Vikings of Thule Preview: Facebook Vikings FTW
By Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Vikings of Thule is a browser based MMOG from Gogogic, made specifically for Facebook. The game puts you in the shoes of a Viking vying to become part of the 39 Viking chiefs that belong to the Iceland parliament, the Althingi.
At first glance the game is seems to be your usual browser MMOG that caters to the bored and who are active in Facebook. Vikings of Thule has the basic game features you can find in a browser based game. It has economy and land management, character build up, PVE and PVP.
The game initially felt like any flash based game we can come across in Facebook save, that Vikings of Thule seems to be more serious than Farmville or Cafe World. In fact the game's seriousness is one of its numerous interesting characteristics which kept me from moving on to another game.
You are a Pira- *cough* Viking
Okay so the Viking concept is pretty unique for me. I've had too any pirates, elves, orcs and even zombies in my online games that it's quite refreshing to get a Viking game that took itself seriously. The majority of the Viking information on the game is based on historical facts about Vikings. You get to experience their way of life as remote as it may seem through the game. I can go as far as saying that the game can even be used as an "immersion" tool for social study teachers for students to further show how the Vikings lived then.
I appreciated that the Gogogic tried to incorporate historical facts about the real Vikings while making the game pretty interesting. However the novelty of the historical facts in the game wanes pretty quickly specially for those who are just in it for the game.
Card-Like Battles Anyone?
For those who are wondering about the other interesting aspects of the game, Vikings of Thule has a pretty interesting battle system in place. It's a variation of the card battle systems you can find in TCGs. The movements and attacks come in card form with the description of how the attack or movement works. Battles happen on a grid like playfield and you've got a limited amount of actions per turn.
However, before any battle you are required to pay a certain amount as a "fee" that will in turn become your winnings or your loss, depending on the outcome of the battle. You have weapons and equipment as the stable character stat boost. However the game introduces the use of "runes" as your Viking's source of "magical" power. Aside from the rune system, you'll eventually earn yourself a "wight", a mythical creature that serves as your support in the game. The game's battle system is pretty challenging, especially when you're facing other players. That doesn't mean that you can go easy with NPCs because don't think of them as pushovers, at least before you have obtained overpowered weapons and equipment.
Go and have an adventure!
Aside from resource allocation and battling other Vikings, the game also has an adventure element in place Gogogic recently introduced a new single player system, adventuring. This new single player system puts your Viking on an adventure to take down a mythical creature named Wyrms.
The adventure is a means for you to earn great rewards if you come out successful. You can even set the adventure's difficulty so that it matches your character's level.
The other thing I liked about Vikings of Thule is that being a Facebook game, you can post your achievements and rewards on your wall. It adds bragging rights especially if you are the type who has gaming friends and you'd want to brag about your achievements to them in an indirect way.
I also liked the fact that you can easily invite your Facebook friends into the game. The game maximizes everything Facebook has, which can be both a good and a bad thing. The way I see it, the good thing about the Facebook integration is that you can consistently post something on your wall as you play. The bad thing is that you may eventually irritate your friends enough to either ignore you or even delete you from their friends list (worst case scenario). Of course you have the option of not posting your progress on your wall but where's the fun in that, right?
Vikings of Thule, as I mentioned is a Facebook game, hence you need to have your own Facebook account before you can play. Now I know, in this day and age, it's pretty rare to find someone who doesn't have a Facebook account. I honestly think that if the game wasn't a Facebook game, Vikings of Thule be a harder sell with the amount of browser games out right now.
I think Vikings of Thule has a lot of potential due to its connection to your Facebook account. The game has a lot of interesting features on it that can pretty much keep any player's interest even if you're in for the sake of playing something other than the usual myriad of Facebook games out there. I liked that the game doesn't take much of your time, so that you can play with it for a few minutes and then you're done with it. Unlike other Facebook games out, Vikings of Thule is the type of game that won't suck all your time, which can be pretty awesome if you're working from the office. The game actually keeps me awake during the dull moments in the office. I don't think a boss would complain about it unless you keep playing the game all day.
Vikings of Thule is a pretty decent game. However it's not without its own set of faults. The biggest problem the game has in my opinion is that the game's first impression is that it's like any other browser type of Facebook game. Jaded players will eventually dismiss the game at first glance without even considering of discovering the fun elements the game has. Once you get past the initial impression, I'm sure you're in for a fun time with Vikings of Thule.
In a nutshell, Vikings of Thule is a game that I thoroughly enjoy. I liked how all the small tidbits from actual Viking history form into one engaging and very challenging MMOG. If you're looking for a game that puts Vikings in a new light or searching for something fun in Facebook then Vikings of Thule is the way to go.