Trion Worlds recently held two closed beta events for their upcoming free-to-play game End of Nations. The game is set in the future where you command a company of soldiers fighting for one of two rebel factions. I’d heard the game described before as a MMO Strategy game, an idea that seemed full of promise. Other than that I knew little about it before I sat down to play the beta. You begin by selecting one of two factions, Shadow Revolution or Liberation Front.
The Shadow Revolution seemed focused primarily on stealth and hit-and-run tactics, while the Liberation Front was focused more on direct damaging and healing. Within each faction there are two classes. The class determines what units are available to you at the start and what commander powers you have. Between missions you create several companies, or groups of units, powers, and buildings, that you will bring into missions. You can equip specific units with gear and cosmetic skins, and spend technology points to gain new units and improve the ones you already have.
The first thing I noticed once I was actually in the game was that there were few similarities between it and traditional MMO’s or strategy games. Each mission is a separate instance rather than part of a large open world. You can only control twelve regular units at a time, which you replace with resource points gained from capturing objectives. There are also no production buildings, only turrets and other automated systems. As a result of this, and the game’s map design, it feels more like a MOBA than an RTS. While this is a really interesting idea, and I would like to see good players compete in it, I did not particularly care for the way the game played. That being said Trion is making a lot of changes to the game, and by the time it comes out it may play very differently.
The game is largely focused on PvP, at least in beta, with very few missions against AI opponents. The game seems like it will favor those players who can effectively coordinate in teams. Because a single player cannot diversify and can be easily overwhelmed if isolated, players need to work together and build companies that complement one another. Micromanaging each unit or sub-group will also be important, as you can’t just send out a block of units to fight on their own. Basically it may be hard for new people to become involved in the game, but those that do learn how the game works and organize with other players will probably have a lot of fun. Artistically I found the game very dull as it looked similar to other near future games. This is hardly a deal breaker, but in the competitive world of free-to-play games, it would have been nice if Trion had done something to make their game stand out visually.
The premium features that Trion is currently offering within their game seem perfectly reasonable. In order the purchase units, buildings, skins, and other things you need to spend currency. This can either be currency you earn in game or currency that you purchase with real money. It may seem like a fairly obvious solution, but it’s nice to see a developer implement a solid and reasonable infrastructure into their free-to-play game. When the game launches their will also be “VIP” features, though these have not been fully explained yet.
Overall End of Nations seems like a very interesting game that borrows elements from the MOBA, Strategy, and MMO genres. That being said, I don’t think that this game is for me and it will likely be a niche title when it does come out. Still it is free-to-play so interested parties should defiantly check it out when it moves into open beta.