Relax, it's only a game!

If you came here hoping to be offended, I can recommend some of my anti-religious rants. This piece, though, is concerned with Dwarves, Elves, Night Elves, Orcs, Goblins, Undead, Demons and (incidentally) Humans.

Race Conflicts is a so-called web-based MMORPG. That is, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game that's played in your browser over the Web.

Why would anyone want to play this game?

A game has objectives and obstacles. If you overcome some obstacle and achieve an objective, although everything is fictional, your brain rewards itself by releasing some dopamine. The effect is pleasure. In theory, you could achieve the same effect by completing some work-related task, but modern corporate culture seems hell-bent to keep you from getting anything done. You might get even more pleasure from gunning down your boss or fornicating with his secretary; but again, there may be reasons precluding either or both options.

Other MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft, require that you buy or download a massive client program. Also, effective gameplay demands hours of your undivided attention every day. By contrast, Race Conflicts requires just the browser you already have, and a few minutes' attention once or twice a day or so.

In summary, this is a game to put a short fun break or two into a boring day at the office. But don't blame me if you get fired! You could of course play this game at home instead. Or in addition.

How does it work?

Sort of like an economy simulation. You start up a character, begin to rule a kingdom and try to use the resources at your disposal to grow a healthy economy, a powerful military, a competent research staff and so on. You gain money and experience as time progresses. You can attack other kingdoms or be attacked. Your various measures of success increase with level, which increases with experience.

As far as your personal involvement goes, there's only so much you can do with the resources at hand. You can buy equipment, but when you run out of money you have to wait for your peasants to produce more. If you wage a lot of wars against your fellow players, you will lose some soldiers, and need to wait for the population to, umm, make more. Even if you're successful, your soldiers will get tired, and it takes time for them to rest up. Most activities are self-limiting or time-constrained this way, so you spend a minute or two making some strategic decisions, and then you can go back to work for a few hours while the game plays itself. Note that your kingdom can be attacked at any time, whether you're online and active or not.

What's the objective?

Your objective is to be successful, in however you choose to define success. Have a big army, make a lot of gold, defend against attacks, rise in level. I've been playing for nine months now and have risen to #51 in the player ranks, out of over 5000. I'm looking forward to challenging the game's top 1% of players now for a place even closer to the top. But the main thing is to have some fun and pass some time.

What does it cost?

Nothing but your time.

Also, although the site is run by Romanians*, I don't believe there is a hidden cost in terms of viruses, trojans, keyloggers or other malware. But exercise the same caution you'd exercise anywhere on the 'net.

Where can I sign up?

I'm glad you asked. The URL (again) is: http://www.raceconflicts.com/, you register with an email address and you're ready to go. A (fairly) complete manual is available here.

If you have any questions, there's a forum; or you can send me a message here or in the game.

Enjoy, hope to see you!


* When last I read about these things, there was a lot of professional malware hacking going on in the Soviet Union, China and Romania. Things seem to have changed since then, and Romania is not even in the top 20 any more. According to Pandasoft, China and the USA now hold the top two spots, ahead of the "Russian Federation". I was surprised to find out about a lot of malware activity from KSA, which turned out to be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I guess the lesson here is to be careful regardless of country.

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