Welcome once again to your weekly source for all things mobile, portable, browser and handheld. Some weeks I want to discuss something deeper, something that really gets our blood boiling and our gears cranking. It seems as though there are many of you who think that mobile technology as it is now is going to stay as it is for a long time. With that presumption comes a sort of dismissal of the mobile market as nothing more than a toy right now. To clear up some of the confusion, I want to note that my love for mobile games and devices has almost nothing to do with the technology that exists now.
Sure, I love my HTC Inspire and my iPhone. My wife uses her iPad so much (and she's a PC gamer, too) that we need to get her an iPad 2 just for the increased usability. She has an iPhone 4, and I also have a basic laptop that we use the heck out of. It's easy to see that mobility means a lot to us. Even with all the wonderful technology that exists now, I am turned on by the stuff that will exist soon. Mark my words.
And then there are weeks like this one, a rough one of migraines, PC issues (another reason I like mobile) and other real-life stuff. So instead of diving into a deep discussion about the meaning of the term MMO or how to pick the best portable device, I decided to just show you three new games that have caught my eye. Click past the cut and check them out!
Warspear Online: This little 8-bit cutie is actually a robust game of adventure and exploration. Brought to us by Aigrind, the game is an easy download for either device. It has a wonderful 8-bit viking feel to it, but at first I was not going to play it much since it did not have any sound enabled. Luckily, the developers wrote me and told me about their new patch, one that included sounds, and so here I am. As with all of the games I mention today, I have not had as much time with them as I would have liked... yet. So it looks like you and I will be discovering them together.
Warspear has all of the usual MMO abilities; you can chat in real-time, fight alongside groupmates in real-time, craft and gather items, and explore. It's cross-platform capable, meaning that it can be played on almost anything, so this little gem is a perfect candidate for those office meeting adventures. Just turn the sound down and you should be able to get away with it.
Next up I want to tell you about Travians, an odd little game that I discovered just a few nights ago. If you have played Travian, the cool browser-based RTS MMO, then you are familiar with the setting and art style of Travians. To be honest, I am not really sure how the game came about and how it ties into the Travian universe, but so far I have enjoyed my time on some sort of newbie island that will later graduate me to the "real" experience. While I have been writing this, I have been chatting with other players on my HTC Inspire. Some of the menu response times are sluggish, and some of the buttons are not that accurate, but luckily I bought a 20-dollar stylus from the phone store. That helps a lot.
So far the game seems to really push crafting and housing, which is awesome in my book. I have just been sent on a mission to try out the housing editor and to buy housing objects by using social "points." It's all a little confusing so far, but I can't wait to see how it works out. I would love to see more social MMOs appear on our devices, especially since combat can be such a chore sometimes.
Last but definitely not least, I want to point your nose toward this sick-looking MMO called World of Midgard. The production videos and demos we have seen barely show anything, but they definitely show us how far developers seem to be pushing the devices themselves. While there have already been dozens of MMOs in the mobile market, it often takes one like WoM to show the public that portable devices have the power and the ability to run a "true" MMO. WoM looks like a cross between EverQuest and World of Warcraft, but the developers are promising something wonderful. When I view just the videos like the one above, I have a good feeling they are telling the truth.
While I normally have a huge issue with any MMO that seems to promise nothing but more of the same class-based, kill-10-rats gameplay, I recognize that the mobile market needs more eyes on it still. A classically styled game like WoM would pull in just those type of players who would normally avoid the mobile market. Ironically, those types don't want to play something different on a different device -- they want their same PC experience on that device. So perhaps WoM can do just that. It looks great, and you can sign up for the beta here. I look forward to many more hours with this one, especially since the other "classic" MMO, Order and Chaos Online, did nothing for me. But as with Order and Chaos, it probably will not matter how different or wonderful the gameplay is. At this point in the mobile market, we just need a few games to pull the genre out of the zone of the unusual.
So try these out and let me know what you think. Most of all I am interested in Travians, simply because it appears to be trying something completely different. If the game could tie in to your actual Travian city, that would be incredible. Warspear looks nice and is a lot of fun to play, but it is still relatively new and could use a few more features to really grab me. Still, I plan on giving it time. World of Midgard excites me the most, mainly because I haven't been able to get my grubby paws on it yet. We always want what we do not have -- gamers are especially prone to this.
Keep an eye out, and if you have any experience with these new titles, let me know. Here's to a bright mobile future, indeed!
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr.
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