End of Nations

Published on March 6th, 2012

Maximum destruction for minimum cost.

Long time readers will have seen a lot about over the past year, yet each time we’ve seen the latest build of Petroglyph’s innovative MMO RTS blend, we’ve always come away feeling energised.

End of Nations

There will be bases to protect, but you won't build them

The Texan developer hasn’t shifted up the central RTS formula, with unit-on-unit battles still ruled by the traditional rock, paper, scissor archetypes, instead it’s the wrapper which surrounds this action which is so innovative. On a persistent campaign map, three factions fight it out for aggregated dominance in both single-player or four-player optimised co-op missions and PvP skirmishes which can cater up to 56 players in 28 v 28 matches.

During the latest preview opportunity, we had an interesting match on a 1v1 map called Last Stand, which featured two players fighting off spawning AI waves on a walled-off map, with the last commander alive declared to be the victor.

Seeing as all unit selection is determined before the map, fighting battles feels more sedate than the constant click management required in other RTS games like StarCraft. Eliminating base-building from the gameplay equation means you’re free to monitor what the enemy is up to, and aim to secure resource accumulating capture points with your dozen-or-so units. To further complicate matters, each of your vehicles, infantry, mechs or aircraft also has their own rechargeable special ability, be it a super-powered attack or defensive buff.

After our efforts were swiftly crushed in the competitive comp-stop, we tried our hand at 12v12 on Operation Deep Hammer. As expected, this map was completely different to the last, as each team had their own HQ which needed to be defended from enemy attack. However, to throw more complication into the mix there’s also two independent power plants which when downed shut off a shield protecting each team’s HQ. Having this many to-and-fro aspects led to regular bouts of excitement as our 11 allies hurriedly communicated which flanks were exposed and where the main armies were hitting. It was at this point where the small unit cap makes sense, as you easily spot when two players amass their forces. Needless to say, we had a fantastic time in this match and we barely had enough time to mess around with the Warhammer-like customisation, which allows players to paint their own units, select different equipment and admire more extravagant units, such as walking mechs, before our play session was through.

End of Nations

Battles can appear very choatic, but there's a strategy behind their madness.

EoN certainly wears its lineage on its sleeve and there’s certainly enough here for old-school Command and Conquer fans to be happy with video introductions to missions, three story-based campaigns and an emphasis on fast-paced PvP action. It isn’t just that though, it’s also the chunkiness of the units and the soundtrack that seems to successfully imbue all those old-school Westwood tropes, but in a way that’s fitting.

Before we went off on our merry way, EoN’s Producer also let us in on their launch plan with an open Beta planned for summer and a full launch scheduled for autumn.

After seeing this MMORTS several times we have to say we’re extremely eager to see how the game fairs once it hits the market, not only because we want to see what you guys think of it, but also because we want to play the bloody thing more. Thankfully we won’t have long to wait.

This an extended excerpt from a preview of End of Nations which can be found inside the latest issue of MMOZine.

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