Game Site: www.lordofultima.com
Game Developer: EA
Rating: Play It
EA’s Lord of Ultima is a welcome addition to the OSG genre. It provides a solid game experience rooted in a traditional OSG feel, with enough new elements to make it feel fresh.
The most unique feature Lord of Ultima offers is the City View. While most games offer maybe 20 slots to construct your buildings on, with little to no difference between the different slots, Lord of Ultima makes things more interesting. The city view is huge with somewhere near 250 building slots and 32 different structures. Most importantly, the structures will have different affects based on where you build them. For example, a Cottage inscreases your construction speed, but will also increase the productivity of any of the resource buildings it is adjacent to. A barracks increases the maximum size of your army, but will also increase the training speed of the Stables, Training Grounds, Shipyard, etc. On the downside, the city view is so big that it’s impossible to see your whole city at once, so you have to pan around alot and can easily lose track of what buildings you have. Also, the city can at times seem more like a puzzle than an actual city; there are no roads or anything and some of the buildings are visually awkward against each other, so it’s harder to grow attached to your city.
The combat seems very much like Travian, with different classes of troops (Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Magic) and each troop type having different defenses against different troop classes. One of the interesting aspects is the towers. There’s a different type of tower for each unit, which will increase that unit type’s defense. This allows you to either specialize in one unit type (i.e. if you built a slew of Ranger towers all your Rangers would get a huge defensive bonus, but none of your other units would) or to spread the love around to all unit types.
The world map is pretty much like Evony’s, with the addition of dungeons. A dungeon is basically an NPC barbarian camp that you can raid without pissing off other players, bringing loot back each time. It seems that they can be over-farmed though, and then become “abandoned”. This could be an interesting commentary on the forthcoming ecological crisis, but it’s such a small part of the game I doubt it really makes a difference. It would be hilareous if, once the server over-farms all its dungeons, some giant NPC army (like the Natars) shows up and kills everyone. We’ll see if EA is that creative.
The UI is prtty clean and there are some nice animations (flags waving and the like). Unfortunately it does take a bit longer to load than your typical browser based game. On the plus side, you can que up six constructions at a time, and 16 with the plus account. The plus account even lets your que up constructions or troop training that you don’t yet have the resources for, and it will start them if you reach the needed resources while offline. The only downside of the UI is the main “Build / Info” tab pretty much has all the information in one place (construction que, troop training que, troops that are in motion, trades, etc), which is normally great to see everything, but a few important pieces of information just aren’t presented very well.
Overall I’m quite pleased with the game and would definitely reccomend it.