You know the world of MMOs is becoming popular when companies outside of the traditional circle of developers start to draw inspiration from the community. From a statistical perspective, MMOs enjoyed another buoyant year in 2016.
According to a report compiled by SuperData, the industry as a whole raked in $19.6 billion last year while the leading titles all did big numbers. League of Legends was first on the table of top-earning MMOs with an annual haul worth $582 million, closely followed by Crossfire at $377 million. Another interesting fact revealed by the report is that all the top 10 grossing MMOs in 2016 were released before 2014, which just goes to show that the classics are still making their mark on the world.
Casino Gaming Catches the MMO Bug
Indeed, one industry that appears to have soaked up the recent boom in MMO popularity is online casino gaming. Otherwise known as iGaming and a $50 billion entity in its own right, software developers are now taking popular themes from the MMO world and applying them to their own selection of games. The latest product to hit the market is NetEnt’s Warlords: Crystals of Power.
Available at Mr Green Casino, this game takes the traditional concept of slots and adds a host of new features to it. Now, in practical terms, online slots have every right to call themselves MMOs. For example, if you look at games the Warlords: Crystals of Power will sit alongside, such as Game of Thrones and Cleopatra, they all have one thing in common: they are available on a mass scale.
Looking specifically at Mr Green’s Cleopatra, this game is part of the MegaJackpots network, which basically means thousands of players are contributing to the same prize pool. Much like League of Legends where players are at once part of an ecosystem but fighting for supremacy, Cleopatra slots players are adding to the progressive jackpot but also looking to claim it for themselves.
NetEnt Embraces the “Gamification” of Slots
With a link to the world of MMOs already there, NetEnt has gone a few steps further and added some “gaming” elements to its latest product. One of the defining features of this slot, according to Chief Product Officer Simon, is the fact it has a storyline. Starting with an initial idea of using Vikings, which then evolved into warlords, the developers were able to bring various levels of depth into the game.
“One area that we felt was needed was not only to focus on the warlord but develop a deeper identifying characteristic through the animals used,” said Simon.
Now, for anyone thinking of stepping across gaming borders to test out Warlords: Crystals of Power, many of the in-game features will conjure up images of World of Warcraft. In fact, this really strikes home when you combine these animations with the game’s soundtrack. According to NetEnt’s software overlord, the soundtracks was integral to the overall appeal of the game and his team worked hard to make sure the images and sounds “work in tandem.”
Finally, the most obvious way in which this online slot has taken inspiration from the MMO community is the battle scenes. Just as a player will have to make certain tactical moves before a battle commences in a game like World of Warcraft, slot spinners can unlock certain bonuses to start fight sequences. Intimately tied to the overall aim of the game (to win coins or free spins), the battles pit warlords against each other and the better a player does the more credits they’ll win.
A New World of Possibilities Could Be on the Horizon
For hardcore MMO players, Warlords: Crystals of Power may not press all the right buttons. However, for online casino players and casual gamers, this slot will certainly strike a chord. Indeed, while the worlds of iGaming and MMOs might not have traditionally had any connections, this NetEnt product shows that times are changing.
Thanks to the increased popularity of MMOs and the continued desire to innovate from the iGaming community, Warlords: Crystals of Power has shown that crossover games are possible and that could lead to some interesting developments in the future.