Kabam Looks to Repeat Previous Successes With Its New Facebook Strategy Title, Glory of Rome

The folks over at Kabam are expanding their collection of strategy games with a new Facebook launch, Glory of Rome. The successor to Kingdoms of Camelot, this title seeks to recreate the app’s popularity by tailoring itself for gamers seeking a more in-depth game play experience. Those that have played Kingdoms of Camelot, Evony, Verdonia, or other similar titles will quickly recognize almost all the features, excepting only handful of interesting social changes.

Players take the role of Dominus or Domina and are tasked with creating (or recreating) the Roman Empire in their own name. For experienced strategy player, the basics are not terribly difficult. There are six primary resource to monitor: food, lumber, stone, iron, silver, and population.

As one would expect, earning each of these is tied to structures that are built outside of the player’s main city. Filling up over the course of a day or so, players must return to claim the products, lest further harvesting cease. Additionally, silver is earned by taxes (which can be adjusted) and the population, which creates an actual labor force for resource buildings or troops for the army.

There are also entertainment buildings that can be placed, such as the Coliseum, to boost the happiness level of the player’s empire. What’s interesting is that happiness is not earned simply by placing a Coliseum. Doing so actually unlocks events, such as chariot races, that can be run. Some will boost happiness, while others (such as “Tax Day”) will boost coin.

Researching new technologies is also possible. Taking varying amounts of time to complete, these increase the efficiency of various game aspects such as labor and troops. Buildings can also be upgraded to boost efficiency as well; only this time, it affects features such as harvesting and production time.

Production time refers, mainly, to troops. Glory of Rome, like most of its predecessors, is a slow burn game, so users probably won’t be constructing any armies right away. Nevertheless, this eventually becomes the whole point of the game. As users queue up units for battle (with more unlocking as their respective buildings are upgraded), they can begin moving about the world map and waging war on other players.

Technically speaking, the game is a free-for-all, but as time goes on, the prospect of Alliances begins to unveil itself. Again, like past apps, these become prudent investments as new players are only protected from attack for a week or so.

Kabam has added in a few asynchronous social elements as well. Besides wall posts for special achievements, players can use friends to help expedite the building construction process. Early on, this isn’t wholly necessary, but as buildings and building upgrades reach higher levels, the time it takes to complete each can take several hours to over a day. Through a wall post, users can request help from friends, and clicks will shorten the construction time.

Another social mechanic worth mentioning is actually a lot like the typical Facebook role-playing game. In order to gain extra boosts, players can appoint a friend to a “General” role and receive a bonus to construction, troops, research, and so forth. If that weren’t enough, players are also granted the grace of a Roman god (which they choose at the beginning). Depending on the chosen deity, players can offer “sacrifices” to boost some particular stat by a percentage. As an example, Ceres can boost the amount of resources a player gathers. Furthermore, sacrifices are items that can be requested through yet more wall posts.

The biggest problem with Glory of Rome, is that despite the social additions it holds, it’s essentially a repeat of a well-worn concept. With its acquisition of WonderHill, which brought it Dragons of Atlantis,  Kabam now has three games in the same mold. This is understandable, since the company’s success is built on Kingdoms of Camelot, and a repeat performance is obviously desirable. But Kabam may also find itself pushing up against a limited number of players on Facebook who want to experience the same game concept, an ill that only a more original game could cure.