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It has been firmly in the top 3 of the best-selling list within a few days of its launch, and the SLG track has added a new strong player.

Image source: Diandian Data

“Three Kingdoms: Conquering the World” (hereinafter referred to as “Three Kingdoms”) not only made a good start for itself, but also gave a big boost to the B station behind it.

As of today’s close,Bilibili’s share price rose by more than 19%, and its market value increased by approximately HK$7 billion, setting a new high in nearly 10 months.On the news front, international investment bank JPMorgan Chase raised Bilibili’s rating to overweight.

JPMorgan Chase expects that with the support of strong game performances such as SLG mobile games “Three Kingdoms: Conquering the World” and “Burning Sky”, there is room for Bilibili’s performance forecasts for the second and third quarters of 2024 to be adjusted upward.Bocom International expects the first month revenue of “Three Strategies” (estimated based on 30 days) to reach 500 million to 800 million yuan.

Who would have thought that the product that helped B Station get rid of the “mobile game graveyard” hat was actually an SLG. And after a few days of strong performance, Gyro also wants to talk seriously about how much “Three Strategies” has broken the industry’s perception.

First level of cognition: Young people really don’t reject SLG

Before “Three Strategies” was launched, I don’t know how many people regarded “the first SLG for young people” as a joke.

At least in my previous understanding, it is difficult to equate young people who like the second dimension with SLG. However, “Three Plans” did teach me a lesson. Many of my friends (heavy users of Bilibili) actively tried this product. Some were filtered out by the gameplay of SLG, and some remained.

I asked, “What made you stay in “Three Strategies”?” The answer they gave was the social atmosphere. Friend A shared a screenshot of his alliance with me and told me, “There are a lot of ACG people in the group. Recently, “Star Iron” opened a new pool and everyone is talking about it.”

To be honest, it may be difficult to see this kind of naming style in old SLG products.

Friend B said that in the Sanmou community, he felt a long-lost peace. “Not only do we have common topics, but we rarely see people quarreling for no reason.” He felt that compared with other categories(Eryou, Otome, etc.)The discussion environment of “a battle between gods” is so friendly here; he also likes the feeling of “fighting happily”, and he will fight wherever his ally points.

Looking closely at “Three Stratagems”, one can feel that it intentionally caters to the habits of young people in small designs, such as using the same emoticon package as Bilibili:

And we can also see from the players’ public screen chats that everyone is very good at throwing and picking up jokes, which is very much the vitality of this generation of young people.

The Three Kingdoms has always been a high-frequency theme for game creation, and it is not surprising that it is widely accepted and loved by users of different circles and age groups. However, it should be noted that the Three Kingdoms theme has its own unique cultural genes in Bilibili, a community where young people gather.

The 1994 version of the TV series “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” has received 560 million views and more than 8 million barrages on Bilibili – no matter when you click in, there are people “watching it with you”.

A large audience is the basis. In addition, the content created by B-station users based on “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” over the years has also made it a widely circulated cultural meme. Derivative directions include but are not limited to: interpretation of the play, fan handwriting, ghost animal training, character mashups, behind-the-scenes footage… Whether it is serious or entertaining, official history or gossip, all sub-fields are represented.

There are many videos with tens of millions of views.

On Bilibili, the famous lines of the characters in the drama are like a universal social key. Even if users have not read the original novel/drama in its entirety, they can still use a few “secret codes” when communicating. The publicity and operation of “Three Strategies” took advantage of this ecosystem:

It is undeniable that the core ACG audience may not buy into this, and not all young people on Bilibili are “standard ACG”. But in today’s market context, everything is generalizing. At this moment when the boundaries of labels are becoming increasingly blurred, young users and SLG have connected through the Three Kingdoms theme, and it seems that they are expected to take on the task of saving Bilibili’s game business.

As for how much revenue these newcomers can contribute to the SLG category, it is hard to judge at present (after all, the performance of the public beta of “Three Strategies” needs to be considered from many aspects), but at least one thing is certain:

The new force that the SLG track has always wanted has been realized in “Sanmou” and in Bilibili.

Second level of understanding: SLG can also be a secondary game

The most unpredictable thing about “Three Stratagems” for the industry and veteran SLG players is that it can really position an SLG product closer to a “sub-game”.

Based on this game cycle and feedback, SLG has long been “time-consuming and laborious”(Especially in the early stages of development)It has also become the default tradition and rule of the category. Whether it is building upgrades, paving roads or gathering for sieges, a series of operations are often designed to require players to wait patiently, frequently operate manually, or even regularly check out locations to maximize profits. The time cost required can be imagined.

Although the core gameplay of this type of SLG game is fun, the fact that it is “more tiring than going to work” has become a complaint of many players for a time, which naturally discouraged many players.

For example, when Reincarnation was about to be released, I strongly recommended it to a friend. It is a combination of RTS+SLG, and the high degree of freedom of real-time strategy operation is very refreshing. He also thought it was very fun at first, but soon he couldn’t stand it. He joked that a 996 office worker is not worthy of playing this kind of SLG, so he gave up continuing to experience it. Of course, the problem with Reincarnation is not only the liver level, so I won’t discuss it here.

The result of the slowdown in the number of new users is a surge in the cost of purchasing traffic for SLG products and a crazy internal competition in areas such as art.

The art style is a matter of opinion, but the dynamic portraits of some generals in “Three Strategies” are still very distinctive.

At this time, “Three Plans” appeared as an SLG that can serve as a sub-game, which is bound to refresh the cognition of the industry and old players – even several “996 social animals” friends who usually can’t spare time said that they finally have enough spare energy to play.

The question is, how did “Three Strategies” turn itself into an SLG “sub-game”? Insignificant changes will definitely not retain players who are familiar with the routines. Only drastic and comprehensive adjustments based on the product framework can make users feel the difference of the game.

In Gyro’s view, the changes to reduce the burden are mainly reflected in two aspects: one is to reduce the hard demand for time investment, and the other is to reduce the soft demand for repetitive operations.

The first thing that the pioneering players can intuitively feel in “Three Strategies” is that the rigid demand for time cost investment has been greatly reduced, which is reflected in all aspects of the game’s “food, clothing, housing and transportation”.

For example, in the early stage of development, in terms of “clothing”, the generals can exchange their experience levels without loss every week. Players can avoid a lot of leveling time if they draw suitable new cards, and the secondary teams with lower levels can also use the training ground to quickly upgrade; in terms of “food”, fixed plots in the city can be used for rapid farming several times a day, thus obtaining a large amount of resources in a short period of time; and in terms of “housing and transportation”, building upgrades and technological research and development can be completed with one click without waiting. The marching speed of the team is designed to be faster than usual, and it only takes 5 minutes to return to the city no matter how far away.

Income from farming

The professional design of the warehouse manager is also very helpful for land reclamation.

There are many such designs throughout the entire game experience, which give players a refreshing feeling – it turns out that SLG is not necessarily a black hole that swallows time. In the current player reviews of “Three Plans”, the most talked about are the better experience of opening up new land and the reduction of rigid demand for time.

On the other hand, it is to reduce a lot ofRepeat OperationFor example, one of the two most popular points of “Three Strategies” is the automatic paving of roads when laying out the land. Players no longer need to manually walk the grids when laying out high-level plots. The system will automatically select the designated route of the adjacent plots to complete the task. Another point is the appointment for siege. Players only need to select the team one hour before the siege, and the system will automatically complete the assembly to participate in the siege.

In fact, laying the ground and paving the way corresponds to the player’s own development, and gathering for siege is related to the participation and presence in the alliance, both of which are the core experience links of the game. However, these tasks are repetitive and trivial, and the strategic requirements for players are relatively limited. If you insist on doing them for a long time, it is very easy to get tired of the game.

One thing that needs to be emphasized is that the burden-reducing measures of “Three Strategies” have not been tied to the krypton gold requirements. Every player can have the above experience. In order to ensure this, these burden-reducing measures are matched with the relaxed requirements of “Three Strategies” on physical consumption. For example, the physical consumption requirements for attacking low-level plots and gathering for sieges have been reduced, and additional sources of physical acquisition have been added through the addition of the Qingnang profession.

Generally speaking, “Three Strategies” is indeed a product designed with burden reduction as one of its core highlights, and this is undoubtedly an impact on the long-standing mainstream product idea of ​​SLG.

Just as some people praise “Three Strategies” for its good workload reduction, some people also raise doubts. If everything can be automatic and completed in one second, what is the point of playing the game?

In fact, whether it is matching generals or cooperating with allies, these fun things will not be weakened by the existence of the design of reducing liver and burden. However, some SLG users may indeed care about the growth differences that can be opened or made up with other players through tight time planning and allocation, and high-intensity operations.

Supplementary gameplay of “Three Stratagems”

It may be difficult for a game to satisfy everyone, but judging from its current position at the top of the charts, Sanmo, which can be used as a side game, has indeed captured its own audience in the market. Gyro believes that among them are not only young new generations, but also the kind of users mentioned by the producer in his sharing of his experience at the tasting meeting – many old players who have to leave this category because of the lack of time due to life and work needs.

The third understanding: The SLG track is far from reaching its ceiling

We have to admit that in addition to innovation at the product level, the biggest shock that the entry of “Three Plans” has brought to the industry is its attraction to new users. It has once again expanded the SLG user base on its own, and this is undoubtedly the most valuable value to the SLG category.

In fact, it is not only “Three Stratagems”. Nowadays, the performance of SLG in attracting traffic in the small game track is also eye-catching. In April this year, the SLG type “Endless Winter” successfully ranked first on the WeChat small game best-selling list, and the predecessor of this product, “Whiteout Survival”, has actually been quite eye-catching overseas since last year. In January and April of this year, it achieved more than 4 million downloads. The number of downloads has exceeded 46 million since its launch.

Animal-themed SLG “Beast Lords: New World”

In fact, we have already seen some changes. Some domestic SLG products under development have seen the ideas and market reactions of “Three Strategies” and have made corresponding adjustments. But as for the overall trend, the answer to this question will still depend on the long-term performance of “Three Strategies” in the market – it is not easy to change the public’s perception, and this must be a long-term battle.

But one thing is very likely to happen. As “Three Stratagems” leads new users into the SLG category, users in this track may gradually develop a “three-legged race” situation – traditional SLG mobile game enthusiasts who prefer old-school experience, innovative players who tend to be more liver-reducing and burden-reducing like “Three Stratagems”, and another type is more suitable for users of lighter games like “Endless Winter”.

After all this, does it seem that there is still a lot of room for development in the domestic SLG market? In the past few years, too many new products have failed in the SLG market, which once made its market evaluation even more sluggish. But today, SLG is indeed a category worth continuing to explore and invest in.

At least for me, after experiencing “Three Strategies”, I began to look forward to the emergence of the next SLG, which can not only “reduce liver and krypton”, but also have a higher degree of freedom in operation.

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