Let's face it right away on this first: I don't usually play strategy games. I did try a ported version of an Age of Empires game at one point, but it was just a bit too much for me but after trying Edgeworld, which just so happens to be a complete, multi-user sci-fi take on the format, I have to say that the real-time strategy format has exceptional potential in the MMO marketplace.
Union's breaking up...
Edgeworld drops you into the boots of an interstellar commander for a portion of a galactic union that has scattered apart into pieces after going colonial on a planet that was expected to be the home of an alien society known as the Ceruleans, who the union was once at odds with... but who has now literally abandoned the place, leading to the union's breaking up as the scattered fations have begun to attack each other in an all-out civil war. That's where you come in, of course.
As you enter the game for the first time, you'll be tasked with setting up your first structural units and starting up your first battle scenarios, including one ambush that hits you not very long after you get started, leaving you with very little time to get ready for the coming onslaught. After identifying yourself and the initiation of the battle, however, you'll be able to defend yourself relatively easily -- which then gives you time for the completion of your first chance to return fire on the enemy... and on their own turf, of course.
Build your base
As you proceed to build up your own base after that part is over with, you'll get to know what each of the other structural types are in rapid succession. Reactor units load you up with uranium faster than any of those controversial Iranian nuclear operating units, for example. Tech labs allow you to research troop capability improvements. Solar plants harness the energy of... uh, Cerulea IV's sun, of course. And your staging areas and barracks provide your troops with preparation facilities and housing provisions, respectively. Very mundane stuff if you ask me, but at least the developmental department got all of the basic necessities packed in there.
Collection of resources isn't 100% automatic, however, so whenever your nuke core and/or crystal drilling units are completely loaded up (generally after one real-life hour per unit when you first start out) you'll get an exclamation icon that lets you know when it's time to cash in. (You can also cash in on small-scale amounts if you want to, but it's not recommended unless absolutely necessary.) Once you do have your resources collection at a sufficient level for the soldier training, structure building or whatever you need done, you'll be all set to click on the relevant structure, interface toggle or whatever else is connected to what you're getting ready to do.
Of course, you cannot expect to build (or even upgrade) every possible structure right away. For one thing, every individual structure, soldier and upgrade type has something that needs to be constructed, upgraded or supplemented before you can work on building that next structure or researching that next soldier class or battle ability improvement. Case in point: one particular task requires that you research the potential for enhancement to your marines battle class; however, doing so requires the construction of a research facility (or tech lab, as it's called here) before you can do the research job (and thus level up that battle class). Similarly, you cannot expect to upgrade your starting areas to level four if your command center level is three or less. So practically speaking, planning your upgrades according to your personal strategy is a definite necessity thereof.
Watch out for enemies
Nor is there any reason to say that you don't have a place for surprise elements to the game. For one thing to be noted right away on this subject, I was unfortunate enough to allow my beginner player attack safety lock to run its course before I had a chance to do enough structural upgrades, and that protection only lasts for about two or three days tops. As you can probably guess already, I definitely paid the price for that one. Only three times did I log in after that protection was gone, and BAM!!! Just like that, I was under attack.
Thankfully, I was provided with an email reminder about this, so I knew it was coming. That being said, I didn't get back into the game in time for the necessary preparation so of course I took it up my backside for it. (That also makes it necessary to check your email junk box settings to make sure the game's messages don't get dumped like spam, of course.)
Speaking of coming under attack, you're practically stuck with whatever structures you currently have on your property; you have no way of knowing the status of any of the in-progress structures that you started the fight with -- and it certainly doesn't make sense to put any additional structures up on your base during an incoming attack -- so I wouldn't be surprised if you cannot add anything during the heat of the fight.
There is one exception to this, however; if you're willing to delay the coming fight, then in such a case you will be able to prepare somewhat (provided that you make very good use of the five or so minutes that you get from holding off the fight while you get ready). Of course, if you do start the fight too soon (or if you cut the delayed start off the short end too quickly) then you're probably going to be screwed over in the end... and by fault of a disadvantage, to boot.
Building new units takes time
Using your resources to build new structural units is yet another sore point here as well. To put it short, it's slow. Freakishly slow. As previously stated, you'll frequently end up waiting for an hour to get your maximum possible gains when you cash out your loads, orat least at the beginning. Since the structural building and training potential of your fighting squadrons are all dependent on your collected resources, this can result in a freakishly-long delay in finishing up with your training jobs. You can of course bypass this with the game's platinum points system; but considering that using the latter option costs you in real-world cash, it bears mention that such a proposition isn't very budget-friendly in practice, even though it also results in an instantaneous result if you choose to even use it to begin with.
All things considered, Edgeworld is a fantastic example of a MMORTS that should be more than enough to satisfy the preferences of even the most hardcore RTS fanboys out there, even in relation to the MMO subset of the genre. Edgeworld's full load of contemporary RTS elements, combined with a deeply-entrenched sci-fi setting and scenario, make Edgeworld into a game that no fan of the genre should miss. I highly recommend Edgeworld to any RTS fanboy this side of either Age of Empires or Star Wars (or any combination of the two) -- especially considering the occasional side reference thereof (and yes, I did in fact run across an instance of the phrase "I'll have you frozen in carbonite" during one of my playthrough sessions). Bottom line: Edgeworld is a true MMORTS sci-fi masterpiece that should not be ignored. This truly is one of the best out there, hands down.
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