In a dramatic change from its past games like Happy Aquarium and It Girl, developer Crowdstar is now targeting a different demographic on Facebook with hardcore strategy-combat game, Wasteland Empires. The title is currently in open alpha.
According to our traffic tracking service, AppData, Wasteland Empires currently has 150,000 monthly active users and 30,000 daily active users.
Like other Facebook strategy games aimed at the “hardcore” player, Wasteland Empires puts players in the role of a leader responsible for building structures that produce units, which can then be led into battle against other players and non-playable character factions. Building structures and creating units is dependent on resource gathering — some which can be collected from certain structures like farms, and some of which the player finds by scavenging ruins or attacking other settlements. Special items like rope or metal are also required to complete structures, which is where Wasteland Empires works in its monetizaiton, social features, and impetus for attacking other players, as these are the only ways to get special items.
Currently, combat in the game is asynchronous — and Crowdstar means to keep it that way as Facebook is a naturally asynchronous platform. Players can view a map on which several other players’ settlements are visible, and mouse over each to see a quick snapshot of that settlement’s capabilities — including a difficulty ranking for how hard it will be to defeat that settlement. Once confirming the decision to attack, the player is taken to the opponent’s settlement and can choose which of their units to send in by class type (scouts, clubbers, etc.). While in combat, the player can control up to six different unit types at once, sending each type to different places in the settlement for an element of strategy. The only defenses currently live in the game are weapons towers constructed by the opponent.
While in combat, a reputation scale indicates the player’s progress. The scale shows an orange bar to the left of a skull icon and an empty bar to the right of it — the player depletes that orange bar as they destroy opponent structures. Once the orange has run all the way down to the skull icon, they player is deemed as winning the battle and a blue bar begins to build to the right of the skull. Attacks end when all structures are destroyed, when a timer expires, or when the player runs out of units. A percentage of resources is then awarded to the player, along with special items. If a player is attacking an equally matched or higher level player, the skull icon on the scale is moved more toward the middle or far left of the scale, meaning that the player can achieve victory more quickly. If the player is attacking a lower level character, the “win” point moves farther to the right, meaning the player will have to destroy almost all structures in a settlement to achieve a win.
The things that makes Wasteland Empires stand out are the setting — a post apocalyptic Earth — and a colonist-to-combat-unit ratio restriction that the player must balance while building structures and training units. The player can only have 50% of its population earmarked for combat units; the rest, the player can use to clear the land around the settlement and to build new structures. There is also a tech tree that the player can advance by building certain structures or researching different technologies, but this is something we’ve seen in other strategy games on Facebook.
User acquisition is going to be a challenge for Wasteland Empires. Given Crowdstar’s current lineup of women-oriented games, it’s almost impossible to leverage cross promotion of the developer’s 11.8 million MAU and 1 million DAU user base. The developer tells us it will be actively recruiting users from different demographics, although it declined to name the acquisition companies with which Crowdstar works. We do know that Crowdstar is a client of Facebook ad service Nanigans.
Wasteland Empires monetizes through the sale of a premium currency, gold, which is mainly used for speeding up building construction. Interestingly, players can also earn gold by leveling up in addition to purchasing batches of it with Facebook Credits. Social features are currently limited to gifting special resources. Wasteland Empires does not allow players to attack friends and there is no alliance or chat feature in place.
Crowdstar is officially revealing Wasteland Empires today by adding its brand to the existing alpha product on Facebook. You can follow the game’s progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.