How can a company build an engaged, vibrant remote community? It's a question many companies will struggle with over the next few years, but one that X-Team has been thinking about since 2006. Here's a key insight we had soon after we were founded: community doesn't happen on its own. It needs some help.
Games are the perfect vehicle to build a strong remote community. Instead of hanging out aimlessly in Zoom chats, games put you in a team, give you a common objective, require you to communicate, generate excitement, and so many other goods things. Along with Seasons and the Vault, our games play an important role in bringing X-Teamers together.
Because we wanted full control over the games we played as a company, we created our own. The following is a regularly updated list of those games and what they're about.
The Arena is where it all began. Introduced in Season 6, it is a Slack-based battle royale game that can support hundreds of X-Teamers, called Hunters in-game, playing at the same time. Hunters loot weapons and armor, shoot other hunters, and fight until only one hunter remains standing.
The Arena serves as X-Team's virtual battle simulator in our fight against ShadowCorp, the all-powerful but wicked corporation trying to take us down. So far, they've been unsuccessful, but we need to keep training to keep them at bay.
The Arena map is split into twelve battle zones, with each zone having features that impact gameplay, such as the success rate of searches, number of hiding spots, etc. A hunter can only fight the hunters in their battle zone.
As the game progresses, an unyielding Ring of Fire will continually reduce the number of battle zones. Eventually, the Arena turns into an open field where everyone can fight everyone.
There's a lot to every Arena game: loot drops, zombies, awards, and prizes for the last hunter standing. Because every hunter can choose who to attack and because X-Team is split into several Houses (our micro-communities), an Arena game almost always turns into an entertaining battle of the Houses with fragile diplomacies and subsequent backstabbing.
The Tower was introduced as part of GameCon 2021, the second big event of Season 8. It's a Slack-based action game where X-Teamers have to reach the top floor of a ShadowCorp tower, defeating the machines and cyborgs defending each floor.
The ShadowCorp towers are heavily defended because there are stolen copies of Watchman technology on the top floor of each tower. This technology can send and intercept messages from the future, and it's in X-Team's best interests to destroy each copy of Watchman tech.
Different from the Arena, every X-Teamer can play the Tower on their own, whenever they want. Still, there's a leaderboard that tracks everyone's successful and unsuccessful attempts to scale a ShadowCorp tower. There are ten floors in each tower, with each next floor a little harder than the previous one.
Just as for the Arena, we're constantly adding new features to the Tower. For example, most weapons have special traits, such as the ability to attack a hidden target, cut through armor, attack twice a turn, and more.
All this makes the Tower a multi-layered, strategic action game where the right choices lead to victory and the wrong ones to being sliced in half or worse.
Loot Wars was introduced as X-Team's biggest game of Season 8. It's an asynchronous tactical adventure game where you travel around an island, collect resources, buy units to build your army, and fight other X-Teamers in automated battles.
The island is extremely diverse and chock-full of resources. Out of the twenty-five locations you can move to, there are mountains, forests, deserts, plains, and even a small arctic area near the top of the island. Each area has a different type of resources. For example, the Frozen Fang resource is found in the snowfields and northern mountains of the island.
There are dozens of units you can buy and each of them has unique strengths and weaknesses. They each cost a different combination of resources too, so it's in your best interests to travel the map and collect a variety of resources to build a strong army.
Every X-Teamer has a limited number of energy points that replenish gradually over time. Every action you take requires an energy point, whether that's moving, attacking, or digging for resources. This levels the playing field and rewards the X-Teamers who play strategically over those who try to grind their way through.