Before I start this post about The Settlers Online I want to take a second to tell you about the difference between tested and reviewed. For me there’s a big difference. If you write a review about a game you try to look and review every detail about a game, you talk about the story, the gameplay, the graphics and so on. You try to be objective and just tell everything, because the thing that annoys you most may be the thing someone else loves the most about the game. Testing is totally different, if I test a game I simply play and try it. And after I’ve played it for a while I tell you about what I think about the game. Not in a super detailed way or trying to be objective, but I just tell about things like “is it easy to understand when you start playing?”, “does it give a satifying game experience?”, stuff like that. Why I make a difference? Because some games just don’t need a review, because they’re not about graphics of a story. Games like the game of today are about having a fun game that is easy to start with and fun enough to not stop playing, the only way to tell you is to play for a while and tell about my experience. So here we go!
First of all, starting this game is very easy. If you have a Uplay-account you can log-in, choose an avatar and a username and you’re good to go. If you don’t have a Uplay-account you can login using Facebook or e-mail and setting that up is really easy. When you enter the game for the first time you get a lot of stuff thrown at you. First off all you get a window telling you what to do (build a saw-mill), when you do this the window pops back up giving you a reward to claim. This is basically what you’re going to be doing for the next few hours, getting commands, following them and getting rewards for it. Every now and then a window pops up explaining stuff but to be honest I haven’t read any off them because the basics of this game are very similar to the original Settlers games.
This brings me to the next point, if you have ever played the Settlers you’re going to fit in here right away. As you can see on the first picture (screenshot) the icons for building and stuff are all the same. So if you’ve played before you won’t get lost and you won’t need the explaining pop-ups (I would recommend clicking the “Don’t show hints anymore” button, because you are going to get crazy if you keep it on!).
Under the buttons for building and stuff, there’s a lint for adding friends. This lint honestly made me think about Facebook games like Farmville, they have the same set-up so from looking at all those “Add a friend” buttons I get this uneasy feeling that I’m playing a game that I will be judged for (come on, those endless material request from Farmville and Castleville are annoying everybody and people tend to laugh at you if you play those Facebook games). Not that I’m judging, definitely not, but I do get this feeling like I want to hide the fact that I’m playing this. And of course that’s stupid because Settlers isn’t Farmville and they will never be on the same level or attract the same players.
But back to the point, in the hours I’ve played I haven’t added any friends. Why not? Just read the rest of this and you’ll know. But this means I can’t tell you what it adds. Personally I don’t think it will add anything more than what we already know from games like Facebook.
If I have to be honest there’s not really anything more to tell. The concept of the game is easy, you built production lines so you can make materials to built more stuff and you keep doing this until you have built the biggest empire known to men. This isn’t boring, let me be clear about that! It’s fun and challeging, and I like that. But with free to play online games like this you always have to wait for stuff. If you built a sawmill in the real Settlers it starts making wood right away and it keeps making wood until you stop it (or don’t feed your people), but online you have to wait 2 minutes for every piece of wood and another 2 to make it into a plank. You have to wait whole days to get materials to built your next building. And I get the point of this, so people come back the next day and the day after and so on. But I get bored with this concept really fast, I want to built a great empire when I have a few hours playing time to spare and I don’t want my empire to crumple to nothing if I don’t have time to play for a few days.
For me the conclusion is easy, it was fun to play for a few days but now I’m getting back to The Settlers 7 and Anno2070, where I can built faster, bigger and where I don’t have to log-in every day to make sure my kingdom is still alive (so now you know why I didn’t add any friends). But if you like to drag out your playing over a long time and you want a commitment like comming back every day, this is the game for you!
And let me tell you one last thing, if you’re thinking about how much it costs to buy The Settlers versus playing it online. I can be very clear about that, nothing in this world comes free and if you really want to built a great kindom in the online version you are going to pay for it. To make great things or speed up your progress you have to use blue diamonds and those don’t come for free in the game. It’s the same thing as credits in Farmville and you are going to be tempted to buy them. So if you want to be save on your spending buy the original game, it will cost you money but only that one time and never again!