Why I think Dawn of Titans is Dying

Dawn of Titans had the global launch on December 8, 2016. I joined the game on global launch day and quickly found an alliance. As a long-time Clash of Clans player, I recognized the value and fun of joining an active clan. Dawn of Titans was developed by Natural Motion from the UK. The online gambling giant Zynga (ZNGA) had purchased National Motion for $527M a few years earlier and was having trouble managing their new acquisition. Zynga had never seen a profit since floating in 2011 and the expensive Natural Motion acquisition was seen as a financial disaster: the purchase price of $527M was a staggering 26 times of NM’s profit value. NM had never managed to profit over $20M. When Dawn of Titans was released, Zynga was massively underwater with NM, still posting $125M losses.

However, new acquisitions in 2017 (such as Harpan and Peak Games) have bumped the Zynga stock into profitable territory. Zynga’s profits are now coming from gambling apps. Wizard of Oz: Casio Slots, Zynga Poker, and Hit it Rich: Casio Slots are ranked as the number 46, 61, and 67 top grossing apps.

Words With Friends 2 is current Zynga’s best game, dithering around rank 120 on the top grossing chart. Dawn of Titans is considered by market analysts as a failure, hovering around number 180 on the top grossing chart (from Seeking Alpha):

In this context, the shadow of Dawn of Titans – a much anticipated game but ultimately a commercially disappointing one – looms large …. Dawn of Titans on December 8, 2016, points to a systemic failure across Zynga’s development and business strategy operations. Dawn of Titans prolonged development has resulted in a game that looks and feels dated. Dawn of Titans launched on December 8, so it’s much earlier in its lifespan, but has already fallen out of the US iPhone top-grossing top 100 chart, and is only ranked as a top 100 iPhone app in 22 countries … Clearly, no one would spend $527 million for a company that could provide that level of annual revenue.

When I started Dawn of Titans on global launch day, it was horrendously buggy. The game would crash unexpectedly in battle, causing the loss of troops and relic usage (relics could only be used a few times before expiring). It would drop connections, titans sometimes didn’t show their skills, relics would crash the system, and more. Beta players (early test players predating the global launch) were insanely high levels with maxed castles and maxed titans. The game started on day one unbalanced.

Cheats were rampant and trivially easy. Users could easily download patched .apk files and run cheats on rooted androids. Early players got a huge advantage if they cheated by collecting an impossible amount of high-level titans that would take a present-day player months to level.

Exploits were rampant and trivially easy. The simplest was to use “airplane mode” to force the game off-line when rolling for random titan skills. If a good skill was rolled, disable airplane mode, and the game would register the skill on the server. If an undesired skill was rolled, the game would timeout. Reconnect to the internet, and try another roll. Repeat until only desirable skills were rolled to make an optimized titan with a perfect skill set.

The beta players had special “shard” islands that generated crystals that could add a star to their titans. This feature was disabled on global launch day, but the islands persisted for months until the Lands Awakening update (June 14, 2017). The island update gave hit points to islands, so the shard islands slowly lost their hit points and disappeared forever. But those beta players out there have things like 4* Kobars.

Zygna was under a steady stream of fire and criticism from the extremely hackable, extremely buggy release of from their extremely expensive acquisition of Natural Motion. The developers patched the biggest bugs with the Lands and other summer 2017 updates but several obvious bugs remain, now 9 months later:

  • Occasional dropped connections.
  • Crashes on some Samsung Galaxy tablets.
  • Some icons must be touched several times before registering.
  • Badges and icons on the victory screen sometimes appear incorrectly or don’t appear at all.
  • Panthers.
  • Troop AI.
  • Relic forging system displayed percent chances have been analytically proven incorrect.
  • Some relics refuse to be forged altogether.
  • Goliaths walking off the edge of map.
  • No confirm screen when spending gems.
  • Food and gold icons sometimes appear sideways over the mines and farms.
  • Throne Wars crashed and the event was cancelled.
  • Cheats and exploits still exist, although at a reduced intensity.

These are indications that the developers are not committing any time on Dawn of Titans. Some of these bugs are trivial: button presses, icons appearing wrong. Others might be more thoughtful, such as troop AI and Panther behavior, but these are inexcusable bugs for a global launch mobile game. The most inexcusable was the Throne Wars event failure. The relic forging system is a flat-out lie. Users have posed Bayesian statistical analysis of relic forging results that are massively different than the percentages displayed on the screen.

There are other indications that the developers are not committing any time on Dawn of Titans:

  • No new adventures for the Adventure Guild. The only Adventure is the one that came with the launch.
  • No efforts to balance the game. The attack meta is grossly imbalanced with Ranger titans, relics, and panthers. Now approaching 1.5 years, re-balancing will be difficult without alienating players who have spent months upgrading their titans and relics. The imbalance is baked into the game.
  • The only new content are re-skinned events.
  • It has been 4 months since the disastrous Throne Wars failure with no signs it will be fixed.

It is the author’s opinion that no developers exist to support Dawn of Titans. Whoever was the creative force behind the Adventure Guild and the events is gone. They tried to implement the Throne Wars but failed and appear to lack the ability to fix it for another attempt. The only content is recycled events with ever-increasing powerful reskinned titans (aura x) that serve no purpose but to exacerbate the already unbalanced gameplay meta.

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