Mystic Warlords of Ka’a (or MWOK) is a online collector card game on Facebook and it will die a few hours from now, at 11:00 PST.
That is the question its thousands of players, myself included, are asking. The developers of the game, Dire Wolf Digital, have been communicating with the player base until they posted the following message on June 18th:
THE BIG BANG THEORY – FAN PAGE CLOSURE MESSAGE
We hope you have enjoyed playing The Big Bang Theory: Mystic Warlords of Ka’a! We regret to inform you that The Big Bang Theory: Mystic Warlords of Ka’a will be coming to a close on Friday, June 29 at 11am PST. On this date, both the application and game page will be removed from Facebook.
Please be aware that if you have any remaining Newtons or Coins to make sure and use them up before the game goes offline on Friday June 29 at 11am PST.
We thank you for your loyalty and support of the game! We hope you continue watching The Big Bang Theory and following the show’s updates on Facebook.
The Game Team
What does this mean to you?
This means that as of Friday, June 29 at 11am PST, we will be closing The Big Bang Theory: Mystic Warlords of Ka’a Game and Fan Page, and that it will no longer be available.
What will happen to any of the Newtons or Coins that have been purchased?
Newtons and Coins can only be used in the game until Friday, June 29. Unused Newtons or Coins after Friday, June 29, will become null and void.
If you purchased Newtons or Coins on or after June 10 and have not spent them in the game you can request a refund for 30 days after closing through the “Report/Contact this App” link at the bottom of the page. We will begin processing requests for refunds on Friday, June 29. All refunds will be made to the Facebook Account used for the original purchase.
We will be discounting a lot of the items in the store before the game goes offline.
I e-mailed them today and this was their reply:
Apologies for the automated response, I am no longer with Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment. If you have any questions, please refer them to Zach Pond (email@example.com). He will be able to assist you or direct you to the person necessary in order to resolve your questions.
Cheers and have a great day,
Certainly there are others that can respond and answer us, but even their own website seems to be abandoned, so now we can only guess.
MWOK seemed to have all the right elements for a successful social networking game. It had great art, polished animations, good response time, balanced and simple play mechanics and great branding thanks to the deal they struck with Warner Bros. to tie in the game with The Big Bang Theory sitcom. In fact, they posted promotions often at the BBT Facebook page which has 22 million Likes, yet MWOK peaked only at 33,000.
Maybe it was the difficulty of the game or the instructions? Here are the instructions new players would see:
In the last panel, you can see Sheldon giving help tips while the game goes on live, this could be turned off by unchecking Show Hints. Now, I know everyone can be a general after a war, but I think that the help bubble could’ve simply been summarized to say “Cards that are played in a Duel that have a a Rank equal or lower this number will appear in the Battle field. This number goes up by 1 every turn.” Also, you couldn’t find the instructions again because they activated with the Book icon on the upper right and the game made no effort in telling people it was there, but other than those two things it seems to be a pretty easy game to learn.
Could those two simple faults of communication be responsible for the game’s lack of popularity?
Maybe it was the mechanics, maybe potential players didn’t like the gameplay or the design. I personally liked many of the things Dire Wolf Digital did with the game in terms of rules and balance, but i’m not so sure if the majority of potential players felt otherwise.
MWOK has two phases, the Duel phase and the Battle phase. During a Duel, players take turns playing one card. Each card has a one of five suits and a ranking number, like regular playing cards. Each suit trumps one other suit. Players repeat this until someone cannot play a card, at which point they take damage equal to the number of cards on their hand. All cards used in a duel that are equal or less the current Rank Count are played in the Battle field, all others are reshuffled into the deck. At the end of each Battle phase the Rank Count goes up by 1, then the player chooses to discard a card if they wish and finally all players draw cards until they have 5 cards in their hand. These mechanics keep the hand flowing with fresh cards and i personally love this concept. During the Battle phase, cards attack the space straight across it from left to right starting with the leftmost creature of each player, these two creatures attack each other simultaneously. If there is no creature at that space, then the damage goes to the opposing player. This creates tactics in the game were players either try to build a line long enough to hit their opponent or attempt to punch a hole in the opponent’s line so their heavy hitter damages their opponent. After the Battle, all creatures move to the left, covering any empty spaces. Creatures do not heal damage automatically on their own like in many other card games. There is also equipment and spells. Equipment are cards that attach to one creature. If the player has no creatures in Battle, then the equipment would go into a queue and attach to the next creature the player would bring out and the same thing goes with spells, if there is no target for the spell then it waits in a queue and activates when a target appears in Battle. When a spell is spent or an equipment or creature is destroyed it gets reshuffled back into the deck. This concept of reshuffling cards back in demonstrate how MWOK was design with flow instead of resource management in mind.
Maybe it was the design and organization of the game, but I doubt it. The game was very neatly organized, at least in my opinion. Maybe the majority of people found it confusing. The opening page linked to every major aspect in the game; Store, Daily Challenge, Head to Head and Enter KA’A. The Store page sold packs for Coins, which you can gather in the game, or Newtons, which you can get with Facebook Credits. It also sold singles for both currencies and single player campaigns for Newtons. The Daily Challenge page had you play against an opponent AI for daily rewards. The Head to Head page had two ways to play against other players; your own Friends on Facebook or anyone in the game. You can only chose your opponent when challenging a friend but for Global Challenge you were paired automatically according to your score. I personally loved this idea, although sometimes you ended up getting paired with someone with score significantly higher or lower than yours because you just so happen to be available when no one else with similar score was, but in the end it was pretty balanced. Enter Ka’a had you build a little city were buildings had various functions, such as producing resources or accessing various single player modes. One of the features I loved about MWOK was the Auto-Play mode, in which any player could let the AI fight single player AI opponents at the cost of reduced loot. I spent many hours doing other things while my AI racked up resources and Experience Points for me and all I had to do was check up on it every 5-10 minutes. This Auto-Mode concept is also a great solution to even out the playing field in competitive social networking games, since often the ones who end up with the advantage are those using third party bots and scripts to farm the game, now I much prefer to design the game so that bots cannot be used as efficiently to cut down on cheating, but if that cannot be done i support this particular solution for the bot problem.
There were a total of 630 cards and five factions to chose from, plus the special cards that could be used in any faction. The art quality varied but it was good overall. Cards varied in rarity, from Common to Epic Rare. On top of this frequency range, there were Gold Cards, which were even rarer versions of the regular cards and also slightly more powerful. You could get cards by buying packs with coins or Newtons, receiving gifts from friends, completing single player campaigns or crafting them from the loot drops in the single player mode. There were also special cards that could be used in any faction, such as Molten River. The deck editor was very simple to understand and operate. It basically worked by having you chose a Warlord card, each Warlord allowed you to use 9 other cards and these ten cards were known as a Squad. The types of cards that could be used on a Squad depended on the particular Warlord, for example; some Warlords would allow you to chose only 5 creatures, 3 artifacts and 1 spell, others just allowed you to choose 7 creatures, 1 artifact and 1 spell. Every card chosen must be of the same faction as the Warlord you chose. A deck is composed of just 2 Warlords and they can be of different factions. There are no card copy limits because the balancing factor to counter multi-copy abuse has been naturally designed into the cards and the Squad creation process itself. Also, because the game doesn’t focus on resource management as much as it focuses on play flow, multi-copy abuse is not that big of an issue. In this case, multi-copy abuse will leave you “top heavy” and vulnerable since you no longer had the capacity to adapt to situations.
There were also unique cards that only the AI could use during single player campaigns, but these were not included in the collection page. You could make as many squads as you chose. When it was time to play against the AI or a Human opponent, you simply picked any two Squads that were available. You could put Squads in Guard duty on your towers. You could build Guard Towers in your city with loot drop from the single player campaigns and anyone visiting your city could not challenge your main deck until all of your Guard Tower decks were defeated. Every time an opponent failed to defeat one of your Guard Towers you got some loot.
It seems strange that they closed down so soon after their first big promotion that tied in with the release of the trivia party game. The promotion was a failure, since the promotional codes were easy to get and post on the internet. The codes gave you alternate art for some cards.
The developers used to do a daily promotion of loot. Everyday they would post a link for players to get free loot, but after the promotion this changed. They started putting up a new special card at random every week, Pachydermise, and only in amounts of 5. This did not go very well the player base. Some players thought that it was unfair and a penalty for being at work everyday and for playing the game and not paying attention to the Facebook page, a horrible consequence and yet they did this over and over again!
What justified treating the player base with such disrespect? It doesn’t make sense, even for the greedy-minded developers, to treat your paying players like this. Is it harder to start a new company under a new name and hope no one notices that you treated your people this way than it is to innovate a solution and keep your supporters? There were also many, many complaints about features and cards that were promised and never came, such as the Character Cards, which were supposed to be cards that you could get with loot dropped by doing your Daily Challenge. One paying player was waiting as much as 6 months for the new cards to come…they never did.
No one really knows, because the developers haven’t bothered to communicate with us. That’s disrespectful.
I posted this blog entry to analyze the situation and benefit from the mistakes of others, not just my own. I wouldn’t like my future games to end up this way and if you’ve read this far and are planning to or already have a small game company, then you could help in this analysis as well. I made a copy of all of the comments to the developer’s last announcement for this purpose and I separated them for easier reading:
James Horvath >_<
June 18 at 10:59am · Like
Ulaire Lemenya WTH?
June 18 at 11:00am · Like
Tobias ‘Gam’ Heyner So there is finally one question open: Why?
June 18 at 11:01am · Like · 4
Erick Perez why?
June 18 at 11:01am · Like · 1
Jeramy Garner So why the shutdown?
June 18 at 11:02am via mobile · Like · 2
Alexander Krönlein Dick Just found the game and now you’re closing it? Argh.
Hope to see it in print soon.
June 18 at 11:03am · Like · 1
Bart VonDoom yes, why ?
June 18 at 11:04am · Like · 1
Rich Lehmann What a rip off!!
June 18 at 11:05am · Like · 6
Vincent Aioros why ???
June 18 at 11:08am · Like · 1
Jeremy Sepinsky Never even made it out of the Beta…
June 18 at 11:09am · Like
Gregory Betancourt Jr. With any luck this online version was created as an open
beta for a real table top card game to develop and refine the rules. Fingers
June 18 at 11:10am via mobile · Like · 1
Laura-Maria Mäkinen WHY???
June 18 at 11:10am · Like · 1
Mia Marie Innocenti ”Total Rip Off”;/
June 18 at 11:14am · Like · 3
Thomas Smith I never understand why all the good games with a good fan base shut
down, its almoast as if all they ever want is money and as soon as it declines
slightly. Poof its gone. I mean cmon Ive been wwating for that dam expantion
pack forever that still says “comming soon” for atleast the past 6 months >_>
June 18 at 11:14am · Like · 8
Matt Fuller Nice scam. Spend the newtons on what?
June 18 at 11:15am · Like · 9
Florian Hess Really sad news! Love the idea and card art – big shame that there
is no explanation or more background infos about what led to this.
Encouraging to buy “discounted items” before the game goes down in a couple days
is a nasty joke though. Not cool guys!
June 18 at 11:20am via mobile · Like · 4
Jeroen van den Broek Why the hell would you make items in the store cheaper? Why
would I spend anything on something that I won’t be able to use next week? Ah
well, I’ll go remove the game and its permissions from my Facebook profile.
June 18 at 11:21am · Like · 7
Erwin Coplo what a rip off, i bought the theme decks with real money
June 18 at 11:22am · Like · 7
Chris Canary Without an explanation on why it’s coming down (It could even be
rights issues), it’ll be very hard to take Dire Wolf Digital seriously. With
Public Relations, Fanbases can be incredibly forgiving..but only if companies
level with them. We’ll see..I’ll admit, I’m glad I didn’t “donate” any money to
the game. Makes me feel bad for those who did, though.
June 18 at 11:26am · Like · 8
Jeff D’Ambrosio why will the game be down. i never even got to play it cause my
computer wouldnt load it
June 18 at 11:30am · Like · 1
Kevin Harlan figures i spend a metric ton of time on this game finally finish my
twilight deck and im able summon the endless serpent and the game closes
June 18 at 11:31am · Like · 2
Gypsy Victor Dang! I only play words and ka’a….and yeah, why pull it down?
June 18 at 11:32am via mobile · Like · 1
Daan Beuermann Why?????
June 18 at 11:44am via mobile · Like · 3
Jacob ‘uniltìranyu’ Reid Rip off. I’m glad I didn’t spend any money, I really
feel sorry for anyone who has :(
June 18 at 11:51am · Like · 7
Thomas Smith Also to note: Considering that the “newist” pack cost around 5.5k
silver, some people put alot of time into this game. If you dont give them a
decent reason for closing, they will probly never play a game of yours again.
June 18 at 11:56am · Like · 7
Patrick Colorcrayons Meh. I havent played in months anyway since their revamp
last octoberish. I hope they have developed a good game based on all the
playtesters here and that they get some recognition when they finally do decide
to market the game. They put too much work into the art for this game to be dead
June 18 at 12:02pm · Like · 1
Samuel Marlowe Admittedly, it’s a free to play Facebook game. It was a fun game
to play, but without some explanation of why it is coming down, no, I wouldn’t
consider playing another game by this publisher.
June 18 at 12:04pm · Like · 2
Patrick Colorcrayons I do have to say that I find it ironic that since the Party
Game has been released and promos codes for this included in that game for it to
now close… invokes a rather large WTF?
June 18 at 12:04pm · Like · 1
Panagiotis Katsorchis very disapointing at least explaines to the fans why you
shut down the application i thing we deserve to know
June 18 at 12:07pm · Like · 2
Panagiotis Katsorchis but this game i thing it would be perfect if someone make
it again out of facebook like the other card games
June 18 at 12:10pm · Like
Russel Aaron Houde I am highly upset. Like the rest of the comments say… can
we at least get a reason why?
June 18 at 12:22pm via mobile · Like · 6
Sam Whitaker I spent quite a bit of cash on this and still play quiet often.
Really f**king annoyed…
June 18 at 12:29pm via mobile · Like · 5
Marcelo Ignacio Figueroa Se cagaron en los fans
June 18 at 12:31pm · Like
Joseph Kelsey i spent real money. this really pisses me off. i would like a
reason also. its the least that they OWE the fans.
June 18 at 12:48pm · Like · 8
Lawrence L Barber Yeah that is bullshit. I paid MONEY for a cool game I liked
and now it is closing?! WTF?
June 18 at 12:50pm · Like · 4
Daniel Wilson Why is this game closing!? Ive spent probably £30 – £40 worth and
now its closing…..
June 18 at 12:52pm · Like · 4
David Hong When will the discount start? Thursday 28th?
WE DEMAND ANSWERS!!!
June 18 at 12:54pm · Like · 1
William Noetling Bummer
June 18 at 1:21pm · Like
Lawrence L Barber I love that they are discounting items on a game that is
June 18 at 1:29pm · Like · 3
Vendy Šolcová WTF?! are you f*ckin’ kidding, aren’t you? :-O
June 18 at 1:31pm · Like · 1
Bill Loescher Guess it just shows “buyer beware”. I considered the money I put
into this a lost a long time ago.
June 18 at 1:33pm via mobile · Like
Greg Foster Aparently we weren’t buying things for the game, only renting. Would
have been nice to know ahead of time
June 18 at 1:57pm · Like · 2
Алексей Несяев Shame, devs should do an ios game
June 18 at 1:57pm via mobile · Like
Andrew Chan Waste of money and time…….
June 18 at 2:12pm · Like · 1
Dave Brohman This sucks.
June 18 at 2:28pm via mobile · Like
Matthew Gregory Way to treat your fan base. How about refunding EVERY single one
of us who put money into the game?
June 18 at 2:41pm · Like · 11
Flora Bellini What an utter joke!
June 18 at 3:06pm · Like
Steve Rossi this sucks….
June 18 at 3:25pm · Like
Steve Rossi I think they should refund all the players who put newtons into the
game….who’s with me.
June 18 at 3:26pm · Like · 4
Jonathan Robert Tom Transitioning from an online game to a tabletop game is a
farce. A lot of folks who bought newtons for the game will be on a major nerd
June 18 at 3:27pm · Like · 5
Panagiotis Katsorchis waste of time guys i dont thing anyone will take an answer
or his money back
June 18 at 4:25pm · Like
Peter Conis Obvious answer: This game is a flop. I’m guessing less than 20,000
people play this game, that is a very small compared to Farmville and Words with
Friends. Of these 20,000 a minority spend money on it, a generous estimate would
be 4,000 people. This game is by far one of the most advanced on Facebook, they
put a lot of money and time into it. But they are not making a lot of money out
of it, so why continue developing it? I just wish they would have advertised
this game more, so it could have had a bigger audience but I guess they spent
most of that money on making it an amazing game. Also, this game is more for a
niche market (nerds). RIP Mystic Warlords of Ka’a
June 18 at 4:35pm · Like · 9
Marcelo Lucchetti this sucks
June 18 at 4:54pm · Like
Mark Atkinson It looks like the money I’ve spent is wasted. Too bad, as this is
one of my daily games to enjoy. Hey, Avis: you money is also wasted. *TSK*
June 18 at 4:55pm · Like · 1
Avis Bunnage *BLINK* Grrrr!
June 18 at 4:55pm · Like
Michael Baumann seriously…one month after server maintenance, and as noted
promo codes from real word products…will expect a bigger push for the ccg
June 18 at 5:11pm · Like · 2
Jason Groner Explanation, please?
June 18 at 5:22pm · Like · 2
Kathryn Gulland WHY??? I think we’re owed an explanation!
June 18 at 5:27pm · Like · 1
Justin Brackin thats crap!!!!
June 18 at 5:37pm · Like · 1
Cameron Neumann This is really too bad but I’m guessing it’s going down because
it just didn’t take. What do they have, 32,000 players in total. Probably much
less than half that number active. Who knows what the connection between Dire
Wolf and Warner is but if the game is part of BBT’s EPK just having Sheldon
mention he’s playing MWoK on facebook would have sent the number skyrocketing
instantly (fwiw, I suspect this isn’t a creative EPK but rather Dire Wolf
licensing from Warner).
June 18 at 6:22pm · Like · 1
Stephen Perry can I buy your programs and art work? I think I have some spare
change laying around.
June 18 at 6:56pm · Like
Alex Rodriguez You don’t shut down the Enchanted Bunny. The Enchanted Bunny
shuts YOU down.
June 18 at 7:05pm · Like · 3
Jamie Woods Well I guess they’re about to release the ALPHA version then? lol
June 18 at 7:46pm · Like
William Young Strange, and would like to know why. But I did enjoy the game!
June 18 at 7:57pm · Like · 1
Robert Huffman Bazinga? ???
June 18 at 10:09pm · Like · 5
Cappy Larou LOL…..let’s boycott the show…..Bastards!!!!!
June 18 at 10:21pm via mobile · Like
Rich Lehmann So I take it the “Shadow Lords” is not “Coming Soon”? What a rip
June 18 at 11:48pm · Like · 4
Wolfgang Linsmayer WHY? :(
June 19 at 12:11am · Like
Thorsten Schmitt omg, i spend real money :(
June 19 at 12:51am · Like
Przemyslaw Wojcik me too, and I regret it. I won’t spend any more money on any
facebook game again…
June 19 at 1:01am · Like
Edd Potts Well this was inevitable considering the lack of any posts for weeks
at a time.
June 19 at 5:24am · Like
Tony Wilson They could at least just leave it like it is., But make everything
cost coins instead of newtons. I mean that way you dont leave the fanbase that
is here high and dry.
June 19 at 6:43am · Like · 1
Dave Kessler Thank you for a wonderful game. I have enjoyed it immensely and
will miss it. Your work has been great and greatly appreciated. 8)
June 19 at 7:03am · Like · 2
José Ortiz Cabrones!!!
June 19 at 8:34am · Like · 1
Sarah Laurinas Well crud! I was really enjoying this game. Good luck to the
developers with any future endeavors. I will miss Mystic Warlords of Ka’a. :(
June 19 at 10:26am · Like
Rene Blink i understand it will not be possible to give our money back, however
it would be nice to see the facebook credits returned i’ve put into this game
June 19 at 12:04pm · Like · 2
Siegfrid Silberhaar i will never ever again spent money into a fb game
June 19 at 9:37pm · Like · 2
Doug Lee NOOO i just joined
June 19 at 10:18pm · Like
Alexandre Ducharme This is crap. And they wont even give a reason…
June 19 at 11:50pm · Like
Marcos Muñoz I’m relieved I hadn’t yet spent real money on this, I almost lost
30€ in a game that promised a lot, was real fun, had an interesting learning
curve… and that has finally exploded with a reason, sure, but a reason yet
June 20 at 1:29am · Like
Florian Hess Just regret that I have never seen an Omega Rabbit! ;)
June 20 at 3:19am · Like
Michael Fieck is this just going to be temporary or forever
June 20 at 10:16am · Like
Joshua Lestina Why not just let an independent group of fans take over??? i’m
sure there are more than a few of us who have the know how to run it! (I being
one of them)
So why kill it?
June 20 at 2:42pm · Like · 1
Steven Kaplan Oh, you’ve got to be freaking kidding me! I go away for a few days
and when I come back the freaking game is closing! WHY?! i didn’t even get a
chance to really update anything of value! BULLCRAP!!
June 20 at 8:41pm · Like
Daan Beuermann ”We will be discounting a lot of the items in the store before
the games goes offline” Really??? Aren’t we the lucky ones… Just make the
stuff free so we can enjoy it one more time!
June 20 at 10:19pm via mobile · Like · 2
Jason Cline It’s disappointing to see this happen so quickly after the release
of the Party Game, which I would hope would generate interest in this game.
June 21 at 5:31am · Like
Eduardo Hanst This isn’t permanent right there gonna put the game online agin
after a while right
June 21 at 7:23am · Like
Kathy Brooks Pickrell But it’s the only game I like to play. I have been saving
points like crazy waiting on the new DECK!!!!!!
June 21 at 11:32am · Like
Mi Sanders remarket the game with kaboom or another company that can change the
name and Add favor to the game … A leader pole or guild building is big with
other Card type games. I enjoyed the game but it requires marketing position.!!!
Let us know!
June 22 at 10:46am · Like · 1
Mi Sanders Also, i like to buy the artwork on T-shirts or caps!
June 22 at 10:48am · Edited · Like
Ralph R Kunkle I liked the game and mechanics, but they shot themselves in the
foot making it just a flash/facebook game. A tie-in flash/facebook game that
would work with a paper version of the game would have been far more
sustainable(if well marketed), yet sadly the rush for a short-term profit
alienated the prime base for the game (gamers who would play another tcg/Tbbt
fans) by not being advertised or in brick and mortar shops.
June 22 at 2:26pm · Like
Tony Maillet Disappointing
June 23 at 4:45am · Like
Dominik Vizler i buy 2 packs and i didnt got them and can i buy cards in real
June 23 at 2:06pm · Like
Leviud Zuurman Disappointing. It has bin the best game on Facebook.
June 24 at 2:13pm · Like
Greg Mehochko Maybe this has been said, maybe it hasn’t. If you’re ending the
game, make all cards/campaigns available. Let those of us who play battle it out
to the supreme.
June 25 at 6:11am · Like · 1
Jack Shipley I’m one of the few people that probably spent real money on this
game. I liked it alot. Why did I stop playing though?
1- I didn’t have enough people on my friends list to make upgrades possible. My
FB friends list is composed of FRIENDS .. not random people just to fill up some
2- The game said there were updates “coming soon” but they never came. I waited
and waited for something new but nothing ever showed up.
Between lack of new content and the friends list issue removing any reason to
battle for resources I quit playing. It’s no surprise the game is closing down.
Its a shame though, because I DO like it. Ah well, RIP Mystic Warlords.
Tuesday at 5:16am · Like
Marius Thiermann damn, i just got such a nice berserk and heal deck… :P anyone
knows an comparable app to compensate the loss?
Tuesday at 12:28pm · Like
Marius Thiermann oh, one more thing: could you please send me my card collection
in printed form? contact me via pm to get my address, thx! :D
Tuesday at 12:32pm · Like · 1
Mrer Tan Its sad. I was waiting to get a few things like the shadow tower, or
the red dragon. I liked this game. Sad all over.
Tuesday at 2:57pm · Like
Sam Whitaker Have we had any response yet?
Wednesday at 8:12am · Like
Brian Hrdy this 100% sucks they should not do it lets protests
Wednesday at 7:36pm · Like
Peter Conis So…. I take it there is not going to be discounts on items in the
12 hours ago · Like
I hope this material helps future game developers avoid the follies of ignoring and disrespecting your player base, plus any other salvageable lesson we can gather from this mess. I really feel sad to see MWOK go and I shudder at the fact that all that code and art will just go to rot somewhere in some hard drive or simply deleted all together instead of leaving it for the public so the fans can curate it like with many other games.