Wartune Impressions: A Social Game for “Real” Gamers
Social games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars are often derided by the “hardcore” crowd, looked down upon with contempt as time-wasting activities made to bleed money from the masses by those who consider themselves “real” gamers. I should know, because I’m one of those gamers.
But while I would consider Wartune to be a social game, it strikes me as a social game made with the “real” gamer in mind — or a social game that could serve as a gateway drug to transport a gaming neophyte into the illicit world of MMORPGs.
Self-characterized as an “epic strategy MMORPG,” Wartune is a freemium title that combines elements of World of WarCraft, Final Fantasy, and even a dash of FarmVille with a few thin slices of a bare-bones strategy game. Players begin by picking a character class, the selection of which follows the standard RPG archetypes: Knight, Archer, or Mage. Gameplay is then split between increasing the power of your character and increasing the power of your freshly-founded town.
Let’s begin with the isometric RPG experience, which has you march through rudimentary “dungeons” or “instances” in which you find loot and meet wandering monsters. Each of these takes no more than 10 minutes to complete and sees you kill approximately 20 monsters. Once you run into a wandering monster, you trigger a combat sequence, which swaps your Diablo-style viewpoint to a Final Fantasy-esque side-view with turn-based action. As you level up, you can unlock new combat powers via a skill tree, and battles have you alternate between your resource-producing and resource-consuming powers, much like Diablo 3.
From your town’s barracks, you can recruit various types of troops to join you during these battles, which fall into the same archetypes as the character classes. If you’re a ranged character, you want some melee meat shields to protect you — if you’re melee, you want some glass cannons to bring the pain while you tank the hits. The barracks is just one of over a dozen buildings you unlock within your town, buildings whose functions are split between granting access to new features and bolstering your character.