Age of Champions on Facebook doesn't cry over spilled blood
Fantasy social games are almost dime a dozen, but what are they missing? Why, half naked men spilling the blood of goblins and other beasts, of course. In Age of Champions on Facebook, players take the role of one of three races: a human, an elf or a minotaur as they vie for the throne of an emperor who recently kicked the can. As it turns out, so is everyone else. After choosing which of the three warring factions that you'll be siding with in this sprawling conflict, you'll be launched into battle with a band of goblins, your warriors sprinting across a green, war-torn field, bronze daggers flailing. After witnessing the green, gooey bloodshed as your avatar guts the goblin leader, you realize that this is not standard fantasy fare on Facebook.
Find out more about Age of Champions and our impressions after the break.
If you hadn't noticed by now, this game isn't necessarily for the little ones. There will be blood in Age of Champions, lots of it. Developed by Sacramento, CA-based studio KlickNation, this game's primary focus is on two important things: story and gameplay. Absolutely filled to the brim with quest text designed to give purpose to otherwise mundane tasks, Age of Champions contains a plot that weaves throughout the game's primary mode of spending Energy--a social game staple--quests.
However, Energy is plentiful in Age of Champions' early levels as opposed to other social games. You'll frequently level up through questing, restoring your Energy each time. (However, the game does offer Blue Crystals, a paid currency, to replenish Energy and Stamina.) Quests are completed through the Travel menu, which opens up the game's story in a book-shaped menu, offering the plot in chapters that almost always contain at least one session on the battlefield and one boss monster to defeat. Rewards from quests are normally the standard gold coins, which are used to hire more soldiers and outfit your army with weapons and armor, and experience points. Leveling up also rewards players with points to enhance their primary character's Energy, Attack strength, Stamina (used to battle other players) and Health. While Energy and Stamina will allow you to play the game for longer sessions without having to pay up for more, Attack and Health are extremely important in combat.
Ah, yes, the meat and potatoes of Age of Champions. Combat scenarios are somewhat rare treats, but are most definitely not to be underestimated. These special quests are marked with an icon shaped like a shield adorned with two swords. Clicking on "Go to Battle" will open up the battlefield. While battles play out automatically based on the size of your army compared to the enemy's, it all happens in real time and takes equipment statistics into account as well. It's not until all of your units fall that your main avatar will rush into the fray, duking it out with the opposing commander. In the early stages of the game, your army will almost always be wiped out, but that doesn't mean you lose them forever. However, improving their equipment by buying quantities of armor and weapons that match your squad's numbers will increase their lasting power. There is the option to skip each battle sequence, but why would you want to do that?
While combat and questing are plenty entertaining, Age of Champions does include some fairly deep social elements. Throughout the game, players can attempt to craft items that are more powerful than what can be bought in the store, but some of the ingredients can only be found through Gifting. Thankfully, social interaction goes deeper than that with Raids, or massive enemies that require cooperation from friends to defeat. Furthermore, players can join Guilds, which are groups of friends within the game that can collaborate without the need of being Facebook friends. In other words, you won't find too many request-athons here, but more teamwork through the game's Raid bosses and Battle system.
With an interesting albeit violent approach to combat, an engaging story for those who take the time to read it and social features similar to other, more current social games like Knights of the Crystals and Legacy of a Thousand Suns, Age of Champions delivers on nearly all fronts aside from a few annoying bugs such as losing access to the top of game screen at times. Just ignore the fact that your avatar will be without pants for quite a while and you should have a grand time.
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