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Fun & Games November 2007

WebWars: The Dawn of a New Gaming Universe
By John R. Quain
Take over Google, fight for, or...smack down


Decades of testing products and listening to pitches has made us jaded in the extreme, but on a recent trip to Iceland (yes, we get around), we heard what could possibly be the biggest, best Internet idea to come along in years. It’s called WebWars.

The concept is based on the alternate universes known as massively multiplayer online games or MMOs. MMOs like World of Warcraft  and Everquest have attracted millions of players who duke it out in virtual worlds competing for fame, fortune, and bragging rights. But as good and as engrossing as these games can be, they often require a huge time commitment on the part of players. For example, EVE, considered by many MMO aficionados as the most advanced of these games, can easily consume hundreds of hours a month as players learn how to mine and refine minerals on distant asteroids, ward off pirates, and micromanage corporate entities comprised of hundreds of other players.

For many of us unwilling or unable to claw our way up such a steep learning curve, MMOs are out of reach. But, what if someone told you that you could participate in a stripped down version of an MMO and join forces with other players to take over Web sites—yes, real Web sites--while you were surfing the Internet from your office chair?

That’s the concept of WebWars. Essentially, you download a small program that puts a tool bar across the top of your Web browser. The bar tells you who owns a particular Web site, what battles are currently in progress for Web sites, and how many forces you currently have in play. When you’re on a Web site you want to take over, you send in your space ships to invade. Immediately, another world appears in your browser Window showing the hidden battle that’s in progress beneath the Web page.

You earn virtual money to buy virtual space ships by taking over and occupying Web sites; the more popular the site, such as Google, the more it’s worth. A WebWars newsletter chronicles the exploits of players (JQ Vanquishes the Republican Party Web Site!), and constantly updated rankings reveal the most popular sites to fight for (today Britney Spears, tomorrow AT&T).

Each battle in WebWars takes approximately 10 minutes, and you don’t need a PhD to play the game. In fact, it’s something you can do for fun during those dull lacunas that pepper the work day (and no one will be the wiser, except for your compatriots in WebWars). It’s free, and it is addictive. Imagine fighting for the latest DUI celebrity Web site, or taking over a political party’s site or owning

The official name of the game when it launches sometime in the next few months will be WebWars: EVE.  While not officially related to the online game EVE, WebWars will use some of the same space vehicles and backstory from EVE. (John Galt Games, the developer of WebWars, is headed by CEO Trey Ratcliff, a former CEO in EVE.)
In its basic incarnation, WebWars will be free to play. And Trey assures us that you needn't worry about being sued by Martha or The Donald if you take over their Web sites. Remember, it’s not real, but it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

For more on EVE, the EVE Fanfest, Reykjavik, and WebWars, visit JQ's blog


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