What a week for pocket gaming!
There are new games in all of my favorite genres, from Star-Wars, to Game-of-Thrones (and I realize that those are not that far apart 🙂 ).
I find myself engaging more and more in the digital world that surrounds me every day. When you carry around an iPad, iPhone, MacBook, and iTouch, like I do; you cannot help but keep track of pocket-gaming for iOS. To top things off, this week, I happened to spend a large amount of time in transit from one place to another (14+ hours on a plan will make everyone crave some hardcore games). Even when I was stuck in a plane – with no internet – I was thinking about and wanting to play my new Game of the Week: Game of Thrones Ascent.
I know, you are probably as surprised as I am. If you know me and my passion for Game of Thrones, you would know that I have tried this game before, when it was just a common, and slightly buggy Facebook app. The transition to iOS (well iPad only) has captivated my attention and I find myself drawn to the app more and more throughout my day.
Game of Thrones Ascent was first produced and released by DisruptorBeam as a Facebook Application. About six months ago, I joined the craze and started to play through Facebook. As someone who actively hates Facebook, and is never signed in, I found it difficult to continue playing. So, why am I highlighting it now? This week, DisruptorBeam wizened up to the fact that RTS/RPG titles do really well on iOS (games like: Galaxy on Fire: Alliances, Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth, etc.) and released a iOS port of GOTA. You can download the app by clicking on this link.
I am definitely a big geek when it comes to the Song of Ice and Fire series. A few years ago, I read all of the books (well the first five… since somebody is taking forever to write the final two…). Since reading them for the first time, I have picked them up several more times to read and avidly watch the HBO Series (as well as being a member of the Nights Watch on HabitRPG).
That being said, I have engaged so much more in the app then I thought that I would. I think that this level of engagement comes down to the intricate gameplay mechanic that DisrptorBeam has put in place. Basically, there are three distinct foci within the game: Using Sworn Swords, Questing, and Leveling your Keep.
Using Sworn Swords
As you enter the game, you will find that there are a few mechanics that you have to figure out. The first is the idea of using Sworn Swords to complete tasks for you. Each Sword has its own advantages and areas of focus, based upon the main areas of the game (roughly: Fighting, Trading, and Spying). As you progress through the game, you will become more familiar with your Swords, and eventually get enough coin to purchase higher level Swords (I have a couple of peerless and I love them!). Basically, your Swords look like this:
Throughout the course of the game, you send out your swords to do your bidding. They complete quests, go on adventures, and compete against other lords to do your bidding. Swords do die though, so be careful to not send them to their deaths (which is five strikes against them). Each time a Sword completes an action, they gain experience allowing you to level and for you to choose their path in life (every level for the Sword allows you to choose a skill to add points to).
This is the primary gameplay mechanic even though it is not quite as fun as leveling your Swords.
The game is divided into five main quest lines. Each one covers a different aspect of the “Lore” from the Song of Ice and Fire Series. Quests look like this:
Each quest allows you to choose your stance on an issue and level up your character. There are three dichotomous relationships in the game: New Ways v. Old Ways; Cunning v. Truthful; Family v. Realm. As you answer questions in the Quest lines, you develop your skills in each side. I am tending to be a Cunning, Realm, New Ways quester myself.
Leveling your Keep
This single mechanic can take your entire life to figure out (at least I am pretty sure). Basically you start off with a few buildings on your keep. If you are a RTS player, you already know that you should always start by investing in whatever building gives you resources (in this case the Counting House). As you level, you can unlock more buildings, which allow you to produce more materials and items for your Swords.
Basically, this game is crazy complicated!
I am enjoying the gameplay and the fact that in about 72hrs of play, I have reached level 34 with a handful of peerless items.
If you want to quest with me, I am aligned with house Greyjoy under the name: Lord Podrick Farwynd. Happy Questing!