Hello, I'd like to address this to the game developers, if one of the community managers can bring this to their attention then I'd be quite grateful.
I'd like to bring forth the issues with methods of acquiring food for dragons in the game, namely growing food, the dragon market, buying it from the resource shop and drops from events and tournaments. I will go over each of them one by one but first of all I'd like to state that I'm not ranting off about non-issues and I'm not being an entitled jerk that's wants more out of a 'free-to-play mobile game', I simply putting forth my problems with the game model currently implemented.
Firstly of all I'd like to address the unfair conversion of gold to food in food farms, with the options ranging from 50 gold to 5 food in 30 sec, to 20,000,000 gold to 150,000 in 24 hours, first of all I'd like to point out that with each option going up it cost more than it should and gives less, e.g for 50 gold you get 5 food in 30 sec, then for 250 gold you should get 25 food in 2 mins and 30 sec, instead the time taken is 5 mins, what is this inconsistent conversion ratio, the option after this is 1000 gold, which is 4 times more than 250, so we should get 4 times more gold right? No, for 1000 gold you get 75 food, can someone from the dev team please explain this? Was someone just randomly punching in numbers with no semblance of a proper plan? As it stands, if we were to use a bot to grow and collect the Backyard Gardener option for 24 hours it would convert 144,000 gold to 14,400 food, a conversion ratio of 10:1 (closest offering in food farm would be the Mass Harvester with 1,000,000 gold to 10,000 in 12 hours), which by contrast is a much better deal. But as using a bot would be considered cheating let us put that aside and consider the options that are given to us. Which is for 20,000,000 gold we get 150,000 food, a conversion ratio of 400:3, with 14 food farms you would be able to grow 2,100,000 food for 280,000,000 gold, which would take around 1 month to collect from approximately 100 habitats (I didn't bother to calculate the specifics as they would be meaningless as the gold gathering rates for dragons are very inconsistent), and 2,100,000 food would barely manage to get a dragon from lvl1 to lvl25. Using this estimate, and considering that it costs 24,364,973 food to get a dragon from lvl1 to lvl40, with 2,100,000 food for 280,000,000 gold roughly every month, it would take 2 years and 6,720,000,000 gold for a high level player to get 1 dragon from lvl1 to lvl40. Take a good look at how absurd this is, I understand that this not a problem for new players( as what you focus on till level 80 or 90 is getting the dragons to lvl7 ) , but this game is 6 years old you have a lot of players who have long since passed the lvl100 mark. Let's not bring up how long it would take someone to gather enough food for them to get their dragons to lvl70, seeing as how it costs almost 100,000,000 food to do so. And I know that someone is going to call me out to explain how some people have managed to get multiple dragons to lvl70, and their is a simple explanation for that which is that they used the dragon market exploit back in the day and managed to fill up their stores to the brim or used other exploits that most of you never found about, none of them collected that much food using the food farms.
Moving on to the dragon market case, back in 2014-2015 this was the only reliable way to get food, but with the recent updates, I feel like the dev team is spitting on us by setting the cap to 16,510 food and 1 gem. I know that many cheaters exploited the dragon market to stock up on food, but those of us that didn't cheat got screwed over more than the cheaters. What the dev team should have done instead of spitting on us with 1 gem in the dragon market was to set a hard limit of approximately 5-10 million food and increased the wait time to a week, and keep that 1 gem, it's basically worthless in the current game model anyway.
Now onto buying food from the resource shop, which can be considered an unfunny joke if nothing else, 1,260,000 food for 150 gems, is asking to much, firstly you can't buy 150 gems outright, the closest is 140 gems at $10, so you are pretty much going to get 300 gems for $15 (which is basically forcing people to pay for more than what they want) so let's take the average of $15 for 300 gems getting you 2,520,000 food, as it costs 24,364,973 food to get a dragon from lvl1 to lvl40, it would cost you $150 for 25,200,000 food, and keep in mind this is for 1 dragon, if you have $100 to give right away then you can choose the 1700 gems option with which you would get enough gems for 25,200,000 food and still have 200 gems for another 1,260,000 food.
And finally onto the drops from events and tournaments, which you can basically ignore when once you are above lvl90, as they will hardly amount to anything you are in need of. They might be exciting for new players until they find out that it costs almost 95,124 food to get a dragon to lvl15.
On an ending note I'd like to point out that I'm not saying that it's impossible for high level players to get enough food to level up their dragons, what I'm simply pointing out why the time and effort to do are not worth and the upfront of cost of it through micro transactions is not justified.