|Dev: Petroglyph Games|
|Pub: Trion Worlds|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
Last year, I went hands-on with Trion Worlds and Petroglyph's upcoming MMO/RTS hybrid End of Nations. It was running very smoothly at the time, so I was quite surprised to see it at E3 again this year, still not out on retail shelves yet. Still, I enjoyed my second shot at the title, and there have been quite a few new features implemented since I last got my hands on it.
First of all, though, I was reminded of the persistent element to the game. Basically, you are shown a map of the world, and you play as one of two factions constantly warring over territory. (And there's a third faction, A.I.-controlled, in the mix too.) It plays out a lot like a perpetual game of Risk, though instead of rolling dice, you participate in RTS scuffles. And these scuffles range between the slightly lonely 1v1 matches to the epic 28v28 all-out wars.
The map I played this year was called "Icebreaker." It was a frozen wasteland with an aircraft carrier in the center, trapped and frozen in the harsh winter ice. It was pretty awesome, actually.
Like any RTS, you have a slew of disposable units at your beck and call. You step into the role of Commander, and, as the Commander (or the person behind the keyboard), you level up and have an economy. You also will be filling in branches of a tech tree as you level up, and I was assured that there will be far more options on this tree than you'll legitimately be able to fill by hitting level cap. This means you'll have to choose your skills carefully, and it also means there should be a lot of variety in the setups of different players.
Now, before you hop into the game, you'll need a "Company." This is essentially your troop loadout. You are allowed to build your own, but until you get comfortable with the ins and outs of the game, you might want to try out an "Elite Company." Essentially, this is a pre-made Company (or loadout) that's fine-tuned for a specific play style. Elite Companies cannot be broken or modified by the player, but they do come with their own advantages. For example, Elite Companies come with their own hero units that are exclusive to those Companies.
And yes, I did mention hero units. End of Nations features its own breed of heros, which are essentially more powerful, though more expensive, versions of the basic units. Unlike standard units, though, heroes have their own lore.
Now, as I casually mentioned in the above paragraph, hero units come with their own risk/reward system. You see, on the battlefield, whenever a unit dies, you can parachute that unit back into the battle, but this costs in-game money. And hero units are more expensive than regular units, so there may be instances where you'll want to play very conservatively with the whole hero unit thing. Especially if your bank account is looking pretty dry.
Last year, I was told that End of Nations would be free to play with a microtransaction store, but I wasn't given a whole lot of details on that. This year, though, the folks at Trion Worlds were more than happy to spill the proverbial beans.