Ready your enchanted browser tabs and equip your clicking hand with your sturdiest gauntlets. Westeros just got social.
Although Game of Thrones Ascent, recently released on Facebook, shares many of the familiar trappings of social games — click on lots of things, watch a timer go down, and then click more things — developer Disruptor Beam says its game’s value lies in the story, and is promising fans of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books that its recently released Facebook game will flesh out the world of Westeros in an interesting way.
The events of the game run parallel with the storyline of the books, but from a separate perspective. There’s a lot of filler content and new characters, too, but for people absolutely in love with the series, keepingAscent running in a background tab while at work might be a worthwhile way to squeeze a little more fun out of Martin’s world.
Martin has said that his relationship with Disruptor Beam predates the television show deal. Although the 64-year-old writer admits that he’s befuddled by the entire concept of social games, he’s worked closely with the team throughout the game’s development.
“I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account,” Martin wrote on his blog in May 2012, “but I’ve been told a few people have them, and that some of those people like to play social media games.”
Martin joked that he was “told that the biggest social media game involves running a farm,” but promised that “no turnips will be involved” in Game of Thrones Ascent.
I spent some time in Disruptor Beam’s game, and it does a pretty charming job of letting you imagine what it’d be like to be a lord in Westeros: My self-created character, Lord Wilfred Hobnobber, has a pretty sweet house banner. There are also branching decision paths in the quests that definitely hold potential.
At present, however, Ascent does seem to have some glaring issues with lag. After performing almost any action in the game, there’s a massive delay before the client reacts. The game is technically in “open beta” at the moment, so that will probably be fixed in the future. But for now, for me, it’s pretty much unplayable in its current state.
Hopefully Disruptor Beam addresses technical issues more quickly than Martin writes books, or the fans might get impatient.