If Social Empires teaches us anything, it’s how not to make Warcraft on Facebook.
Social Empires looks to take elements found in real-time strategy games and simplify them for Facebook. While the concept is sound, everything else falls apart rather quickly.
While most modern real-time strategy games have moved on from the small ideas and innovations found in the original Warcraft series, the core elements that made up the series serve as the foundation. In Social Empires, you’ll start with a small camp and a few villagers to build food-producing farms, harvest gold mines, and chop trees to collect the resources necessary to form an army. Buildings, such as a barracks, will also need to be completed in order to expand the army. Once finished, these buildings can produce valuable soldiers and archers needed for combat.
The reason you’ll need these soldiers is because of the troll army that threatens your camp. Eventually, you’ll need to attack the trolls and destroy their camp if you want to survive. Attacking works surprisingly well, and easy controls allow you to control your entire army with just one click.
Missions are also a key element in Social Empires, and mainly serve as additional incentive to continue building your army and attacking your enemies. Unfortunately, the missions are completely bland and lifeless, with most of them being as simple as building a single gold mine or building five houses. Creativity was clearly not a priority in developing Social Empires.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as additional issues crop up at just about every turn. Micro-management is required way too often to gather any kind of resources. Farms have to be clicked every minute or so to gather food, each tree has to be clicked to gather wood, and gold has to be clicked each time you wish to collect it.On top of those issues, the user interface tends to get in the way. For example, your camp is enclosed in a small section of land with a light green color, with the rest of the map being a darker green color. Logically, I only would ever assume that I can’t maneuver outside of my light green camp boundary, but Social Empires not only allows you to do so, but expects and requires you to know that you can without actually telling you.
Visually, Social Empires just looks lifeless. Characters never move without you telling them to and animals look as though they are made out of stone. The evil trolls that are supposed to be threatening never move unless they’re attacked and will never attack your camp unless provoked. Additionally, animals and items seem to disappear with no explanation as to why or how.
Social Empires is a perfect example of taking a good concept, stomping all over it, squeezing any sort of good ideas out of it and serving it up in a wilted, dried-up form. Without any redeeming qualities to be found, I can’t really recommend that anyone play Social Empires any time soon. Or ever.