The Free MMO Roundup : Evony
The Free MMO Roundup : Evony (or how to pay your way to the crown)
I spent a great amount of time and energy cursing google ads for the longest time because of Evony. Because of the profile that google had of me, they threw scantily clad vaguely fantasy women at me begging me to play Evony for months. At that time I was playing Eve Online and didn’t want to waste time on free games when I had a subscription to make use of so I just ignored it. Now that I’m spending more time looking at all of the games in the FTP (“free” to play) genre I took a dive into Evony.
For those who haven’t looked at it, Evony is a strategic war game that is completely browser based. In 2009 it boasted over 500,000 users most likely drawn in by either the racy ads, or the thousands of spam messages left on message boards. I couldn’t find any updated numbers, but I would be more interested in player retention, not how many people have accounts because as I found, there are a lot of abandoned cities out there.
When you start Evony you are given a simple little town and told that you must build it up, conquer and gain fame. The interface is easy enough to someone who has played RTS games or civ clones so the learning curve isn’t too difficult at the start. What struck me right away though were the constant reminders that protection would end soon and it was a really good idea to join a powerful alliance RIGHT AWAY! I’m particular in the types of groups I join so I avoided it at first, but I also learned very quickly why it is important to join an alliance and that reason is crystal clear
CASH RUNS THE GAME!
Im not saying this because it is any shock to me. Free to play games exist because of the revenue they get selling perks to players. These perks of course range in most games from cosmetics to real boosters but Evony stands alone in the fact that a player’s skill and dedication to the game is meaningless next to a player who has a lot of expendable income. After your ‘new player’ protection is gone you become a very small fish in a sea of enemies that love nothing more than to pound your city back into the scantily clad stone age. Escaping this treatment is as well impossible without spending money on items to create situations where you can be free from attack for a few hours or move your city randomly to another neighborhood.
It is also nearly impossible to grow in the game without spending money somewhere as I am finding. I am not in a place to be spending money on even the games that I really want, so I’m not going to pay for something that is free right now. However the game requires items to be gathered that have such a low drop rate that Diablo rune hunters would be agast. You can just buy a box that might have the item you need randomly, but even that $10 CAD investment is a game of chance.
Now the game itself has some very good pluses. Because it is browser based it is very fast to get logged in and running and you can play from any respectable browser. The UI is well designed and easy to understand. Lastly, the addition of historical factoids about military units and buildings are a nice addition that unfortunately few players probably read, but I love.
I love free games that find unique ways to reward those who support the game financially and Evony’s griefer led combat and cash run economy must appeal to a great number of people, but I have a feeling that I won’t last longer then the next wave of barbarians knocking my gates down. (I hear they thought the scantily clad women were in MY city.. hint: there are no scantily clad women at all.. Sorry to burst the bubble)