Nothing like cranking a little classic rock to reinvigorate the soul after a long New Years' night of gaming. I honestly didn't plan on staying up late enough for 2015 to arrive (as I haven't for the past four years), but I was feeling kind of sick and just couldn't sleep. I decided to turn on steam and see what kind of interesting and unusual games were on sale that I might like.

That was when I came across Windward.

So... who likes to kill pirates?

Carry on my Windward son. There will be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don't you cry no more.

I'm currently going on about thirty hours awake right now - which is probably a good sign that the game has done something right. That's a lie, it's done a lot of things right. It's a quirky mix of real-time strategy, online battle arena, and massive multiplayer online (although there were only a handful of people in the server that I was on). All of which are wrapped up in a medieval naval-simulation blanket. I didn't try this game out thinking it had any MMO qualities at all, but once I played for a dozen hours, I definitely saw several core mechanics that any veteran MMO can pick up on.

The game is very open-world and open-ended with a big emphasis on combat, trading, and progression. Even in a beta-state, this game has plenty of different things to do if you somehow manage to get bored of the combat. The sailing and maneuvering mechanics are absolutely crisp, while the animations are very well crafted - both of those things tie into a very engaging and challenging combat system that offers equal amounts depth and accessibility. I honestly wasn't expecting to enjoy the game so much.

I'm completely shocked that so few people have downloaded and are currently playing this game (only a couple hundred copies sold on steam, with an average player count of 5-10 on at any given time). The game is designed to support hundreds of players on the same server - so I honestly feel like I haven't even experienced the full potential this game has to offer.

If you enjoy war gaming of any kind, especially naval warfare - this is a very polished game that just might fit your tastes. Also for those who are just purely in love with persistent-world MMOs, the mechanics of how you upgrade, progress and outfit your ship should feel very comfortable and familiar. This is literally a must try, and very easy to justify the $13 price tag (the holiday price for it on steam for today and tomorrow).

I can't wait to see what else gets added and also what the game might look like with a bunch more active people in it. There are very few games that can randomly suck me in for an unexpected all-nighter. Hopefully next time it won't just be me and DBlade (you rock man) alone slaying hundreds of pirates. At one point we got into a thick battle that never really let up for about two full hours. My favorite aspect by far of the game is how easily you can set the bar for yourself and bite off much more than you can chew. There are plenty of "easy" alternatives there for people that want them - but for others that really want to crank the intensity up several notches, there's plenty for them too.

Now that I've eradicated at least one region of pirate infestation, there is peace and I can finally lay down and get some much needed rest! Last, I'll leave you with the song I was reminded of that gave me the pep to get through this article:

As one final musical note (ahh... always love a nice bad pun), Windward's music is pretty awesome too. Thanks for reading!

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Last Updated: Mar 18, 2016

About The Author

Alex has been playing online games and RPGs for quite some time, starting all the way back with Daggerfall, EverQuest, and Ultima Online. He's staying current with the latest games, picking up various titles and playing during his weekly streams on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings with both MMOs and MOBAs being feature plays. Hit him up on Twitter if you have a stream request for Freeplay Friday! Two future games he's got a keen eye on are Daybreak's EverQuest Next and Illfonic's Revival.