I’ve been toying with the idea of a massive internet game for some time now. A game that takes your popularity on the major social networks and creates what is basically a virtual army. You can then challenge other players to a battle and based on the strength of your army, defeat them and rise in the ranks of the game. As you rise in the ranks, you receive medals and benefits (such as recognition as a top influencer on the web and coupons from sponsoring services). The game could be played using Twitter as the main battlefield – thus the name TWAR or “Twitter War.”
Getting Started as a Twarrior
To get started, you would first follow TWAR from your Twitter account. TWAR will immediately follow you back so you can use Twitter’s direct messaging system. TWAR then sends you a link to a page where you can connect other third party accounts such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Once everything is connected, TWAR generates the overall strength of your army based on your social network numbers and influence. Some basic ideas on values could be:
Twitter Followers = Regular Army (low value foot soldiers)
Facebook Friends = Cavalry (stronger than foot soldiers)
LinkedIn Connections = Army Officers (strongest)
YouTube Channel Views = Video Surveillance (adds to overall strength)
Blog Traffic and Comments = Intelligence (adds to overall strength)
Playing the Game
To then play the game, you will use Twitter’s direct messaging system to send commands to TWAR that allow you to control your army’s actions. For instance, to challenge someone to a battle, send a direct message to TWAR with their Twitter name. To receive a report of your current troop levels, send the direct message INTEL to @TWAR. Other commands may be to purchases mercenaries for your army or buy an INTEL report on other players (so you know who you can defeat).
You can also combine forces. So if you discover from an INTEL report that your army is too small to defeat a larger player, you can band together with other players to attack someone. This will help with larger foes that have massive armies and seem unbeatable but could be taken down with the right combination of players attacking them.
The Battle winners are decided by TWAR based on the overall value of the army. A small graphic can depict the actual live battle taking place but it wouldn’t be necessary to watch it occur. Below is an example where the dead birds depict losses as they occur. If your box fills up first, your army has been defeated
Battles won or lost are announced on Twitter and top Twarriors are listed on a Twarriors ranking page for each city. Other announcements could occur through Twitter such as medal achievements and top ranking achievements. Users could have the options to release announcements on their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as well.
Adding Check-In Value
Location based services could also be taken into account. Say you check into a Starbucks on Facebook. TWAR sees this (as your Facebook account is connected) and sends you a message on Twitter saying, “Your Army has been given a boost by drinking Starbucks Coffee. Your overall strength has been increased for the next hour!” This would motivate people to check-in to different services to see if their armies get a boost. Services would pay TWAR to participate and both services would co-promote each other.
You could also use QR or 2-D codes at locations to advance armies with new weapons or strengths. Walking into Subway, there may be a TWAR code on the wall. You take a picture of this with your phone and email it to special email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You get an email back saying, “Your army has just been fed, your strength has increased by 10x. Show this email to receive $1.00 of your meal.”
In this case, you are driving people to the location to gain a strength, then giving them an added benefit of a coupon to help drive a purchase. Locations for power increases can be located on a map available on the TWAR.me website. Places pay TWAR a small fee to become a ‘Power-Up’ location. TWAR then provides the QR code signs and sets up the coupon.
Finding the Local Influencers
Besides the enjoyment of battling it out online (and ganging up on someone like Justin Bieber), the real value of the game may be in the ability to easily recognize the Internet’s top influencers. As more and more people discover new products and services through social media, brands are desperate to identify the top influencers around the web for their type of products. Services such as Klout are already trying to help brands find these Internet stars. Beings TWAR takes the overall strength of someone’s Internet influence to give value to their army, it would be easy for a brand to take a look at top Twarriors in each region for potential sponsorship. TWAR could even add systems that facilitate a sponsorship agreement. Twarriors could sign up for specific types of products once they hit a certain Twarrior level – maybe even receive a ‘sponsor eligible’ medal.
Overall, TWAR could be a fun way to help identify the Internet’s most influential people by taking into account multiple services and using gaming mechanics. Money could be made by selling TWAR credits to those looking to buy items such as INTEL reports or extra mercenary soldiers. Other revenues could come from location-based check-in participation. Besides the enjoyment of just the game, players could receive valuable benefits through potential sponsorships, location-based coupons, and overall Internet recognition.
What do you think of the TWAR concept and would it be something you’d enjoy playing?