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End of Nations Beta Impressions Review

08. October, 2012Tags: End of Nations, MMO Blog

End of Nations impressions reviewI’ve waited for this day for quite a while. One of my favourite new games is finally having the NDA lifted, and it’s exciting to be able to talk about the End of Nations beta. To be honest, I’m not sure why it was there in the first place – besides the usual on-going development sort of thing. I’ve played some games in beta that have been dreadful – the gameplay has felt near unfixable, the graphics have been ugly and barely passable, the connection has been cutting out every five minutes – and for games with a little more hype behind them than End of Nations. I can understand why a bad game will desperately need an NDA, but something that has had so much quality since that very first beta session – I’ve wanted to write about it for months. So how does this massive jump for the MMORTS genre play out? Read on, although you should probably get it downloading while you read.

 

 

End of Nations – Redefining MMORTS

The first thing you should know is that End of Nations is an MMORTS. Forget everything you know about that genre though, forget the terrible waiting, the bad graphics, the only occasional interaction with other players. Forget everything you hate – because hate is entirely the right word – about the MMORTS genre. 

"End of Nations takes it to an entirely new level."

If you’ve ever dreamt of playing something like Command and Conqueror, but against an entire team of enemy players, End of Nations is for you. Waiting for hours while your army attack drily beyond your control is a thing of the past, replaced with real time action, real time strategy, big explosions and shiny vehicles.

And if you’ve ever played one of those MMORTS games I’m referring to above, you probably agree with me that a proper online strategy  game is long, long overdue.

Strategic Combat

"One of my favourite things about End of Nations is how quickly you get into the action."

I’ll be honest, the first time I played it I felt a little bit underwhelmed. I found myself in a tutorial of sorts, surrounded by other players and following a few commands. The travel time was too far, the action too difficult, the human interaction too minimal. It was still far above what we’ve come to expect from the MMORTS genre, but it wasn’t fast paced enough. It wasn’t pushing me to do everything this game is capable of. The tutorial took me a little while longer than perhaps was needed, and I died a couple of times, and I left the server disappointed.

End of Nations and PVP action

This was no small feat – I’d been waiting for this game for quite a while, as I’m sure many of you have. It had everything: the graphics, the units, the camaraderie, the action- sorry, REAL-TIME action. And it was underwhelming?

I tried another mode, this time it was smaller in scale. Myself and three or four allies have to protect a central base. The map was small enough that I imagine you could get from one side to the other in less than 20 seconds, but every inch of the screen was filled with enemies and destruction and explosions and danger. There were times when I couldn’t move my little group of units without finding myself face to face with another set of enemies. Rarely has a video game made me feel so useless and yet so powerful at the exact same time. It’s a well-crafted experience, especially when it’s delivered with top notch sound and high quality graphics, and one that instantly endeared me to the game.

Constant Gameplay in End of Nations

"Thankfully, even in beta, there’s hardly a dull moment in End of Nations."

As soon as that level was finished, I had the option to jump right back into another game. Some MMOs – most MMOs – don’t quite seem to have handled this issue very well. Console games tend to be one game finishes, the next starts. Too many MMOs have pacing problems that means you’ll finish one game and either be awkwardly inserted into another game or you’ll finish one game and then have to go through some ridiculous queuing system that has you totally separate from your friends or against players who, for whatever reason, you don’t want to compete against.

End of Nations offers extreme action

End of Nations has taken a ticket from other multiplayer genres in more way that one, not least in the way you choose and partake in missions.

End of Nations: Action Multiplayer

It’s difficult to say with any honesty that MMOs take action very seriously. The average MMO player, until now, likes numbers signifying damage over blood and gore it would seem, that they’d rather battle with strategic use of potions and weapons over actual strategy. Whether it’s a limitation of the system we used to be stuck with or if it’s just something that’s slowly evolved with time, I’m not sure – maybe both – but it is what it is. You’re not going to find many breath-taking moments in World of Warcraft, very few close scrapes in Guild Wars. End of Nations tries to do it slightly differently, bringing the struggle of war to the forefront, immediately above experience and kitting out your character to progress.

As great as it is to play with strangers, you’re going to have a lot more fun if you’re playing with friends. End of Nations has a pretty decent system for dealing with friends and grouping up for battle and I can guarantee that if you don’t come into the game with your own friends, the heat of battle will definitely give you the opportunity to click the friend request button more than a couple of times.

End of Nations brings the struggles of was to the forefront

Conclusion

End of Nations is a pretty fantastic game and amongst the first wave of games that can be considered next-gen MMOs. It does everything we wish we could have been doing ten years ago but connection speeds and average computer quality made it an impossibility. Now, the folks at Trion Worlds have made the impossible possible, and they’ve done a bloody good job at it as well.

The general rule of thumb on the internet is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So there’s this AAA multiplayer title, an actual MMORTS, it looks fantastic, it plays fantastic and it’s going to be free at release? That’s an awful lot of “too good to be true.” Believe it though, because short of overwhelming reaction and too many bodies on servers when the game leaves beta, End of Nations is the embodiment of a modern quality RTSMMO. Download it at your first convenience.

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