Design a site like this with
Get started

Breaking Down Archero’s Hero Adventure Event

Timing is everything it seems.  In my last post about Metasystems in Roguelite Games, I suggested that Archero and other Roguelite Games with Heroes could do a Gameplay Mode that allowed Players to use all their Heroes.  A few readers were quick to point out soon after my post went public that Archero released a similar feature as what I had described 1-2 weeks earlier. So this week I took a look at Archero’s implementation, and provided my own design analysis to it.

Archero’s Hero Adventure Event is an example of designing a feature without purpose.  If Engagement/Retention was the ultimate aim, then the Hero Adventure Event seems superfluous because there is enough in the game already to keep Players engaged.  If the intent of the Hero Adventure Event is to boost monetization, then the design of the Hero Adventure Event missed the mark in almost every single way.

What is the Hero Adventure Event?  It’s quite simple actually:

  1. For 15 Energy and 1 Attempt, the Player enters an endless dungeon mode.
  2. Stages start out very easy but increase in difficulty over time
  3. The Player can use a total of 3 Heroes.  When one Hero dies, the Player chooses a 2nd Hero.  When the 2nd Hero dies, the Player chooses a 3rd Hero.
  4. The farther the player goes, the more rewards the Player receives.
  5. While Players get 1 free attempt per Event, they can pay 100 Gems for a second shot.

That’s pretty much it.  If this Event were just for Engagement, it might be fine as is.  But Archero is not lacking in stuff to engage Players. In fact, a core aspect of Roguelite Games is that they generally don’t run out of content to engage Players with.  So if the Hero Adventure Event wasn’t designed to improve Engagement/Retention, how does it perform as a Monetization Event?

When it comes to whether Events monetize, an Event must have two things:

It is not enough to have one or the other.  An Event with proper Player Motivations but no or few opportunities to sink Hard Currency or push IAPs won’t monetize well mainly because there aren’t ways for Players to spend more to engage or excel in the Event.  Conversely, an Event with a bunch of ways for Players to spend to succeed will flop if Players have no motivation to do better in the Event than they otherwise would.  An Event needs both of these factors to succeed. 

Here are the Opportunities that an Event such as this could use to sink Gems or boost IAPs:

  1. Directly Sink Energy, Coins, or Gems as a requirement for Players to engage with Event.
  2. Directly sink Gems, Coins, or push IAPs that give Players Event Boosts
  3. Directly sink Gems or push IAPs that give Players Heroes or Equipment that excel in the Event
  4. Indirectly push Players to invest in existing metasystems.

It is important to note that not all Opportunities for Monetization are compatible together.  Let’s look at #1 and #4

#1: Directly Sink Energy, Coins, or Gems as a requirement for Players to engage with Event.
#4: Indirectly push Players to invest in existing metasystems.

These two are at odds with each other because to invest in one comes at the opportunity cost of the other.  The more Gems/IAPs I spend to engage with the Event more, the less I’m spending investing in existing Metasystems to do better per playthrough of the Event.  This is a result of the duality of Skill vs. Stats.  

We’ve always known that Skill has the potential to undermine the importance of Stats.  It is also true that frequency of Attempts does the same thing. The more a Player can participate in an Event, the less Stats matter.  This is because the marginal benefit of improved stats becomes more outweighed by the cumulative gains the Player gets by running the Event several times.  Why pay for Stats so I can earn 15000 points in one go when I can pay much less for more Event Attempts and earn 30000 points in three goes? While it is true that the long-term benefit of Stat improvements will carry over from Event to Event, Players generally don’t respond well to long-term incentives when there are cheaper ways for better short-term payoffs.

While Archero allows for multiple attempts of the Hero Adventure Event, it can get costly.  Purchases of additional attempts start at 100 Gems (the first Attempt is Free). But it almost doesn’t matter because there is nothing about the Hero Adventure Event that pushes Players to play the Event more or less often.  There are no goals/milestones for Players to try and reach, nor is there a Leaderboard comparing the progress Players make. So even if the Hero Adventure Event is well-positioned to sink Gems for additional Attempts, there is no reason for Players to do so unless they want the Grinding rewards that badly.

Since the Hero Adventure Event does put a premium on repeat Attempts, it is primed to be able to capitalize off of Stats.  In general, the fewer attempts a Player has at something, the more important stats that help the Player complete that something are.  For Events that want to achieve #4 for Monetization (Indirectly push Players to invest in existing metasystems), limiting attempts is Key.

Take Clan Wars in Clash of Clans.  During the Clan War, each Player only gets 2 Attack Total.  There is no way to pay for more Attacks.  Because of this, the social pressure to win both attacks will motivate Spenders to invest in upgrades so that they have the highest chance of winning.  Were Supercell willing to sell additional Attacks for Gems/IAPs, there would be much less incentive for Players to make sure their Base and their Heroes/Units are top notch.

Archero’s Hero Adventure Event goes in this direction somewhat.  Allowing the Player to use 3 Heroes gives the Player a reason to have 3 high level Heroes.  But why only 3 Heroes? Why not all Heroes? If the Hero Adventure Event has “endless” levels, there is no risk of Players reaching the last level too easily.  And if one is concerned that Players won’t have enough time to play through with all their Heroes, why not extend the Event to last longer? 3 Days? A Week? Players will be be incentivized to invest in their Heroes regardless of the Event duration so long as they have proper motivation to do well in the Event.  But do they?

This brings us to Common Player Motivations in Events:

  1. Social Pressure: My Guild relies on me to do well
  2. Metasystem Progression: Doing well in the Event will make me a lot better than other types of Gameplay
  3. Competition: I want to be the Best and I want other players to know that.

The Hero Adventure Event has none of these motivations.  There isn’t a Guild/Clan system, so there isn’t really pushing Players outside of their individual motivations.  A Leaderboard would allow Players to indirectly compete against one another through performance in the Hero Adventure Event.  Does Archero have one? Nope.  

The Rewards have to be special or very lucrative if you want to motivate Players.

Finally, do the rewards that the Event offers incentivize Players to spend tons of Gems to upgrade their Heroes and Equipment?  No. The rewards are comparable to if the Player had spent the time and energy grinding the other content. While there is slightly better access to rings and amulet equipment, that itself doesn’t seem enough to spur Players to invest more in their Heroes and engage more with the Event.

At this point, i’ll stop critiquing and start offering design ideas of my own.  As a Game Designer, it’s so easy to point out flaws in others’ designs. It’s harder to offer up specific solutions.  So here is how I would redesign the Hero Adventure Event:

  1. Stretch the Event out to a Week and allow the Player to use all their Heroes

I do this for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, I would give all Players only one playthrough.  They only got one shot at this Event, and so the Player will have to rely on both their Skill and their Stats to succeed.

While I wouldn’t sell additional attempts at the Event, I might allow players to “retry” it if they have the Battle Pass active.  If their new Event score is higher than their first attempt, they’ll go with the second score. If it’s lower, the first score stands.  But they could only do this a finite amount of times (probably only 1 repeat attempt). This retry is more about boosting the appeal of Battle Pass than it is about monetizing off of the Hero Adventure Event.  

  1. Add in both Milestones and a Leaderboard with Unique/Valuable prizes.

The Leaderboard would be based on points earned from completing Stages in the Endless Gameplay mode that the Hero Adventure Event currently has.  Progress in the Leaderboard would be based on points earned in the Endless Gameplay Mode. (Stage 1 completed = 1 point, Stage 2 = 2 points, etc.).  I would add in a 2x point multiplier for the points from a Stage if the Hero doesn’t get damaged in that Stage. Players with the highest scores on the Leaderboard get the best prizes.

Speaking of Prizes, I would err on the side of Unique, Hero-specific Equipment that is generally better than the generic equipment that all Heroes wear.  Because it is Hero-specific, the equipment can be stronger and have more unique bonuses than what Equipment normally has. And these Hero Adventure Events would be the only way a Player can earn such Equipment.  I would also try to come up with social rewards that Players can have that allows them to show off to other Players.  

I wouldn’t make Milestones based on points earned, but rather on Stages reached (10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, etc.).  These rewards might also have Hero-Specific Equipment, but would more likely have just a ton of coins, regular equipment, etc. The rewards would have to be high enough to make reaching these Milestones more lucrative than normal grinding.  If I was worried about too much inflation, I would make the cost structure of upgrading Hero-specific Equipment sink most or all of the excess Milestone Rewards.

  1. Organize these events around Seasons or some other regular Time Frame

I would organize these Events around both a Season and a new Hero.  If a Season is 4 weeks, then the first 3 Events would each focus on a specific existing Hero.  Each week’s Hero Adventure Event would give a specific Hero’s equipment (as well as allow Free Players to unlock these Heroes if they don’t want to spend).  Each of these Events can have special rules, like Ground Monsters do more damage, or Flying monsters take less damage, etc. The Rules are important since they shake up the Gameplay (and thereby undermine a Player’s skill).  These 3 Events would also give bonuses for the Fourth, final Grand Dungeon.  

Archero already has Seasons. Why not connect events to the Season?

Performance in the Grand Dungeon can earn the Player the new Hero if they complete the Milestones, and new Hero equipment if they rank high in the Leaderboard.  For Players who played through the Events of Weeks 1-3, they’ll be primed to do well in the Grand Dungeon.

That is what I would do to the Hero Adventure Event if I wanted it to perform better on Monetization.  But this is not the only way to do it. I view Game Design as fairly relative, and as long as an Event has the proper opportunities for Monetization as well as gives the Player proper motivations, it should do well as a Monetization Event.

Thanks again for reading.  Feel free to leave comments or if you have any thoughts yourself.  I apologize for the huge blocks of text. The Hero Adventure Event is fairly simplistic and doesn’t offer a lot in terms of important screenshots.  If you liked my post, check out more of my posts on ggDigest. Subscribe at  In the meantime, stay safe everyone!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: