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I was a bit bored and decided to wander around and try out various games that I had seen but never tried. With Evony there was a short period some time ago where their ads were everywhere with buxom and scantily clad ladies implying a damsel in distress panting for you to rescue her. This advertising scheme seems to have annoyed lots and lots of players as the game actually has nothing in it at all that is related to the adverstisements. In other words it is nothing but a blatant marketing come on.
But.................what about the game? Evony is a real time warfare game loosely based around the middle ages. The game has a couple of fatal flaws that makes it unplayable in the long term by most people but it does have some interesting points and there does seem to be a sizeable number of people playing the game. At last count there were well over 130 servers rolled out by Evony LLC to support the game and there is a new Evony 2 in the works.
The basic game starts you out with a small valley where you have the beginning of a city and provides you with some starting resources. The basic idea of the game is to control territory to allow you to control resources which will allow you build troops to control territory to control more resources to build more troops to control more territory. The game is vaguely reminiscent of RISK and Civilization. Within the walls of your city you can build various buildings that will allow you to recruit various types of military troops (Workers, Warriors, Scouts, Swordsmen, Archers, Cavalry, etc) and to build some support structures to improve your defenses and your skills. Outside the walls you can build on small plots of land farms, sawmills, quarries and iron mines to provide a basic stream of materials to allow you to recruit troops inside your walls and to build up your city.
Building, recruiting and all that takes time and for the first week of the game you are under a beginners protection flag that prevents anyone from attacking you. During this time the object is to try and build up your city and your military might so that you can start to fight and defend yourself. As is usual in most games you can choose to fight either other players or NPCs. NPCs are mainly used as a way to improve your skills and to increase the amount of resources that you will have. In fact farming NPCs is pretty much a requirement as you will quickly be able to recruit more troops than you can feed so you will have to plunder neighnoring NPCs to get their food and materials to support your expansion.
To attack someone it is normally advisable to first scout them out and see what their strengths and weaknesses are. With NPCs this is a fairly consistent result based on their level. With players this is quite advisable as failure to send the right troops against the right defenses will result in all of your troops being destroyed which will require you to rebuild your troops and will of course make you vulnerable to retalliation. One way to counter this is to join an alliance which then can send troops to your city to reinforce you and can also attack players that attack you. There is a limit to how far away you can attack someone from as the distance will increase the time it takes for your troops to reach the target which will give the defender more time to react and of course long trips require more food to be taken along and of course if you are attacked while your troops are 2 hours away you could be in trouble.
The fights and techniques in the game are pretty straight forward but take a bit of time to understand and become proficient at but the community is generally pretty good at helping out though they can be a bit rude at times. There seems to be very little monitoring of the game by Evony LLC for in game content but they do seem to monitor for people that are using third party programs to assist them or people that are making negative comments about the game. On most servers there seem to be numerous players with racist and offensive names and despite repeated complaints to Evony LLC nothing is done to force these players to change their names.
The game is free to play or as Evony states Free Forever and this is true as you can play the game and never have to spend a single penny of real money. Having said that many aspects of the game take time and you can purchase speed ups that reduce how long you need to wait. The pricing for these speed ups seems to be way too expensive but in the month that I played I saw numerous people spend more money in that period than they would have spent in a year for a subscription based game. Evony has lots of little things to keep you busy and to encourage you to want to get them done sooner so as to buy from their store.
But, this leads me to the fatal flaw in the game. When you log off people can attack your cities and if you have more than one city they can capture it and take it from you. Even with a single city they can overwhelm your defenses, kill all your troops and take all your resources in the time it takes you to have a quick shower. To help with this the game has an item called a truce that you can apply which prevents you from any further attacks for 12 hours and has a 12 hour cool down. The problem though is that once you have built up your city and stocked it with troops you need to keep them fed because if you run out of food they will desert you and run off. Since the game runs regardless of whether or not you have logged in the result of taking a few days off can be catastrophic to your cities. You could leave on a Friday for a weekend trip and come back on Sunday evening to find you had lost all of your cities but one and that is likely to be the worst developed one you have and that city will be stripped of anything of any value. There is a holiday/vacation mode but this requires that you spend game cents each day and this is likely to require you to spend real money. Game cents can be won in the game but it is fairly rare.
The game isn't horrible but if you have a job, a life or anything much to do you will find that this game even as simple as it is will consume a large part of your time. If you do decide to play then you should look to join an alliance as this will make the game more enjoyable and help you to advance. Lots of people will start this game and quit after a very short time which means that many of the older servers are full of long time high end players and zombie players that have given the game up.
The game is a web browser game and uses Flash with adequate graphics. The overall game play is straight forward and works well. There are some design issues but over all the game is playable except that once you start you can't really stop and for this reason I can't recommend Evony for anyone that wants to have a life outside of Evony.