Rush Royale (developed by My.com) is a fast follow-up to Random Dice which it quickly surpassed, along with other competitors such as Defense War or Random Royale. I have also tried to make simple PvP games, twice, and both have failed. (See our Merge War blog). Two years after Rush Royale's release, let’s dig into this game's mechanics and find out the secret.
Is it really a PVP game?
At very first glance, one would think it is a similar game to Clash Royale. Even their names sound like each other! But after a few games, the difference is obvious. The player doesn’t even have a way to interact with his/her opponent in Rush Royale. Many games that try to fast follow Random Dice misunderstand this, including me. Merge War’s first version was very focused on players’ reactions to each other’s decisions. This isn’t wrong but would need a huge amount of users to actually make it work. PvP is usually very hardcore, which works against the need for many players. Rush Royale and Random Dice are in fact not PvP games, but single-player slot machines. Because of this they didn't struggle to reach critical mass players at launch. They can also run live-ops smoothly even when the player base shrinks.
Rush Royale is like playing an idle tower defense game but quicker and with more randomness. There is a single button that randomly selects a tower from the player's deck and places it onto the board. The cost of getting a new tower is higher each time the player clicks it. Players can also upgrade each tower type, which also becomes more expensive each time. Players can merge two towers of the same type to create a higher level tower. But the type of resulting tower is also random! This creates much uncertainty, so players eagerly keep merging hoping for the jackpot.
The Ultimate Slot Machine
Each deck usually contains 2 carry towers which are damage dealers and 3 support towers. Support towers can increase mana, switch positions, merge easily, or slow enemies. The strategy is very simple–get as many damage dealing towers as possible, ideally only one type. This way you only have to invest in exponential upgrades for one tower type. There are more interesting towers like engineers, which gain power with each nearby engineer. This tower is not only the most interesting to play with but also teaches the player this best strategy. This tower is part of the tutorial and FTUE! Now with this simple strategy, every session feels like a slot machine. Every draw and every merge the player would have an expectation to get the damage dealer tower. If they fail, there is still hope ahead–merge it! Getting a very high level damage dealer is super satisfying and keeps the player playing nonstop.
Idle Game With Forced Prestige
This is my perspective of Rush Royal after looking at it for years–it is actually an idle game! Think about Power Painter or any other similar idle game–the juiciest and most interesting part is always the first 10 minutes. Here in Rush Royale, each session feels exactly like that–the juiciest part of an idle game. This is Rush Royale’s secret in getting new users on board. I can get many new towers, keep merging them, and defeat more enemies. The end of each match is like a prestige. I get some rewards either from chests, quests or the battle pass. Then I upgrade my towers’ meta-levels so that in the next match I am stronger!
Hundreds of Progression Bars, Thousands of Different Rewards!
This is the most aggressive use of progression bars I have ever seen in a game. Every tiny action I did would fill in one or even multiple bars in different quest pages. There is even a bar for completing other bars! People have the tendency to complete the bar if it's approaching full. With this many progression bars, it is hard to get my hands off finishing the next one. Many rewards for filling a bar in turn fill another bar, which makes me feel more engaged in these other systems.
A reason to upgrade all cards
There is always a tough question to answer for Clash Royale style meta-games. Why collect and upgrade so many cards when you only use a few? Clash Royale’s answer is that all cards are useful in different scenarios. Playing against opponents with the better cards may make the player want those cards. But it isn't a very strong answer since you could still keep playing one deck and only focus on upgrading 5 cards. But Rush Royale has a simple solution–upgrading any card increases 2% of your critical damage. This essentially increases every card’s damage. We could adapt this to Merge War, where we are already using a Clash Royale meta. It would make players want to upgrade all cards even if they're not using them in their deck.
Can we do Wild Castle/Merge War PvP again?
Looking at Rush Royale again makes me think if we could try to produce a better PvP slot machine game again. We already have a great idle game, Wild Castle. All we need to do is to extract the best moments of the early game, add more randomness into it, and boom! We have a PVP-style slot machine! Of course there are going to be many unexpected design problems to solve, but it sounds promising.
Rush Royale is a very interesting game–a slot machine hidden behind its PvP mechanics.
- Idle game best moment for each session
- A simple strategy to construct an addicting slot machine
- Thousands of progression bars to fill, providing positive feedback for every action
- Upgrade any card would make all cards slightly stronger
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