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Caesary is a browser-based free to play PvP MMORTS with RPG elements by Heroica Era LTD. / LeKool (released in 2010), based in a historical setting where you play as a Roman Empire consul and have to develop your own city (or cities). It looks a lot like Evony/Civony clone, but doesn’t rips off other game’s graphic assets and is much more reliable than said games. I have been playing Caesary for more than two months now and find it an interesting game, so i want to share with you my thought on why this game is worth trying.
As far as i know, Heroica Era LTD. is a Chinese company, and LeKool is watching over English version of Caesary. I know for sure that Evony/Civony’s development had been funded by goldfarming company, but i can’t say anything like that about Caesary. Also, whatever attitude i have seen from LeKool (who host the English servers), it raises only positive thoughts. When Caesary was unavailable for over than a day, LeKool had apologized in public and everyone got a pack of in-game gold worth $10.
When you start playing, you need to pick a server to play, and then bookmark your game, so you can open it without logging in. Caesary client loading time is short enough, it barely weights more than 30mb. The graphics are static backgrounds and screen, slightly animated here and there (people working in your city, trees moving on world map, etc.), looks nice but nothing really fancy. It really was inspired by Roman Empire, because buildings have some Roman feeling about them, the troops are really ones that Romans used and items in cash shop had been each baked up by a citation from Roman history. And i almost forgot to mention that Caesary also has sound. Nothing really decent either, but it’s there.
So, what you can do in Caesary, what makes it interesting? First, you are impersonated by a character whose portrait and name you can choose right away (and rename him/her once for free). You have several stats – prestige, honor and rank. Honor is simply gained and lost in combat, but prestige is calculated depending on what you have built, how many cities you have and your rank. There are ratings on each server, based on honor and prestige, to decide who are the top players. Also you have a rank in Roman Empire that allows you to have more than 1 city – i believe, the top is 10 cities right now.
Each city is represented with a static city map, where you have empty slots for building. Starting slots aren’t all you get, when you develop a city you can upgrade it, and the map will change, presenting you with several more slots to fill. Each building can be upgraded, which need resources and time, and some upgrades also require special items which you can buy or get on your own. There are 4 resources on each map, that generate food, wood, stone and iron. Besides these, there are also people living in your city and the money income they generate (in Roman money – sesterces). The more people there are – the more sesterces they generate by taxes, and the more jobs you can have to produce more and more wood and food, etc. Each job adds a certain amount of workers and needs time to complete until you’ll see this workers doing their job. 4 basic resources can be bought for cash, but you can’t buy sesterces directly – you get them only by taxes, by selling other resources and by marauding other cities.
Let’s not forget that this game is PVP… When you have a stable economic base, you can start building up your ultimate army. There are several different types of troops, some you get from the beginning, some you have to earn by doing research. By the way, there are a lot to research – both for army and for civilian life, but the more levels you have researched, the more money it will require. Building an army isn’t cheap either, it requires several types of basic resources, a lot of money to hire troops, and more food to keep them fed and sound. Each army needs a Hero to lead it, and each hero also has several stats that you can raise by distributing skill points when a hero levels up. Heroes also can work as city Consuls, which would boost that city’s sesterces production. Heroes aren’t cheap either – you have to pay them a certain amount of sesterces which is called Retainer here.
When you start playing, you have “newcomer’s protection” for 7 days, when no one can attack you, but you can’t attack other players too. It’s more than enough to build a small basic army and try your luck in fighting other players. You can maraud other players to just gain resources, or you can capture a Wilderness, which would give you a boost to one of the basic resources production. You can’t destroy someone’s city, but you can colonized it (or be colonized) by raiding it several times. Usually it takes either a very long time or a lot of heroes to colonize someone, until their Allegiance parameter drops to 0. When you finally did that, the city becomes your Tributary and will pay you a % of its income. I must say, PVP is not very fast-paced, you have to wait until your troops get to the point you want to attack, and if it’s a League-vs-League stuff, there is a lot of coordination between players to be done. But i find it fun to play overall, and especially to cooperate with other players.
When you start, Caesary gives you not only “newcomer’s protection”, but also a “newcomer’s pack” – each time you reach a new level, it would open up and give you a lot of cash shop items for free. There are all kinds of items out there – that would speed up building and work creation, raise production, or move your city to another spot, or give you a new hero, or a boost to your troops. As i said before, you can’t buy sesterces, also you can’t buy troops directly – which keeps Caesary more balanced than it could be. Usually, you can live without spending on cash shop, and there are ways to find items for free, like a free lottery you can use once per day.
Beside upgrading your city and marauding your neighbors, in Caesary you also can do quests. Truth be told, usually they require you to build or upgrade something, or get into a war with someone, but there are also rewards for research completion and you can trade for cash shop items through the quest system – you need to gather a certain amount of loot by marauding wildernesses, and then it’s traded for troops, those items you need for city special upgrades and the luxury items (they are used to promote your character to next rank, to have one more city with each rank).
LeKool GMs are usually helpful and there is always someone online to answer questions and help. But you have to keep in mind, that Caesary has a rule – no language other than English is allowed in world chat. When i started playing, GMs tolerated other languages and gave 3 warnings until mute, but as every five minutes someone new comes and break the rule, they grew annoyed over time and began to mute on first offence. And it was a big relief, i tell you. There are too many idiots who would start swearing in their language thinking no one understands them.
But, besides that downside, i found Caesary community one of the best ones i’ve ever seen. There are many Leagues where new players could join, and some leagues where people had been playing together for some time are really like a family – and no wonder, Caesary is really a social-oriented game. You need other people to trade with and to form alliances, and being a lone player there is a sad business, because there would be no one to protect you from marauders. Being in a League on the other hand supplies you with a lot of people to play with, and if you just have started – League will provide you with all the support you need. For example, in a League where i play (we’re in top 5 Leagues right now) we have a tutorial program for our newcomers, where they learn the basics of playing that is not covered by game’s own tutorial. Also, usually rude and stupid people, who could annoy you in other games, are kicked out very fast. But keep in mind that most top leagues kick out players that had been inactive in a very short period, like 3-4 days – usually enough for a casual player, but if you go on vacation, it would be a good idea to warn your teammates.
So, overall – this game has a strong community, so if you want to socialize online this is a good place to start. It has PVP, so you won’t get bored. It’s not a cash-sucking black hole (unless you want it to be like that), so if you’re short on money, it won’t ruin a game for you. And the RTS model is a fine one – i haven’t got into *too much* details (i hope), because this text is already long enough. The only downside is graphics, but RTS games aren’t about the graphics, are they? I would recommend Caesary to anyone who’s up for a good RTS, for both casual and hardcore players.
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