Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be a king/queen of a bustling kingdom? Have you thought about keeping your townsfolk happy, or imagined the admin of dealing with daily riots? Perhaps you’ve pondered conquering your neighbours and beyond, plundering the land and cementing your name as one that should be directly associated with fear. All of the above is possible in Goodgame Empire – provided you have lots of time to spare… or a particularly fat credit card.
Goodgame Empire is a free-to-play (and pay-to-win), browser-based title all about establishing a perfect kingdom. You can construct buildings, produce resources, research improvements, and even set out to destroy, or ally with those around you. On paper it sounds alright, but the free-to-play nature really ruins the game in the end.
I’ve had my fair share of experience with titles in this genre. Simpsons Tapped Out for example, kept me distracted me through countless study sessions and exam periods back when I was in varsity. I’ve since moved on with my life, deciding that such titles were not worth my time because in the end, building something for example, takes far too much grinding or time.
Unfortunately, my time with Goodgame Empire hasn’t swayed my decision one bit. The game starts out alright, opting you to get your town up and running. Actions take a few short seconds and everything costs only a fistful of gold, food, or stone. After you’ve levelled up a little though, things get a little ridiculous. I took to my diary to document my experience…
Holy smoke I’m running a town now!!! It’s a lot of pressure and responsibility, but I think I can handle it. I started out simple – building a few farms, woodcutters, and stone quarries to get my finances flowing. People turned up and needed a place to stay, so I built some dwellings too.
Upon arriving at work today, I saw a treasure chest that had some neat loot inside. It disappeared after emptied, but reappeared a few hours later with even more cool things! I wonder if this is some sort of daily bonus for my hard work?
I also got asked to register my account officially and you know what? I got a whopping 300 rubies just for doing that! I was feeling particularly happy, so I built the townsfolk some brand new houses with my newfound riches.
A tax collector also showed up. He promises to rattle my citizens of their gold. Hey, taxes are taxes, and the royal coffers need filling… permanently.
My advisor tells me my town has grown to the point where it is in need of defence, so I built a barracks. I trained some spearman to protect my people. You know what enemies hate? A spear to the face… I’d like to see them try anything now!
I’ve also ventured out into the big, bad world. Maybe I’ll find some friends out there? In the meantime, I thought I’d raid a nearby castle for the fun of it. My enemy never saw it coming! My soldiers returned with some decent loot which I used to build a brand new tavern for the townsfolk to meet up after a hard day of work.
Some strange characters have turned up at my tavern. They tell me they can spy on neighbouring castles. This will allow me to plan future attacks more effectively. This is a good thing, because a castle can be attacked from the front and two sides. Knowing what the enemy has will allow me disperse my soldiers in a more strategic manner. Thinking about it now, I should probably check my own defences to make sure they’re sturdy. I’ve also joined an alliance. I hope my new, big, strong friends will protect me, especially as I am new and my town is but a child.
I was told of a quest to rescue a princess by my trusty advisor. Finally, a fine lady to help me rule over my simpletons. I think I will assemble my army at once and set out to win her heart. I wonder if she likes cabbage?
The princess is anything but happy that I rescued her. She keeps asking me to make upgrades to my castle and town, as it does not fit her “standards”. she also keeps asking me to give her money… it’s quite a pain in the ass. Still, I would do anything for love!
The stone masons and wood cutters turn up today over some silly dispute. I sided with the wood cutters because I needed wood to build a military hospital in case my soldiers receive fatal injuries.
Speaking of building, I’ve realised just how incompetent my construction crew are. You know that they can’t work on more than one building at a time? No seriously, they won’t even split the work! The only way to get them to build faster is to pay up rubies up front. Alternately, I can spend rubies to buy another construction crane – allowing me to upgrade/build two things at a time. Remember when I received those 300 rubies a few days ago? I thought I was rich and it was a generous gift. The construction crane costs 7100… guess I have some saving to do.
I was booted from my alliance. I have no idea why this has happened, but it is an outrage! On joining, I generously shared some of resources as a sign of good faith. I now feel like I have been robbed.
On top of this bad news, my advisor informs me that my castle had been sacked. I lost all 43 of my soldiers in the massacre. How many soldiers did my enemy bring to my castle gate? 53… how the hell was I supposed to protect myself against that? Thankfully, my military hospital will help sort some of the injuries out. The nurse only allows 5 soldiers in at a time though. I have to keep sending them in manually… how annoying!
I must admit that my quest log is getting out of hand. At time of writing, I have 10 tasks to complete. All of them have multiple objectives – requiring a fair amount of building and upgrading. Quite frankly, I think this is a huge waste of my time. My advisor keeps popping up, waving parchment in my face which promises masses of rubies at a discounted rate. I said no yesterday and the day before… does he not realise that I am uninterested?
I have a research tower now. It’s equipped with the smartest brains in the land! They will improve certain aspects of my kingdom, provided I give them the time and resources… or rubies if I want it done instantly. This makes no sense, as under normal circumstances, it takes them nearly two days to complete even a scrap of research. Man, people in this kingdom really are greedy.
My advisor rocked up again, promising me a doubling of whatever rubies I purchase today, and only today, for the next few hours. I was sorely tempted, but then I realised that I am over my city. I couldn’t care less for the money hungry townsfolk, or the backstabbing ways of my former alliance, or the horribly overpowered enemies that surround me. I fired my advisor too. Those offers he kept rubbing in my nose were getting way out of hand!
As a last act of defiance, I drowned my princess – people suspected her of being a witch. That’s the smartest thing they’ve thought all week. SCREW THIS TOWN!
I never expect a game to be completely free. Developers put their time into a title, and they deserve to be reimbursed in some way. This system however, of paying to speed up construction for example, irritates me to no end. Pay-to-win is an annoyance, and one that people give in to too easily.
Goodgame Empire could easily have been a good time sink for players if it balanced out the construction time, dropped the ruby system, and opted to make money on cosmetics alone. The way it is now though, a painful system of progression that only really works if you cough some dough, I really wouldn’t recommend it… not unless you have incredibly deep pockets.
Last Updated: April 8, 2015