March of War – A Turn-based Diesel Punk MMO!

March of War is an online turn based strategy game set in a diesel-punk world and is developed by ISOTX. There are 6 different factions, each with their own strengths and weakness, clearly displayed when you choose your faction. The factions include various stereotypes as Eagleland, Germany, Soviet Russia, South American Guerrillas, African Anarchists, and Sengoku Era Japan. Though there is an obvious silliness to it.

My first faction was the African Anarchists, known in game as African Warlords, but you can have multiple “character” each in a different faction, though only the first two character slots are free. More can be bought for 10USD a slot.

You can use gems, which are the cash equivalent in game, to buy boosts to your in game gold, tech, and experience. You can either unlock new units through the research tree with tech points gained from battle, or you can buy them with gems. You can buy more unit cards (more on the battle system later) with in game gold, or with gems. Of course, having more units, and a higher tech level will give you a big edge in combat, though I do have to say that the combat does feel tactical, so I imagine that some good strategy and tactics could over come a player with a slightly higher tech level. However despite being able to purchase in-game currency to advance quicker through the tech tree or unlock more powerful units, you still need to gather the resources in order deploy them on the battlefield meaning you still can’t buy victory in March of War.

Onto the battle system. The point of each battle is to capture various control points throughout the map. Each point gives both resources for deploying new units, and space to deploy new units. You call in new units using unit cards, each costing either manpower points, vehicle points, or both. You can also use one time use special abilities with command points(buying them from the shop with gold or gems) to turn the tide of battle possibly.

 

 

Other than your standard infantry unit, all unit cards have a set number of uses during battle. If you run out, you cannot deploy that particular unit anymore during that battle. This can put you in a real bind in some situations so it’s vital that you play your cards right to avoid defeat.

You can play these battles either against other players, or against the AI. Battles against the AI net you less tech and gold than PvP battles, and adds less battle points to your side during a territory contest (known in game as a “Battle for X”.) The battles in each territory are turn based of course, with your side taking one turn, and the enemy taking another. If you are interested, the AI can be challenging, especially early into a battle.

As for territory contests, or “Battle for X”‘s (Replace X with the name of the territory of course) they are voted on by a panel of players who are voted in by the community. This “high command” votes on which territory they think should be attacked. That territory becomes contested, and players fight a series of battles over it, either PvP or AI, earning battle points for their side. Territory contests are difficult to explain, but basically, each faction has a health bar. When that health bar reaches zero, that faction loses the battle. Battle points are the damage. I guess in a bid to keep things even, factions with less accounts signed to them, no matter how many are online, do more damage per victory.

Because of all of this, strategy is important at many levels. From high command to new players participating in each battle. I’ve already seen the pitfalls of poor planning. Right now, the European Alliance, which has a lot of accounts, is battling on every front, against every faction except one. Since they don’t do as much damage per player, and aren’t focused on one front, they are losing most battles.

The Soviet Union was beaten almost completely, and is now struggling to defend their last territory, Australia, against the Shogun empire.

One thing I should mention is their plan to release new content every month, in what they call “episodes”. It is currently still in development with the “Pilot episodes” currently available. The official launch for March of War is August 1st 2013.

Below is an interview between our own Stephen Jackson and the developers of March of War to help provide more on an insight into what exactly March of War is and the future of the game.

Stephen Jackson: What was the inspiration behind creating March of War?
ISOTX: We loved turn-based games like Advance Wars, and the billion clones, however always felt limited by the fact that there wasn’t that much experimental variation in the gameplay. In addition, the production-values and styling was often cartoon/illustrated and we wanted to have the same RTS-like galore and visual styling to help push this awesome gameplay to the next level. For us the real forefather of this gameplay is a 90s game called ‘Z’ which was a great example of all kinds of cool extra gameplay elements you could add in these games.
For the worldmap we wanted to do something different than have players’ simply be ‘on their own’ with a ‘survival of the fittest’ element, focusing a lot more on teamplay, like they do in FPS-games. Teamplay is a bit more userfriendly and allows us to play with more global worldwide intrigue and conflict. It also fitted our 1940s alternate timeline better, which is more focused on factions.
SJ: What’s the story behind March of War?
ISOTX: Redraw the borders of the 20th century in a worldwide conflict where master strategists rule …
March of War is a free-to-play episodic online strategy game set in an alternate 1940’s conflict, in which players fight for world domination. Six unique factions engage in vividly rendered 3D battles using a rich mix of dieselpunk inspired weapons and war machines.
The world is split into a number of territories that factions will have to capture through tactical battles. From the deserts of North Africa to the jungles of South America and the frozen mountains of Siberia, the entire world is a potential battlefield. These lavish and varied environments will provide commanders with a wide range of distinct tactical challenges.
The turn-based tactical battles will be fast-paced but thought-provoking skirmishes, playable with any combination of human and AI players. March of War caters both to those seeking tense PvP engagements and groups of friends who would rather team up for a more relaxed multiplayer game against the AI.
In addition to the gameplay, players will impact the direction of the series, ensuring that the March of War universe remains in a constant state of player-driven flux. To ensure the players get a real sense of a living and breathing world, where all the different factions get to play their part, ISOTX will reveal a theme for next month’s episode. This is all aggregated content meaning that even new players will not miss out on anything. It’s a living world constantly buzzing with activity – one where you can change the course of history!
SJ: When you say that March of War is a “episodic” strategy online game, what do you mean by that? 
ISOTX: This means that every month we will be releasing a new episode which contains a continuation of the storyline, almost like a board-game expansion in that player’s still need to play out the ‘story’. Basically we focus our attention to a specific event that we either make-up, and/or base off actual March of War world status, and then expand on this using lots of art, units, story, gameplay, etc.
SJ: How does conquering different territory for your faction work? Do you need multiple players to accomplish this?
ISOTX: Yes! Players need to help each other in battles to conquer an opposing faction’s territory before their players conquer yours. It’s a race against the clock using your own strategy skill and dedication to decide who wins/loses.
SJ: Why did you choose to go down the free-to-play route? In it’s current format, is it a worry that players can simply buy their way to the top or does skill play a major part in battles?
ISOTX: Skill plays a major role in our game; everything you can do in a battle revolves around ingame resources. This means that similarly to a Magic: The Gathering game, you can buy as many cards as you like, but you can only bring to the battle a select few, and getting more stuff on the battlefield depends on how well you capture points. Higher tech is also more expansive to play on the battlefield, and thus you can only deploy it later on in the match. We went free-2-play mainly because it allows us to continually update our game without having to implement elaborate DLC-payment structures and it’s also an easy way to have players try out your game, and if they like it, they can stay and hopefully spend some money so we can expand the game more ;)

 

SJ: Compared to other Online strategy games, what makes March of War stand out from the crowd?

ISOTX: March of War stands out since it will be a true cross-platform worldwar experience, using high-end cross-platform graphics and gameplay. It’s also a unique combination of turn-based strategy elements, and a real-time worldwar where player’s don’t do what they do in most strategy-games and focus on their sole-progression, but actually play in factions, with social ladders, intrigue and grand-scale group strategy. The unique 1940s alternate dieselpunk setting and storyline also helps making this game stand out from the crowd.

 

SJ: What are the game-modes which players can experience at the present? And do you plan on adding more in the future?

 

ISOTX: Right now we have 4-game modes which each require a unique strategic skill to complete, challenging players each time they play. We are planning to add a lot more, as it’s what drives gameplay variety, and rather than do what most free-2-play games do to get players to keep playing by harassing them with slow-paced upgrading, we hope to provide it with gameplay variety

 A Huge Thank You to the guys at ISOTX for providing us with that Q&A!

If you want to find out more information about March of War and the guys behind it, head to their website here.

You can play March of War right now by downloading it on Steam!

Steam Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/234310/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarchofWar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/isotx

 

Written by Christopher Howell