Game of Thrones: Ascent is one of those Facebook games from a decade ago when stuff like Farmville and such were still popular. These applications are “games” in a sense that of some weird social interaction. What Game of Thrones: Ascent is trying to portray is a merging of story and strategy allowing players to become random nobles in Westeros. Players create characters by dictating their birthrights, choosing a Great House they will be serving, and select lineage. After this, the gameplay is quite straightforward where you are trying to secure holdings, develop lands, and grow the reputation while sending out your loyal agents to do some quests. The alliances are forged between friends on social media who can engage in PvP plays.
It is worth noting that this game has been shut down by the developers on January 3rd of 2019. However, it is still possible to get some illegal copies on the internet and enjoy for what it was.
The game technically allows players to make certain moral decisions that will be affecting the gameplay aspects of other players as well as the storyline (if we can call it that). The game itself revolves around a lot of events from earlier parts of the TV show and the book Song of Ice and Fire. At the start of the game, the player is given the opportunity to name their own character whether it be a Lord or a Lady who is going to be ruling the unique house that the player designs including the name of the hold and other aspects that make this game a tad bit more immersive than what one would expect from a Facebook game. Eventually, your house is going to be taking a shot at becoming the leading one where your main character gains the right to the Iron Throne in King’s Landing.
Early on one is honesty forced to be aligned to one of the nine main houses of the Westeros. This is to be expected considering the brutal nature of the world of Game of Thrones. Each Great House has its own unique feature, for example, the house of Lannister being the richest one out there gains access to gold mines. Depending on the allegiances the player interacts with the main storyline of the books/TV series. There is not much deviation from it and the character created by the player is a seamless addition only relevant in a video game’s reality.
There are numerous things to do like accompanying King Roberts to Winterfell where he meets Ned Stark as well as being able to catch our beloved Lannister family when indulging in their favorite sexual activities. Otherwise, the primary things to do are different quests that your house is going to be given by the understanding of Great House officials. Usually, you have three different options to choose from in different missions. These steps dictate what your future alignments will be as well as the reward the player is going to be getting for completing the quests. This is the primary RPG element of the game and the main draw at the same time. There are numerous options allowing the player to delve deeper into the happenings of the surroundings to find out more lore related information, which is a fine addition to the game in our humble opinion. These tasks are quite miscellaneous like choosing what to do with a Night’s Watch deserter and diplomatic decisions you can take towards other houses and their lords. To help decide what to do we have NPC advisors designated for the tasks and they present the available options.
Apart from the story elements, the gameplay mechanics are focused around gathering different resources. These may be acquired through miscellaneous quests or by production facilities at our disposal. When it comes to further advancement it plays out much like mobile games that give us more tasks to juggle the more our character levels up. In the end, all of the quests reward us with resources like wood and stone or just silver. Spending these resources is up to the player though. You can invest in anything from production facilities like smithies and village centers and then upgrade with more materials. Alternatively, we are allowed to spend our silver on weapons and armor for our already existing sworn swords or recruitment of new ones. The more characters we employ the more quests we can do simultaneously.
The upgrade path is quite well done considering what you would expect from such a game. These can be anything from building upgrades to your own noble attributes and skills. They usually increase the capacity of our noble to fight, trade, or do politics.
The problem arises once you try to start multitasking. Basically, allocating tasks for an upgrade is going to get you stuck on the said process until it is fully done. Essentially if you want to gather some wood, you won’t be able to get some stone at the same time so choose wisely what you commit your time and resources to. What made us sad during the play is that you cannot physically queue up actions meaning that you have to come and check every time some upgrade is done. This makes resource management a bit tedious to be fair. The game is running with the pay-to-win strategy as well so it is understandable from the developer’s side that they would not include such options as it takes away from the incentive to come back to the game, get angry, and then throw money into it, which is not even an option anymore since the developer doesn’t exist anymore.
The game is quite full of different quests. Lots of the times there would be some lords coming up to you with problems that they need help with. Alternatively to this, there are adventures available as an extra option to spice up the game. However, whatever you choose the chosen sword is going out to do the mission itself so there is not much gameplay involved in it as the process is automated.
The missions themselves involve just selecting a specific stat the sworn sword should use like fight, trade, or intrigue. Add to that already existing stats of the loyal hand at that and just wait until the quest is finished. The wait is long and tedious though so you wouldn’t want to just sit and wait for it. It is extremely easy to get stuck without anything to do in this game. At the start of the game, it is even easier as you have no significant amount of sworn swords and upgradable buildings. I personally had the pleasure of testing out this game a couple of years ago and there were not many things to do while my 2-3 sworn swords were occupied, smithy upgrading, and village center gathering wood. I spent a good hour just sitting there doing nothing until one of my sworn swords returned from the mission with success and I happily assigned him to another one…and the wait continues. Honestly, I understand that companies need to make money but come on this is just forcing our wallets to open up, and to be fair this game doesn’t offer half of what I would want for me to start paying more than $10 for it in total.
Player vs Player
Despite all of the criticism I have been throwing towards this game as of late there is one more aspect that it has to keep the player occupied – PvP. This is Game of Thrones! We can go up against our friends and fight them right? Well sort of.
PvP becomes available once a sworn hand reaches level 5. At this point, you have the option to challenge one of your friends to a battle and fight against the NPC copy of their house. Unfortunately, that is all you can do with this game.
It is worth noting that this game was turned into a mobile version variation. If the developers stuck a small fee to play the game and made the gameplay less waiting it would be a much more interesting endeavor. As we have already mentioned the game has been shut down in 2019 without giving much detail about this decision. It is speculated that it’s due to HBOs Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
Although, do not feel left out. While there were interesting story aspects in this game there was nothing particularly unique that we haven’t seen or experienced in books or TV series. The story also revolves around like season 2 of the series which is very early in the story of the Westeros. Not much has been missed. In Westeros, you win or you die and this game clearly did the latter.x