A Million Knights Can’t Be Wrong

Sega have just sent us word that they’ve now had over 1,000,000 players registered on their free-to-play Action RPG, Spiral Knights. I thought that was a bit rude, just emailing us to brag, but they also sent news of a new batch of free content. You like free content, right?

Now available to all Spiral Knights players, is the Ironclaw Munitions Factory, a new dungeon located “deep within the Clockworks”. There are a whole load of cryptic clues as to what you should expect from this new dungeon strewn all over the game’s twitter page, here.

It all sounds a bit dangerous to me. I don’t know if you’ll be able to make it alone. Why not team up with the RPS guild? Astute reader Liqourish seems to be running the show, and there’s a forum thread for Spiral related discussion here.

You can play the game via the official website here, or via Steam here.



  1. itsallcrap says:

    I’m one of those million! I’ve uninstalled it again now, though. It’s a bit ‘meh’.

    • starclaws says:

      Ya the meh is the fact that the free to play model limits you to under an hour per day of dungeon exploring or crafting. The dungeon crawling itself isn’t too bad though thankfully. But after that hour. It’s just meh. That and all the newbies come in and do so well for first tier but then get slaughtered in second tier because they think they can still tank all damage.

    • Howl says:

      I think an hour is too generous; I had uninstalled it within ten minutes. Make us a Jet Set Radio MMO please Sega.

    • Nick Ahlhelm says:

      This looked “meh” enough that I never even bothered with it.

      But I would play the hell out of a Jet Set Radio MMO.

    • Baines says:

      I think I kept it installed for a few days way back when RPS first covered it (long before it ended up on Steam), but quit for the same reason…

      The energy limit meant you can barely spend any time actually playing it. I’m not even sure that you get an hour of play per day. You could make something like two Tier 1 trips in one day? And if you wanted to craft an item, you had to burn at least half your day’s energy.

    • Psychopomp says:

      The fact that people manage to find co-op, crafting based Zelda boring is news to me.

    • RabidOyster says:

      This may be VAGUELY similar to Zelda in the way combat works, but without all the nifty gizmos and gadgets. It’s more like Diablo where the enemies only drop pieces of loot, and you have to put them together. I also found it slow, and meh.

    • Nesetalis says:

      i play it and still play it… see, if you get the crafting down right, you can play continuiously as long as you keep selling stuff :p though its harder later cause you need to also balance between upgrades, selling, and playing… right now i need to play… but tomorrow i’ll need to sell to make up energy to craft (5 star gear is way too expensive at 800 energy a piece :<)

  2. Bilbo says:

    This just in: 1,000,000 people are prepared to click on a frontpage Steam add and give it five minutes of their time.

    I really hate the way MMO developers will cite player registrations as a performance indicator. It’s not necessarily misleading every time, but it’s junk data that is far less meaningful than other data they could give us but choose not to. Talking down to the public, etc.

    • Vagrant says:

      I’m pretty sure the Free To Play model is centered around how many people try your game, not how many people keep playing. Get them to try it out, hopefully drop a dollar or two, then let the server load clear up.

    • Boozebeard says:

      You think the people he was referring to who played for 5 minutes or even people like my self who played for a couple of hours spent any money on it? My experience of F2P games is that people only spend money on them when they decide that they are going to be playing it for a long haul.

    • Bilbo says:

      Yeah, that sounds… pretty loopy to me. Free to Play games aren’t also Free to Develop, and as such they’re banking on a net profit. It doesn’t matter how many people register to try it, they need cash to operate, and it seems *far* more logical to my mind that people are more likely to invest cash in a game they’re more likely to continue playing, and very high player turnover and low attachment rate does NOT generate continued play. You’ve got it really backwards.

    • BurningPet says:

      I dont know what percentage of players has to pay, and how much money they need to in order to pay up for development, marketting and for the servers, but if a million people tried it and they only have 5000 players in the peaks, then i am pretty positive they are losing money on the game.

  3. DSR says:

    They CAN.

    I’m “registered” there too. Quit after like 10 minutes. Horrible and overhyped game.
    If you want hack&slash MMO with cartoonish graphics, play Dragonica.
    Its free too, but much more enjoyable.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I actually prefer Spiral Knights to Dragonica. Dragonica feels much more grindy once you past the early levels (Of course, Spiral Knights doesn’t have levels at all).

  4. Persus-9 says:

    I wonder how many of those 1 million quit after completing the Mann Co mission and getting the TF2 hat. I know I did so that’s one.

    • tenseiga says:

      Woah for a second there i thought it would give me a ticket and i was like WAAA how did i miss that! but now i see its just another hat. Yes i tried it out, it was meh i dont understand why everyone keeps talking about it.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Count me plus 30 or more TF2 playing friends as having done the same. I suspect a vast majority of those 1 million new accounts fall into this category.

      The numbers which would be interesting is how many people are still playing it a week, 2 weeks, a month, etc. after creating their accounts. Call me a skeptic but I doubt SEGA will be releasing those numbers any time soon.

      Seeing as the Steam stats put it at less than 5k players at peak, I’d say an estimate of 1% is probably on the mark (assuming the website client gets the same amount of traffic as the Steam client).

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      There is a ticket.

    • D3xter says:

      THIS is exactly why I don’t like Team Fortress 2 anymore… and Spiral Knights is a perfectly fine game.

  5. jon_hill987 says:

    If any of those million registered players are like me they registered, played for an hour and then promptly uninstalled. My guess is only 10% of them will be active.

    EDIT: After seeing the new comments above, I would like to reduce my estimate to 1%. It really is quite boring.

  6. Echo Black says:

    This game has an addictive side, but all in all it’s pretty crappy if you ask me (I’ve logged over 20h on it and can’t stand much more). Can’t beat the price, though!

    • tenseiga says:

      The price is a highly volatile currency called ‘your time’ it may be worth it to some people but not to others.

    • abfinz says:

      I think you can beat the price, as the game is technically free, but they’ve made it impossible to get very deep without buying crystal energy. For a “meh” game, they should have micro transactions for aesthetics and boosts, rather than mid-game critical content. That said, it is possible, though not practical, to play the entire game for free.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you got 20 hours out of the game without spending a penny, that’s bloody good value, really, considering most modern AAA action games often give you under 10 hours of play for around £30.

      The key advantage with F2P games that I’ve found is that you can play until you’re satisfied you’ve had enough, and not have to worry about the sunk cost bullshit of an initial purchase + subscription.

    • Echo Black says:

      I’d rather have the 10h of AAA content. These were some pretty “eh” 20h of gaming to be honest. But as I was playing with a bud most of the time, it wasn’t too bad.

    • Nesetalis says:

      ive got currently 109 hours logged on it… and i havnt dropped a dime :p though i have purchased crystal energy from others with the in game currency, so i suppose in that sense, i’m helping the economy and helping the company get money (SOME ONE had to buy that crystal energy, and wanted it to be able to buy in game currency.)

    • gun864 says:

      I have played it for over 35 hours withought spending a single penny ^^

  7. ScottTFrazer says:

    I started playing when there was a summer camp prize ticket achievement announced, but the achievement was apparently buggy, so they pulled it.

    It seemed cute otherwise.

  8. Crimsoneer says:

    Couldn’t even bring myself to finish the TF2 hat mission…

  9. Dax says:

    The game is not bad but 1000000 players thanks to TF2 and hats …

  10. Tei says:

    That’s a lot of alts!

  11. Dana says:

    Its mediocre to say the least.

  12. Damo says:

    I played for approximately 8 minutes, picked my face up off the floor and promptly uninstalled.

  13. The Sombrero Kid says:


  14. Dzamir says:

    4,712 players peak today on Steam (Terraria haves 13,648)

    • Kdansky says:

      It’s designed to be a cash cow, instead of an enjoyable game. I find it amusing that Terraria beats it by a factor 3, especially seeing as to how you can see everything in Terraria in less than 10 hours, while 10 hours in Spiral Grind still gets you nowhere fast. I also played it until I got the TF2 hat, planning to play it more if I like it. It was mindbogglingly boring though, so I also promptly uninstalled. Recommendation: Not worth your time.

  15. Terics says:

    Its an alright game but the energy system just drains any fun out of it.

    • Keymonk says:

      I liked it. :( Up until the energy came up critical. Then I just stopped. Not interested in playing a facebook game.

    • DaFishes says:

      Anyone who can’t manage their energy is doing it wrong. Did you even use the free mist tank they give you? You should be able to come up with enough crowns to buy energy from the exchange, after that.

    • Felixader says:

      They want over fife thousand crowns for hundred energy now.
      Thats Bull seeing as you need also 50 Energy for everything you want to craft wich you need to get further into this game.

      I really like the battlesystem especially with a few nice friends i can imagine this beeing the best possibkle Zelda Online ever, but the way the energysystem interferes with everything is crap

  16. LTK says:

    I was just wondering what that Evolution of Dance video was doing in this article but after watching it (again), I no longer care!

  17. Dachannien says:

    This is what happens when Valve gives you a raffle ticket for doing something in a free game.

  18. RaytraceRat says:

    Its way better than Global Agenda free, I spend about 2h on Spiral Knights and Global Agenda to test it, and I must say Knights was more enjoyable experience.

  19. Lukasz says:

    whats up with people uninstalling games? i haven’t done that in 3 years i believe (not counting botched install of Alpha protocol)

    • Kdansky says:

      I had to create a hard link for my Steam directory a few weeks ago, as it started to clog up the better part of a 1 TB disk. Of course I’ll uninstall crappy games I will never play again.

    • thegooseking says:

      I only have 1TB. It fills up faster than I would have imagined back when I had 160GB.

  20. mouton says:

    I like it a lot, playing it for some months now. The key thing is that it isn’t a spreadsheet where with correct gear you automatically defeat everything, like in most mmos. It is skill that matters, and I see many people who bought their elite equipment but apparently can’t really play.

    The numbers are vastly inflated by the summer ticket thing, of course. But the problem isn’t really with the game, but with people who will do anything just to get some bullshit achievement.

    • Kdansky says:

      I wonder which MMOs you are talking about. In all those that I played (AO, WoW, CoH, a lot more) you first and foremost needed to understand the correct skill rotation, and gear was highly secondary (except for a few select raid encounters).

      Arguably I have not played SK long enough to do anything except spam the basic attack button, but then again, that’s a design flaw right there. If I want to mash a single button mindlessly, … No, on second thought, I never want that.

    • mouton says:

      I formulated my post incorrectly. My main point is the spreadsheet element, that all its really, as you said, skill rotation and pure math. With skills A, B, C dealing Z damage over X amount of time, you can defeat mob number 7284. For another mob, you need healer who heals D amount of damage per second.

      In SK numbers still matter, but the most important part is how well you run away, kite, dodge, block, time your attacks etc. With other players adding to the chaos (pushing mobs onto you, drawing their fire at you/away, aggravating too many mobs at once) it is more about arcade skills than making sums.

    • Persus-9 says:

      I have to say I did like that aspect of it when I tried it and I was feeling quite optimistic as I finished the tutorial but for me the combat didn’t seem varied enough and any remaining joy was sucked out of it by the lag. Maybe my connection was just having a bad day or they don’t have any servers in my country but in the conditions I was playing it seemed rather poor. That sort of combat needs to be tight and to me it felt flabby and horrible to the point of being basically a spamfest.

    • Kdansky says:

      mouton: Yes, you make a good point. WoW (and friends) are a spreadsheet with a reaction test attached. I know, because I played it for a long time at a cutting edge raiding niveau. There literally were spreadsheets involved (which to me was one of the more enjoyable parts).

      SK just devolves into mindless spamming, because you don’t really get any options to work with. The game is drawn out on purpose to make more cash*, instead of being interesting and tight (like the short but sweet Portal 1/2).

      *I wonder if it will occur to any of the F2P companies that having a solid, very tight game plus pointless vanity items is more profitable** than a boring grind fest that charges you for everything. As in: TF2 vs any other F2P.
      **Because selling an item to 1% of your playerbase of 50’000 is just as profitable than selling the same item to 50% of your 1000 guys.

    • blackjackshelak says:

      That’s just the thing though Kdansky, the spamming (while indeed present) is far from mindless. You have to take into consideration what your charged sword swing is going to do when you let go of that button. You need to think about firing all three shots of your pistol, as there’s a moment afterwards where your movement speed is decreased. You need to find the right place and time to drop that bomb so that you hit as many targets as you can, without bumping an attacking minion into one of your teammates. Sure the abilities in the game are fairly limited by the equipment types, but there’s some thought behind how you use them. Just running around in circles and attacking every target in range as many times as possible as quickly as you can isn’t going to get you very far.

    • Tacroy says:

      Well, look:

      Spiral Knights had until I got the ticket achievement to impress me. By the time I got the TF2 hat, I was already bored of it because although you say that there’s some positioning or whatever going on, I found that in general I either couldn’t dodge enemy attacks or I could stunlock them to the point where they’d never get an attack off in the first place.

      But I thought “hey, you know, maybe there’s something I’m missing” so I went down into the dungeon and brought back a materia or something, I don’t even know. The game said “You can place this in a depository to get money”, but I had no clue where to find a depository, it didn’t seem to be indicated on my map, and there was some dude over there saying “I’ll lend you a firecracker for the achievement for 300!” so I just went with it.

      All in all, it was not the sort of thing I’d decide to play again.

    • D3xter says:

      Tacroy: Well good riddance to you then, if you play a game to get a virtual item with no significance whatsoever in another game and not because you want to you are starting out the wrong way anyway.

      The game tells you all those things that you are bitching about and more if you’d take the time to explore the 3 not very big areas that the game has and talk a little to the NPCs… there’s also a training hall for teaching you the basics of dungeon combat… but oh no it isn’t pointed out on your map o.O

      The difference between a bad player and a good player in this game is that the bad player will constantly take damage and die, either to be revived by others or having to pay “energy” to revive himself, while a good player knows exactly when to attack and when to block etc. by pattern recognition and paying attention to those “auras” that are forming around enemies when they are about to attack and he can got 3+ dungeon levels without even being hit once. It isn’t the easiest game to play (much like say Diablo 2 that required some skill) and isn’t one of those games that you can just get into and steamroll through all of it without moving your eyebrow. I required at least half a dozen runs before finally beating the 2nd (Jelly) boss for the first time as it requires some teamplay and strategy.

      It is also completely possible to play this game without spending any money on it as there is a “Marketplace” for energy, where you can buy it from other players with in-game currency instead of with real money or you can just wait the 22 hours it takes to replenish before playing on.

    • Nesetalis says:

      ugh, jelly boss :< i still havnt beaten him, and ive got all 4 star gear but for 1 piece of 5 star.

  21. Freud says:

    Bad news if the free hat crowd thinks it’s pointless.

  22. shaydeeadi says:

    Played for 20mins, got my hat. I then realized how much it costs to keep playing after dying a couple of times; and promptly uninstalled.

    • mouton says:

      You don’t have to pay at all to play a lot – also, you don’t have to pay energy for resurrecting.

  23. Quote Unquote says:

    Another interesting tidbit on this game: Only 42.1% of Steam players have reached the “Mission Accomplished” achievement. Which is the one necessary for the hat, and sounds a bit like “complete the game intro”. Not a good sign…

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      42.1% is a lot, actually.

    • Howl says:

      Yep the Steam achievements are a great way to quickly gauge a game you’re not sure about. Metacritic lies as most publications work on a 7-10 rating system.

    • LTK says:

      Though most games remain largely unplayed/unfinished by a big portion of players. Just look at the percentage of players who got the Lunacy achievement in Portal 2: 63.8%. So one-third of everyone who bought Portal 2 never finished the single player game.

    • Kdansky says:

      Yeah, but 60% of all actually finished the full game (and took 6 to 10 hours to do so). Compared to the 60% who never bothered to even finish the tutorial (20 minutes) of SK, that is very telling.

  24. jacobvandy says:

    I played for a couple hours, actually enjoyed the gameplay because it has more to do with your skill than stats, but as already mentioned, the Zynga-esque energy limit is really lame. I was very unpleasantly surprised that the opportunity cost of crafting a pretty basic new piece of equipment was 5 dungeon levels worth of energy, in addition to the cost of materials and money… You can exchange the money for energy similar to the ISK and PLEX in EVE, but I don’t know if I’m willing to go to that much trouble with the restrictions they put on you.

    I got the TF2 hat and bought a Firecracker from the auction house to get the ticket, but that might be it for me.

  25. malkav11 says:

    It’s competent and unexceptional. I might play more sometime, but I tend not to get into any game where I have a small but daily refreshing ability to play. I want to operate on my own schedule, not the game’s.

  26. blackjackshelak says:

    The problem that most people have is that the initial barrier to entry (the energy system) rears its head very quickly. The first few sessions of the game might be a little short, but the game already helps out by providing you with a mist tank or two early on. Once you’ve got a few sessions under your belt, and especially once you have your 2-star equipment, that barrier mostly disappears. Buying energy with in-game coin is a pretty simple matter, and the energy you buy (crystal) doesn’t have that same restrictive 100-point cap that your constantly-replenishing mist energy does. That said, I don’t exactly play the game daily, but it’s good for a bit of fun every now and again and I certainly haven’t uninstalled it.

  27. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    I like it. It is pleasantly minimal by design.

    I also do not mind the energy thing at all. I appreciate being given a gentle shove off the PC to do other things after playing a suitable amount of game. You can buy energy with in game money to use for crafting etc, so it’s fine.

  28. Frank says:

    This could use a “three rings” tag for the devs…?

  29. DrBomb says:

    I cant play it anyways, looked a nice game for spending an hour or two between studying

  30. Brometheus says:

    I am one of those million folks. I played the game for the hat and the Summer Sale Ticket. It is so awful, I thought SOE made it, but SEGA wouldn’t be too far of a strech.

    • ankh says:

      You and everybody else who installed the game to get a free hat in a FPS game where you cant even see the fucking hat while playing should be ashamed of yourselves goddamnit

    • Matthypaspist says:

      I see no point in being unnecessarily mean to someone, even if they wanted to spend 10 minutes to get a vanity item. I played the game because I liked it. It’s only until i saw this post that i realised I got that knights hat for the soldier in tf2 because of this game. I played for the actual game not the hat.

  31. luckystriker says:

    After checking out some gameplay videos on youtube it looks pretty good to me. Will give it a try for sure.

  32. liqourish says:

    The combat’s certainly more interesting than the average MMO, although the way the economy is set up with energy means that the game can get somewhat grindy, especially if you’re not good at playing the market.
    If you do want to try it, I you advise you join up in the guild, since that way you can ask around and use each others’ recipes, rather than having to pay for them yourselves – at least for lower level items. Also, some of us are relatively filthy rich at this point, and can help newer players out with basic gear.
    Bug Cantiq (known otherwise as iq) and me in-game or on the forums to get added!

  33. shinigami947 says:

    well lets hope that it becomes like Vindictus who had a similar system, but it became popular and successful enough to lose the energy system completely or at least remove it from actual dungeon crawling, and maybe not have the crafting energy costs not jump so sodding rapidly (from 50 energy for 2star equipment to 200 energy for 3 star