Talking Facebook MMO with Dungeon Overlord’s Chris Mayer — The MMO Gamer

Talking Facebook MMO with Dungeon Overlord’s Chris Mayer


Ryan had a quick chat with Night Owl Games’ CEO Chris Mayer about Dungeon Overlord, a Facebook MMO which is currently in open beta.

First off, tell us a little bit about Night Owl Games and its history with Dungeon Overlord.

Night Owl Games was founded in 2008 with the goal of developing and publishing deep and strategic browser games that are easy to play, yet still appeal to hardcore gamers. Dungeon Overlord, at, is our first title and went into open beta on Facebook in January 2011. Since then, it has become a cult favorite for fans of the classic game Dungeon Keeper as well as a favorite for the previously frustrated Facebook gamer. Additionally, it’s attracted a new breed of hardcore social gamers.

What was it about the Facebook gaming scene that made it a good platform for Dungeon Overlord? Do you see the advent of social gaming on sites like Facebook as a step forward towards more acceptance of gaming mainstream or the opposite?

Social gaming on sites like Facebook is definitely a step towards more acceptance of gaming as mainstream. While Facebook games have done an unbelievably good job at serving games to people who have never really played them before, they fall short when it comes to people who want something a little more hardcore (for lack of a better word). Social gaming was on a path of that lacked strategy, and instead consisted of endless clicking as well as spamming your friends. Night Owl Games took the opportunity with Dungeon Overlord to make a deep strategy game to fill the niche that other social games left wide open. We decided to focus on making games for frustrated social gamers ready to “level-up their gaming”, as well as hardcore gamers who happen to be away from their console or gaming PC. It’s this move towards hardcore Facebook games that excites us about social gaming. Social games have already made grandmas into gamers, but until Dungeon Overlord, it had left many hardcore gamers out.

You guys bill Dungeon Overlord as a PvP game. What exactly does this mean in a space like Social Gaming?

Players in Dungeon Overlord are constantly vying for power. They can raid, pillage and conquer other players’ Dungeons. We find it ironic that social games don’t encourage you to meet new players. So, following a more traditional MMO vein, we allow alliances formed between in-game players, and attacks launched against in-game players; none of which have to be your “real-life” Facebook friends. In Dungeon Overlord, PvP truly means any player can attack (or help) any other player. What makes it hardcore PvP is that not only can you attack another player; you can actually take over their hard-earned expansion dungeons (although it is very difficult to do so).

Dungeon Overlord, like many other Facebook games, seems to require the player to invest a good junk of time in order to get to the meat and potatoes of the game. Build times can vary quite a bit between rooms and units, causing you to have to take a break and come back to the game. What does Dungeon Overlord offer you in between those long build times?

One of the best things about Dungeon Overlord is that you do not have to play it for long hours each day. It is still a social game in that regard. Instead, we let players queue up dozens and more tasks which may take hours to complete while they are away at work or playing on their console or gaming PC. A player can start an upgrade, add to their crafting queue, launch an attack or begin training a creature, and walk away from the game. Of course, there are boosts that can be purchased to expedite many of these tasks as well. On the other hand, if the player wants a more immersive experience, they can use the time while a task completes to begin others. In summary, the time between the long build times can be used very wisely building up resources, scouting new territory or in many cases, getting back to your day job.

What kind of gameplay offer to players who invest that time in the game? Do players have the ability to actually destroy other players’ lairs?

Players will gain Dungeons as they level. Their home/starter Dungeon is always safe from Pillages and Conquering. After that, any expansion Dungeon they take, including the coveted Heart of the Mountain dungeon, might be conquered or pillaged by other players. If a player does have a Dungeon conquered, the next Dungeon they take over will have permanent elements, like any everlasting boosts they purchased, transferred to it. However, conquering is not an easy task. Players get warning that an attack is coming their way, and it almost always takes more than one attack to conquer a Dungeon. The conquering mechanic is complicated, and players have every chance to defend, as well as launch counter attacks. The balance aspect is very important, but in Dungeon Overlord, the strong and well-prepared survive. That’s the nature of PvP.

There definitely is a market for titles like this, and room to grow in the genre. Where do you see Dungeon Overlord going in the future?

Dungeon Overlord will continue to grow, and we hope it will be a favorite game for many years. We plan to keep the game fresh and exciting with new features as well as content on an ongoing basis. We also plan to expand into new international markets with Dungeon Overlord while keeping the game as true to its core as possible. Beyond Dungeon Overlord, we are also working on a number of new titles and will continue to grow our hardcore social game library.

Thanks Chris for taking the time to answer our questions! For more information about Dungon Overlord and access to the open beta, please visit the official website.


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