How to set up LiveOps in match-3 games (case Royal Match)

The ‘How to set up LiveOps’ series deconstructs genre-defining games. We unlock elements that allow these games successfully combine playability with monetization. And the most exciting part: we imagine how the LiveOps of these games would look in Balancy.

Without further ado, let’s get started with Royal Match!

Gameplay overview

(If you are familiar with the gameplay, go straight to the next section about LiveOps).

Here is what the gameplay of this game looks like:

  • To decorate rooms in the castle and unlock new areas, you need stars. You earn stars by playing match-3 levels.
  • As the complexity of levels increases, you can use boosters to avoid losing. If you are about to lose, you can get additional moves by spending coins.
  • When losing a level, you lose a life. Lives are restored after the timer finishes. Alternatively, you can also ask your team for help.
  • Boosters, coins, and lives (which are necessary resources to continue playing) are earned during the game process or purchased in the game shop for real money. This is where the monetization aspect of the game comes in.

By the way, a curious detail about Royal Match is that it has a strong ‘no ads, only IAP’ strategy. This way, developers aim to create the highest quality gaming experience. 

Revenue/downloads ratio of Royal Match proves this strategy to work:

Royal Match LiveOps in Balancy

Royal Match effectively uses LiveOps to engage players with new fun content and timely offers. Let’s examine their tactics and how they could be implemented in the Balancy admin.

Game events 

Live game events are aimed to boost players’ engagement by leveraging time-limit and competition aspects. 

Here is an example of the Sky Race event, which is launched once a player reaches level 25. It’s a time-limited event where you compete with other players. During the race, players are ranked by how fast they complete 15 levels. In the end, they get rewards according to their ranking.

Here is Balancy’s interface for creating game events. In ‘Conditions’, we can specify that this event is available only for players that reached level 25. 

The logic of this event can be written with Balancy’s Visual Scripting (thus, avoiding working with hardcoding and JSON):

There are numerous game events prepared for players in Royal Match. Some of them are competitive events (King’s Cup and Sky Race), while others focus on individual player objectives (Book of Treasure). Some events are written into the game’s logic (Sky Race, which becomes available after a certain level), and others are date related (such as the Halloween celebration).

Special offers

Timely arranged special offers are an essential addition to the Royal Match’s game shop offer line. They usually appear as a pop-up and can have such scarcity intensifies as the time limit and limit on the number of purchases.

Special offers can be arranged in chains of offers – a good example is Royal Match’s ‘Jungle Treasure’. At first, players get free rewards to feel the advantage of additional boosters and coins. Later on, they are offered to complete a purchase to be able to claim more free rewards.

Balancy admin provides convenient templates to create not only stand-alone offers but also chains of offers, such as the ‘Jungle Treasure’.

Items used for rewards can be stored in Balancy tables, which allows managing your game balance entirely remotely. 

Royal pass

Royal pass is a time-limited event that becomes available monthly for players reaching level 37. By purchasing a pass, players get better rewards after completing levels, a golden profile frame, more lives, and a gift sent to their team.

You can set up a Royal Pass in Balancy, similarly to other game events. 

This is how your event calendar will look:

Dynamic shop

Your shop doesn’t have to be the same for all segments of players. You can adjust its look and content depending on the previous history of a player in the game. 

One tactic that many successful games use is rearranging the order of items based on players’ paying capacity. A simple example you can create in Balancy: the first ‘Superior Treasure’ offer will be available only for non-paying players. The standard offer line of gold will be available to everyone. 

Balance level complexity 

Considering their target audience, match-3 games should be easy to start with and master. The complexity of levels will gradually grow to add some challenge (hence, fun) and direct players to the shop in search of extra resources. 

However, if levels are too difficult, players will soon start feeling the ‘pay to play’ barrier and churn (leaving negative comments on your forum beforehand). Therefore, match-3 games require personalization in level complexity for the best player experience.

With Balancy visual scripting, you can reduce level complexity for players that lost a level more than N times:

Of course, beware that reducing the complexity of levels may break the monetization of your match-3 game. So, you need to work deeply with analytics to understand what number of failed attempts is a good monetization leverage and what number – a direct road to churn.

Final thoughts

In this article, we focused only on the essential elements that make Royal Match enjoyable and commercially successful. There are other game design solutions I would love to talk about – teams, bonus levels, card collections – but going further into these features would turn this quick overview article into a Wikipedia of Royal Match, so we will stop here for now 😉

As the game grows, it becomes richer in content, new elements are constantly being tested and added. Tools such as Balancy help developers to avoid the risk of overcomplicated hardcoding and to keep the game flexible even when it has tons of content. You can try it now to deliver new content 10x faster and start growing LTV.

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