Alaplayer has a new browser game in its Open Beta phase, which is called Skylancer. The game is a Fantasy Strategy RPG, which takes elements from standard empire building games, and adds its own twist into the mix.
Once choice three factions
Starting off the game has three factions that players can choose to support. Each faction has its own beliefs and players can pick who they want to support based off of those beliefs. The actual choice isn't so much about the advantages or disadvantages of the different factions, as they share the same units and the choice doesn't seem to affect anything in the game beyond what territories each faction owns, which coincidently is based off of which players help take over which territory.
A more active stance on empire builders and a bit different
The game does take the base ideas of it from most empire builders. The general formula allows players to take an almost lazy stance on their kingdom, often having players just wait before being able to do anything else. You set the buildings, walk away, and come back a time later to do the same or manage resources. In this game however it is a bit different.
While yes, you do set which buildings you want to build or upgrade, instead of just being able to go away for hours or a day to collect resources and do it again, you have to actively log into the game to really progress. The collection of resources for instance is a manual process, not automated, which makes players want to check every so often to get the resources, and actively stays in the game instead of just playing the wait game, as most of these tend to do. The bad thing however, is that the collection is for a rather small amount at first, and progressively grows as you will be able to take longer breaks from collecting. This sounds fine and dandy, but the starting amount is around 50 resources for each item, which is a small amount that fills up rather fast, and since it is so small and makes you check so often, it makes progression rather slow depending on your schedule.
The game also takes a side view of the world in which you can scroll around to see different territories and NPC enemies which you can use to get extra resources and experience for leveling up. This is another way the game is different, because as you play it almost feels like you're playing alone, as your territory is the only one floating around the world, from your perspective.
That changes as you enter different territories on the map as you can use those to attack other players to gain dominance over certain locations. Dominance is gained or lost depending on the outcome of your fight with other players. This then fills a meter in each territory, and whichever faction fills up the meter first, gets that territory until another faction takes control. This takes away the actual attack of other players to cripple them, because the attacks are rather impersonal, and when you get attacked by other players, you don't actually see it or get any notification of it. This can be seen as good or bad depending on your perspective of things. From a general empire building genre standpoint, this is more of a negative as it leaves the game as feeling like an online single player game in which you compete against others for a "better score" and doesn't make you really want to stick to the game for a long period.
A battle of luck
The game does have a unique unit system which goes based off of one of three buildings players can build. Each type has a different unit type from warriors, beasts, and zombies. Early on you are told to pick one, but as you progress you are eventually able to build them all. You get one of each unit you unlock and the units can actually be "leveled up" like buildings. They have their own resource and item requirements for upgrading, but as you upgrade them their skills get stronger as do their stats.
The various units are also able to equip an item, which can have various stats to help you in battle such as defensive or offensive, or even give you more moral or lower the cost of moral to summon that unit. Moral is, well, the best way I can describe it is the cost of summoning a unit to fight. When that unit falls the next one is summoned and the moral cost from that unit is spent from the pool, the side that reaches 0 moral first, loses. Moral is gained through how much moral a unit brings to the team you set up.
Now for the "battle of luck" this takes place when units go to battle. At the beginning of the match, and when each unit is summoned, that side gets to pick one of three "buffs" for their unit. These can range from bonus attack, defense, or even things like reducing moral costs. But what you pick can turn a match either good or bad. For instance, if you're going against similarly equip units; having either bonus attack or defense can help you get though the battle and win when it would have been a close call, but if you end up getting something like the moral or health one, while the other side gets defense or attack, it can turn the tides on you and make that close call into a loss. So the beginning buffs can really make or break a match, which turns things into a game of luck.
The animations for the battle themselves are fairly basic as it has an almost cut out form of the unit hopping to attack the enemies. Yea, it isn't the fanciest thing in the world, but it is still funny to look at and is a bit more interesting than having nothing but results. If you're not too much into the graphical part, you can speed up the match to an extent, which does make it go a bit quicker and keep you going on your way.
Lots of quest, mostly repeats
One nice thing that I did find in the game, despite the repetitiveness of it, is that the game does have a lot of quests to keep you pre-occupied. The quests do have the standard kill x amount of this unit or collecting x amount of this item, but it also has some other story type quests which will have you exploring different locations – proving your faction owns that particular island.
That's right; some of these quests cannot be completed unless your faction owns a certain location. They don't have an expiration date, so they can be help indefinitely, but it still gives you some motivation to try to help your faction to take over a location you need. I have to admit, this did give me a bit more motivation to take part in the PvP of the game, and try to take over the locations I needed.
The repeat quests I have found to be fairly useful, usually these types of quests are most useful for getting some extra xp during a massive grind session, but for this game, it is partially true. Some of the quests I usually repeat when they show up are the ones that give you totems, which are used for upgrading your units. These are particularly rare from normal fights, so when you get quests to give them out, they're all the more precious. This gave the normally dull repeatable quests some value, which helped me out a lot during the game.
The game is fairly decent, and brings a new perspective on the empire building genre, taking a more active stance on the sit and wait type gameplay that is usually involved. After that however the game starts to falter and the interest you had in the beginning starts to wane as involvement in the world seems rather minimal and goes off of which side wins the most before the other to get a territory. It is however a good introduction for people who are new to the genre and want to give it a go.
|Easy to get into gameplay that is good for people new to the empire genre||Battles are more luck based|
|Colorful world that really pops||The gameplay isn't deep and you would get bored after awhile|
|A more active stance on a genre that is normally rather slow paced and less involved|
|Plenty of quests to keep you busy|
Self Introduction From Author:
|I have been playing mmos since about 1999, and haven't stopped since, and I cannot even remember when I started console/pc gaming. I'm an avid gamer who does dive back into the real world from time to time. My all time goal is to start my own business, but that is taking a side step as I am going through college.|
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