It only took the three battling factions a little over a day to break the world’s largest social network!  Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we did at least break the application on Facebook Smile  In case you haven’t heard, yesterday Funcom launched The Secret War, which is a Facebook game of world domination.  Using your friends as agents, you try to infiltrate and sway influence in various states and countries throughout the world.

Just in watching my little social networks, it has been quite the buzz.  Twitter has been on fire with all sorts of comments, taunting, and excitement about the event and the appropriate faction gains or losses.  Not to mention that my email traffic from Facebook has almost been constant with friends requests, postings, and the propaganda posts that sway more influence.  Not only that, but all sorts of strategy chatter on how we should or should not try to rule the world.

Today however, things came to a screeching halt as the community broke the application.  Apparently according to the official TSW twitter account they not only had to pull down the app:

Due to significantly higher activity levels on sharing than expected, we have taken The Secret War down to make some necessary adjustments.

Shortly after they admit that Facebook made the request that they make changes:

We have been asked by Facebook to make these changes due to the higher than expected number of shares to Facebook. We are working on it.

Now I’m sure some will claim this is poor programming on Funcom’s side, but to their defense Funcom isn’t in the business of building Facebook games, which is another ballgame altogether.  Either way, you can’t argue the fact that the event was widely popular worldwide.

For me personally this event was VERY exciting for a couple of reasons.  First off it shows how popular this game is, or at least the concept of it is exciting enough.  Remember, all people are working towards here mainly (ok, there’s a potential for a free trip) are in-game items!  So if you’re not planning on playing TSW there’s not a whole lot of incentive to get involved.

I also think this highlights the advantages of a three faction system in that you saw the complexities of trying to wrestle and keep control.  This will lead directly to the PvP system they’ve implemented and I imagine we’ll see the same kinds of strategies applied as the 3 factions battle for control.

The other aspect that is VERY exciting for me is the sheer amount of chatter I saw over the various social networks.  Funcom has mentioned that there will be social hooks in game, but the real world setting seems to amplify the usage of these networks.  I’m very excited of the prospects of wide scale PvP coordination over twitter and Facebook just like we saw during the Secret War.  Maybe this exists in other games and I haven’t seen it, but being a modern day set game it seems like this is brought even more into the spotlight.

Needless to say May 11th (first beta weekend) can’t come fast enough!

Personally I don’t see this as a knock against Funcom but an indication of where things are going from here.  Remember, there are entire companies built around creating Facebook games and even they have issues from time to time.  The fact that there was an issue here has very little to do with what will happen when the MMO launches and will actually probably help the team plan for how launch will go.  The sheer amount of buzz and excitement will carry forward into launch and I can’t wait to be a part of all that chatter going forward.