Operation: New Earth launched on the App Store in mid-October and we couldn’t help but try it out. With mobile RTS games, one of two things can happen: they’re either rehashing the well-known formula you see in World War Rising and Game of Kings or they’re bringing something entirely new to the table. To our surprise, ONE is actually somewhere in the middle.
The team behind the Steam version of the game, Hunting Cow Studios, partnered with Tilting Point to bring this novel MMORTS to mobile devices. So far, they’ve done a great job with the transition – we can barely see a difference, if there is any to speak of. If you’re already playing the game, you might want to check out our list of tips and tricks for beginners.
In this article, however, we’d like to focus on why you should or shouldn’t play Operation: New Earth in the first place.
A Captivating Game World
If there’s one thing we truly enjoy in Operation: New Earth, it’s the game universe. You’re the commander of a military facility in the not-so-distant future. The goal is to build your high-tech stronghold in order to defend Earth from alien invasions. Speaking of aliens, we would have liked to be able to choose them as a faction. Some of us might have more fun with destroying, rather than re-building humanity
Perhaps in a future DLC, the game developers might actually consider it. Although the game engine is different from the host of mobile MMOs out there, the mechanics are quite similar. This is a smart move on the part of both teams of devs, since it gives players an eerie feeling of familiarity. The novelty of the game lies in that sweet spot threshold where we know most of the things we need to do, but we’ve yet to become familiar with the details that matter in the long run.
Some of these minutiae include ideal troop compositions or what would be the best value purchases for our premium currency.
Pay to Win versus Free to Play
The balance between p2w and f2p is the elephant alien in the human waiting room for Operation: New Earth. As devoted gamers, this is something that matters a lot to us. Knowing that we can make it even as f2p players changes our entire view of the game, as well as of the developers themselves. For example, if we know that paying money can tip the balance of power in our favor, we’re less likely to commit to an end-game playthrough.
If we can do it, then it means that other people can and most likely will. Although ONE is an outstandingly fun MMORTS (something which we didn’t expect to think or say so soon), the balance of power significantly tilts in the direction of heavy spenders. The devs have tried to work around and balance the sales model, but, overall, little has been done in this direction. From the standpoint of the player community, it looks as if Tilting Point and Hunting Cow are patching things up, rather than engaging with worthwhile changes in terms of mechanics, sales funnel, and more.
We would have loved to see a threshold of power in terms of attacking (and being attacked) by others. Right now, it’s a free for all between everyone in-game. If you’ve played any multiplayer strategy game, you probably know how easy it is for old accounts to dominate new ones. Even a 50% power difference would do a great deal towards balancing the game. For example, a 500 million player should only be able attack someone with a maximum of 250 million above or under them,
Make It Before You Break It
Despite the need for more balancing, there are still viable ways to play Operation: New Earth and enjoy the awesome content. For one, you need to be active and join a good alliance as soon as possible. This will be instrumental towards ensuring a steady progression for your stronghold.
Secondly, if you chose to play Operation: New Earth on PC, with BlueStacks, you’ll benefit from a host of features that will speed up your progression. We’re just going to mention the Multi-Instance Manager now, since it’s the tool that will ultimately enable you to bridge the gap between p2w and f2p. It’s not going to be easy, but, if you follow our advice on how to play ONE with BlueStacks, you will stand a fighting chance.
Thirdly, you’ll want to check out our guide to growing your headquarters fast just to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to speed up your development.
Watch Out for the Server Merge
A game-breaking decision that Tilting Point continues to make is the way they deal with server overpopulation. Whether it’s temporary accounts or not, the developers’ solution to date has been to merge older servers with newer ones. Needless to say, this further deepens the chasm between players who have been around for several years and those who might have played Operation: New Earth for a couple of months or weeks.
Somebody with an account that’s 2 years old will steam-roll all the newbies from an entire server in a matter of days. We really hope they find a quick fix to this – either in the form of preventing immense power differences when attacking somebody or, better yet, by allowing the new players to go to a new server. The negative consequences for old players can be just as dismaying, with alliance progression, conquered land, and silos all being wiped out.
Overall, we’d say that ONE has a great deal of potential and might even be worth playing if you’re a MMORTS fanatic. It’s a fun base-builder that has amazing graphics, complex mechanics, and a great game world. What we would love to see from the devs is a bit more consideration to the suggestions and problems of the player community, as well as more impactful balance changes.