Warpath provides insight into why Lilith is killing it!

Game developers often have to work hard to find the best parts of a hit game. Game companies are often reluctant to reveal the secret to their games’ success so game designers such as me will have to make educated guesses about why a game is successful.

A Hit-Making Game Developer launches an innovative game that draws inspiration from previous games. This gives them a unique opportunity to learn more about what worked and what didn’t in previous games. You can now enter Warpath. Warpath is a remake of Rising of Kingdoms, but with modern warfare settings. AFK Arena is heavily influenced by Warpath’s design. Warpath is not the first 4x game to use RPG Systems (see Lords Mobile). It is, however, the first game I can remember that uses designs from previous games by the Developer but in a different genre. Warpath demonstrates what Lilith believes is working in Rising of Kingdoms as well as AFK Arena.

This article will cover Warpath designs that I took from the AFK Arena. In the future, I will do the same with Warpath and Rise of Kingdoms.

Upgrading a Unit’s level

In 4x Games, upgrading Army Units is not new. Warpath is notable for the variety of levels, currencies, and leveling structures used to level Army Units.

Hero Leveling in AFK Arena requires Hero XP and soft currencies to Level up Heroes. However, certain levels are not possible (20, 40, and 60 respectively). To level up, Hero Essence is required along with Hero XP (or soft currency). Hero XP is fairly common in AFK Arena. However, Hero Essence can be difficult to find. Players are often tempted to spend money to purchase Hero Essence to keep leveling up the Hero once they reach those thresholds.

Warpath has a similar leveling system. Except for Units at levels greater than 10, 20, 30, or 10, they require Unit XP (very rare) to level a unit. To level up to 11, the Unit will need both Unit XP (very common) and a rare Bullet Currency. To level up to the next multiple of 10, you will still need Unit XP. This design is too similar to AFK Arena for it not to be intentional. This leveling structure is very effective for Lilith’s monetization. Lilith used the same design but reduced the thresholds to 10 levels instead of 20 in AFK Arena. Players may be required to research to upgrade their units.

Unit Assembly

The Research Center in Warpath doubles up as a building that is used to “assemble” units. The Player must select Fodder Army units that will be made into the chosen Unit when they select an Army Unit to be built. The selected Army Unit’s star rating will increase by a part of one star after the assembly is completed. Their stats will also jump quite a bit.

This is the funny part about it. Some Assemblies need the same Army Unit that the selected Army Unit. Other Assemblies have two Army Units with the same type and tier as their selected Army Unit. Do you sound familiar?

The Army Unit Assembly system sounds very similar to the Ascension system of AFK Arena. There are minor differences: While AFK Arena uses Rarity to upgrade its system via Ascension and Warpath upgrades Tier (star), there are some subtle differences. Warpath cuts stars into multiple pieces to increase the depth of Army Unit Assemblies. This is a sign that this depth is just the same in Warpath, as in AFK Arena.

Hero Ascension forms the core of AFK Arena’s Hero Depth. This depth, even in star form, shows Lilith that she values Hero depth and wanted Warpath to have it in a way that Rise of Kingdom did not. This also links into Warpath’s decision to make Army Units more heroic than troops.

The 5 Army Units that players control in combat are similar to the Heroes 5 Players use in AFK Arena. Lilith believes that Heroes can replace the Troop Model from Rising of Kingdoms and Lilith thinks they have enough Monetization to make up for any losses from Troops through Hero systems and depth.

Idle Reward

The Player could earn daily rewards from Lilith in Rising of Kingdoms based on their progress through the campaign. You could also purchase items with currency earned from daily campaign rewards. AFK Arena did not have any of these, but only the idle rewards that helped to define this type of RPG.

Warpath combines AFK Arena’s Idle Rewards and Rise of Kingdom’s Campaign Store. Reading the tea leaves again, you will see that Lilith was very conscious of both the Campaign Store of Rising of Kingdoms and the Idle Rewards of AFK Arena when she created Warpath. Lilith would have used the Rise of Kingdoms Daily Reward if Idle Rewards were not important, but the Campaign Store was. Lilith would have used the Idle Rewards if Idle Rewards weren’t important and the Campaign Store didn’t move things along, Lilith’s view of the importance of these designs is evident in the deliberate change of Daily rewards to Idle Rewards while maintaining the Campaign store.

In that they reward players who return to the game multiple times per day, Idle Rewards are generally better than Daily Reward systems. We want players to play the game for multiple sessions per day so having a lot of Army Unit XP to return to make your Army Units stronger is a better design.

Are There More?

Although I am still very early in my Warpath experience, there might be more influences from AFK Arena than I have yet to discover. What I have seen so far is truly amazing. AFK Arena’s design solved many of the problems other F2P RPGs had, including session length and Hero depth. It is amazing to see how Lilith integrated some of the Hero Depth features in a 4x game. AFK Arena was struggling with Elder game-based guild-based events. Rise of Kingdoms excels at alliance-based activities, and this has been preserved in Warpath. Warpath has launched a few weeks ago. I am expecting stellar performance at the minimum and I look forward to seeing what they do with it, click here for more!