Here’s a new app that could make a big splash on Facebook. The game is Burning Realms, and if it could be compared to anything, it would be most comparable to Diablo by Blizzard Entertainment. That said, that means Zynga has some serious steps to follow, as the Diablo series is one of the most popular online games ever made.
Burning Realms is an isometric hack and slash type RPG in which players travel to a section of the map, slay some baddies and improve their character. Each player starts out in a forest and kills a few goblins as they learn how to play and utilize a set of six abilities to fight against one, or many creatures. As you play and level up you find treasures and equipment to sell in town and unlock new areas to explore.
What is nice about this game, however, is that you can actually see your character and what they are wearing when you equip it. Unfortunately, it would be nice if you could change your character around a little bit to begin with. It also seems like there is not much variety in classes or abilities, but maybe that is unlocked at the higher levels (unfortunately it is tough to get there since things are being reset due to beta). Granted, the game is still a lot of fun compared to most Facebook RPG titles, but one of the many elements that made Diablo (Diablo II especially) so phenomenal was all of the different spells and classes players could choose and use.
Zynga also still utilizes the energy system in this game, but finally it is not as great a hindrance to fast paced play as it was in previous titles. In a lot of RPGs that utilize energy systems (doing anything uses up energy and you have to wait for it to recharge), you end up sitting on your butt a lot (no pun intended). However in Burning Realms, you are actually actively doing something while your energy recharges.
Nevertheless, while this title is a nice change from most text based RPGs, it can become stagnant. Granted, it is in beta testing, so a lot of improvements are yet to be made, but overall the combat does become repetitive after a while. The lack of variety is what limits the game the most (spells, classes, bosses, etc). Sure, you can customize your stats somewhat when you level up and this changes game play to a small degree, but the overall repetitive nature with little variety certainly needs to be addressed.
The final assessment of Burning Realms is that it is an interesting game still in beta testing, but Zynga will most certainly use early player data to make improvements. While the game is repetitive now, it has the potential to be a phenomenal hit on Facebook. Diablo was a tremendously successful game that Blizzard created a community for (Battle.net) – think how successful a social version of that game could be when already built into a gargantuan platform like Facebook. Granted, this app is far from the level of the Diablo series (then again, most games are) but it is definitely on the right track, and one can only hope that they do get there.