There’s a new mobile game app in town, and it’s called Mobile Strike. You may have seen advertisements and promotional material featuring the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Launched in November 2015, Mobile Strike is the 11th top grossing app on Google Play Australia as at 7 January 2016. (I was unable to obtain any data on iTunes sales at the time of publication, but this can be added when it comes to hand).
Shortly after its launch, at the behest of one of my fellow alliance members in Game of War: Fire Age, I downloaded Mobile Strike to give it a shot, and see what it was like. And not surprisingly, the first thing I noticed…
#1. Mobile Strike is a re-skinned, repackaged, rebranded version of Game of War: Fire Age
If you are a seasoned Game of War: Fire Age player, you have probably figured out where this is going. Mobile Strike has exactly the same game mechanics as Game of War: Fire Age. Same rose, different name. Where Game of War: Fire Age is based on Iron Age warfare, Mobile Strike is based on modern warfare. Below are the GoW references in bold text, with their Mobile Strike counterparts:
- Empire – Base
- Hero – Commander
- Forge – Armoury
- Barracks – Training Grounds
- Stronghold – Headquarters
- Academy – Research Facility
- Marketplace – Trading Post
- Gymnos – Hall of Heroes
- Villa – Bank
- Hall of War – War Room
- Altar – Death Row
- Watchtower – Radar Station
- Monsters – Rebel Targets
- Execution (of hero) – Elimination (of commander)
- Gems – Mods
- Hero resurrection – Medical Kit
- Quests – Missions
- The Wonder – Control Point
- Kingdom – State
- Forest – War Zone
- Super Wonder – Global Control Point
The Embassy, Hospital and Prison don’t change in Mobile Strike. The Death Row has the same function as the Altar in Game of War: Fire Age, in that the elimination of a commander provides boosts to troop attack, defence, health and march speed. If your own commander gets captured, you lose all your boosts. Just like losing your hero in Game of War.
Just as the Altar, Hall of War and Prison require the daggers, books of war and shackles to upgrade, the Death Row, War Room and Prison require Golden Bullet, Tactical Manual and Golden Cuffs respectively.
The resources required for research, construction and training are stone, iron, oil, food and coin. Coin is as precious in Mobile Strike as silver is in Game of War: Fire Age. Coin is required to build research power, train the higher troop tiers and craft equipment for your commander.
The maximum base/building level is 21, and the maximum Commander level is 50.
As you start up, Athena’s Mobile Strike counterpart, Scarlet, guides you through the process of building farms, oil wells, etc to help you on your way. But after you have upgraded everything to level 3, she’s still in your face, “Upgrade this!”, “Research that!”
Just like Game of War: Fire Age, there are four troop tiers. I only built up to level 13 base before throwing in the towel, but being a seasoned GoW player with t4 (and S4) troops, I knew where this was going. Your War Room, Prison and Death Row will have to be upgraded to Level 21 before your Research Facility can be upgraded to 21. Then you can proceed to unlock t4 troops. Mobile Strike doesn’t have strategic troops like Game of War does (although this will probably be in the pipeline in the future, no doubt).
And, just like in Game of War: Fire Age, you have your different troop types. Instead of infantry, ranged, cavalry (NOT “calvary”!) and siege, Mobile Strike has infantry, Tactical, Armored Vehicle and Artillery. And, just as GoW troops have their strengths and weaknesses a la rock-paper-scissors, so too do the troops in Mobile Strike.
Troop types and tier:
- Infantry – Soldier (t1), Machine Gunner (t2), Rocket Infantry (t3), Demolitions (t4)
- Tactical – Scout (t1), Commando (t2), Ranger (t3), Delta (t4)
- Armored Vehicle – Patrol Vehicle (t1), Armored Vehicle (t2), LAV (t3), Tank (t4)
- Artillery – Mortar (t1), Missile Launcher (t2), Howitzer (t3), Rocket Artillery (t4)
All troops (except artillery) are weak against defences (ie wall traps). Infantry are weak against tactical, Tactical are weak against Armored Vehicles, Armored Vehicles are weak against Infantry, Artillery is weak against Infantry, Armored Vehicles and Tactical. Wall Traps (defences) are weak against artillery.
While we’re on the subject of wall traps, instead of iron bricks, ballista towers, steam cannons, trebuchets and Greek Fire, you can build such delightful wall traps to protect your base such as land mines, electric fence, bunkers, Claymores and Sniper Towers.
The construction, research, troop training and trap building all run on timers. And just like in GoW, you join an alliance where members can help speed up your timers. Even then, the alliance helps are not enough, and if you want to build quickly, you’ll have to shell out your hard-earned dosh to buy one of them g-…
#2. Mobile Strike‘s business model is exactly the same as GoW…
You’re a GoW player, and that splash screen when you log in, begging you to buy the latest gold pack gives you the shits, especially when you’re in the middle of rallying the Wonder and you restarted the game after randomly getting kicked off. Well, Mobile Strike is no different. The price tiers of the gold packs are just as in GoW. “Okay,” you think. “But the gold packs on offer in GoW sometimes have good stuff…”
#3. …and the gold packs ain’t worth s#!%
The gold packs are rather miserly with the gold and extra items. I got up to the AUD$67 pack, and in the New Years pack there was 90,000 gold on offer with a pitiful quantity of items, resources and mod/material chests. Compare that to some of the similar gold packs on offer in GoW. My farm account in GoW is being offered gold packs with five times the amount of gold than what was on offer in this pack in Mobile Strike, and a more generous quantity of speedups and material chests on top of that.
Even the chances of finding materials on a resource tile were slim, and there was the off-chance that someone would go around tile hitting all and sundry. “Because it’s my game, I spend money and I will play however I want!”
Mobile Strike also shares GoW’s social aspect of the game, with the state chat and alliance chat. You would think there are decent people you’d find in your state in Mobile Strike, but alas…
#5 The fragile egos, personality clashes, culture shock, d***-measuring and chest-thumping you saw in GoW, also exists in Mobile Strike
What happens when bored people with money to burn find themselves in a game like Mobile Strike? The same dramas you saw in Game of War, if you have ever played it. And only a GoW (and Mobile Strike) player can understand. Only problem was that there were not enough inactive bases at level 15 or higher for players to ghost rally to protect their troops and hero, so a tagged player had to be ghost rallied and they (or their alliance) were all like, “WTF? We will burn you and your entire alliance!”
And you could tell who in the game has money to burn. In a two-month-old State, the biggest power player was sitting pretty at approximately 38 million power. The further down the leaderboards you go, you’ll find the ones with the less spending power compared to the players in the top 10. It’s only a matter of time before someone accuses them of working for Epic War (the game developer) in the State Chat.
Let’s cut to the chase: Although Mobile Strike is free to download, players have to spend real currency if they want to grow quickly. Current and former GoW players know all the tricks and have no doubt used them to their advantage. No doubt any of the biggest power players, anywhere in the game, created “jumper accounts” (a jumper account is a stronghold/base which is kept at level 5 and resources accumulated over an extended period of time, enough to unlock t4 troops, which is then teleported (“jumped”) to a brand new kingdom/state and mass build), then jumped to a new state when it was first created. When you have people with money and power pitched against those without as much, add human foibles and you’ve got a virtual neo-feudal society, all within a game that is engineered to function at optimum when everyone is working as a team. Sweet, sweet irony.
Why is culture shock mentioned? Just like in GoW, the majority of players are from the USA and Canada. But unlike GoW, if an American sees an English speaker in the chat, they automatically assume they are American, until they are told otherwise. Although we speak the same language, our cultures are a world apart – call an Australian an idiot, it’s like water off a duck’s back. We’re always calling each other idiots like it means nothing. Come on, Australians call their friends “cunts” as a term of endearment! So you can imagine my shock when I called an American player an idiot, and the poor sod got so offended and insulted by it, he threatened to burn me and my alliance! It all arose when they posted the State Rules, and having skimmed over the post before I was caffeinated, awake and alert enough to read what it said (notwithstanding the post was littered with emojis that made the post look busy, obfuscating the important information and distracting the reader), I got a little exasperated at the lack of a stated time. “Starts at midnight Thursday, derr!” was the response I got.
The leading alliance in my state was enforcing a NAP period during the week, and turning the State into a war zone between Thursday and Sunday, EST. I argued that midnight EST was an inconvenient time, and that 8pm EST was more sensible time to start the purge (drawing on my experiences in Game of War). I was scoffed at, as though any input I could offer was worthless, because I was only one tenth of the power of most of the rule makers. And shame on me for thinking about the players from the rest of the world, heaven forbid! The pigheadedness in that alliance was phenomenal, more than I had ever seen in my kingdom in its early days in GoW. And they had the audacity to call me rude for “challenging” their “authority”. Tyrants exist in Mobile Strike too.
If you’re thinking, “yeah, this is all like GoW”, well guess what…
#5. Epic War is a subsidiary of Machine Zone
Epic War is the software developer responsible for Mobile Strike, and it is a division of Machine Zone, the company behind Game of War: Fire Age.
So, is it worth downloading Mobile Strike?
It depends. The game is taking the same path as Game of War: Fire Age. Give it 6 months, and VIP Prestige will be on offer, gold pack content will get better, it will have its equivalent of KVK and core equipment. And in 18 months, they will be merging dead and dying States. As it stands, the state that I was playing in went from medium population to low in the space of 6 weeks.
Further, Mobile Strike doesn’t leave as much room for the imagination as GoW does (which might explain the core equipment and the recent addition of the Wild Troops). To use movies as a comparison, Game of War would be Lord of the Rings, where Mobile Strike would be The Terminator. The general environment in Mobile Strike is rather sterile, most of the players appear take the game too seriously, and the smaller players are too busy building to be able to grow and actually do some burning. In Game of War, if you’re too big in power to be soloed and a solo march is headed your way, chances are it’s either a one-troop march or, if the attacker is being really cheeky, a 69-troop march. That sort of tomfoolery was noticeably absent from Mobile Strike. And if you did send a one-troop march, they would probably send a full march to your base with their hero in the march, and burn you until you’re zeroed. Hell, in the last kvk in GoW, the home kingdom and the outlanders were one-trooping each other at the Wonder! We were just having fun!
It should also be pointed out that in the time it took me to build up my base to Level 13, I had built up my stronghold in GoW to Level 18 in the same amount of time, and with the same expenditure.
The dialogue in the state chat and alliance chat isn’t too exciting either, apart from the drama that seems to have transferred from Game of War. There are many players in my kingdom in GoW who change their player name for KVKs. One time, a whole alliance changed their player names and proceeded to post in the kingdom chat in sequence, so that their player names told a story. It just wouldn’t have the same feel in Mobile Strike. And any sexual innuendo in SC would probably get you and your alliance burned as well, because, you know, think of the children…
If the Iron Age warfare aspect was the only off-putting thing about Game of War (but you thought it would be a decent game otherwise), wait until mid-2016, then download. Build up to level 5 while you wait for a new state to be created, then port there with your beginner teleport (or you can create a “jumper account” as described above, but you will be expending a lot of gold to keep your base shielded).
But, if you are more of a Lord of the Rings person than a Terminator person, stick with GoW. Seriously, where else would you get away with the player name “Pork Sword”?