Raid: Shadow Legends is one of the most popular mobile games in the world, racking up millions of downloads and over 1 billion in revenue. But as with most freemium games, the question soon gets asked: is Raid: Shadow Legends pay-to-win?
Raid: Shadow Legends is pay-to-win as you are able to play for longer, get better gear, and get the best heroes in a much shorter amount of time. In events and tournaments, a paid player playing properly will always beat a free player.
Let’s look at why Raid: Shadow Legends is pay-to-win, including why free players have no chance of competing, and how much money the game makes.
Is Raid: Shadow Legends Pay-to-Win Kind of Game?
Raid: Shadow Legends is a pay-to-win game.
While free players can get a lot out of the game, there are certain mechanics which mean that those players who dump money into the game will always be on the top of the leaderboards.
The stamina system means you can’t play the game constantly without running out of things to do because your stamina has emptied out. It is possible to buy an in-game item called shards to then buy energy potions, which will refill your stamina.
Thus you’re going to be able to do many more activities inside the game if you spend real money compared to a free player.
In Raid: Shadow Legends, it operates slightly differently from other big mobile games such as Clash of Clans, as time doesn’t play as big a role in upgrades. For later levels of these games, if you’re free-to-play then you’ll be waiting days or weeks for upgrades.
If you’ve already spent the in-game currency which speeds these up, you really have no choice but to wait this time or bite the bullet and pump some money in.
However, for Raid: Shadow Legends, you have various missions, quests, tournaments, clan battles, and other methods of gaining energy to refill the stamina, which is then used to complete more battles and boost your ranks.
The really big difference is in the gambling mechanic for gear and heroes. While it is true that you still get various opportunities to gamble for these items as a free player, you will need some very fortunate rolls and luck to get the good items and heroes.
If you’re buying shards and other gambling items, eventually you will pull the best gear and heroes, making your team so strong that you won’t lose.
This is made all the worse in specific events that rely on items that can be bought through the in-game shop, meaning a paid player can constantly participate in an event that a free player will eventually not be able to as they have run out of energy or summoning shards.
How Much Money Does Raid: Shadow Legends Make?
Analysis points to over 65 million downloads and more than one billion in lifetime revenue. These are estimates as the full data is not available but these figures are likely very close to reality. 
Generally, Raid: Shadow Legends earns anywhere from $200 million to $400 million a year in revenue, with the biggest market being the United States of America. Germany is the number two country for revenue per year, while the United Kingdom is third.
Is It Worth Playing Raid: Shadow Legends?
Raid: Shadow Legends does allow a free-to-play player to get relatively high on the ranking and leaderboards but you’re never going to beat a serious paid player who is putting money in consistently.
As a freemium turn-based RPG with a gacha system for collecting hundreds of distinct characters, you don’t get a guarantee of the top heroes by putting money in, but your chances are greatly increased. 
There are many tales of paid players putting in a lot of money to get specific heroes, or at least good heroes, and coming up short due to the gacha mechanic.
The game has a lot of content and things to do, so if you’re fine with not occupying the top spot but want a fun mobile game, you could do a lot worse than Raid: Shadow Legends.
You’ll still get a lot of benefits from playing consistently as a free player, with one of the best rewards being the daily login bonuses and streaks. As long as you log in and play every single day, you will get lots of items and chances to gamble for heroes.
While this won’t help you keep up with a paid player, you will still do quite well on the leaderboards and progress through the game nicely.
If you’re strictly free-to-play, then generally you’re going to get about two to three hours of free gameplay per day. Once you’ve done this, you’ve used up all your stamina and it won’t fully reset for some time.
The benefits of putting money into the game come through many advantages, such as XP boosters, high level gear, and summoning shards. These items will give a clear advantage, especially in tournaments and clan vs clan battles, where you will see the most impact.
For example, in the summoning tournaments, you will quickly notice that they must be putting significant amounts of money on summoning shards to bring their strong heroes back, and there is no substitute for this: you’ll just lose.
Raid: Shadow Legends is generally able to be played on autobattle, with a common criticism that the many different modes and campaigns are basically the same, and it is more an illusion of choice.