You may have seen an advert or two for a game called Game Of War: Fire Age? It features Kate Upton. It was also advertised at last year’s Superbowl. Anyway it’s been top of app charts continually since its release in 2013. I decided to download it and see what the hype was about.
Game Of War: Fire Age is a freemium mobile MMO strategy app game developed and published by Machine Zone, from California of course. Set in the olden times, with the addition of mythological monsters, the game consists of both building your city and going to war. Similar to nearly every free game now available on the market, you are given the option to buy items to help improve game level.
You start off as a level 1 city, in one of the hundreds of Kingdoms available across the world. Don’t worry about playing with people in different countries, the in-game chat has a built-in translation feature that works pretty well MOST of the time. Within your city you have a stronghold and a number of empty tiles that you can choose to construct other buildings on, such as hospitals, barracks, farms, mines etc. You can probably guess, you need to gather resources to construct said buildings. Outside of the city there are also resources that can be collected by your troops, monsters to attack, as well as seeing the other cities in the Kingdom. Buildings start at level 1, go upto level 21 and take ‘x’ amount of minutes/hours/days to construct.
After you have a few buildings, it’s time to start forming your army. You can recruit a variety of fighters, starting at tier 1, up to tier 4 which is the strongest to fight for you. As with buildings, resources are required to recruit these fighters and they do have an ongoing need to be fed. Your army can be used to gather resources from outside of your city and attack other players within your Kingdom.
Research is required to unlock certain items. For example, to get tier 4 troops, you need to unlock tier 3 troops, to unlock them you need to unlock tier 2 troops and so on. This is the same for buildings, as well as other bonuses in speed, defense, gathering and attack.
You also start off with your very own hero at level 1. Your hero can increase to level 50 over time. Experience is given for fighting players and monsters, constructing buildings and researching. You can craft or find treasure items that you can equip to your hero like swords and armor. These also come in different rarities. When your hero levels up, you can allocated points to different attributes to give bonuses. Be warned, at level 15 your hero can be executed if captured. This hasn’t happened to me yet but I know you have to resurrect your hero, which can’t be good. As a player, you can also get VIP points by logging in each day, which give additional rewards.
Another way to earn resources, experience and items is through six hourly quests and events. Quests replenish every six hours and take time to complete. No need to actually do anything other than hit go. Events come in different forms such as solo, inferno, alliance and Kingdom. Big rewards can be won by combining more than one event together, but I shan’t get into that now. Kingdom events see multiple Kingdoms competing against each other to win gold, either by fighting or researching.
That’s most aspects of the game covered, apart from alliances. As the name suggested, you join an alliance, chat, fight, trade and receive additional rewards for working together.
The game itself has a mature vibe to it. Sure, you still get a few kids that type BOOBIES all the time but in the main, it’s quite a serious tactical game. The aim of the game is to be the best, not that anyone can do that now. The best players in the game have billions and billions of power. Yes, POWER. Power is given after doing everything mentioned above and the more power you have, the stronger you are and the more respect you get. I can only imagine how much time and money it would cost you to start from scratch and get that much power. That leads nicely onto the next part, money.
The in-game currency is gold. Gold will buy you a variety of items from the store such as speed ups, resources, shields and hero experience. Gold can be obtained in the game from a variety of sources but can be time-consuming, with a lot of chance. It’s far easier to purchase gold in-game, with real money. Packages that include gold, as well as resources, speed ups and chests start at £4.99, but once you have purchased that pack, that’s it. The next pack costs £7.99, then £14.99, then £39.99 and so on.
Of course the packs include far more items, so you do get your moneys worth but it’s easy to see how so much money can be spent. From a business point of view, it’s a bold move. You would predict quantity over quality, for example, sell more packs at £4.99 than say £39.99 as £4.99 is more affordable to most. This however isn’t the case as the game is making around $1,000,000 a day… A DAY. There has been reports of kids spending tens of thousands of pounds, just to be the best. I would not want to pay that iTunes bill!
I kind of get it though, the need to purchase gold with real money. As part of an alliance, every time someone purchases gold with real money, the entire alliance gets free stuff. With everyone spending real money and leveling up, I feel obliged to spend, to help my fellow warriors and also to keep up! Power, power, power don’t forget!
Of course the game can be played without purchasing gold and it can be very enjoyable early game. However, when you start to hit the higher levels and it takes a week or two just to level up one building, you get sucked in and feel the need to buy speed ups or you risk the need to throw your phone/tablet out the window. I have been playing the game for six weeks now. I have used real money to purchase gold. I have 13,000,000 power and counting, and yet I still get destroyed when attacked by people with 500,000,000 power. It is unfair, it is costly, it is time-consuming and it does drag you in BUT it’s a decent game with a friendly population of fellow gamers and some decent game play.