Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Two Multiplayer 'God' Games Released - Experimental Study

If you've been keeping up with the news then you'll know that two multiplayer RTS god-type games have been released recently. The first is Battleforge and the second is Demigod. It will be interesting to see how both do as both are strategy and both are multiplayer oriented games.

Battleforge is an RTS where players uses spell cards to summon creatures and cast spells and requires players to capture certain points to gain the resource to use those spells. The game relies on a microtransaction model where you have to purchase cards in order build a deck of spells and creatures.
Demigods is an RTS where players choose a demigod and help capture points as their armies wage war. You can upgrade your demigod as you gain more experience.

Demigod has followed a more traditional method where you purchase the game once and it's free to play on the multiplayer servers. You will find demigod available for purchase in stores and also online as a digital download. They also plant to release new heroes several months from now. So updates are free.

Battleforge on the other hand has gone the more experimental route. The game itself is free to download but in order to play you need to make your own deck by purchasing cards in card packs. It utilises the microtransaction model in other words and cards are random generated from packs. Updates will take the place of cards so you have to pay for the updates so to speak.

I would love to get my hands on both games (hint hint).

Anyway, here are my predictions for both games.

Demigod - Will take the normal RTS route like Supreme Commander. It will sell relatively well and remain popular for about a year. There will be a small but dedicated cult following after a three years and we will have a sequel around that time.

Battleforge - I really wish this game will succeed, looking at the relatively negative reviews about possibly gameplay imbalance I think the developers need to better manage the perception of their card based model and show that you don't need an expensive deck to win and that you can win with common cards. I also believe their experimental microtransaction model may need the same public relations make over to make it seem fairer but we'll see how things go. We will no doubt see several small card updates during the year and I feel that there will be less frequent but large updates starting from about 9 months from now.

I think Battleforge will last around 3 years before being handed over to the community for free development or shut down. In my opinion if Battleforge is to succeed they need to tap into social network worlds like Gaia Online and really engage players with an amazing fantasy world that doesn't stop when you stop playing the strategy game.

* Please note that these predictions are based on nothing more than what I think. I don't have any hard evidence. Throw in your opinion as well!

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