If you’ve never heard of it, please check out a browser game (and recently an app version that connects to the same browser-playing players) called Forge of Empires.
This has truly become “my game” to play over the years, and it has what I would argue as the most perfect balance between gameplay-advantageous microtransactions (henceforth MTs), yet at the same time basically no-one caring that people can gain advantage thru MTs because the game’s fun-ness at the fundamental level is the grind toward those advantages.
Full disclosure: This is an invite link that gives me perks for recruiting others, but I am not financially invested in the game, nor receive money-money gains from such invites.
I’m just a regular player, and not one of the major powerhouse players either. I am in it for the grind for rewards, and boy does this game deliver on ways to grind. If you have been hooked on games like Cookie Clicker before, this may be the one game to rule them all in that sense.
The game is basically this:
– Take the general widely-popular Farmville and SimCity concepts and mix them together perfectly, then,
— add turn-based strategy like RISK as an option and not a requirement, that players in a certain 80-ish human-player populated ‘neighborhood’ cluster without the player needing to nag family and friends to recruit, which are not only auto-assigned them but are also auto-adjusted to make for more cooperative neighbors and weed out players who have given up to prevent stagnant accounts,
— add real-world historical elements, in which you can basically be promoted from bronze age, to iron age, up and on thru middle ages, industrial, progressive, modern, and future ages, and each of your related housing and production buildings match in design and architecture from age-to-age, from medieval taverns and shack houses to cobblestone roads and then to paved streets, from old church styles to airports, from tents and craggy-stone monuments upward to gallows or street lights, or more refined landscaping, and include era-specific producible goods buildings like stone miners and wine makers, up toward textiles and salt, toward brass, gunpowder, gasoline, steel production, toward nanotech and biochem data, age-by-age appropriately,
— include special-event seasons that celebrate the accomplishments of real-world scientists and creators like Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and mostly non-Western influences, with dozens of daily side-quests unique to that season for special earnable game buildings to both decorate and add genuine economic/military bonuses,
— have a bunch of different ways to perform a daily bonus quest, even having different kinds of questing systems to pursue if you wish, that can earn you objectively-good bonuses,
— add a resource-swapping trade system, where you can sell for profit or loss depending on what you’re wanting,
— add guilds that players can create or join that have their own in-game mini-forums, and pool their resources to aid each other’s progression more efficiently and with discounts between each other for trading within-guild at no loss to the seller,
— add the ability to level up guilds, so that a collection of like-minded players can play their own way and contribute to the guild’s overall rank and therefore offer the guild members bonuses such as extra supplies each day for being a higher-leveled guild,
— add the ability to build large historical monument type buildings that add significant game boosts to production or military, which themselves can be increasingly leveled up to offer greater bonuses of their kinds. Build the lighthouse of Alexandria, the tower of Babel, cathedrals, castles, historical monuments, and even futuristic oddities,
— add the ability to play multiple worlds under the same general account without needing additional accounts or additional logins/passes (for instance, I play on 15 worlds, meaning 15 different independent starts-from-the-beginning to experiment with styles and strategies, and there are I think about 25? worlds currently),
— add microtransactions in a way that it can’t truly be discerned that you did actually buy them with real money, because you could have technically earned those same bonuses in one of several different other grindy ways, including exclusive prize-sets that can also be won thru frequent seasonal-events or bought outright,
— somehow cultivate easily the least salty community by having absurd numbers of tasks to perform to keep them distracted from complaining and loads of actual playing members in general extraguild chat-style drop-downs who can Sherpa thru different game elements quite easily, and multiple ways to accomplish a single goal so they don’t get bogged down on being unable to complete one goal one specific way,
— add a military RISK-like guild-vs-guild system where you can compete for territory of vast armies, where even non-military players can contribute defensively by providing tithe-like resources to aid troops without having to do any actual battle, but still cater to the battle-ready military powerhouses who pit their troops against others to control territory and therefore guild rank-up bonuses,
— add another simultaneous guild-vs-guild ranked system that can be accomplished either by military strategy OR by wit of negotiation with a puzzle system that involves risking your resources to gain player-versus-game ground that contributes to a self-ranking system, which resets once a week, that can earn bonuses for guild-leveling experience, in competition with other similarly auto-matched guilds to compete for top prizes,
— and have it all be able to run on lackluster home computers directly thru a browser session with no installables-downloads, one-click Facebook login so no need for passwords, or thru an app, so no need for advanced personal hardware upgrades.. and. tons. more, and at no access cost to play for the life of the game.
You won’t get everything dumped on you right up front. You’ll be eased into the system and hand-held thru general methods, walked thru un-losable battles to start you off in concept, and you’ll both gradually unlock various features but also see up ahead when you’ll be able to unlock them and what you’ll need to do to unlock them.
I was neither paid nor assigned any task by anyone to write this, but merely my idea to write about how good of a game it is (and possibly get some recruitment/sign-up bonuses thru this invite link that only award me based on how much YOU like the game by continuing to play it of your own preference. I make zero actual real-world currency from such linking, either, all superficial in-game bonuses =)