- Great visuals
- High production values all around
- Emergent gameplay balance
- Expansive RPG and crafting system
- Pay to win
- Unresponsive developers
- Weak support
- Random disconnects
Vikings: War of Clans is a base building MMO developed and published by Plarium Games. It was first released in August of 2015 for the iOS and Android. A web browser version of the game was released in January 2017.
Similar to Clash of Clans, Vikings: War of Clans is a browser-based strategy MMO where players manage and lead their clan by training troops, upgrading an RPG-like hero, and building up a mobile town. The game is played from an isometric 2D perspective and is solely controlled via the mouse or touchscreen.
There are five types of resources in this game: Food, Lumber, Iron, Stone, and Silver. Each resource type is used by different parts of the game. Food is used to train and feed your troops. Lumber, Iron, and Stone are used to improve your buildings and other upgrades. Silver is used for research and crafting equipment.
To gather up these resources you have to build up resource gathering buildings such as mines, farms, and quarries. You can also gather these resources by occupying the random resource spots that appear on the world map. There is also a sixth type of resource, Gold, which is the game’s premium currency and is used to speed up build times and buy items at the cash shop.
Each realm has a world map composed of 512×1024 tiles, and this world map is divided into six circular zones radiating from the center. These zones determine the yield of the resource spots within that area. For example, a farmland resource spot on zone 6, the innermost zone, generates around 1.2 million food. A similar farmland on zone 1, the outermost part of the map, only yields around 54,000 food. This results in players vying for control of the inner zones for the rich resource nodes.
The zone system makes Vikings: War of Clans a bit different from other reviewed strategy MMOs. There are multiple ways to relocate your town on the world map. Moving your town is a central part of this game. Unlike most other city resource games, troop attacks in Vikings aren’t instantaneousness. Troops must walk from your town to their destination. As such, proper positioning of your town on the world map is essential.
Naturally, this game is mostly PvP. Most of your time will be spent on defending your town from others, occupying resource spots, and pillaging enemy players. The closer you are to the center of the map, the harder it gets. Moving up the ladder means bigger fish to fry (or be fried by). Clans of up to 100 players constantly war one another for control of the inner zones.
Vikings has excellent graphics. They’re are crisp and exquisite, and the special effects are meshes well with the static visuals. Troops and other characters in the game are all well animated. Graphics usually aren’t a huge deal, but we’ve reviewed a lot of browser strategy games, and they all sort of look the same after a while. That makes it especially important to note for our Vikings: War of Clans review just how much it stands out.
The game has high production values. The developers actually researched about Vikings from various scholarly books and articles that talk about early Scandinavian history. They also used different TV shows about Vikings as inspiration. As a result, the Viking theme doesn’t feel tacked on and is an essential part of the game. Again, this is another way Vikings: War of Clans differentiates from where other strategy MMOs feel very generic.
But the best thing about this game is that it’s a bit self-balancing. The zone system means you can just move into a lower zone if you a feel your current location is a bit out of your zone. You’re not forced to be some random players sandbag just because you have horrible luck and your town was spawned next to an asshole. No, you can just move away. I mean, you might still get hit by someone who sees you as a farming source, but at least you can recover on another side of the map.
The game also has an excellent RPG/crafting subsystem. In this game, you have a hero to level and equip with fancy gear. The hero levels up by upgrading buildings and compelting the various daily quests available. Crafting in this game is actually kind of complex. There are 12 standard materials along with 60 unique materials available. Along with that, there’s also a gem socket system similar to those found in Diablo or other Diablo clones.
Frankly, the game is extremely pay-to-win. There a lot of micro-transactions in this game and majority of them break the game’s balance. For example, a timer normally prevents players from moving too frequently. However, a cash shop item lets you bypass this with some serious negative results. A player can teleport their town near you, attack and pillage you for your resource, and then teleport back to their original location within minutes.
This is an exploit, but it appears the developers aren’t interested in fixing it. Complaints seem to fall on deaf ears. The support team can help with general questions, but don’t expect any developer communication in this game.
The game also suffers from random disconnects once in a while. This is pretty annoying, especially if you’re in the middle of doing something as sometimes it can lead to lost resources. For example, if you’re building a farm and get disconnected, you might find an unbuilt farm with still consumed resources. And good luck complaining about it.
And that ends my Vikings War of Clans review. As a wrap-up, Vikings scores well in production values, emergent player balance, crafting, and RPG content. It scores poorly on its pay-to-win cash shop, general communication from developers, and specific complaints to support.
In the end, I half heartily recommend this game. The unbalanced cash shop is a massive con, but you don’t really need to play competitively in this game. If you want, you can put your town on the outermost zone away from everyone and live in relative peace. Free players can still make to a middle tier zone, but the best zones are for paid players only.