After a few months of speculation, Blizzard finally presented its Warcraft experience for iOS and Android mobiles, Warcraft: Archlight Rumble. This title will bring the Warcraft experience to players through a well-known perspective for players of the RTS genre, but with mechanics adapted to the mobile world. Prior to its official presentation, Meristation USA had the opportunity to get to know it in advance and talk to Jeremy Collins, art director, as well as Andy Lim, senior software engineer, who spoke to us about their experience working on this game.
What is Warcraft Arclight Rumble?
Within the Warcraft lore, and very similar to the franchise's other spin-off, Hearthstone, Arclight Rumble cabinets are something that have been present in the lives of Azeroth's dwellers under the basement taverns. These mysterious machines are an achievement of gnomish engineering and powered by archlight to bring small miniatures to life. In our world, Warcraft Arclight Rumble is the first Warcraft video game designed specifically for mobile devices.
According to its creators, it is a "Tower Offense" or even an "action strategy game" where we will be building armies with a large number of characters from the Warcraft universe. "Definitive is a strategy game, our roots are Warcraft 3," said Jeremy Collins. With our army, which in this case are the Warcraft characters turned into small miniature action figures, we will advance through different maps, facing enemies and traveling the world of Azeroth through its multiple paths. The title offers several details that make it a rich and attractive experience for fans of the franchise and that aim to attract new fans.
“We took Warcraft 3, Warcraft the RTS and we build it specifically for the phone, for the touch interactions that you have to make”, mentioned Andy Lim. “Really focusing on the gameplay and gameplay first aspect”. “We originally came to the look and style of the game kind of from a functionality standpoint first, because this is the first time we are making a mobile-first Warcraft game,” said Collins. “It’s also a strategy game, so on a top-down RTS angle for all of our core players. Our influences come from pinball, arcades in the 80s, toys, action figures, and miniatures”.
As you can imagine in a game that takes up the vast lore of Warcraft, there is a lot to choose from and many faces to see. As we mentioned, you will have to create your army, which will be commanded by a Leader. Here we will choose some of the important and well-known characters such as Jaina Proudmoore or Grommash Hellscream. Each of the leaders will have their own Talents, which are special abilities that can turn the battle around, either giving more power to your army, resistance, or generating something within the map. "Leaders basically function as deck archetypes that you build around and assemble an army that complements each other," Collins commented.
As for the miniatures, we can initially find 60 Minifigures where heroes, monsters, villains -and even spells- of the franchise will be available to create our armies. The combination of these figures seeks to create a synergy between the Leader and his or her talent. These contain characters from the different factions, or in the case of this game, families, that inhabit all of Azeroth: the noble Alliance, the savage Beasts, the necromantic Undead, the powerful Horde, and the fiery Black Rock. One of the details that were mentioned to us is that you don't necessarily have to be tied with any of the families, and even your army can be completely mixed by all the groups. "You can mix and match. Even if you pick Jaina as your leader, you can put any family units into her army. You can build as you like," Lim mentioned.
A Warcraft world to explore (and replay)
If the number of characters is large, the world sounds even larger. Within its main campaign mode, the title has an initial amount of more than 70 maps. "The maps cover from the Eastern Kingdoms to Kalimdor. Each zone has multiple maps in them, there's a lot of content to play through," Lim mentioned. "And those 70 maps, we kind of built a campaign for you to cross through but we also use the same maps for Conquest mode which is a different mode you will play in the game. We also reuse them for quests, but we also change things up. There’s a lot of content that we have now." As for the campaign, the journey is really that PVE progression from Kalimdor into the Eastern Kingdoms.," all the way to a final boss. "I don't want to reveal who is until the end of the game, but it's exciting. It may be very obvious who is at the end of the game, only if you pay attention," Collins mentioned.
In addition to these missions, which have an average duration of 3 to 4 minutes, part of the essence of World of Warcraft will also be available with a cooperative mode -where it will not be necessary to be of the same faction- and even long raids, which details will be given "soon". We can expect Dungeons in the game, which will rotate weekly as a group of 3 maps with two attempts to finish them, basically being "an Ironman mode". At the beginning of each Dungeon, you choose a relic that augments your army in a positive way, opening up different possibilities to finish the maps.
Monetization with players first
Being a free-to-play smartphone title, we can expect the concept of microtransactions to appear at some point. The game will feature a store called the Grid where you will be able to buy leaders, minis, and spells among others. One detail that was mentioned is that monetization is something that was given a lot of thought in order to put the player first. This led to there being only one consistent in-game currency which is gold coins. "You can get anything in the game by playing the game or by purchasing gold coins," Collins mentions. "We don't gate anything off or have separate tracks for paid versus not paid. It's all part of the same pool."
Release date and system requirements
For now, Warcraft: Archlight Rumble does not have a release date and will be "coming soon", but we were promised that there will be several betas prior to its release. For the same reason, the system requirements remain very preliminary, although the current test did require mid-high-end devices to run.