We know what you picture when you see the word “Evony,” and it isn’t a city building MMO. Despite recent efforts to scale back the oversexed ad campaign, odds are you, and just about everyone else who used the internet in 2009, has the same mental image associated with Evony: a woman in a bra staring sensually out of the screen, with “Play now, my lord,” "Play discreetly," or "Come Play" written in text beneath her large, exposed bosoms. The ads were everywhere, and they seemed to get more unrelated and inappropriate as time went on. Sometimes it was just the bra. Sometimes there wasn't a bra at all. It looked like the developers were advertising a softcore porn website more than a free-to-play online game.
They eventually moved away from the unrelated, sexy ads in favor of promoting the game itself, but after two years of sobriety they’re falling off the wagon. But instead of going with the old, ads, they're doing it much, much differently, and we have a first look at the new, improved face of Evony's online advertisements.
Above: The old ads are dead, so what's replacing them?
But before we get into that, it's important to know what the hell Evony is.
Come play, my lord
Before the name was Evony it was Civony, and that's because it was (and still is) a game very much trying to emulate the Civilization franchise's success. Some have called it a clone. Others have called it a rip-off. No matter what people call it, the indisputable fact is that it's been fairly successful – Evony's developers claim that the game has 27 million registered accounts in 167 countries around the world.
Part of the reason it got those numbers was because of the controversial ads, according to Tony Cerrato, Marketing Officer at Evony. "Of course any MMO game only shines when there are a large number of players on the battlefield, so our goal, like any other game, was to get as many people playing as possible," he says. "We coordinated with a number of affiliate marketing partners on different types of ads. The most successful were ads our partners created featuring models, and based on that success, our partners created the now infamous series of ads."
Cerrato said that their numbers skyrocketed, blasting to 1 million quickly. Some of those players, he said, are still playing now. But there was a cost. "We're well aware of the reputation of the old campaign, and there's no doubt Evony is still associated with it even though the series was officially discontinued over a year ago."
Bringing sexy back
They've spent years trying to shed this reputation, but now, two years later, they're going back to ads including a live actress instead of images from the game. This time, however, things are different.
First, meet Lady Eva.
She's one of the advisers featured in Evony. For years, she has served as the face of Evony on the game's website, in its social media, and in the game itself. When you start playing Evony she’s there right from the start, serving as a guide to the game’s content. She’s the first thing you see when you load up the free-to-play game, acting as a tutorial of sorts, and she sticks with you to feed you tips throughout your time playing the MMORTS.
She's not just related to the game, she's sort of its mascot.
Now, meet Samantha.
Samantha was chosen by a Facebook community event by the fans, in which thousands voted on the human face to represent the game's Lady Eva. In the end they landed on Samantha, a face you'll be seeing more of in the coming weeks as she assumes her role as the "Face of Evony." While it's a slight step back towards the ways of old, it's for a reason. The developers claim that it's going to relevant to the game, and important to the community. The developer is committed to “doing it right.” The days of half-naked models and sexy slogans are behind Evony, and the game is being set on the right path with Eva/Samantha.
Above: The two Evas, side by side
Check out page two to see the new director for Evony's ads...