Forge of Empires: Forging an Empire Takes Time

03/22/2014 09:00 am by Marcel Wuttig in TestsBrowser GamesStone Age

Forge of Empires

Forge of Empires

The free-to-play browser game Forge of Empires has been around for a considerable amount of time. The game was released closer to two years ago and has continuously grown ever since. The folks over at InnoGames regularly add extensive game updates to expand their strategy game. Each expansion adds a more modern era to the title giving players an exciting chance to travel through time. Recently, the German based publisher released the Guild vs Guild game mode, one of the most extensive features ever added to Forge of Empires. It gives players an opportunity to experience PvP fights like never before, something that had been requested by the community for quite some time. Writing about the release of this feature made us here at realize that we had never actually tested the RTS. We decided that it was high time. How would Forge of Empires hold its own against other, more recent strategic browser based games, such as Anno Online?

Starting On a Small Scale

We have quite fond memories of some well established strategy franchises.

We have to admit that we have quite fond memories of a few real time strategy games and have spent a considerable amount of time in the past establishing modern cities in Sim City or creating an empire in the Anno franchise. We approached InnoGames’ Forge of Empires with a similar excitement looking forward to creating a town, which would slowly but surely evolve into a modern empire. Getting started in the title was quite simple and should not pose a challenge to anyone. Even players unfamiliar with the genre should soon find their way around. A guide tells you exactly what to do and how to do it. The more quests you complete, the less specific his instructions are. Slowly but surely, his helpful guidance evolves into regular quests, which guide you towards completing certain incentives.

This is what a quest looks like in Forge of Empires.

The beginning of the game is all about establishing residential buildings and producing much needed resources (find out what to keep in mind in the beginning of Forge of Empires here). We were actually a little confused that we didn’t need goods such as timber or stone to build houses. Instead, resources and coins sufficed to establish most buildings in the beginning. This was somewhat different to other strategy games we had played in the past, in which certain goods were important to build specific houses.

Of Clicking, Repetition, and Waiting

So, how does Forge of Empires work instead? Here’s the title’s general gameplay in a nutshell. Explaining it is the best way to describe why we were torn between slight addiction and subliminal boredom.

Clickety click - the symbol above your buildings tells you that it's time to collect something.

In InnoGames’ strategy title, there are 5 main types of buildings. Residential houses produce coins, production buildings produce resources, goods buildings produce goods (duh), cultural buildings and decorations produce happiness to increase productivity, and military buildings… well, train your army. A research tree allows you to unlock new buildings, expansions, and technologies, which is important in order to reach the next era. Coins and resources are required for all kinds of tasks - building houses, training your army, finally unlocking researched technology. Accordingly, it is always important to make sure that you have enough coins and resources in stock. This leads us to our first problem with the title. While your residents automatically produce coins, it is always up to you to collect these. Your population will only continue producing coins after you’ve collected them. Production buildings take this system even one step further. You have to individually instruct them to produce resources, before you individually collect them. We were a little disappointed to realize that it didn’t really matter what “product” these buildings created in the end. Take the Hunter for example: Producing a trophy takes 5 minutes and rewards you with 7 resources; producing fur takes one day and rewards you with 169 resources. You rarely (if ever) need to think about what your production buildings produce in the end because they all reward you with resources, no matter what. If you have time to spare and don’t mind clicking through your buildings every 5 minutes, we recommend producing those items that take a shorter amount of time to create, as they will give you more resources in the end.
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