2K Asia and XLGames announced last month their latest title, Civilization Online. The game will be a sandbox MMO that will bring a mix of RTS and RPG elements. By looking at the trailer many gamers assumed that it will be something like Age of Empires Online and that was wrong. Now let’s take a look at the basic concepts behind this MMO.
Defining the basics.
Civilization Online is designed to have an end. The game will run in seasons, after each session a winner will be announced and the game will restart from the stone age again. We will talk later about the winning condition, for now let’s see the basic concepts. At the beginning of an era you will be able to choose one of the four starting civilizations: China, Rome, Egypt and Aztecs (some sort of faction system). Each civilization will have some special abilities and buildings that will make it unique. In the initial stage every civilization will have three cities as starting area for the new players (this basic establishment will be protected from other players).
Once you finished your first buildings you’ll have the option to choose your career. You can be an engineer, a farmer, a miner or a soldier (in the future they plan to add more options). During the game you will be able to change from one occupation to another, but further investment into one of them will get you better rewards and unlock special technologies.
Crafting will also be an important part of the game. All items present in the world will be player crafted or bought from a merchant that roams around the world. Crafting stations will be located in the front of a town hall, the center point of each city where players will gather to trade resources and socialize. An auction house system will also be implemented so we assume that civilizations will have to either ally or wage war against each other to control the resource flow around the world.
Civilization Online will be a sandbox MMO so users will create the content. You will be able to team up with other players to create buildings or other structures and even full cities. To be able to expand your civilization you will need to explore the world. There won’t be any hint of how far the other factions progressed until you bump into their borders (new maps are planned to be released on a weekly base).
Your character will be able to gain XP “easy and quick” and develop special skills by doing certain activities and completing quest. When going offline you will not get any XP, but you will still gain technological points. As we are part of an open world, advancing to a new age (Classic, Medieval, Renaissance, Industrial and Modern) will require the efforts of an entire civilization.
You have your city sorted out, you choose what role you’ll play inside your faction, you have unlocked the first technologies, what’s next? Well each civilization will have a leader. At the beginning of the age the leader will be a NPC, but every player can take this position of power for them as long as they meet some special requirements. You can become leader by completing several quests given by the actual NPC leader or you can take the power through a player election system. The leader powers are still under development, but he will be the one to choose the evolution path of his civilization. He will also be able to give missions to other players and wage wars against other civilizations.
Wars and PvP.
The first enemies that you will encounter are the AI enemies such as barbarian villages that will randomly spawn around the cities. NPCs armies might attack your settlement so you will need a soldier player to come and help you defend against these nomad attacks. At the end both players will receive items and XP rewards so cooperation between players will play an important role. You can even siege and capture the barbarian villages before they send their troops against you. All battles will take place in the world map so you will be able to witness all the major events that occur in the world. There will be 1 vs 1 battles, which will be seen as a fight between two individual players, but after several fights take place a war between two civilizations will eventually occur.
To win the season you will have to either conquer most of the world or reach the pinnacle of Modern Age by creating the space travel. After victory conditions are being met, money, items, clothing, etc. will be reseted, but some aspects will carry over.
Civilization Online is currently developed for PC on the CryEngine 3 and may become a free to play title (nothing official yet, but Jake Song said, “we are inkling toward a free-to-play model”). A demo is already available, but the developers were not ready to show it to the public. The game will first release in Korea and then around the globe.