For many people, Evony will be synonymous with boobs. Yes, a large portion of the developer’s marketing strategy is to litter the web with adverts containing images of buxom maidens. The adverts became increasingly more boobalicious until all that was shown was a pair of ample knockers in a bra with practically no suggestion of a fantasy-based MMO whatsoever.
Another marketing tactic for the game has been to post ‘spam comments’ on blogs and columns around the interwebs. The Guardian, amongst other website,s have suggested that the game is ‘the most despised on the internet’ but if there’s one thing that’s certain, it's that Evony’s marketing guys know how to grab attention with both hands. However, we have to settle one matter from the get go. One that may limit the average amount of time spent reading this very page. There are no more boobs in Evony than there is cake in Portal.
Okay so Evony is actually an MMORTS (Massively Multiplayer Online Real-Time Strategy) game and not an MMORPG, but it's very topical with the media buzz around the marketing campaign and we were curious to see how relevant all the boobage was. The basic premise is that you’re a noble and you must build yourself a city, train up an army and let the pwnage on your neighbours commence. All of the key elements for building RTS bases are present. You can build academies for researching technology such as archery; farms and lumber mills to gather natural resources; and barracks for training a ragtag bunch of semi-sober yocals into hardened regiments of medieval space marines.
Not a buxom wench nor gratuitous cleavage to be seen, even if you click to enlarge
The interface is very busy and a little overwhelming the first time you log in. The best way to find your feet is to follow the ‘quests’ which aren’t so much ‘pursuits made in order to find or obtain something’ as instructions on what you should build or which resource you should gather next. The rewards offered will more often more than cover the natural resources such as lumber and iron that were spent on the construction or upgrade of a building. For this reason, you’re best to work your way through the quests, rather than laying down random buildings in a whimsical fashion.
Everything can be upgraded. Structures, troops, attributes and researched technology can all be bettered to maximise the effectiveness of your strategy, which means that Evony possesses a surprising level of depth. There’s a lot to do when you start laying out your city, which is always a fun proces,s as anyone that has played games such as Sim City or Civilisation will know. The progress paths are balanced and lovingly intertwined to get you absorbed in the gameplay.
The combat is the usual affair of rock paper scissors-style units. Some are better against others, so a little experimentation is needed to find an army configuration that suits you. You can conquer nearby land for access to more resources or tackle a neighbour in an attempt to take down his city. Rather than taking your freshly trained group of ex-farmer n00bs to the front to door of a long-time yeomen commando that will crush your armies with a sideways glance, you can first send in scouts to sniff out what you'd be up against.
Click to enlarge
Natural resources build up slowly though, so you’re going to have to be patient when you’re out of materials. If you want to advance quicker towards being the proud owner of a pimped-out castle with 25ft high walls and an indoor swimming pool, you’re going to have to break out your credit card and buy some online currency. Evony Cents can buy you items that reduce construction time, increase resource gathering speeds and increase your tax revenue.
Talking to some of the game community, we learned that someone had got into the top ten player list on the server without paying a dime, so it’s not essential that you do. It’s just going to require more patience.
There’s a lot to do in Evony though, especially when you first start playing. The way the prerequisites for upgrades and general progress have been intertwined will keep you busy for a good many hours. Your city is protected for the first seven days so you don’t have to worry about it getting spanked by King Arthur next door while you’re teasing the locals off the booze and into the barracks. The game could run on a pocket calculator too, so if you’re stranded with only your lappy for gaming and some time to sink, Evony is worth a bash.