Free to play MMO
Browser based MMORTS/MMORPG
I started this week with a set of games that I felt might end up underwhelming and turned out to be some of the best MMOs I’ve played this year. Like Pirate 101, Wartune seemed to be one thing based on the official website, but was actually the complete opposite. It could have been just another one of those browser-based MMOs that will string you along a very linear quest path while you do nothing but click and watch, but in actuality it was the evolution in the MMORTS genre that I’ve been calling for since I began reviewing the genre.
Wartune Gameplay Video
It doesn’t change everything entirely in the way that End of Nations does, but neither does it take a relatively powerful computer to run, so I suppose both games are worth noting to those tired of the same old MMORTS over and over again, hidden by a different skin. Is it more than just an alternative though, is this a game that should be added to you to-play list?
Role Playing RTS – Wartune looks and plays like a proper RPG game: Wartune gameplay is complete with active turn-based combat and text popping up to tell a story. The developers have managed to strike a perfect balance between the MMORTS elements (building and maintaining a town) and RPG elements (exploring dungeons, fighting monsters). The balance is so finely made, in fact, that the MMORTS elements aren’t even boring, wait-for-something-to-happen disasters, as with most examples of the genre.
Midi-tastic – If you used to enjoy the music of RPGs of the nineties, you’ll enjoy the music in Wartune. There are times when it feels it so suited to that era that you’ll end up feeling kind of nostalgic for a game you’re only just playing. There’s a multitude of different styles in there, more impressive when you consider too many MMORPGs these days get by with only a handful of different songs (“dungeon theme,” “city theme”), if that.
Visually Pleasing – The stylized graphics aren’t going to be on everybody’s top 10 list, but I really like them. They recall games we used to play, without making it look shabby. On the whole, the whole art design is cleverly done, and it’s a pretty nice world to explore. Sometimes in this section I struggle not to use the phrase “for what it is,” but Wartune is such a nice looking game because of what it is.
Pay to Play – Wartune is fully free-to-play and the developers have managed to create a fair way of monetizing their game. Buying things will make the game easier and the MMORTS elements less time consuming, but you can also unlock vouchers (to speed up production) and such just by playing the game. If you want to fight more than five players a day, you’ll need to pay, but five is probably a decent amount unless you have an all-consuming army. Add to this the fact that you won’t be reminded that you’re playing for nothing every five minutes, and Wartune is probably the fairest free MMO I’ve played in quite a while.
Levelling Up – Although I’d look a little senile if I started ripping on levelling up in an RPG, in Wartune levelling your character feels rather useless. It happens quite often – almost with every quest at the beginning of the game – and it seems more like a barrier to different parts of the game/weapons than it does a natural scale of development. Add to this that you have to level your army separately and you end up not only being the weakest in your party, but unable to cope without them.
Where is Everyone? - Perhaps I’ve just been playing at a funny time – sometimes it’s difficult to review MMOs from the UK, because while we’re awake, most people are either sleeping or fast asleep – but there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of player interaction. Maybe there’ll come a point later in the game at which it’s all about destroying other real people, but even the chat box is completely empty.
Conclusion - Wartune Review
Wartune is everything the MMORTS genre should be striving towards and more. The quests aren’t exactly super exciting and the MMORTS elements are still pretty dry, but add it all together and you end up with a delicate mixture of the two that not only makes both look better, but that gives you something to do when you’re bored of waiting or questing. It proves without a shadow of a doubt that the whole is better than the sum of its parts and replaces Call of Gods as my favourite of this sort of combined genre attempt.
Browser games are a pretty mixed bunch and somebody who can download the likes of Guild Wars 2 or End of Nations might look down on the whole affair. With games like Wartune though, they shouldn’t, because although there are a few minor issues, it’s still a very strong game and worth checking out.