Mobile-social game developer and publisher Game Insight recently launched Dragon Eternity for iPad, a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).
The free-to-play title features cross-platform play between the iPad version and browser-based version, which first launched in open beta last year, and now has more than one million users around the globe. The game’s cross-platform play allows for synchronous gameplay between players on either iPad or the web. Users can also stop and continue their play session from any platform, a feature more and more mobile games are starting to implement and see success with, such as King’s Candy Crush Saga.
Game Insight founder and CEO Alisa Chumachenko told Inside Mobile Apps that although Game Insight has seen success from their casual titles, a game for core players like Dragon Eternity was always in the back of the team’s minds.
“While we definitely enjoy creating more casual titles for social and mobile, and have seen great success from games like Paradise Island, Airport City, and The Tribez, Dragon Eternity was something of a passion project for us,” she says.
Chumachenko as well as other Game Insight employees love MMO games, she says. So much so that gameplay elements of what makes an MMO title, like consistent content updates and encouragement for players to participate in social media and connect with other players in a game, are already present in Game Insight’s titles.
“We love the social aspects of modern mobile-social games, such as asynchronous turn-based play and social sharing,” Chumanchenko says. “But there’s no social experience quite like the sense of camaraderie that develops in a MMO. Players eagerly await the release of MMOs, longing for the depth of gameplay, exploring and conquering a huge, persistent world, and doing it all with your friends at your side.”
In Dragon Eternity, players join either Vaalor or Sadar, two rival empires clashing for domination over the world of Adan. Users can then choose from three different character classes — the Paladin, the Berserk, or the Witcher — to use for progressing through the game packed with more than 1,000 quests and 30 armor sets to collect. On top selecting a character class, players can also take on nine different harvesting and crafting professions, acquire gear through an in-game auction house, or participate in five different player-versus-player modes, including Seven Bridges of Shadan, Arena of Honor, Tournament of Honor, King of the Hill and Sea Battles.
Users can travel through the world of Adan, battle through dungeons filled with monsters (more than 500 different types of monsters in the game), ally with political factions, and form alliances with other players, creating massive warrior clans. The core player-versus-enemy gameplay loop involves the player battling enemies in a turn-based fashion, where a player chooses one of three actions — attack, defend or mana — and collects the spoils dropped by the enemies.
Since Dragon Eternity is free-to-play, the game does offer an optional premium currency, which can be used for buying convenience-based services and some items from the in-game store. Players can acquire as-good or better gear by just playing the game. There’s also prestige items and exclusive armor sets, which can only be acquired by completing quests or mastering a PvP mode.
Dragon Eternity is a core game for core game players. Many of the best performing mobile games in terms of downloads and revenues are casual games such as Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Even mid-core games like Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North and GREE’s Modern War are consistently at the top of the top grossing apps charts. Chumachenko says she saw the mobile gaming industry touting mid-core as the next step for the industry, but she now sees core games as the next trend. Although this isn’t saying Game Insight is moving away from casual.
“There are definitely still many mobile users who regularly look for the latest and greatest games every week, but there’s also a developing audience of players who are more receptive to core games, and are willing to spend more time playing a single mobile game that they keep coming back to,” Chumachenko adds.
The Moscow-headquartered Game Insight, which was founded in 2010, may be unfamiliar to some in the U.S., but the company is well known in its home country, with 140 million users worldwide and has a staff of 500 people working for the more than 10 different game studios under the Game Insight umbrella.
Game Insight recently landed $25 million in funding from Moscow-based investment firm IMI.VC, which is led by Game Insight board member Igor Matsanyuk. Game Insight said the new influx in cash will be injected into the game studio’s product pipeline as well as for growing its game portfolio. Additionally, the company said it planned to spread out development resources to more than 10 of its studios, move into emerging markets worldwide and increase marketing initiatives for its current and upcoming games. Chumachenko said in a statement that the new funds will help solidify the Russian company’s position in key regions and aggressively expand into countries with emerging mobile markets.
According to our traffic tracking service AppData, since launching on March 28, Dragon Eternity has already reached as high as the No. 7 spot on the top free iPad apps chart.
The game is available now for iPad and is coming later this year to Android and Facebook, which will feature cross-platform play as well. Read our review of the game from our sister site, Inside Social Games.