reviews\ Sep 24, 2012 at 1:45 am

Only if you have lots of spare time, patience and perhaps money

Forge of Empires is a sim-like game that is advertised as a free-to-play online browser game, with the backdrop option of paying cash-for-Diamonds for faster game results. Diamonds are used to numerous actions in-game to advance more quickly. As an qeneral overview, FoE takes you through various periods of ancient time, each with unique developments pertaining to each historical "Age" you reach.

New accounts begin in the Bronze Age. Players must manufacture various buildings to develop resources; population, gold, supplies, military, goods and happiness. At the start of the game, a brief automated guide helps players create their first necessary buildings. Thereafter, players steer the course of their city's fate themselves, and compete with up to eighty other players in their "neighborhood", those they directly compete against both economically and militarily. FoE uses a timed (days) PvP-styled competition in each neighborhood, awarding the five top scoring players Medals that can lead to rewards. Goods trading with competing players is available in each neighboorhood. Guilds are an option as well, benefitting members with reduced trade costs and unified game actions. FoE graphics are fairly good, and appealing, for a browser-based game.

The game is of average complexity, easy to understand for younger players. Game mechanics operate fairly smoothly. The menu interface is simple to use. Most objects in the game window have hoverover pop-ups, making information readily available. There is also an in-game message system to reach players both inside and outside one's neighborhood. Initially, a new kingdom grows quickly. Resources generate fast from your first buildings in the Bronze Age. Research points (generated one per hour) are applied to initially low-cost discoveries; for example, a Pottery plant costing only three research points. Once paid for with Research points, players then have access to building those structures in their city. Players earn scores from developing their cities, but also from successful attacks upon neighboring players, and military quests/missions versus non-player opponents. These take the form of capturing lands outside of one's neighborhood, and finding new resources upon completion.

This is not a game for the impatient. It can take months of constant gameplay to achieve a respectable score. As players progress from Age to Age, the game becomes increasingly slower to evolve. Developments become more costly and time consuming. FoE's true nature begins to become apparent. Pay-to-stay is the very heart of FoE. The game initially draws players in at the begin, seemingly fast and gratifying, making free sound reasonably sustainable. As play advances, it becomes more-and-more lumbering and burdensome in it's slowness, almost beckoning one to reach for their credit card just sate the frustration, and keep up with the competition. This is strikingly reminicient of many phone app games available today. Furthermore, it's been rumored that the highest ranking players listed in the game are the developers themselves, whom are further rumored to sometimes tamper with in-game elements and opponent's accounts to maintain their rankings and drive-up Diamond sales, which appears quite costly given the small benefits they afford. I cannot confirm thes rumors, only state what some players have mentioned previously.

My review is this... enjoy the game to the point that it remains gratifying. Play for free as much as you wish, pay for Diamonds should you choose to (as it supports the game itself), and have fun with FoE. However, if slow pay-to-stay games do not interest you (and FoE appears to be among one of the more expensive ones), you may wish to look to other games to pass the time. Overall, FoE is entertaining, right up to the point when it becomes obvious that to be a high ranking player is unlikely without your credit card and a consdierable amount of time.


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