendary artifacts started coming out. Yet another way to pay money in order to have an easier time playing the game. Although some of these artifacts are not as good as others, the ones that are very good can lead to a disproportionate playing field between those who do and don’t buy. Whether this be increased defensive building hit points and damage or increased attacker/defender health and damage, it is proving a problem by making it harder to win attacks.

When I found out that speed ups would be a part of Dominations, I was conflicted. Many other games have speed ups so I felt it was only right for them to come along. However, I was concerned about how us players would have to obtain them. Sure enough, they had to be bought with real money, not even crowns to make them more accessible. Although this is simply an alternative to spending crowns to complete a task, it only makes it more accessible and more “normal” to spend money to get ahead in the game, creating an even larger gap between those who pay money and those who do not.

Exclusive buildings are not as much of an issue, but it creates a clear advantage to those who pay money, the cherry on top of the icing on the cake if you will. I understand this is how games work: those who pay money get ahead in the game, but there is a point at which a threshold has been reached, a point where those paying for those buildings get an unnecessary step up in the game. One of the most notable exclusive buildings is the bazooka tower, which easily destroys an entire army if not dealt with correctly. The fact that only a fraction of people have it at a given time, rather than a majority of players, creates that unnecessary step up.

In addition to the points above, the missile silo (although a somewhat ingenious addition) has also proven many complications, especially in multiplayer. One wrong move and your entire army is wiped out, and unless you want to wait for everything to retrain, you have to pay crowns to retrain them. Even if your army only gets wiped out once every 5 attacks (generous for those with higher amounts of medals and do not use mercenaries during each attack), that is still 30-40 crowns each time, which adds up fast after 3 or 4 times, which is not all too unlikely given the amount of resources needed to upgrade higher age buildings, having to do for each building upgrade. This creates almost a necessity for crowns. Unless you are completing multiple offers every day, you will have to buy crowns to keep up with this.

I will now tell you a story of 2 games I used to play (roughly during the same time period) that went through this exact same phase of game developing: Dragons of Atlantis and Edgeworld, both run by Kabam. They have quite similar storylines, with Dragons of Atlantis being the more extreme of the two (Dominations following Dragons of Atlantis much more closely than Edgeworld). They both started off as free to play games that attracted many people far and wide. I made many friends there that were all wonderful people. The game started progressing and the complexity of each game grew. More levels, new troops, more things to interact with throughout the game. This continued as any game should, and as time went on, the complexity of each game grew. There were more options available for items to purchase. Naturally, the players purchased items as a treat for themselves. As the game went on, there were more options for purchasing. The complexity of the game grew faster with new buildings coming out with less time between them, new troops, and the difficulty of the actual games grew. As more time passed, there were even more items available, and soon enough, it became difficult for those not paying money to reach the same (figurative) level as those who did. Some people stopped playing the game as it had become too time consuming, and seeing as how they did not want to spend money on a game, they ultimately had to stop playing altogether. I stopped playing Edgeworld shortly after this became a problem to put more time into Dragons of Atlantis in order to keep up with the pace of the game. The trend never stopped though. More items were available to purchase, items that have power-ups to individual troops and items that gave overall boosts (much like artifacts). More people left the game because people who bought all of these new items became so much better than everyone else, and what is the point of playing if you are the bottom percentage of players who will not go anywhere without spending money? I should have stopped here, but I didn’t. I continued playing, spending as little money as I could and only buying what would give me the most bang for my buck, as it was the only way to stay competitive, yet I was still far less than most other players. There were hardly any new players because as soon as they saw how much they would have to get in order to be competitive as well as how much it would take, both monetarily and time-wise, they lost interest and left the game.

The end result of Edgeworld was that it was shut down, never to be played again, as there were so few players left and such a high cost to continue playing and progressing in the game (I kept in touch with a few of the players I met). The end result of Dragon of Atlantis was a revolt led by the players who were even still playing the game. It had reached the point where the players literally had to use a script to further themselves in the game because it was physically impossible to do so without, unless staying up all night clicking button after button, for days on end. Dragons of Atlantis was shut down as well, never to be played again.

I am typically one of the last people to say something. But when I do, I have a very good reason to do so. I sincerely hope that Nexon and Big Huge Games sees this message to know what will become of their game if this play-to-win frenzy does not stop. If they do not change how Dominations is progressing and being played, history will repeat itself as many other games have done, and perish.


Approved user
May 17, 2018
great post!

I will only add this:

Speed ups is an insult. Why? Because you must be in a high league just to obtain the 6-hour or 12 hour speedup. Those things should be given in a more rational way. An atomic/CW age player has absolutely no use for such speedups. imho they should be offered not according to league but according to age and level and league. All three factors should count...

Also, archive should actually SELL these items and not only store them.
If we take as a constant that to crown 1 day we need 300 crowns, then let the speed up cost a bit less i.e. 250 crowns.
But give us the option to buy them. As it is now, you only get the crappy ones which are completely worthless....


Approved user
Apr 14, 2016
why do AA/CWA have no use for speedups? or do you mean 6/12h is too short to be useful? sorry