Breaking Down Brawl Star's Engagement and Retention Tactics

Who is Super Cell

A few days ago I started playing SuperCell's new game Brawl Stars. First of if you don't know who Supercell is: They are one of the most successful game studios who only focus on Mobile Games, there are also one of the rare ones who have multiple hits in their portfolio. They are the makers of Clash of clans, HayDay, Boom beach, Clash Royal and the New Brawl Stars. Supercell has been in the industry for 8 years now, and are valued at around $ 10 B. 

Brawl Stars

Brawl Starts top down shooter with different modes, one of which is the now popular Death match. You play as one of the 20+ Brawlers as you team up with 2 others players in most of the modes. 

Brawl Stars

Game Mechanics

If you have never played any of the SuperCell games here are some important game mechanics 

  • As a player, you are ranked by trophies, when you win a match you gain trophies, when you lose you lose trophies.
  • As you progress in trophies, you unlock Brawlers and also win boxes.
  • Boxes contain various items from power ups to brawlers and coins. You can also buy the items using coins and gems. Gems are core to the monetisation strategy as they can be acquired though In App Purchases.

The Main Screen

Strategy for success

Before we dive into the tactics SuperCell users let figure out what Supercell needs for the game to be successful. 

  1. At the highest priority, they need a lot of active users so that games get started fast, if players have to wait to play, they won't come back.
  2. They need to provide a progression mechanism for players, which they can fast track by buying gems and using it to buy or upgrade brawlers.
  3. More importantly they need to build a game which players enjoy, without which points 1 & 2 are useless.

I am going to start with the assumption that the game is fun to play, given that it has been in the marker for close to a year and Supercell decided to go ahead with a global release. A special point to note is that unlike some of the past supercell games, this game teams you up with others, thus even weaker players have a chance to win if they get teamed up with stronger players rather than them rage quitting. In addition the mix of brawlers does influence how the game plays and leave some of the games to chance. 

W.R.T progression, the incentive to unlock new brawlers is the main incentive for players to continue to play. The same applies for upgrades to your brawlers. At the higher end of the Trophies, it becomes a competitive game. 

Getting Players back

Super cell has implements various mechanics to make sure the players continue to play and also return to the game daily. 

Getting users to continue to play in the same session

When you finish a match, you are provided with an option to continue to play with your team. When you do find a good team, this is a massive incentive for the players to continue to play.

Post Match Screen. Good games makes players want to continue with the same team, in this case even after a loss

Getting players to comeback

Leveraging Maps and Game Types

SuperCell has set up an ingenious set of mechanism for players to come back daily. They leverage the various game type and maps for this. Every day they cycle through maps available for users to play. When you unlock a mode you get 10 tokens, basically free tokens, IF they come back to the game daily. To further incentive the players, they provide a Star Token to the player if the player wins in this new map. 100 Tokens gives the user a Brawl box, and 10 Star tokens give the player a Big Brawl Box. Which help in player progression.

Free Items

Another tactic they use is by providing daily upgrades in the store, one of which is always free, while the rest can be purchased by spending coins, which are acquired when you win Brawl Boxes. As items are cycled daily, it becomes an incentive for players to come back daily. 

One of the free items usually is a token doubler, which further incentivises the players to continue to play. When you have the token doubler and you find a good team, you want to continue to play with them, think of it as a double whammy.

Take Away

The Most important thing to take away from this is that each of the tactics this use is independent of itself rather works in a cyclic manner. They are not dumb ways to get users back for the sake for getting them back.

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