Tuesday, August 25, 2009

EVONY Online ------ 4/5 stars!

Ive been mildly addicted to a little game online called Evony. It's a medieval themed, city building, army building, conquering, farming game. In some ways it is a very elaborate, pretty progress bar.

Its free. In the way that free means you can play all you like but those people who decide to give money to its 'Buy Items' system have a massive advantage. Those who purchase Evony Coins are few and far between as most members pride themselves on their hard work ethic. To me this is both good and not so good. The Evony people are a fairly small outfit and the game has a very large fanbase. The customer service is actually quite commendable. A recent unfortunate downtime resulted in a package for all players to compensate for the inconvenience. As such, given all the time players play and the work involved in maintaining such a large player base, a little monetary thank-you for their product wouldn't be too much to expect.

Ive played a couple of these sorts of games, like O-Game and others. All have a free based system with the option to purchase upgrades or items etc. Not a bad system and it seems the way of online gamings' future. So its not going to fade away anytime soon. What evony has over those games is the chat system. The other games had messaging systems and all but the cumbersome communication made coordinated hits and just plain old chatter and congratulations on any achievements all the more difficult or just useless. You form alliances and wage wars in a much more personal way. You can get get quite involved in the ethos of it all. If it weren't for the chat, the game would be just like the others I've played and lost interest in.

There is a wheel of fortune system as well. Every day you log in you get an 'Amulet'. This can be gambled on a wheel of random loot. Anything from food to armies can be won. The big prizes of course have quite low odds and the lucky are blessed. Amulets can also be bought for 5 evony coins... which is about 50cents US. Its quite amazing how much fun the wheel adds to the game. Every morning you have a lottery ticket of hope! Granted in the grand scheme of things it amounts to nothing, but for the time you spend building farms, looting barbarian cities and pillaging those who are smaller and less well equipped than yourself it adds a lovely random flavour.

The tech tree is strong and exponential in the time and resources required to climb it. First Level items may take 10 minutes but level 10 things can take over a week to research.

Saying that, play evony if you have time to spare. Its not as cut-throat as other games and you don't find yourself slaved to your army to protect it from others as much as say in OGame. Casting a casual eye over things and spending 5 minutes a day just building or researching can be all you need. Or you can babysit every progress bar and scout every town for plunder to maximize your progress up the merit system.

Evony has its failings as well though. Its recruitment idea 'IEvony' mildly backfired and caused a public backlash against spam invites. Members are allowed to invite people themselves and gain coins for those who sign up. Some people have, of course, abused the system and mass spammed, giving Evony bad press. Evony themselves have now taken action to restrict use and amended policies regarding the system.

The game lacks just a little bit of polish. Spelling errors and grammar problems are the first to come to mind. Its clear the game was developed in a non native English environment. Some leniency can be granted there... but by now those errors should have been found and corrected.

The other main and common complaint is the merit system. To advance levels and unlock the ability to build/attain more towns you need to collect 'Medals'. For the most part these are found in battles. Unfortunately the drop rates are very low and in some cases less than 1 in 50 battles will leave a medal. The fan base has done some amazing work researching where you can find the medal you need but it basically falls to the old strategy of grinding found in so many games.

The system is understandable... Evony is a business after all, and must do its best to maintain its player base. But a little more creativity in attaining medals, making it seem a little less, 'head meets brick wall.. repeat' and little more VERY hard but not impossible wouldn't go amiss.

All in all though, I've enjoyed my first month in Evony. Being of an addictive nature it falls to me to balance my personal life with PC time but hey, if it wasn't good I wouldn't be so drawn to the damn game :) Check it out and have look round. Find an alliance! The advice your peers can offer is invaluable. If your on server32 look for pravo22!




Blogger Abagale said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



5:42 am  

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