There are a fair number of our readers who admit to being addicts of Duels.com, a World of Warcraft-like game that lets users create characters, add weapons and spells, and duel each other. It’s asynchronous, meaning one player can fight another without both having to be online.
And in the few months since it launched, the site has grown to the point that nearly a million duels per day are fought on the site.
Today the company launched version 2 of the site and changed their corporate name from Oxygen Games to Challenge Games. Most of the new features in v 2.0 are geeky and only interesting to hard core players (lots of new ways to kill your opponent). But the site is also starting to launch tournaments, where a large number of players gather to fight all at once, and “ladders,” a way of ranking players based on Elo chess ranking systems.
But the most important feature: female avatars. This was quite simply overlooked by the team when they launched the site – they assumed the vast majority of players would be men. But players have been yelling for female avatars in the Duels.com forums since the game launched. Now, women can play the game with an avatar that has at least some basic biological similarities to their real life body.
Duels.com has the look of a winner. Traffic is steadily increasing after the launch spike, and a lot of players are spending real money to upgrade their characters. CEO Andrew Busey says that more than a few people have spent more than $1,000 to buy some super awesome sword or armor for their character.
The company will launched more games next year, including a sports-themed title that will have more general appeal than Duels.com. “People are embarrassed to say they are addicted to a fantasy dueling game” said Busey. “They’re more willing to tell their friends about a sports game.”