Tales of Aloriah, Seven

Oh noes!

When I logged in and saw that this week, reading “Would you like to continue playering even after the Mother Dragon has been killed? As of today the game ‘starts over’…” I thought someone had already beaten me to slay the great worm, but thankfully it was just a survey about tweaking the end game. So the journey continues!

I finally settled my village in Misty Marshes as promised.

Lucky me, I seem to be pretty close to my old friend Aernoud. And I’ve already been set upon by two Emerald Dragon attacks. Fortunatealy I prevailed. I like to think the Blue Dragon head helped, but maybe it was my 1,500 berserkers and Gorogorosama’s righteous Warcry. Either way, I claimed a Magic Dragon Glyph, so I’m all set to strike into the Molten Ashlands, right after I get 8 more CP. Of course, I only have 7 more levels of Argyll’s Council Hall to upgrade, so I’ll have to pull of some sort of voodoo magic before pressing on.

Speaking of voodoo magic. Gorram. There was an auction in Moyle last night for another Bonzai Tree, which would have given me that CP I need, plus an extra controllable mine. I had it locked up with 18,000 Gold, and a little after 1am, as the clock ticked down the final seconds, I went up to 19,000 Gold just in case of snipers. But gorram:

On the plus side, Soft-foot has been doing a great job sailing around, plundering cities, claiming mines, and siezing lookout towers. I even got the Silver Great Visionary Achievement. Only 6 more lookout towers til Gold! Hopefully this next week will be just as productive.

Cheers,
Oliver

Clash of Kingdoms Review

Game Site: http://ck.koramgame.com/
Game Developer: Koram Games
Rating:Worth Checking Out

Clash of Kingdoms is an OSG set in the “war-torn plains of Ancient China” currently in beta from the company that brought you Three Kingdoms Online. The homepage reminds me of the box art from a Dynasty Warriors game, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about that particular series.

It looks like Clash of Kingdoms is going to use the same OSG formula we all know and love, but with a few improvements, new features, and some unfortunate shortcomings.

At the start of the game you get to choose a starting location, which impacts things like your resource output and recruit speed in a minor way. The game uses a hero system which is becoming more common, and it works well enough. You can equip them with armor and weapons that give the squads they command boosts in power, speed and defense. You need one hero per army, but it only takes a minute to recruit one. There are several different resource buildings and a few different unit buildings, but it only takes a couple of minutes to have them all built. The layout and menus are familiar enough as well.

Alright, now on to the new, exciting features. First of all there is an “Upgrade All” button. Sounds simple, right? It is, but I never knew something like that would be so completely useful. All games need this feature, now. You also get a four slot queue, which isn’t unheard of, but the kicker is that all of your buildings build at once. Four at a time. Another little thing, but it’s nice.

The best innovation of this game, however, is the Election system. At the beginning of a new server, everyone in your kingdom (the region you chose to start in at the beginning) gets to vote on a few individuals to lead your nation. The player known as Chona is my “Incumbent Premier,” which is essentially our leader. They can leave messages for anyone and declare kingdom-wide objectives, anything like building 500 troops for the capital or focusing on expanding in to a certain direction. Anytime I look at the world map I can easily see what my general instructions are as well as what I and the rest of the kingdom should be focusing on.

This is a really cool feature because it makes me feel like I am part of something way bigger- which is important because in order to progress in the game, everyone needs to contribute to the kingdom. You can do this by sending your hero to upgrade the city walls, patrol to keep the civilians in check, by donating food, or even just money. But the point is everyone has to work towards the same goal; even if you’re not in an alliance you are still part of the kingdom.

This works really well with their map system. Unlike Travian, you can’t just send your army anywhere. You have to travel along designated roads, and will have to fight through anything that gets in your way. This makes Clash of Kingdoms a lot more like a traditional strategy board game where location and movement is actually important, and also adds to the feeling of being part of a Kingdom.

There is also a PvP system which is nice. You can jump into battles with anyone that is a similar rank as you, and you can use either your army or one that is provided for you. This would be amazing if the battle system were’nt so lackluster.

Press releases for the game also claimed it has a ground-breaking new battle system. I have to disagree. It really looks like it has potential. There is a huge movement grid and different unit types, squads, special abilities, cool magic effects and the like. By looking at it you would think the possibility for actual strategy is huge.

Unfortunately, you can’t control the squads, your heroes, or anything else. You can’t decide where to place your units, how to move them, or which squads should attack. It’s all automatic. There are animations, yes, but I have no control over what is happening. If I am missing something, please let me know.

Then again, the game is still in beta, so maybe that’s a feature that will be implemented later? A forum post by a higher up proclaimed “hero skills and abilities aren’t yet implemented.” So I don’t know. But all in all, it’s a solid OSG, and it has potential.

Cheers,>
Oliver

Tales of Aloriah, episode IV

The adventure continues in Aloriah. When last we spoke I was preparing to forge into Dry Steppes and claim my third village. Crossing the Green Fields took a while, but was rather uneventful. Then this happened:

I was just minding my own business, ambling through the fog of war towards what seemed like a decent spot for a new village, and bam, walk smack into a Dragon Gate with hundreds of black beasts pouring out. Honestly my first thought was to run the hell away. However, by the time I checked my account one of the dragon armies was already on me and, to my surprise, I was victorious! Thanks to everyone who suggested I bring 1k-2k Berserkers. I needed them. After the victory I looted a bunch of Diamonds and a Gate Anti-Seal, so I figured I might as well use it, plunged straight into the heart of darkness and closed the gate.

After this I managed to settle my third village. I had to seal another gate that popped up, but by this point I was brilliant at it.

This wasn’t the only excitement though. If you recall, last week I pulled the mystical “Dragon Helm” from the seas around Moyle. Well, apparently there’s a Dragon Helm spawning point nearby, and now I have four of them.

My question now is what am I supposed to do with all these Dragon Helms? I tried equipping Gorogorosama with two of them, but that didn’t fit right. I’ve still only got two heroes, and though I’m preparing to hire a third, that’s still one extra helmet, plus any more that drift ashore. Is it possible to sell or trade these things?

My next step is to settle in the Misty Marshes. However, I need 9 more Civiliation points, so I may not get there by next week. It is a nice feature of the game though, to always know what your next goal is. According to the guide, only 30% of players will be able to settle a village in the Marshes. Currently I’m ranked 59, so I should be able to find a nice spot. Even if I have to take it from someone.

Cheers,
Oliver

Tales of Aloriah, chapter 3

It’s been a solid week for my Aloriah empire. It started by spotting a Saphire Dragon off the coast of Moyle. His 2,500 damage may or may not have influenced my decision to leave him alone. The next day something else was floating in the water, and this I had to investigate. Since Gorogorosama and my latest hero, Boom-Shaka, were off exploring, I created a new army, “Hat Fetcher”, and braved the sea. I was successful and added a Dragon Helm to my collection. I like to imagine my carrier pigeon wearing this giant, bad-ass helmet as he flew to Athenry.

And now that I’ve just made myself a big target for all the Thieves out there wanting to get their hands on my Banzai Tree (hmm, that was almost sexy), you should be warned that I also have a Hidden Chest, which gives you 5% less chance to steal an item. So I guess you only have a 95% chance. Do you feel lucky?

Gorogorosama and Boom-Shaka have been wandering around the world earning me a few achievements. Let’s take a look:

So there’s Animal Slayer, which means I’ve won a few battles against the easiest monsters around. Collector of commons means I’ve found a lot of vendor trash lying around, and since I’m a “Good Player”, Evil Enchantments means I’ve accidentally stepped in a bunch of curses. It’s nice to be rewarded for incompetence. I am proud of Great Visionary, as it means I’ve controlled several lookout-towers at the same time.

Despite all these brilliant feats, I’m only ranked at 89. Must keep climbing that ladder. At this stage in the game though, I’m more interested in Civilization Size. Is there anyway to see your ranking according to that?

Anyway, as was suggested in the comments, I should have 1-2k Berserkers before heading to Dry Steppes. I’ve got enough resources and finally enough max population, so if I keep my barracks working non-stop over the weekend I shold be ready to seize the spirit of adventure. For Asgard!

Cheers
Oliver

Travian, Ikariam, Aloriah, Oh my!

Did you wake up this morning and think to yourself “where can I find the latest developments about my favourite browser based online strategy games?” Well, you’ve come to the right place, because it’s been a big week (though quite possibly more than a week and I just didn’t notice)

I think the biggest news is Travian 4. If you head on over to this page you can enter a raffle for a Beta Key. You can also find out more about the game on the Travian 4 blog: http://dev.travian.org/. I’ll pour over the blog this week and hopefully give you guys a short summary of what’s in store for us.

Next, Aloriah is having their own competition. Basically if you promote the game (maybe by having a post about it in everyone’s favourite OSG blog?) you can win some cool stuff. And not in-game stuff, but actual prizes. More here.

Finally, this one’s a bit old, but Ikariam added a “friend system” (on right). Basically, you can have twelve players who are considered your friends. Every time one of them founds a new colony or completes a research, you get a little bonus. Now, since most players on my Eta server have been around for a while, the bonuses are laughable. Since you very rarely found colonies or complete researches once you reach a certain size, and the bonuses are so small, it seems pretty pointless. I suppose Gameforge is hoping this will encourage new players (who it might be useful for), and I would definitely appreciate a slew of new players on Eta. Who else am I going to pillage? The friends can actually be a little useful though, because you can see when they are online. This proves very helpful when it’s war time.

Cheers,
Oliver