Unleash the Slime: Global Case Study. How to supercharge their UA?

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This game was launched in July 2022 but was brought to our attention only recently. Thanks to:

A) amazing fans of our two & a half gamers podcast

B) Facebook ads

Therefore we decided to talk about it on the podcast. Also, write this global launch case study because there were some interesting facts we found out after the podcast. You can watch the whole session, if you don’t like to read! But you will miss some interesting tidbits that we found out after the podcast was released!

Legend of Slime – $30 million/month game?

Legend of Slime is a masterclass in ad placement integration. It already makes a hefty 200K $ in IAP a day, but that is probably only around 30% of its overall revenue. Which means 70% of their revenue is coming from ads, as this game probably dishes out around 12-20 impressions per player per day which is 3-4 times more compared to industry benchmarks on ad driven games. The game has around 30 different ad placements which makes it a textbook example on how to integrate them into a meta-game progression. 

The game was developed by a KR developer Loadcomplete!

See? We should definitely talk about these types of games. So let’s fucking goooo!

Legend of slime quick overview

It is a pretty good & fun game!  At least according to Jakub. Not my cup of tea, though!

The auto-battle system with idle clicker gameplay allows you to continuously earn more coins for improving your slime’s attack, blood, recovery, attack speed, and experience gaining efficiency, which makes your adventure easier. 


If you are a fan of the idle clicker genre, level-up games, action RPG, and role-playing games, don’t miss this game – one of the most epic Idle games at the moment (just look at the revenue). 

Here we are again a game with unfolding feature set

  • It is really really slow to unfold – let’s see some examples – Amulets, Raid Village, Toys slot
    • Weapon and Armor slot gacha
    • Skill slot
    • Relic slots – builds – Bird mask or Frog vase?
    • Pets slot
    • Mastery skill tree
    • Traits gamble system – his is the greed machine
    • Amulet – Roguelike mode
      • Need multiple slimes again
      • Great iteration on risk vs reward
        • Choosing between crafts on item vs boost in the roguelike mode
    • Raid village – another idle mode slime driver
      • Treasure slots
      • Need multiple slimes drives collection
    • Toys slot – Merge gacha
  • Gacha is really well done – this is the evolution of the idle gacha implementation 
  • Small history time:
    • Dungeons
    • Mine + Research tree (copied from Township 1:1) – Gold and goblins also has a variation on this
    • Alchemy mode for creating slimes
  • From deck slots to multiplier slots that are all deck slots to all that + 2nd degree of deck slots.
    • This is the ultimate solution to the width vector of a gacha system
  • Gacha pools are rewarding draws !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • This is just a master iteration on how to pace content and again make unrewarding draws more rewarding. 
  • Events
    • Streamlined version of the typical Idle game event
      • Progression is scripted for the player – Simple slime mode
  • Best VIP subscriber (this is perfect!)

Let’s talk about all of this a little bit more in the article… 

USER ACQUISITION & NUMBERS

Legend of Slime is killing it in the US, but also in JP & KR. Revenue per download is looking pretty good in US, JP & in KR. Let’s not forget, this is still only IAP revenue! 

When global launching a game, it’s important to have a full team on the UA, analytics, and creative side. If you don’t have it, you either work with a publisher/partner or an agency/consultant. LoadComplete UA feels a bit isolated from the creative and data team. Why? Let’s look at this great case study: 

Loadcomplete raises D7 revenue by 30% and retention 150% with Luna’s one-stop shop for creative analysis

“Since 2009, Korean mobile game publisher Loadcomplete has produced 15 successful titles for mobile gamers to enjoy globally.” says the case study. Don’t know about that:

Exactly! You can’t even see the other games on the screenshot. I checked revenues for all the other games, and all are below 1 million USD lifetime -> even if we assume the IAP revenue is 30%, its non-existent compared to 36mil for Legend of Slime. 

Soon Ho, UA manager at Loadcomplete, talks about how Luna from Unity gave them the tools they needed to get all their creative analysis from multiple channels at a glance, better analyze their creatives efficiently, and ultimately raise their revenue and retention.

Using Luna’s solution, they saw our D1 revenue increase 25% and our D7 revenue jump 30%. On top of that boost, we also saw a big impact on our retention. After partnering with Luna, our D7, D10, and D14 retention rates increased 150%, a significant rise in the title’s LTV.

So kudos to my friends at Luna for helping these guys scale. But what he is basically saying is they are not organized, they dont know how to use excel sheets for UA, they make $7 mil/month on a game, and don’t have UA dashboards + reading this quote after looking at their creative strategy:

“Turning our creative analysis into a one-stop shop was more impactful than just allowing us to act more efficiently – it enabled us to easily identify the channels worth scaling up on and align our data from across these channels. We could now organize and visualize our cross-channel creative data by geo, distribution, channel, and over time. Using D7 revenue as the decision-making metric, we could now efficiently identify which creatives were working and which were not. 

This makes me think they really lack processes, seniority in UA, and running UA at scale. Data team most probably not working closely with UA. Not talking about a creative team. I couldn’t find anyone on LinkedIn. 

This is meant in a positive way because you are leaving shit ton of money on the table without even realizing it. 

If you are reading this, please get more senior UA people into your team, the same as you did on the ad monetisation side. Wink wink!

Let’s get to the actual UA operation:

UA channel mix

We have all the usual suspects again, but different spending composition

1- Applovin

Applovin is the most extensive channel in terms of spending on both iOS and Android.  

  • Not surprising for Idle games. Idle genre is scaling exceptionally well on Applovin on AdROAS campaigns both on iOS and Android! This is what is happening here!
  • We can see both videos and playables in their creative mix. Well done, Applovin!

2- Unity

  • Started relatively big, but looks like they stopped spending in mid April completely on iOS and scaled back heavily on Android

3- Google

  • Top3 channel since the beginning of the year, but now looks like its paused since mid April

Other UA channels?

Super super super small – TikTok, FB, Vungle, Ironsource.

Decent basic setup. Nothing breathtaking.

But the question is, do you know why exactly these 3 UA channels (Applovin, Unity, google) are the biggest?

Exactly! AdROAS campaigns!

I was a bit surprised to see the decline on the revenue side, but now I understand what is happening. 

They paused (or scaled back quite heavily) in mid April 2 of their biggest UA channels. 

Lack of manpower? Lack of seniority? Lack of resources? We can only speculate what is happening at the moment.

Are they even profitable? What could be the CPI for this game? 

Yes. Again! Scaling a game is not only a function of a killer user acquisition operation. It is also a function of an LTV. You can only scale your budget until the LTV allows you. Eg. If your LTV is $5, you can run profitable campaigns until you hit $4.5 CPI (or any other CPI that you calculate based on your margins). I worked on some Idle games before.

Generally, they have lower CPIs than other categories. Let’s try to play with numbers and calculate what kind of LTV they could be having and what margins they are looking at. 

Let’s take US revenue per download.

IAP $3

IAA $6-7

Potentially we are looking at $9-10 LTV-ish. Yes, I know, I know. This is not the real LTV, but it’s close to what we can actually get. (if you have real numbers, please send them anonymously to me – wink wink!)

So I would assume that based on the CPIs I’ve seen for Idle genre on the games I managed, they could be somewhere around $1.5-2. Word on the street is they have insanely positive D30 ROAS and when I compare the CPI with RPD, I tend to believe these words on the street! 

Game design & monetisation

The cornerstone of the whole system is built around the VIP system that has progressive bonuses based on how many ads the player has watched. This rule is repeated on multiple ad placements. The more you buff your character through these temporary 20-minute boosts the stronger they get with each consecutive use. The same is applied to gacha draws through ads that get progressively bigger the more you use them. Once you run out of any currency there is a dynamic ad placement that gives you a few more shots on the goal.

The Gacha system is also a step up from the current iteration in the idle genre. You get bonuses from equipping different gear into deck slots that increase your overall power, but this is just the first layer. The second layer of power is given by literally all of the equipment in your whole inventory. Every piece from low rarity to high rarity cumulates into an overall power bonus, therefore upgrading literally everything makes sense and feels rewarding. 

The pace of unlocking new features is excellent and hits right at the point when you are nearing the frustration point of your current new “thing”. The game then unlocks another progression vector such as Trait system, Relic system, Mastery system or multitudes of alternative game modes that have their own progression which again feels very rewarding and fast to progress temporarily. In order to drive engagement and change of pacing they even added the mining minigame that Township (Playrix) uses to have something to click on when long timers are running. 

CREATIVE STRATEGY


Only 99 live creatives on Android vs. 44 live creatives on iOS. You might ask, is that good or bad? Enough? Well, let’s compare it to Survivor.io:


What do you think now? Yep, the creative depth is far from ideal!

Thanks Mobile action ads gallery for a creative research. These are the types of creatives they run:

  • gameplay
  • gameplay
  • gameplay 
  • tiktok voice & feature explanation
  • static images
  • did I mention gameplay?

Creatives are mainly oriented around humour, especially one that made me laugh SO HARD! Then I was digging deeper and found our usual suspects:
Hypercasual inspiration (one)
– multiple survivor.io-inspired creatives
– even hero wars Tower concepts

Legend of Slime video examples

Legend of Slime static images




While using gameplay is not bad, it’s really good; but it’s not enough. There are some attempts to use current trends – UGC, tiktok voice, pokemon concept, etc. 

Interesting tidbits

We have some interesting findings about Legend of Slime. Thanks to the mighty Yang Liu from End Game, who brought this to our attention. The game took heavy inspiration from another KR idle game called GuanYu Idle.

Look by yourselves:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OHGT1d8_A4https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeJMooqGFV4

TikTok

Tried a bit here and there, but when I check the creatives, I know why it didn’t work. They run UGC, the AI TikTok voice as well (creatives describing the game and its features – similar to what Sssnaker & survivor.io did), and a lot of landscape videos on TikTok.

Yes, I mentioned it few times even landscape can work, but you always use portrait as a main format and then landscape as an addition to your creative mix. Nevertheless, its slow and boring for TikTok.

Music
All creatives has the same annoying music. Really annoying! Except for survivor.io inspired creatives – you can hear the difference.

Publisher targeting
Monopoly Solitaire
RISK Global Dominos
Music player
Quick touch

Seriously, look into the publisher level! Always!

Takeaways & last comments

  • Creative strategy seems like doesn’t exist or is very very very simplified. Assuming high spend you would need something like 10-20 new unique creative concepts per month (+ iterations) What should be your creative team structure?1 motion designer

    2 illustrators

    3 graphic designers

    4 flying unicorns

    5 flamboyant flamingos

    Ok ok ok, stop with the bullshit. Ideally you want to have mix of 2D & 3D motion designers, character animators & riggers. Illustrators & graphic designers are really nice to have, but you can live without it.

  • Stop working in silos. Talk to your data team on a daily basis, create dashboards for all your channels, so you can make proper decisions on the UA front. 
  • For successful global launch and scale, you need both killer UA & killer monetisation strategy. Apparently, this game mastered the monetisation part, but not so much the UA & creative part. Leaving so much money on the table can be very dangerous. 

Take a look at the full UA, GD & Admon case study below

As always, special thanks goes to Mobile action for providing the insights! You are awesome!

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