JumpStart and DreamWorks have partnered to launch School of Dragons, a 3D Unity-powered MMO for kids based on DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon. The game sees players working to become the ultimate dragon master, completing quests, interacting with vikings (and dragons) from the film(s) and meeting new friends, whether in a browser or on Facebook.
Webkinz creator Ganz Studios has officially introduced its newest game, Amazing World, a colorful free-to-play browser game, powered by Unity. Aimed at players ages six and up, Amazing World offers light 3D massively multiplayer online (MMO) gameplay, as gamers can create an avatar, complete quests and customize a home in the virtual world.
Game developer 5th Planet Games today launched Dawn of the Dragons for Android in North America (and worldwide later this week). The social MMO has come along way for the indie developer who first launched the title on Facebook back in May 2010, and later released for Kongregate and Armor Games.
We first heard about Dawn of Dragons flying its way to mobile for iOS in January, and then the game hit the Apple App Store weeks later in February (review). Chief mobile officer Rob Carroll told us that there’s no differences between the iOS and Android versions, but users can play simultaneously with other players on either platform. As for cross-platform play between the mobile offerings and the web-based versions, 5th Planet Games decided to not let the mobile and web versions talk to each other due to the game being developed in Adobe Air and to allow the mobile version to have its own exclusive content. Carroll also adds the Android port was published in partnership with 5th Planet Games by an unnamed publisher (the studio will announce details about the publisher soon). (more…)
Game developer 5th Planet Games today announced the launch of Dawn of the Dragons on the iTunes App Store. Previously released on Facebook, Kongregate, Armor Games and its own site, Dawn of the Dragons’ is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and 5th Planet’s top-performing title.
The game features a deep single-player storyline, as well as optional multiplayer gameplay that includes player alliances with raids and player-versus-player action. The single player campaign contains zones filled with energy-based missions and boss battles, while raids and PvP elements are played by spending stamina and honor. Dawn of the Dragons is free to play and available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices here.
We talked about the project with CEO Robert Winkler, COO Braden Moulton and Brian David-Marshall at GDC Online back in October 2012. Shortly after that chat, 5th Planet hired Rob Carroll as its Chief Mobile Officer, who began overseeing the development of both Legacy of a Thousand Suns and Dawn of the Dragons on iOS.
You can read our preview of the game here and look forward to a review soon.
Sega today announced it’s partnering with Icelandic social mobile studio Gogogic to develop Godsrule: War of Mortals, a cross-platform “build and battle” game for both iOS and the web.
Godsrule is a new fantasy-themed game that seeks to mix social mechanics with core strategy elements. Players are tasked with managing a kingdom, harvesting resources and battling with one another for contested land. Users choose a side between two warring factions and then create their own clans to control contested territory.
The game will be available to play via browser and iPad, allowing for a cross-platform play experience. Sega is clearly looking to tap into the lucrative core-games market, which is especially popular on iOS as evidenced by the runaway success Kabam has experienced with its Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North. Although Sega isn’t known for these mid-core games, Sega has been a presence on iOS mainly due to ports of beloved console games like Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi, and a port of Sonic Jump, an old mobile phone game first published in 2006. Gogogic, in turn, already has produced hits like Tiny Places on iOS and its social massively multiplayer online game Vikings of Thule.
For more information about Godsrule: War of Mortals, or to enroll in the game’s public beta program, head over to the game’s official website.
Kabam is shutting down its vampire-themed core score social game, Thirst of Night.
The announcement was made via an email sent out to the game’s players, revealing the game (which is still technically in beta) will be shut down on Thursday, Jan. 31; this includes taking all of the title’s servers offline. According to the shutdown FAQ, players will no longer be able to buy hard currency Rubies and the Thirst of Night Payments System has been turned off.
If players have Rubies left over, Kabam is offering to transfer the last six months of Ruby purchases (up to $5,000) to one of its other games. Kingdoms of Camelot will be the default title the developer will transfer players’ accounts to, but players can contact the Thirst of Night team if they want to have their account transferred to a different game.
Thirst of Night is one of Kabam’s older games, having been a flagship title that was available on Pokki’s platform, Google+ and as a full-screen downloadable app from Download.com. Interestingly enough, though, the game never came to Facebook, so it’s not possible to use our AppData traffic tracking service to investigate its traffic levels. However, the majority of Kabam’s revenue comes from off-Facebook sources (like its iOS hit with Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle For The North), so it’s not surprising Kabam never brought it to the social network.
Core social games shut down by larger developers typically have fewer than 50,000 daily active users, but can stick around for quite some time with even fewer (witness: Dragon Age Legends managed to limp along for quite some time with 10,000 DAU before EA announced its closure). On the site providing details about the shutdown, Kabam mentions Thirst of Night’s “declining lifespan”, so it’s likely the game’s audience had shrunk to similar numbers.
For more information about the shutdown and what options are available for users looking to continue onto other Kabam titles, users can visit the official closure FAQ.
KingsIsle Entertainment today officially launched Grub Guardian, an iOS and open web “satellite” game tied to its popular kid-friendly massively-multiplayer online title Wizard 101.
The game is a tower defense (in this case, “guardian defense”) title where players position guardian animals around a map, which then snipe enemies as they try to steal a bowl of food at the end of the winding path. Players level up their mythical guardians using the in-game currency earned by wiping out enemies. Aside from the generic animals, players also play a unique guardian who earns experience across levels.
Grub Guardian can be played as its own game, but it’s also designed to serve as an extension of the Wizard101 universe. Players with active Wizard101 accounts can use their in-game pet as the unique guardian in Grub Guardian. If this players pursue this option, the experience their pet earns in Grub Guardian will carry back over to Wizard101. Likewise, players will be able to access premium items from the in-game store if they’re using their Wizard101 pet.
Reading between the lines, this means Grub Guardian is a clever way for KingsIsle to bring in new players into the Wizard101 world. According to KingsIsle VP of Marketing Fred Howard, Grub Guardian’s inclusion of the Wizard101 makes the game appealing for casual and core gamers (both of which are strong populations in the MMO). “The pet system is really complex,” he tells us. “For the casual player, it’s a lot of fun with minigames. But for the core players there’s a whole genetic code behind the pets so you can hatch them and have the genetic code pass over. You can create new hybrid pets and have them get buffed up.”
When asked if KingsIsle Entertainment is planning to launch more satellite titles for either Wizard101 or the newly-launched Pirate101, Howard doesn’t go into detail but says, “we see a lot of opportunity in this space… we can’t talk about our road map, but it’s safe to assume this is the first of many to come.”
Galaxy 2.0 developer IGG is continuing to expand its presence in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game market with its new Facebook title Moonlight Online, an action-heavy, 3D MMO inspired by European mythology.
The game can be seen as bit of a return to IGG’s origins as MMO developer. The fantasy-themed game asks players to take on the role of a human, vampire or werewolf in order to stop war that has been prophesied to end the world.
As opposed to IGG’s previous game Galaxy 2.0, Moonlight Online’s gameplay is much faster-paced. Players can use the acrobatic free-running of parkour and/or mounts to explore the 3D world, engage in multiplayer tower defense matches or engage in real-time player-versus-player combat in the game’s arena. The PvP mechanics are also expanded via player guilds and castle sieges, though this option seems to be limited to higher-level characters. The game is free-to-play and monetizes through microtransactions for in-game currency, items and equipment, as opposed to the social game standard of refilling energy bars.
As opposed to most Facebook games, Moonlight Online isn’t a universal title. Instead, it’s currently only playable with a computer running Windows. IGG COO Kevin Xu tells us this is because the game is designed to initially appeal to a midcore audience and the PC version allows players to set the graphics to a high quality setting. IGG plans to offer a downloadable version of the game next month for hardcore players, and Apple users will be able to play the game when its Flash version is released in two months.
Free-to-play MMOs can be extremely popular, both as web browser games and full-fledged titles. With Facebook, though, the genre hasn’t really caught on, especially with 3D titles. Milmo, which launched in December 2010, peaked within a few weeks at 516,000 monthly active users and 32,000 daily active users but wasn’t able to expand on its success. The game currently sits at 20,000 MAU and 1,000 DAU. By comparison, Moonlight Online has nearly 83,000 MAU and 18,000 DAU.
IGG has a large player base to promote Moonlight Online to, largely due to its success with Galaxy 2; the English-language version of the game peaked in April 2011 with 1.3 million MAU and 138,000 DAU and now is holding steady at 130,000 MAU and 40,000 DAU. Non-English versions of the game, meanwhile, are still regularly appearing on our lists of weekly gainers. Xu tells us IGG is happy with how Galaxy 2 is performing, particularly across non-English-speaking territories and the company is planning to support the game for the foreseeable future. Xu also tells us IGG plans to launch six more games over the next two months.
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