Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Settlers Online | Free-to-Play Browser MMO of the Year 2013

Today I am presenting you one of the best, if not the best classical free-to-play browser game: The Settlers Online. It has been awarded with the title the MMO of the year two years in row, in various categories: community relations, classical browser game, strategy browser... Did I mention it is fun, well organized and free-to-play?

Recently I have been writing about some awarded MMO games, and this is just me continuing that fashion. The Settlers Online is something different: great community, good graphics, thrilling gameplay... This has been recognized by both online community and professionals taking the role of the jury in every year's contest for the best MMO of that year. Lets mention here the other awarded games I have been writing about: Grepolis | MMO of the Year 2012 and Rising Cities: New City Building Browser Game.
settlers online strategy game of the year 2012 2013

The Settlers, Our Favorite PC Strategy Goes Online

Yep, The Settlers Online is still in beta faze of testing, so there is lots of things there to be done. But two years in a row, this game is winning awards for best MMO of the year in various categories.

The Settlers, the cutest PC strategy is now available in browser version. These are great news for every fan of the genre. I personally spent significant time playing the Settlers, and I adore them. This time, they are there, at your hand reach. You can play them online, for free with no download needed.

Buy PC version of the game at low price on Amazon!
You must be asking yourself did this move affect gameplay or graphics. I assure you, the graphics is sharp and crisp, and you are going to love it. I was surprised to see a browser strategy game with this good graphics. Colors are vivid, everything is animates, and everything that happens you can watch it in live (deforestation, battles, workshop workers hammering hot iron...).

Browser experience is decent. Nothing freezes up, there are no lag, and surprisingly no bugs, having in mind that the Settlers are still in BETA testing faze

Settlers Online best browser war MMO

The Settlers are CASUAL MMO strategy of the year 2012/2013

Surprisingly, there are no PvP battles. You don't compete with other players, and you can't conquer them. In one word, the Settlers are FRIENDLY online game.

Unlike other strategy games, this is friendly, casual online free-to-play game. You don't have to worry about that someone will attack your village while you are offline, and destroy everything that you have built so far. Someone will find this an advantage of the game, and the other will simply say: What is the strategy without fight and conquering. I am not keeping any side.

This is almost a city builder game. There are enough aspects that could put the Settlers Online into this category, the browser city builder MMO.

Luckily, there is an enemy in form of bandits. Bandits are group of outsiders that have occupied the land beyond the borders of your empire. When you look at the map, you will notice that you are located on an island, somewhere in the ocean.  This island is divided into few sectors. You start playing as the king of one of those sectors, and the rest of them are occupied by bandits. They are scattered around in camps protecting their leader. If you wish to control all the regions (and you will have to in order to place all the needed buildings), you will have to fight those bandits. No worries, they don't invade your land. It is up to you when and where to attack.

The Settlers Online: Gameplay. It is Simple, or perhaps the Other Way?

It is the perfect catch for those who love in-depth gameplays, with lots of things to keep an eye on. This game is one of those. Keep the track of resources coming to warehouses, food and tools production, military upkeep, etc. One thing is sure: you won't be bored playing this free-to-play MMO of the year 2013.

When you log in for the first time, you own only a Mayor's house. This house serves as home for you, 50 workers and as a storage facility for your resources. Then you start building. From the moment ONE and throughout the game you are guided by a well organized tutorial. You are learning how to play the game by completing certain quests, which bring you various awards: wood, gold, brew...

First thing that you need to take care of is steady resource production. And, boy, there are many kinds of resources in this strategy game. The whole game is about creating and keeping the balance between gathered resources and those spent on production.

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After setting up few timber lands, marble, copper and stone mines, you will need to build some workshops in which you will use those to produce planks, wheat, bread, tools, weapons... I am telling you, there is no end. Sometime in the middle of the game you realize you have forgotten to build more bakeries, and then realize too that you don't have more building permits (those are received by conquering new sectors, or by buying them with real money).

In general, it is one kind of the browser game. Covers almost every aspect of economy, trade and military, so this will absolutely become the biggest strength of the game, aside from the graphics. This fact guarantees fun!

settlers online city builder war strategy

The Settlers Online: Free-to-Play Online Strategy, but!

There are certain premium features you can buy with real money. Actually, it seems you can buy everything with real money. But this doesn't change anything. You still have access to every feature and building in the game without paying it. Money simply increases the speed of the production.

Sadly, you can use your money to buy everything in the game, which ruins every game experience. Some players will use this in their advantage. They will, then, have stronger economy, bigger army, more settlers, more production buildings, more mines, more permits, more of everything.

Hey, wait! Didn't I say, at the beginning of this review, that you don't fight with other players, and that you actually have no interactions with them?. I am sure I did. Then, why would it be an advantage for them to have larger army, more resources, more products, stronger economy...? I guess, it is now, then.

So, let it make simple: you actually don't need to spend a dime in order to play. It is more realistic and fun if everything goes a little bit slower.

Best Browser War Strategy settlers online

MMO of the Year in Category The Best Community Relationship.

The Settlers Online have large community. You can engage with them in chat rooms, or you can visit their cities and improve their production by "buffing" one or more buildings (mines or factories).

I love visit friend's city feature in this browser strategy. You are able to go to the city of one of your friend, and "buff" few of their buildings to produce more resources (2 or more times more resources for a relatively long period of time).

Your friends will notice that, and maybe return the favor very soon. Buffs work twice longer if they are applied on friend's building than on your own. Have it mind. ;)

In bottom left corner you will notice a chat window with four (at present) chat-rooms. Mods are friendly, and always available for the any help you will need. Here you can chat with other players and with your friends, ask for resources, products exchange, etc.

Best MMO of the years 2010, 2012 and 2013 in various categories.

The Settlers Online really proved to be one of the best online strategies, with friendly and well bounded community. It is up to you to try it.

For three years in row (2010, 2012 and 2013- 2011 there was no elections) this browser war strategy/city builder game was nominated and elected in as the best in following categories:

  • Best strategy (2012),
  • Best Community Relations in one MMO(2012/2013),
  • Best Strategy Browser MMO (2012),
  • Best Classic Browser MMO (2013).
settlers online mmo of the year 2012 2013

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Conquering Your First City in Grepolis: How to?

Did you read post about First steps in Grepolis 2.0. Ultimate guide to survival in this MMO of the year 2012? If you didn't. please do before you continue reading about how to conquer your first city in Grepolis. If you are beginner, and this is your first contact with the game, then you should know few useful tips about city conquest in order to do it right, and increase your points quickly.

Grepolis free-to-play browser strategy
Play Grepolis for FREE!
Don't tell me you didn't hear about Grepolis! If its true, I think it is the best I tell you some basics about this online war strategy, before we dive into the guide to your first city conquest. Grepolis is one of the most popular browser war games. It is free-to-play online strategy. Last year it has been announced the MMO of the year 2012. More than million players play Grepolis every day. You are the general with a city which you need to build up, prepare it for the battle by building hundreds of troops, ships and catapults. Then, you are ready to fight against the enemy, and conquer their cities, or found new ones.

If you want to read more about it I recommend this post: Grepolis 2.0: Browser War Game Placed in Ancient Times

grepolis free-to-play browser game conquer first city

Prerequisites | things you need to be able to  go for a city in Grepolis.

There are certain buildings and academy researched you must have built/researched in order to be ready for a conquest. Luckily, you are on the right place. This guide has been written to ease your pain, and shorten your path to your first city in Grepolis.

So, what do you need to build and research in your city in order to be ready for your first conquest in Grepolis 2.0? First of all you will need academy on level 22. At this level you can then research Colony Ship, which is needed for colonization. When this is done, you will have to build your harbor to the level 20. This is all you will need to build colony ship.

There are few other prerequisites for a conquest. One of them is that you will need light ship, or bireme researched and built. Colony ship cannot be launched without at least one of those. Then, build some offensive troops (slingers, hoplites, chariots), board the in the transport and send along with colony ship and light ship/bireme to the enemy city, or anchor point on one of the islands.

Keep reading to learn which type of city conquest there are in Grepolis, and how to found new city from the scratch.

ghost cities anchor points to conquer in grepolis

Now that I have my colony ship built, what are my options?

Grepolis offers you few options when it is about conquering. Try to choose the wisest one. Lets see what this guide to the first city in grepolis has to tell you!

At the moment, there are more than 60 worlds in grepolis with more than 25 thousand players each. Every word offers you different rules of the game. They differ from each other in troop speed, time needed for building construction, time needed for troops to be trained and in the way you conquer other cities.

 In general, you have three options: you can found new city, and build it up from the scratch, you can conquer one of the ghost cities, or you can go for the city that belongs to one of your enemies. First two options are recommended if you are beginner, and if you are stuck with only one of few cities. The third option is for those more experienced, and for those who have few more friends with them to help them. Taking city from an active player is job for a whole team. It is not wise to go for it by yourself, and surely not recommended to try and take it if you have just one city.

Since, this guide to first conquest in Grepolis is written for beginners, I will write here only about first two options: founding new city, and conquering ghost towns.

Two types of colonization are present in this MMO of the year 2012. They are called REVOLT and CONQUEST system (first one is more popular in Grepolis: browser war strategy of the year 2012). Which one you will use depends on the world you choose. Only one system is present per world.

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Founding new city and conquering ghost cities in Grepolis 2.0

Guide to how to conquer your first city in this free-to-play strategy continues with straight up  suggestions on how to move on from the position one. Grow fast, or Grepolis is not the MMO game for you!

The easiest way to gain new city is to send colony ship with little troops and one battle ship to an anchor point on your island or to some of the neighboring islands. This way you don't have to fight anyone, and the chances for success are 100%. However, problem with this is that you founded city will have only 178 points. That means you will have to build up the city from the scratch. For someone (including me) this is huge loss of time, and you should reconsider other options.

You can conquer a ghost city. Ghost cities are abandoned cities, and they are marked with grey flag. When player deleted his account, his cities turn ghosts, and they are free to be taken by active players. Those ghost cities might have troops in there, but one cleared, they are no threat, and you can simply walk in and capture it.

By capturing one of the abandoned cities, you can easily double up your points, and get city which is completely ready for building new troops for new conquests. There is one trick: it is not that easy to find big ghost city, so you will have to take any chance you get (2-4k) ghosts are perfectly good for first time.

grepolis: conquer first city war browser game

Revolt and conquest: two conquering systems in Grepolis | which one to choose?

I will explain revolt and conquest systems as part of this "tips and tricks for grepolis beginners" post.

The most important criteria when choosing world in which you will play, is which of two conquering systems are present in that world. It can be REVOLT or CONQUEST. I prefer the latter one, but I am currently playing in the world where the first one is present.

REVOLT system: First, you send ships and troops to clear the target, and revolt it. Then, you land your colony ship in the time-frame 12-24hrs from the moment revolt started.  This is more complicated way to get what you want, but also gives more space for planning your strategy. After all, this is strategy game, right? This system requires additional research in academy: CONQUEST (this means you will have to build academy up to level 28).

CONQUEST system: You can send colony ship right away with enough troops and ships to clear the target and start take-over. Then you do what ever is in your power to protect the city for next 24hrs. If anyone manages to destroy your colony ship in this time-frame, you will loose the city, and you will have to start all over again.

Academy research needed for first city grepolis

Conquering Your First City in Grepolis: How to? CONCLUSION

Are you now familiar with basics of conquering your first first city in this MMO of the year 2012?

The time has come when you will actually start fighting, and not just sitting down and building your city. This is time of war and strategy. Be patient and you will see what Grepolis can offer you: endless hours of fun. It is not without the reason grepolis is one of the most popular free-to-play browser war games.

Stay tuned for more lessons about Grepolis.