Welcome to the World of Battles: Morningstar Review. There are far too few MMORTS games available. When compared to the ever-popular MMORPG or MMOFPS, the genre might as well not exist at all; though, that has less to do with the genre itself, and more to do with how it’s being developed.
The chief concern of the MMORTS lies within the term itself – Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy – which implies both that it’s an MMO, capable of producing an online, ever-changing persistant world, but also that it offers a real-time strategy scenario, where time is invaluable and every second counts.
The problem with the MMORTS in general is that most developers use this definition as a buzzword – I’ve played countless games claiming to be an ‘MMORTS’ that were turn-based, and plenty more that only offered a resource management simulator – effectively taking one core element from the genre, and forsaking the rest, though still claiming the MMORTS brand.
I mention this now as a precursor to my review of World of Battles, which takes the concept of an MMORTS to an entirely new level. Not only does it offer competent RTS mechanics similar to those used in the Total War franchise alongside a fully-fledged RPG-style progression system, but too, it strives to create an online world suitable for players of every type.
Beginning as a new character, you’re asked first to create an army and select a leader. There are multiple army choices, ranging from Dark Elves and Undead to Humans and Dwarves (with a few more in between), alongside a few simple portrait choices for your leader (though, it’s also possible to upload your own – an awesome, yet rarely seen addition).
From there, you’re quickly led to a simple tutorial map that explains the base concepts of combat, unit management and simple strategy. You’re not required to build structures, as all focus inside a game is directed toward micro-based gameplay – which is to say, you’ll only need to manage your army. This is mostly a simple case of ensuring that the right units are fighting the right enemies, in the correct formation, and on the best possible terrain. As your army grows; however, you’ll find that the strategic elements grow too.
After the tutorial is completed, you’re introduced to Challenges – small, performance-based matches that offer a simple goal, like protecting a spellcaster, and reward you with gold and experience. This marks your first case of unit progression, where you’ll unlock the armour slot on your individual units. As you level further, additional slots are opened, and new weapons and equipment can be purchased.
Next, you’re thrown into a multiplayer battle stylized in a ‘quick match’ format. Simply put, you click battle and it finds you a game. Mine was a 3v3 match with a simple ‘kill all enemies’ objective, though other game types and matches are available at later stages in the game.
Moving forward, you’re asked to continue playing challenges and multiplayer matches to level up your troops, before entering the core gameplay element: the Global Map. Here, you’re required to either create or join a clan, and are given access to a world map with multiple options. The goal here is fairly simple: conquer territory by battling opposing armies; a victory will be awarded with captured territory after 24 hours have passed.
It’s here that the true MMORTS elements are realised; a full, persistant world is offered, and social gameplay becomes crucial for survival. Of course, at any time, players can return to quick matches and single-player challenges to continue growing and developing their armies in thousands of different ways.
World of Battles is definitely one of the premiere MMORTS experiences available today, and though it’s far from the perfect experience, it offers a competent, polished gameplay experience, and is entirely free to play. Players can use purchased, virtual currency (gems) to purchase new equipment for their troops; however, as the same can be achieved using the gold currency in game, there’s no chance of a pay-to-win scenario.
Check out the World of Battles Game Page for more information, or to start playing today.Related: F2P, Fantasy, Preview, RTS