Shadowland (SLO) Preview

Gamers, meet the frankenstein of strategy games.

New summer, new strategy games, new things to do. Shadowland Online doesn’t disappoint. Or does it?

Slo huh… not the best acronym for a game. Doesn’t give the coolest impression, does it? I would have preferred SOL. But I digress. Let’s get the story out of the way. A once unified kingdom was torn asunder by a dark Lich Ossanal, who used his undead army to take revenge against humans. Hence, the world was nearly wiped out, and among the things left is a gem, created long ago, that can be used to travel through time and to different regions. Time to meet up with some blasts from the past, eh! Interesting premise, but still…. yet another post-apocalyptic story is as cliche and drab as it gets. Now you know why I wanted to rush through the story. The only reason we preview/discuss these games, fellow gamers, is if the gameplay is worth it.

There are 6 races to choose from and 3 kingdoms in total. Each kingdom provides a description, as seen below.

It’s deemed a social strategy game, however it’s technically a (get ready for it..) browser based fantasy strategy online MMO game. What the cluck you ask? ZQ Games, the Chinese developer behind this Western focused title, is attempting to bring together farming, resource harvesting, quests, and role playing. Looks like ZQ did some role playing with their own characters:

Gandalf greets your barely-alive ass at the start of the game.

Right from the get-go there’s plenty to do. The game does not have an intuitive interface to it. You will have to memorize most spots/tasks, which can be a turn off for the non-hardcore. Barring this, there’s still plenty of meat to chew on in this game. The developers have cleverly integrated their diamonds system into many facets of the game, in case players with cash to burn don’t want to wait around for upgrades or mining results. [This could easily translate to a broken game, if not designed properly. We’ll see how that goes in the months to come.] As stated, there’s a lot to the game and a tutorial helps transition you into the finer aspects of the game, even with a few arrows to help you out.

That first arrow, what the hell is it pointing at?

Upon entering the Gate of Ages, you find yourself able to fight some troops and perhaps score your first victory. Don’t blink your eyes in this time period. The battles are over really quick.

So you get a sense of battles and want to level your character up a bit to wipe your enemies even faster and sustain fewer losses. *weep for fellow soldiers lost* Jump into the training ground against some dragons.

Training section that can be sped up with diamonds. Direct and to the point at least.

If you level your buildings/facilities enough, you will probably also think about investing within said buildings/facilities. Here’s where the Farmville aspect comes into play:

Goodbye Gandalf, hello Farmville!

And if you’re going to invest in land to feed yourself and your people, you will probably want to put some money into your personal inventory. This is where RPG elements factor:

Can I have a sword and an espresso, pls?

At some point the devs became self-aware that the interface is a mess, so they made this tasks UI to remind you of the many things to do in a day:

Daily Task #10: More Fun Less Chore Tasks

The game has a decent gameplay premise, even if you can sniff the cash shop milking early on. It should have a refined user interface within the next few patches, otherwise the devs are going to be pushing away a flock of potential gamers. For what it’s worth, it’s a fun universe to jump into, and any resource/empire building fan will certainly want to look into this game.


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