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Today I learnt about a game called Etherium

etherium_header

You know what we need more of? Real-time strategy games. We always need more real-time strategy games. I’m not being facetious; I’m being honest. There was a time when the RTS genre was the thing, but now that thing seems to be first-person shooters. That makes my inner, armchair general depressed and sad and a little grumpy. Maybe even grumpy enough to want to reinstall Emperor: Battle for Dune. Then I saw this game called Etherium.

Etherium is being developed by Tindalos Interactive – the same team behind 2011’s Stellar Impact, which is an online science-fiction RTS game. Perhaps you played it? I most certainly did not but a quick Google search seemed to indicate that it was somewhat influenced by Homeworld.

In Etherium, the focus will be on a non-linear single player campaign. Set in a futuristic universe, you’ll take control of one of three factions that are fighting each other for a valuable resource known as, you guessed it, etherium. This resource is only found on one planet, so you’ll predominantly be fighting on this planet and its surrounding moons. Did I mention that, judging by the trailer, this planet is a desert planet? Oh, that is very Dune of you, Tindalos, and I’m listening intently.

According to the game’s first info dump, you will have to “manage your resources, expand your colonies and extend your control of the map to assemble an army capable of crushing your opponents.” That screams 90s RTS mechanics, and I’m fine with that. Sticking with 90s traditions, there’ll be a tech tree you’ll need to advance through by funding and conducting scientific research. Nothing new in the core mechanics department, but sometimes I just want to play a traditional RTS without all that pesky innovation clouding my genre nostalgia.

The three empires, which currently remain nameless, each possess a specialisation that gives them an edge over rival factions. One empire is capable of controlling the weather, which means they could create a localised sand storm around the enemy base in order to approach unseen. Another of the empires specialises in espionage, and the last one can see into the future. Not sure how that last skill will be implemented in a dynamic single-player campaign, but it’s certainly interesting. On top of the three main empires there are six smaller factions that will be found throughout the game. Those factions will hinder your progress or present unique alliances that grant you access to special units. There’s that Emperor: Battle for Dune peeking in again.

While the trailer shows mostly arid environments, we can expect quite a varied collection in the final game. Tindalos has promised jungles, island networks, frozen tundra and swamps.

etherium_screenshot

Insofar as units are concerned, the usual suspects are there: tanks, infantry, naval vessels, airborne units and giant mechanical war machines that Tindalos is calling “colossi of war”.

Etherium is coming to PC in June 2014. There’s a very limited website with some screenshots to check out in the source link below. There are some very quiet forums attached to the site as well, but you’ll find the info dumps in there.

Despite knowing very little about Tindalos, I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. It’s good old fashioned RTS gaming – and I’ve been craving that for some time now.

Source: Etherium.com
Via: Polygon

  • Cheslyn

    Thank you for this, I’ve been waiting for a good RTS game for a long time, and this one sounds interesting. However wish a developer would come out and make an RTS based on “sword and magic” play… you know, like Warcraft. Everyone is going tanks and space marines these day.

    • Miklós Szecsei

      I also wouldn’t say no to another fantasy RTS. I’ve often thought that the lore/bestiary/factions of The Elder Scrolls would make a great RTS spin-off. Highly, HIGHLY unlikely to happen, but I’d be all over that.

      • Cheslyn

        Wow man that would just blow my mind! but as you said HIGHLY unlikely :-(
        Hey, this is probably the wrong place to post this, but are you guys planning on doing a review on Path of Exile? im want to give it a shot but 6GB download is pretty heavy for a guy who’s on 10Gb p/m ya know… so i want to know if its really worth it.

        • http://dinosaur-signal.tumblr.com/ Miktar Dracon

          The problem with PoE, is unless you try it for yourself, there’s no way of knowing if you’ll like it. You need to feel how the combat feels, see if the lag to the international servers bothers you, and you’ll need to check out the skill system and figure out if you like that kind of thing, or not.

          It is, taken in a vacuum, a great game – especially since it’s free. But the nature of the game, being action-heavy where combat ticks are done server side, means that heavy lag will kill you before you even know you’re dead (known as desync). The giant, complex, passive skill tree (where most of the “meat” of making your build”, is daunting if you’re not up for it.

          But it does run well, not requiring too hefty a PC for the visuals.

          • Cheslyn

            Damn thats dissapointing, im on 3G so…. lag….

          • XCal1bur

            I kind of like the idea, replayability wise, about the skill tree. But how was ‘your’ experience with it?

          • http://dinosaur-signal.tumblr.com/ Miktar Dracon

            I like it, for the most part – but I don’t like being 80 hours in, and realizing that I’ve made a mistake early on in my build, and there’s no respec option. So your only choice is to re-roll, and try again. Or, you could plan your character out in advance, but then that starts feeling more like an excel spreadsheet and less like a game.

            I mean, look at this thing: http://i.imgur.com/4Vknz7h.jpg

    • Alex Rowley
      • Cheslyn

        awesome news that! lets hope the do it!

  • Alex Rowley

    Definitely going to look into this, I have to say though just by looking at the screens and reading the description it looks a bit like supreme commander. Hopefully they can distinguish themselves enough because I really want a good RTS to play this year. Last year was quite disappointing RTS wise.

    • Miklós Szecsei

      You are not wrong about the Sup Com vibe there. That was one RTS I never managed to get into. But speaking of similarities, did you play Universe at War? Etherium’s giant robot walkers kind of remind me of that as well.

      • Alex Rowley

        Funny that, my brother pulled that game out of some bargain bin a few months ago, it was a fun little distraction and yes it does also look very similar, it’s between the colour tones and just having giant robots. Actually I think it’s the walking giant spider robots, they all have them.

  • XCal1bur

    Great article, and I couldn’t agree with you more; there is a huge lack in true RTS games for years now, Starcraft 2 was at least a good one, though I’m not a fan of having to update the game endlessly to just fricking play single player RTS… So I’m hoping this one will bring back the tried and tested.

    • XCal1bur

      All they need now is giant worms living in the sand, eh? ^^

  • Ben Myres

    Is it just me or does this look and feel a lot like Supreme Commander? I hope there’s a near meta-game – those always suck me in. My best memory is taking one Battalion of Rohan Riders all the way through the Battle for Middle Earth Campaign and tracking how they did.

    I miss that sort of stuff in my RTS’ .

  • Stephen Moore

    It’s great to have a new epic scale RTS to look forward to. The trailer reminds me of TA/SupCom and we haven’t had a good RTS of that size to play in a while. I’ve recently gotten back in Starcraft2, but that type of gameplay is nothing like this looks to be. Looking forward to it.

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