The concept of MMORPGs is that all the makers of the game have to do is provide players with a platform. The platform should be understandable, coherent and reliable, and in the end, that is just what MMORPGs are made of – an environment where one can play the same game with other players online.
The platform can be anything, and the fact that Spacetime Studios was able to squeeze in a 3D MMORPG into an iPhone is a feat all by itself.
The gaming platform is a tried and tested game concept – an RPG alone is already a call to a global market of gamers. Add the massive multiplayer capability, and Spacetime Studio servers should be all too busy for anything else. However, such is not the case.
The Game Environment of Pocket Legends
Pocket legends starts with a choice of three character classes, standard enough for any RPG. You have a home base, the Ye Olde Towne, where all players are safe from monsters. Trading, teams and missions are made here – the safe harbor of the multiplayer environment is where everything begins.
The game is all about leveling up, getting better weapons, fighting monsters – at least that is what it is in the free version. But Spacetime Studios put a level cap on the free version as well as a 15 level maze limit before you have to start purchasing from Spacetime Studios either additional mazes, more missions and more online environments. And this goes on level after level, maze after maze – you have to keep paying to play the game, even if it was free at the start.
The economics of Pocket Legends is difficult to understand. A game like WoW is a paid subscription, but you are free to play all levels if you can. With Pocket Legends, you pay as you go – the system might work with a prepaid cell phone service, but for MMORPGs?
The Real Secret of a Successful MMORPG
Remember the children? They can play with a box, and that can keep them happy for hours on end, even if it is just a box. The secret to MMORPGs is the same – it is not the box, but the children, and how much they can do with the box.
Even a free iPhone game like Pocket Legends should be enjoyable, if a box will do it for kids. But the players have to be happy with the gaming environment, or at the very least, free enough to do what they will. In Pocket Legends, the environment is restricted from the start – a level cap and a set of 15 mazes. You can probably avoid fighting to keep under the level cap – but that means staying in the Ye Olde Town as long as you can and keep from fighting. Where’s the fun in that?
Getting the Balance Just Right
If players are kept wanting for more, that is always good for the game developer. But players should also be kept happy, and under the rules of Pocket Legends, they can only be happy for a while before they start playing. The perfect MMORPG strikes the right balance between players wanting more and being happy – a difficult thing, to be sure, but necessary just the same.
The free version might be just a little too good, making the players want more out of the game, but the weird arrangement regarding payments to Spacetime Studios makes few players happy. And with less players advancing to the paid version of Pocket Legends, the MMORPG factor loses its attraction quickly – if you are still paying but playing alone, it doesn’t make much sense to go on with Pocket Legends, even if the MMORPG platform rocks.
Developed By: Pocket Legends
Requirements: Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Compatible With: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
Other OS: Android, Facebook