Updated Tue, Jan 31, 2012 by Stow
Trion Worlds does more than RIFTthese days—they're publishing a little hit in the making that's still, for the most part, behind the curtains in End of Nations. Combining the best parts of MMO and RTS gaming and sporting up to 24 players simultaneously on one real-time map, it's going to leave a mark on the industry one way or another. Last night we spent some time with Community Manager Lance James to gather some more details on the upcoming MMORTS.
One thing James quickly cleared up for us is that this game is not going to replace StarCraft II. That's not to say it won't be as good, but the play style is simply so different that the two will not directly compete. You won't require over a hundred actions per minute in order to hold a candle to any decent player, but the opportunity to excel with speed will still exist to a lesser extent.
The larger the army, the more actions per minute that will be required to control it at max efficency
There was also special emphasis on matchmaking. The current formula will be an ELO-based system with no leagues or special classification—you'll simply be matched with people near your skill level. You'll be able to get into the game within an hour if you've played any RTS in your life, but mastery will still take you hundreds of hours to compete with the best. This is a good sign for the game, especially give its MMO aspects!
Unfortunately, two critical traits of the RTS genre, spectating and replays, are both not going to be present, and when pressed, Lance was not optimistic about them. The “technical issues surrounding the MMO code base were not ideal to support those,” he said. Since both are great tools to help make good players better, it's a little disappointing to hear that, although they are wished for by the community, their implementation in End of Nations at this point in time is unlikely at best.
End of Nations' newest revealed map, Deep Hammer, has plenty to fight for, especially considering the fact that it holds 24 players and is apparently only a medium size map. But if you find that everyone's running the current flavor of the month group, Lance told us that there are plans to give you the ability to switch armies in the middle of combat. The cost of doing so is still being discussed.
For those of you who prefer to be the lone wolf, Trion said that you will still be able to hold your ground when you're flying solo on the battlefield.
Cooperation is what the developers are striving for in all aspects of team combat. Companies complement each other and cooperation will be rewarded both in-game, in the form of victory, and outside of the game—though James was unable to discuss how just yet. Enforcing teamplay in large team games is always appreciated, especially when the world territories are at stake!
With this just being the first of hopefully many community events, more details will be unveiled as we get quality time with more of the fine folks behind End of Nations. We'll keep you posted!