'Infinity Blade 2' adds ClashMobs, an answer to 'Words with Friends'

A new update for Infinity Blade 2 was released on iOS today, introducing the long-promised addition of ClashMobs. So what exactly are ClashMobs? In the words of Donald Mustard, Chair Entertainment's Creative Director, they're a way to turn Infinity Blade 2 into a "massively social single-player game." That may sound a little heavy on the marketing speak, but it's not totally off the mark.

A new update for Infinity Blade 2 was released on iOS today, introducing the long-promised addition of ClashMobs.

So what exactly are ClashMobs? In the words of Donald Mustard, Chair Entertainment's Creative Director, they're a way to turn Infinity Blade 2 into a "massively social single-player game." That may sound a little heavy on the marketing speak, but it's not totally off the mark.

At any time while playing Infinity Blade 2, you can pull up the main menu and select ClashMobs. To participate, you're required to connect your Facebook account to the game, and the game will notify you of any other Facebook friends who have done the same.

You're then presented with a selection of short challenges, most of which can be completed in about 30 seconds. They're schedule-based, so a given challenge might start on a Friday at 9am and finish on the following Monday. Within that time, it's up to everyone participating to contribute.

An example: One ClashMob has players battling a monster with one billion hit points. Mustard admitted that, even though he's a good player he could likely only do 4,000 hit points in the 30 seconds each player is allotted. So how do you take it down? Well, the damage is cumulative, so if 500,000 players each do 2,000 hit points of damage within the time allotted, the challenge will be completed and everyone who participated with be rewarded with a nifty in-game item.

Other ClashMobs are more simple: minigames where you collect as many bags of loot as you can in 30 seconds or battles with smaller foes. Having more Facebook friends participating gives you bonuses (like 5 extra seconds to better your score, for example). It's all strictly cooperative, everyone working towards the same goal.

Players can also post on their Facebook wall, asking for help from other friends if a challenge is nearly completed but needs an extra oompf with a few more players. (Note: This may result in your friends blocking anything Infinity Blade-related.)

Every 'Like' a post gets will also do damage to the boss

Even more interesting social media functionality is planned down the line, though. "What about my grandma? I just don't think my grandma is necessarily going to buy Infinity Blade," said Mustard. "But she's on Facebook. So if I post to my Facebook wall and say 'Hey, I need help, Like this post to help me out,' every Like a post gets will also do damage to the boss."

From an experimental gameplay design point of view, it's pretty revolutionary stuff. You basically have non-gamers participating in a very hardcore game that they would never, ever play.

From a social marketing point of view, it's a goldmine. You suddenly have gamers petitioning non-gamers to Like posts about Infinity Blade 2, thus spreading those posts to that non-gamer's friends list, so on and so forth. And then we begin to see a very viable business angle to the 4 months of development time it took for the team at Chair to implement ClashMobs.

Of course, if you find the Facebook functionality off-putting, you can choose to totally ignore it. The game won't force posts on your wall, and you can still take part in challenges, hopefully winning some cool gear with the help of other Infinity Bladers around the world.

Mustard closed by saying that the team at Chair will continue to work on more Infinity Blade 2 updates for the time being and that they aren't working on any other projects at present.

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