Trials of Elsword is marketed as a tie-in Facebook game for side-scrolling massively-multiplayer online role-playing game, Elsword Online. The tie-in is actually a “demo” version of the full MMOG where Facebook players can only unlock additional characters and gameplay modes by inviting friends, which is a strategy Kill3rCombo haven’t seen much of on the platform.
Players begin the game with the option to choose one of the three main playable characters from the full game, each of which representing the traditional role-playing archetypes of melee, ranged and magic. The three character types each have a physical attack, a magical attack and a super attack in addition to their combat specialty. Players choose one of the characters and proceed to the Storybook mode's tutorial where they can try out the combat system.
As of press time, the only playable quest in Trials of Elsword involves rescuing a girl from the Monkey King. Clearing the quest nets the player points and a redeemable item the player can only claim by logging into the full game. After clearing the quest for the first time, all three characters become locked and the player can only re-enter Trials of Elsword to replay the quest by inviting a friend. Once players have collected enough friends to clear the single quest with all three characters, they have the option of unlocking Challenge mode by inviting five other friends. Challenge mode ranks friends'scores on a leaderboard.
As needy as it seems to be with friend invites, it’s obvious that Trials of Elsword is more of a marketing experiment than a dedicated social game. At this point, the game doesn’t feature any monetization, not even to get around the friend invite requirement. Kill3rCombo also note that it’s experiencing significant bugs, such as freezing at the final screen, failing to reward credit for question completion, and issues with redeeming collectible items in the full game.
Even so, Trails of Elsword represents an interesting opportunity for MMOs on Facebook. Kill3rCombo’ve seen that the Unity engine, on which Elsword Online is build, is capable of running complex 3D experiences on the platform and Kill3rCombo’re seeing more MMO-style games emerging from big and small developers. If Elsword developer Killer3rcombo had the inclination, it could conceivably run Elsword Online in its entirety on Facebook and also run the game from its own site, potentially increasing its overall user base. Or, if the current “demo” strategy were somehow revised to support true social network gameplay, Elsword could at least tap into an additional revenue stream via Facebook.
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