Forge of Empires, a freemium Web game, takes a long-term approach to empire building and historical progression. For fans of the Middle Age, there are three separate ages to play through, each of which will take a fair chunk of time to progress past.
As with most free to play Web games, Forge of Empires makes use of time-gated gameplay as an incentive to purchase premium currency to speed up progression. Coins, which are required for research, building, scouting and training soldiers are produced by houses every few minutes. They need to be manually clicked on to be collected. Then there are gems, which can be bought and allow for production speed to be increase, as well as the purchasing of powerful buildings that are otherwise unavailable. The starting space is pretty limited, so it’s nearly impossible to speed through the early section of the game.
Early Middle Ages
After around two weeks of well-planned play (longer for first timers who’ve made inefficient research and build decisions), you’ll get to the Early Middle Ages. Requirements for reaching this stage are as follows: 505 forge points, 31.500 coins, 63,250 supplies and 671 goods.
This portion of the game is based on the 477-1000 AD time period, and has a total of 21 technologies to research. Buildings will predominantly make use of wood and have that classic dark and intimidating look that we’re all familiar with from other media.
The Early Middle Ages section gives access to several famous historical buildings, such as the Hagia Sophia and the Aachen Cathedral. Other new building types made available are monasteries and observatories. In terms of military units, armoured infantry, mounted archers and mercenaries can now be trained.
High Middle Ages
Once you’ve managed to progress from the Early Middle Ages, the next stage is the High Middle Ages. Getting here requires 733 forge points, 53,500 coins, 194,000 supplies and 867 goods.
Release Date: 17th April 2012
Available on: Browser
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A slightly shorter time period, the High Middle Ages portion of the game is based on the 1001-1300 AD period. You’ll notice that buildings now incorporate more stone into their appearance, and the early beginnings of the Tudor style can be seen.
Famous buildings included in Forge of Empires in relation to this time period include St. Mark’s Basilica, which boosts coin and goods production, and Notre Dame, which boosts production of supplies and happiness.
New, powerful military units include the berserker – which as the name suggest has an imbalanced attack and defence stat line. They have the joint highest attack value in the era.
Crossbowmen are their equal, although where the berserkers are melee units, the crossbowmen are ranged fighters. They’re very vulnerable to melee attacks and have a shorter range than the unit that they replace, the archer.
Knights are another iconic unit that you’ll be making use of in the High Middle Ages. They’re in the fast class, which means they’re ideal for closing the gap to the enemy’s ranged units, although they have a lower attack stat than both the crossbowmen and berserkers.
Late Middle Ages
After you’ve accrued 1,072 forge points, 155,000 coins, 427,000 supplies and 2,130 goods, you’ll be able to advance to the final Middle Ages period – the Late Middle Ages. This era represents the Early Renaissance, and covers a much shorter time span – 1301-1491 AD.
Building wise, you’ll be seeing a lot more classic European Gothic architecture, with high pointed roofs and spires.
New production buildings in this age are the cooperage, brewery and spice trader. The two new great buildings are the Cathedral of St. Basil, which boosts defence and coin production, and the Castel del Monte, which improves military and forge point production.
New military units available to add to your army comprise the imperial guards, a heavy unit that has the highest defence available in the Late Middle Ages, making it great against light units.
The great sword warriors replace the berserker, however unlike their predecessor, they have equal attack and defence stats.
The new artillery unit is the cannon, which is a ranged unit effective against heavy units, having a long range albeit comparatively low attack stat. Defence is low unless the unit is dug in.
The Middle Ages section of Forge of Empires is pleasingly accurate, historically speaking. While some creative liberties have been taken, there’s nothing too egregious or immersion breaking. Getting there takes a while, and there’s no ability to really stay in the Middle Ages without compromising your empire’s growth. If you value your time, the busy-work and time gating will be infuriating.
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Forge of Empires is developed by InnoGames.