It seems that MMORTS games are on the rise as of late and recently I had to chance to play World of Battles in beta. Actually World of Battles was in open beta last year , May 25, 2010, when it was run by Bigpoint, but since has undergone some changes, moved to Frogwars, and has been rebranded as World of Battles: Morningstar. Now today World of Battles: Morningstar has re-launched back in open beta. Yes, I know it’s confusing, so lets get to the World of Battles preview.
World of Battles is not really a MMORTS, because like many online games, the amount of players in a match is restricted (to seven) and there is no persistent world. However unlike say Starcraft 2, your hero unit and army do level over time as well as can be upgraded with better armor, weapons and abilities.
To begin, World of Battles offers players the choice of one of eight races, Knights, Dark Elves, Orcs, Undead, Dwarf, Amazonian, Barbarian, and Elves. Each race has it’s strength and weaknesses like any other RTS today.
The image below shows one of the screens from the game lobby. On this screen you can see your army’s leader to the left and level information to the right. Basically how this works is each level you complete unlocks new skills, abilities or units. The screen also shows challenges that you can complete at that given level, however other challenges are available if you think you’re good enough.
The full list of challenges or quests if you prefer, are listed on another page. Currently theres about 10 quests total and 4 difficulty levels, easy, medium, hard and impossible. The quests for each difficulty level are exactly the same, except harder obviously, which is a bit disappointing. It would have been nice if each difficulty level had its own set of challenges, however WoB is more focused on PvP, so it’s understandable.
In the screenshot below you’ll see the units page, this is where you can purchase new units to join your army, see their stats and move units around between your reserve and active army. An active army can hold up to 16 unit types, so once you reach the max size, all other units are put in reserve. You can then move units around depending on your play style and strategy.
Here we have the upgrade screen. At the very bottom you can see a list of your units which you can select them to see their stats and for upgrades. Once a unit is pulled up, you can click on a weapon, armor or ability slot and upgrade the unit using either in-game money or gems which can be purchased in-game for real money. Some upgrades and units can only be purchased with gems, so there is a limitation if you didn’t plan on spending any money.
You can also purchase a Premium upgrade which will give you a few bonuses such as more XP and money from battles, unrestricted unit selection, more effective spells and the ability to trade-in in-game money for gems.
Challenges and PvP in World of Battles concentrates strictly on combat. There’s no resources to gather, no building to build, you start off with your army and march against your opponents. The graphics are ok, nothing really to brag about and the troop movement can be improved. They’re a little too slow for my taste and there seemed to be issues with units taking to long to start attacking, although it was hard to tell sometimes. My biggest issue with combat was the camera angle, there’s a limit to how far you can zoom out, which isn’t far, and just the angle it was set to seemed awkward to me. The game is still in beta so this might be different once the game is launched.
Like many RTS games out now, you can zoom in all the way to a single unit, however it’s complete worthless when actually playing the game. It’s just one of those features developers like to put in to impress us with close up screenshots. But really, you’ll never zoom in.
So while World of Battles is not a MMORTS game, sadly, it is a promising MORTS game. If you’re looking for an alternative to the online RTS out there and want more of an RPG element, World of Battles is worth a try.