Prepare to fight! Today, I am thrilled to announce the worldwide launch of Solstice Arena, the world’s first Speed MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), available exclusively on iPad and iPhone at: http://zynga.tm/playSolstice
The launch of Solstice Arena marks an exciting moment for all of us who joined Zynga last year.
We’ve designed Solstice Arena with a distinct mission: take a genre we love and transform it to allow hardcore fans and casual players to experience the fun of MOBA gaming right from their mobile devices. To those familiar with MOBA games, you will find a deep, competitive and well-balanced MOBA – one that is unlike any free-to-play game on the App Store. But our goal wasn’t to just attract players similar to us. We want to make Solstice Arena accessible to new players too – so many of whom may have never tried a MOBA before.
Here’s what to expect when you jump into Solstice Arena:
- Fighting With Friends: Solstice Arena is all about fast-paced, 3 vs. 3 fighting on a map that encourages players to make tactical decisions. The goal, similar to many MOBA’s, is simple: the first team to destroy their enemy’s base wins.
- Game Modes: We’re launching with three game modes for new and experienced players: Single player (Solo vs. Bots), Real-time Multiplayer (Player vs. Player and Co-op vs. Bots). We use a special matchmaking and queue system that connects players based on skill, level and hero ability. Players can invite friends to play and see who’s online in real time.
- Speed: We like to call Solstice Arena a “Speed MOBA” because each match lasts about 5-12 minutes, a deliberate design choice that we believe transforms this genre perfectly for the demands of mobile and the average player’s busy lifestyle.
- No Farming: You’ll also see that we playfully describe Solstice Arena as “all fighting and no farming.” We’ve eliminated minions and farming – two staples of traditional MOBAs – in order to distill the core of Solstice Arena around team fighting and put the “Speed” in “Speed MOBA.” We think this approach fits perfectly on mobile devices.
- Customize Your Heroes: We’re offering 10+ heroes at launch, and you’ll see a few of them featured in our launch trailer above. All heroes are designed for different styles of play. Those that want to dive deep into hero customization can pursue one of three different ability paths. For those that just want to jump into the next match, we’ll recommend items for each hero. We’ve had a lot of fun designing each hero with various skins, abilities and most of all, personalities. Look no further than Biker Brutus, and get ready for more. We’ll have new heroes, new skins and new abilities giving players always something new to master.
- Free to Play & Fair to Play: We want to preserve the core progression of MOBA competition, so players will never find themselves in a pay-to-win scenario. Players will need to earn those Hero upgrades, but for those that want to spend money can explore the extensive customization options, including skins and armor.
Solstice Arena has been available in a few markets, and early feedback from players has been great. We’re encouraged by the reception from core MOBA players, and honored by people new to the genre who’ve given Solstice Arena a try. Solstice Arena is available for free from the App Store on iPad 2, iPad with Retina Display, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4S/5 (requires iOS 5.1 or later) at http://zynga.tm/playSolstice. The iPad and iPhone offers an incredible gameplay experience for Solstice Arena, and we can’t wait to see how players respond.
The Solstice begins in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Our Founder and CEO Mark Pincus today sent a note to employees outlining structural changes Zynga implemented today and provided some detail on cost-reductions that are taking place company-wide. Please find his note, posted in its entirety, below.
To our Zynga Community,
Today is a hard day for Zynga and an emotional one for every employee of our company. We are saying painful goodbyes to about 18% of our Zynga brothers and sisters. The impact of these layoffs will be felt across every group in the company.
None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth. But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward. The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multiplatform, which is where social games are going to be played.
These moves, while hard to face today, represent a proactive commitment to our mission of connecting the world through games. Mobile and touch screens are revolutionizing gaming. Our opportunity is to make mobile gaming truly social by offering people new, fun ways to meet, play and connect. By reducing our cost structure today we will offer our teams the runway they need to take risks and develop these breakthrough new social experiences.
Because we’re making these moves proactively and from a position of financial strength, we can take care of laid off employees. We’re offering generous severance packages that reflect our appreciation for all of their work and we hope this will provide a foundation as they pursue their next professional steps.
Although these are hard decisions, I’m confident that our strategy of building leading franchises and supporting them with the largest network is the right one for the long term. I’m encouraged by our recent progress. Running With Friends is a great example of the quality player experience we can deliver, already receiving an average 4.5 app star rating from 22,700 players in less than one month after launching. Our FarmVille franchise teams continue to innovate and deliver ground breaking new social experiences like County Fair which, despite only being available on the web, is engaging 39 million monthly players.
I want to thank every one of you for the spirit, creativity and energy that you’ve invested in Zynga. You’ve reintroduced a generation of people to gaming and through these games offered them new ways to connect with their families, make new friends and even sometimes find love.
Everyone will be affected by these changes and I’m sure there will be many follow up questions to this email. If you have specific questions relating to your project or team, please talk to your manager. For any other feedback or thoughts feel free to email me directly.
Today we’re excited to announce the global launch of our newest mobile game Battlestone, Zynga’s first foray into classic arcade action games. To celebrate, we’re releasing a brand-new trailer to give you a look at the game in all its action-packed glory. Check it out and then head over to the App Store. Battlestone is available for download today on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and coming soon to Google Play.
We’ve shared a bit about Battlestone before. Now we just can’t wait for you to play.
With Battlestone, we set out to create a truly awesome arcade action combat experience on mobile, and we believe we’ve achieved just that. It’s the type of game that anyone can pick up and try their hand at with controls that feel intuitive and responsive. Players can defeat enemies and bosses with a simple swipe of the finger. Selecting multiple targets strings together over-the-top attack combinations to fend off hordes of enemies. You’ll also have to fend off other players thanks to the addition of guilds and weekly PVP tournaments.
As you advance through different areas a character collection system unlocks, allowing you to summon and upgrade heroes with unique abilities. Players develop their gameplay strategy here, swapping out different heroes for just the right combat environment and opponents. Learn more about some of Battlestone’s heroes and weapons on Zynga.com.
In an epic battle of skills, speed and precision, will you reign victorious? It’s time to download and find out: http://appstore.com/battlestone