There are MMOs, and there are RTSs. style="">  With originality in the
genres at an all-time
low as studios scramble to emulate the big names in the industry and
precious day one subscribers and sales, one would think we’ve seen it

Along came Dawn of Fantasy, the game
that gave me hope for
the industry’s ability to innovate once more.

Dawn of Fantasy is a hybrid RTS/MMO
that has features from
both and has multiple modes of play. 
There are single player options to practice with the
armies of men,
elves, and orcs.  Single player
campaigns exist to get you used to the flow of the world map and resources, and
once you're ready there is
the online realm where you can put your skills to the test in real time
you’re online or off.

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style="font-style: italic;">There are no hexes or grids to
move on the world map of Dawn of Fantasy.  Your units take the
most direct path available.

The RTS factors are unit and resource
management, but you
don’t need a million actions-per-minute to be competitive in multiplayer. style="">  This game is about
positioning and timing
rather than tedious individual unit control. 
Your units are squads of soldiers that gain experience and
can be
trained anyway you see fit.  You
see an opponent with multiple groups of cavalry, but they’re actually
trained in defense to tie up units for as long as possible rather than
act as
shock attackers.  While
that may be a
crazy example, it’s certainly a possibility and you have no way to know
how the
opponent has leveled their units until you decide to engage them on the

The MMO factor is how you actually
move your armies around
like Risk on the battlefield.  Your
armies travel or heal a set amount every unit of time, and it can take
a while
to get around on some maps.  The
anticipation of getting into a fight in a few hours can be
especially if it’s an opponent you have yet to clash with. style="">  Should you need an army in the event of a defeat or sudden invasion,
you have to come to
terms with the fact that units take several minutes to actually train,
so the
loss of an army can lead to the loss of territory since it takes so
long to
train a battle-ready army. 

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are long, brutal affairs.  My outer gate has fallen, but not
all is lost.  I've retreated into the town to put up a last
stand and get out of range of their artillery.

Battles themselves play out slowly,
which is a good
thing.  Even cavalry
aren’t exactly fleet
of foot, and the slow pace enables you to adjust your unit positioning,
formation, and abilities as needed. 
Telling your swordsmen to raise their tower shields
instead of their
swords is the difference between pitiful damage and lethal damage to
many of
them when an arrow barrage is incoming.  Being able to
actually react to
your opponent leads to a lot of feint tactics and ranged offense, be it
archers or siege units, before the melees begin happening. style="">  This is especially true
during city/castle
sieges, where hordes of units will clash and the management of
distance, siege,
and flanking is absolutely critical to bringing down the superior town

The presentation is merely
sufficient, with good camera
control and a below-average graphics engine powering your battles. style="">  Even though these battles
may resemble
something from Total War, you’ll have to deal with the lack of
AAA-graphics. While the stills of the game may look wonderful, in motion is another story--animations are very sparse and jerky. Voice overs are rare and repetitive as well, but that is actually being rolled into their next few patches, so your army will feel more responsive and personable as you order them about in combat.  Volleys of arrows
and flaming boulders crash
down on unsuspecting armies, sending men and orc alike flying. style=""> 
Towering treants and siege
towers will pummel
your walls, and men will scramble up them to take on unsuspecting
defenders.  It may
look like something
from a decade ago, but it plays well, so don’t take these screenshots
at face

So we have a game that could be capable of being called MMO Total War on
our hands, but not all is
well in the world of elves, orcs, and men. 
In-game documentation is in a small, horrible font and
takes forever to
come up when you’re idling on an icon or unit. 
Wherever there is no in-game documentation, you’re pretty
much forced to
experiment until you figure out how it works, or works well. style="">   You might cry
foul at some of the balance as
well, as high level archers resemble the killing machines from the style="">Myth universe—accurate and deadly on
every shot.  As
people get creative and
try new strategies though, there’s no doubt we’ll eventually strike a
balance with the game.  The
are active and patching it constantly.

Even if you don’t like the slow pace
of the MMO version, the
single player kingdom management can be sped up to an acceptable rate
as you
see fit, and the single skirmish sieges are great practice and are just
fun to
massacre units in.  Dawn
of Fantasy

definitely gets props for doing something different, and as it gets
refined and
upgraded over the course of its beta, will be a lovely niche title with
competition.  Check
it out if you get the

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Dawn of Fantasy Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016