Is the jackpot a lie in Defender Chronicles II?

, | Games

Before I make a sheepish confession about Defender Chronicles II, let me show you the new map added in yesterday’s update. That’s Sanctuary up there. Brightly lit, lots of room for your halflings to poison monsters as they wend their way to the top, plenty of chokepoints for your warriors and berserkers to pin down enemies while archers and mages rain down arrows and lightning. Defender Chronicles II is never really about the map, but it’s nice to have a pretty backdrop.

The update also rejiggered the economy. The most conspicuous change is that you get more than a token or two for selling your useless reward loot. You can also jump more quickly to the harder difficulty level if you want to push the risk/reward equation a little harder to make more tokens. Still, barring a microbuy with real-world money, it’s still going to take for-frikin’-ever before you can unlock the new archer or cleric hero.

After the jump, how I unlocked the cleric hero in five minutes

Once a day, Defender Chronicles II lets you click past an ad for one of the publisher’s other games to get to a screen with fifteen closed chests. Each chest has varying amounts of tokens. Pick a chest, earn the tokens inside, and then see the amounts in all the chests. You’ll usually get 10 or 20 tokens. But then you’ll see that one of the chests always has 1000 tokens. How close were you to picking that chest?

I got an inside tip that this feature was broken. If you continually tapped the chest you’d selected, it would reshuffle the amount and give you tokens again. And again. And again. And again. I sat there drumming repeatedly on a chest. Tap tap tap. What do you know? It works. Then taptap, taptap, taptap. Then taptaptaptaptaptaptaptap, as if I was playing a QTE in God of War, trying to jam a sword into a minotaur’s throat. Defender Chronicles II eventually crashed and I was dumped out to the main display on my iPhone. When I ducked back into the game, I had 8000 tokens. A quick visit to the hero screen and I had the cleric and about 500 tokens.

I’m not proud. I told myself maybe this was a feature. Maybe they wanted it to work that way. Maybe I didn’t actually cheat so much as discover an Easter egg. Shortly thereafter, the game was pulled from the app store. It appeared the next day with the Easter egg disabled.

But I noticed something while taptaptaptaptapping that single chest and watching various sums of tokens rotate underneath it. Although I’d tapped that little chest several hundred times, I never once got the 1000-token reward. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure if that 1000-token chest was an actual possibility, it would have appeared once every fifteen taps or so. Yet after several hundred taps, it never once appeared. Is it a lie? Is it an empty promise? Is it just a visual gimmick to keep you coming back every day? And if the 1000-token chest doesn’t actually exist, what about the million-token payoff for the lottery ticket on sale in the store? I was already skeptical that was an actual thing, but now I’m convinced no one can ever win those million tokens. It’s an idiot tax.

Don’t think I’m blind to the irony of complaining about the game cheating only after I’ve perhaps exposed it by cheating myself. I prefer not to think of it as irony or cheating. I prefer to think of it as justice and helpful troubleshooting. At any rate, I got a cleric out of the deal.