Stormfall: Age of War Makes Me Wish I Were a Better Empire Builder

Illustration for article titled emStormfall: Age of War/em Makes Me Wish I Were a Better Empire Builder

Launched earlier this week on Facebook by Plarium, Stormfall: Age of War is an incredibly polished social empire builder with tons of depth, sharp production values (voice overs!) and plenty of opportunities to interact with your Facebook friends both positively and negatively. If only I had the patience.

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Empire building is one of my gaming blind spots. Some players revel in creating and positioning buildings, gathering resources, researching technology trees and amassing armies large enough to defend their kingdom while invading others. I toss down a couple buildings, gather enough troops to make a brief nuisance of myself, and play until those troops die horribly at the hands of their inept overlord.

Stormfall kept me going longer than most, thanks in no small part to the spoken dialogue of the game's tutorial-delivering regent lord. I am not used to Facebook games talking to me. When I first launched the game and the lord's gruff voice rumbled from my speakers I started scanning the 200 Chrome tabs I had open to see what was making the noise.

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He's a pal now. I kind of want him to be my dad.

The regent lord guided me through building my fortress, placing resource-harvesting buildings in their assigned spaces, making allies of neighboring castles and then sending my troops to spy or assault those castles when I grew bored of those allegiances. He helped me build walls and fortifications. He showed me how to research new troops and technologies in the game's Lost Arts tree. He showed me how to be a better leader.

And I let him down.

There are no units at my keep now—they've all been killed. I've let my people down, but my farms and mines keep producing despite the constant raids by my more disciplined neighbors, so I don't see why I need to maintain a military force. I imagine my character sitting in a high tower of Castle Kotaku, reading comics and munching on cheese and stale bread. When the invaders come he hides in his wardrobe. Maybe he winds up in Narnia and lets them down too.

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Stormfall: Age of War [Facebook]

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DISCUSSION

This IS a fun game. Up to a point. If you don't pay to play, you get to where it takes literally all day to build any troops/resources. Also, the more powerful troops are practically impossible to get in a reasonable timeframe. For example, dragons cost 333 sapphires (their unit of currency) in the market and you get 5 a week from playing daily. Otherwise, you have to buy sapphires. You can wait until you gain enough of a level to build what it takes to make them, but that too takes a long time. I've been playing since the game debuted, and I am nowhere near that level. Another issue is the way they calculate battle losses. I was raided by a buyer (pay to play person - you can tell who they are by their castle, level, troops, etc) and lost my entire army of almost 100 troops while he lost only 12. As in a dozen. And most of my troops were defensive. Hardly fair, and combined with the long waits to do anything, it's clear that unless you have extra money lying around to play a "free" game, you'd better be ready to get stuck in limbo. Attached is a screenshot of my battle losses.