TL;DR: Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade is a relatively new iOS mobile game that I believe does a good job of incorporating monetization, ads, and in-game currencies to reinforce a strong core game loop. Over a series of 5 posts I?m going to deconstruct the cross-section of gameplay and monetization in Warhammer 40,0000:Freeblade, identify what it does well, and where there is room for improvement.
Part 1 ? Game BasicsPart 2 ? The Game LoopPart 3 ? Game EconomyPart 4 ? MonetizationPart 5 ? What?s Hot vs. What?s Not
As an avid gamer, I play lots of games across platforms and have seen mobile games implement ads and monetization in a variety of way; some good, many bad. I think Warhammer 40,0000: Freeblade does a good job implementing these features in a way that enhances the core game experience as opposed to detracting from it. I want to take a critical look at how Warhammer 40,0000: Freeblade implements ads and monetization, identify what works, and start a conversation on the topic along the way.
Game Overview: I?m going to start by giving a high-level overview of the game in order to give context for the subsequent posts.
At a high-level, Warhammer 40,0000: Freeblade is a rail-based over-the-shoulder shooter set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. In the game, you take on the role of a giant mech, called a Freeblade, and through a series of missions cut down Orks and Chaos Marines.
My Freeblade Imperial Knight
Unlike familiar rail shooters like The House of the Dead, Freeblade incorporates RPG elements into the game progression. In order to complete missions of higher difficulty, you?ll need to level up your Freeblade and upgrade your gear.
In the picture above you can see my experience level in the upper-left corner and the gear that my Freeblade is equipped with.
From a gameplay perspective, the thing I really like about Freeblade is the skill-based PvE combat, which I?ll break into four sections.
- Weapons: Your Freeblade comes equipped with three weapon systems; a mounted weapon, a heavy weapon, and a light weapon. Each weapon has limited use and must be used appropriately to kill enemies. The heavy and light weapon must be aimed, while the mounted weapon auto-targets, but has a long cooldown.
In the picture above you can see my machine gun targeting a mounted orc enemy, albeit poorly.
2. Defenses: Different types of enemies shoot rocket launchers, grenades, or drop bombs. Tapping on blue shields when they appear reduces the amount of damage done against your Freeblade, while grenades and bombs have to be destroyed to prevent damage.
The blue target above indicates that you can use one of your shield charges, on the left, to prevent damage.The red circle around the bomb indicates it can be destroyed, but probably won?t in this case.
3. Melee Battles: One of the cooler gameplay components are the melee battles. When you see another large enemy with the red indicator on it, you can engage it in a melee battle. Once engaged in a melee battle there is a horizontal bar that allows you to time your attack. If you?re able to click the horizontal bar at the right time you can land a critical hit on the enemy mech. If you kill them with a critical hit then you?ll net an execution bonus.
The red indicator above signifies a melee battle.The horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen allows you to time your attack. Time it right and you can land a critical attack and an execution bonus.
4. Combo System: Finally there?s the combo system, which is a critical part of increasing your mission scores, getting all the medals in story missions, and moving up the event leaderboards; I?ll discuss events more in the next post. The combo system is basically a multiplier that increases with the number of enemies you kill within a short time-period. If you don?t kill enemies for a few seconds your multiplier quickly decreases.
In the example above you can see I have a multiplier of x6. Killing enemies and landing killstreaks while you have a multiplier active can significantly increase your mission score.
You should now have some familiarity with Freeblade?s gameplay. For a look at a video of in-game gameplay, check out the official trailer. In the next post, I?m going to look at the Warhammer 40,0000: Freeblade game loop.
Part 2 ? The Game Loop