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Saga - An MMO RTS

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I just noticed that today's Game Giveaway of the Day is Saga.

Saga is an online, persistent Real-Time Strategy game (MMO RTS). It can be registered for $20 but doesn't have monthly fees. It's one of those games where you can optionally spend real money for booster packs or items in game.

SAGA is a persistent world RTS in an epic fantasy setting. Players collect troops, build armies, conquer new lands and build up kingdoms, complete with resource collection, city building and peasant management. SAGA’s features include massive armies, multiplayer questing, guild wars, espionage, and an auction house for trading troops and spells.

SAGA has no subscription fees. Players pay as little or as much as they decide, by purchasing ‘booster packs’ of random troops and spells, which are traded and customized to create the strategic army of choice for each player. Give Away Of The Day Subscribers start with 10 Free booster packs, which would normally be sold for $29.95. Your account will be credited with the bonus products only if you register on this page, while the promotion lasts.

These free accounts will have all game options available with the exception of trading and hardcore PvP battles (you can still PvP in scrimmage mode, a battle type that does not permanently damage your city).
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I haven't played it yet, but it actually looks pretty cool.

Be sure to download it today and register it today at this website. Also, if you need convincing to just try it, be sure to watch the video.

I'm going to be waiting for your review . . . hopefully it's bad, the last thing I need is to get sucked into another game!

Well at least sign up for an account on the website (tentatively) because if you sign up today using the referral, you get 10 booster packs (not sure what they do yet cause I haven't played) for free, which normally costs $30.

Okay. I've played 3 tutorial levels and here's what I think so far.

I'm still pretty confused. When you start a level you are given the choice to deploy units, but it doesn't seem to indicate the limit. There's something called CP, which each unit takes up, and in my base it says deployable 55 CP. So I tried to deploy two units (units are actually more like squads of units. Groups of the same type), one with 27CP and one with 28CP (adds up to 55CP) but it would only let me deploy one unit. I don't know if it was because of CP or because you only get to choose one or what.

Anyway, I don't really know what I'm doing, and the tutorials aren't exactly crystal clear. Plus, you're presented with a lot of options that aren't even explained. When you start the game, you are shown your Nation, which is like a SimCity layout thing with limited, specific places you can build things. There's lots of options for building things or building your army and stuff like that but you only get a brief explanation of what something does when you click on a building or a setting. So I know I have the choice to build a farm and a house, but I'm not sure where it would be strategic to do so, since I am limited in the places I'm allowed to build. Should farms go outside my gates or inside the protection of the walls?

As I play, about every two minutes (just a rough estimate) the music begins to stutter and I learned that means that the game is going to lock up for a few seconds before resuming as normal.

Also, the game has crashed on me 3 times already, and I've only played 3 levels that each took me maybe 5-10 minutes each. Apparently there are a lot of crash issues with the game. And perhaps I should mention that this is a new game. It went RTM (so to speak) just a month ago, on March 4th, 2008. As anyone who has played an MMO at launch, it's always bumpy beginning. So yeah, lots of bugs, apparently, and plenty of crashes. Two of the times it crashed on me was after completing a mission. There's a cool little feedback survey you can take where they ask you about 5 questions such as how long the quest took, how easy/hard it was, if the reward was rewarding enough, and then also a textbox for comments/bug reports. It's kind of neat to see that built right into the game because it gives you the idea that they'll use it to improve the game. But anyway, 2 out of 3 times so far after submitting the survey, the game crashed on me. The other time it crashed was before I even started a battle. I just logged in, it was loading up my base, and then it crashed.

As my race, I picked the Dark Elves (because they are the Magic type, and I pretty much always go for Magic. Also, the buildings look really cool, IMO), and they have a kind of volcanic, dark, burnt out textures that make the game pretty dark and the landscape barren. When I played the first tutorial I felt like I couldn't see what was happening, but I didn't notice it so much in the second and third tutorials.

Some things that seem neat: Apparently you can play every quest with other players. Even the tutorials. I haven't actually tried this because I don't know yet if that involves killing each other or if it's cooperative and if death/destruction is permanent or what. Plus I wouldn't want to try it with someone I don't know at this point.

So right now I'm afraid I can't say too much positive about it. It definitely has a rough start, and the crashes are (obviously) pretty bad. However, it is an MMO and MMOs always start out with lots of bugs and kind of have to use the general (and usually paying!) gamers to find and report them.

Verdict: It's still out, and I'm not sure about the final judgment. It definitely has a lot of room to improve and may end up being a great game once the big bugs are squashed. I have only played the 3 tutorial levels, and so far as far as gameplay goes, I don't see myself playing this game very much unless other people I know join up and play with me. However, the actual playing with others online and conquering other people's Nations may be quite fun. I just haven't tried any of that yet.

I just got an IM from p3lb0x who told me he is really enjoying the game and explained some of the questions I posted about previously. I asked him to post his response here and he said he will, after he wakes up.

But a quick summary of what he said: He says he agrees the tutorials suck (and that's all I've played) but the game gets a lot better after that. He said that tutorials only allow 50CP for units, so even though my experience level allowed me to command 55 CP, that was only for quests that allowed that much.

As I mentioned before, the verdict is still out for me. I'll try playing the game with p3lb0x and await his response in this thread as well. If you're still on the fence about whether to try this game or not, I still recommend signing up for an account to get the free booster packs in the meantime.


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