The TV drama "Game of Thrones" has caught so many people's eyes all around the world. Though there're still 3 months till the season 5 come out, HBO has released a trailer together with several photos of the Game of Thrones season 5 recently, which really made me excited.
Of course I'm not going to talk about the drama here. As a fan of Game of Thrones, today I'm gonna introduce a mobile game based on this popular drama: Game of Thrones: Ascent.
Game of Thrones: Ascent is a Facebook game and came to mobile platform last year. The game casts players as the minor lords in the story. Over the course of the game's prologue, players become a noble, swear fealty to one of the iconic houses from the series, build up their holdings and begin to establish their own style of rulership over their domain.
Download the game here
In Game of Thrones: Ascent, you collect resources like iron, wood, and silver currency, and use them to gradually build up a stronghold and connected civic buildings, and to recruit and equip a retinue of followers called Sworn Swords. All of these are the strategy elements of this game.
Sometimes the player will need to send their "Sworn Swords" out on missions further afield. When this happens, the player may choose any of their hired Sworn Swords, equip them with items to improve their capabilities in battle, trade and/or intrigue, then choose how they are going to handle the situation in question. An estimation of how likely they are to succeed at the various actions is provided, and the Sworn Sword is then sent on their way to carry out the mission, which takes a period of real time to complete. When the mission is completed, the player is given a report as to how it went, and rewarded if it was successful. While these missions are still a fairly "hands off" affair, the fact that the player may choose one of a wide number of ways for the Sworn Sword to complete the task gives a much greater feeling of control and choice than many other similar titles.
Sadly, the adventure system is where the free-to-play aspects really start to take effect. That immersive feeling the game has worked so hard to build up is disrupted all of a sudden. Quests require you to send a Sworn Sword, you see, but almost everything in Game of Thrones: Ascent is blocked by a timer you can pay to speed up.
The game monetizes primarily through the sales of hard currency, which is used to buy very effective premium items that boost the player and their Sworn Swords' statistics considerably, making completing some missions much easier. Hard currency may also be used to purchase items that make real-time waits pass more quickly. Again, the game seems perfectly playable without spending any money, but it's likely that more difficult challenges — particularly those involving other, more powerful players — will require the more effective equipment only purchasable with premium currency.
On the whole, Game of Thrones: Ascent is an excellent game that is nicely accessible to casual players, but which provides a considerable amount of depth that will appeal to players of hardcore standalone strategy games. The game reminds me a lot of the sort of mass participation browser-based strategy games that were popular in the early days.
Winter is coming, are you ready?