Honestly, Blood Crown’s biggest distinguishing factor is its theme. Its premise starts with a chaotic war between three factions that erupted in 1351. During that time, a leader arose and the game follows the legend of that leader. It’s then your choice which faction that leader came from: Vampires, Werewolves, or Humans? The differences are mostly aesthetic, but each excels at producing a certain type of combat unit (riders, ground troops, and ranged troops, respectively). Once you’ve made your selection, you’re shown your starting encampment.
In mid 14th century, Europe lies devastated from the effects of the “Black Death” plague. Over 50% of Europe’s population vanished as if almost overnight. Meanwhile, the Vampires and Werewolves saw this as an opportunity to rise from the shadows of society and into the light of domination after living in secrecy among the humans for centuries. Now both factions are looking to dominate all of Europe, waging war over territories and conquering the shrinking Human population. Each hoping to enslave the Humans. Amidst the chaos, famine and despair, the Humans prepare to fight for their survival and to persevere through these dark ages. The time has come to choose your faction! Will you pledge your allegiance to the Vampires by enslaving the humans? Or will you help the Werewolves by forcing the extinction of the humans through extermination? Or will you defend the humans down to the very last breath with your cold steel sword? The conquest awaits!
Like Kabam’s previous empire builders, everything happens on a pretty grand scale. Your units and resources are measured in the thousands. You’re raising a civilization. Enemy cities are far enough away that you need surviving troops to bring the spoils of war back home. The game is very much about management more than anything else. Battles are resolved through number crunching instead of individual units swapping blows and taking advantage of optimal placement on the battlefield. It’s fun, you just have to know what you’re getting into. You get a week of protection as a new player. You can start attacking any time you get the itch to battle, but you’re better off taking advantage of the full week. You’ll need the time to build up a resource infrastructure, a population to raise an army from, offensive and defensive forces, and a stable of heroes.
The game is good, but it doesn’t stand apart from its predecessors at all. In fact, it’s basically just a reskin of Kingdoms of Camelot and Kingdoms of Middle-Earth. If you have experience with either of the Kingdoms games, there’s really no reason to get into this one unless you really geek out over vampires and werewolves. Then again, all three are solid enough games that they’re worth checking out. Blood Crown offers a lot more depth than most timer-laden free-to-play games. It leans much more strategic than tactical, which at least makes Kabam’s games feel quite different from the endless stream of Clash of Clans-style games. That is to say, the decisions you make tend toward the long-term. Which nearby wilds do you occupy and defend from other players? How do you optimize each of your cities (perhaps one for production and one for training troops)? What do you use your heroes for? How do you balance your army between a defensive force and an offensive force? How much do you tax your people? Decisions like these are representative of the game’s strategic depth. However, it’s still free-to-play, and the amount of time and money you pour into the game are by far the number one factor in your success. It’s an interesting middle ground between pure strategy and free-to-play. It’s got the edge of being free, but sacrifices some depth in exchange for timers and premium currency. Whether it’s right for you really comes down to how you like to play games. If you’d rather sit down for intense multi-hour sessions, this certainly isn’t for you. On the flipside, If you’re fine with the kind of game where you check in two or three times daily, this and its Kingdoms brethren offer more depth than most. If you’re interested in a timekiller that incorporates a long-term overarching progression instead of pure mindlessness, Blood Crown should be one of your candidates.
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