Blizzard’s long-awaited take on Clash Royale, Warcraft Rumble, has launched on iOS and Android worldwide.
Originally announced as Warcraft Arclight Rumble in May 2022, it takes Supercell’s hit battler and explodes the play out onto bigger, more complex maps with a full PvE single player campaign. PvP is a secondary concern here, at least at launch.
We asked The Experimentation Group cofounder Phillip Black, Naavik consulting partner Jordan Phang and game design consultant Jakub Remiar to take a closer look at the game during its debut weekend. Phang and Remiar each state that Warcraft Rumble is a much more complex game, and therefore a more ‘core’ experience compared to its closest rival Clash Royale.
“While the lane and tower-based gameplay is familiar, it has so much more complexity that it is practically an RTS-lite for mobile,” says Naavik’s Phang. “However, it does a poor job of introducing these elements as the player is bombarded with new mechanic after new mechanic, and old concepts are forgotten as you try to come to grips with the new system being introduced.”
“The complexity is also not really required in the early levels, as trying to win strategically typically made me lose versus using a ‘spam troops into a lane’ tactic. The first-time user experience and onboarding is definitely something Blizzard should be looking into improving.”
Remiar says Warcraft Rumble’s mechanical depth means it has “diminished mass market appeal” compared to Clash Royale. But “this will definitely work for the Blizzard audience, as the gameplay is very satisfying once understood.”
Black says that “while Rumble often compares to Clash Royale, its soul feels closer to a mobile successor to Warcraft III” – and that Supercell needs to up its game to keep pace with Blizzard’s new spin on the formula.
“Rumble’s content scale feels massive across five modes: 65 units, 80 maps, and 70 bosses,” Black continues. “There’s also a genuine offer and monetisation live ops strategy. It’s another reminder that mobile is becoming a content arms race that’s already hit HD. Supercell’s scaling efforts can’t come fast enough if they wish to compete.”
The game’s focus on a single player PvE campaign also marks it out as a game aimed squared at the hardcore, says Phang. “This is where the complexity can shine as level designers can hand-craft the campaign to make each one an interesting puzzle to solve,” he tells us.
“At the higher levels, these elements start becoming important and players will really need to strategise in order to beat it, and some of the levels can be hard.”
Remiar notes that the single player focus also translates into greater progression and spend depth compared to its peer Clash Royale. “In Rumble, new units are either given through campaign rewards of dual choice or through the new grid system which is very confusing for starters,” he says.
“But once you understand the grid it creates a very unique monetisation push, which is accompanied with a very robust offer system. For those who get into it, this game will create a great ARPPU.”
Black, meanwhile, suggests that the game should perhaps not be viewed through the lens of a typical mobile game. “Rumble proves what Marvel Snap could not: Blizzard can build innovative and highly monetising products,” he adds.
“Emboldened by Diablo Immortal’s success, it appears the power of product managers continues to rise at Blizzard. Rumble is here to stay, although it remains to be seen what scale it’ll reach. But like Snap, it represents more than itself: HD developers are coming to mobile, and they don’t care about your paradigms.”
Remiar concludes that its tight focus on the Blizzard fanbase might make it a little too hardcore.
“By removing the elegant simplicity of Clash Royale systems, the game gets more depth but gets very hard to approach, and risks being completely niche to the Warcraft fanbase,” he adds. “I can’t see the game scaling to Clash Royale levels in the current form without colossal UA investment.”
Phang agrees: “There is an undeniable fun core here, but due to its depth and strategic complexity, it is unlikely that it will have the mass-market appeal of Clash Royale,” he adds.
“Strategy fans will find a lot of meat on these bones and Warcraft Rumble will appeal (and monetise) that niche, but it’s unlikely to take the world by storm.”