The lights are on
Chair Entertainment launched its ambitious ClashMob update for Infinity Blade II last Thursday. How did it hold up to thousands of players hacking away at titans together?
First off, it should be noted that the ClashMob is categorized as in beta, which means everyone should expect a few hiccups. While there were a few errors in my time playing, the overall experience shows a lot of promise.
If you're not familiar with this new mode, it's an inventive way to bring multiplayer to the Infinity Blade II experience. No, you're not directly fighting other players; you're working with them to take down beasts with millions of hit points and other tasks. It's sort of like an asynchronous MMO raid. You get 30 seconds to fight it and all of the hit points you took of go into the global pool. In the menus you can watch the foe's health slowly deplete and see how many of your fellow warriors tried to take it on. If everyone is successful, they all receive a pre-specified reward like an awesome weapon or a pile of in-game cash. If they fail, then no one gets anything. But there's always another challenge around the corner.
This past weekend there were always at least three to four challenges happening at once, and several more on the horizon. Sometimes you had to completely kill a weaker enemy inside the 30-second time window. Other times players started in the mouths of monsters and had to tap the screen quickly to hold its jaws open for as many seconds as possible. The only non-combat challenge tasks players with tapping as many gold bags as possible within the time limit. One thing was clear from these challenges and others set to debut today, Chair seems constantly open to variety no matter how crazy the objective.
Players are connected to their friends via Mobs. If someone owns Infinity Blade II and participates in ClashMobs, they'll automatically appear in your Mob. The more friends you have, the more bonuses you get for every challenge you complete, ranging from extra in-game cash to more turns to additional time to battle enemies.
When things first kicked off for me, I had been playing a bunch of the single player game while waiting for the first challenges to activate. Every time I checked back, the countdown never seemed to run down. It was persistently stuck at two hours. By the time some of the challenges did come online for me, one of them expired instantly (Gold in the Sand). This inaccurate clock remained an issue for a couple days until I decided to completely close down the app and restart it. It totally fixes the problem, but it's not ideal. The system needs some kind of manual refresh button in the menus or just has to do a better job of doing it automatically.
This could also be connected to some of the challenges I did complete, but didn't get rewarded for. Looking through my list of losses I saw some quests that I could have sworn I completed, but they're listed under "Expired" with the results saying "Did not qualify." I know for sure that I finished the "On the Spot" challenge, but the results now show up as failed. Perhaps I was seeing an inaccurate countdown and the challenge was already over when I attempted it. The lesson once again, at least at this state, is to always completely shut down the app.
Size and time limits for challenges are still in flux. Of course, nobody knew how many players would participate in ClashMobs right out of the gate so it would be extremely tough to estimate. Of the 17 current quests as of this writing, the mobs have failed four of them and it's possible some current challenges aren't going to make it. I don't want all of them to be super easy, but I do want them to be attainable based on a realistic account of the amount of people playing. You can send out alerts over Facebook, Twitter, Game Center, and email to pressure your friends into their mob duties, but usually that's a quick way to be unfriended.
Speaking of Facebook, it's required to access ClashMob in any fashion. It doesn't seem to mess with your account much outside of accessing some of your info (no automatic feed posts), but I have to wonder how many people turned off by the social network will just never try ClashMobs at all. Apple's Game Center was created to handle this very thing so it's unclear why Facebook had to be brought in. In the official Infinity Blade II FAQ, Chair teases that Facebook also provides "the infrastructure for some of the cool stuff we've got planned for future updates." So we'll see what that turns out to be.
Despite ClashMob's current beta kinks, it's got loads of potential. I was excited to check off quests and earn money and items. And while I may not virtually harass my friends and coworkers to join my Mob, I have done so in person quite heavily. I want that $15,000 bonus that comes with having 25 people, okay!?
Have you tried out the ClashMobs yet? If so, what do you think about them so far?
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Too bad this isn't on Android, looks pretty cool but requiring social integration is a definite negative.
Eh it's okey. I miss beating the crap outa people on multiplayer on the first one lol
it needs some refinement, and they should probably look at the stats to nail down exactly what the challenges should be, so they are not to easy or overly difficult to accomplish.
I just got Infinity Blade 1 last week and just beat it over the weekend, so I am definitely going to have to pick up 2.
Curse me and my non-gaming mobile device!
The concept is cool, I haven't really heard of the particular concept implemented before.
I love this idea, but wish it was on Android :/
So far I have only played these stupid things where you have to collect gold bags over a certain time frame... it was kinda lame...
Hmmm I liked the first IB, but I'm kind of sick of playing games on my phone now that I got the 3DS and Vita. No thanks.