Dateline Jan. 20, 2003: Imperial Wars: Another Spin on Cooperative Online Gaming

June 4th, 2010

What do you get when you cross TerraQuest, Traveller and The Beast? You get Imperial Wars. Five years in development, it combines some of the best elements of immersive campaigning and role playing without requiring anyone to give up their real job, families, or both!

You can read the [www.ogcan.com/article.php?sid=553″ full article] on OGCAN.

The creator of Imperial Wars, Intelligent Life Games, describes the core element as the metagame. The metagame is “that cool stuff that happens outside of the game rules, where people talk across the table, make local rules and generally enjoy the social aspects of an activity with others.” Essentially, the stuff that happens in the Iwars Universe facilitates the metagame.

According to Scott Miller, PR man for Imperial Wars, “In the game is full email and instant messenger, whose address books are populated as you meet the other Starlords in your own pocket universe. But maybe the best thing about the game is the ease with which it fits itself into your lifestyle and yet retains the immersive quality of a long-term game. Unlike games that demand your complete and full attention, IWars co-exists with the rest of your life. It brings back not only the really fun social aspects of gaming but also those wonderful lost emotions of anticipation and contemplation. This is not a game for everyone; it’s not the long-awaited breakthrough game of the Internet masses. The target is much higher than that. We just wanted to make the most fun game that we could think of. ”

IWars is different because it has its roots in older Play By Mail (PBM) games rather than persistent worlds like Ultima Online and even Colossal Cave. The game development started five years ago and was intended from the outset to use tools players already are familiar with, such as email and IM.

Imperial Wars recently completed their closed beta and is now accepting applications for the [public playtest]. The game universe includes 350 diverse worlds traversed by hundreds of star fleets. The revenue model for the game will be based on turns with other elements of the game available for free. Turns are expected to cost $3.95 each with a monthly cap of $10.99 for games with faster paced activity.

Because the focus of the gameplay is based on interaction and strategy, players have no need to engage in time-consuming activities to build their status or increase levels. The initial game pace will seem slow for players unaccustomed to this form of gaming, but as you meet other ‘Starlords’ and encounter more of the universe, the number of options available and time required to effectively execute your strategy will increase to meet whatever amount of time you intend to spend.

With the information I gathered from the article, the positive discussion on how the gameplay progresses, and my affinity to sci-fi plots, I’m very excited to see how this game turns out when it launches.

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