I’ve been on this journey of discovery, that largely started with the negative reaction the Diablo Immortal reaction had in the community as a whole. Sure there was the pent up disappointment that we had waiting for Diablo 4, but it seemed to go way further than that. There was a reaction that most of the Diablo fans had, myself included… that mobile gaming was somehow “not for them”. Right or wrong there has been an impression among PC and Console gamers that mobile gaming was something “casuals” did, and that serious gamers were playing games on other platforms. I am not even sure if this was ever the case, but it feels like things are changing drastically on this front, largely because mobile devices have improved greatly over when I was trying to play a Diablo clone on my Palm Pilot back in 2003. Like I have said before when I fail to understand something, I tend to pour myself into trying to figure it out, and as such I have been playing a lot more mobile games lately.
One of them is The Walking Dead Our World, which at face value appears to be a Pokemon Go clone for The Walking Dead. Sure I knew Pokemon Go fans were hardcore and established raids and such on a regular basis… but that more or less is in spite of the fact that Nintendo still refuses to accept that the internet is a thing that exists. Our World seems to be a game that takes the idea of PoGo but extends all of the things we have learned about clan/guild play and internet connectivity. As a solo player it is largely a game about clearing infestations, picking up supply caches and rescuing survivors. As a team however it changes drastically, and in truth were I not now part of an active clan I probably would have faded away from this game long before.
The game more or less suggests you join a group, and then suggests the ones that are active in your vicinity. The biggest problem I had was finding one that was not outwardly racist, trumpian, sexist or anti-LGBT. It was shocking to me to see just how many groups had something like that in their message, thankfully I found this one that seemed to be reasonable and largely focused on getting objectives done. Now I don’t know any of these people in real life, but they apparently live in the near vicinity of me… and a lot of the locations that get called out over chat are places in the surrounding communities. There is a Weekly Challenge system that involves performing a bunch of objectives and then unlocking rewards as a result. Last week I believe we made it through four maybe five of these challenge boards, each time earning really good loot and the in game “upgrade” currency. What I find the most interesting is that everything I see in the social chat that I largely just lurk in… mirrors the exact same behavior I have seen in MMO Guilds. They are all working together on a shared objective and focusing on specific things that they can bring to the table.
The game has this interesting system that allows players to drop a flare at a specific location, and then other players in your clan can teleport to that location and be able to farm the objectives there. I’ve seen this a few times when someone happened across an area with a cluster of epic missions for example. The game tends to follow the television shows, and if a character has a major role that week… then immediately following there will be a number of seasonal missions that show up awarding the cards related to that player. I’ve also seen my clan drop flares when they find a cluster of a specific type of walker needed for an objective… like over the last couple of days we have been working on killing armored walkers with Darryl, which as such lead to my load out in the above screenshot. It of course has a cash shop, and while it is pretty pushy about advertising what is for sale… it doesn’t appear like you actually need anything from it pending you are willing to wait things out. Similarly being in a clan tends to help make sure you are rolling in resources.
Mostly I found it shocking to see the exact same MMORPG behavior on a mobile platform. I will admit I largely thought that Pokemon Go and the dedication of those players… was more attributed to the source material and less something that you find on mobile devices in general. However as I have dug into Dragalia Lost I have run across some seemingly super hardcore players there as well. I think the tides are shifting, and maybe those of us who proclaim to be PC or Console gamers need to update our mindsets. Sure mobile gaming might be “not for you” but the low barrier of entry… and how well all of these games run on my $300 unlocked android phone… makes it accessible to a market that may not be able to purchase a Console or a Gaming PC… but is damned likely to have a mobile phone that they use as their primary source of internet access. As a developer I have watched the numbers skew over the last few years on the large site that I maintain professionally… and previously we used to see 10-15% of our users coming in off mobile devices. Now that has reached a point where 49% of our users are either on phones or tablets, which has created a massive shift in how we approach content. It is not shocking that game developers have started to do exactly the same thing. I may not be super happy with this trend, but I am now at least starting to understand it a bit more.