I believe that my relationship with my wife Joyce reached a new level of trust sometime back when, prior to departing for a short working trip abroad, I pondered leaving my iPad to save my back from a few grams of hand-carry.

Being the only device where I loaded my Clash of Clans (CoC) game, I had made the painful decision to leave my “forces” be—presumably to be attacked at will in my absence—until I realized that my beloved missus could actually take care of the village. Aha!

With a smirk, Joyce agreed to my plan, and I proceeded to walk her through the basics of harvesting gold and elixir, and rearming defenses. “Take care of the boys, okay?” I reminded with a grin.

“Something tells me you’re going to miss your clan more than me!” She shot back with the vitriol of a CoC archer.

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Everyone’s favorite time filler was launched to market by Finland-based software developer Supercell back in 2012. On its website, the company declares: “Many of us were fans of real-time strategy games and had played them online and on other platforms. With Magic [the early name of CoC], our original goal was make this type of gameplay accessible to the widest possible audience. And we wanted to use some of the unique characteristics of the touch interface to create a very special gaming experience on tablets. We also wanted to make the game as social as possible.”

Clash of Clans launched globally in August 2012. People often ask us if there was a specific moment when we realized we had two hits on our hands. The truth is there wasn’t. Both Clash and Hay Day [another Supercell hit] have grown steadily from day one. It took Clash three months from launch to become the top-grossing game in the US.”

For the benefit of the two or three people who are as of yet unfamiliar with the game, CoC, in Wikipedia’s words, is “an online multiplayer game in which players build a community, train troops, and attack other players to earn gold and elixir, which can be used to build defenses that protect the player from other players’ attacks, and to train and upgrade troops. The game also features a pseudo-single player campaign in which the player must attack a series of fortified goblin villages.”

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With diligence, along with oodles of patience and time, players can slowly build and evolve troops, defensive structures, and the heart of the community—the Town Hall. While the download and play of CoC is absolutely free, those in a hurry to hang with the meanies can hasten the upgrades by expending gems—earned through the clearing of obstacles and the occasional gem box (yielding 25 green ones, baby). When you run out of these, simply click on “Treasure” under “Shop,” and salivate over the offers. It can get pretty expensive, though. A basic “Pile of Gems” (500 pieces) goes for US$4.99 (around P230), a “Bag of Gems” (1,200) for $9.99 (around P470), a “Sack of Gems” (2,500) for $19.99 (around P940), a “Box of Gems” (6,500) for $49.99 (around P2,300), and a “Chest of Gems” (14,000) for $99.99 (around P4,700).

I’m sure there are actually people out there who’d gladly pony up the dough to quickly realize an awesome village, but I suspect that the great majority of users (myself included) content themselves with raiding coffers of unsuspecting (read: offline) players. Whether as part of a clan (that assemblage of faceless users that makes you realize you’re not that big a geek after all) or by yourself, there’s instant gratification in releasing your horde of archers, goblins, barbarians, wall breakers, giants, hot air balloons, and whatever else you have in the army camp.

The pervasive social media habits of Filipinos are renowned and acknowledged, but I submit that the gaming addiction that is CoC needs to be surfaced. Indeed, telecommunications companies have offered bundles and data plans with the game subsumed within its parameters. CoC even has nifty above-the-line adverts—even conscripting the equally-awesome Liam Neeson for a pitch.

I’ve seen uniformed security guards, young girls, students, blue-collar workers, fast food employees, and most everyone else lost in deep concentration over their village—oblivious to wherever they may be. As you can download CoC on your smartphone, clans never have to be away from their “chiefs.”

Supercell envisions “games that people will play for years.” Clash of Clans is something that neatly fits the bill. I’ve been playing for a couple of years now, and only recently upgraded my Town Hall to Level Nine. How’s that for patience?

I once tried accepting an invitation to join a clan, but I thought my clanmates were a little too childish and controlling for my taste (and you think corporate life is tough). After a while, I also suffered from donor fatigue. Certain users were actually asking for donations of dragons and such. What the heck’s happening around here?

The chat function also betrays the intent of dictators and obsessive-compulsive users who boss you around if they can. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t relish being pushed around by people less than half my age.

So CoC, much like everything else foisted on us by the, uh, Interweb, is as good or bad as we make it. In the final analysis, of course, common sense trumps all. Obsessed as we are about our troops, we should always keep in mind that these are not living, breathing characters but pixels arranged in front of us in an undoubtedly compelling way. Managing our real-life relationships with flesh-and-blood people demand more of our time and attention—regardless if our clan gets raided while we do it.

And oh, I do my own harvesting of CoC resources these days—and only if I really have the time to do so.

About The Author

Kap Maceda Aguila

In more than two decades of writing professionally, Kap Maceda Aguila has seen the world get, in his words, "progressively smaller," largely because of technology and travel. He believes that this makes the likelihood of epidemics greater, but expects modern science and medicine to save the day.