Develop World Championship Clash of Clans Hack, and Potential Plans by Supercell
Announcing the $1 M USD Battle of the Clans World Championship in February took a lot of people by surprise. Supercell had just come off the Clash Royale League's $1 M first season, and the Finnish mobile game developer seemed to support larger-scale esports — but Clash of Clans had been around for many years with no serious competitive structure whatsoever.
What has changed? According to Marika Appel, Supercell's longtime community manager of the Clash of Clans, the creation of the World Championship was less about building off the popularity of Clash Royale's own sports, and more about improving on what Clash of Clans players had already achieved on a grassroots level.
"We're chatting a lot and trying to share the lessons," she told The Esports Observer at the 2019 ESL One Hamburg Battle of Clans World Championship. "But in fact, I was building all of this on top of what the group had already done. It seemed like the best thing to do for our players at the time, exploring and building on top of that — taking what they already do and trying to push it to the next level.
Appel said the introduction of the "Good Wars" feature for the game in 2016 enabled in-game clans to challenge one another. Fans in effect produced group leagues, some with hundreds of teams vying for supremacy. Last fall, Supercell introduced an official game mode of "Clan War Leagues" to open up the rivalry at a global level, and that feature helped fuel interest in a wider attempt to professionalize the sport.
"Once we got that feature," Appel said, "We felt like now might be the time to make an official tournament with these top-flight events — where the best clans of the month come to a studio physically, we're streaming them alive, and they get to meet their clanmates."
Partnership with ESL on the project came from what Appel said was "a kind of coincidence." Supercell partnered with ESL to create a live-streamed discovery for an update to the Clash of Clans game in June 2018, and discussion with ESL producers during downtime in development revealed a shared vision for pursuing mobile sports on a broader basis.
"We began talking about what would happen if we had an official Clash of Clans tournaments and contests. Everything just sort of clicked, "Appel said. "We shared the same dream, we shared the same vision: creating something for the players — the best possible experience we can have in the tournament. Part of how we connected, too, was that they feel curious about what mobile esports' future is. Should we be a part of that, too? World Championship competition began in March with the first of six live monthly qualifiers held in Katowice, Poland, with two additional teams selected by the group to participate in the final.
ESL One Hamburg is mainly a Dota 2 event with a prize pool of $300 K, but each morning Supercell took over the big stage to showcase a million-dollar mobile competition. It was not only the culmination of several months of competition for Appel but also several years of creating and holding a successful mobile game. "I froze and looked at the Screen [in the players' lounge] when the opening ceremony began, and thought, "I have to be in the arena!
"And she said. "I went into the arena and just stood and watched it, and I almost cried. Since we launched it, I have been at Clash of Clans. Since day one, I have created our community — from the number one fan to those millions of people. I will never forget the moment.' It doesn't sound like the first major live event in the competition history of Clash of Clans would be the last, either.
Appel said her team has more ambitions ahead and outlined future updates on the roadmap, but it is too early to reveal any formal plans. Even though each development team manages their own sporting activities, Clash of Clans is part of Supercell's increasing competitive initiative, which also has a $250 K Brawl Stars World Championship next month in South Korea and the Clash Royale League World Finals before the end of the year.
Chinese multinational investment holding company Tencent also revealed last week that it had purchased Supercell's majority ownership, potentially opening up new foreign possibilities for the studio's sports ambitions. "We're still working on the plans and I don't have any concrete details yet.
But we certainly want the [Clash of Clans] World Championship to continue, "Appel said. "We'll be working on the little stuff next year and bringing more money and energy into local and national tournaments — the road toward the pros. Next year, I think that could be something for us but we're still working it out. "We will still progress and it was our first year this year.
I consider it sort of beta-like, "she said. "Our whole team, our company, our producers of content and our players feel like we're certainly on to something and we will make it even better next year."