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General Articles: WebWars

By Laura Genender on December 20, 2007

WebWars

This past November at the EVE Fanfest, John Galt Games announced upcoming title WebWars, a casual web-based MMO, set in the EVE universe. For the last month I’ve been participating in the game’s closed beta and learning my way around the innovative yet simple new gaming model.

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WebWars: EVE does a fantastic job of taking traditional EVE concepts and graphics to a new and accessable environment. The game places players in a sci-fi world of ship PvP battles and money managing; players choose one of the four EVE races and fight their way to victory in frigates, cruisers, and battleships. In EVE, though, each player is responsible for one ship. Players can own multiple ships, but they can only fly one at a time. In WebWars, players acts as a fleet commander of multiple ships. Your Empire might consist of two frigates, or thousands of battleships.

There are currently six ship types in game, three obtained through ISK (the in-game currency) and three available through WebWars cash. The ISK ships are tech 1 frigates, cruisers, and battleships. Frigates cost 100 ISK and have 10 HP; Cruisers cost 1000 ISK and have 100 HP; and battleships cost 30,000 ISK and have 1000 HP. The WebWars Cash ships are tech 2 frigates, cruisers, and battleships, which have a slight HP advantage over their tech 1 counterparts. Ship damage scales according to size, as well – but it’s not all that simple!

Each ship type has a strength and a weakness. For example, frigates are easily countered by cruisers, which pack more punch than the smaller ships. Those same frigates have an advantage against the larger battleships, whose guns track too slowly to hit the frigates. It will still take a whole lot of frigates to down a battleship, but it’s certainly doable.

Ships are managed through your Space Station, a central page that lets you manage/buy ships, view all of your territories (attacking or defending), view your stats such as income per minute and badges, etc. More ships are already in development.

Battles in EVE take place over an expansive galaxy, thousands of systems accessible through the EVE Online client. For MMO players, this is a pretty common practice: download a client, connect to a server, play your game. WebWars, though, moves the EVE universe into your web browser – quite literally.

The game itself is a Firefox plugin, but the web tie-ins go even deeper than that. WebWars battles are waged, not over space, but over webspace. Your battlegrounds will include google.com, facebook.com, and even MMORPG.com! While browsing the web using Firefox, players can start a battle on any webpage using the WebWars: EVE toolbar. The toolbar gives players options to attack a website, and a built in search bar that ties into Google. Choosing the “attack” option opens the WebWars interface.

The toolbar drops down into an overlay that displays the current defenses and attackers. Battles are waged every 10 minutes; players have 8 to 9 minutes to prepare and reinforce their defenses or attacks. Once the timer is up – and it’s a bit random – the battle starts. Players don’t have control over the actual battle, but get to watch as the ships fire missiles and guns at their enemies.

The goal of these battles is to take over webspace. Players can own up to 10 websites at a time, and all websites are valid battlegrounds. The more popular the website, the more ISK per minute it generates – for example, google.com is the top property, generating 1000 ISK per minute. Facebook.com is #8 and generates 503 ISK per minute. MMORPG.com is #78 and generates 49 ISK per minute. The curve is rather severe, with about a dozen sites pulling in big ISK before the values start to drop. These ratings are mostly based off of the ALEXA popularity ratings, but some game-related sites have an ISK/standing boost!

Note also that multiple players will be able to attack or defend a website at once. The income between battles is split between defenders according to their contribution to the defense. The top contributor is ranked as commander, with any other defenders labeled as Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze owners.

As important as ratings and ISK are, there are many other reasons to take over a website. I foresee EVE corporations like Band of Brothers and Goonsquad fighting over SomethingAwful.com, rival corps and guilds stealing each other’s websites, and so on. WebWars provides awesome potential for corporation, guild, and company rivalries to flourish. Imaging owning every big MMO fansite, or an empire of pet store pages.

Setting up your offense/defense is a lot like bidding on an auction, both against your teammates and against your opposition. You want your team to put more ships in than your opposition, but you also want to put more ships in than any of your fellow defenders. This is why the battle lock timer is a bit random: to avoid last minute ship “bids”.

There is still much more in the making for the WebWars: EVE universe, including: a badge system that acts like equipment, giving bonuses to players for completing tasks (IE defending Google for 1 hour); a personal space station complete with tech tree for customization; a mission system; and more ship types! WebWars will be free to play, though a payment method will be available for extra perks.

To learn more about WebWars, or sign up for the beta, click here.