In our last post, we laid out the groundwork for the revamped shield system. We are increasing focus on both attacking and defending while better supporting players' daily schedules. Town Halls will be coming back inside villages, players will have to defend fairly to get shields, and fair defenses will earn more shield more reliably. Players will also be able to attack more, and when they want, by being able to attack through shield. However, to make this system truly work for Clashers as it should, we must think about “online time" as well as shield time.

Village Guard - Online Time Support

Village Guard is a new, short-term way to prevent attacks on your village while your shield is down:

  • While Village Guard is active, your village acts as if you are online, even if you close the game or get disconnected
  • Players can freely attack through Village Guard with no penalty
  • Free Village Guard time activates automatically when shields expire, from 15 minutes to 3 hours long based on League
  • 2 hours of extra Village Guard can be bought for 10 gems every day in the shop, when your shield is down (23 hour cooldown)
  • Active Village Guard can be dismissed at any time
  • Buying a Shield from the Shop will dismiss active Village Guard

Think of the Village Guard like giving your device to your little brother to keep you online - except that the Village Guard won't embarrass you in Clan chat and spend all your gems. If you ever need to step away from your device for a small period of time, the Village Guard stands ready to watch over things until you get back, even if you close the game. The Village Guard will also help players get back to the game even if they are a few minutes late after their shield expires, and will let top-level players play completely free of the stress of an unintentional disconnect due to inactivity. "Anyone There?" Yes! The Village Guard!

The existing Personal Break system is also related to any talk about online time. Personal Breaks place a time limit on how long any one player can stay online without a shield until the game says, "Okay, to play Clash you have to defend, and it's fair time other players get a chance to attack you." The player is then kicked offline for a few minutes of matchmaking time to allow attackers that chance.

Personal Breaks make sure everyone defends regularly

In line with our other shield system changes, the Personal Break system will also be undergoing some changes to make sure all Clashers participate in regular defending as well as regular attacking, and in a fairer and more flexible way:

  • A player is forced offline for 6 minutes after 3 hours of cumulative online time (or Village Guard time) without shield
  • This Personal Break 3-hour limit is only reset after getting a shield, or in some special cases covered below
  • Buying the 2-hour Village Guard from the Shop will extend a player's current Personal Break 3-hour limit by 2 hours
  • The Personal Break 3-hour limit for online players is paused during server maintenance, but not reset

We're already discussed a whole lot of changes, and there are still more changes to loot, League Bonuses and Trophy offers to tie them all together, which we will discuss in our next post. For the rest of this post, we are diving into finer details of the revamped shield system that are somewhat complex. The Personal Break rules, especially, will not be a factor for most players, so if you just want to wait for the update and learn by playing, please do! We're sure all Clashers will get the hang of it after just a few attacks and defenses. However, if you want to dive into what this new system means in practice, learn exactly how the Village Guard differs from Shield, and go over even finer details of the revamped Personal Break system, read on to find out more!

Support for Dedicated Clashing

As we discussed in our last post, many Clashers have adopted gameplay strategies that rely on specific use of the shield system, including uninterrupted online time for long periods of time. Even further, sometimes you just need to step away from the game for a little bit, but aren't yet ready to take your next defense. The main motivation to introduce the Village Guard on top of the existing shield system is about exactly that: building directly into the game a way to help players stay online when they need it, and when it is fair.

Go online, offline and attack freely, safe from attack with Village Guard

While both the Village Guard and Shield do the same job of holding off the next attacker, they are used in different ways. Village Guard is intended to support active play time, while Shield is intended to provide opportunities for downtime from the game. For example, if you need a 15-minute break for a shower or a 90-minute break to go pick up a friend, or if you want to boost your Barracks and have an intense 2-hour play session of constant attacking, the Village Guard can be used to make sure you don't get attacked in the middle of it, even if you get distracted for a while or accidentally go offline.

A side-by-side comparison can help us understand the differences between Village Guard and Shield:

Village Guard

Short period: 15 minutes - 3 hours Long period: 12 hours - 7 days
Attack anytime with no penalty Attack anytime, but it costs some shield time
Get free Village Guard automatically when Shield expires Get free Shield automatically after defending
Free Village Guard time improves with League Free Shield time is the same for all players
Extra time available for 10 gems in the Shop every day Extra time available for 100+ gems in the Shop every few days
Only available to buy while Shield is down Can be bought at anytime
Always counts towards Personal Break timer Never counts towards Personal Break timer

Keep in mind that active Village Guard time will ALWAYS count towards the Personal Break 3-hour limit, even if the player is offline for all of it. However, buying the extra 2 hours of Village Guard from the shop will add 2 hours to the current Personal Break 3-hour limit to make sure it can be fully utilized.

Shield allows players a chance to take longer breaks from the game, the Village Guard helps players stay online reliably when they want, and the Personal Break system makes sure everyone defends fairly. The three go hand-in-hand with the overall goal of supporting Clashers' existing gameplay strategies, and to do it in a fairer and more flexible way. Changes to multiplayer matchmaking, loot and Trophy offers, covered in our next post, will help balance things even further.

Free Village Guard, Competitive Fair Play and the Mercy Rule

There are two cases where free Village Guard time will be automatically granted for free to players.

1) After a shield expires

Top players have 100% of shieldless time protected by VIllage Guard!

All Clashers know the frustration of forgetting about their shield expiry, opening the game just a few minutes too late, or leaving the game idle a bit too long, and getting attacked right under their nose. To help prevent these cases, an automatic Village Guard period is activated every time a shield expires. The amount of Village Guard awarded is based on the player's League:

  • Master I League players and below get a free 15-minute Village Guard when their shield expires
  • Champion League (all levels): 30 minutes free Village Guard
  • Titan III League players get a free 1-hour Village Guard when their shield expires
  • Titan II League players get a free 2-hour Village Guard when their shield expires
  • Titan I and Legend League players get a free 3-hour Village Guard when their shield expires

The competitive Chiefs out there might notice something important: in Titan I and Legend Leagues, the most competitive place in Clash of Clans, the automatic 3-hour Village Guard is exactly as long as the new Personal Break 3-hour limit. This means that Clashers in Titan I and Legend League will ALWAYS have 100% of their shieldless time protected by Village Guard. Whether they are online or offline will no longer affect their vulnerability to attack, and when their Village Guard expires, they will immediately go to Personal Break. In essence, all top players will be automatically kept "always online" when their shield has expired and will take every Personal Break limit to term, without having to resort to any additional hassle or workarounds.

2) After defending a weak attack

No shield? Take 15 minutes to rearm for the next defense.

As we discussed in our last post, defenders should now get shield much more reliably, provided they have a good layout that invokes fair attacks. 30% destruction is now the lowest threshold to get a shield. However, in the case of exceptionally poor attacks that do less than 30% destruction (or for Chiefs who neglect to bring their Town Halls inside and get "sniped"), an automatic 15-minute Village Guard period will activate to give shieldless defenders a chance time to rearm traps, reload their defenses and request defending troops. This defense will also extend the Personal Break 3-hour limit by 15-minutes, but will NOT reset it (unless the Mercy Rule, explained below, kicks in).

  • Every defense that results in a shield will reset the defender's Personal Break 3-hour limit
  • Every defense that DOESN’T result in a shield will instead result in a 15-minute extension of the defender's Personal Break 3-hour limit and Village Guard time
  • Every 6-minute Personal Break kickout period that doesn't result in ANY defense will also result in a 15-minute extension of the defender's Personal Break 3-hour limit and Village Guard time
  • "Mercy Rule" - The 3rd consecutive 15-minute extension will instead fully reset the Personal Break 3-hour limit and trigger the automatic Village Guard based on League
  • If an offline player is not attacked for 30 minutes, their Personal Break 3-hour limit is reset, though no Village Guard is awarded

For example, say a player reaches their Personal Break 3-hour limit. They will get a 6-minute Personal Break timeout to give other players a chance to attack them. If 6 minutes goes by without a defense, the player can then come back online for 15 minutes protected by Village Guard (and attack as normal, if they like). Then comes another 6-minute Personal Break timeout. Say, this time, someone attacks them for 15% destruction and loses. As this is a weak attack, the player can again come back online for 15 minutes protected by Village Guard. The 3rd time they get the 6-minute Personal Break timeout, they will get a full reset on their Personal Break 3-hour limit and a full automatic Village Guard (via the Mercy Rule).

These are some pretty detailed edge-cases that should not apply for most players. but need to be there just to make sure there are no loose-ends in the system.

Tying Up a Tighter Shield System

If you've managed to read this far, you must be an exceptionally sharp and savvy Chief! Hopefully, you've been able to tie together this broad and complex package of changes to the shield system, Personal Break and the new Village Guard, and understand how both attacking and defending will become more flexible, dynamic and fairer than ever before. These changes aim to support the way all players Clash, from the casual to the super-competitive.

There are even more supporting changes to loot, League Bonuses and Trophy offers that we will cover in our next post, but until then, take a little personal break! You certainly deserve it.

- The Clash of Clans Dev Team