Battle Dawn is a free-to-play browser-based MMORTS that is played like no other of the same genre. It features the strategy staples of colony building, resource collecting, military deployment and alliance forming, etc., which all together make up a game of strategy and diplomacy.
First of all, we need to select a theme out of three choices: Earth-modern warfare, Mars-futuristic and Fantasy-medieval. Such an option decides the playing backdrop; and that’s all. It exerts no influence on the core elements such as resource types, building styles or military units.
Then, we select the world to play. It offers several different Tick-based worlds for different players: 1-tick-per-hour world is, being the slowest, for casual players, while 2-4 ticks world is for the more engaged. Tick is an in-game time setup that passes every half or an hour. The world will be reset after about 3000 ticks if no alliance conquers it by seizing all ten relics.
The game offers a 10-task tutorial, which acquaints us with the basics covering colony building, recruiting units, joining alliance, setting up outposts and so on. It’s informative, and it can be skipped by choice.
Building resource-related structures is the first step to develop colony. In-game resources have four types: metal, oil, energy and workers. There are nine building types, each with five levels. To build a structure takes time; higher level, more time. Unlike most RTS games, it features a static colony window instead of a dynamic base map, so we only see finished buildings there once we click open the Colony.
Military units are categorized into three chassis: infantry, vehicles and tanks. We also need to select a weapon type and armor upgrade (yet initially there is not choice in fact, since the other two options are still locked), before training them. Rifle man is the basic unit we can get via recruitment, and more types must be unlocked through building Military and Workshop structures. Training also takes time, but it can be ‘hurried’ at the cost of certain amount of workers. And squads need to be formed to move army, either to initiate an attack or to dispatch to outposts.
Beginners are under protection at first for short period. And we can trade protection for resources, 288 metal and oil production boost ticks to be exact. It seems that at the end of the tutorial we are open to attack by others if we send our first squad to garrison the outpost. But I’m not sure about this. We’d better join a powerful alliance around our location as soon as possible.
It’s great we can customize our avatar and select a national flag out of many choices. And it has a really neat interface, with icons related to core gameplay gathering on the left top, world map on the right, and chat box in the below.
Besides, we can also play mini games, which can be found in the My Colony screen. Four types are listed, yet the Defender of the galaxy seems not playable right now. Colony Defense and Air Defense play like each other, only with different shooting perspectives; while Battle Mechs is played in a new interface, turn-based battle with little fun though. In fact, all mini-games are not that interesting at all, different difficulty levels regardless.
Core gameplay of strategy is satisfactory. But the game annoys me with its constant pop-up server-resetting request every tick. And it would be better if it provides a faster progression and less paid advantage.