Thursday, September 17, 2009

More solo "social" games

Well I've just not been excited about Eve or WoW lately so I've retreated to Facebook games. I even gave Evony the boot. Really without any hope of having those attractive female avatars to look at it, the game loses appeal. I suppose any game that really only has boobs going for it is not much of a game.

Perfect World is still an interesting idea, but I just can not bring myself to invest the time in it that it surely requires. I still think it is a fantastic free to play game and anyone that really has days of "do nothing" time should be looking at it.

The 3 active games on Facebook I am playing are Mafia Wars, My Zoo, and Tiny Adventures (D&D). I am about to give up on Mafia Wars. It follows what is now a common FB game format. I am not sure what genre to call it, but it works like this. You have a limited amount of "energy" to spend on "tasks" that gain you "resources" like experience points and money. You spend the money you earn on equipment that is required for some tasks. As you gain levels you get "points" to apply to your stats like your total amount of energy. These games require you to recruit other FB friends in to your group--this is also a requirement of many tasks. Mafia Wars has a few twists to it. You can build a core team of friends who boost your abilities by virtue of their level. You can join endless groups of Mafia's (other games often made joining exclusive so you had to leave one team to join another). The upshot of this is that it is much easier to get larger mafia teams. This really only helps in PvP combat. PvP combat is a very basic single blow exchange and who ever does the most "damage" wins. You get a slight bit of money and xp for this. You can assign "Hits" on enemy mafia--basically allowing you to post a bounty on someone you can't kill. I could go on, but really half the fun is figuring out the game yourself.

My Zoo is similar to Mafia Wars but less complex and a nudge more educational as you build your own zoo with a large number of animals. The animals have little stat blocks with them that talk about where they live and how endangered they are. My wife started this first and I started poking at it. This game is fairly new and still a bit raw, but entertaining.

Tiny Adventures was released by Wizards of the Coast probably a year ago. The format is simple, but unique. It is, of course, show casing their pen and paper game by letting you select familiar classes, loot dungeons, and use special powers. They just recently expanded in to new classes for Druid, Barbarian and others. I thought I'd go check them out. You level each character to level 11 and then they retire. You can pick one magic item you acquired to gift to your next character. This game really plays itself which I suppose is its one flaw. You enter a dungeon and encounters are timed. So there really is nothing for you to do aside from wait an hour for your character to complete. You can choose to change gear or use potions between encounters, but this isn't all that compelling.

I suppose the attraction to FB games is this low involvement. You click a few things and come back later to see how you did. This obviously makes it very work friendly. Amazing how we seem to be returning to nearly "MUD-like" games. I do hope they expand the concepts around the "social" part of these games to be truly social. It would be more fun to actively game in a team than just have friends as a "requirement."

It's a gaming lite week. But y'all go crazy. Game On!