Clicker Heroes is a game that’s hard to rationalize. On the one hand, I have over 1400 hours on it according to Steam, on the other I’ve got no explanation as to why. For the longest time it was something that ran quietly in the background, taking care of itself except for a few times a day when I spent the accumulated gold on upgrades, but eventually I managed to break the habit thanks in no small part to a week away from the computer. And now there’s going to be Clicker Heroes 2, and the cycle is ready to begin all over again.
Unlike the first Clicker Heroes, though, the sequel is going to be a full-priced game. The pre-order is $29.99, fully refundable for up to a year after the full game is launched, and the reasons for this are explained in a blog post that’s an excellent read. While you can easily play the original Clicker Heroes without spending a cent it’s still easy to buy progress-enhancing rubies to shave off grinding time, artificially accelerating character growth and getting you to the big numbers that much more quickly. Several players have dropped thousands of real-world dollars on rubies, and while it’s nice to think this is all from people who can afford it there’s no amount of self-delusion and wishful thinking that will allow anyone to believe this to be true. Video games are addicting, and although Clicker Heroes is completely pointless it’s the kind of pointless that’s very easy to get caught up in. Combine that with the free entry price and there’s no way to avoid that people with addictive personalities are spending money they shouldn’t on a thing that gets them no return beyond a momentary jolt of happiness as the road to the infinite grind is traveled more quickly. This didn’t sit will with the developers, and while they feel it’s too late to change the original (and would like to stay in business) there’s no reason to let this infect Clicker Heroes 2.
The other reason for going full-price is that, from a gameplay perspective, it’s much better to design something with the freedom to change it as necessary, without having to worry about the effect it might have on real-money purchases from the in-game store. Plus it means modding can be opened up too. Want a few million of whatever the ruby-equivalent in Clicker Heroes 2 will be, or to replace the monsters with the sprites from Sakura Clicker? You paid your money, might as well download the mods and go nuts.
So Clicker Heroes 2 is now up for pre-order at full price, with the plan being to release the beta at some point with an exclusive character skin to those who buy early. The teaser trailer already shows off major differences in the look of the game from the original, with the hero running up a path wielding a mouse cursor as the primary weapon. Enemies come in both familiar and new versions, and if you look at the damage you can see the numbers rising from quadrillion to septillion to requiring e-notation so as not to cover the whole screen in a near-endless string of digits. The familiar long journey through a monster-covered path that has no end, ever, is going to start again in 2018, and if it earns another 1400+ hours of play-time then the retail price seems like a steal.