Review: Warlords on Facebook
A new medieval Mafia Wars clone that makes some serious improvements on its predecessors.
Warlords is, in my opinion, one of the best new games to come to Facebook. Think of it like a medieval version of Mafia Wars, but with some serious improvements. In Warlords you build a squad and do quests. You can also battle other players or allies. As you level up, new races become available to play and new quest lines open up as well. Warlords is still in beta but already has a fair following. I expect that this game will grow very quickly. I look forward to seeing what kind of changes are made as the game progresses out of infancy.
Cards and Allies
Being successful in Warlords is all about having the right cards. The cards are similar to that of Magic: The Gathering. Each card represents a member of your squad. The value of that squad member is shown in three stats: Health, Attack and Ready. Health is shown on the bottom right of the card and signified by a drop of blood. Attack is symbolized on the bottom middle of the card by weapons and a shield. Ready, shown on the bottom left, is the amount of turns a card must wait after being drawn before going into battle. Think of ready like the batters circle in baseball.
As you gain money and levels, you can upgrade your squad by buying and selling cards in the Barracks. What you will want to consider when purchasing cards depends on the type of squad you want to build. Cards that can come in to play with very little ready time typically do little damage, have little health, or both. Each card has its own strengths and weaknesses. Higher level cards also gain special bonuses like doing double damage to infantry or they have special armour that blocks damage from any attack. There are also some cards that heal or only defend. The variety of different cards allows the game to stay very dynamic and fun. Every battle will pose its own challenges.
Although your squad size doesn't change, you can buy extra cards and swap out squad members at any time. This means you can customize your squad for any battle. The amount of cards you can own is dependant on the amount of allies you have. Allies represent friends you have recruited to play Warlords or who already have Warlords installed and have accepted your ally request. You can fight your allies or send them treasure, which allows them to do special quests.
Quests and Battles
To gain experience in Warlords you need to either do quests, or battle other warlords. This is where the game shines. Unlike other popular Facebook games like Mafia Wars or D&D Tiny Adventures, there is actually a fight sequence in Warlords. Warlords is taking a big step forward in interactive gaming on Facebook and it is rather impressive. A battle in Warlords consists of your squad and the enemy squad duking it out one turn at a time.
Each player draws one random card per turn. That card goes into Ready status. The Ready status on each card signifies how long it will wait before going into play. During each turn the Ready count on the card is reduced by one. Once it reaches zero the card comes into play. Coming into play means it can attack and be attacked. Here the game starts to look even more like Magic: The Gathering. Cards can only attack their direct opponent unless they have a special attack. If they have no direct opponent then they will attack the morale of the enemy squad. There are two ways to win a battle. Defeat all the enemy squad members or bring the enemy morale to zero. Battles and quests each bring in a different amount of experience and coin.
Treasure and Treasure Quests
Treasure, and the corresponding treasure quests, is one area where Warlords falls a little short. Since the game is still in beta, and changes constantly being made, I am confident that this portion of the game will become more interesting in time. Treasures are special items that you can gift to your allies so they can do the Treasure Quests. Treasures can also be purchased by players. You can only do the Treasure Quests if you have the required treasure. Each Treasure Quest has a mastery bar, when you do the quest the bar fills up a little. You have to repeat the quest until the bar is full, exactly like other popular social quest games.
This section of the game looks as polished as the rest, meaning it looks awesome, but the content is lack-luster. The quest descriptions would be very cool if they were one time missions only, but having to do the same mission over and over again makes no sense in these cases. For example, the first quest states that scouts have found the hideout of an evil wizard. You must sneak past his guard to slay him, thus stopping the wizard from opening up a portal that will allow undead to spill through and take over. Once the quest has been completed you get a message of congratulations. You have “destroyed their plans” of opening a portal. It reads poorly, but besides that, how can this quest be done again? You have supposedly killed the evil wizard. If a little more care had been taken in the writing of these quests, then perhaps they would hold more interest, but right now they are the game's lowest point in my opinion.
The Oracle and the Oracle's Temple
The Oracle will help you in your quest to become the most powerful Warlord in the land by giving you Favor points and granting you coin and experience when you demonstrate you knowledge of battle. Favor points allow you to refill your energy or stamina, gain more coin, or allow you to have more slots for squad members. You can buy Favor points with real world money or by completing special offers like doing surveys. There are also Oracle quests called the Oracle's Temple, which are multiple choice questions. Typically a question will be asked and you have to choose one of three squad cards to answer the question correctly. You will gain coin and experience for each properly answered question. A player will have new questions opened up each level.
The end result is that Warlords is fun. This is a great looking, addictive Facebook game even though it is still in beta. I can spend hours fighting and questing. Battling other Warlords is more challenging then battling players in other games. The choices you make in building your squad can make or break you. Some may find this frustrating, but I think Warlords will find a place in many more peoples Facebook bookmarks. It is already getting all kinds of attention and growing by tens of thousands of players every week. Personally, I will be continuing to play Warlords and I look forward to seeing exactly how far the developers can take this game.