Games that use the empire building formula are a dime a dozen, it is one of the more common game types for browser based games and you can't even visit a lot of sites without seeing ads for some of the different ones. Is that like saying they're all bad? No, since some of them strive to derive themselves from that cookie cutter formula and add something a bit different to draw in the crowd. I got the chance to try out Wartune from Reality Squared Games to see if their empire did just that, and see if it is a game worth checking out.
Starting out is the character creator, which I am sure is no surprise. The one used in this game has you selecting a character that represents you, the leader of your armies, and it is not gender locked! Already that is a point in its favor. You also get the choice between three different classes; knight, archer, and mage. Each of these classes has a different look and skill set for people to choose. The classes are fairly basic and aren't unique in their own sense. Their sense of development is also rather straight forward. In the game your hero levels up and has the ability to get different skills from a tree. However that tree seems rather straight forward, at least from the beginning of the game. As you level you're stuck picking only one skill at each time which dissolves the feeling of freedom that a skill tree usually promises. This trend follows you till around level 20 when the choices tend to branch out a bit, but that lack of freedom from the get-go is rather disheartening. It would have been nice to give a bit more options on what you could invest in from the beginning and not have it hold your hand for such a long time.
The actual gameplay is a bit unique in how it is presented. In the beginning you get the idea that it is a mmorpg. You're tasked to kill some monsters through a "dungeon" in order to help out a damsel in distress. From there it moves on to the Empire building mechanics then mixes the two together. To put it simply you're playing both a casual mmo and an empire building game; which is good because the fault with a lot of empire builders is that they're boring, since if you have nothing else to do you're left twiddling your thumbs or logging out till your stuff is done building so you can actually play the game again. The empire building aspects heavily relies on the mmorpg aspect and vice versa. Troops which you usually used to defend your cities in typical empire builders are allies for your main hero in combat and support him/her as they adventure to level up and conquer their enemies. This makes the empire building aspects rather straight forward and uninvolved. The most involvement you seem to have for it is the control of mines and leveling of pre-placed structures, which doesn't add much tactical value in the game, and makes everything rely on your hero. As for the mmorpg aspect, buildings you unlock from the empire side of things are reliant on your hero's level. So unless they level up, you won't get access to all of the facilities available to you. The bad thing about this is, it makes the game feel like a big grind. They try to combat that with quests in the game, but it really isn't enough to make it feel like you're not grinding. I can't tell you how many times I run through the same dungeon to complete the quests given to me one after another till I get to the level where I can go to the next dungeon and do the same thing over and over. From that aspect it is extremely dull and tends to get boring fast, especially since the dungeons are rather static in their composition and not really that varied in terms of how the terrain or monsters look. It seems like you keep running through the same areas but just going through different paths.
Combat in the game is decent, but not great. It takes what a lot of casual browser based mmorpgs do by taking a lot of the combat controls out of your hands and having the battle play out automatically. The only difference is you can pop on skills on your own, they aren't automatically activated. This gives you a little bit of control and makes you actually participate a bit more, but the lack of being able to target and the feel of not really needing to use the skills beyond arena battle and some boss battles will make you change tabs more than watch the screen and trying to bash buttons. Like I said, it is a decent attempt, but with the limited involvement they could have added a bit more.
As it is right now the game is decent, it is better than a lot of Empire builders out there as it does try to get you interested in staying active within the game, when most you have you build some things and log off. The combination of the two genres make a nice combination, but the aspects of each could you a bit more to them to make the game really shine. The game is pretty good for those seeking something casual that doesn't take too much planning to be successful at due to its casual approach. But anyone seeking something that would make you think and outwit your opponent may want to try something else.
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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