Wednesday, 2 September 2015

World of Warriors Guide for Parents

Image: Mind Candy
My kids have been playing World of Warriors, and so have I! I thought it would be useful to put together a guide for parents who aren't quite so willing to spend hours building a cohort of cartoon historical warriors and taking them into battle.

World of Warriors is a game for iOS and Android phones and tablets which is set in the mythical Wildlands. Warriors from history have been summoned to the Wildlands and must battle with their enemies to survive. The app is free but does have lots of in-app purchases - more on those later.

World of Warriors is designed to suck kids in and keep them coming back regularly to spend more time (and optionally money.) It's a fantastic game, but it's worth understanding how it works so you can come to an agreement with your child or teen on how much time (and optionally money) they can spend in the game.

What is World of Warriors?

World of Warriors is from Mind Candy who also developed Moshi Monsters. The app has very high production values, it looks gorgeous and has brilliant music, sound effects and voice overs.

The trailer gives you an overview of what it's all about:

The game is set in the mythical Wildlands. Warriors from throughout history have been summoned to the Wildlands. The player gets to build up a collection of warriors with various abilities and control them in turn-based battles with the evil Minions.

In the core game you work your way through a map of the Wildlands battling enemies and building up your warriors as you go. There are lots of secondary features such as battling other players in the arena and entering the Portal and Tower to earn special items. There's a crafting feature where you can make useful items from materials you collect.

There's also a Temple where you can spend in-game currency to buy new warriors and special items. It's not a store where you choose items, you buy lucky dip style chances, sometimes you get a great result, sometimes you don't.

World of Warriors has many, many hours of potential game play in it. This isn't a game that kids will complete in a few sessions. It's designed for long term playability.

Note that World of Warcraft is a completely different game - an online role playing and battling fantasy game which is much more grown up.

Age Suitability

Age suitability is a tricky one. The app is rated as 12+ in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. The content is extremely mild compared to Horrible Histories which my kids love and it's in a historical / fantasy cartoon setting. The app does include gruesome facts. My kids love history and World of Warriors appeals to them very strongly. Different families will have different thresholds obviously.

A typically gruesome warrior description
On the content front I'm quite happy to let my 7 and 8 year olds play World of Warriors. I think it's obvious that the brand will be attractive to younger children as well as those over 12. The upcoming toy range is clearly going to appeal to younger kids.

World of Warriors does include features where you can access advertising and promotional deals in order to earn in-game currency. The offers are not suitable for children. This feature isn't forced on you though, my kids know they can't use it. And I don't use it either as it would be a bit unfair if their Mum had an advantage like that!

Facebook (age 13+) is also required for some features, notably saving progress so you can move between devices. But they can still play without access to Facebook. Again, I've avoided those features.

How Much Does it Cost?

The app itself is free. And you can play the game for free. Yes, really. It's perfectly possible to play the game without spending any money. This is how we've been playing it. Don't worry, Mind Candy will still do fine out of us - they'll be getting our money through World of Warriors merchandise. 

But if you want to progress quickly in the game and not wait around for things to happen then you can spend real money to purchase wildstones (red gems) which you can use in the game to get better warriors and take short cuts. If you allow your child or teen to take this route then you should have a discussion about reasonable amounts to spend. You could easily spend a very large amount of money in the game. A weekly or monthly budget would make sense so you have a clear picture of spending and there are no surprises. 

One of the issue to be aware of is that the wildstones that you purchase with real money are often used in a lucky dip style where you might get something you didn't really need. This can be very frustrating. The gems can also be used to get you out of tricky situations so younger players with less skill may end up getting through more of them.

For younger kids I'd prefer a version without the advertising, Facebook interaction and real-money purchases. A monetization model which relies on purchases of toys and uploading digital codes (Skylanders style) would be much better. 

Demands on Time

Mind Candy is a signatory to the iRights campaign for young people. One areas covered by iRights is the ability to disengage and be in control over digitial content.  How does World of Warriors stack up in this regard?

Well it's quite good in terms of the ability to pause. It's not one of those games where kids lose their progress if they don't get to a save point which is a long way off. There's a pause button available even during battles (which are fairly short) so there's not usually a problem with getting kids to stop for a moment because you need to discuss something. (Though I'll admit I've found myself saying "Hang on until I've finished this battle." ...) The app does reset after a while though. 

The game has natural time limits built in as you run out of meat while the warriors require to fight and have to wait for it to refill (you can use one of the in-game currencies to get more meat, but you'll still run out.) The game works well when played little and often. 

There are items that are only readily available on certain days of the week, and actions to be done daily, so kids are likely to want to play regularly. The game is very effective at keeping you coming back. Sometimes you need an item that's only available on a particular day so kids will really want to play on that day to get the item they need - this can be tricky if they have other commitments. This problem can be avoided with a bit of forward planning. 

One area which is tricky is that certain features are only become available again after 23 hours. Previously it was 24 hours, so 23 is an improvement. But what this means is that if kids don't play in a one hour window each day then the time when they can play slips later and later. This is tricky when kids have other commitments. You may find that kids get frustrated when the time they can play is later than you want them having screen time. They'll have to skip a day to reset which might feel a bit unfair. This issue only applies to some parts of the game. 

I Need Wifi!

Much of the game can be played without an internet connection but there are some things that do require a connection. Kids might get frustrated if they can't get access to Wifi at some point during the day if they are playing the game regularly.

Crazy Tapping

One of the special moves requires very fast tapping on the screen. Yes, it's part of the game!


In terms of difficulty World of Warriors adapts very well to a range of abilities. There are plenty of opportunities to go and practice more and build up your warriors if things are getting tough. The game also starts simply and introduces new features gradually, it's very well designed to teach new players the skills they need.

There is a lot to learn. We recommend the World of Warriors tutorial videos - these are good for helping parents get an idea of the gameplay.

There's also an excellent World of Warriors Official Guide book which we have (UK only at time of writing.) It's colourful, easy to read and packed with useful and interesting information.

I'd recommend buying the guide and getting your child to read it before you spend any real money on wildstones - they'll have a better understanding of the game and be more able to use the gems wisely.

Educational Value

World of Warriors is packed with historical information. My older son loves history and is really enjoying this aspect. During loading screens a warrior is displayed along the the date they were summoned. I've always struggled to put history into chronological order in my head, but this is helping. There's also a World of Warriors novel, A New Hero by Curtis Jobling, which tells the story of Richard 'Trick' Hope's adventure in the Wildlands. 

The game is also fantastic for developing thinking skills. The battle mechanism is based on four elements which are linked in a rock-paper-scissors style superiority loop. Different warriors also have different battle moves and skills. Choosing warriors with the right element for a battle or turn involves some real thinking. There are also special potions and talismans that require thought to use effectively. This is just the kind of thinking you need for computer science so personally I value it a lot. 

And there's plenty of strategic planning involved in training up your warriors over time. This helps kids develop long term planning skills.

Kids will also need to develop their risk taking skills. Sometimes they'll need to decide whether to take their winnings or risk losing them for the chance of winning even more.

I know a lot of people will dismiss this sort of game as time wasting, but I think there are far worse ways kids could be spending their time - provided there's some balance of course. 


World of Warriors is a fantastic game. I have some small reservations about the advertising and in-game purchases, but these are easily avoided. 

There is the potential for kids to want to spend more time and money playing the game than parents think is reasonable. Hopefully this guide has given you the knowledge you need to have an informed discussion with your child or teen and put in place some limits that you can agree on. 

Maybe you'll even give the game a go and build yourself a set of warriors.

World of Warriors app:

Get it on Google Play

More from Tech Age Kids:


Post a Comment