We’ve seen massively multiplayer titles built on Facebook in the past – such as Sacred Seasons and Vikings of Thule. The latest one comes from a pair of social developers hailing from Israel. The game is Kali’s Portal and places the user into a fantasy realm where they must travel the world in search of glory and treasure.
The now-beta version of the game has users create a simplified avatar portrait then dumps them right into the world of Kali. There is a minor tutorial to show the player how to navigate the menu system and pick up quests, but from here on out it seems to be a journey in fending for yourself as the flow of information stops upon the first quest’s completion.
Players walk around, as a purple dot, in an overhead view of a a fantasy-like forest, picking fights with random enemies, finding treasure, and hopefully completing a quest or two. The combat is completely voluntary (or at least it is at early levels). Upon entering a battle, the player is granted control of various units for their hero’s army and by timing a click on the enemy, (which is represented by a sort of attack bar with an arrow moving quickly up and down) they can inflict damage. As it seems, this army will eventually grow and contain a multitude of units such as archers, swordsman, catapults, and so on.
From the looks of things, the player can earn resources from battles and random treasure chests such as gold and wood. Combine these with some iron and you can build up your town to have training facilities for the aforementioned units. The question is: how do you get iron? Frankly, the game has yet to tell us, so we’re assuming it’s from quests and higher level enemies that have yet to be seen.
Ignoring that aspect of the game, we were at least able to train more swordsmen for our army… and upon exploring the world more, eventually ran out of health for our hero. This was curious as there were still eight swordsman left (represented by a small number on the bottom right of each unit when in battle). Why couldn’t those eight still fight? As a matter of fact, the hero that the user created is never even seen on the screen. So, why does its health matter? There is no noticeable justification for this choice, and really creates a disconnect from the game world.
Nonetheless, this whole army/real-time strategy concept seemed most promising. This was further exemplified by the fact that you can make allies and add their forces to yours, which creates expectations of grandiose battles.
Oh, but this is putting the cart in front of the horse as we come right back to the initial complaints. What are you supposed to do!? The player is forced to walk around, painfully slowly, mind you, and investigate every little thing to try and figure out how to do quests — they have no direction other than “kill this.” Well… all enemies are question marks, so it sort of becomes a game of Russian roulette as we try to find “this” and evidently, we still haven’t found the spider (necessary to get a health potion and finish the early quest).
Suffice to say, Kali’s Portal is a wonderful idea in regards to combining elements of real-time strategy with the MMORPG setting, but the execution is frustrating. Luckily, the game is in beta so fixes should certainly happen. Not knowing what to do is the quickest way to lose a potential player (as you can see by the results so far in AppData), and until we can actually proceed deeper into the game without losing our minds, there’s not much else we can say.