By now, hopefully you’ll have read my little introduction to the mobile MMORTS genre. However, you might be asking yourself, “Why is there an article telling me whether or not a game its right for me?”
Well my friend, there are three main reasons that I, as a player for almost 3 years, can think of. I will gladly provide you those, but always remember, this is just my own opinon.
Say not ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.Kahlil Gibran
The three reasons are as follows:
- The overwhelming Pay to Win mechanics, present on most, if not all, of the “Free to Play” mobile games.
- The commitment of time and effort required for this particular genre.
- Your own personal expectations as to what realistically can be achieved in game.
Let’s elaborate on each one of those.
The overwhelming pay to win mechanics.
If you ever played a mobile game before, or maybe a few of them, eventually, you will notice something. Whether it’s Candy Crush, Clash Royale, or even Pokemon go, you have seen them. It’s the inncesant built-in Microtransactions, which can go from a single dollar, up to 99.99. — Not micro at all, if you ask me.
It’s a billion dollar market. Some games, have the sense, courtesy and decency to do it in a moderate way. Maybe an upper limit. Maybe visual purcharses. Sadly, it’s a reality of the industry, and it seems to be here to stay. However, when done properly, you can rest easy, as they’ll amount for minor adventages, or a little glamour, but they will not break the game.
Some other times, however, there is simply NO upper limit to these transactions. And they can amount to imbalanced overpowering of players; In the worst cases, completely breaking the game and its playability, leaving only an empty shell of a game, where the size of your wallet is the only thing that really matter at all.
To a big amount of grief by my part, this genre I particularly love, seems to be mostly concerned with the second way of doing this. There could be hope, maybe for the future, and you can be sure that I will report and spread the good news, if they happen to come to fruition.
But as of right now, my friend, know this: if you wish to go ahead, do not expect balanced gameplay, because as long as the guy with $5000 of disposable income is capable of buying his adventage, there will be none.
The commitment of time and effort required.
A lot of videogames you can forget about, pick them up on a weekend and play them however little or however long you wish, without repercussions.
This isnt the case here. On this genre, you exist on a persistent map, along with other people. Everyone is developing and building their cities, armies, alleguiances, etcetera. There is only so much developing you can do at any given time, therefore, if you were to neglect the game the entire week, and then visit it on a weekend, chances are, your city will be underdeveloped, and you will be weaker in comparison, leaving you unable to actually partake effectively on the fun things the game has to offer.
It is my opinion that, to have fun, you need to remain more or less competitive within the persistent world on which your city exists. Therefore, you will need to be able to play on a daily basis.
You can’t play alone. So you will be needing to join an alliance and participate with other players to move forward to a common goal. Joining the alliance comes with some responsabilities. There will be different in-game events your alliance will expect you to participate in. You can always choose to skip one or two, however, if you skip them all, you will be missing on one of the key features of the game, the social aspect, as well as missing event reward items, and general participation. The latter, might end you costing you your spot within a given alliance.
To be able to play and advance, I’d recommend having from 1 to 2 hours available daily. It doesn’t need to be all at once, you will get more out of that time if you can check in intervals. But you will need that time in order to do the tasks the game requires you to for optimal advancement
Your own expectations on what you can realistically accomplish on the game.
When I first started, I approached this as I would’ve approached any other online game. I didn’t particularly know what I was doing, and I didn’t want any pricks making fun of my lack of skill or knowledge, therefore, I started my very own alliance at day 1. An alliance for newbies, by newbies. We would all learn together and from each other, and we would rise above anyone who dared to opposed us!
The game immediately hooked me. Maybe a little too much for my own good — But that’s another story. Soon, I had a few recruits and a few trusted officers and we were rising up on the ranks. My alliance mission was to create a real community for each and every one of the Spanish-speakers on my state. And it actually worked.
We had to overcome odds, battle the technologically superior and much stronger russian alliance in order to secure a piece of land for ourselves… and we did. We placed our headquarters, and despite the Russian leader having moved to our lands to “greet” us, we eventually managed to complete the headquarter. And after a few days of survival, the russians conceded us our very first Non-Aggression pact with them.
Fast forward, My alliance, Legion Hispana, was ranked number 3 in the top powers of the state. The helpful and welcoming community I wanted was a reality. We had strong relationships with almost the entirety of the state, and we were protegees of the biggest and baddest alliance there was.
We prevailed many challenges. Things were good for a while. And I have some very fond memories of all these times. We believed we could take on the entire state.
Sadly, the pay to win mechanics started to show up eventually. We were dedicated players, and had built strategies in order to advance in the best way we could. Nonetheless, when the state biggest spender started showing some erratic behaviour, there was not much we could do to stop him. Mind you, we were still his protegees, but he broke diplomatic pacts, and started abusing his power to bigger and bigger extents.
Partly out of inexperience, partly because of our loyalty to our friends, I, and my closest circle made a definitive choice. We, the protegees of the ever more erratic top one, would go down in a final charge against the tyrant. This wasn’t a war. We would not be able to stand them. This was simply a protest.
Me and my closest officials charged. We took down whoever we could with us, before the tyrant stepped in and killed our troops. Legion Hispana was my child. My project to whom me and my officials had dedicated so much time and effort. My officials were going with me, and there wasn’t a suitable leader to take care of the project. The legion was disbanded, and later forgotten. Those who stayed, regrouped or moved to other alliances.
Me and my officials would live to fight another day, on a different land, under a different name, but under one concept: Stopping tyranny from overtaking the land. This, however, is a different story, for another day.
Whilst me and my people weren’t spending, and lacked knowledge, the game still brought us incredibly fun moments. Had we known better, we could have changed a thing or two, and maybe play a bigger role long term. For me, it was absolutely worth it. Reality slapped me in the face a time or two. But I take pride in my accomplishment, the role I played, and the temporary community I built, from the ground up.
Lots of fun can be had, but for that, expectations need to be set straight. We must understand on what we are getting into, so we might make the best off it.