There is a long history of video game creators having a bit of fun, hiding little jokes in the form of ‘Easter Eggs’. For example here is a nice list of the top 100 easter eggs in video games.
There is also a bit of a history of games having hidden abilities that require unlocking, with one of the best examples being in the Pokemon universe, where there are a variety of hidden abilities that can be unlocked.
MZ is also known to have a bit of fun now and then. Catzilla craziness for April fools, all those hilarious descriptions of cores and pieces, as well as the enormous joke that is the alliance city (ouch, sorry, bad joke).
But beyond these jokes, is it possible that MZ is also getting into the hidden boost business?
Well, about a month ago, a number of people started noticing some anomalies with combat boosts, and in particular significant discrepancies between what their hero preset calculator was saying they were going to get, and what they actually ended up getting. And we are not talking a few % points here, we are talking a few hundred % points.
So, after a few weeks of playing around, we think we can do reasonable justice to describing what is going on. We can confirm that there are indeed hidden boosts in Game of War.
TOPLINE SUMMARY OF HIDDEN BOOSTS
- The hidden boosts unlock at hero level 55, whereby if you allocate hero skill points to the 3 altar boosts, you will get a customised set of additional combat boosts
- The hidden boosts appear to be based upon your researches completed with regards to troop attack, troop health and troop defense
- The hidden boosts appear to be based upon your combat boosts from buildings, specifically hospitals, barracks and villas, but not from special buildings like embassy, hall of war or watchtower
- The boosts appear to apply retrospectively (already completed researches), as well as prospectively (new researches)
- The magnitude of hidden boosts scales depending upon how many points you allocate to the altar skills, with best results at full 90 points allocated
- The hidden boosts only appear to apply to troop attack, troop health and troop defense, not to any debuffs, and not to individual troop attack, individual troop health, or individual troop defense
- The hidden boosts appear to be a RELATIVE 80% on top of existing research and building boosts. For example, if you have 200% baseline troop defense from buildings and research, you will get an incremental 160% (80% of 200%), giving you a new troop health boost of 360%
- The hidden boosts apply irrespective of whether you have your altar boost active or not
- The hidden boosts do not appear to be affected by use of different hero gear, relics or cores.
- The hidden boosts do not appear to be affected by use of gems
- The hidden boosts do not appear to be affected by addition of temporary boosts like 75% troop attack boosts, or kingdom health boosts from the use of crowns
- The hidden boost appears to calculate correctly in preset calculator when you already have 90 points allocated to the 3 altar skill points in your currently equipped hero tree, but does not appear to show the hidden boost when your currently equipped skill tree does not have points allocated to the altar boosts. The hidden boost still gets applied, but just does not calculate correctly.
- In summary, these 90 hero skill points are hands down the most important 90 points to allocate when setting your hero tree for battle!!!!!
When you step from hero level 54 to 55, the primary change is that you get additional hero skill points, and you can now allocate points to the 3 altar boost items on the left side of the skill tree.
These three items, altar boost health, altar boost defense, and altar boost attack, can have up to 30 points each allocated to them. Troop attack altar boost requires that 20 points each are allocated to the troop health and troop defense altar boosts. Once all 30 points are allocated to each of health and defense, the altar boost increases a RELATIVE 80%, not an absolute 80%.
So it starts at 38% for level 21 altar, but instead of going to 118% as some might think would be logical given the way most combat boosts are additive rather than multiplicative, instead it goes up by a relative 80%. 80% of 38% is 30.4%, so the new altar boost becomes 68.4%.
So, the first inclination is to feel a little ripped off. Most people think that given almost everything else in combat boosts like this is additive, then these boosts should be additive as well, i.e. they should be 118%, not 68.4%.
But if you look into a little deeper, you find some seriously unexpected boosts also come along for the ride when you set these 90 skills points.
DO BUILDINGS AFFECT THESE HIDDEN BOOSTS?
I am a defensive player, however during the week, I have no particular need for an embassy, and often replace it with a marketplace during the week.
Deconstructing an embassy does not reduce the hidden boost that you get, despite the building having a troop defense benefit. Likewise the watchtower which has a troop attack debuff boost does appear to affect the hidden boost.
What about the standard buildings of villas, barracks and hospitals?
What we appear to see here is that a level 21 villa is worth 3.6%, rather than the usual 2%. This is a relative 80% more than expected!!!
And a level 21 barracks is now worth 18%, rather than the usual 10% more. This is again a relative 80% more than expected.
Not shown here, but there is no incremental benefit from levels 1-20 for both the hospital and villa, as there is no combat boost until level 21. The barracks however has incremental steps, and each of these intermediary troop defense boosts appear to benefit from the relative 80% incremental boost.
DOES RESEARCH AFFECT THESE HIDDEN BOOSTS?
I am currently playing as a rally trap, so I have my troop defense research pretty much maxed out. However, I had a few researches left on troop health within the defense tree which I could test out.
Completing individual infantry / ranged / cavalry health researches made no unexpected difference to these stats. Completing trap attack research did not appear to increase the boost for trap attack. However, when we look at troop health research, completing the level 8 Troop Health II research in the Defense Tree…….
The magnitude of this boost should have been 14.81%, however the magnitude of the boost received is 26.66%. This calculates as a 80.01% relative increase compared to the boost that was expected from completing the troop health research. Does that 80% figure sound familiar?
DOES HERO GEAR AFFECT THE BOOST?
No, equipping different types of hero gear does not appear to affect the boost.
No, gems do not appear to affect the hidden boost.
No, troop debuffs are not affected by this hidden boost.
HOW BIG IS THE OVERALL BOOST?
The quick answer is a relative 80% on top of your baseline combat stats for health, defense and attack, based upon your researches and buildings. But each person’s hidden boost is likely to be different because of differences in research levels and buildings.
First off all, let’s start with a naked hero. HERPES has had hero skill tree reset, with all level 55 hero points available for allocation. She has also had all her hero gear removed, meaning that all we are getting is baseline research and buildings boosts, without any hero boosts at all.
We screenshot the baseline combat boosts, then we add just the absolute minimum points in the skill tree to get to the altar boost section, and screenshot it before we apply the 90 skills points. Then we screen directly after the 90 skill points.
As you can see, allocating minimal points (2 in troop attack, 5 each in troop health 1 and 2, and 5 each in troop defense 1 and 2), increases boosts in a very small way. 3% troop health and troop defense, and 0.5% troop attack.
When we add the 90 skill points for the three altar boosts, however, the picture changes markedly. We get an incremental 41.6% troop attack, 352% troop defense, and 175% troop health. As a relative % of baseline, that is almost 50% increase for troop attack, and almost the magical mystical 80% number for troop health and troop defense. The explanation for the discrepancy on troop attack and troop defense appears to be that the calculation is based upon only pure troop attack and troop defense research, and EXCLUDES the ‘troop attack with hero’ and ‘troop defense with hero’ research that exists in the Hero research tree. If you take out the 32.5% for troop attack 10 and 32.5% for troop defense 10 in the hero tree, the baseline in the above tests becomes 52% (84.5 – 32.5). The incremental increase of 41.6% is EXACTLY 80% of the adjusted 52% baseline. Likewise, adjusting the baseline troop defense stat of 472.5% downwards by 32.5%, means that as a proportion of an adjusted baseline of 440%, the troop defense hidden boost of 352% is EXACTLY a relative 80% increase.
SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR YOU?
If you are a big attacker, it is highly likely that you will have already done most of the march tree and defense tree research anyway. And it is highly unlikely that this kind of boost is going to encourage you to change your building setup all that much. With each level 21 villa now worth closer to 4% troop attack, it remains likely that most attackers are going to stick with higher numbers of villas for troop training reasons. And if you haven’t reached hero level 55, there is a very nice boost in all-round stats that is worth shooting for. It basically gives an 80% boost to some of the parts of the defense tree, and the defense tree has already effectively allowed big attackers to allocate more and more effort into boosting their overall troop attack stats. This will now mean that big attackers with maxed research can have around 700-800% troop health and troop defense without using a single gem that boost troop health or defense. If you have something like 15 level 21 villas, it effectively means you are likely to get an incremental 60%-70% troop attack, plus the incremental 30.4% troop attack boost from the actual altar itself, assuming you have active altar boosts. When you think about it, that is actually MORE than if it was a straight 80% absolute increase in troop attack from those skill points.
If you are a rally trap, this is a very very nice increase in boosts. Whether you are hospital based or barracks based, there is a serious encouragement for you to consider pushing through to finish both the first and second sections of the Defense tree. 80% on top of what is offered in terms of health and defense from the first two sections of the defense tree basically means those trees are delivering 235.8% increase in defense and health, in addition to the 131% of each individual troop health and troop defense, for a combined total of 366% of each. Will the magnitude of health and defense boosts change how you structure your model? Probably not. Given it is a relative 80% increase in both health from level 21 hospitals and defense from barracks (not necessarily level 21), then it is unlikely to change how you approach taking rallies. But it becomes pretty darn important for rally traps to get to hero level 55.
If you are a solo defense turtle at sh21, the incremental 5M hero power is most likely worth an increase in troop attack, troop defense and troop health. Given most solo defense turtles are going to be hospital based, it is likely that the boost will be larger for troop health than the other stats. It is also likely that the research levels on solo defense turtle are going to be somewhat lower, so the total magnitude of the hidden boost you receive is going to be lower than rally traps or big attackers. Without having researched troop health, troop defense and troop attack in the March tree, and with only a small number of turtles having the Academy 21 pre-requisite to start the Defense tree, it is likely that the total magnitude of boost is going to be somewhat lower than that received by big attackers and rally traps with more Defense tree research completed. It is likely that the incremental benefit is not going to be present for sh14-20 turtles. Most of the building combat boosts require level 21 buildings (with the exception of barracks), so sh14-20 turtles will completely miss out on any health benefits from having hospitals. Likewise, the prison boost will not exist (requires level 21 prison), and the altar boost will be reduced because of a lower altar level (not that many turtles tend to execute regularly anyway). Also the maximum troop health and troop defense is constrained by academy level for sh14-20 turtles, so the magnitude of hidden boost from a level 55 hero is likely to be significantly lower.
The best way to estimate your potential boost is to reset your hero skill tree, take off all your hero equipment, and then look at your troop attack boost, your troop health boost and your troop defense boost. Once you have written them down, multiply them by 0.8 to work out what the incremental hidden boost is that you are likely to receive by moving to hero level 55. And then you can make a bit of an informed decision on whether to push to hero level 55.
But all these hidden boosts are completely useless to you unless you are able to reach hero level 55. To go from 50 to 55 requires 1.5B hero XP, which has a notional gold cost of 3.6M gold if hero XP is purchased in the gold store at 25M per 60,000 gold. Considering the relative value from pushing to hero level 55 or spending an equivalent amount of gold on pushing higher up the VIP ladder, I know what I would choose anyday. I will always take the combat boosts rather than spending gold obtaining interface functionality that should have always been part of the interface (open all chests). As for the VIP 14 released today which opens ALL chests in one go, saving people at VIP 12-13 about 30-60 seconds, my mother always told me that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Nuff said.
If you are a player who has been quibbling whether it is worth rebuilding your Gymnos, can I suggest that the magnitude of benefit you get from a level 55 hero is definitely worth it. Plus make sure you have a 25% Hero XP bonus for each and every kill event, as well as any time you are doing a research push.
SUMMARY OF HIDDEN BOOSTS
With the release of hero levels 51-60, MZ has hidden some combat boosts in the 90 skill points available to allocate to altar boosts. Instead of just increasing the altar boosts of troop health, troop defense and troop attack by a relative 80% (from 38% to 68.4%), it also appears that this relative 80% is applied to almost all baseline research and building combat boosts relating to troop health, troop defense, and troop attack. The one exception appears to be the ‘troop defense with hero’ and ‘troop attack with hero’ from the Hero tree, which appears to be excluded from the hidden boost.
This does not apply to debuffs, does not apply to hero gear or gems, does not apply to special buildings, and the hidden boosts are active irrespective of whether your altar is actually glowing blue or not.
The breakdown of the hidden boosts is dependent upon how much research you have completed (particularly the combat, strategic combat, defense and march trees), and in particular, how you have arranged your urban buildings in terms of the breakdown of hospitals / villas and barracks.
At 3.6M gold to go from level 50 to 55, it is definitely an expensive upgrade, however it is much cheaper than going from 55 to 60, and probably represents much better value than using that gold on VIP points. Your mileage may vary!!!!
For non-spenders, the one main upside here is that at least there is now a specific reason to focus on levelling up your hero consistently over time. A lot of people we have spoken to on this issue reported that leveling their hero up was mostly pointless, as the incremental hero skill points from levels 51-53 did not really seem worth it. But when they understand the magnitude of boost available at hero level 55, all of a sudden there is more of a purpose to mid-week intra-kingdom combat, and trying hard to keep fighting during Kill Events.
And one fascinating discussion that has come up again and again is this: “could this possibly just be a bug in MZ coding, rather than a deliberate hidden series of boosts?”. We believe that they are a deliberate hidden series of boosts, not a bug. They are more like the hidden abilities in Pokemon, not really like Easter Eggs, and not likely to be a bug.
If they are indeed a bug, we think it is highly unlikely that MZ would ever acknowledge them as a bug, because taking away combat boosts of that magnitude from the big spenders would be a nightmare that MZ would definitely want to avoid, wouldn’t they…..
As always, please feel free to tell us what you think of these hidden boosts in the comments. Please let us know if you have any additional information on what is included in the hidden boosts, particularly if you have found anything that contradicts the above supporting evidence, or any additional hidden boosts.