World of Battles: Morningstar Review

World of Battles: Morningstar offers rewarding real-time strategy depth and tactics at a good price, at least initially.

by

Developer Frogwares does good things with an old formula in World of Battles: Morningstar. This free-to-play fantasy real-time strategy game doesn't break any new ground when it comes to elf-on-orc action, but it touches all the bases in providing smart rock-paper-scissors combat. It's also an ideal training ground for genre rookies looking to get their hoofed feet wet, and possesses a huge range of units across eight races, along with a few promising massively multiplayer online attributes. The most prominent objection comes from the cost of the "free" play, as a micropayment system all but requires you to lay down a fair amount of cash over time to keep up with other players online and gain access to the most powerful goodies.

There's a lot of tactical thinking and unit customization that precedes these chaotic clashes.

Gameplay basics offer no surprises. World of Battles is set in a traditional fantasy realm peopled by eight races from across the moral spectrum, so armies are pulled from human knights, dwarves, elves, undead, and so forth. Visuals are good, if a little behind the times, with lots of intricate detail on units. The color palette is decidedly dark, and even a bit on the grim side, being more Warhammer than Lord of the Rings. Units incorporate recognizable characteristics blended with fantasy flair.

Everything is familiar enough that you can break things down to cavalry, archers, pikemen, and so forth, though. This leads to a standard rock-paper-scissors combat recipe where you know that pikemen work well against cavalry, cavalry can charge over archers, and so forth. So while this makes the gameplay rather predictable, it also gives matches a smooth-flowing feel. Knowing what to expect is not always a bad thing.

You do get a considerable amount of content for nothing right off the bat, however. The game comes with a lot of free units, and you can cycle through the offline solo missions and take part in online battles to earn the gold coins needed to buy more goodies. Unit configuration options are plentiful. The feel is very much Warhammer-like, with a tabletop wargame atmosphere to both building armies and sending them into the field. Weapons, armor, and other gear can be bought for many parts of a soldier's body, allowing you to kit your troops out like they were party members in a role-playing game. Master units and giants are also available, dishing out area effects like hit-point boosts and superior attacks.

You probably don't need to have played any previous fantasy RTS games to know that these guys are from the 'evil' side of the ledger.

Battles themselves offer more than just a simplistic clash of armies. Terrain comes into play in most scenarios, unit special traits can often turn the tide of battle if employed properly, and area spells can be cast to protect your troops or lay a beating on their foes. At the same time, the tactical elements are brought forward in a way that should be appreciated by newcomers to RTS gaming. The offline battles are geared to teach basic concepts for going into battle. The arena tutorial that makes you pick the units best suited for combat against oncoming enemies, for instance, does a great job of instructing you in the basics of the RTS rock-paper-scissors formula. Many games take this knowledge for granted, so it's welcome that World of Battles places an emphasis on training players. Maps also practically shove the need for tactical thinking in your face. They all feature hills, forests, towns, and other features that can be huge advantages in battles when used correctly.

Still, you soon want or even need more. Online matching for one-off games is generally good, but you can run into foes with far more powerful units than you can afford. The game also features an MMO-styled persistent fantasy world where you can form a clan and take on rivals to lay claim to swaths of territory…but you need some powerful armies to get into the serious action. So in come gems.

It's a nice day for it.

Gems are extremely useful in the game as they allow you to permanently buy units for your army, whereas gold often just permits you to hire units as mercenaries who need to take rests after a set number of battles, and also acquire items like the best in-game armor and weaponry. Buying with gems can sometimes offer reasonable deals. Purchasing the Order of the Lion Heavy Infantry for the human Knights, for example, costs just 40 gems, whereas renting them is a more formidable 1,000 gold. Plate armor, shields, swords, and other standard fantasy-game accoutrements go for 50 to 150 gems, for the most part.

So if you want to become a serious player in World of Battles in short order, you need to visit your real-world bank and lay down some bucks.

Pressure to start paying extra to play starts as soon as you fire up the game for the first time, with prompts about gem sales, reminders about new units and gear, and a lot of pokes about adding XP and gold bonuses and removing caps on unit types in your army by paying for a Premium account (a monthly subscription). Things can get pricey. Gems are not particularly cheap. Packages range from 750 gems for $9.99 all the way to 7,000 gems for $69.99. You don't get a ton of buying power within the game for these outlays, either. While more basic units are affordable enough, more powerful master units ring up at 500 or 1,000 gems. Items come at what seems to be a reasonable cost at first, but things can quickly escalate when you trick out an army or even a single unit with a bunch of gear.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why.

With that said, all of these expenses are not unduly onerous, as long as you know what you're getting into. Sales are offered regularly on units and gear, and you can get a great deal of action out of the game without spending a dime--as long as you're okay with a lot of grinding for XP and gold and renting units instead of buying them. Dedicating time to playing can save a lot of expense. Battle your way to level 15, for instance, and the cap on unit types in your army is removed, opening up more options. Still, some sort of up-front price would be more forthright than being nickeled-and-dimed for gem buys; it's easy to imagine players being scared off by the game's potential to be a money pit.

Even though World of Battles: Morningstar is already a deeply traditional fantasy RTS game, it might have been better served if it were even more traditional--at least when it comes to pricing. However, even with micropayments clouding the costs, this is a very good offering that provides old-fashioned RTS battling for both longtime fans of the genre and newcomers interested in trying something different.

The Good
Smooth RTS mechanics
Effective tutorials teach combat basics
Rich tactical options in battle and when configuring armies
The Bad
Hard to succeed past a certain point without spending money
7.5
Good
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0 comments
nomation29
nomation29

I played this game for a few minutes before I realized it was like Total War. Then I stopped because my expectations were too high.

fajrihafid
fajrihafid

where i can download this game ?

 

epicgamer1
epicgamer1

World of Battles is the only RTS that is worth playing now.

Great graphics, good balance, outstanding units variety, tactical deepness on the battlefield, strategical deepness on the global map. That is all what i need.

 

Igal-Ze
Igal-Ze

I tried few month ago. As soon as I realized it a F2W I`ve uninstalled immediately and never looked back. With LoL, Dota2 & Tribes offering you a great game for free, there is no need to settle in for a mediocre game for "freeish" and this mediocre at best.

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

And ater 1 year of being there, there is still same bugs, reported 100000 times in forum, same maps and game mode(there is only one game mode), added only global guild war map and few giants...

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

Bad things about game, LOTS of bug abusers and cheaters and you cant normaly report them its a very difficult to prove anything, broken guild wars , no one cant stand against if you attacked by many guilds even with overpowered boost,guilds can have 30 members ONLY, overpowered guild war boost, VERY boring battles, all the time same ,kill or be killed.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

after reading this review about the "free2play" mechanism. Im sure i wont be playing it and that 7.5 is far too high rating. it should get a 5. games like this aint cool, just a ton of pressure for buying stuff. and you need to buy more than a normal game that offers ten times more stuff...

silver_viper219
silver_viper219

pfff... as its said games like this one are  "free to play, pay to enjoy!"

 

there r a few games that offer good and balanced combat plus keeping the promise of f2p fun, u can pay allright but u never "have to" pay to catch up to others cos they pay but u cant afford that sword/gun/unit/etc cos u dont...

GarGx1
GarGx1

I have no problem paying a reasonable fee to play game, whether it's an up front buy the game or some micro transactions for some bobbles but games that require you to pay an ever increasing amount just to be competative (pay 2 win) are a rip off. 

TheDefragmentor
TheDefragmentor

Personally, I don't have an issue with the F2P model as long as the game supplies a deep and engaging experience. Even the $69.99 "micro" transaction mentioned in the review is preferable to paying retail prices here in Australia, where games have been known to cost up to $130 (I dont buy retail for that reason). I have played some F2P games that I have really enjoyed and played for more than 40 hours each, yet my total debit in micro transactions has never exceeded $20. I haven't played this yet, but if it's free, and can entertain me for at least a few hours, if not 40, then I don't mind F2P at all.

paxis85
paxis85

This is what generally seems to happen with f2p models. The reality is that these games aren't worth making unless people are willing to spend some money on them. Sadly, this is generally encouraged by playing on emotional responses. I get annoyed so much that i want to blow the other guy out of the water with impunity so i buy some game breaking cash item(s). The real problem is that people still insist on playing them.  If these models weren't profitable then people wouldn't make them at all.

 

Bottom line: f2p means subscription revenue at staggered intervals.

brkdwnxx
brkdwnxx

this is a prime example of how NOT to do free to play games.

illmatic87
illmatic87

Hang on a sec, this just sounds like that shareware business that I remember 20 or so years ago. Looks like things come to a full circle after all.

illmatic87
illmatic87

I find that I'd pay to support the dev if I like it. I find I treat many Free to play games I enjoy just like a tip for providing me a good game as well as a working service.

 

You'll most likely enjoy it even more if you do. You become a valued customer/member to the developers and they reward you for that, ideally, not to unbalance the game, but make it more convenient than it was. But it's kinda funny how I care about what I get. I'd get offended if the microtransaction--that I might be willing to spend I might add--provides me with a clear advantage and imbalance, I would steer cleer as it would be an indicator that it's not a service worth 'tipping'.

 

Still trying to figure this Free-to-play crap out myself, and it's just as exciting as it was when I found out mods existed for my games, or the wonders of steam.

don_saulari
don_saulari

I miss the old days, when it was enough for you to buy the game, and the rest depends on your gaming skills.

ahpuck
ahpuck

 This reminds me, whatever happened to Kingdom Under Fire 2?

cerberusx4
cerberusx4

God forbid someone makes a game that rely's on skill and saves the cash store for "nice to haves" rather than "must haves".  

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I am assuming that there may be match-making scripts that prevent players with basic units and hardware from being "matched' against those with more advanced, premium hardware.

 

If my assumption is correct, this game is yet another pay-to-advance schlock. Free-loaders may as well be playing a demo.

 

If there are no such scripts, then this game is pay-to-win tripe, which is even worse.

Majkic666
Majkic666

The mach-making sucks! My first battle was against a guy that had won over 380 times and the others on his team had won over 100... while the other on my team only had won few...

grove12345
grove12345

Did we play the same game GS?

Sending blob vs blob is far from tactical for me.

Oh. COH how have you ruined just about every RTS out there for me. Now COH thats tactical

holtrocks
holtrocks

Its a fun game i have been winning without paying but i can see where i might get frustrated because its taking to long and drop a few buck but its better than dropping $60 bucks.

FlautoCeppo
FlautoCeppo

Another Pay to win game, thats just great. Sorry GS but 7.5 was a little too much for any game that insists on dimininishing non payers on their ability to win. Its incredibly lame, and it doesnt last long. Many said F2P tried and none really strived and created a community with this kind of strategy.

Why don't they just charge for it? Do payers ENJOY pwning non-payers? I really hate this, am I the only one?

RankJunkie
RankJunkie

 @GarGx1 There are just different way to monetize.  Free to play allows more people to give it a try and they try to monetize in the backend.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

 @brkdwnxx I agree. I don't like having to pay just to experience the rest of the game.

Llama345
Llama345

 @ahpuck I have been looking stuff up about it in the past few months. From what I could find it seems to still be floating around with some rumors is could be like an MMO.  Meaning your army can get attacked by anyone.  KUFCoD just sucked my ass. 

tiberium84
tiberium84

 @Gelugon_baat I'm playing it the 2nd month. During this time I was participating in several discussions about match-making on their forum. What I've learned is they really do "tiering" of the players depending on their raiting and army.

tiberium84
tiberium84

 @Majkic666 380 times won doesn't mean anything in this game. He could have very poor rating because he had even more losses. Also the troops of weaker team are always auto-blessed to have the parameters balanced agains the opponent's stronger army. They had some bugs in match-making in the beginning, but now it seems to be ok, well, almost .. ;)

Yakol
Yakol

 @grove12345 I honestly think men of war assault squad is a better World War 2 RTS but Total war will always have my heart as the best. This game I think is a disgrace because it's about the units you buy not how good you are.

tiberium84
tiberium84

 @FlautoCeppo Sorry, that's not true. The game gives very few advantages in battles, mostly on the global map. In battle you just have more tactical capabilities with special units but the overall balance of units' parameters is automatically kept by match making system - the weaker team is always "blessed". I doesn't work perfectly in some cases, but overall the non-payers are protected well, better than in the majority of other F2P games. The only thing which I payed for is subscription - you need it to have more freedom composing the army.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @Gelugon_baat if you agree there's a button under the message. You don't have to write tons of worthless comments everywhere.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

 @tiberium84 So it's a pay-to-advance then. Free-loaders only get to experience part of the game.

 

Free-loaders might as well be playing a demo of the game.

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @tiberium84 Well it defintly wasn't when i played it, he had more troops and they where much more powerfull.

 

Well either so i am not comming back to the game, since i fell like it is forcing me to pay to be able to play it properly 

grove12345
grove12345

 @Gelugon_baat just saying. I found my niche with COH or yes in some ways Men of War.

IN those games if you select 40 units and just blindly send them to 20 units. Those 40 units will get chewed to bits.

I dont like blob vsblob action, and base building is fine but if  base building means win... no thank you (StarCraft 2)

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

 @tiberium84 

hahahahaha, just admit it. you paid to win mate. "more freedom composing the army"... hahahaha

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @Gelugon_baat still if you agree there's a button under the message. You don't have to write tons of worthless comments everywhere.

World of Battles: Morningstar More Info

First Release on Apr 25, 2012
  • PC
World of Battles: Morningstar takes players to a fierce mythical land where chaos is the norm and humans struggle against ghastly beasts.
6
Average User RatingOut of 29 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Frogwares
Published by:
Frogwares
Genres:
Real-Time, Strategy