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Posted on Aug 30, 2010 in Electronic Games

Dark Age Wars – Armchair General Exclusive Interview

By Nuccio Africanus

Dark Age Wars is a real-time strategy game set in Medieval Western Europe that is currently in public beta and free to play. The first offering from young-gun game designer Robert Moran and the Pixabit company, DAW is a browser-based game that offers in-depth strategic game play similar to Europa Universalis and great immersion through impressive artwork.

As you build up your kingdom with infrastructure, you get honor points

The world of DAW is inhabited by rival players and rebel settlements. Players start off as a young squire on a plot of land with little infrastructure. They must fight and conquer other rebel and player settlements to expand into a kingdom. To complete this grand task of they must construct buildings, maintain an efficient fighting force and gather and obtain valuable resources.

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The social network offered by the game allows players to build alliances with other players, form complex strategies with allies, trade valuable resources with trusted friends and, of course, gives Machiavellian players the opportunity to back-stab each other. The diplomacy menu allows players to manage their alliances and view the stats of rival alliances.

The game is free to play but it’s addicting, and once you get competitive you will find yourself itching to log into Pay Pal to buy some "gold." Gold can be used in Dark Age Wars to speed up construction of buildings and units, to hire advisors that give you impressive economic and military bonuses, to buy resources, to expand your build queue and to purchase items that give bonuses to units and buildings.

ArmchairGeneral.com: Tell us a bit about Pixabit and the team that is currently developing Dark Age Wars.

Robert Moran: Pixabit is a privately owned company, founded in 2007. Since then we have been building browser-based games. When I was a young gamer, I played a lot of Age of Kings and a lot—I mean a lot—of Age of Empires. I was really into it! I loved playing those types of PC games, so I wanted to build a game that encompassed those qualities. I also wanted to make a game that you could play without having to load up a CD on your hard drive.

ACG: Dark Age Wars is currently in public beta. When does Pixabit plan on releasing the final version of the game?

RM: Right now we are working with a European publisher. The German version of the game will be released in the beginning of August. The Polish, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and American versions of the game will be released in late August.

ACG: Will Dark Age Wars only be available for North American and European countries?

RM: Well, yes and no. Dark Age Wars will only be localized for those countries, meaning that the game itself can only be played in those languages, but if someone from Brazil wanted to sign up and play they could, but they wouldn’t have an option to play the game in Portuguese. So anyone can play the game, but we are aiming the game toward the North American and European markets.

ACG: I was impressed with the artwork in the game. Why did you have your team create elaborate artwork not usually found in browser-based strategy games?

RM: I wanted this game to resemble artwork in your average strategy PC video game. The graphics and detailed artwork allows the player to be fully immersed in the game. I mean, one of the first comments I get from new beta players is like, “WOW! This game looks just like Age of Empires! And the graphics are amazing.”

ACG: It seems that different military units have unique bonuses and weaknesses depending on the type of military units they fight. For example, light cavalry are great against archers but do very poorly against spearman. Can or will the player have the ability to organize their forces to take greater advantage of these bonuses found in different military units?

RM: Well, with the current battle system, you just send your army into the enemy territory and apart from building up your forces to counter what the enemy has in his base, there is no way to dictate how your different units fight and interact with each other. There is no formation or strategies besides the basic rock, paper, scissors system. Although if you know what units your opponent has then you can decide to send the counter-unit to attack.

ACG: Your diplomacy options allow the player to create agreements and easy-to-manage alliances. Do you have any plans to implement an automated trading system to allow players to exchange resources?

RM: There actually already is a way you can trade resources. You just need to expand your warehouse into a market. Then once your city has a market, you are able to trade resources with your other cities that also have a market. You can trade resources with other players who have cities with markets as well. Players have the ability to trade every type of resource except for gold.

ACG: Back in the days of commercial play-by-mail games prior to the Internet age, some companies were criticized for requiring players to pay more in actual cash in order to have better spaceships or what-have-you. Accordingly, he who spent the most cash was most likely to win. What is your response to players who may feel that buying more Gold in the game, via PayPal, is the same situation?

RM: Well, the game is free to play, and we are a company. Any corporation and/or business organization must make capital to prosper and thrive. We want every player to be competitive and to have a great experience with the game. So the trick is that we tried to make the premiums not overpowering but beneficial enough so that they give players an incentive to buy some gold to speed up build times or buy bonuses and what have you … I mean we’ve got to make our money back some way, right?

ACG: I am currently playing the public beta for Dark Age Wars and am having a great time building up a kingdom that will hopefully become an empire. One game-play element that still confuses me is the aspect of Honor. How does Honor affect the player and the game in general?

RM: Honor is the scoring system. Basically, you get a certain amount of points for every building. As you build up your kingdom with infrastructure, you get honor points for those buildings. As your honor grows, so does your player rank and the overall rank of your alliance. In the game, if I were to take a kingdom from you, I would gain all your honor points and you would lose all those points previously attributed to your former kingdom. So you gain a lot of honor at once by conquering new kingdoms and, likewise, you will lose a lot of honor from having your kingdoms conquered.

ACG: Dark Age Wars will be Pixabit’s first real-time strategy game. Will Pixabit continue to produce more games of this type in the future? If not, what projects can we look forward too?

RM: We are planning on building another strategy game that will be set in space called Empire of Planets. The game is inspired from the game Starcraft. There will be three intergalactic species competing against each other, but the game will be browser based. We also are working on another pirate-themed role-playing game called Pirate Quest.

About the Author:
Nuccio Africanus is the alter ego of author and famed Total War player John Nuccio, who was given the infamous nickname by his Latin teacher, after demolishing said teacher in a battle of Rome Total War. The defeated academic remarked that Nuccio’s tactics were second only to the legendary Roman General Scipio Africanus himself. The alter ego took on a life of its own in Total War series forums, where Nuccio Africanus is widely known for his threads and blogs on strategy gaming—as well as for his humorous antics. The self-proclaimed demi-god is working on a children’s book as well as a board wargame that will hopefully be published in the near future.

6 Comments

  1. Great article. I love Age of Empires but I’ll definitely check this one out too. Looks pretty sweet.

    • Are there any other games out there like Age of Empires on a browser based game.

  2. This is a developer and publisher of free to play online games.there games are fun, easy to play and can become addicting.
    And best of all they are 100% free! For more details please visit here

    Thank you
    http://darkagewars.com

  3. the way it really is, is there are 4 main accounts that are used by either hired vets or moderators
    nice guy) this player will help you grow until he has found a place for you to inconspicuosly be placed in the middle of immediate danger.
    spender) this player uses gold which is purchased in order to gain special advantages he will use these on you in order to intise you to spend money on the game .
    instigator)this player will seem nice just to turn on you when he is ready while calling in all favors and “big brothers” to come help or hit before he does so he is guarenteed a capture.
    multi) this player has multiple accounts using it to gain certain points needed for city captures he will never say he is a multi but some you can sniff out just by pure pattern.

    to any new players wanting to play this game i wish you luck as there has been no moderator working on the game in over a year and it is strictly just a money pit for final motive and/or pixabit lots and lots of bugs and as willie said they will do what ever they can to get you to spend your money on the game just to get anywhere close to head ranks
    20 hour build times with 1 build slot makes it virtually impossable for any player not to conquer without spending $$ within 3 mnths of a regular online playing time of 4 hrs a day 5 days a week, i have had 2 accnts on daw for 3mnths for this test it cost me 100$ to get to rank 11 before being placed in between the nice guy the instigator and the gold spender who literally 1 citied me over night while offline thats right they took 30 cities over night leaving me right where i started where as the second account isnt even close to being able to build what is needed to take my second city without spending a dime, so again i wish you luck and if anyone knows how to get ahold of final motive or any DAW rep please file a complaint but in my search there has been absolutely no forum input or contact info for anyone in charge or even related to this game in almost 4 yrs .

    • I hope you can find a DAW rep. Would LOVE to complain about the game. Please let me know what you find out!

  4. Game is a scam!! COINERS can win, but those who do not spend will not get ANYWHERE!!!

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