Lords Online Overview
Lords Online is yet another browser based strategy game from China. What sets it apart is the fact that it blends elements from two popular browser games and presents it in a clean, easy to use interface. The user interface looks very similar to the one found in Evony but the Hero-centered gameplay of Heroes of Gaia is also present. Players will construct buildings, generate resources, and train troops and heroes. Expeditions must be led by heroes which will appear on the world map as they travel. Players will be able to attack one another’s cities and heroes to plunder them for wealth. Lords Online is a bit slower paced than previous browser games since the only way to speed up construction is through premium items.
Lords Online Screenshots
Lords Online Featured Video
Lords Online Full Review
By, Erhan Altay
We’ve seen the release of many browser based strategy games over the years. First there were the German ones like Tribal Wars, Travian, and Ikariam. These games consisted mainly of text and images but still caught on across the world. It wasn’t until more recently that we in the West got a taste of what IGG, the publishers of Lords Online, is calling ‘The 2nd generation of free browser-based strategy games.’ So what makes Lords Online different? Mainly the graphics and animations which are bright, vibrant, and easy on the eyes.
IGG has been bringing free to play Asian MMORPGs to North America for years now, but they’ve been mainly known for their client games. They’ve got Tales of Pirates, Godswar Online, and at least 6 other MMORPGs under their belts already, but recently they’ve made a move into a new market. Browser-based games are catching on fast since they require no download and are generally less complex. Prior to Lords Online, IGG has released Aurora Blade and Freesky Online which is also a strategy game. So why release another? One word. Evony.
After signing up for a free account and ‘activating’ Lords Online, players can enter the game right away. There’s no need to confirm your email address either. As of this writing, there is are two servers, or ‘worlds’, but more will be added as the playerbase increases. When logging into a new world for the first time, players are presented with a character creation screen where they may select from three races: Human, Alec (elf-life), or Shaba (orc-like.) Both male and female gender options are available for all three races. Players can also manually select which quadrant their first city will start in, or they can leave it on random. After character creation, players get their first peak at the interface. Those familiar with Evony will immediately notice the similarities. The same beige color and user interface style is used in Lords Online. Overlap in this genre is commonplace so it’s let’s just move on to see what Lords Online offers.
A short tutorial in the form of dialogue boxes from an adviser explains each part of the interface. Fortunately, the layout is well thought out and everything makes senses. Each city has 32 empty building slots on which players can construct buildings. Just going through the newbie quests will provide players with all the direction they need while they get the hang of things. There are four resources to keep track of in Lords Online and they are: Lumber, Stone, Iron, and Food. Gold can also be considered a resource and is acquired by taxation or plundering NPCs and other players. These resources are required to construct buildings, train troops, hire heroes to lead those troops, and to upgrade new technologies. It is highly recommended that players follow the beginner quest line since each step along the way grants resource and even premium item rewards.
A Hyrbid Model
So far, Lords Online sounds like a traditional strategy game, but it does offer a few innovations. Like Evony, players construct most buildings inside their Town but must move to a separate ‘City’ screen to manage their resource generating buildings. Interestingly, players cannot build farms, sawmills, quarries, or iron mines. Instead, four to six of each building type is already present but set at level 0. Players must then chose which to upgrade and in what order. As resource buildings (and all other buildings including the town hall) increase in level, their resource costs increase as well. Claiming special territorial spots on the world map such as ‘Super Hills’ or ‘Super Iron Pits’ can increase resource production but also serve as conflict zones for players. Competition for the most potent of these territories will inevitably lead to region conflicts, which makes strategy games like this all the more interesting. But unlike most games, players in Lords Online will actually get the see their heroes on the world map and command them freely. The fact that NPC monster are also scattered around the map gives Lords Online a hybrid feel, a mix between Heroes of Gaia and Evony.
Big Wallet, Big Empire
Lords Online inevitably falls into the same balance issues as other strategy games. The game makes it readily available that players can spend their way to power. Tired of waiting for buildings to finish construction? Just buy a speed up! Running low on resources or gold? No problem, as long as you’re willing to pay. Free to play games must support themselves somehow but browser games put no limit on how much of an advantage players can gain, as long as they keep paying. Of course this doesn’t mean players have to pay. A strong alliance of coordinated players can easily trump a single user, no matter his financial situation. And like other strategy games, Alliances play a large role in Lords Online. Teaming up with your neighbors is a must. Not only for protection against raiders further afield, but also to keep neighbors honest.
Why Lords Online?
The graphics and animations in Lords Online are great. The interface is well ordered, the graphics are vibrant and the ability to freely command heroes on the map makes it closer to a RTS than any previous browser based strategy MMO. Even recently released games like Empire Craft already seem outdated when compared to Lords Online. Unfortunately, the game is not newbie-friendly as it could be. While Evony and even IGG’s own Freesky Online offered free instant-construction for buildings with construction times less than five minutes, Lords Online makes no such allowance. Even with the newbie packs that players start with and are rewarded with, the game is much slower paced than many of its rivals. This is a problem that could be fixed so let’s hope for the best!
Final Verdict: Good
Lords Online is a visually impressive strategy game that’s sure to gain a strong following. While it does share similarities with previous browser bases strategy games, the ability to control heroes on the battlefield adds a new depth to gameplay. Slow paced progression and the ability to purchase speed-ups and resources causes balance issues.