Review: Romadoria (Browser)

Another day, another OSG set in Greco-Roman antiquity. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about spending a healthy amount of time with yet another one of these seemingly identical copies, but we decided to give Romadoria a fair chance. Blackmoon Games peddles Romadoria as an outlet to expand your city and expand your empire by sending your legions to plunder enemy cities. Nothing new here, but if you’re the type that can’t get enough empire-building, ancient history-creating action, read on and sear your virility into the marble of history! RAH!

As most readers are aware, especially those of us who grew up playing titles like Civilization, ancient history OSGs have been a staple of the genre since its inception. It’s no wonder, the democracy-spawning era is a fascinating one (almost destined to become a genre to be explored time and time again) in which to build and flesh out an empire! The premise follows the likes of those before it, so I won’t spend much time doting on broad objectives (build, stockpile, command, expand, conquer, repeat). When I first sat down with Romadoria I was reminded of Sim City 2000 (a childhood title I’ll forever be fond of): the player is presented with a small starter grid of land and a systematic aquifer-aqueduct water source.

At this point, if you’re adventurous, jump in and skip past the tutorial, which lays out how and why you should erect your empire, with what structures and mines you should build, etc. Needless to say, as a man, I don’t ask for directions – I don’t use shaving cream – and I most certainly do not use tutorials. Not that there’s anything wrong with them…

After you’ve acquired your Aqueduct-Aquifer, as seen in the lovely little screenshot below, Player can start building from his preset structure options. They’re all fairly standard and cookie-cutter (think suburbia, only an ancient Roman suburbia. Lawl.) and each have different pros/cons which are laid out before you commence construction. As with all setups of this type, you may be limited by the resources in your caverns and the scientific breadth / knowledge of your encampment, and the more you build the more you can fortify your resource reserves.  I spent a good few hours waiting for my initial encampment to construct itself (a store room might take 10 minutes to construct but a barracks can take a couple hours).

Once your empire is somewhat fleshed out (and the game will help you if you’re lacking something), and you have started to build troops (there are different types), research and resources your legion will come to life. The thing is it took me about 12 hours to actually get to the point where I could erect a decent legion, and checking in various Romadoria forum threads this seems to be a common problem. Just like a bad Steven Segal movie, the plot takes forever to kick in and many people might find themselves bored before things get really good – and the battle system within Romadoria is pretty awesome. Everything happens in live action (see screenshot below). Trying to join a clan wasn’t difficult, but I did have to use an admin to figure out how to do it (and was suggested to pre-determine a clan to join by speaking with people in the Romadoria forums, which I did end up doing). Bit of a roundabout way to do things, but it worked out in the end.

I very much enjoyed my 20 or so hours with Romadoria and may end up continue playing, if and when my schedule clears up (Oliver and I have been SWAMPING ourselves for you, dear reader!). The takeaways are this: Romadoria is free to play as well, a breath of fresh air as many well-designed online OSGs have begun P2P (pay to play), and if you are a cheapie like me, you won’t be penalized or under-equipped versus the wealthier players. Graphics are high quality, I rarely noticed pixelation or striping / banding of any kind, plus the real-time battle animation is super fun to watch. Mods and admins are quick to answer questions (I was having trouble figuring out how to join a clan that I’d pre-arranged in the forums), I found support pretty solid, especially considering the 3 Man-Rules I abide by (real men don’t use admin support). Other little easteregg-like goodies like using wines to increase construction speed (that’s right, booze makes your men build faster – how real life should be) make the game fun and unique against the plethora of historical empire-centric OSGs. You’ll also get free goodies (like wine for example) when meeting certain objectives and goals, which is cute. If you’re down to invest some of your time into this game, you’ll find it pretty fraggin’ cool.


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