Did any of you tweeps notice a flurry of tweets about “#spymaster” the other day? Whether you did or didn’t, here’s the scoop on that phenomenon.
An online Twitter game called Spymaster opened up to the public on Friday and it took the network by storm. Essentially, every follower counts as a “spy” unless that follower is also playing the game, which means they count as a “spymaster.” The number of spies you have determines your overall strength in the game and the number of spymasters in your “spy network” increases your ability to attempt certain activities. Hope that wasn’t too confusing!
Once you’ve signed up (which just requires a quick “OK” with the Twitter API), you choose your intelligence organization (American, British, or Russian) and begin your shadowy career! Every so often you are given energy points that allow you to go on missions or attempt to assassinate fellow spymasters. Once you accumulate a certain amount of money, you can purchase weapons, armor, or a safehouse (the mechanics of the latter are somewhat unclear – it generates money somehow).
Remember, it’s a community game so while you’re out shooting at others, they are constantly shooting right back at you. Some days you won’t be touched and others you’ll have half your bankroll stolen! Fortunately if you manage to make a LOT of money, you can store it away in a Swiss bank account.
The dashboard shows you recent activity within your spy network. As you can see above, @noddynoddynoddy has been owning me slightly. It’s hard to understand the math behind the assassinations because he is somewhat weaker than I am in every stat. As you can see, attacking stronger users than yourself can be profitable.
There was some controversy over Spymaster when it launched because of its automatic update settings. You can set Spymaster to notify you by public and private tweets whenever events happen. The more public notifications (and essentially the more free advertising you give Spymaster), the higher your bonus each time you refresh your points. When users began playing the game and flooding their feeds with #spymaster tweets, a lot of users got angry because they felt they were being spammed by the people they had chosen to follow.
Several on my feed alone have compared this to what happened to Facebook once it started using applications. I don’t think Twitter will slide too far down that slope though, because if you don’t like what a tweep is tweeting, you just unfollow them. People will notice the drop in followers (if they care about that kind of thing) and reduce the number of updates they give to Spymaster. Personally I’ve shut off all of the notifications on my account because the advantage of the bonus is minimal compared to the threat of lost followers.
Shoot, by writing this I’ve totally set myself up for a TON of assassinations, haven’t I?
Did any of you say “Oh no! Jimmy’s posting ANOTHER Twitter article…” when you saw this post? Anybody excited about these kinds of articles? I’m trying to get an idea of what the GAS community thinks of Twitterverse culture….so let us know in the comments!