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Member Since 07 Oct 2012
Offline Last Active Jan 11 2015 01:45 AM

Topics I've Started

Game Design Theory: Smartphone MMO Strategy Game

28 November 2014 - 08:10 PM

I know that some/many people see smartphone/web-browser MMO strategy games as shallow, no real strategy/tactics involved, cheap, Pay2Win, and such. This ranges from Evony, Clash of Clans, Ikariam, to Townsmen, to others less popular ones. But, are they ?? Well, some probably are. And some might not.
(No, we're not talking about the God-awful Dungeon Keeper for smartphone game.)
I think that smartphone strategy is just different. And so we have to treat it as such. Can't compare it to other sub-genre of strategy.
  • Starcraft2 is anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours per match. Once you get up from your computer, it's over. There's a winner and there's a loser/defeated. Then, next game, it's start from scratch again.
  • Civilization series is more grand scheme. A game could easily take days and weeks(or months ?) to come to conclusion. But once you get up from your computer, the whole thing is paused. Until you return back to it. And eventually, it's over. And then next game you start, it's back to square one, again.
So, what's smartphone strategy game is like ?
It's a strategy games that do not wait for you. Off-line time IS part of the strategy. Utilizing the 8 hours you sleep to the most efficient you can is how you gain advantages over other players who do not. Because, at the core of most Strategy games, it's about gaining advantages. (building workers to quickly improve your cities, picking researches that will enhanced your play-style, building 2nd base near resources and such.)
So, this means, that, smartphone strategy games, have the POTENTIAL to be of much larger scheme of epic scale than any other strategy games we have ever seen before.
Instead of having you play it for a few hours straight like Starcraft and Civilization, smartphone strategy games have you spend a short amount of time per session, but more frequent. You know, 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, 20 more minutes here. Throughout the whole day !!
Now, this might get in the way of your *gasp* life *gasp* if you are a busy person. Then this kind of games most likely not gonna suit you so much. (this is just me pulling shlt outta my arse, don't hate me.) But for others who have the time in between your other activities, this could be thing you're looking for. Something that will keep your interest for months. Of course, it will be different from MMORPG or Dragon Age or Mass Effect that get you hooked for a week or two, then bring you back now and then and again for 3-4 months.
Smartphone strategy games could be something that lingers on the back of your mind the whole time! Think of the good old days of Ragnarok Online, and you spent the time you weren't playing the game, planning out what to do when you play it. Where to go level next. Glast Heim ? What kind of build will your Acolyte go ? Priest or Monk ? What MVPs will you camp or what rare items will you go collect next ? Smartphone strategy games could bring back that addiction. If you never played Ragnarok Online, just think of Runescape or WoW, I guess. or, Eve Online.
Of course................... assuming that the game is good, to begin with.
Well, now that we know this genre could be good, how do we build it and make it great ?
The formula of Clash of Clans is a good one, although it's been cloned to death, now. So, we need to innovate it. Make it better and fresher and different, though still based on similar formula.
For this I draw many inspirations from other games.