Imagine a world where Diablo and mobile kingdom building games collide. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is just that game and for the most part it works.
In TMQfEL, which is an unmarketable acronym, players select a character and embark on a quest to build up their own dungeon while raiding others. It’s a really creative idea: instead of putting in randomly generated dungeons, simply have players make them for you. At the beginning of the game, players choose from three different characters: archer, knight and mage, the latter being unavailable in the beta. Players then head into dungeon like castles from a top down perspective that plays very similar to the Torchlight series. The actual gameplay is pretty satisfying. While playing as the knight during the beta, it was a joy to hit the cleave button and decimate enemies with an oversized two handed weapon.
The overall meta game is very similar to how mobile games from Kabam, like Hobbit: Kingdoms and Kingdoms of Camelot, play. Players build parts of their castle that will allow them to generate gold, place monsters and upgrade their hero’s weapons. Then instead of sending out troops to raid other player’s castles, the player just does it themselves and gains loot in the process, which in turn can be used to improve the player and their castle. When players raid your castle, it’s recorded on a replay so you can see how to organize your castle better or just enjoy watching your creation cut an adventurer down to size. It’s a very cleverly designed game, except for the monetization.
After putting down, for instance, a summoning portal, a player has to wait a certain amount of time for it to actual be complete before they can have anything else built in the castle. Of course you have the ability to use real money currency to speed it up! It’s one of the slowest and dullest ways to monetize a free to play game, but it works in a mobile setting, because a player doesn’t usually engage in a mobile game for long periods of time. On a PC it doesn’t work quite as well.
Usually when I find myself waiting for a piece in my castle to build, I head out and attack other castles and gain levels. The problem is when doing that is no longer a beneficial alternative to advancing my progress in the game. At a certain point I found myself wanting to level up, but unable to because I had to upgrade the hero trainer so he would be able to train my hero. Unfortunately, I already had a building being upgraded and you can only have two buildings being upgraded or built at the same time. I was left with three options in the game. I could either spend cash currency to instantly finish the building, hire another builder which would cost even more cash currency or storm a castle and have all the XP I earn go to waste. I chose the fourth option: turn the game off and play something else.
That’s the problem I can see happening with this game. Players might get bored or stuck and when the option pops up saying this would all go away if they would fork over some cash, they might instead just get fed up and shut it down. I know I did. Regardless, I will probably be playing TMQfEL when it comes out. I enjoy the art style, the combat and trying to find the best way to layout my dungeon is addicting. I only hope the abrasiveness of monetization is toned down when the game goes live.