In Clash of Clans, players are allowed to attack other players while they are offline in attempts to steal their resources.
In order to make sure players are limited to attacking similarly skilled players, a matchmaking system is imposed that relies on trophies obtained from multiplayer victories.
What is Matchmaking?
Matchmaking is the process by which opponents are determined for players who wish to participate in multiplayer battles.
If victims were selected at random, skilled players may be able to attack novices, or new players could get in over their heads by attacking professionals.
The matchmaking system attempts to reduce this possibility as much as possible, based on the trophy system.
What are Trophies?
Trophies are tokens of multiplayer victories, gained whenever a player successfully attacks another player or defends from an attack while offline.
When a player loses a battle, they are forced to relinquish trophies to the victor. In general, the more trophies a player has, the better their record in multiplayer and the longer they’ve been playing.
Please read also our article about trophies.
How do Trophies differ from Levels and Experience?
The most important thing to understand about the matchmaking system is that trophies do not directly correlate to Town Hall level.
For the most part, experience is gained by building on and improving one’s own buildings and resources or completing achievements.
This does not rely on other players and can be increased without ever attacking or defending in multiplayer.
Town Hall levels are gained after obtaining a certain amount of experience, and thus is not related to multiplayer either.
Trophies are gained specifically through multiplayer, with no bearing on Town Hall level.
A player, in theory, can have a large number of trophies at a very low level if they have been successful or lucky in multiplayer matches.
Conversely, players who focus on gaining experience and do not participate in multiplayer can have very low trophy counts at extremely high levels.
Neither trophies nor levels rely on each other.
How does Matchmaking Work?
Players are shown an opponent based on the number of trophies both players have.
The attacking player can then choose to attack the proposed victim or look for another challenge.
Ideally, this means that players will mainly attack others who are roughly as good as themselves.
When players regularly win battles, they gain trophies and move up in rank.
This gradually pits them against tougher and tougher opponents.
As players begin to lose battles, they also lose trophies and drop in rank.
This puts them within the range of weaker players and opponents who will be more easily defeated.
Over time, this means that a player should begin to win and lose at about the same frequency, fluctuating around other players of approximately the same multiplayer ability.
Risk Versus Reward
Though players are shown opponents close in trophy count, there is a certain level of choice in which battles to fight and consequences on that decision.
In order to prevent strong players from preying on the weak, the trophy purse is shifted based on current trophies.
The greater the gap in trophies between players, the higher the stakes upon winning or losing.
In essence, higher risk yields higher reward. A player with a greater chance of winning stands to gain less and lose more.
As an example, take Player A who has 500 trophies and begins looking for a multiplayer opponent.
The first option he is shown, Player B, has 450 trophies. Based on how trophies are won or lost, the player with 500 trophies is statistically more likely to win.
To account for this, Player A will win fewer trophies upon beating Player B, and lose more trophies if he fails.
For another example, consider that Player A (still with 500 trophies) has the opportunity to battle Player C with 600 trophies. Should Player A choose to battle Player C, he is less likely to win and thus he will gain more trophies or lose less.
Accounting for New and Old Players
If trophies were continually pushed into the game, players who have been around the longest would have the highest trophy counts. New players would never be able to catch up.
The matchmaking and trophy systems allow novice players a chance to advance in ranks if they are better at multiplayer.
Veteran players lose trophies and fall in rank if they are challenged and defeated, whether by new or old players.
With this circumstance, players are encouraged to try their hand at multiplayer, even if they are late to the game.
Benefits to Fewer Trophies
Though gaining trophies allows you to compete against stronger players and earn more profitable rewards, there are perks to having fewer trophies.
How to Give Up Trophies
Many players will frequently send a single unit in an attack against a weaker player, nearly guaranteeing a loss.
By repeating this process over and over, they can drive their trophy counts down to a very low level.
Once they have dipped below 300 trophies or less, they will begin attacking players legitimately, with large numbers of troops.
Sometimes, players will decrease their trophy counts in order to fight weaker players who have available resources.
This is called “farming” and generates cheap and easily attainable resources for the farmer.
There have even been efforts toward creating a farming economy in Clash of Clans, by players intentionally leaving resources outside castle walls.
In addition to farming, driving down trophy count serves to stave off powerful attackers.
By dropping in rank, players will likely only be challenged by weak players and reduce the probability of losing resources.
This is also useful for obtaining certain achievements, by increasing the frequency of successfully defending against attacks.
Benefits to Lower Levels
Though trophies are gained independently of levels, there are certain perks to gaining trophies while keeping levels low.
Players will often underestimate low level players, even those with high trophy counts.
This can work to the advantage of low level players if they are particularly skilled, by giving them victories against higher leveled opponents.
Obviously, multiplayer battles in Clash of Clans consists of far more than random players fighting other random players.
The matchmaking system utilized creates intelligent combinations of players, and encourages players to be tactical in their decision of who to fight and who to pass on.
Though there are certain vulnerabilities within the system and a few ways to take advantage of the system in one’s favor, it mostly prevents the strongest players from positively demolishing novices.
This promotes a more friendly and fair multiplayer environment, and it allows new players to learn the game in a lower risk way.
As they become more active and learn how to win, they gradually get better and gain trophies.
Furthermore, there is no elite class of the most senior players.
Even the earliest adopters must remain diligent to avoid losing trophies and falling in rank to the up and coming players.