Pikaia Games has offered Space Sector, and 50 of its loyal readers, a chance to try Renations before the open beta goes live on the 24th of November 2011.
So, if you want to be one of the first to have a look at Renations then jump right in through this link and share it with your friends if you like. You can all pick nearby places when choosing your race and city locations so you’ll be able to interact early in the game.
Renations is a strategy game set on a post-apocalyptic world. For a brief overview of the game I invite you to read a Renations’ preview article I wrote a couple of months ago.
At first look Renations seems to be just another of your typical browser-based resource-gathering free to play MMO. Yes, the main mechanics are common to many other browser-based MMO games currently available in the market. However there was something about Renations that caught my attention. Maybe it had to do with its background story and the sci-fi setting, or perhaps it was just a god damn good pinch press release.
Anyway there were some key aspects about Renations that made me follow this game since it was first announced a couple of months ago. Things like the devs stating that “accessibility has been a key design driver in Renations“, or that “RENATIONS is different to other similar games as it features extensive lore and emphasizes the art of storytelling“, or perhaps it was the devs punch line “The game reinvents the genre“.
For some reason I was captivated by this title and today I got a chance to have a look at it, a couple of days before it gets open to the public.
So, what’s interesting about Renations?
Actually when you start your game you can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed with all the different buttons, icons and tabs available to you. And at first glance the graphics don’t look that nice. But after a while you get used to the UI look & feel and you start to navigate around very comfortably. And this is a strong point about Renations that I would like to point out first.
The UI is clean, usable and intuitive. The game features plenty of tool-tips that help you get a good grasp on the game. The majority of the game functions are at the distance of a click and the rest of them probably not more than a couple. The menu is very well organized, and so, after a few minutes you’ll be quite familiarized with all that the game has to offer. But don’t be fooled with this apparent simplicity, Renations has plenty to offer.
The UI can take some seconds to respond at times but nothing too serious (remember that this is a browser-based game). There are some obvious things still left out to finish. Things like some art assets still missing (“Portrait coming soon!”). I guess the devs will take care of that shortly, during the open beta or right after that.
In the beginning, I recommend you go through the tutorial, which as usual in this type of games will introduce you to the resource gathering and building mechanics of the game. Mission after mission you will become more and more familiarized with the game, so, this tutorial alone is probably all you need to get on track with the game and I strongly advise you start there.
Story unfolds with your progress. This is probably one of the aspects I like most about Renations, if not the major aspect that got me interested in the game in the first place. In contrast with many other MMOs I’ve played, Renations features a central story which unfolds as the player progresses in the game. As time unfolds you will be decoding parts of the story in what the game calls “log books”. Actually the game server that can be played now has the layout of a book. As the game progresses new chapters will be unfold, and so on. Possibly in the future there will be more servers (more games, or books) to be unlocked, but this is just a guess.
Heroes, quests and events. Besides the main plot Renations also features a very interesting PvE side-quest system, also vulgarly known as instances or raids. As you progress you will be able to perform these side quests, even cooperatively at times, although I only managed to complete a single-player instance yet. If you’re successful you gain loot and possibly level up your heroes when you finish your quests.
To embark in PvE quests you need heroes. There are several types of heroes available for recruiting, each one with their own traits. RPG fans will be pleased since heroes level up and can be equipped. You recruit your heroes at a tavern and you can buy them equipment there too. The more improved your taverns are the more and stronger your heroes will be available for recruiting there.
In addition to PvE quests Renations also features events that occur from time to time. When these events unfold you are given a choice on how to address them. On one of my games I had the chance to apply a surplus of money. Miners were requesting increased wages in order to ease their burden. I had the choice to use that surplus money to raise their wages or to invest the money in the construction of warheads. So, your decisions, your play style, will affect the game accordingly. In my case I decided to attend the miner demands, and for that I got a temporary boost of production in my city.
Interesting tech trees. Renations features research. Nothing really new here. However I found Renations’ tech trees to be rather meaningful. You research new techs to unlock new buildings and new units, nothing new here alright, but each faction has its own different tech tree, adapted to their style and background story. Although I’ve only played two factions by now (the Ocean dwellers Myrmidons for the most part, and the Order for some time) there seem to be plenty of choices and different kind of buildings and interesting units to unlock.
The monetization model is pretty standard. The game is free to play, however if you want you can subscribe temporary advantages called subscriptions with game currency called Game Credits (GC), that you can buy in-game. These subscriptions include research and production boosts and extra queue building slots (the ability to build several things at the same time). In addition to these subscriptions you can also buy special equipment (called implants) to equip your heroes.
There are some rough edges still. As not unexpected at this time (since the game is still in beta) there is still some unpolished stuff and some annoyances too. Examples of these are the missing art assets. Some pictures are still unavailable and some icons look a bit too similar in places. As an example of this: the unit icons, which are very similar and uninteresting. Looks like the Art department has still a lot of work to do. There is occasional lag on UI response here and there but nothing too serious as I already mentioned above. There is also some bad wording in the descriptions when starting your game and choosing your faction.
Renations did not disappoint me. This is actually a MMO game I enjoyed playing. It features a nice bundle of features. At times, and in a way, it made me feel like playing Civilization on a browser with a post-apocalyptic setting.
Only time will tell if Renations has enough depth (and not too many annoyances) to keep me interested, but for now I will play it in the background to check-in from time to time.Subscribe RSS
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