Oh boy, this will be difficult… How do you describe Game of Thrones Conquest to someone who hasn’t played it before – a cash grabbing clone with uninspired content? Maybe, but that’s not the whole story.
Game of Thrones Conquest is a mobile strategy game, where you level up your castle’s buildings, build an army, collect (or buy) resources to attack creatures on the map and other players and conquer so called seats of power (famous castles and towns from the Game of Thrones world) which give you certain bonuses. Your main goal: conquer King’s Landing and seat on the Iron Throne.
You also get to craft gear and even more importantly, grow and advance your dragon. That’s right, at the start of the game you get a single dragon egg, which can later become a mighty dragon able to attack and burn your enemies and defend your keep.
I have been playing Game of Thrones Conquest for about 4 months now. During that time I have spent about $200 on buying packs. Read on to find out how far that kind of money will take you.
OK, let’s hit the nail on the head – Game of Thrones Conquest is shamelessly pay-to-win, no way around it. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun with the game as a free-to-play player.
As long as you understand that you’ll never be the top dog, or your team’s hitter, there are supporting roles where your contribution will be appreciated. And if you are in a good allegiance, your mates will help you grow and achieve your goals.
I started the game as a free player. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far (keep lvl12) until I joined a good allegiance. In fact, I cannot overstate how important finding a good allegiance is. Don’t just accept whoever the game suggests to you as your liege. Keep checking the kingdom chat. Get to know the big players and teams in your kingdom.
It’s not only important to have bigger players support you while you grow, but also to help you learn the game. Furthermore, this game is team based, you cannot do much alone. If you like the team you are in, you’ll enjoy the game. If you dislike your team, you cannot really experience the game in its full glory.
This is not a game which you can play now and then and just forget about it in the meantime. If you are serious about it, you’ll keep your phone close and the notifications volume at max. You are grinding to collect resources, doing the dailies and it only takes a few minutes of not paying attention to lose it all. The only way to have an undisturbed sleep at night is to use a bubble (a shield which protects you from attacks for a certain amount of time).
You will be attacked and you’ll have to attack yourself if you want to grow. This is not because players are greedy – the game was designed in such a way that you’ll have to either attack other players to get the necessary resources to advance, or to buy them using real money.
But this is also part of the fun, the stakes are high. You are protecting and attacking resources and troops that were probably bought with real money (by either you or the other player). It’s not just meaningless numbers. Even if they didn’t use money, they sure used a fair amount of time and energy to collect/build.
Probably the best moments the game has to offer are when you and your mate/s rally a castle which has more troops than each one of you individually. However, working together you can kill them off and plunder his/her resources. Seeing the fire and smoke from your enemy’s castle is such a special feeling. And it’s similarly depressing when you are on the receiving end.
Seats of Power (SOPs)
A lot of the play in Conquest revolves around the seats of power. These seats are the castles and towns belonging to various houses that populate the map of Westeros. We have King’s Landing, Winterfell, The Dreadfort, Casterly Rock, Moat Cailin, Riverrun, The Twins, The Eyrie, Highgarden, Storm’s End and Sunspear, to name but a few.
These seats open up for taking, region after region, as the kingdom matures. For example, the North opens first and all the town and castles are open to be attacked and conquered. Two weeks after that the Riverlands open and so on.
Once conquered they give you a title of Lord (and a Warden too if you get the seats of major houses) and provide you with other lesser titles you can assign to others from your team (for example, Septon of Deepwood Motte or Kennelmaster of the Twins). All of the titles bring specific bonuses to their holders and the SOPs further bring regional bonuses for all allegiance members situated on their territory.
As you open the in-game map of Westeros, the team controlling the biggest SOPs is likely the most powerful allegiance in your kingdom.
What Does $200 Get You?
In short, not a lot. You still have to grind a lot and that $200 just helps things a bit.
After 4 months and $200 I got to keep level (lvl) 19, which allows me to train tier 7 troops and a dragon lvl 23. I am at 7.6m power and I have some 500k troops. Please check the video below for more details about troops, gear and research.
Troop strength ranges from tier 1 to tier 10 with the latter being the strongest. I guess if you are serious about late kingdom gameplay, you should aim at tier 8 troops at least, but that can be expensive.
I would have to spend an additional $300-400 to reach keep lvl 22 and build the buildings required to be able to train tier 8 troops.
A lvl 23 dragon is also not as mighty a beast as you’d want. You should at least aim for lvl 27 dragon that will allow you to research Repel Strike, which greatly increases your dragon’s defense potential. If you want to use your dragon to attack your enemies, well, be ready to open your wallet. I recon I would have needed to further invest between $800 and $1400 to reach the level required for my dragon to attack keeps and SOPs.
Yes, this is pay-to-win in all its glory. It’s not like you can realistically manage to do reach these goals without opening your wallet. I mean in theory you could (it might take a year or two of every day gaming), but I don’t know a single person who’s managed to reach keep lvl 22 without buying a few packs at least.
Show Me the Money
Current packs on offer range from $5 to $100 and that $5 doesn’t get you squat. After buying 5 packs with overall value of $200, I am at 7.6m power and keep lvl 19. The most powerful fellows in my kingdom have a power rating of over 100m and keep levels 26 to 30.
As you get to higher levels, it becomes progressively more difficult (read expensive) to get to the next level. I personally know people who have spent more than $3k on their dragon alone! If we add all the packs they have bought in all the kingdoms they have played, the bill goes over $10k. Yes, power is expensive in Westeros.
Can You Truly Be a Free Player in GoT Conquest?
This is debatable. I personally do think you can be useful and get something out of the game even as a free player. In later kingdom gameplay, when your team has many SOPs that need to be defended, you can contribute yourself if you have at least tier 7 troops.
With most active teams that hold many SOPs, there will be a spreadsheet with the SOPs that will need tier 7 troop reinforcement so your team can hold them.
And getting to tier 7 troops is possible without paying money. Difficult yes, but possible. Especially when you are in a large allegiance where many people buy packs. Creating alts and plundering them (check YouTube for creating alts) is something you’ll do often.
For a free player, other teammates buying packs is important, as you get free ‘gifts’ for each pack bought. This will help you grow and, in 3 to 5 months of daily grinding, allow you to reach keep lvl 19. If you are in the right team, these 3 to 5 months can also be quite enjoyable, with the exception of Tuesdays (brick day) and Thursdays (pine day). Those 2 days are just always painful…
Now, while it is possible to be a free player and have fun with the game, having a budget of some $300-500 will help immensely and make life easier. That budget (with some hard grind on Tuesdays and Thursdays) will allow you to reach keep lvl 22 and enable you to train tier 8 troops. These troops will provide you with much more options – you can be useful in attack and defense.
Should You Start Playing GoT Conquest?
If you like mobile strategy games and GoT lore, you will feel drawn to GoT Conquest (and targeted by their ads). Before installing the game, ask yourself if you can accept having a small supporting role in your team. If the answer is yes, go ahead and check it out, you can play the game as a free player.
If you want a more active role in late kingdom gameplay, consider if you might be willing to invest some $300-500 in the next few months that will help you reach the levels where you can do that. You don’t have to pay right away. Start the game, check it out for a week or two before deciding to either pay up or move on.
However, if you like the game it might cost you a lot of money on the long run. No one starts a game with the goal of paying thousands of dollars, but with GoT Conquest it might easily happen. If you are in the right company, seeing the money others are paying and going through the grind you do, it becomes very easy to reach for your wallet.
During these 4 months I’ve played the game I had quite a lot of fun. I met many wonderful people from all over the world. I have zero regrets spending the time or the money that I did and I would do it all over again.
However (a big one), those people were the reason I had so much fun with the game, rather than the game itself. If I focus on the game alone, it does seem a cash-grabbing clone of many other free-to-play games.
There are events in the game every week, but they are often rehashed old quests made to squeeze more money from the players.
The game is littered with bugs and glitches and each new patch breaks new things. You’d think with the money Warner Bros is getting they’ll at least fix the bugs…
For the money an average late kingdom player has spent on the game you could probably buy a console and several AAA titles. That’s the cost of “free” mobile gaming these days.
So I find myself in a bit of a pickle, a spot of bother, having to rate Conquest. Having played the game as long as I did, I just can’t give it a high score, it doesn’t deserve it. On the other hand I will cherish the memories and try to keep in touch with the people I met through the game.
I can’t possibly in my right mind recommend this game to anyone, but if you do want to give it a run for a week or two after reading this piece, I wouldn’t blame you. You can get Game of Thrones Conquest for Android and iOS here.
You have your own dragon!
If you click with your team, it can be a very fun game
Bugs and crashes galore
Coming to terms it’s pay-to-win, the packs offer very little for your money unless you go all out
I have to end this review with a shout out for all the peeps in Kingdom 279! It was fun guys and gals, big thanks to all!