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The rise and fall of a Clash of Clans legend

Legendary Clash of Clans player "Jorge Yao" talks to the New York Times' Matt Bai about the costs -- financial and personal -- of dominating a free-to-play game in this excellent profile piece.
"My day job was a means to an end, paying the bills," Mr. Yao told me, "and my real life was the game."
- New York Times writer Matt Bai, from his profile of legendary Clash of Clans player George Yao, aka Jorge Yao. When we visited Clash of Clans developer Supercell back in January to talk about what game design decisions are key to success on mobile platforms, product lead Lasse Louhento told us that one of the best ways to attract hardcore players and keep them engaged was to build leaderboards that encouraged competition to see who could take -- and hold -- the #1 slot. New York Times writer Matt Bai shows us who that #1 player is, and what it costs to hold the top spot on the Clash of Clans boards, with his recent profile of George Yao. Yao -- better known to other players as "Jorge Yao" -- was the top-ranked Clash of Clans player for six months. Three months into that reign he had already dumped roughly $3,000 into the game to stay competitive, and soon he was spending his entire life outside of work fighting to keep his #1 spot, carrying iPads with him even while he ate and showered. Bai's profile of Yao elucidates another excellent example of how free-to-play games can take advantage of players, and it's an excellent read for anyone concerned about the ethics of making free-to-play games. You can read (and should) check out the full piece over at the New York Times, and don't worry: there's a happy ending.

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