An Early Look at Serf Wars Before a Big Gameplay Shift

Serf Wars is a take on the empire building, real-time strategy game genre with a fairytale look and feel. When the game launched early last month, developer Meteor Games told VentureBeat that Serf Wars was an attempt to refocus development on Facebook games that straddle multiple audiences, with battle elements to appeal to the male population and a beautiful art style to appeal to the female population of Facebook gamers. Since its March 7, 2011 launch, the game has climbed to a high of 11,870 monthly active users and 2,000 daily active users on AppData, our data tracking service.

As of press time, Serf Wars can be described as a game of empire building through mini-games. Players build and create a fantasy kingdom, train an army to attack others and play mini-games to fund this building and training. The look and feel of Serf Wars is reminiscent of fantasy fairytale lands, from the whimsical art style to the “magic beans” premium  currency. The game mechanics are simple, with only gold and food as the two main resource requirements. Food is grown by building farms and is required to feed the population and the armies. Gold is gained through daily taxes collected from the population and through mini-games, which players can then spend on building and training. Other items required for particular buildings and army training activities are also earned through playing mini-games.

Like other Facebook RTS games such as Backyard Monsters and Kingdoms of Camelot, Serf Wars monetizes mainly through the sale of resources for building and reducing the time to build or upgrade structures. The game also monetizes by restricting the number of mini-games a player can use to earn gold by requiring tokens per play, which can only be gifted by friends or bought with magic beans. Certain mini-games are also unlocked through magic beans only.

Random events also occur while players are logged in the game, such as cats in trees which have to be rescued and fires that need to be put out. These events add a little flavor to the game and earn the player small sums of gold and/or experience. The battle element in Serf Wars is currently limited to attacking your friends by pitting your armies against theirs. World maps and the ability to ally with your friends to attack others are forthcoming, as is more content for the game.

On April 18, Meteor Games announced that Serf Wars’ game design would move away from its current gameplay format to more quest-based and traditional RTS game play. We will be keeping a close eye on that transition and its impact on the game’s MAU and DAU. Interested readers can also follow the growth of this game via Appdata, our data tracking service.