First of all, I want to say that I am generally horrible at any type of PvP. I rarely think of conquest and would rather trade with my fellow players than attempt to murder them. Call me old-fashioned! So, when I signed up for a game that promised that type of epic conquest (and diplomacy as well, lest we forget) I was a little more than worried that the following First Impressions would consist only of the words "I SUCK."
What I found, after giving in and joining the very first alliance that offered membership, was a game that is heavy on the chin-scratching and light on difficulty. And it's fun, too.
"Either way, I spent quite a few sleepless nights silently attacking my enemies. The next morning I would wake up to find combat reports that broke down the details of the slaughter. "
Soon I was introduced to my hero -- that is, my heroine -- and to many of her nuances. Heroes are just what you might think: leaders for your army and mayors for your towns. You can have up to three heroes in the "free" mode of the game. This free time can last as long as the player wants, but generally you will start to feel restricted after "about four weeks." After that, a small subscription (around $6.50) will be required to expand the account. I have felt no need for subscribing yet, but I imagine that it all depends on the speed of the player. Might and Magic Heroes Kingdoms can move at the speed of a glacier, a tempo that worked quite nicely for me.
As I pointed out, I promised to join the very first alliance that invited me. Soon I found myself a part of the "CCCP," a clan hosted by someone named "USSR." I shrugged and hoped for the best. I also told myself that, no matter what the instruction, I would obey my alliance leaders. Sure enough, I was instructed to build my new town in a certain area (which I will) and to perform in certain ways (which I'll also do). In return, the leaders not only promised me protection, but have also treated me with gold. When I asked for advice, they were very giving. When I was attacked, they were very swift in issuing a warning to the attacking parties. Despite the fact that we decided to "play it conservatively," I am really enjoying being part of an organized group.
The game is filled with moments of quiet intensity. There are no sounds, and the only animations are in the handy timeline that keeps track of current orders and projects. Still, I found myself worrying whether my mines would be upgraded in case of an attack, or whether I would blow wastefully through the gold that my alliance so generously gave me. Even attacking someone or something is quiet, and seemingly simple. You attach your forces to one of your heroes, click on the plot or city that you want to attack and arrange the groups of soldiers along a vertical battle line. That line shows you if you are receiving an attack bonus (or not) so that you may arrange your army into a more efficient fighting machine. Sometimes I went for an overall power that was greater than my opposition, and sometimes I tweaked my army to receive the best buffs to my attack. Either way, I spent quite a few sleepless nights silently attacking my enemies. The next morning I would wake up to find combat reports that broke down the details of the slaughter.
You can go play the game here. Like I pointed out, I have been playing for quite a while and I haven't spent a dime. The subscription seems cheap enough, and you definitely get your money's worth. I warn you, though: you might find yourself awake at 4 a.m., obsessing over whether to build a fort around your city or to recruit more soldiers. Just put on a pot of coffee and you'll be fine.