Launched to global markets in August 2022, Tower of Fantasy draws players into the game with the headlines “Genshin with MMO experience”. So does it deliver on its promise?

Tower of Fantasy is a new MMORPG developed by Hotta Studio and published by Perfect World and Level Infinite. The anime art style is quite similar to that in Genshin Impact, but one of the biggest differences is that Tower of Fantasy players explore the open sci-fi world of planet Aida rather than the fantasy setting depicted in Genshin Impact.

The open world of Tower of Fantasy
The open world of Tower of Fantasy

At the height of its success, Tower of Fantasy jumped to the 11th highest-grossing position on iOS in the US market, but has come a long way since then. In the Chinese market, where Tower of Fantasy was released earlier in 2021, it managed to stay among the top 100 grossing on iOS. In the Japanese market, the game became more popular and remained in the top 100 on iOS. After its release, which took place at approximately the same time as in the US market.

The performance trend of the US market can be illustrated in the chart below. There was a huge increase in downloads initially, which affected revenue growth. Since launch, downloads have been falling strongly, which has impacted revenue. Although games like this always have a new content update, there is also a revenue boost that can be demonstrated in the case of Tower of Fantasy. However, revenue increases have been consistently smaller.

Tower of Fantasy (US market) all-time performance with revenue increases
Tower of Fantasy (US market) all-time performance with revenue increases

Similar to the mechanics of Genshin Impact, the player explores the vast open world by climbing walls, swimming in rivers, gliding in the sky, erasing enemies and solving different types of puzzles. The difference between the two titles is their type. Genshin Impact is an action RPG while Tower of Fantasy is marketed as an MMORPG. The genre difference is what sets Tower of Fantasy apart from its rival, Genshin Impact, as the two games could have been very similar without some tweaks to the feature set. How is the genre shift shown in the game?

Differences between open world in Genshin Impact and Tower of Fantasy

Both games have a huge open world to explore and support co-op features, but Tower of Fantasy focuses more on the social elements, making the process of playing with other players more seamless than Genshin Impact.

In Genshin Impact, players can roam the open world with up to three friends when invited to their world (or to other players’ worlds). They can play open world challenges and defeat open world bosses together with others and also complete daily missions. To invite others into your world, the Adventure Ranking must be at level 16, which requires some progress in the game before you get there.

Genshin Effect: other players can be invited into the player's world
Genshin Effect: other players can be invited into the player’s world

Tower of Fantasy allows pretty similar free-world roaming with the others, almost right from the start – players can complete open world missions, defeat enemies or kick the ass of world bosses. However, there is a difference between the two games. Whereas in Genshin Impact players are required to invite the other player to their game and vice versa, in Tower of Fantasy players can meet other players in a shared open world, where they can interact intuitively and invite them into the open world. exploration and warfare. This makes interacting with players much easier.

For example, if you encounter other players in the game trying to take down a boss, you can take immediate action. This adds to the social experience when it’s more likely to hit random players and less structured. Tower of Fantasy also includes a chat feature for socializing where players can communicate with each other about where to find world bosses and ask for their help in killing them.

Tower of Fantasy: Cooperative challenges in the open world
Tower of Fantasy: Cooperative challenges in the open world
Tower of Fantasy: Players can team up with other players they encounter in the open world.
Tower of Fantasy: Players can team up with other players they encounter in the open world.

Differences between cooperative PvE and PvP modes in Tower of Fantasy and Genshin Impact

In addition to the shared open world, the biggest difference between the two games can be found in the amount of PvE and PvP modes.

Genshin Impact does not have special PvE mods made specifically for cooperative play, but there is the option to play area challenges (custom bosses) or defeat enemies around the world with other players where the player can join a party. These players need to be on the friend list – with filtered matchmaking there is no possibility to join a party with a bunch of random players.

Genshin Impact: PvE to play with a group of friends
Genshin Impact: PvE to play with a group of friends

Instead, Tower of Fantasy features several common PvE modes, such as the eight-player Raid and the typical four-player dungeons such as Dimensional Trials. These can be played in a hopping co-op style with a group of random players instead of completing a matchmaking process first.

Tower of Fantasy: co-op PvE game mode Dimensional Trial
Tower of Fantasy: co-op PvE game mode Dimensional Trial

Tower of Fantasy also features Apex League, a balanced PvP mode with a seasonal ranking system and prizes for the best player. As a typical MMORPG feature, players can also challenge others for open world combat.

Tower of Fantasy: PvP mode Apex League
Tower of Fantasy: PvP mode Apex League

Guild contributes social features

Although Genshin Impact does not include a guild in its game, Tower of Fantasy is particularly well suited to this feature as an MMORPG. By joining guilds (known as the Crew), players can get extra benefits such as weekly rewards for premium currency and the ability to shop for various items in the guild shop. Guilds are also a great way to get to know and interact with other players. They can also be generated with random players encountering in the open world, which connects the system nicely to the MMO experience.

Guild system in Tower of Fantasy
Guild system in Tower of Fantasy

Is Tower of Fantasy up to its social reputation?

Some players have struggled to encounter other players in the open world area, an issue we also had while playing and analyzing the game. This is a striking difference from many other Chinese MMORPGs, where the world is usually filled with other players. This lack of players results in an empty world that takes away the MMORPG feel of the game and means that many of Tower of Fantasy’s most compelling gameplay elements cannot be put to good use.

However, this could be a server-based issue that developers can and should fix. When the server or channel is full of other players, this feature most clearly distinguishes Tower of Fantasy from Genshin Impact’s single player experience, as there is a possibility of hitting a random player or a large group of random players during gameplay. world exploration or main story progression.

Another big difference is the greater number of cooperative game modes in Tower of Fantasy that push the player into a kind of social interaction even when playing the “single player experience” by simply advancing through the main story. Also, the guild system gives players more possibilities to interact socially. There are at least many options for the player to involve others more in their gaming experience than Genshin Impact.

Check out GameRefinery’s thousands of examples of apps from different social aspects in games to see more examples of social features and how they are used in similar games. This is a great way to gather information about how different games incorporate these elements into their game worlds.

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