Oh, If Only It Were So Easy!
You know how much easier it would be to be a guild leader if you could look into the minds of other players? Imagine if it were something along the lines of,"Doesn't Care About Loot? What sorcery is this? Pick this guy up while we can, we need another tank anyway." This is the premise of It's A Wipe, a tongue-in-cheek experience about what it's like to be a guild leader in the world of MMORPGs. While trying to get a raiding guild together on World of Warcraft in the wake of the Warlords of Draenor release last month, it seems all too fitting that It's A Wipe drops into my lap. It's a game that forces me to wear a grin, reminiscing about times both hilarious and not so much. Times that any guild leader will have experienced.
Lets Start A Guild!
Think of It's A Wipe as the Football Manager of the fantasy genre. Instead of overseeing the next big sports team, you're trying to create a guild from the ground up. Dropped into the game, you make the name of your own character, the name of your guild, and from there you're met with what I call the hub screen. From this screen you'll be recruiting new members, talking to existing members, and buying items you'll need for upcoming raids. All of this will eventually lead up to you taking on raids of increasing difficulty as the game progresses.
I found my time in the game to be one part recruitment, two parts debating who to actually bring into the raid, and then one part raiding. Recruiting is a more entertaining process than you'd think because between the parody names and personalities I found myself saying that I'd definitely met players like this before, for better or worse. Like Magetaur, the skilled but overly annoying mage, or Stabbington, the rogue who just can't quite listen to the rules but has his heart in the right place. Anyone who's been in a guild in an MMORPG will find themselves familiar with a lot of the people encountered but those who have been in the shoes of guild leaders will be even more acquainted with them.
You'll have the attention seekers, the loot cravers, the noobs and no lifers, and everything in between. I honestly feel that this is where the game shines most, capturing a rough idea of the types of players encountered online. This becomes even more fleshed out during the raids themselves, for example if two of them miss their queued turns because of arguing, or if one had to suddenly go away from their keyboard for "bio". It's both amusing and frustrating when events like this play out, which is a nice change from the reality of it just being frustrating when people cause issues in a raid group. Sadly enough, the shining point of the game is also where the bulk of my entertainment came from.
Before I go further, I just want to say that as far as a management simulator goes, out of the handful I've played, this was the most enjoyable. It spoke to an element I'm all too familiar with and for the most part it accurately captures it in a streamlined parody version. But that's about where the fun portion of it begins and ends. When it comes to actually managing your party during a raid, I find it loses luster in favor of simplicity over actual substance. This is a shame, considering that the pre-planning stages of recruitment actually had me thinking quite a bit, trying to find a good party build up to conquer the raids.
What it comes down to is an almost constant case of just clicking "Stick with the plan..." with the makeup of the battles changing very rarely. At least in cases of boss battles or fights that have enemy healers, the monotony is broken. That's when fun returns as I find myself balancing the damage between targets, keeping tanks alive, and keeping healers focused. In these moments, coupled with the random events that can make or break the raid, I see what It's A Wipe aspires to be. This is when it's most enjoyable. But as I pointed out, a lot of it is just going through the motions and while it's not badly built it's not exactly a consistently shining star of entertainment either.
Gaming? Working? It's Both.
It's hard for me to suggest anyone to go for or avoid a title like this. Management games are such an odd and growing category that it really all comes down to personal preferences. On one hand, you have the comedy aspect and the moments where the game plays out like a simulated version of an actual guild in an MMORPG. You have the moments of drama, of hardship, of teamwork, and of success and failure. On the other hand, you have a lot of monotony and going through the motions. I feel this is due to parts of the game being too simplistic and perhaps relying too much on the random events to spur things forward.
The game is decent, but often times decent is not what people are looking for. If you're a huge fan of management games, then maybe you'll see more in it than I do. If you're absolutely against management games, well it goes without saying this should be passed up. If you're somewhere in between, like me, the low price tag and the amusement of it may make it worth your time.
Comedic insight into life as a guild leader, generated events for party members offer both grins and sighs, certain battles bring out the challenge of the game.
Many battles just feel like going through the motions, needs more in the way of managing your guild in fights.