E3: End Of Nations Preview

TRION logoTake the familiar formula of a real-time strategy game. Take the ingredients from any massively multi-player RPG. Now put them in a locked, dark closet for a couple hours.

Well, if they were people, you’d have a baby nine months later. In the world of game development, however, it’s been 5 years. 5 years, Trion has spent developing this enticing marriage of strategy MMO. 5 years, Trion has been developing their in-house engine, Glyphx.

Unlike many RTS’, or MMO’s, End of Nations (EoN) is attempting to be streamlined and easily accessible to almost everyone, but at the same time trying hard to develop a game that might still appeal to the traditional, core audience. It seems to be quick, responsive, and doesn’t bog the user down with menus.

The player is given a base of operations which can never be attacked. For some people, defence is fun, but everyone likes high scoring games more. In EoN, the user is always on the attack. If you’re performing quest missions, you’ll often find yourself attacking bases with ground forces, troops and air strikes, sure. In player vs. player though, you’ll find yourself merely attacking other players and their armies. The users bases will always be out of reach. Well, they are there, they just don’t take damage.

eon1Another interesting tidbit is that any player can jump in and out of skirmishes. It is an MMO of course, but it is also a RTS, and the idea is a little far out there.

Like an MMO, the user can customize his army, which is acting in place of one single character, and this military can be upgraded just the same. When you defeat an enemy’s war effort, you can reverse engineer his technology, and then develop it for yourself. Naturally, your military also levels up, so to speak. Though instead of gaining +5 speed, however, you gain more blueprints or research points which can also be used to upgrade your rolling death machine. These upgrades can be applied at the beginning of every play; you can customize weapon load outs, colours and decals. To put it simply, it’s an in-depth element that looks very interesting and easy to use.

As you would also expect with an MMO, these maps are huge. As of E3 2010, Trion has admitted that their largest map would be able to accommodate 50-60 individual armies. That is, for lack of a better term, enormous. At the starting point, there will be a place to receive quests, but most will boil down to “kill that guy.” And they should, because it’s fun.

eon2The world that Trion has crafted is a beautiful one, and what really sets it apart from other games is the attention to detail. Sure, everyone makes fire and flame effects look good now, but how many games allow you to zoom in closely to a triage unit and let you see your players get worked on by medical professionals? Look closely and you’ll even see some of your men puking from exhaustion or fear. Trion is really, really trying to create life on the battlefield.

Not scheduled for release until 2011, Trion is already off to a great start. The demo they had running looked like a beta-phase product, meaning that if it looks this good already, next year will be amazing.

One thing not really touched on was whether or not there would be a subscription fee (which there is), coupled with the ability to pay real world money for, I don’t know, opalescent tank colours. It is more than a year away from release, however, so this is a problem easily overlooked.

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Written by Adam R.

This author procured a media pass for E3 under false pretences, and no longer writes for Critical Gamer.

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