I followed a whim and clicked upon seeing the advertisement below, promising me "the hottest game 2015". The focus of my experience, stressed the ad, would be "beautiful females", but I was just as attracted to the clear trajectory outlined in its upper right corner: "Game Starts. Choose Story. Game Setting. Game Ends." That sounds like a logical sequence of steps. I like to know what to expect from my experience, and I certainly expect that it will end.
I was presented with this sensual image, again promising me hotness. I was asked to choose my fraction—that kind of thing gets me really excited—and slay my enermy. After some consideration I chose to be "Lion: From the Fertile West", because lions are hot and no cardinal direction is more fertile than West, that's for sure.
However, after a brief loading screen, I for some reason ended up at a completely different selection screen. Now I have to pick between Albion, Gorm and Nords Alliance? What happened to the Polar Bears? Well, I went ahead and picked Gorm, because when I play games about maps I like to thirstily extend my realm and it looks like this guy in the picture is all about that. I'd be okay with being this guy. Plus, there's some kind of reward indicated: I'll get 50 diamonds. Don't know yet what diamonds are good for, but 50 sounds like a lot!
A loading screen with a blooded logo lets me know I'm playing a game called SIEGE LORD. That's so arousing, right? The loading screen shows me tips and tactics in frequently-incomplete sentences, like "Defend beats Attack, Attack beats Assault, and Assault" "Send your generals around the World View for bonuses from special events" and "Draketon is the center of the world."
Then the game starts. A hovering arrow urges me to upgrade a Dwelling. I click it and then I am supposed to upgrade the Dwelling again. Then there are two Dwellings, and I upgrade them. Time lapse banners crawl to completion as an animation of a hammer pumps slowly up and down to generally-medieval sounding music. If this game gets any hotter, I'm going to get a nosebleed. It says I'm earning 65 Gold an hour, baby.
Oh, here we go. A beautiful lady called Lianna. She is really grateful that I upgraded the Dwellings and she wants to know my name. I am her lord. This must be when the conventionally hot things are going to happen.
But then suddenly I'm asked to choose my character. Wait, I thought I was going to be that thirsty Gorm lord guy! Yet again I must adjust. I'm not sure who or where I am any more, but I choose to be the beautiful lady in the red dress, you know, just to be faithful to my real life. I look exactly like this. Also I want to see if this game progressively allows the "My Lord" who is having the "hottest" experiences with "beautiful females" to be a lady.
All right! Here we go. Wait who is this guy where did he come from
Great. It's Njal. I didn't sign up for Supreme Honor, bro, I wanted to have the hottest possible experience. Suddenly Njal and I are on a completely new map with completely new places. It's some kind of frozen mountain. This isn't The Fertile West OR Gorm at all.
The game tells me to "attack Bullen", and I'm not sure whether Bullen is a place or a guy, but suddenly there are battle units on screen, apparently led by Njal, that automatically fight each other. My guys win. After Bullen I have to click on Tathmore and attack it and my guys win again. Nobody does anything hot.
Beautiful Lianna returns. She says we have to pray for gold. I pray for gold. "Resources earned from prayer are worth two hours of basic output," the game announces. Two hours sounds like a lot of time to spend on this game, and "output" makes it sound even more like factory labor than it already feels.
The maker of this game, judging by the logo stamped on it, is 37Games, an Asian web gaming company that apparently employs 1700 people. Siege Lord is only one of many barely-functioning products in its suite, and the illicit-looking web ads are nothing more than a lure to get you dumped into one of them at random. Well, what a fun time we've had!