A friend of mine has recently started playing Lords Online. He doesn’t have any experience with Travian or other OSG’s, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look at the genre from a newcomer’s point of view. Without further ado:
I want to be a Lord Online
– by Jonah Alexander
It was an unseasonably cold Spring day in Southern California when my town was plundered by the kingdom of Sav. I finally had accumulated some troops, and I logged on to Lords Online expecting to find my resources replenished from the last time I was there, leveling up my buildings.
I’m new to the online-strategy games, and Lords is my first foray into the genre. My only previous experience with strategy games are real-time strategy games like StarCraft and Command & Conquer. Needless to say, I learned quickly that despite some similar aesthetics, browser-based OSGs are a beast of their own.
I initially was confused by the amount of leveling-up I had to do to the various structures and technology of my city. Am I playing the game right? I’m use to playing real-time-strategy games where the initial resource building is only 10 or 15 minutes and then a few tweaks once you get a steady line of income. What’s with this upgrading a couple of buildings and then waiting an hour before you can do it again?
After each subsequent return to Lords Online, however, where I would see the incremental improvements to my city, I began to find myself more and more addicted and invested to the game.
So far, I’m lucky to only have been attacked two or three times by different kingdoms, which usually just results in me getting frustrated that all my troops are dead. I expected, much like in a game like StarCraft, for an attack to leave my city in ruins — I can deal with just losing some of my resources.
I’ve attacked some other kingdoms myself even…though many of those near me have very small populations. I assume people started playing but never picked it back up or they switched servers. Why doesn’t the game have a way for these cities to be cleared from the map?
One of the things I particularly like about Lords Online is the nifty Quest feature. Clicking on the “Quest” button brings up a range of assignments to do to build up your city and the game rewards you with valuable resources after you comple the tasks. This feature not only helps to get the city started, but also helps to give players a little direction once they’ve gotten the basics down. Strategy buffs might scoff at this hand holding, but a new guy like me sure appreciated it.
Let’s face it, games with a many options, stats, and things to click on can be a little intimidating if you’re not use to it. I only wish that the game kept a log of the old quests. Some of the quests walk you through certain things, but since I was just clicking away when I started, I can’t figure out what I clicked on exactly.
In the end, I’m beginning to really dig the genre since 1) I tend to spend a lot of time on the computer and leveling can just be done in a separate tab; 2) many times, you can play the game in short 15-20 minute bursts, or even over the course of a couple of hours in the background of whatever else you might be doing; and 3) more relaxed gameplay equals less hand cramping.
Is this bad since you’re not giving the game the full attention it deserves? I don’t think so, since I doubt that the developers intend for you to sit and watch for the full hour and a half it takes to upgrade the barracks.
Now it’s only a matter of time before my empire flourishes and everyone knows the name of my kingdom…I named it Funktopia.