This game entered beta (or final stage in other words, no more resets like in it's alpha phases) a few weeks ago now. I've been on it a while now and was hesitant to recommend another MMORTS after astro empires, ikariam, and some of the others...which after a while, well, they just all ran together into one big steaming pile.www.strongholdkingdoms.com
is made by the actual company built the stronghold games apparently and which is currently working on stronghold 3.
Kingdoms takes the MMORTS concept way beyond the level of just a browser game imho. It actually runs inside a client for one thing and has a very nice interface which works smoothly and quickly for the most part.
The game isn't nearly as intensive time wise or punishing in defeats as many of the browser based mmorts either. Yes you can lose your villages...but their not hard to rebuild. Even if you suffer total defeat of your villages and they are all lost, you maintain any cards, honor, honor rank, gold, faith points, and research you have....which means yer new villages on restart (game restarts you with a new villa if yer old ones are all gone) goes up daggum fast and yer right back innit.
Game is heavy on the politics too with the ranks and leaders from parish to county to country etc, besides the standard honor ranks everyone has from "village idiot" clear up to "prince" you can be elected either fairly, through manipulation via the church, or by military threat or overthrow to the stewardship of your parish(s), sheriff of your county(s) and even king of your nation(s). Of which i believe there are 4 nations.....Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England.
The AI also takes on a major role meaning you can get lots of action without fighting other players...and the AI (play it to understand better) also attacks your castles (every village you own is in 2 parts...the village, and the nearby castle, the castle being the part that can be attacked).
You design and bulid your own castles and villages. The castles give you near total freedom as to design. You place your troops as you like...build ballista and turrets as well, Moats, spike pits, tunnels to behind attackers, gates, towers, walls...upgrade your keep and defenses with research, etc.
You setup your troops in formations and attack directions as attacker/defender and watch the battles playout on a 2.5d battlefield. Things like elevation matter in defense. Archers on great towers have greater range etc.
The game makes it's money selling premium tokens which help but aren't neccessary and card packs which help a lot in progressing faster but don't give you greater total killing power you've maxed out your troop research. They can give you greater defensive strength though by making walls stronger for a few hours etc.
There's a free card system in place to give everyone some cards whether they donate or not, this just got started which is what finally put me over the edge to wholeheartedly recommend the game.
The game has factions and factions join Houses which become the real political and military might of the game if they can actually all go one way.
Number of houses is limited even though number of factions isn't. Factions can be voted out of houses making placement in and trust within a faction pretty important to avoid being kicked out of your own house and overthrown!
Many paths of progression and various successful ways to play the game. Some focus on being producers and building honor through the happiness of their populations and or throwing large banquets with special production banquet goods. Some focus on faith and church reserch paths which are great for manipulation. Some focus on military (Some mainly on just AI castle killing like me, which is actually a big dang deal later on when the more powerful types of AI castles start popping up more, and some on pillaging other players for their goods).
Takes honor points to advance ranks in the game. Costs honor points to attack another player, more depending on TYPE of attack, like a takeover costs a LOT of honor and a WHOLE LOT of honor points if they're well below your own "honor rank"
So rampant destruction for the sake of destruction rarely happens.
Anyhow, try it out.www.strongholdkingdoms.com