So I was sitting here around 11 at night, helping someone in my shard chat pretty well screw over a player that isn’t in the chat and I thought that’s a part of the game that might be good to write a sort-of guide on. Because no matter how long you’ve been playing, your arena almost certainly has a shard chat. And if you’re in a really new shard, then it’s only a matter of time before one forms. It’s a simple fact of the game, even though there’s nothing in-game to tell you about it, and if you want to consistently have a shot at the top of your arena you’ll probably have to join one. Shard chats form when a group of players in the same arena (fleet or squad) get together (usually on a 3rd partly platform like LINE or Discord) and they coordinate their payouts. And this is the first thing that everyone should know: not everyone has a payout at the same time. It’s a little more obvious now that you can change your time zone, but the time of your payout (as well as daily resets) is tied to your time zone. For most people, the default squad arena is 6 or 7 PM (depending on DST) in the time zone you started playing the game. Fleet arena payout is one hour later. Because of this, people realized that they could do much better in their arena if they worked together. Instead of fighting tooth and nail against people in different payouts, they could work together to give everyone a better shot at more crystals. That, in essence, is the core of a shard chat. If someone has a payout an hour before you, then it’s a lot better for you to just wait until they get their crystals before attacking them. They’re happy and they don’t attack you when your time comes. It can also let people who share the same payout work together and come to an arrangement as to who gets 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. each day. A common solution is for it to rotate, so everyone gets a shot at 1st. Many shard chats will take it a step further and actively or passively try to help their own members and target players not in the chat. The degree to which this happens vary wildly between chats and even between groupings of payouts. I’ll use my shard and arena chats as examples because both fall on different ends of the spectrum. My fleet arena chat is more passive. We have a hit list / blacklist of players that are not in the chat but have caused trouble for someone in the chat. The idea being you’d try to hit these players as you climb, if you can. Because of that those people sometimes drop and sometimes don’t. It varies depending on many factors. There are 2 other people who share my payout and we rotate, but because we’re all active at the same time we try to be available to lock each other because there is a player not in the chat that has our payout and will hit us if we aren’t careful. This gives us the advantage because if we have extra battles, we can attack each other and let the time run out to prevent the outsider from being able to attack us. Sometimes people who have a payout after us will help us by attacking the outsider. This advantage means the three of us pretty much always get better ranks than the player not in the group. My squad arena chat is more of an active example. It’s on the larger side with around 40 people in it. My fleet arena has about the same number of people, but the squad chat normally holds the vast majority of the top 30 spots at any given time of the day. I’m an EST player, so my payout is the first of a large block of payouts that more or less comprise the Americas. There are a lot of people active and we do go more out of our way to target people who aren’t in the group. Players with payouts after me get in place behind and effectively creates a wall that insulates the people in the top 5. Once I and the other two with the same payout get in place, we can pretty much just leave it because it’s almost impossible for someone to get past everyone with later payouts, and they’re online because their payouts are coming up. By the same token, we can help protect those same people if we have extra battles left after our payout is over. I started this by saying that I helped ruin someone’s night. I was on 8 and has three battles left over. We had a troublemaker player (we’ll call him X) on 13 that was hitting people outside their payout, so the people in our Discord group pinged me and asked if I had any battles to help. When X attacked me, I immediately attacked back. I had nothing better to do, so I let the timer run and won in the last 15 seconds. They attacked me again, and when my cool down was over, I moved them back again. He attacked a third time and because this all took place in the last 15 min before payout they ended up with rank 8 rewards and the shardmate on #1 was completely protected. It cost me absolutely nothing but time and X was probably panic-spamming the attack button trying to move up. This is why arena chats can be so powerful. All it takes is a group of active people that will work together and they gain an immense advantage over everyone else. Now, the extent to whether it’s active or passive lies solely on the people in it, but players in a chat will always be better off than those without. That’s one of the reasons I always recommend trying to find your shard chat if you start getting into the top 50 consistently. Most chats probably won’t care about you until you’re ready to make top 10 daily, but you’re better off trying to get in early on and avoid making enemies because you don’t know when everyone’s payout is. Something that does come up a lot is whether shard chats are ‘cheating.’ To a certain extent, it certainly does give the people in them an artificial advantage of those not in them. It can lead to singling out of players. Just today, that same player X was pushed back from #2 to #23 in the span of about 15 min. Is that fair? I’m guess X would say no. I don’t really get into the morality of it so much as the fact that it’s a permanent feature of the game. While it is theoretically possible to make shard chats obsolete, CG is never going to do it. The most common idea is the periodically ‘shuffle’ the shards so that players don’t have much of a chance to coordinate. There are two main issues there: First, shards are based on when you started playing. That means that you could only reasonably shuffle a handful of shards together. It would be very unfair to put someone with 4 million GP in a shard with players that don’t have a quarter of that GP. The second major reason it won’t happen is the time and effort it would take to shuffle players. Because it would have to happen on a continual basis or you’d just have a new chat pop up after a week and have the same issue as before, just with new people in the chat. CG isn’t going to go to all that trouble for something that won’t make them any money. More to the point, a lot of whales are in those chats and they’re perfectly happy getting easy crystals. CG isn’t going to want to anger them for nothing. So regardless of your opinion on them, shard chats are here to stay. If you’re on a newer shard that doesn’t have one yet, you might want to start your own. Outside of making crystals easier to get, it can give you an opportunity to get to know your fellow players. Odds are, if they’re at the top of your arena, they have a firm grasp of the game and can give good advice. I also know many people who have used their shard connections when they were looking for a new guild. The people in your shard are going to know your capability and roster better than anyone else, save you. Hopefully, this will give you a little more insight into what a shard chat is and what they can become.