A Look at RockYou’s Hero World

RockYou!‘s Hero World is a Facebook role-playing game that has built a solid user base of 6.5 million monthly active users accumulated since it launched last year. It has all the fixings of a traditional Facebook RPG, but with some twists that make it a bit more interesting.

In Hero World, the experience starts out familiar enough. Players create an avatar, and proceed to do missions, earning experience, losing energy, and collecting some hard earned cash. This is all fairly standard, but under the missions tab there are more than just simple quests, there are also bosses, adventures, and epic battles.

While there were, sadly, no epic battles for us to participate in, we were able to check out the bosses and adventures sections. Bosses, will be a bit familiar to console RPG players, as the game allows you to battle non-player characters in a basic, blow-trading fashion. Players select an ability to use, and based on random number generation, it either misses the boss or does X amount of damage. Periodically, the boss also attacks, and it’s rinse and repeat until someone loses.

What is most interesting, however, is that when players defeat a boss, they are able to use a consumable statistic called “Power Points” to absorb that enemy’s special attacks. This becomes an interesting choice for the player, as the abilities (at least early on) cost around 40 Power Points, and said points are also used to level up other stats such as energy, attack, and defense.

The points are primarily earned by leveling up, but luckily, there are a few more interesting means of earning them – not to mention cash and experience – in the form of Adventures.

In this mode, players are given the task of finding a particular boss and defeating them. Here’s the trick: Players appear as an icon of themselves on a top-down map and move through multiple paths to try and find them. Furthermore, in order to face the enemy, one must find all three of their treasures as well (thankfully, these are marked). There is one other major gimmick, though, and that is that players cannot replenish their health or energy during the adventure (through normal means anyway), and as they move about the map there are random battles, events, and surprises that will either help or hinder your progress.

This is where RockYou does something interesting. Yes, you can buy items for your character using in-game currency or the virtual currency Hero Points. Yes, it gives you an advantage over other players, but the social developer takes it one step further and adds areas on the map where “Medics” are located. These medics can actually heal your hero, for the cost of the virtual currency, and since the rewards for adventures are quite valuable (Hero Points and “exclusive” items), it is highly tempting to purchase a few.

Beyond this unique element, other features include customizing your avatar, eventually decorating a virtual base (which also earns periodic income), and your standard RPG inclusion of player versus player in the Arena. They are a bit less involved and interesting than the adventure mode, but all still lend themselves nicely to the overall application.

Socially, the game has all the goodies players are used to in Facebook RPGs. Other than the Arena, players can compete via leaderboards, post achievements to feeds, and interestingly enough, recruit up to 15 friends to give your hero stat boosts in-game. This includes stats such as damage, armor, and even luck on adventures. What is most notable about this, is that the inclusion of friends only helps a user, whereas other, older, RPGs often require absurd numbers of them in order to progress.

Honestly, as far as Facebook games go, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about. The level of initial customization is a bit lacking as you can only change skin color, hair, and sex. Moreover, the hero themselves looks a bit stiff and unnatural in their quasi-heroic pose. Of course, this is all picking nits, and it will really come down to whether or not you like these types of games, and superheroes in general.