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Players Make the Game for Utopia
When it comes to today's browser-base, strategy games, it wouldn't be reach to say Utopia set the mark
By: Blair Morris | Game Data | 10:00am, February 2, 2006
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In January 1999, Swirve launched a new generation in the browser-based strategic gaming genre of online multiplayer games in Utopia. Developed by Mehul Patel, Utopia today is one of Swirve's more popular games/services as thousands players across the world make up one of the largest gaming communities on the net. You can also call the Utopia community of players one of the more interactive around, with their dedication to providing others with different services and programs to help you plan out your strategy and organization of your province, kingdom, and kingdom-mates. However, this isn't about what other's offer you, it's about what Utopia offers.

When it comes to today's browser-base, strategy games, it wouldn't be reach to say Utopia set the mark. The game is completely centered on strategy, and nothing else. The world of Utopia includes eight races, each having its own strength and weakness. The nine personalities within the game works on the same line as the races do. When choosing a personality, you're already playing into the games strategy as the personalities will help you improve on a race's weakness, or capitalize on its strength. Right off the bat, you can tell if a player will be successful in any given round depending on the combination of race and personality they choose from. Also the kingdom you are randomly placed into as a new player will be another one of the signs that you'll be successful for that round or not. Unless you can learn quickly, have great leadership and organization skills, and you're patient, you can be thrown off of your desire to continue with the game.

Your kingdom is vital as you'll almost always depend on other players to aid you in growth, protection, and a strategy as a group. If you consider yourself a loner that only likes MMO's to battle other players, and could careless about working together constantly with others, look else where for a game. Communication and listing almost all of your actions will be important for survival in Utopia, especially when your kingdom is in hostile relations with other kingdoms. Wars between kingdoms will be a common occurrence within Utopia, and if you're kingdom is well communicated, and organized, wars are one of the quickest ways for your province and kingdom to grow.

Individually, there are many options for you to play around with and experiment with. In maintaining and keeping your province strong and efficient towards your individual role in your kingdom. Of course to grow in size, you'll either be exploring for new land, attacking other provinces (players) outside of your kingdom, and there is also magic spells that can also help you gain land. With any unused land you may have, you'll be able to build numerous structures that falls in line with your individual strategy for your province. Other options that is at your fingertips are learning sciences, building up your army for defense and offense, self-spells to aid your growth and production of resources, and much more. The numerous options you'll have changes from race to race and for certain personalities, so you'll be inspired to keep playing for several rounds to experience the different races and personalities, along with trying to find which combination best fits you and your style of play.

The game's layout and interface is rather basic, but does give you enough information to succeed. You won't be blown away be any graphics in the game, since the game is basically non-graphical. Your options and commands are rather easy to find and organized with the game's interface. This is a pure browser game, so keep that in mind when trying to decide to choose it. All of the game's input and command comes from typing input, selecting drop-down boxes, and clicking to confirm your choices. There's no real-time action within the game. Each command will take a certain amount of "Utopian days" that equal one hour in real life. There is a kingdom newspaper of sorts that you can look at to see any actions your kingdom-mates have made with each other, or other kingdoms have made against you or your kingdom-mates. The game also offers each kingdom an individual forum within the game so you can communicate and organize plans. You'll also find various other options within the game that can be useful, and ranges in numerous commands.

If you're looking for any kind of major story in the game, look else where, the closest you'll get is a setting in a fantasy medieval age, and nothing more. The game doesn't do much in encourage or introducing role playing to help support the non-existences of a story either. What you get with the game is straight strategy, and nothing else. This really doesn't do much to keep players wanting to come back each round, or stay the entire round if their struggling because of their in-game situation as mention previously. Unless because of the players you're interacting with, or a strong desire to wait every three months to try finding a better kingdom, the replayabiltiy is almost non-existent for new players, unless pure strategy, and nothing else, period, is a draw for you.

Overall, what you're getting with Utopia, if not for its range and diversity in players, is a game that is only for fans of pure browser-base strategies. To be fair, you could really enjoy the game for your first round or two, and you'll most certainly enjoy it if you're one of the top players, or in a great kingdom. After that, the game is pretty bland when taking a step back and looking at it as a whole. Each new round does bring new formulas to the game when it comes to attacking other players, and it could possibly bring new features, though no new features has been added in a couple of years. Though it is also hard not to recommend this game if you're new to the MMO world. Utopia does offer a good deal of experience in the gaming world, and gives you the chance to meet a whole host of people. For veterans of the MMO world, this is the game for you if you're a looking for a game that doesn't stray for the strategy genre.

7.4 Gameplay 777 7
Replayability 555 5
Interface 777 7
Community 101010 10
Reviewer's Tilt 888 8
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