War of Nations is a great OSG that forges new ground in a lot of areas, but stays true to the core strategy gameplay.
With a modern-military setting, as expected you’ll upgrade buildings to harvest Oil, Steel, Gasoline, and Money. You’ll train tanks, helicopters, mechs, and more.
What really sets War of Nations apart is that there is no separate city view and map view. Your main base consists of a dozen or so building slots around your Command Center, all of which are directly on the map. You can see specifically which buildings anyone else in the game has, and can target the directly. If you want to raid Oil, you should attack an enemy Oil Derrick, or if you want to raid Gasoline, you should attack an enemy Refinery.
Throughout the game you will also build several smaller outposts, each with their own Command Center and building slots. Depending on where you build your outpost, you may get to build on an Iron Patch or Oil Patch, which will boost your production of that resource. It’s reminiscent of building a new city in Civ, albeit much more simple. The outposts also become especially interesting because there aren’t enough slots for all the building types. If you want a Factory to train troops in your outpost, you’ll need to give something up. And you will want to train troops in your outpost!
Your troops have a limited range to how far they can travel across the map in a single go. If you want to attack bases towards the center of the map, you’ll need bases close to it. And to bring troops to these bases from your Main Base will cost travel time, and will require a “Commander” to escort them.
Here, unfortunately, is where War of Nations loses me. You’ll need many different commanders to lead your armies. Commanders also provide a bonus to your troops (+5% damage for air-unity, for example). After each battle your Commanders will earn XP and level up to increase these bonuses. But! To increase their level capacity, you’ll need to “fuse” two of the same commanders. An “O’Brien lvl 5/10” fused with an “O’Brien lvl 1/10” becomes an “O’Brien lvl 5/20”. Obviously. What War of Nations misses though is it’s difficult to form an emotional connection with my commanders once I have a dozen identical ones and I am fusing them together all the time. No single commander has an individual identity anymore, which sort of loses the point.
Another shortcoming of the game is the lack of explanation and terrible “tutorial”, if you even call it that. As with most games, there are always a dozen quests it suggests I should be doing, but none of them help explain why I should have these troops as opposed to those. There are some cryptic hints in the info of the troops themselves, such as “Hammerheads can devastate undefended Helicopters”. Well, that’s great… but why just Helicopters, and not all air-units? How do I defend my Helicopter? Do all mechs have the advantage against Helicopters, or just the Hammerhead? “Tanks have high health and are great at killing Jeeps”. Isn’t everything great at killing Jeeps, since they are the “fast and cheap” units? Are tanks especially good at killing Jeeps? I don’t know!
To sum it up, War of Nations is a great online strategy game. It just needs a little more polish and explanation in exchange for some fluff retention mechanisms.