Dragons of Atlantis - Newbie
This is the first web-based flash-based Fantasy Game that I have ever played. What caught my eye, was the idea of fielding an Army of Dragons - and suspected that this would be the ideal Strategy Game to fulfil this desire! I donned my Dragon Scales, and marched to War:
What I found surprised me somewhat! The veteran of many a strategy game, I was used to building structures (such as Castles and Barracks) whenever I wanted to. Yet, this game twists that all around - for you can only build one structure at a time ... At first, this caused me little concern - for I approached the game in the same way that I would other strategy games: resources first. Thus, did I set about building Farms (for Food), Lumber-mills (for Wood), Mines (for Metal) and Quarries (for Stone). Now, as I had expected - the level of my Stronghold-Castle (here a Fortress) constrained the amount of these that I could build (e.g. each upgrade to my Fortress allowed me to have three more resource buildings). Yet, it was when I was upgrading my Fortress, together with my resource buildings - that I noticed that the build-upgrade times were increasing! At first, it took 15 seconds to build a Farm - which soon increased to several minutes (e.g. it's 14 minutes 21 seconds for a level 7 Farm). Now, that may not seem too bad ... But, when you consider that a level 2 Fortress takes 9 minutes 35 seconds, with a level 8 Fortress taking 1 day 5 hours 5 minutes 20 seconds, then you realise that the limit of building one structure at a time - can quickly become a hindrance! Of course, there's ways to eliminate this - for example, by building structures overnight-over-weekend, or by acquiring speed-ups (which shorten your build times). I found it amusing that the game gives you a taster of speed-ups, then wants you to purchase Rubies to buy them (in the future). Despite this, I persevered, and was soon starting to feel that I had a good level of resources for my First City. Thus, did I go about wanting to build Troops to defend it! It was here that I discovered that these to, have various requirements (as I had expected). I tasked myself with wanting to build Dragons - specifically Swift Strike Dragons, Battle Dragons and (my first) Great Dragon. Whilst these troops require resources (such as Food, Metal and Lumber) - they also require specific buildings (such as the Dragon Rookery, Dragon Keep, Garrison and Metalsmith) together with specific research (such as Dragonry and Rapid Deployment). It was here that this game started to be become much more exciting! I quickly set about building the various structures, and completing the necessary research (within the Science Centre) with one goal in mind: to build my troops as quickly as possible. I liked the fact that there was a hierarchy here - I had to build Halberdsman (requiring Metallurgy research), Minotaurs (requiring a level 3 Garrison) and Longbowman (requiring Weapons Calibrator research) BEFORE I had any hope of building Swift Strike Dragons, let alone Battle Dragons! As each of these tasks (aka Quests) was completed, it was satisfying to see that you earn rewards (such as ten thousand Gold Coins, and-or five thousand Food). All of this started to fuel my desire to build Battle Dragons (which feature even higher requirements - such as a level 7 Garrison). Whilst all of this is going on, it's very easy to overlook one simple fact: that your First City shall only be protected (from attack) for the first week. I don't think that a weeks grace is enough. There's so much you have to do within this week, that the time seems to fly by - especially when you task yourself with upgrading your City's Wall, hatching your baby Dragon's Egg, carrying out higher level research and training 300 Battle Dragons. There's also the Art of Spying to learn, which allows you to Spy on enemies - both human and AI controlled Anthropus Camps (which when captured, increase your production rates-resources). To help you with all of this, the game features a Quests Plane - which I feel provides a useful task list of what to build (or do) especially in the Newbie (aka early) stages of the game. Overall (so far): I think that this game shows the potential to warm-up to become one of my favourite (online) strategy games. Even so, I feel that there's room for improvement. Apart from giving Newbies' more time (perhaps two weeks of protection), there's one area that I found confusing - the Forge. I found the layout of it's controls confusing (at first), as the ability to Forge and Adventure were greyed out. As such, I decided to ignore them, and concentrated on building up my City and it's Troops. I also found it quite common to run out of resources (in the early stages), and I became frustrated by time (an on-going concern). All of this is why, I have decided to grade this game four stars at present (as there's so much more - within the game to explore).