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 411mania » Games » Columns

GAME POW 09.06.09: Text MMOs
Posted by Sam Pow on 09.06.2009

GAME POW---September 5th, 2009

Seems like we should celebrate Labor Day weekend with GAME POW, doesn't it? Well, guess what, that's exactly what we're going to do. This holiday you can spend your time playing your favorite games, and just to make sure you have the proper strategies, you can read GAME POW. This week we're featuring some text MMO strategies, so bust out your iPhone and download one while you're reading what I've been up to the last seven days.

Sam Pow's week in gaming: I've still been recovering from that sickness of last week, which means I try to do as little walking as possible. Thus, I've been playing a lot of iPhone games because it's always in my pocket or within reach. It's great to go back to some of those iPhone games that I thought I was bored of but are now really fun. After looking over some of those things, you realize how much money is in the app store. If you have a Mac and even minor game programming skills, iPhone is the place to be. In other Sam Pow news, I've been gearing up for the upcoming sports titles. I'm catching on news from the Buffalo Sabres (best hockey team ever) in anticipation of NHL 10, and I even popped in FIFA 09 to prepare for this years upcoming soccer title.

iPhone Text MMO Strategies

If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, there's a good chance that at some point you've played a text MMO. They're everywhere now. You know what I'm talking about, all those games where you do missions and collect items, as well as slowly build your clan and battle other players indirectly. They come in all flavors, the most popular of which being anything having to do with the mafia. Put together your mob, buy a bunch of 9 mm pistols and lead pipes, etc. These games may seem simple to most, but there's actually a lot of strategy under the plain-looking shell. My guide is going to let you in on some of those secrets, as well as offer up some leveling tips and tricks for getting a big ass clan.

While you could play a text MMO on pretty much anything nowadays, we're going to focus on iPhone. To be specific, this guide will cater to Storm8 games. The developer Storm8 is the most prevalent and talented (in my opinion) text MMO dev on the app store. They made a basic layout that is applied to every game in the catalog, which means the only difference between versions is the details. As an example for this article I'll be using Zombies Live, which puts you in the position of an undead during the apocalypse. I chose this one to do specifically because I'm actually a zombie/apocalypse nut myself (my house is surrounded by machetes, baseball bats, and canned food). Keep in mind that all these tips are easily transferable to any other MMO made by Storm8, and most other text MMOs in general.

Ok, let's start from the top. At the beginning of the game, you will be tasked with a tutorial that will show you the basics of how to play, such as completing missions, attacking other players, and buying abilities. Then, you get to choose your name and class. Class isn't really something to sweat over. You'll get three choices. The three classes specialize in either health, energy, or money. Since you can use relatively small amounts of money to heal yourself, the health class is useless. The energy class is a better choice, but energy regenerates fairly fast on its own, so unless you're constantly playing the game the money class (savage) is the best way to go.

I'll specify a few things that are Zombies Live exclusive. In the game, money is called flesh, and your weapons are abilities instead (instead of getting a gun or car, you'll get a skill like bite or claw). In most other games you buy property that nets you hourly money, but Zombies uses traps. You'll be getting things like human outfits, fake taxis, and other stuff that trick silly humans into letting you easily eat their brains. Lich points are used to get special things and are bought using real money, which is how Storm8 stays in business. However, special offers come around often which can snag you free lich points for downloading another free app, so you can easily get by without paying a dime. Other special offers have things such as one special ability. GET THESE. Especially at low levels, these abilities are often very good, and if you don't have it, chances are the guy you're battling does, giving them an unfair advantage.

Speaking of low levels, that's when you'll really need to concentrate and lay a foundation. Text MMOs are landslide games; that is, once you get a good foothold, things get much easier. As you build up your level and clan, as well as hourly flesh intake, you might only have to check on the game once or twice a day to do missions. I currently make 11,000 flesh per hour at level 25, and my schedule is pretty much like this. In the morning, I do my highest mission. At noon, I spend all the money I've accumulated over the last day on abilities, and even out whatever I lost with a few more traps. And then I do a mission again at night. I'd say I spend about 5-10 minutes a day playing the game, and I'm progressing at a steady pace. When I first started, I was playing the game for a few hours every day. When you're at a low level, you need to attack as often as you can and do missions whenever you can. From about levels 1-10 your main goal is not to make an assload of flesh or get awesome abilities, it's to get a good start and build up experience and skill points. I didn't start buying high abilities until level 20.

When you do level up, distribute skill points as necessary. Attack and defense are good, but energy is arguably more important at higher levels. As a general rule of thumb, NEVER upgrade health. When someone attacks you, you lose health and flesh. If your health gets low enough, they can't attack you anymore. Therefore, the more health you have, the more they can attack you, and the more flesh you lose. Instead, use up skill points in the other areas. As far as rage goes (which is used for attacking) only put that up to 7 or 8. Mine is at 7 right now, and I barely ever use it all up in one sitting. By the time I've emptied it, I've practically regenerated it all anyway.

Attacking is most importantly for exp points. The flesh you get in attacking will become worthless after about level 5 or so. While attack level is important, it's really whatever abilities you have that will make the difference. In the game you have a horde that's made up of real players, and the more you have, the stronger you get. Each member of your horde will attack using up to three abilities: an action, regenerative, and enhancement ability. Most of the time enhancements are the priciest, but most powerful, so buy these once you've covered the rest of your clan with actions and regens. Each zombie in your horde should preferably be using one of everything, even if it is a weak skill. For example, I currently have 10,000 fleshy insides just in case. At low levels, the enhancement thick skin is amazingly good for the price, and requires no upkeep, so snag as many of these as you can, especially since you shouldn't be buying good enhancements until later on.

Another key point to the game is rivalry and competition. Luckily, you have many ways to deal with people in Zombies. Let's say someone's giving you a hard time. You have two ways to trap them here. The first is to convince them to leave a comment on your profile. From that comment, you can access their profile, as well as an attack button. Now you can attack them yourself or place a bounty, which brings in other players to attack them. The second method would be to somehow convince them to send you a friend request. This stays in an inbox until you accept or deny it, and allows you to access their profile as well. This can also be used to farm players, although I don't really recommend that.

Now, all those abilities or players to farm are useless if you don't have the power to beat them, which means a large clan. Just Google Zombies Live codes and you'll find tons of sites where you can share friend codes. These can get you tons of members. However, to prevent yourself from getting farmed, try to not send requests yourself, as these could be kept and abused. If someone gives you a code, just leave a comment on their profile with your own instead.

Hopefully you've raised 10 levels because of this guide and become a crazy zombie overlord, but I know that's probably not true. While this may not guarantee instant success, it should help you along the way, and give you a little insight on how you can improve your undead status. As a final note, my code is GT9JMP in case anyone wants to add me.

Well, everyone have a great labor day weekend! Play some Zombies Live or whatever else floats your boat. Keep on reading GAME POW, and visit 411mania.com daily for your necessary game reading fix. Until next time, POW!


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