End of Nations at Syndicon
During my visit to Syndcon 2010, I was shown a variety of games. The most interesting was End of Nations. It’s currently being produced by Petroglyph in Las Vegas, Nevada under the watchful eye of Trion. Gary Wagner, Senior Producer of EoN at Trion, showed us a trailer and talked about the game, but unfortunately, we did not have a demo to play.
So here is what we saw:
The foremost thing you should know about End of Nations is that it’s the first of its kind, a Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy game. Petroglyph says they truly want to appeal to the RTS player. They want things like control schemes and assigning units into groups to feel very familiar. But they also want to attract the more traditional MMORPG players because they feel this MMORTS has something to offer them too.
The game is set about twenty to thirty years in the future with an “extrapolation of current events” going on. The Military Industrial Complex has been building up weapon systems in secret and after a huge financial crisis, takes over the world calling itself the Order of Nations.
Players start off playing against the Order of Nations, now the “big bad”, with huge artillery, incredible buildings, and the ability to do some heavy fire. Attacking them will take some major planning. Over time, however, the Order of Nations will not be your only enemy and teaming up against others will be a necessity.
This game is playable single player, but, from what we heard, it’s going to really shine when you play co-operatively. To join in, a player will look at the atlas in the War Room to see where the most action is. With the persistent game play, you can drop in or drop out of these massive battles at any time, while trying to take over as much territory as possible for your faction.
This is a persistent game and each player will have an HQ (player housing): a small base to start off with and build upon. Through research and manufacturing (crafting), you can build new buildings, armor, weapons, ammunition, and new units. You will also have an armory where you store your units that you collect through battle or manufacturing.
They will have instances that each use a point load-out system. For example, an instance could be 500 points. Each unit has a point value to it and so you’d want to pick out the perfect load out, keeping it under the load-out cap. Wagner says that this is similar to selecting units in a tabletop Warhammer game.
There are three commander classes, each with its own ability and skill sets: tank commander, artillery commander, and strike commander. Each has access to the different types of vehicles, but separately they have their own strengths. When grouped together they should complement each other well making tactics and approach strong.
The tank commander focuses mainly on tanks, obviously, but also draws fire, takes agro, and will go “toe to toe with the enemy”. They are “up front” and can take a lot of damage.
The artillery commander does damage from a distance using ranged units. This class was likened to a caster in your typical MMO.
The strike commander is stealthy and quick. These guys use explosives, set mines, and do demolition, a swift in and out.
EoN is able to support more players than any other RTS currently, with 50 on one map. They ran out of testers, so there is potential here for more players if they can support them. According to Petroglyph, though, it’s not about the tech side of things: they would rather focus on how fun it is with 50 people, or more. This concept appealed to me. I like that a company is trying to focus on the fun before anything else. I think that’s important.
They also mentioned that they had an observer mode where you can simply go to an area of the map and watch what is unfolding.
As far as the map goes, it will be a map of the world, as we know it. It was explained, though, that it won’t be one country verses another country, it will be territories fighting other territories, different depending on who owns what areas, each trying to take over the world.
They have added the social features of a MMORPG that you might hope to see. One being a real-time streaming ticker in the War Room so you can see what battles your friends are in at the moment.
There will also be an auction house and the ability to customize your artillery. I’m holding out for a pink tank!
There are two things I wanted to point out that I really enjoyed: the music and the awesomely big map. Frank Klepacki who is best known for his work on Command and Conquer: Red Alert composed the music. I think it truly fits the atmosphere and the direction the game is going for. The size of the map that the action is played on is unbelievable. In the footage they showed us, this area looked absolutely huge. I have concerns as to how a map of that size will function properly, but they seem to have things under control so far.
The coolest thing mentioned was the ability to research and acquire super weapons. Special buildings that you can build in your base will give you access to super weapons in battle. They currently have buildings that allow air strikes and missile barrages from SPACE!!
So based on the information given, it seems that they are trying really hard to blend an MMO with an RTS, and use current events to influence the activities in the world. It sounds pretty interesting.
The game is set to release in 2011. Pink tanks!