Warriors of the Cleave

Warriors of the Cleave

Play now secretly!
Play now secretly!

I’m sure everybody has appraised themselves of the ever-spammier ads for the online game Evony, but I received a call from a friend today who was laughing his ass off. Strolling through the interwebs, he’d found the pinnacle of Evony’s current advertising campaign (pictured right). What’s not to love about an online game that just does away with any semblance of decorum in it’s advertising and just drops a big set of boobs on you? Why even bother mentioning the game anymore? Hell, why bother even making your own version of a spam ad?

But I’ll admit it, I’m intrigued. Not by the breasts, there are plenty of places for that on the internet, but by the game that wants to rely on them to attract new players.

So off we go to the Evony site. Registration is surprisingly easy, which is a little odd when you think about it. This game doesn’t even have an authentication email. In a practical sense, this means you can create as many accounts as you like, something that would usually be a little dodgy in a normal MMORPG. But as you might have already guessed, this game is a little dodgy all over.

The game is free to join, and free to play, but even for someone who’s only been in the game ten minutes, I’ve already noticed that the real focus of Evony is to convince players to purchase extras to help them along in the game. Along with your “Welcome to Evony” mail, you also automatically get a helpful message telling you about “Evony Premium Rewards”, a scheme where if you pay them US$100, you’ll get FIVE TIMES THE AMOUNT YOU INVESTED IN GAME CENTS. WHAT A BARGAIN! It’s such a pity that you can only invest US$200 per server per account.

Oh and look, even the helpful welcoming message let’s you in on the secret that for only US$30, I could get a special Beginner’s Package which is valued by top scientists to be worth US$50.

This game is designed to leech as much money as possible from anyone who comes in contact with it. Don’t like construction taking so long? Spend some money and we’ll fix that. Need to increase your resources? Spend some money and we’ll fix that. You kind of get the idea that if you were to tip enough cash into this infernal machine, they’d eventually send you a “win the game” medal to wear. But this is probably to be expected, since Evony is owned by a company with ties to gold farming in WoW. Universal Multiplayer Game Entertainment (or UMGE) is headed up by Eric Lam, who was recently sued by Microsoft over fraudulent advertisement manipulation. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do at this venture, folks, it’s hand over your credit card information.

The beginner quests attempt to bring you up to speed with the way the game works, which is a good thing because the chat channels are spam filled collections of trolls-trolling-trolls, and there seems to be nary a moderator in sight. The game plays like a Civilisation clone, where players must build up their empires, prepare defences and then look to expansion. Seven days of peace are assured upon joining the game, to give you time to learn the game and build up your defences.

But honestly, I’m almost certain that most of the new player will never last that long (I know I won’t). The chat window displays a cavalcade of people looking for help and getting nothing but “dude, awesum cheat, press Alt+f4!”. I’d love to see what kind of turnaround accounts have in this game, as many people like myself give it a go out of morbid curiosity then haul ass after they realise the game is just one big cash lure.

Earlier ads were at least themed with their cleavage
Earlier ads were at least themed with their cleavage

It’s probably all a little bit depressing for the existing Evony community too, given that their game will have been over-run by kids looking for epic cleavage. I’m certainly not saying that there isn’t a good community inside the game somewhere, but given the daunting prospects given to new players in a strange and boob-less land, it’s not much of a surprise that quite a few established players will have given up caring about new players until they prove that they are interested in the game and can fend for themselves.

I headed off to trawl the forums (remember kids, if you’re having trouble, check the forums!) and found that most of my suspicions and opinions seemed to be held by other players. I could only find one active thread talking about the game’s ridiculous advertisements (most others had been closed automatically), where sure enough several established players were lamenting the kind of crowd that lowest common denominator ads seem to attract.

In short, I’m not actually sure how one gets in to playing Evony on a long term basis. I’m willing to bet that a larger part of the population of the game started playing the game earlier, and have simply kept on playing through the decline in the game’s marketing because they have established themselves (and maybe tipped some money in along the way). But the ads don’t seem to be welcome by anyone in the gaming community, players or ad viewers, and you can only wonder what the rate of new players buying Evony items has to be to make it all worthwhile.

Whatever it is, it’s enough to pay for targeted spam advertisements all around the internet at the moment, and many website operators aren’t happy. There is an expansive post on Google’s AdSense forums about attempting to block Evony ads, which are coming from a plethora (lots!) of different sources. Users are having a tough time, are progressing steadily through the many proxies, but many more continue to crop up. There are also people devoted to reducing the amount of comment spam the game is generating around blogs.

All-in-all, there are plenty of better, safer options to game online, and I’d suggest gamers look around before settling on such a flimsy excuse for gouging gamers for their cash. Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel like I need a shower, and my computer will be going through a very complete virus scan.

2 Responses to “Warriors of the Cleave”

  1. Those boobs are totally shooped. You can tell from the pixels in the cleavage.

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