30 Days of Game: Evony

It has been a long while (October 2008) since I did one of these, and as luck would have it I just happened to have played another PBBG for 30 days, so a review follows.

The gang over at the Ofasoft boards found this game, Evony, and we decided to go play it.  Honestly, as evidenced by my Travian review, it is best to approach these RTS-like browser games with a crowd of friends because ultimately a guild or alliance is going to be the only way to survive the PvP.  People without a group behind them will be farmed for points and resources.  As with many browser based games, its got an RMT element, and while Evony’s items for purchase can give you a serious advantage, I have found that not enough people are buying them to make it really matter.

So, to start, you create an account, name your lord and name your first city (don’t pick something you love, you’ll be changing it in a minute).  Like any RTS type games, you build building for resources and to facilitate your army, and there are optimum build orders to get to certain elements of the game.  But, for the first 7 days you will be safe from PvP (you can’t be attacked, nor can you attack other players), so you have time to learn the game.  Learning the game is where Evony, in my opinion, shines.  Other games I have played forced you to go digging around wikis or forums or elsewhere to learn about the game, but Evony has implemented a Quest system giving you tons of little objectives, all with rewards.  The best way to learn the game is to do the quests.  If you do, your town won’t be a war machine, but it will be perfectly functional.  Just heed the game’s warnings and don’t take your town hall to level 5 or you’ll end your seven day protection.

As I raced through the quests, I built myself a second town and was well on my way to solid before my 7 days were up.  I worried as I hit the end of that week, but as I was in an alliance with around 40 people in it, actively playing and constantly out of resources (because I was constantly building), it seems there were enough reasons not to attack that no one did.  Also, you’ll learn that attacking valleys and NPCs is more profitable at lower levels.

The key to the game is range attacks, which is pretty much true for all games and for real life too.  And while archers are a ranged attack, ballistas are better, but they do take a while to get to.  One thing the Evony forums are good for is posts about theorycrafting.  That’s when people observe game behavior and try to work backwards to get the formula the programming is using for things.  Battles work like something out of European wars with lines of attackers approaching each other on the field.  The fastest runners get out front and are the first to get mowed down.  The game works on a closest range/greatest threat method, where if you have archers and cavalry fighting swordsmen, the swordsmen will fight your cavalry while your archers kill them at range.  If you didn’t have the cavalry, your archers would get “free” attacks on the swordsmen until they “met”, and then the swordsmen would fight the archers at close range.  Fights also use a “1 group attacks 1 target” method, so in the previous example, the swordsmen would fight the cavalry until there were no more cavalry.  If they had swordsman and warriors, both of them would attack the cavalry, ganging up on them, while your cavalry would only attack which ever group they encountered first (the swordsmen).  Ultimately it causes weird battles where you can take 1,000 ballista, 1 cavalry, 1 swordsman, and 1 warrior, and defeat a much larger army of a single non-ranged unit type because there will be at least three rounds of combat before the enemy can attack your ballista since they need to engage each army “type” on the field and defeat them.  So if 1 ballista can kill 10 warriors a round, this attack configuration could defeat 30,000 warriors while only losing 1 cavalry, 1 swordsman and 1 warrior.  These kinds of mathematical and logical decisions result in very odd attack configurations, and approaching the game like a real war will only cost you troops.

The way battles work is why fighting NPCs is more profitable than PCs.  A hero with the appropriate number of ballista can defeat all the defences of an NPC city while taking no losses.  Send transports with them and you can gain much more resources than you can build in the same time.  NPCs basically become resource ATMs.

Once you get out of your 7 day period, and assuming you are part of an alliance, you then enter into the world of negotiations.  Eventually, fighting NPCs grows old and you want to take on some other players.  Attacking the wrong player in the wrong alliance can result in a war that could turn out badly for your entire alliance.  At the beginning of week 4, another alliance declared war on my alliance and attacked one of our member’s cities.  No warning, no discussion, just attack.  We sent off a note to find out why, but they didn’t reply.  So, we checked with our friendly alliances and then unleashed hell on the offending alliance.  We didn’t just return fire on the offending player, but his whole alliance.  We ended up taking a half dozen cities from their players and putting a serious hurt on their entire alliance.  Of course, this was followed by lots of whining and more negotiations as it turned out the leader of the alliance that declared war on us was a secondary account for the leader of another alliance, who was an ally of an ally, and so on… the fallout was funny as alliances turned on him and supported us, but the real lesson is that it could easily go the other way if we didn’t vet our targets properly.

The best feature of all, however, is that no one can take your “last” city.  If you have 5 towns and fall under heavy PvP siege, they can take 4 and they can farm your last, but they can’t take it, and you never lose your technology research.  And if you’ve saved up some city teleporters, you can always flee.  You can also hit the “Restart” button and start from scratch, keeping the same lord name and nothing else.

All in all, Evony is fairly well built and balanced, more so than other free RTS-like games I’ve tried online.  Its fun, and with planning of your buildings, you can actually schedule days away from the game where you are researching new technologies and building high level buildings and won’t need to check in.

I’ve played Evony for 30 days, and I’m going to keep playing.  With 100 player limits on alliance sizes, it doesn’t appear to suffer from the alliance domination problems that other games do, and will keep it interesting for far longer.

30 comments

  1. Joe says:

    I’ve been playing Evony for 30 days now too (I’m over 450k prestige). I think I’m over it. Theres not much to do at the end of the game. Our alliance can kill anyone nearby and we rotate war regularly. But there doesn’t seem to be a point. Maybe I’ve had enough.

  2. Jason says:

    Perhaps you have… but even the strongest alliances can be broken, or will disintegrate from within. I’ve seen a few fall apart and split in two or three new alliances and war with each other.

  3. Jason says:

    At this point, I am tempted to pull the review. I won’t, but I want to make a caveat. The company behind Evony is a company that also engages in Gold Farming in WoW. Evony appears to be their attempt at throwing together a game to farm money from the players. If you can play the game without spending any money, I strongly encourage that. However, given the company’s recent turn into spam advertising (they’ve been comment spamming gaming blogs, and spamming Google Adsense with domains to maximize their appearance), I’m voting with my feet and getting out of the game. I enjoyed this game much more than Travian, and it will lead me to looking for a similar RTS style game on the web, but I won’t do anything more to support this particular company.

  4. Chevy Anderson says:

    Sometimes you gotta hustle to make it big.
    If it isn’t illegal, it’s your own business that you leave any game.
    I pose the suggestion that you don’t make it our business, too…

  5. Jason says:

    I’m afraid I don’t follow you, Chevy. You suggest that I don’t make it your business? But you are reading my blog. All of this is my business. Sure, by posting it publicly I am implicitly inviting you to participate, but it is still my blog.

  6. naysh says:

    Just started out my evony journey and it is tough getting into the big alliances.

  7. BGNorman says:

    Speaking from inside a big Alliance, I started when it was a seedling, It is tough to invite new members in when you are at the 100 member limit. In order to add someone you have to kick someone out and often it is a sad occasion to have to drop a relatively newly made friend from the group because they have been inactive for the long period of 2 weeks. Our own alliance is a lot of fun and I have made friends – albeit online friend.

    I am concerned with tripping over the Evony ads all over the place and the slip clad woman enticing new members that has nothing to do with the game at all… and her slip is slipping now. The game could make it on its own merits. I might have even purchased some “coins” in the game if they weren’t overpriced and if they hadn’t gone in for this marketing. What gives, about 1/4 of our players are women. Anyhow I have made it to 260K without spending a cent – and I don’t think I’ll join into the semi-pyramid membership thing of iEvony either. “Tell 5 friends and make X credits and if they tell 5 friends make a percentage of their credits and if they tell each 5 friends….” Sheesh. I joined to play, not to become a millionaire! Where’s Napoleon Hill when you need him!

  8. Chad son of Law says:

    I am two weeks into Evony and enjoying the GUI and alliance/group cooperation aspects. What is missing is a narrative of some sort. There is no pre-existing storyline or goal, no holy grail or Excalibur sword. The PvP, level-ups, and exploration of map and war tactics only goes so far. Until the new Star Wars MMO ‘The Old Republic’ is released, which will have a monthly fee, this free MMO is ok.

  9. Alex says:

    I started Evony 3 days ago and have had up and down. I just quit. It felt like I ripped out part of myself and thats bad, no game should dominate your life. I’m obsessive compulsive and I recognised the warning signs. It was time to leave.

    Evony bothered me with the constant reminders that if I spent money I could do it easier. The game interface was annoying, with some basic things like scrolling main map left off and no queuing activities.

    But my alliance, Synergy. I got picked up and thrown away by another alliance. Feeling terrible I went for a low ranking alliance. Accepted I discovered it was full of people who never leave the computer. Their rankings soared. Mine crept. They were super nice to me, a real pleasure. But when I realised I wasn’t really interested in the game, but in talking to the alliance I realised I need to find a real world place to connect. So I communicated with the alliance host and gave him my account. All my resources are there for the group which was so nice to me. I expect they’ll be stripped. But I’m out.

    I don’t regret trying Evony but at the same time I don’t think I’ll go back either.

  10. alex_us01 says:

    How do you get out of this game?
    There is no “delete account” feature.

  11. Sadisto says:

    He didn’t get his account “deleted” — he simply handed over his login information to us so we could use his time and resources to fucking own the rest of you; he then simply decided to not play anymore. I’m one those guys from Synergy that never leave my computer and I just absolutely love throwing my weight around. I even sit at my work all day with my other Synergy buddies (who work in the same place as me) and we have LAN parties all day long at the company’s expense. Want a war? Piss me off and see what happens. Even though I’ve been kicked out of several other top-10 alliances for my attitude, Synergy has so far put up with my antics (ha, jokes on them).

  12. Jason says:

    The closest you can get to quitting is to use the reset function, which puts you back to 1 town with nothing in it, no resources and no completed research. Makes you completely worthless as a target.

  13. Florian says:

    i agree with you jason. Thank you for making this blog, as you can see i am not rude as the others. I have been playing evony for almost 1 month now i have 55000 prestige and i like it, i have only spent 5 bucks on coins because i was in trouble but then i didnt need anymore. email me sometime ok? i play on server 47 and my name is Florian King.

  14. John s says:

    Evony was written by WoW gold farmers? That certainly explains why the game is poorly documented and part of the in-game text is written in broken English. Ah, the clarity of revelation.

  15. LisaR says:

    I like this blog and hope you’ll continue with it. Like everyone here Evony has taken over my life (3 weeks on board). It got worse recently though when because of two bullies like Sadisto above :), my Alliance did the ultimate and captured an enemy’s city for me. So now I feel obligated to take care of it because the enemy wants it back. I will give it up soon because of other obligations but I did enjoy it. It’s a good game looking to capitalise, don’t see why people complain about it. I do hate the PR though…stupid ploy to pull on serious gamers.

  16. LisaR says:

    Oh and no, I did not spend any money on this game..by choice :)

  17. Shaedo says:

    Excellent review Jason.

    I personally appreciate being able to make informed decisions and as such would like to say thank you for informing me about the people that run Evony. I don’t agree with their approach and appreciate the opportunity to not give them my business as a result.

    I just decided to quit for several reasons:
    It costs around Us$40 in order to build a second city.
    There are incessant adverts excessively pressuring to constantly spend money on all the other aspects of this game.
    There is no end game! After maxing out your tech and cities you end up with no point.

    In regards to your reply to Chevy: I think you have demonstrated your self to clearly be quite diplomatic.

  18. Sabretruthtiger says:

    Sadisto, you’re a weak gutless individual and you’d better hope you don’t run into me. I enjoy destroying bullies :)

    Excellent review, yes this game does dominate your life and can be detrimental. Yet it is fun so despite their aggressive spam-style advertising I endorse it with the caveat mentioned by the reviewer.

  19. roy says:

    hey love the review and love the game!
    i have been playing this game for four months now and have over 400k prestige and i must agree that it does take up whatever spare time you have!! the only thing the game needs is a solid storyline or a fuller questline

  20. lol says:

    how doo you quit evony anyway

  21. lol says:

    where is the reset function?

  22. Jason says:

    The only way to quit is to stop playing. There is a button that is supposed to allow you to delete your account, but it has always been disabled.

  23. John says:

    I cant seem to find any info on this
    I have spent like $30 on Evony n just wondering if i restart will i get the coins i spent back when i restart?

  24. Nythauk says:

    You can’t quit this game? If I stop playing will my account eventually be deleted, or will it remain open with the threat of someone tapping into it? I joined then discovered the expenses attached to playing-not a game I can afford to get into. Anyone know how to absolutely quit Evony?

  25. Susan says:

    From their private policy:

    “What do I do if I want to close my account?

    We do not collect personal information and our policy is that we do not close or modify user account upon request. Our policy has always been that if you should decide to stop playing Evony, simply stop. The account will become inactive and will be removed from our servers according to our normal maintenance practices. We do not delete accounts. Should you be concerned regarding any personal information you have provided to payment portals for purchases, you should contact said payment portal provider directly. ”

    Source:http://www.evony.com/index.do?PageModule=Static&type=PrivacyPolicy

  26. Grumpy says:

    Played evony for over a year, have retired a couple of times but always end up coming back cos i can’t find another game to replace it, Even evony age II doesn’t compare. The first time you play your town ends up a bit of a mess but once you know what you are doing simply restart on a newer server.

    I don’t advise spending any money cos it is fairly easy to get into the top 50 just by building sensible troops and defences. Although you do have to put the time in……

    Only been retired from evony ( for the 3rd time now ) for about a week and i’m already looking for a replacement, and keeping an eye on when the next server begins, no point joining a server over 1 month old cos the big players will have already established themselves.

    Enjoy the wars.

    Grumpy

  27. Audrina says:

    How do I start over? Where is this reset button?

  28. Jimbo says:

    If you click on the picture of your charactor at the upper right theres a restart game button.I played for over 1 year and was a pretty big player on my server the problem was the bigger your army got the more time it took to support it.It was taking over my life and i had to quit for my own sanity

  29. Xavier says:

    I dont see how one can quit such a good game! I enjoy Evony very much and wish more people can play. The game doesnt neccesary have to consume your life. I log on and build a nice size building, que up my troops in my barracks, set up wall defences (if not full already full, send out waves for npc farming,etc. And then i just come back another couple hours?day and repeat. When I get some spare time, that when i chat with my alliance, coordinate strikes (PvP), capture 10′s and 12′s etc. I also did spend money, you do not need it to be a big player. But anyways, my main point is i do not waste my whole life playing a game.

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