What is War Robots? You might want to ask this question every now and then. In this two-part series, we attempt to cover War Robots in general (this is a restructuring of a piece I did back in 2019).
Defining What is War Robots
War Robots is, first of all, not a tactical 6v6 mobile mech shooter. In its most basic form, it is a third-person shooter that integrates the feeling of using mechs in a post-apocalyptic setting.
If you are a MechWarrior fan and you came here for a tactical experience, let me tell you this in advance: There’s no more room here for meticulous planning and thinking time as individual skill and supreme reflexes come to the fore in this game. You’ll use your instinct to play this game, as well as relying on extreme levels of metagaming and “gaming the system” in order to get ahead in this game.
As of today, it is clear that War Robots is now officially a multiplayer online battle arena at its most macro form, with one movement pad and multiple buttons that you need to press in order to maximize your playing potential. If you came here from the likes of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Wild Rift, Dota 2, SMITE, and the like, you should feel at home here.
This game, created by Pixonic (currently a Russian subsidiary of Mail.ru; most of the original developers of this game have moved on to bigger gaming studios, by the way), has hundreds of millions of registered accounts all over the world. It earns millions of dollars in a single month, and is easily among the top 10 action titles on iOS.
It is originally designed to be a tactical mobile mech game in 2014, featuring modes such as Domination, Free for All, Beacon Rush, Team Deathmatch and even King of the Hill. It also features limited time events such as Skirmish and Arena.
The game features a hard pay-to-win component (i.e. buying content such as robots, modules and weapons) and a soft pay-to-win portion (i.e. a leveling system that requires the use of the game’s soft currency, which is gold).
In other words, if you want to become one of the top dogs in this game, then you’ll need to spend a ton of money. It should be noted that for a good number of players in War Robots, spending money in games is not an issue for them.
Expectations in today’s game
Expect a game that focuses on extreme levels of power creep and where each balancing act is designed not to make every robot viable, but to open the path for the new metagame to dominate the landscape of the game.
While it is true that long-time players of MOBA titles would feel at home here, they would also be taken aback by the amount of resources required to maintain a strong presence inside the game. To make a very rough comparison, SuperCell (the notorious makers of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, ahem, ahem, ahem) actually spend money when it comes to community engagement (parties, community interactions, etc.) and towards cultivating a competitive culture (tournaments, the Esports angle, prize money, etc.), thus ensuring that there is a sort of return when it comes to player’s investments.
It is only recently that War Robots has embraced this concept, and even then, the engagement is relatively limited and the ecosystem is pretty much non-existent. Even newer games such as Super Mecha Champions (SMC) have already started gravitating towards a competitive scene.
In War Robots, the commonly accepted notion among players was that any sense of returns on investment DID NOT EXIST back in the day, and that the only return that one could get from the game was the feeling that someone was at the top of the War Robots food chain. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, this has changed in some aspects.
Despite these facts, there are a ton of individual and clan rivalries in the game. This shows how lively the game is at the moment, despite a certain level of dissatisfaction and the occasional boycott that is associated with War Robots.
The current state of War Robots, as far as the human dimension is concerned, is that there are clans (mostly international) who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, legal (there are a ton of skilled players at the top with disposable income and/or who know how to spend smartly, they can even beat normal random players with three of their players not doing anything) or otherwise (there’s a reason why those rumors and exposes regarding gold loaders exist).
This is followed by the prominent (those who can upset these clans in official tournaments) or national clans (clans that represent the identity of a country), then the competitive clans (the upstart ones), the specialist clans (those who focus in Six-Pack League, play an all-Natasha lineup or do some other wacky stuff) and the casual ones (the ones that anyone can join anytime). In short, War Robots carries a huge, albeit polarized player base at the moment.
Objectively speaking, War Robots is quite big right now in its sector, and is easily the biggest title among the bunch (one just has to go to a mobile market intelligence site to see the numbers). Even with the quick rise of Eastern-style mobile mech games (Super Mecha Champions, Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare, etc.), War Robots has instituted some measures to protect its market base – which, we hope, would lead to a better experience for the player base.