by Brant Kraczek
“I’ll take this opportunity to say goodbye to my husband.”
That’s what my wife and co-gaming fanatic Lynn wrote on our guild message board on March 25th. She wrote that in response to a friend and guild mate of ours (thanks Matt) who had posted a link to a browser based MMO called Goal Line Blitz. At first I laughed it off. We had just taken our guild, The Purple Dragons, through a yearlong browser battle in Travian and we had just shut down our World of Warcraft chapter in preparation for Age of Conan’s release. The last thing on my mind was to begin another “free” browser game that I would be on for hours on end. I am an avid gamer and a diehard Green Bay Packer fan. I have every Madden game since 1989 and if I wanted a football fix I could get it there.
After laughing at the concept of a football MMO for about ten minutes I decided to check it out. The first thing I do anytime I see a new game is to read a bit on the forums. I want to look over the “newbie” posts and see what kind of feedback is given from the developers and the veteran community. The forums were easy to manage and I quickly got some information I needed. The first question I had was how you would get 100 people on at one time to play each other in a football game. Good thing someone else already asked the question because after seeing the game I would have looked like an idiot asking, since GLB is a total simulation game. The only interaction you have with your players is when you set up your game day tactics or distribute points when you level.
Starting in GLB is as easy as registering on the website and creating a player. As soon as you create a player you have 15 skill points to distribute amongst your physical attributes, football skills or special abilities. Each position requires a different skill set. There’s plenty of advice in the newbie forum but the game designers don’t provide you with a cookie cutter template. They would rather you figure it out on your own than spoon feed it to you. The advice I found on the forums was to “do what makes sense.” A linebacker doesn’t really need to boost his kicking, etc. Each time you level you get to put an additional 5 skill points into your character, and you level after you reach 1,000 experience points. The bulk of experience points are earned by playing in the game, as well as a small amount from daily training. You can also “boost” your character once per season by using “flex points” that can either be earned by getting referrals to the game or purchasing them. Once you create your character, it’s time to find a team. You can either post your character and level on the forums in the “Looking for Team Section” or you can do like I do— bring your own guild. Once we had enough information on how the game worked we set out to create a team. Matt purchased a team for 1,000 Flex Points in the Canadian AAA league and named it the Windsor Warriors. We quickly started signing all of the Purple Dragons that wanted to play football. In no time at all we had a full team and backups to fill our depth chart.
The games are resolved as simulations based on your characters’ skill level/point distribution, and the tactics that your team owner or GM has set for the game. The game-day tactics are as simple as setting what % of run plays vs. pass plays, or as advanced as what % of deep passes you throw or how often you blitz. The admin team is working on putting in much more detailed tactics that should be released soon. The game is technically a “beta” but is more like a work in progress.
Recently GLB added over 1,000 new teams to accommodate the influx of players that have flooded the servers in the past few weeks. Word of mouth and a referral system are really working for this game. To test the market for new players I made a new CB/KR and posted it before I started typing this. I currently have 78 contract offers pending. As addictive as it is to maintain your player, it is even more addictive to become an owner. This allows you manage the financial aspects of a team, upgrade and manage your stadium, adjust the prices of your concessions and of course manage the team payroll.
If you are a fan of the Madden Franchise team management aspect or fantasy football, then you will enjoy this game. The game should only take 5 minutes a day to manage yet I find myself looking at it 100 times a day. If you are not a football person then there is nothing to see here for you. The game is a work in progress and from reading the planned updates it is only going to get better. Browser games are the latest craze in MMOs and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. You don’t have to spend any money at all to play this game, but an investment of $10 a month helps you advance faster by boosting your player once a season (40 days).
Game play: 9
Reviewers Tilt: 9