Kixeye’s War Commander Demands More From Facebook Users Than Most Social Games Dare
Kixeye’s War Commander is ramping up its growth on Facebook, graduating from our list of emerging Facebook games and landing at No.12 in our fastest-growing games by monthly active user list as of this week.
War Commander is the latest strategy-combat game from the Backyard Monsters developer. Players take the role of an army commander in charge of building up a base with special structures that produce different types of army units. These units can be organized into attack forces led against other players’ bases or ordered to defend the player’s base from attacks both while the player is online or offline. Like Kixeye’s Battle Pirates, War Commander allows players to select and control individual units and and batches of units during combat instead of letting the game’s artificial intelligence determine how units should behave in fights. War Commander, however, does not currently have real-time combat enabled — although this feature is planned for the future.
Gameplay progression takes place across both player level, which can be raised by completing structures and destroying other players’ bases, and by individual structure levels, which are restricted by building materials and the level of the player’s central Commander Center structure. The primary resources in the game used to build structures and create combat units are metal and oil, both of which require two different structures to collect: a production unit and a storage unit. To power the production units and also base defenses like guns, the player must build power plants that output a fixed amount of energy depending on the building’s level. Combat against other players and some non-playable character factions can net the player additional metal and oil, although there are diminishing returns in the amount a player gets for attacking a lower-level player.
Where the game stands out from Kixeye’s other titles and comparable titles from other combat and strategy game developers is in the aggressive, male-oriented design of the game. The non-playable computer AI character is a sexed-up female that moans suggestively when the player clicks certain responses to her in dialogue segments. Defeated enemy units collapse into bloody heaps on the battlefield and remain there until cleared by flocks of crows that eat the corpses. Specific enemy units have bits of voiced dialogue that play whenever selected, ranging from bland (“Light ‘em up!” — Rocket Launchers) to familiar Marine phrases (“This is my rifle, this is my gun…” — Heavy Gunners), to racially charged statements of extremely questionable taste (“Allahu Ackbar!” — Suicide Bombers).
As attention-grabbing as the design of War Commander is, it’s the long-term development plans that will add value to both the game and the RTS genre on Facebook. The key to this genre’s success seems to be in retention and the high price players are willing to pay in Facebook Credits for protection from bullies. Along with synchronous play for a true real-time experience, Kixeye is also adding a tournaments system that will allow for massively multiplayer combat between players. All of these updates are planned for the near future, according to what the developer tells us. Just recently, a new feature was added to the game that allows players to control individual unit behavior for when the player’s base is attacked while the player if offline (e.g. instructing Flamethrowers to hold their ground and Rocket Launchers to pursue all attacking units, etc.).
Social features are currently limited to a chat function, gifting resources between friends, and attacking both friends and strangers in player versus player combat. An alliance feature launching with the tournament and synchronous play will allow players to band together for larger-scale combat operations.
War Commander is monetized through the sale of resource bundles to speed up development and repair of structures and units. Both can also be instantly upgraded or repaired for a higher sum of Credits.
You can follow War Commander’s progress using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.