Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games have been captivating gamers for decades, offering complex challenges and engaging stories set in a wide array of universes. From the historic kingdoms of Age of Empires to the futuristic interstellar colonies of Starcraft, the RTS genre has continuously evolved, making its mark on the gaming landscape. Today, a new player enters the arena, bringing innovative blockchain technology into the fold – BlockLords.
Herzog Zwei, released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis home console in 1989, holds a significant position in gaming history, being recognized by IGN as “arguably the first RTS game ever” and hailed as “the first real-time strategy game” by Ars Technica. This pioneering title seamlessly melded traditional strategy gameplay with fully real-time, fast-paced, arcade-style action, revolutionizing the gaming landscape. By introducing dynamic battles, resource management, and base construction in a real-time environment, Herzog Zwei set the stage for future RTS classics, leaving an indelible mark on the genre and shaping the course of video game history.
The RTS genre then exploded in the mid-1990s, with iconic titles like Command and Conquer and Age of Empires setting the foundation. These games revolutionized and pushed the genre further with their emphasis on strategic planning and resource management in real-time, unlike the turn-based strategies popular in the 80s. They set the player in the role of a commander overseeing the battlefield, making critical decisions about resource allocation, unit creation, and strategic attacks against enemies.
Then came Starcraft in 1998, which helped in establishing the standard for all subsequent RTS games. The game introduced an intricate balance between different factions, each with its unique strengths and weaknesses, which added an extra layer of depth to the strategic gameplay. The sequel, Starcraft 2, further polished this formula, improving graphics and gameplay mechanics while offering a compelling narrative that attracted millions of players worldwide. Also fair to point out this franchise helped establish modern esports as a professional occupation.
While the real-time strategy (RTS) genre has seen notable entries in recent years, such as Total War: WARHAMMER series, it is fair to say that the genre as a whole has not reached the same heights as the monumental success of Starcraft 2. Despite the occasional standout title, the RTS genre has largely slumbered, struggling to replicate the widespread popularity and cultural impact achieved by Blizzard Entertainment’s iconic sequel. Starcraft 2 set an incredibly high standard with its deep gameplay mechanics, balanced factions, and thriving competitive scene, making it a tough act to follow. Though there have been commendable efforts, the genre still awaits a game that can capture the hearts and minds of players on a global scale, rekindling the fervor and excitement that Starcraft 2 once brought to the RTS landscape. Or maybe everyone just moved to MOBA? Keep reading..
No discussion of the RTS genre’s impact would be complete without a mention of the groundbreaking Warcraft III. Released in 2002 by Blizzard Entertainment, this game not only pushed the limits of RTS design with its compelling story and asymmetrical faction design but also inadvertently gave birth to a whole new genre – the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA).
In Warcraft III’s scenario editor, players had the freedom to create their custom maps with unique gameplay rules. One such map, ‘Defense of the Ancients’ (DotA), gained immense popularity for its innovative design, where players controlled single powerful units and worked together to defeat the opposing team. This map laid the foundation for what we know today as MOBAs, leading to hugely popular games like League of Legends and Dota 2.
The transformation from Warcraft III’s RTS to DotA’s MOBA genre highlights the potential for innovation within gaming. As we stand on the brink of a new era with the introduction of blockchain technology to RTS, one can’t help but wonder: what new genres or gaming concepts could this fusion spawn?
Reawaken: Enter BlockLords
As the RTS genre matured, it was inevitable that it would eventually intersect with emerging technologies. The latest result of this intersection is BlockLords, a novel blockchain-based RTS game. Unlike its predecessors, Blocklords is built on a decentralized platform, utilizing blockchain technology and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to offer a unique gaming experience.
The developers of BlockLords, MetaKing Sutdios have just released the beta version, and it is already shaping up to be a fascinating evolution in the genre. Currently, the gameplay focuses on village and resource management, much like the early stages of a typical RTS game. However, BlockLords plans to introduce combat mechanics soon, adding a further layer of strategic complexity.
The first thing you’ll notice about BlockLords is its graphics. They are not only superior to most web3 games, but they also compete with top-tier RTS games. The cinematic trailer, recently released, is nothing short of spectacular, showcasing the game’s high production values and setting high expectations for the full release.
In order to participate in the beta, users are required to purchase a relatively inexpensive NFT, with prices for the lowest-tier options typically hovering around $5. However, one potential drawback that may deter web2 native users is the onboarding process, which involves linking the game with a wallet at an early stage. While this step is necessary due to the NFT requirement, it may present a slight annoyance for users who are not familiar with this process or who prefer a more traditional approach.
The steps are as such:
1) Visit the website.
2) Connect wallet.
3) Purchase a Hero
4) Go to your profile
5) Import Hero
The Blocklords Beta introduces players to the fundamental mechanics of building and managing a town, laying the foundation for future strategic endeavors. At this stage, gameplay primarily focuses on teaching players the basics of starting up a town and the vital process of resource collection. Players are tasked with gathering essential materials like wood, grain, meat and stone, which serve as the building blocks for progress. These resources can then be transformed into useful items and structures that contribute to the growth and expansion of the town. While progressing through the game, players have the opportunity to embark on quests, adding an element of adventure and exploration. Additionally, the unpredictable nature of random events keeps players on their toes, as outcomes can range from favorable to potentially disastrous for the villagers. Blocklords Beta provides a solid introduction to the gameplay mechanics, setting the stage for more complex strategies and challenges to come.
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As Blocklords leads the charge in merging the RTS and blockchain worlds, the possibilities seem limitless. What novel gaming experiences will arise from this fusion? Only time will tell. Just as Warcraft III led to the creation of the MOBA genre, we might soon see a new gaming phenomenon born from the RTS X Blockchain intersection. We’re witnessing the dawn of a new era in gaming history, and it’s incredibly exciting to anticipate what’s to come. Especially the battles.
You can follow everything Blocklords are doing here: