Saturday, June 9, 2012

End of Nations Overview and E3 Impressions

When most gamers see that a game is free 2 play they get a bad taste in their mouth, but lately F2P has been looking not so bad thanks to likes of Planetside 2, Heroes & Generals, Super Monday Night Combat and Dust 514. Sure three of those games I listed haven't even been released yet, but all of those support balanced gameplay ideals and will not let players purchase their way to victory. End of Nations is one of the first real time strategy games that I've played that is not hampered by the free 2 play model. It is being made by Trion Worlds, who are known for the rather good MMO Rift, and they are creating a conquest style RTS for PC that let's players battle on objective based maps all over the world. They are planning to have thousands of players battling it out all over the world map and up to fifty-six players in any given battle. You will be able to play the game solo, but it is mostly designed to be played online with friends.

This is the kind of RTS that shies away from base building and instead focuses on combat. You have customizable units that you use to make up your squad and you can have a bunch of different squads suited for different situations, but you can only command one squad during a battle. However, you can change your squad during combat. When you are outside of a map you can customize all of your units and create whatever kind of squad you want to make. Each squad is lead by a commander tank, which can also be customized to be anti-air, anti-tank or many other options. There is a fairly traditional of leveling system for your commander that will let you unlock more forces as you level up. Each commander also has customizable abilities, like being able to call in stationary turrets during battle or a repair aura for your vehicles. Before I go any further watch this trailer from E3.

End of Nations gives you plenty of options for your units, commander and squad, but you also have quite a few options when it comes to battles. The story is based on around the Order of Nations, a superpower that brought peace back to the world after it was torn into anarchy after the economic collapse of the 21st century. This superpower started out with good intentions, but eventually became a tyrannical force that many opposed. You play as one of four different forces in the game and you can play player versus environment or player versus player. If you play PVE you are joining up with others to fight the Order of Nations, but either way you will be earning points for your commander and unlocking more units.

Each map in the game has different objectives, which I will talk about a little during the impression section of this post, but it's kind of like Company of Heroes or Dawn of War where there are points aroudn the map and each one has a different purpose. Some are needed for the map objective, while others can give bonuses or resources. If you are interested in trying End of Nations before it comes sometime later this year there is a beta going on and you can sign up for if you have a Trion Account. Like most betas you don't have   guaranteed access if you sign up, but at this moment End of Nation isn't super popular so you have a pretty decent chance of getting in. Head on over to their website and sign up to get in on the beta. Now for some impressions, which will be from both Adam and me. We both played it at E3 for quite some time and hopefully we both have some fairly different experiences to share.

Sean's End of Nation E3 Impressions
Every time we walked by End of Nations at E3 I kept contemplating trying it, especially since I vaguely recalled seeing something on it before and how it was supposed to feature a huge amount of players. I was a bit surprised when I walked up and starting playing to find that the match I was in was only six players, but that should have been a bit obvious to me, even though it wasn't, because of how many systems they had set up. I jumped on and was getting pretty beat up by some other players until someone from Trion Worlds came over and asked me if I had any questions. He showed me everything about switching squads, learning what all my abilities do, figuring out where resources come from and explaining what kind of objective map I was playing. Each team had a shield around their base and you had to capture two of three conquest points around the map in order to bring that shield down. You then had to still keep those points while simultaneously assaulting their base and ultimately destroying it. There were a couple of other points around the map that could be captured for resources and thankfully my commander had some defensive abilities, so I just kept laying down turrets all over the map and supporting each point when it came under attack.

Once I finally learned about everything related to my units and the map I started having a lot of fun. I haven't played many good real time strategy games since Shogun 2 or Company of Heroes, but End of Nations definitely got me interested. The F2P system that isn't pay-to-win is promising and I love the idea of have a persistent world map to conquer. I got to look at the world map after the battle ended, but they only had the one battle for the demo on it. I definitely still need to play more of End of Nations, especially to see how all the customization works, but the RTS elements are quite enjoyable. I loved being able to not worry about a base or building any units and instead just focus on what my squad was doing and using my abilities to turn the situation in my favor. 

Adam's End of Nations E3 Impressons
I'll be honest, I really was not expecting much when I walked up to the End of Nations booth.  To my pleasant surprise, the game actually has a really interesting concept.  End of Nations is not your typical RTS,  it's an MMO RTS where players can hop into big matches and battle for resources.  I was a little confused at first, being familiar with the genre I expected to be able to build units, have to micro manage between my troops and my base and gather resources.  It wasn't till I talked to some of the developers that their vision was to focus more on the battle.  Players choose their units before the fight and use them for the duration of the battle.  Each unit has special abilities to gain the upper hand in a fight or to counter your enemy's units.  Even though I was stuck in a 2 on 1 game, I had a lot of fun once I figured out how it all worked.  I will definitely be checking out End of Nations when it comes out.

That's it from us for End of Nations, but if you would like to watch more videos about the game or sign up for the beta head on over to the website, thanks for reading. 
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-Written by Sean Cargle and Adam Borchert


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