Video Game

Title: Time of Defiance
Developer: Nicely Crafted
Publisher: N/A or Nicely Crafted
Date Published: Unknown
Platforms: PC:Windows
ESRB Rating: N/A or Unknown
Genre: RTS, massively multiplayer

Time of Defiance is a massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game, hereby referred to as a MMORTS. If you are not familiar with the RTS genre (such as the WarCraft series or the Command & Conquer series), and also with the MMORPG genre (such as Everquest or Ultima Online) then this node isn't going to be of much help.

After some exhaustive Googlizing, I have come to the conclusion that Time of Defiance is the first MMORTS ever. When you think about a game being the first in a genre, it's a little mind-blowing. (Update: Eco has informed me that Nexon's Shattered Galaxy may be the first MMORTS. Since Nicely Crafted is strangely silent on the issue of Time of Defiance's release date, I have no way of confirming or denying this at this time. Just for equal air time, you can look into Shattered Galaxy at sgalaxy.com)

Released by Nicely Crafted Inc., Time of Defiance looks very similar to Sierra's Homeworld, although its graphics aren't quite as good. The game requires a PC with Windows, a 500 MHz Pentium or better, and a decent video card. The entire game is rendered in 3D, and it doesn't look half bad as long as you don't zoom in too close.

The game is available for free download at nicelycrafted.com, but requires a monthly fee of seven and a half british pounds. You can try it out for a seven day demo for free. (That's right people: you don't have to pay to get this game, and you don't have to pay to try it out. You do have to pay to play it, which is usual in the MMORPG genre. Hopefull Sony (makers of EverQuest) will learn.)
Note: Note that the demo runs on a seperate server, which is only used by demo players, so the server is a little sparse.

The premise of the game is that sometime in the future, some alien race destroys its planet, leaving only the crust, which floats around in mineral-rich islands in space. Your goal is to amass lots of minerals and kill anyone who stands in your way. It gets a little more complex, but in the end, it really doesn't.

The game runs on a 21 to 28 day cycle, after which everyone is wiped out and the winner is the player with the most points. You get points by controlling islands, raking in minerals, and killing other players.

To balance out the fact that the game is persistent (in that your empire is still there even when you are not), the game runs at a snail's pace. To build a ship takes between 15 and 60 minutes, assuming you have all the resources you need, which you rarely do. To move from one island to another takes hours, if not days. Combat is pretty much completely run by the computer, and there is neither an AI nor a need for one.

The number of units you can build seems impressive at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that almost all the ships are just variations of themselves. Nicely Crafted promises more ships each month, and so far they've been keeping their promise, but the game still lacks much variety in the units.

Time of Defiance is incredibly addictive, but probably not seven and a half pounds a month addictive. It's barely a decent game, but as the first explorer into a new frontier of gaming, it is a worthy effort.


This write-up complies with the E2 FAQ: Video Games standards.

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