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New Strategy MMO: Stronghold Kingdoms

strategy Stronghold simulation MMO MMORTS medieval castles free to play

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#1 StrangeMage55



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Posted 03 February 2015 - 10:55 AM

Not sure if many of you are familiar with the Stronghold games, I used to play them tons when I was a child and they've been my favourite strategy games. The studio even made an MMO called Stronghold Kingdoms a while back but unfortunately it was only the for PC - until now! Last week they finally launched a Mac version on the Mac App Store and I decided to give it a go, despite not being a huge MMO player.

Economic Gameplay
When you join a server, you can choose your starting location on a map of the UK (there are also servers with maps of Germany, Europe, US, France, etc) and you get your own little village. To build your village, you need to gather resources by building wood huts, quarries, iron mines etc. The graphics are mostly taken from the very first Stronghold, which brings back some fond childhood memories. The village and population management is also the typical gameplay from the regular Stronghold games: to get new peasants/workers, you need to keep your village happy. Your popularity depends on taxes, food rations, ale rations, entertainment buildings, sufficient housing and external events such as the weather or nearby enemies. Fulfilling all your peasant's needs requires lots of different buildings that can all be unlocked through the research tree. Goods can also be gathered from the world map by sending out scouts and merchants allow you to buy/sell goods and also send them to other players. You can get more villages by buying charters with gold or capture the village of another player.

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Military Gameplay
Each village comes with a castle that acts as a battle ground. You have a decent variety of defensive structures to choose from and the aim is to stop incoming armies from reaching the keep at the center of your castle. When attacking other players, you position your troops around the enemy castle and then set off an attack, which attempts to reach the keep. Your army has to move across the world map and reach the target player or AI before it can attack, so timed attacks are used and the actual battle happens automatically. There are different types of attack, such as stealing resources, destroying buildings in the castle's village, capturing a village or just wiping it off the map entirely.

All attacks against enemy players require honour. The higher your rank is above the player you're attacking, the more honour it will cost. You can get honour from banquets in your village (requires production of several goods) or by killing AI. There's a ton of different AI types in the game, some will be attacking your villages, some contain hidden treasures in their castles and others are just there for farming honour. Kill AI troops or destroy their castle and you receive honour. Fending off attacks against your castle will also reward you with honour.

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Political Gameplay
Each world is divided into several countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the UK world), which are again divided into provinces, which are divided into counties, which are divided into parishes. Each one of these have their own capital village (and castle) where you can build guilds that boost your village economy. Control over the capital is decided by democratic vote. Whoever gets the most votes in the parish becomes parish Steward, all Stewards enter as candidates for county Governor and so on until someone is elected King of a country.

Controlling an area colours that area in your House colours and rewards your House with Glory points. Players can join factions to fight and play together and the factions then join one of 20 Houses. There's a big race for glory points and in each round, 1-2 Houses are eliminated until only one House remains the victor. The members of the House then receive special prizes and (as far as I've understood it) the gameplay rules change slightly before the next race starts.

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Ingame Purchases
There's an in-game currency called 'Crowns' that can be bought with real money, but these Crowns aren't used to buy anything like resources or the such. At least I've not yet come across anything in the game that required me to spend any. Everything usually just costs honour or gold. Crowns do let you buy card packs though for strategy cards. These will help you out in multiple ways like reducing construction times, increasing resource production, making your army faster, etc. They're nifty if you're impatient. I've not yet had the urge to purchase anything as there are ways to get cards for free and they are giving away big bundles as a welcome present for new Mac players (I think this is only limited though).

My Impression
I've only been playing for about a week now, but I can really see myself playing this for a loooong time. There's still a lot to the game that I haven't yet explored, but the things I don’t understand don’t seem overwhelming. So far I've mainly concentrated on PvE combat, but once I grow a little and get a few more villages with large armies I'll join a faction and fight in one of the big wars. I don't normally like games that require you to wait for something to finish building or researching, but there's a lot going on at the same time so it always feels like there’s something else to do. If you're a fan of online strategy or remember the old Stronghold games you should give Kingdoms a go. If you join World 1 we can even team up! My player name is 'StrangeMage55' :-)

#2 SonicMac



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Posted 23 May 2015 - 07:57 PM

I used to love the Stronghold games when they were on the Mac!  Thanks for sharing this info!

#3 SonicMac



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Posted 23 May 2015 - 08:18 PM

What is strong hold 3 gold edition for Mac?  I wasn't aware of that.  I assume Stronghold kingdoms is the latest release.

#4 Thain Esh Kelch

Thain Esh Kelch


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Posted 26 May 2015 - 02:47 AM

Can't see your inserted images.
"They're everywhere!" -BOB

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: strategy, Stronghold, simulation, MMO, MMORTS, medieval, castles, free to play