Since Frontier Developments Revealed Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin In May, the developer is touting it as a “modern take on a classic RTS” — something with the flare of the current Warhammer fantasy universe, but with mechanics reminiscent of Warcraft, Starcraft, or Command & Conquer. As skeptical as I was at the initial announcement — the phrase is a bit of a buzzword, after all — I came away convinced by recent practical demos that Frontier could indeed do something.
i spent the first three hours with realm of ruin Playing a short chapter of the strategy game’s campaign. As one of the Stormcast Eternals — supernatural knights who use wyverns, giant weapons, and lightning magic to accomplish their goals — I explored a part of Ghur, the untamed, swampy wilderness where the game takes place. I started off with a small group of Scouts, battling lesser groups of enemies belonging to the Orruk Kruleboys faction, and hiding behind caves full of evil trolls. But after an ambush sent scouts deep into the woods, I gained control of a large Stormcast force.
on its foundation, realm of ruin Deploys the usual rock-paper-scissors triangle to dictate unit weaknesses: offensive units, such as Vanguard Hunters, perform best against shielded units, such as Orruk Guttripaz; shielded units more easily bomb rush ranged troops, such as man-squared boltboys; And ranged units can easily dispatch offensive units. Heroes, such as Sigrun, exist outside the triangle, and have various abilities to dislodge their troops or destroy the enemy army. Taking advantage of each unit type’s strengths, as well as Sigrun’s ability to strengthen the defenses of nearby troops, I captured an arcane conduit, which I turned into a muster point. It served as the retreat point for all the troops I ordered to retreat, and it could also recover weak squads.
The fight itself is slow, but intentionally – faster than company of heroes 3but slower than age of empires 4, at first it seemed Very Slowly, as if I’m ordering my units to move through the molasses. However, I came to appreciate the speed over time. Skirmishes take a long time to adjust to enemy tactics, but are over quickly enough that the overall battle continues. By the time I reached the Orruk camp and posted a wyvern-riding Stormdrake guard out front, I was completely attuned to the pace of the game.
My new comfort couldn’t come a moment too soon: After completing a story mission, I jumped into a series of 1v1 multiplayer matches against another journalist, and each one was more tense than the last one. The opening minutes were a blind race to secure as many arcane drains as possible, without straining my forces too much. Once I captured a conduit, I could choose from a handful of building types to support my army. I often opted for resource-gathering structures to upgrade my home base and summon more powerful troops. In the final match, my enemy, playing as Stormcast Eternals, built a defensive tower on a pivotal drain; It vaporized my low-level Aurruks before they could do even a tiny bit of damage.
In addition to arcane conduits, my opponent and I also fought for control of three command points. By controlling two or all of these locations, the other player’s victory points gradually decrease, similar to the reinforcement bar that decreases in a match. Star Wars: Battlefront or the battlefield.
The result of these interconnected objectives is a tense tug-of-war between the opposing armies as they pretend to attack a conduit, before sending the bulk of their advanced forces on the opposite side of the map. At one point, I had advanced my base enough to summon Stormdrake guards and a squad of angelic pursuers. Flying units towered over enemy melee units, and I didn’t encounter any resistance until I encountered a pair of Orruk ballistas. I landed my Stormdrake guard, launched his flamethrowing attack, and made quick work of War Machines before easily capturing a nearby drain.
the initial build of the demo was realm of ruin, so I won’t go into the countless glitches I encountered. At one point, my minimap reversed any orders I’d given it within its confines, sending units in exactly the opposite direction of the actual game map than I’d thought. However, I got frustrated with the game’s key mapping several times during my playthrough. The most serious problem arose from the fact that the “charge” and “retreat” commands are both mapped to the Q key on the PC, and the only thing that determines which maneuver units perform is that they are directly on the Q key. at war or not. On several occasions, I mistakenly ordered mighty heroes to retreat to their base without realizing they were technically “in combat” because a distant squad of archers was firing at them. In many other cases, I wanted my units to retreat, but accidentally bumped into my opponent’s most powerful troops. I doubt Frontier can separate these polar-opposite commands before the game’s launch.
Despite these hiccups, I came back from the demo with high hopes realm of ruin When will it be released “soon”, as Frontier says. The studio is hosting an open beta from July 7-10, and it will focus on the same deep multiplayer mode that impressed me last week. The Dawn of War trilogy proved that Warhammer 40,000 was ready for real-time strategy, and Total War: Warhammer Trilogy did the same for the Warhammer fantasy’s Old World setting. remains to be seen whether realm of ruin Will do the same for the current Age of Sigmar universe, but after my hands-on time with it, I come away with more optimism than before.