So with the FB closure looming I decided to start a smurf account, and jumpstart it with enough diamonds to get a few worker huts and the 5th and 6th attack point.
So either it was different when I started my main account way, way back, or I forgot. But - the dungeons are completely ridiculous for a new player. My account is 2 days old, my best monsters are all level 10, 1 epic (that mammoth that somehow found its way into my storage) and 2 rare (Freetle and La Croc, as I bought the level up offer). So. I have 4 dungeons right now.
1 food dungeon with tiny rewards, but I still can't complete it.
1 survival dungeon where my best monsters got killed in the very first battle.
1 gem dungeon where I can't get past the first battle either. (3 level 10 epics.)
1 food dungeon with normal rewards, where I actually managed to win the first few battles but get stuck less than half way through.
The other observation is that the monetary hurdle to get into the game is ridiculous. I can buy a starter pack with is essentially 9 bucks for 50 gems and 50k food (and a worthless rare monster, IIRC Trevor), and today I get similar, slightly better offer containing LaCroc (that I already have) and 450 gems for 22 bucks. The goal should certainly be to get as many new players as possible, or not? If I was a noob and bought either starter pack, I would feel cheated just after a few days when I realize how worthless the stuff was I got for 9 bucks. Why not create a good starter package that contains say 2 worker huts, 1 hatching slot, 150 gems and a decent epic monster (could be breedable, maybe Ledovech)? Right now all starter packs are worse than a normal discounted gem pack.
I would suggest that one of the @Community-Managers goes through the exercise of setting up a smurf themselves, and then strongly encourages the devs to do some rebalancing there.