Typically, when you see the phrase ‘MMO’ you automatically add the suffix ‘RPG’. The term has become so synonymous with instancing, grinding, and levelling up that it is hard to imagine a game where one plays with thousands of other players and isn’t a role-playing game.
Trion is looking to change that with their upcoming MMORTS, End of Nations. As lead designer Steve Copland explained to us, the game is set in the not-too-distant future, when our sagging economy has finally bitten the big one, and we are in the middle of a world war. Mr. Copland went into great detail about each side’s reasoning, but essentially each one thinks that they have the best solution to humanity’s woes.
Here’s how the game works: when the player logs in, they see their own personal board room, which gives access to social networking features and the world map. From here, they can go to their base of operations and select their loadout, which can consist of things like tanks, infantrymen, choppers, and the rest of the standard RTS fare. It is then time to go to the world map, where it is possible to view or join any match in progress. A single match can accommodate over fifty players (the final number has yet to be nailed down).
To demonstrate how these massive battles work, Mr. Copland created a battalion of tanks and entered a match. Several other players were already engaged in a heated battle, and, looking for an opening, he noticed that he had the opportunity to assault some sentry guns that were suppressing a teammate’s infantry. The enemies showed us just how tactically it is necessary to think in this game, as they set fire to the forest surrounding Copland’s tanks, causing them to scatter.
Eventually they took out the turrets, and turned their attention to the large wall protecting the enemy stronghold in the (now-former) USA. When we say ‘large’, what we really mean is ‘thousands of kilometres long’, so going around it wasn’t really an option—it was ‘bust it down’ or just plain ‘bust’. Unfortunately, Mr. Copland was taken down by a couple of coordinated enemy players at this point, but it was enough to really communicate the depth of the combat system in EoN.
As mentioned, Trion is really banking on this game’s ability to give a new meaning to the term ‘MMO’, with its strategic RTS gameplay that lives in a persistent online world. Hopefully we’ll soon get word of when this apocalypse will strike (a release date), but in the meantime, keep watching gamrfeed for the latest updates on End of Nations.