- Easy learning curve
- Open to all playing types
- Intuitive interface
- Fantastic immersion from visuals and sound
- Neighborhoods can be very imbalanced
- It is very easy to get stuck (tech-lock or battle-lock)
- Diamond buyers tend to dominate
Innogames is known for their excellent strategy empire building games whether it’s Grepolis or Elevanar or Tribal Wars – and Forge of Empires isn’t much different. Sign-up is fairly simply and you are immediately dropped into the game via tutorial. Thankfully it moves quickly and most folks should finish it in 30 minutes or less. After that you’re on your own to rise in the ranking system, grow your kingdom, and meet whatever goals you have. Maybe you want an amazing guild, maybe you just want to farm your neighbors, maybe you want to have all the Great Buildings or the most beautiful city – there isn’t a limit to your ambition.
Well that’s not exactly true. Within the game it’s self you have three important limits: gold, supplies, and land. You need gold and supplies to build new buildings, research new technology, create goods, build your military, and to complete quests. You need land in order to build anything – as you progress in the game land becomes a serious premium. And here is where people who buy diamonds come out a head – they can buy premium buildings that give more value for the land they take up. They can also purchase land for 200 diamonds. It can lead to a decided imbalance in terms of power with what’s supposed to be a strategic MMO, but honestly if you put in the effort you don’t need diamonds.
This is especially true of those who do well in the frequent events. Forge of Empires is great about getting it’s players involved – whether it’s forum contests or giveaways on Facebook. They also like to ask players how they can improve, and do a fair job of taking the information they receive into consideration. Recently they improved the messaging system so that mobile users could actually use it. The next big upgrade is going to fix balancing issues in the ranking system. That said there are some things that seem broken – the goods trading system tends to be heavily tilted toward a few scarce sources, neighborhoods tend to have a couple of power players who farm everyone else, and the graphics can be very resource heavy on older systems.
Probably the biggest issue is how easy it is to get stuck. Technology and conquest are what drive a city – but if you don’t plan carefully you can quickly find yourself up a creek without a paddle. Unfortunately, that’s something that isn’t immediately apparent, and which generally requires a guild mate or eight to help with. Sadly it can take away to get to the point where you can join a guild – and that’s if you have the resources to unlock that technology.
But overall Forge of Empires is a polished game with an excellent support team. There is enough content to maintain interest and thanks to frequent updates more content is available regularly. The frequent events also mean that players are encouraged to check in regularly, and the game’s community thrives as a result. That said it can sometimes feel more like “pay to win” instead of “free to play”, but with effort anyone can climb the ranks.