I was introduced to Z2 Live by way of Trade Nations back at the end of 2010. I really enjoyed the game, but after I got past a certain point, it just started to get boring. The tedious checking on crops and running of shops had no real goal, and I haven’t played for over a year.
But when I saw a classmate playing something resembling Trade Nations, I asked him what it was and decided to have a try. I had heard of Battle Nations before, but never looked into it. The first thing that strikes you is the deep story involved. Unlike Trade Nations, where you were a lone city in an empty meadow, Battle Nations has a proper setting with likeable characters. The unavoidable tedium of a city-building game is softened by the humour of the people involved in those tasks.
However, the main element that sets this game apart from other city-builiding games is the combat. While it is rather simplistic combat, it provides an incentive to get to the next level so you can get different types of troops to raid your friends with. The time-management of your troops also brings another element of strategy into the mix, albeit a rather annoying one.
You can always buy nanopods to speed things up, but I think that not only takes the strategy game for themselves, it messes up the game for everyone else. I’m sure this will never be changed, as the makers of the game have no doubt skewed the stats on purpose to make money, but it really is frustrating. The more and more I play Head-to-Head battles with random opponents, the more I notice how uneven the game really is.
But in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t seem to matter much. The Friend system is great, in my opinion, and now even better with the new Assistance system released a few days ago. Since I’m only at Level 17 and a free player, I can’t cover the whole game, but what I can tell you is that the game gives you quite a bit of fun for no money at all, and (if you feel like ruining the game for others) you can always pay for more stuff to do and to speed up the game.