As I previously posted, I’ve been playing Shadow Cities on my iPad – and been thoroughly hooked on it. As the game is constantly in change and progress is made even during each campaign, the nature of the game can change quickly. This week’s theme was fighting and few changes were deployed to make game more focused on conquering and fighting – instead of experiencing FarmVille in different setting.
Harvesting energy from energy gateways was possible only by being physically on the location – which gave huge advantage to players living and moving in densely populated areas. Similarly large bonuses were given conquering new gateways and turning gateways over from enemy dominance. It was interesting to see how game dynamics changed with each adjustment and how fast players created new strategies to exploit the game system.
No-one really knows what the game will eventually be and during the week it was also clear that developers themselves were clueless from time to time on what effects their changes to the game system have. Afterwards it is clear why those actions had such effects, but during the game developers either do not even try to think things systematically through or are unable to anticipate the ways and means of ingenious players. Most likely little bit of both. But the good thing is that Grey Area Labs is having open and frank dialogue with players and is actively trying to make changes which make the game better and more interesting for players.
They still have lots of work to do before the game is ready for global launch – and they do need to test more different game system settings to find the best combinations for different kind of campaigns and situations. Similarly they do need to beef up efforts in communication and narrative of the game.
On my non gameplay-wish list I have following simple things:
- Better and more complete leaderboards for different types of players: harvesters, fighters, healers etc.
- Cornucopia of statistics about the game: which gateways were most contested, where were most active beacons etc. etc.
- Better in game communications to enable users to trashtalk to each other
- Official forum for discussion: place open for all kinds of discussion and even campaign trashtalk
If you haven’t yet tried the game out, I highly recommend it.