As part of my service to the world of online strategy games, I’ve recently played through several of the latest iOS strategy titles. And once I had finished I realized I had not made a single decision. I just clicked the next thing in the “recommended path”, upgrading anything and everything with no thought as to why.
And then I found Dominus. A free browser based strategy game. The true heir to Travian?
Stormfall was one of the better online strategy games on Facebook during the platform’s height. Plarium recently released the game on iOS, which gives us the perfect opportunity to review it.
Stormfall has a beautifully rendered city-view, with a lot of humorous animations playing all the time, which gives your domain a nice sense of life. There are soldiers marching around, a dragon flying around, a dwarf floating down the river in a barrel, etc.
Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned veteran, Game of War cleverly manages to attack you with decision making challenges which require some thought and effort to overcome. While some of them occur from the sheer vastness of the game and the diversity of possible gameplay styles, others arise from the partial information intentionally placed for you, the player, to explore.
Since you made it this far, I’ll try to shed some light on some of the most frequent hidden mechanisms in the game, hopefully helping you by backing your decision making process with some solid gameplay facts. Shall we start?
Game of War is a fascinating case study (if you’re a strategy game nerd such as myself). On the one hand it is the pinnacle and refinement of the online strategy game genre, but in other ways it is the desecration of the same.
Looking straight at the mechanics, it’s easy to trace the lineage from Travian, to Evony, Kingdoms of Middle Earth, and finally Game of War. Build and upgrade mines to harvest resources, spent to upgrade more buildings, train troops, and do research. There are five different troop classes with the standard loop of who beats who. Infantry beats Cavalry beats Ranged, etc. As is standard these days you also have a hero who provides bonuses to your economy and military, levels up, etc. It also uses the “tried and true” medieval theme, which I have long-since grown tired of.
Could it be true? Has Oliver returned? After two long years (two years!), OSG1 (Online Strategy Games) is back!
While in the fortress of solitude, It seems there has been a huge shift in the marketplace. When I posted my last article, Online Strategy Games were really a niche market. Even among strategy-gamers, the biggest names were Civilization or Starcraft, games that you would play with a few people at most, and never offered persistent worlds. While Travian and Ikariam had millions of players worldwide, their numbers were small compared to other strategy games, and tiny compared to game franchises like World of Warcraft.
But now, the iPhone, iPad, and Android comprise some of the biggest gaming platforms out there. They are also a perfect fit for Online Strategy Games since you will always have access to your empire and can receive alerts whenever someone is attacking you. Looking at the top games on these new platforms, it seems some of the biggest ones are online strategy games!
Game of War, Kingdoms of Middle Earth, War of Nations, These titles are right up there with games like Angry Birds or Monument Valley. As foretold, OSG’s have inherited the earth! I took one look at Kate Upton here and knew it was time for OSG1 to make a comeback.
Look forward to more reviews about this new generation of mobile strategy games and see which are deserving of your military genius.