The Rise of Free-to-Play Online Games

I came across this while visiting Online Strategy Games:

Electronic Arts is jumping into the Browser-Based Strategy Games bandwagon, with their new “Lord of Ultima” game. The website Gamesutra recently did an interview with the General Manager of their Online Games department. This interview is interesting because it shows how much their game was influenced by Travian (and the interviewer clearly knows his Travian as well). Here are some excerpts:

Ben Cousins (from Electronic Arts): 

(Lord of Ultima) is a game where you really have to plan your moves if you’re a high-level player. If you’re being notified that there’s an attack coming in 10 hours, you need to work out exactly what buildings you can put into place to defend your town, or what troops you need to recruit in order to get there.

The way this works is actually a genre which is already well established in Europe. It’s very popular there. Travian is essentially a much less graphically rich version of this kind of gameplay.

There are some major gameplay differences between Lord of Ultima nd Travian, which the interview discusses. Another interesting moment:

When I played Travian, before I even finished the tutorial I was being attacked by other players and they were stealing my resources. That was not a particularly fun experience.

The general manager of Lord of Ultima can’t survive for a week in Travian. And this is a guy who designs games for a living. I just want to point this out, not as a way to poke fun at the guy, but just to point out that Travian can be a difficult game. This is why I really respect anyone who manages to be succesful at Travian (I wouldn’t have started a Hall of Fame for a game that was easy!)

Read the whole interview here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4408/interview_the_rise_of_.php

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2 Responses

  1. He says travian is “less graphically rich” and that’s the killer for me. I’ve started play accounts on imperions, ultima and stop paying attention almost instantly. To play the games well you need to be active – to combine with work and family committments and for me and lots of others I know that means playing via phone.

    Travian works almost flawlessly on an iPhone – quick loads; clean interface; easy to navigate. The google of online games. I do wonder how much travgames appreciates that.

    They can make as many functional changes as they want to game play etc. And it will still be an outstanding game for the balance btw technical and politics. But the day they introduce ‘rich graphics’ is what would kill the game (or at least stop it from standing out from the crowd).

  2. with out a doubt its the most growing topic, specially on web 2.0. Some of MMORPG games are simply awsome, playing thorugh the internet with 100s of player is amazing.

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