December 2015 Update: Shield, Village Guard, and Loot

There are huge changes coming with the TH11 update. In addition to TH11, new hero, and new weapon, Supercell is altering gameplay in some fundamental ways. Supercell is clear they want everyone to upgrade defenses and eliminate TH x.5, defenseless bases, and Farming gameplay altogether.

Shields

Supercell is working to eliminate defenseless and THx.5 strategies. They view deliberately keeping defenses to get a good war ranking is unfair. Therefore, they are changing the fundamental gameplay to make things more “fair”, or in other words, eliminating Farming and making the game hard to play without upgrading of your defenses.

No More Free Shields

The first big change is shields will be granted only upon percent destruction. That means no shield for Town Hall snipes. This changes farming. You won’t be able to put your TH outside to get free shields. It means to get a shield, your base is required to get somewhat trashed:

  • 12-hour shield is granted at 30% destruction
  • 14-hour shield is granted at 60% destruction
  • 16-hour shield is granted at 90% destruction
  • However, NO SHIELD is granted if the attacker does not deploy at least 33% of your full army

The last line is extremely important. Players will get good at raiding with only 33% of your full army, leaving you without a shield regardless of the amount of destruction they cause. Notice this is 33% of your full army. Example: if you are TH7 (maximum troops of 200) and you are attacked by TH9 (maximum troops of 220), you get a shield if they use 33% of your 200 (66 troops), not 33% of their 220 (73 troops).

Why such extensive change to the shield system? Defenseless bases are no longer feasible. Small armies can destroy Defenseless bases, meaning they’ll never get a shield.  TH x.5 players, with weak defenses, are also vulnerable. Supercell’s desire to eliminate Defenseless and TH x.5 players is obvious in their announcement. They refer to bases with “fair defenses” a ridiculous amount of times (seriously, do a word search on their announcement! I found it repeated 10 times.)

Removing the TH snipe also removes a big chunk from the Clash economy: a League Bonus is earned by the attacker every time a TH is sniped. League Bonuses are extra money injected into the economy, and without the easy bonuses from TH snipes, this piece of money will simply disappear.

Town Hall becomes another Storage

Since the Town Hall won’t offer shields or trophies, what good is it? Supercell gives the Town Hall new value by making it a storage. Your Town Hall becomes another Elixir, Gold, and DE storage. Now your loot will be distributed amongst more buildings, spreading it out and making it harder to get. Gold and Elixir will be distributed equally  among storages and Town Hall. Dark Elixir will be distributed 75% to the DE storage and 25% to the Town Hall. Goblins will target the Town Hall with double damage bonus. The loot stored in a Town Hall is only awarded when it is completely destroyed.

This is Supercell’s way of making you protect the Town Hall. No more farming bases. You’ll protect it like your storages and DE.

Loot Changes

League bonuses are increasing, but are proportional to percent destruction. That actually means smaller bonuses unless you trash at least 70% of the base. Don’t count on league bonuses if you’re doing collector raids or SuperQueens. If you don’t get enough percent destruction to trigger the higher bonuses, your league bonus may actually drop.

The percent of available loot to be stolen is also increased. That means attackers can steal a larger amount of loot. Expect to see bigger numbers!

The loot penalty has been increased, encouraging you to attack your equal Town Hall level or higher.

Searching and Attacking Doesn’t Break Shield

The second big change is you can search and make attacks without breaking the shield. This means if you don’t find a good target, your shield stays intact. If you do find a target, you can make an attack, and 3 hours will be deducted from your remaining shield time. Subsequent attacks subtract increasing amounts (4 hours, 5 hours, etc.)

Personal Break: 6 Minutes every 3 Hours

The third big change is the Personal Break. The Personal Break is now 6 minute break after 3 hours of cumulative online time plus Village Guard time since your last shield. This is cumulative time, not contiguous time. Once 3 hours is accumulated, you get booted offline for 6 minutes. You can extend your 3 hours by purchasing an additional 2 hours of Village Guard (below) for 10 gems, once per day.

Village Guard: The Mini-Shield

The final change is the Village Guard. This is a mini-shield that lasts for 15 minutes. Titans and Legends can get up to 3 hours. The Village Guard starts automatically when your shield expires. Think of it as an add-on shield to your main shield. Searching and attacking does not break or subtract minutes from the Guard. You get a 15-minute Guard anytime if your base is attacked without giving your a full shield.

When the Village Guard is active, even when you are offline, it counts against your 3-hour Personal Break timer. Unless you get a Village Guard from <30% destruction attack. Then it adds 15 minutes to your Personal Break timer. Whaaattt? Seriously? You can purchase two hours of Village Guard for 10 gems once per day. Purchased hours of Village Guard are added to your Personal Break timer. This is getting ridiculous.

The system is very complex and it revolves around the Personal Break. The Personal Break is what forces players offline so they can be attacked. So the entire system is designed to make high trophy leagues exciting.For lower league players, it doesn’t make sense.

Example Scenario

Example: you are offline and get attacked with 50% destruction. You get a 12-hour shield. You’re busy, so you don’t log on. When your shield expires, a 15-minute Village Guard activates (assuming you are Champions or lower). Nobody can attack your base when the Guard is active. Near the end of the Guard, you log in and notice only 2h 45m hours remain on your “Personal Break” timer. What happened?

When your shield expired, your Personal Break timer reset to 3 hours. Then your Village Guard started. Since the Village Guard counts against your Personal Time – even when you are offline – your Personal Break timer decremented by 15 minutes. You now have 2h 45m remaining before it enforces a 6 minute offline Personal Break. You could purchase a 2 hour Village Guard for 10 gems, which also extends your Personal Break timer by 2 hours.

Mercy Rule

The “Mercy Rule” states you get a free 3-hour Village Guard if you have three consecutive raids, and it extends your Personal Break timer by 3 hours. Ugh! Enough already!

This summary doesn’t cover all the details of the Shield / Village Guard / Personal Break system, but it’s reasonably comprehensive. I’ll keep editing it as we move forward.

Why Defend?

The new shield and loot updates raise the question, especially for TH9 players:  Why defend?

Losing loot like clockwork plus the expense of resetting traps makes defense a losing proposition. Good defense and traps prevents a shield, costs money to reset traps, and allows another raider to attack. One could lose a tremendous amount of resources very quickly. Thankfully, the Mercy Rule gives a 3-hour Guard after three consecutive raids, but it’s lame compared to the 12-hour shield of yesteryear.

The Supercell Forums are full of posts recommending “open” bases to and never resetting traps, to encourage % destruction, save money from resetting traps, and getting a decent shield.

Supercell responded by significantly lowering resetting of traps:

  • All trap rearm costs massively reduced (~75% rearm cost reduction on average of all traps)
  • X-Bow reload costs massively reduced (~70% reload cost reduction for all levels)

No help for reloading Inferno Towers with DE, I guess.

Nice try, but it’s still not clear why a TH9 would benefit from what Supercell calls a “fair defense”. TH9 prey will be routinely wiped out by TH10 predators and have no reward for having a good defense, other than being shieldless for a subsequent attack.

Many have proposed a “League Bonus” for a successful defense. Since an attacker gets a bonus for successful attacks, shouldn’t the defender get a bonus for a successful defense?

Trophy Changes

The calculation for trophies in high leagues (Champion, Titan, Legend) is changing. These changes are to make the high leagues more competitive and less of a grind for skilled players to advance.

What does this mean for us?

Some changes don’t make much sense to the Farmer. But these changes are very relevant for very high leagues (Titan and Legend). Clash of Clans is supposed to be a Trophy game, not a Farming game! Supercell wants to refocus on battles and trophies. Many of these changes are good ideas for the Trophy player but are terrible ideas for the Farmer player.

Trophy players are the big spenders on gems. Farmer players are  conservative and are generally play for free. It makes sense for Supercell to focus on their paying customers. On the other hand, the game economy crashes without the Farmers. So they can’t abuse us too badly. We will find workarounds to continue playing, probably without a hiccup.

There are some logical conclusions that are immediately evident.

  1. We’ll adapt. We might need to change some strategy, but our gameplay style will adapt. Don’t sweat it.
  2. The first few months will be chaotic with so many new changes, including the new TH11, new hero, and new weapon.
  3. There will be a tremendous amount of loot for the first few months due to the millions of idle players logging in and waking up their sleeper bases.
  4. No more free shields to protect your loot. No more Farming Bases. Smart players will switch to Trophy Bases, now that the Town Hall stores a lot loot.
  5. No more easy trophies by sniping Town Halls. They removed Zappers, now they are removing Snipers.
  6. The only way to get a shield is have 30% or more of your base trashed.
  7. New base designs will make 30% damage easy (to get a shield) but feature an impenetrable core to protect the Town Hall and DE.
  8. Loot raids will start to resemble war attacks, because the Town Hall becomes a primary target.
  9. Loot raids in Masters and above will really resemble war attacks, because league bonus will be based on total destruction. The league bonuses in lower leagues are too small to matter.
  10. Trolls will raid with 49% armies to take your loot and leave you without a shield. Jerks. You know they are out there. Revenge them.
  11. Many of the new changes are focused on Trophy competition in very high leagues (Titan and Legend) because these are the people who spend the most money on gems.
  12. You might be forced to upgrade weapons if you get looted too often. According to the Supercell announcements, they want you to upgrade weapons. These changes were specifically designed to make you upgrade.
  13. Your Farming league might change. You will need to explore new leagues to find the best place for you.

Remember, millions of players will come online over the next few months to see the new updates. Many of them will rush to TH11. They will be raiding and looting. Expect to see a huge uptick of sleeper bases coming back online. Most of these are idle players with mediocre attack skills and troops. They will probably leave your base alone, because you’re awesome. So keep a watch for a huge amount of loot available over the next few months.

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