Social Empires developer Social Point has completely revamped and rebranded its Facebook-based strategy game Men Vs Women, which we first looked at back in December, and dubbed it Social Wars.
Rather than basing the game on a literal “battle of the sexes” as before, men and women now live together in harmony and cooperate to conquer an alien threat. The game has been gaining rapid traction since its rebrand and is the seventh fastest growing Facebook game by MAU this week. According to a post on the official forums, the change in the game was not because Social Point considered it to be sexist — rather, it was an attempt to add more action and interest to the title. The new thematic elements — particularly the Orc antagonists — also strongly resemble Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe, adding a degree of recognizable appeal to the game’s setting.
Social Wars is a real-time strategy game in which players build up a base and its defenses, train a variety of attacking and defensive units and then fend of the invading Orc armies in a series of missions. Alongside this, players are also able to challenge other players to battles and take on a series of self-contained challenge missions on special maps.
The game superficially resembles titles like Zynga’s Empires & Allies, but gameplay is actually more reminiscent of popular PC real-time strategy titles such as StarCraft and the Command & Conquer series. Players are able to give direct orders to their forces on the map, moving and arranging them as they see fit. At the same time, the enemy forces are also moving, meaning that careful tactical placement and movement is key to success. In many situations, simply charging in all guns blazing will result in defeat, particularly when attacking a fortified enemy base. Unfortunately, the artificial intelligence that determines the paths by which the player’s units will move does not make the best decisions at times, often splitting forces too thinly across two alternative routes, wandering off in strange directions or inadvertently getting the attention of the enemy too early. Players’ units will fight back if attacked, but their prioritizing of targets is sometimes frustratingly bizarre. This means that combat in the game requires a frustrating and unnecessary degree of micromanagement at times, which may put off more casual players.
The game structure is arranged in such a way that there is always something to do. “Chapter” missions take place on the island upon which the player’s base is located and revolve around completing a specific objective in the local area. These may include fending off invading forces, rescuing prisoners or a variety of other tasks. Upon completing a Chapter, there is a four hour delay before the next one starts, but during that period players are able to take on a Weekly Challenge mission as well as make use of a “Harbor” structure to transport their forces to a self-contained mission map. Once players reach level 8, they are also able to launch assaults on nearby human-controlled bases — but conversely, they are also open to attack, making the building of defensive structures such as turrets essential.
The game features a comprehensive suite of social features with more to come in the future. At the present time, players are able to send gifts to one another; visit each others’ bases and help out; and engage in real-time chat. The game will shortly be adding an Alliance facility, allowing players to team up against common foes. Players gain additional rewards for having more friends playing, but the game is a little too pushy with the pop-up windows encouraging players to invite friends — especially as the appearance of this window often causes the game to break out of full-screen mode.
Social Wars is off to a strong start thus far. This is likely due to several factors: its gameplay offers a little more depth than other base-building fare; the real-time strategy elements make it likely to appeal to more “core” gamers; and the game’s monetization allows more impatient players to progress quicker by having stronger, more effective units. However, the degree of micromanagement required thanks to the game’s poor artificial intelligence will be off-putting to casual players, who may find it too difficult, and the game lacks a degree of polish, with a large number of spelling and grammatical errors in interface elements and notification/share windows blocking animated cutscenes at times. The “invite friends” popups could also do with being a little less obtrusive.
Social Wars currently has 3,500,000 monthly active users and 720,000 daily active users. You can follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
Needs some refinement, but players are already taking to Social Wars in droves. Social Point have the potential for a big hit on their hands.