When we first looked at Serf Wars by Beverly Hills-based Meteor Games way back in March, there wasn't much ... war in it. We really dug the game's charming art style, and its mini games offered an entertaining diversion from what would otherwise be just another property management game, but in hindsight it lacked any semblance of what its title alludes to. Of course, Meteor Games was painfully aware of this since the game's launch, and has made strides to make good on the Serf Wars name.
Meteor Games VP of Business Development Josiah Gordon gave us a tour of all the changes the studio has brought to Serf Wars since we last paid its world a visit, just in time for the game's formal launch. We here at Games.com normally don't revisit Facebook games after publishing a preview (nor are we fans of the whole "open beta" trend), but the changes made to Serf Wars nearly amount to an entirely new game. And, according to Gordon, this is just the beginning.
"We're moving toward persistence, meaning players could spend two to three years in the same game world," Gordon tells us. Since Serf Wars launched seven months ago, Meteor Games wants to turn the game into a symbol of what the studio hopes to accomplish on Facebook and elsewhere. "We're in the middle between casual and hardcore," Gordon explains. "We're sort of the Nintendo of social games. So, we're trying to be of higher quality, but appeal to a mass market."
So, Serf Wars now allows players to amass armies, or multiple squads comprised of various units like spell-slinging sorceresses, oafish orcs in battle gear and earthly ents (tree creatures). And you now have more reason to strive for the high score--or topple your friends' by visiting them and playing games from there--in the eight mini games in Serf Wars. Setting record scores in each game will reward you with resources to craft weapons, armor, potions and accessories for your units to wield or use in battle.
And here comes the bread and butter of Serf Wars ... almost. While players can train their units individually to increase their strength in passive, set-it-and-forget-it training exercises, it's within the game's 45 or so story-driven combat missions that players will strengthen their armies most. However, the combat is more like watching a cute video your loyal warriors do your bidding, slaying bandits, demons and dragons. It looks as if the turn-based battles, which look like something out of a Final Fantasy game, have more interactivity in store for them.
But the game's mildly adventurous battle sequences have a more latent purpose than pushing along the brief storyline: Doing battle with the 30 different types of enemies serves to level up your squads in preparation for what will bring seven months worth of work together. The end goal of Serf Wars has always has been, according to Gordon, player vs player (PvP) combat. While Meteor Games still has yet to include the feature, it's teased within the game.
More importantly, everything from the 35 different combat units to the 44 crafting ingredients, 115 craftable items and recipes, 30 artisan units and 60 new achievements (which make liberal use of the brand new Games Ticker) are to support PvP. But despite the months of preparation, details are still scarce on just how PvP will pan out. Frankly, just how far down the hardcore rabbit hole the feature will go is still a discussion within Meteor Games, Gordon tells us. But he does know what the team doesn't want PvP to be like.
"We want more depth than, say, Empires and Allies, where it's impossible to lose--you can go sticks and stones against a tank and always win, because [Zynga] found it monetizes better," Gordon jokingly admits. As for the future, Gordon knows the Meteor Games strategy will include mobile, but in the complimentary sense, and specifically for tablet devices like the iPad.
Even if "war" still isn't a bullet point in Serf Wars's feature set, it's clear that Meteor Games is working hard to get there. The company hopes, that with all the changes made to Serf Wars since it first hit Facebook in March leading up to the upcoming PvP feature, that the game will serve as the flagship game for what type of social games studio Meteor Games hopes to be.
"What we're moving into is creating virtual worlds with long forms of play, and whole worlds people can explore--more along the lines of World of Warcraft than FarmVille," Gordon gushes. "That's the direction we're going, and that includes Serf Wars."
Do you think Meteor Games has done enough to Serf Wars to make you want to hop in and give it a shot? What do you think of the studio's overall strategy on Facebook and mobile? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.