|5th September 2009, 08:54 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Evony - An Introduction
Browser-based gaming has evolved tremendously over the past few years and its fan base is tremendous! Whether simplistic games such as those found on MouseBreaker.com, first-person shooters like Quake Live, or
time-based strategy games such as Travian, millions of people access browser-based gaming on a daily basis.
The next-generation of browser strategy games is now available with Evony. Evony is a middle-ages strategy game where the player acts as the ruler of one to many cities, maintaining resources and troops to ensure peace and prosperity. As the leader you must maintain the happiness and income of your cities, via social engineering mechanisms such as taxation and levys, as well as maintaining a work force to man the forges, quarries, farms, and iron pits that supply the resources to build your city into a well-oiled, protected domain.
I am currently playing Evony as Nohup on server 63. As this is a new server, and I am a completely new player to Evony, I have been able to lend an unbiased eye to the game and compare it to other games that I have played (such as Travian). Evony is highly enjoyable to date and a much faster-paced game than others I have played. The game play itself is interactive enough to keep the user engaged in the game. While the game play still has time-based aspects, there are many things to keep up with and to keep a player occupied while waiting.
A player is allowed a certain number of resource fields based on the level of their town hall. As the town hall is upgrade additional resource fields are opened. These fields can be used as farms (food), quarries (stone), iron mines (iron), or lumber mills (wood). These are you main sources of resources. Resources are used to build and upgrade buildings, feed
your populace and your troops, and train additional troops. You can also sell resources on the market once one has been built.
Another way to gain resources is by attacking valleys around you and raiding their spoils. You can also attack players to raid them of their resources as well. Valleys are not undefended, so it will not necessarily be a walk in the park to take the resources. Also, if you are able to capture and hold these valleys then you will receive production bonuses from them as well.
As compared to other browser games, the resource generation levels are much higher than the others I have played, which lends itself to being able to be more immersed in the game and not as antsy about losing this or that.
Troops are trained at the barracks, as would be expected. There are several different kinds of troops that can be trained based on the level of you barracks as well as based on the levels of various research activities that can be learned at the academy. In Travian the loss of a few troops is painful, however in Evony these losses seem to be easier to weather and overall expected. Losing a few resources attacking a valley does not seem to sink the overall experience or require weeks to recover from in Evony as it does in other strategy games.
Scouting is also done very well in Evony. When you scout the information you receive is based on a research level as well. If you have not researched high enough you may not find anything out about certain level locations. However if you have just barely reserached high enough you could get a vague description like "Plenty" as the number of a particular unit. Scouting is very
important when attacking vallies as there is no outwardly indication as to whether one is currently maintained by a player or by an NPC army, so you have no way of knowing what you are attacking without scouting.
Buildings are organized in similar ways to other browser games, with the exception that you can double up on buildings where appropriate. I have found that having more than one barracks is extremely helpful when building up an army as it splits the production time between the barracks. There are also several kinds of buildings, and two different locations to build: resource fields and city lots. In the city lots is where the more diverse items are built including cottages to increase your populace, the market, the inn where heroes are recruited to lead your troops, stables, embassies, etc. The resource fields, as mentioned above, house the various types of resource nodes but can be selected as you see fit. Building can be hurried based on various special items available within the game. Each building also has additional levels of itself to either provide bonuses (i.e. an upgraded stable provides faster moving mounted units) or to meet requirements for various units.
Being in the initial portion of the game there are many quests that help you learn how to build things and give you bonuses for doing that. In the initial
stages those bonuses actually cover or exceed the amount needed to complete the task. It is clear from these quests that the Evony team wants a player to get involved and ready to participate in the game quickly without the painfully slow level-ups that some games require. The quests were a very pleasant surprise since I was prepared for a level grind.
Evony is chock full of special items. These items can be found or purchased via game 'cents' which is where the money-based portion of the game comes
into play. The nice part about this though is that you get a daily spin of the amulet wheel that can give you one of any of these items, OR can give you free cents (the highest amount I have seen on my wheel so far is 500 cents which equates to 50 USD worth). These items can do many things such as increasing production for a set amount of time, increasing a hero's level or loyalty, affect your city's population, speed up research or building, etc. There are several of these special items as rewards in the initial quests as well. While the money-portion of the game isn't a must for this game, there are definitely some perks to it. However, I do find that there may need to be some balancing in some of the costs as compared to other browser-based games.
Overall Evony has been a very fun experience so far and is my new addiction. It is definitely a leg up on the competition and has many positive aspects to it that other games could learn from. If you are looking for a great strategy game to spend time in and work up this would be a great choice!