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A New Beginning for End of Nations at E3 2011

Updated Mon, Jun 20, 2011 by Ethec

At last year’s E3, End of Nations got a bit of a guarded reception. While most loved the MMORTS world domination premise, few who played the demo felt at home with the game’s busy interface.

Petroglyph went back to the drawing board, and arrived at E3 2011 with a much cleaner product that’s both true to their vision and just as innovative. Ten Ton Hammer spoke with Lead Designer Chris Rubyor.

end of nations

Stepping Up the RTS factor

The most obvious change was the new user interface. Gone was the screen eating button fest of last year’s E3, and in its place? A traditional, tried and true RTS UI. In the left corner was a radar map that elegantly tripled in size with a keypress.. Spread over the bottom center of the screen is a clickable, groupable units roster and structures monitor (EoN now allows the placement of forward turrets, repair stations, and the like).  Skills , superweapons, and structures were placed on the sidebar. The number of skills and weapons was much more manageable – 4 total at level 15 -  and aside from a few small menu and status buttons, that’s pretty much it for the newly streamlined UI.

The persistent base players could visit between matches is a thing of the past, and in it’s place we find the Armory, a place to customize unit looks and loadouts. Petroglyph is in the process of adding a robust itemization scheme, right down to mod-able joints and armor for infantry units. Players can orchestrate a factional color scheme, or choose from a number of pre-made patterns (like an American flag or camoflage) or “skins” for their unit.

end of nations

Perspective also received some much needed attention. EoN now allows players to take the “satellite view” – zooming out to a commander’s maptable perspective. Zoom in far enough and you’ll find a new horizontal perspective – good for determining line of sight and elevation differences.

The class structure Petroglyph explained at last year’s E3 – assault, artillery, etc. -  is no more. Instead, EoN’s as-of-yet unnamed classes will take a slightly more combined arms tack in terms of what units each player is allocated. My class seemed to be heavier in air units, but also had enough armor and infantry to capture portions of the map and hold my own on the ground.

Which brings me to my favorite change in End of Nations – air and infantry units.  Helicopters and VTOL aircraft now allow players to ignore terrain and bring the hurt to their enemies in a hurry, though aircraft can’t be used to capture and are more than a little vulnerable to turrets and other air defenses.

On the infantry side, we’re talking mechs. Mechs! Not only do we get a game with mechs at long last, but infantry has a number of strengths all its own, according to Chris: “Infantry can go over terrain other units can’t. Our game is very capture point centric, and infantry captures faster than other units.”

end of nations

Infantry is near to Chris’s heart. When I asked what one of his favorite units in the the game was, he responded by showing me a hulking infantry unit strapped with a massive minigun. “This is the Guardian. When I was designing this one, I was inspired by Jesse Ventura from Predator.  He carries this massive minigun, so he’s on the slow side, but when he deploys, he can lay down a ton of fire on the battlefield – he can mow through armor like there’s no tomorrow. Plus, he goes into a defensive state, so he’s very difficult to kill.”

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