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End of Nations : Gamescom Review

23. August, 2012Tags: End of Nations, Gamescom, MMO Blog

End of Nations Gamescom 2012 reviewEnd of Nations was one of our target games at Gamescom 2012. We have been playing Trion Worlds' MMORTS since the launch of Closed Beta and at Gamescom we had the chance to find out more on the game and developer Petroglyph's thoughts after the first phase of closed-beta. After four years of development, the MMORTS from Petroglyph Games and Trion Worlds is nearly here. End of Nations, a free-to-play RTS that’s massive both in scale (number of units per game, potentially number of players per game) and scope, will be releasing this year, and we got a sneak peak at the game. And from our look, EoN looks like a winner.


Solo, co-op and 4v4 PvP

As an MMORTS, the normal constraints to RTS games are sparse, mostly removed and taken care of. EoN can be played solo, cooperatively with up to four players, and competitively with current support for up to 4v4 PVP. Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. According to Michael Legg, President of Petroglyph, the developer has beta users in 24v24 PVP games, some of which are likely being played as you read this, and it works without a hitch. That’s because EoN is client-server based, which MMO gamers know about all too well. In layman’s terms, it means that the game is played on a server instead of directly on player’s machines, which means no individual player can have an advantage. And as for the number of players… Mike Legg said they’re actively determining how many players will melt the servers, but again there’s no word yet if the game will support, at least initially, games beyond 4v4 PVP.

End of Nations Gamescom 2012


MMORTS without borders

And, according to Legg, they have been experiencing such great success with their client-server system that players in Russia are rating their connections on par with American gamers. The servers are, at least for now, located only in Dallas. So even if you’re in some far-off country, if your own internet is stable, End of Nations may be an RTS worth keeping an eye on.

End of Nations Gamescom 2012 Trailer

But it’s not only about the tech; End of Nations is also pushing for massive machines of destruction, giant play fields, and a level of gameplay generally unseen in the RTS genre. And all that will work on a spec equivalent to Starcraft II; according to Trion reps, “It’s a free-to-play game…so we make sure that everyone will have access to play.”

So how is the scale growing? There’s the traditional selection of units: soldier-class, small robots, tanks, helicopters, and naval units. Then thanks to the story, one side is going to have access to some pretty spectacularly unfair units, like the Panzerhulk, a tank that’s essentially 30X the size of a normal tank. Complete with flamethrowers, a dozen turrets seated all around the tank, access to calling in super-weapons, and enough hull to survive two nuclear strikes, you don’t want to go head to head with this bad boy.

Air to ground battle in End of Nations

With great power comes great responsibility

That story is almost akin to Total Annihilation’s Core Contingency expansion when it comes to unit size (remember the Krogoth?) and in the one-sidedness of the war. EoN takes place 50 years in the future where the world has come under the rule of the Order of Nations after an economic collapse, but as Spider-Man always remembers, with great power comes great responsibility. Suffice it to say, the Order is overbearing, demanding, and running the planet with a totalitarian iron grip. The Liberation Front, on the other hand, isn’t afraid to lash out and fight the power with their meager guerilla tactics.

Mike Legg: "End of Nations is more of a strategy game than an RTS."

EoN uses a commander system and a levelling system for commanders. Commanders can get to level 20, which will improve the tech tree and unlocks new tech units and weapons. However, while EoN uses all of the traditional RTS staples of gameplay, it’s more of a strategy game than an RTS according to Legg. For instance, there are two different commander classes, which act completely differently from one another (though Legg didn’t share what those differences were just yet). And the general size of the game, plus the number of potential players, and perhaps most importantly the pacing that Petroglyph is aiming for, attempts to accommodate all players, not just the “I’ll destroy all of your units in 2 minutes” players.

Surrounded in End of Nations

Free to play and more accessible

Legg admitted that while he’s been working on RTS games for the past two-dozen plus years, he still isn’t very good at them, and wants to make the games more accessible. That is, in many ways, where Trion comes into the fold. Besides for making the game completely free to play (with in-game purchases for interested users that are, according to Trion, convenience items; wealth and experience must be earned through gameplay), EoN offers drop-in and drop-out gameplay, where both cooperative and competitive gamers can easily enter or exit a game. There are some limitations to the system; if one player leaves a skirmish and a new player enters, the new recruit starts from scratch; he doesn’t take control of everything the previous player built.

According to Legg, there is also a lot of customization in EoN beyond just play style. Custom paint jobs on units, for instance, can help players have a uniform for their units so they stand out against the crowd of dull greys, blues, and reds.

End of Nations battle at night

But what I think may be the most critical, and the most exciting part of End of Nations, is the World Map. This special feature shows the war between the Liberation Front and Order of Nations on a worldwide scale based on actual world regions. It shows a real account of how battles between players are going, in real time, to see which side is winning. The persistent map is already up, and according to Legg the fight on their beta servers is very close, slightly in favor of the Liberation Front. Hopefully that’ll change once the game releases later this year (official date still TBA), when more players realize that having bigger guns is always – and I mean always – better.

© 2012 -
by James Pikover

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