Getting my rant on
I’ve been playing a game for a week now and loved it so much, I was preparing for a few posts on it to introduce and talk about some of the bits and bobs. I’ve since deleted my hordes of screenshots, removed the links for it from my bookmarks and am done with it. The game I’m talking about is Golden Age, officially launched last week (though, it’s an open beta but they’re calling it the “official launch”) via Aeria Games. I adore RTS browser MMOs with a passion. I especially love, (ego talking now) starting off in these war games not knowing anything about them, finding the big bad guild and becoming known on the server not only for my guild, but for my kick-ass ‘my army will obliterate your army’ play style. I’ve found I can defend well, conquer … once you get the hang of it they really aren’t that hard. Sometimes the time it takes to build an army and your defense feels endless! Most of the games I’ve played, however, have some sort of ‘plundering’ system in place. When you plunder other people or resource nodes you earn materials needed to build your empire. So to speak. Golden Age does it a bit differently with the resource nodes. You conquer them (they have some sort of army NPCs defending them) and then explore for a certain amount of time, depending on the level of the node, for rewards. The rewards can be very small or many but, mostly, have to do with either getting gear boxes, gear pieces or quest items. Resources you need come from within your city at various resource farms you build. I did see an option for ‘plundering’ but you start off with a weeks work of beginner protection meaning there was no one to plunder around my city.
I made it to level 30 last night and was super stoked as that meant I could conquer and build a second city. I did so, very close to a Wonder I wanted to take, and set out to build my new city while also leveling up my first city. I love this stuff! Wonders in Golden Age have a lot of enemy camps around them that you need to conquer through in order to get to the Wonder. I was steady building my army so I could take that first pirate camp when I heard a rumor that upset the crap out of me. Once you reach level 31, any troops you lose in battle go into the bottom half of the Refuge (it’s like a hospital for wounded troops) which means in order to get back more than the 20% of lost troops the Refuge allows for at level 31 and beyond, you have to pay in real monies. Cash. Real life cash, not in game gold or gems. Prior to reaching level 31, you can heal up 100% of your wounded soldiers with in game gold or gems.
I’ve lost a TON of armies playing war games like this and I’ve always been able to rebuild them relatively easy via plundering for the needed resources to build a new army. I’ve NEVER had to cough up real life money to get my troops back. What makes this so bad is the enormity of scale. If you want to, you can stop leveling once you hit 30, attack whoever you want, kill their troops, use in game gold to heal yours back onto the battle field and do it all over again. As many times as you want. You could completely wipe people who are level 31 and up out. When I heard about this I went to the forums to see what folks were saying as I just couldn’t believe that was true. It is, however, and a few closed beta folks didn’t seem to think it was a problem. ‘Just build a new army’ some said. I get that, too, if there were a better resource gathering system in place. Granted, I was never able to use ‘plunder’ but with the extremely slow-ass troop movement of anything other than scouts (who don’t fight at all) or cavalry, it would take for_evah! You can’t just go anywhere on the map you want without building your way there by conquering (or garrisoning into an alliance-mates) small cities. It’s not hard but it is time-consuming. Too much so, in my not so humble opinion.
The Refuge not allowing you to heal all of your troops with in game currency, just 20% of them, was a game breaker for me. I do not have the disposable income it takes to fight when I can’t recoup my troops. What’s more, what’s the point of the Refuge if the way around is to just start over from scratch and build a new army? This is pure speculation on my part as I don’t crunch numbers, but I don’t think the damage system is always “set”. I suppose it could just be buggy but there are times when you’re fighting in an instance, one you’ve done before and did well in, when you suddenly lose half your troops. Even though you didn’t the first run through. I stopped doing the Lord Governors instance because of this. I ran through the, (I think it was called) The God of the Sea (??) instance and completed it with a few troop loses. Ok, a few more than I had hoped for but nothing major. The next time I tried it, my hero was a few levels higher, I had more of the same troops than the previous time and I lost every single one of them on the last boss (though it rewarded me for winning). How’s that for consistency?? I had similar experiences in other battles so I think the damage system is either variable or very buggy. Still, I liked this game so much I was going to ask for an early Christmas present of AP points. I’m very glad I didn’t now as this ‘level 31’ thing is greed and can, in my opinion, only lead to harassment by folks trying to beat the system. Not worth my time anymore and that’s a shame. The game had promise.