One problem with RTS titles has always been accessibility. However, End of Nations looks to make the entry level just a bit easier.
The free-to-play RTS game was easy to pick up and play, yet veterans of the genre will have some new mechanics to master and get used to for top-tier battles.
Before getting into the gameplay itself at E3, I got to take a look at the load-outs that can be customized and used on maps. The load-outs start by choosing a commander. However, each commander has a different type of hex setup that limits what units can be put in a load-out and what type.
Units used can be modified with boosts and even have their color customized. The various load-outs you have can also be switched on the fly during a battle for different scenarios, but you’ll have a bit of a delay between switching and previous units will disappear.
Moving to gameplay, the controls were your standard RTS fare (moving units around, attacking other units, finding deposits for extra money, etc.). However, instead of trying to swarm with 50 of one unit, you can only bring out one of the units at a time. As soon as it’s destroyed, you can bring it out again by spending your resources. This adds another level of strategy as compared to just throwing units at an enemy to see what happens.
In addition, commanders will have abilities you can use in battle to try and turn the tide in your favor. In my 1v1 battle, I had the ability to kill EMP enemy units in a small area, give my units a damage boost or call a bombing squad in to cause some havoc. Each of these has a cool down, but are great features to help control a battle.
Also, units will pop up a status bar in the game showing various information, including what they are strong and weak fighting against and abilities they may have. The strength and weakness info was handy to know what troops to send where to fight. It actually help me on how to flank a group of enemies effectively with only a few units.
I was also told that the team is trying to make the game more social. Besides allowing seven groups of four people to battle it out in a map together, the game will show events throughout each game season that Trion is planning on hosting.
As far as post-release content, Trion said that they are planning new maps and possibly even a few units. However, they don’t want a huge tech tree due to it being hard to balance. However, I was told there should be good variety at launch on units.
Currently, End of Nations is in alpha, with a small beta expected later this summer. Eventually, there will be an open beta and release within 2012.