Blackout Divides Dragons of Atlantis Community Enrique C September 15, 2013 News, PC A few players of the popular free-to-play Dragons of Atlantis have organized together in preparation to carry out an organized blackout. For those who are curious, Dragons of Atlantis is a free-to-play, browser-based strategy game. Like most strategy games, users build up their base and train up their armies. Users can then participate in battles against other players or community war games. The game does put some limitations on how players build up their armies however. So this is what’s making players so blue When purchasing upgrades, aside from spending resources, players are limited to upgrading one building at a time. The upgrade time can take anywhere from a few seconds on the more common buildings upwards to a few hours for the major upgrades. Players spend resources such as metal, wood and gold to purchase these upgrades. Along with the standard resources, DOA also has a rare resource known as Blue Energy. Blue Energy is a resources that is used to revive troops, summon power Wraith Dragons and to train elite troops such as Dark Slayers, Soul Reapers, Venom Dwellers, Petrified Titans and Swift Striders. The primary way to obtain this resources is by farming it through the use of Reaping Stones. BE is one of the few resources that cannot be obtained from attacking other players. Of course, like any free-to-play game, players have the option of paying real money for what the company calls a “premium experience.” Players can purchase rubies to significantly reduce the time needed to complete upgrades. It’s here where tensions have risen recently between a few players and parent company Kabam. Despite the game being out for about 4 years it remains in beta status, seeing several changes made to the game. Changes that, according to some players, affected the quality of general gaming experience for all. The forefront of these changes concerns two resources in the game, Blue Energy and Enchanted Energy. To address the issue, a DOA Players Counsel has been organized from members of the community forums in hopes to represent DOA players. As per their mission statement, “We are here to remind Kabam management of their obligations as to what they are representing in advertising and promotion of their free-to-play DOA game. We respectfully request to be heard and taken seriously in our efforts for some key changes within the DOA game environment and functions which in turn promotes fair play for gamers at all levels.” The main issue lies on a resource cap Kabam has placed in-game on Blue Energy, which according to the Players Counsel is done specifically to push more ruby sales. In their words “If basic resources that are needed for multiple in-game functions are capped it forces players to purchase rubies in order to buy what is needed to actually play the game turning it into a pay-to-play game in disguise. This will lead to the determination that Kabam promotes in false advertising of their media services.” Players have also reported other aggravating conditions, such as constant game breaking bugs as well as a complete lack of support from Kabam Staff. Several users state that support staff has no working knowledge of the game and also report a large number of tickets being closed without addressing the issues present. As a result, the DOA Players Counsel has submitted a formal complaint to Kablam informing them of their grievances and desired course of action. In their complaint, The Players Counsel has given Kabam until September 15th to at least show signs that it is attempting to address the issues. Failure to do so will result in a continued blackout from key supporters. Not all players however, are in support of the blackout. One quick look at the community forums for Dragons of Atlantis reveals multiple threads from players speaking out against the blackout. When asked about their views on the issue, several players expressed discontent towards the Players Counsel, citing that it was just a small percentage of players engaging in the black out. According to them, the cap on BE has actually been beneficial because it provided a more even playing field for players who choose to not purchase rubies. According to one particular forum user, “Prior to the blue energy cap, when a smaller player hit a larger player, that player would reap their troops and be larger than they were before the battle before the attackers GD has meandered home, but the attacker, who is a smaller, non rubier with no cheats, will be rebuilding for weeks.” In addition, there were claims that several players were running a third-party software in order to farm and transport resources like Blue Energy in a way that was not meant to happen within the Terms of Service for the game. “Blue energy transport was never a function of the game, only a function of third-party add ons…Blue was never a resource “just like all the other resources.” It was never farmable from wilds nor stealable from enemies. It was always supposed to be a limited resource. In truth, no rubiers were spending money on blue, they were using add ons to get it. It would be more expensive than just buying the powders to build up some other elites instead or to cook troops traditionally instead of cloning them in your spec op. Troop trading, spam wraithing, and instant recovery from battle have been huge contributions to realms that are dying off.” While it is a bold statement to accuse other players of cheating, an official statement given by Kabam seems to confirm the claims. Steve Swasey, Kabam Inc’s VP Head of Global Corporate Communications was contacted in regards to the issue. In response Kabam stated, “In Kabam’s Dragons of Atlantis Web game, we discovered a number of players were using a third-party tool to gain unfair advantages over other competing players. This is against our terms of service. To continue to ensure a fair balanced game, we had to address the issue in a way that would prohibit these players from doing this. Dragons of Atlantis continues to be a free-to-play Web game where players can advance in the game over time or through in-app purchases. Since its launch four years ago, Dragons of Atlantis has consistently been one of Kabam’s most popular titles and is one of four Kabam games that has grossed $100M.” So far it looks like no changes will be made by Kabam to remove the caps on Blue Energy. This in turn is causing a divide within the community between players who support the blackout and those who are content with the way things are.