Einherjar the Viking's Blood, is a new tactical RPG browser game that runs off of flash. The game, in an unusual twist, actually originates from Japan but was brought over by a company called KBMJ, and the game is currently in its Open Beta phase.
To make a Viking Lord
The first thing you do in almost any game is create your main character, this game is no different, but the steps may be a bit different to some of you. The standard pick your character name is there, but after that it changes a bit. You pick what weapon type out of three that you want your starting character to use; sword, ax, or spear. These are not all of the weapon classes you will see in the game, but they are the basic three which have a relation to each other, which I will get more into later. The last but not least choice to make is the gender of your character.
Now what is a bit random and some of you may not like, including myself, is that the portrait of your character is random, but the basic looks of them are the same. What I mean by that is the model you move around looks the same for each class, the only difference between them are the portraits. It would have been nice to be able to choose even from a limited number of portraits for the starting character.
The starting character, as you may have guessed is the lord of your Viking empire. He can be replaced with another character later on, but the character must meet certain requirements to do so.
This setup looks familiar, but it changes from there
When you get into the actual world, there is an air of familiarity with the current setup of things. If you play a lot of browser games, you run into those that have the setup where you build your empire on a limited number of plots. The buildings take a certain amount of time to build, so do the upgrading of buildings, and you can do so many at a time. That is the basic setup of the empire portion of the game, but instead of just straight up building them, like most of these styles of games, you need to assign characters to do the building, expanding, and gathering of materials.
It does change things up from there though, in a lot of games that feature this empire builder, you're stuck waiting so you end up playing other games in the meantime. But here they offer you something else to do. While your three characters are busy gathering resources or whatever else you've assigned them to do, you can with your other characters, go on an expedition.
This also has a lot to do with what you will build and how much. The construction of items require certain buildings to be present and at certain levels, but you have limited space to work with so obviously you may not have two or more of each building at high level. This makes you think on what you really need, what you can live without, and how you are going to plan out what you're putting in each space. They do make it a bit easier in that you can destroy buildings and place something else on the land that was previously used, so your build doesn't need to be static, but to be as efficient as you can, it is best to plan ahead. A lot of items like different armors or weapons can be found by certain mobs in the game, so sometimes you may not need to focus on building some structures and can put that time into building others.
The expedition is set up in a way that you can explore areas, fight baddies, and do quests all while waiting for the work at your home base to complete.
One thing that will catch your eye fairly quickly in the game is the addition of bloodlines; these tend to give characters different stat boosts which could help, depending on the given class. For instance you have some that will increase HP, STR, and Def. Others will increase different attributes. This also helps you determine which characters, classes and bloodlines you will keep in your army and which you will expel to wander the lands. This type of system actually adds another layer of planning and strategy to the mix. For instance in my play though I tended to keep my eye on which characters popped up with which bloodline and tended to ignore a lot of the more "regular" characters that I could have recruited. It may have not been the best of strategies, but it made me decide who I want to take up the limited space I had in my army.
Off on an expedition
They do have a system set up so those who are not as active of players as some others have a chance at giving them a chance to stand on almost equal footing. During the expedition portion, while you're out and about fighting off hordes of monsters, you may notice a number that says "Recommended Fighting Times". This number represents how many battles you can do and get normal XP with. You can do more battles than that, but you will get only a fraction of the xp you would get normally, and it is usually so low that in the same amount of time, you would make more just doing work at your base. But what still makes it work doing is that you're still able to go out and complete quests and gather items. Some mobs tend to drop more weapons, while others drop silver and other valuables which you can use to sell to get more gold, or to craft items with. So it is still worth going out there even if you used your allotted recommended fight times.
One thing in the expedition that I didn't really like is when you go out looking for a fight, is the movement when you're on shore and exploring. The map menu is similar to that on console and handheld tactical rpgs in that you're shown and overview of a map and points you can go to with the path you need to take to get there. Now instead of clicking to the point on the map you want to go to, that may be far away, you instead need to click each individual point as you slowly work your way there. This seems a bit redundant as it could have be fixed by allowing an auto path to take place, only to stop the character when the option for battle comes up, instead of having to stop at each individual point.
The combat is fairly fun, and easy to master
One thing I did like about the game is the combat, which incorporates the tactical RPG settings as such games. The battle is done on a grid system and players take turns planning out their movements and trying to outdo the AI.
The combat is on the simplistic side as the characters do not have any active skills, but only one passive skill based on class that activates at random intervals based off a percentage chance which you are not shown. This takes a lot of the difficulty out of the battle as most of the attacks are nothing more than basic attacks from each weapon and you don't need to watch out for things like mana or energy that games with active skills use.
As a replacement for those active skills that mage type characters are used too, there are I guess you can say "spell weapons". By that, I mean you can assign classes like Half-elves items like Fire which basically is a fire spell with a duration on it instead of a mana cost requirement. It is a bit odd at first since you do need to watch the durability of your "spells", but you get used to it fairly quick and learn to build extras when you can.
They made the combat a bit easier for those who may not be too into the tactical genre or didn't grow up playing a lot of games from that genre. For the PVE elements (When you're not attacking other players), you can reset battles from the beginning and try again till you get the results you want, by refreshing the page. At first, I thought this was a bug and was ready to report it, till I saw that they actively advertised it on their site. This only works on the PVE elements and when tried in the PVP/Raids, it gives you an automatic loss. I know it sounds odd, but I liked it since it gives those who are just starting with these types of games a chance to try it out without killing off half of their army just exploring.
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