Okay so here we are again, taking a look at what appears to be yet another browser strategy game. If you know anything about me, you know how much I love them. Before I get started with this one, let me discuss what I don’t like about most browser strategy games. First of all, they’re really all the same game wearing different pants, so if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all. If you stick to one game, you may never notice the same crap throughout them all, but you WILL notice the Pay-to-Win factor.
Every MMORPG, browser based or otherwise, has a cash shop and this shouldn’t be a problem, assuming people knew how to manage their own money. Then you have the whales who pour unlimited amounts of money into the cash shop (please tell me they’re going to regret that move in five years) and they end up with the best gear, the best items, the best…well…everything. Eventually you’re going to have to pour some money into the game, or they’ll be able to steamroll you every single time. Actually, let’s face it, you’ll never be as good as they are, or at least as good as their money allows them to be, so you’ll just end up throwing your measly income into the pot while they dump enough to feed a third-world country. That’s the problem with most browser strategy games, and I was expecting more of the same when I went into Crown of the Gods, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The first thing I want everyone to know is that this game does have a tutorial, but as it is in beta, the moment you close out of the game the tutorial is disabled. I did this on accident and ended up on my own. Don’t worry, the game isn’t actually difficult enough to need a tutorial, so you’ll be good to go in that regard. What is this game exactly? It’s definitely a browser strategy game and like any other, it features a plot of land for you to build on. Within that land you build up your town center, resource buildings, military, etc. The one thing I really found to be helpful with this game is that it does not restrict where you can place your buildings. Instead, you can place them pretty much anywhere you want, though it is strongly recommended that you place resource buildings next to their given resource. For example if you’re going to build a stone mine, you should put it next to a stone quarry. The same goes for your iron mine, forester’s huts, and so on.
The game is themed after ancient Rome, with familiar buildings like the training arena, the forum, and other fun structures to get your empire up and running. When you first start playing, you will have access to a single row of structures in your build menu, none of which are the barracks. That said, if you were hoping to jump right into combat, you’re probably going to be disappointed. You will be able to build guard units, but you’re not exactly going to mount an offensive with that.
As you survey your new city you will probably notice that it is surrounded by walls, which are wooden at first. Like any other structure in the game you can click them to upgrade, and they will quickly upgrade to stone, and each subsequent upgrade will give them more strength to repel enemy attackers.
Within your walls, the one building that will always be there is the Bascila. This is your town center, so to speak, and it even stores some of the resources that you end up collecting throughout the course of the game. This building can be upgraded, and performing these upgrades provides you with access to even more buildings, like the barracks. One thing I noticed is that in this game you can actually downgrade your buildings if they are being a drain on your resources or if you have a strategy that involves a lower level building.
As you build up your empire, you will find that there are expenses attached to expansion. The most obvious is the cost for building troops, for example, and each time you build a new troop, either from the guard house or the barracks, it will cost you a bit more food. This makes it necessary to balance your troops and your incoming food supply.
To increase your supply, it is strongly recommended that you pay attention to building descriptions so that you place them adjacent to those that will benefit from them the most. For example, if you place a forum next to a villa you will increase your village’s taxes. There are several buildings that work in this manner, making it necessary for you to practice proper placement strategy rather than just haphazardly throwing buildings wherever you can. There is strategy in everything here, whether you’re placing your troops, placing your buildings, or speaking in World Chat.
If you build a port and have sufficient ships, you’ll be able to access distant lands. This allows you to simply say hello or introduce them to the might of your armies. Either is acceptable, just be prepared to get what you give, or better. Along with attacking, you can also send trading caravans. In some cases you’ll be sending a cart by land, and in others you’ll be sending supply ships. The farther away the destination is, the longer it will take to get there, so get ready for some long wait times if you’re planning to send a cart full of iron ore across the map. All in all, this is a great game with some serious promise, if it ever makes it out of beta.
Free to Win
The game employs what the developers like to call a ‘Free-to-Win’ system, which entails making sure that one player does not get ahead of another through purchased shop items. The idea here is that there WILL be a store from which items can be purchased, but the catch is that the purchaser will not be able to use them all right away. Instead, the player needs to wait for his or her charisma points to fill up before they can use the store items. The higher your level the more charisma you will have, but you can still only use a set amount per day. There is a full explanation of the system on their page, and I have to say, it looks pretty good. I just hope it remains profitable for them.
There isn’t much to say here. It’s about what you’d expect from a game like this, but it’s actually fun. The only reason I’m not giving this game a full 10/10 is a few bugs that showed their ugly face during the beta version. We’re pretty sure they’ll be worked out, so we’ll definitely be updating this article later on. One of the biggest problems I ran into was the inability to see a description for most buildings before you actually placed them. There were a few workarounds, but it did get a bit frustrating before I learned what each building was supposed to be and what it would do. After that, it was smooth sailing.
So the new Charisma system is pretty thoughtful and definitely innovative, but it’s about the only new idea that they’ve brought to the table when it comes to strategy games like this. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; sometimes more of the same is a great, and quite frankly the game is incredibly easy to learn. If you want to skip the tutorial and jump right in you absolutely can.
It’s a typical MMO community but everyone seemed to be quite helpful, and the game had a pretty nice communication system for speaking to other players.
Graphically this game isn’t very impressive but I would like to point out how well it runs. I sometimes have trouble playing browser games simply because they tend to slow down my computer from time to time. In this game they have actually taken the screen clutter, organized it, and produced graphics that look alright and that any computer can handle.
Value for Money 10/10
As we mentioned before, it’s definitely not a pay-to-win game, and as I played through, I came to realize they were quite serious. So yes, you get the most bang for your bunch right here. If you’re going to find yourself playing a browser strategy game anyway, this is probably the one you want to pick up. It will be easier on the wallet, and in the end it’s just more fun. The game is in open beta right now, and with their payment model, you've literally got nothing to lose by joining up and building your empire.
+Fast, highly responsive interface and Game in General
+Easy to Learn
-Beta version is buggy
-No Desktop Application