Tom Clancy’s Endwar Returning… As A Browser MOBA

By Nathan Grayson on September 11th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

The only way to end war is with more war.

Everyone, calm down. It’s OK. Tom Clancy’s ENDWAR– ahem, Endwar (which is the one game I actually wish its creators would refer to entirely in caps) isn’t dead. I know you were all terribly worried, but you can breathe easily now. Use both lungs instead of just one. Stop shoving entire wine corks up your nostrils. As it turns out, Endwar’s war to end all wars did not, in fact, end war, so Endwar Online will pick up its warring right where Endwar ended. There is, however, a twist: the new game under Endwar’s shell-shocked umbrella isn’t really an RTS. If anything, I’d say it’s closer to a fusion of MOBA-style roles/progression and tower defense mechanics. Also, the whole thing’s browser-based, and the goal is for matches to last roughly three minutes a piece. Witness the beginning of the end(war) in trailer form after the break.

Here’s why the war in the sky (and on the ground) keeps on turning, per Ubisoft:

“As the latest game in the Tom Clancy’s EndWar world, Tom Clancy’s EndWar Online puts players in the shoes of the last leader in the aftermath of WW3.  Resources and money have run dry, factions are on the brink of collapse and rogue warlords have taken over. As one of the last leaders, players are tasked with rebuilding their homeland, reuniting their faction and spearheading the final battle for Earth’s remaining resources.”

“Developed by Ubisoft Shanghai, the team behind the console version of Tom Clancy’s EndWar, Tom Clancy’s EndWar Online is a tactical and strategic MMO that offers real time battles, HQ and army management, and massive community-based wars, all set in next stage browser technology to deliver an unrivalled gameplay experience.”

I got to play a little during a recent event, and I came away unsure of precisely what to think. On one hand, Ubisoft demonstrated tons of pre-battle prep – there are nine classes of “hero” (artillery, airstrikes, anti-air, helicopters, tanks, etc) each with multiple character options, equippable items, and unit powers – but I was only given the option to join the fray with a pre-selected hero loadout. From there, I ended(war) up on a simple map where I could spawn clumps of units from three base structures, each of which was tied to its own lane. Those squads would then clomp/roll/fly/obliterate their way down their corresponding lane independent of my control – eventually, inevitably encountering resistance from my opponent’s forces.

Here, a rock-paper-scissors-style dynamic took center stage, with – for example – air units acting like especially long-armed schoolyard bullies to tanks, while tanks could easily dismantle anti-air units, and so on and so on throughout the nine unit types. In practice, matches were indeed lightning-quick, and a basic modicum of strategy was required to avoid having my scissors crushed by rocks and then spat on by paper. Even with added wrinkles like lane-free airstrikes and hero/unit-specific powers, however, I’m not sure how much staying power these sorts of skirmishes have. I enjoyed myself for a few matches, but it all felt simple and fleeting. Here’s hoping that players can dig more complex strategies out of the rubble, but for now I’m skeptical.

But then, maybe that brief, not-quite-brainless quality is the appeal. Not everyone always has time for hour-long MOBA or RTS attrition-fests, after all. Plus, Ubisoft claims that armchair generals will get plenty of mileage out of an MMO-esque world domination multiplayer mode called Theater of War, where factions will battle for long-term control of regions and their resources. You’ll still be participating in small-scale tower defense matches, but with an added layer of community coordination. Personally, I worry that it’ll just be a matter of who can shout, “OK, everybody in X Faction, zerg this place now now now” the loudest, but we’ll see.

Ubisoft is planning a closed beta for later this year, and you can sign up right here. What was the general RPS Legion consensus on Endwar: The First? Does Online stand to scratch a similar itch for any of you, or is the idea of a MOBA/tower defense amalgam masquerading around in Endwar’s skin utter blasphemy?

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24 Comments »

  1. The Laughing Owl says:

    F2P browser MOBA? Can’t get more canceriginous than that.

    • Chalky says:

      Remember all those times you’ve wished you could play a Tom Clancy branded MOBA through your browser? Your prayers have finally been answered! And for free!

    • Tendentieus says:

      I am not sure what I start to dislike more…. The ‘reinvented’ franchise that will continue as a F2P game, or the new and innovative MOBA that will be totally radical and different…

      I’ll just Play NS 2, Civilization 5 and keep modding Doom II, some proper games to waste my time on.

    • airmikee99 says:

      My thoughts exactly. How does taking what could have been a great game, and shoving into a Flash/browser based package not mean it’s dead? If they can’t make a proper game, I’m not going to waste any time thinking about it.

  2. DyingFlutchman says:

    ENDWARFACE

  3. Napoleon15 says:

    It’d be more amusing if they made it so you had to try and play with voice commands like the original.

  4. Wurstwaffel says:

    It seems to me that MOBAs have replaced World of Warcraft as the new goto casualcore genre, those games that make people feel like they’re skilled at something when in reality they only memorized a lot of stuff. Turns out there’s a humongous crowd for that kind of thing.

    • BAshment says:

      How is world of warcraft a casual game?

      Even most moba games (dotalikes) for that matter the amount of time and game knowledge you need to even be semi competent is insane. casual dose not mean anything without man shooting.

      • deadly.by.design says:

        I’d have to agree. The skill cieling in MOBAs, or at least my experience with Dota 2, is ridiculously high. Also, when you remember that it’s a game that relies on your 4 other teammates being up to snuff, that seems to kill the ‘casual’ idea pretty quickly.

        Dungeon Defenders instead, maybe? Tower Defense genre is a much easier target for ‘casual,’ despite there being many harder-core TD games out as well.

      • Wurstwaffel says:

        You obviously didn’t understand me very well. These casualcore games require you to only accrue factual knowledge (stats and the like) to be good at them, no twitch skill, no dexterity, no multi-threaded thinking, no particularly sophisticated analytical thinking.

        In WoW you don’t need to aim most abilities, and those you do have a huge spread. Then everything has a 1.5 second cooldown at the very least. Again, mostly factual knowledge, very low skill ceiling.
        Dotalikes also mostly require you to memorize stats and what abilities do. The only other aspect that provides any significant depth is the fact that it’s a team game. Micro-wise it’s pretty much Warcraft 3 with heroes only and no base building, which is pretty simple. So that means the actual skill ceiling is very low in these games aswell. Still, you’ll have to invest a lot of time and energy in memorizing the essential facts about the game, which to the layman feels like attaining skill.

        I know the casualcore crowd doesn’t want to hear these things because they sound demeaning. And that may be so, but your games just aren’t very sophisticated in terms of micro gameplay. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that though. Games can be compelling for different reasons.

        • BAshment says:

          careful you don’t fall off that high horse. I’m afraid you are very wrong the level of split second decision making that has to be made in both wow and dota is immense being just a millisecond off can completely change the outcome of a fight.. I guess the only game of any skill are twitch fps games. i mean there is no skill in chess because you cant hit the queen to within 1 pixel with a rail shot.

          • RawkMode says:

            Wait a second…did you just compare mobile/browser lane “strategy” games to Chess?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      “Casualcore”?

      Man, it’s hard keeping up with all the new words people come up with to make themselves feel better than other people in pretend computer fights.

  5. AndrewC says:

    Re: Wurstwaffel

    I really love this comment. I am particularly fond of the term ‘casualcore’. Most excellent.

  6. Shezo says:

    All we need now is f2p moba browser game about zombies and modern military dudes, also with some elements of card games like mtg or heartstone.
    It will be the game of the games.

  7. hitnrun says:

    It’s very disappointing that they never did anything with this title. Maybe the microphone just liked my voice, but I consider this game to be one of the most underrated I’ve ever played just in terms of proof-of-concept. I really thought that voice control was going to be the immediate future of RTS games when I played this in 2008, particularly on consoles.

    There was something so cathartic about barking “UNIT 4, ATTACK HOSTILE 3! Unit 2, Unit 3: secure Zulu!” and having your buzz-cut underlings grunt acknowledgment and move their men and vehicles to engage. I even calibrated the voice thingy to recognize – and only recognize – my command to launch nukes when I said it in a George W. Bush impersonation. “Dubya-Em-Dee: Bravo!”

    Not that I need to clarify, but the fact that they’re making it a browser game does not change the “never did anything with it” formulation. It’s a shame, because a proper game would be pretty awesome.

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The lefties should rise up and fight the oppression. Something something, the developers will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

  9. buhbuhcuh says:

    The gameplay looks a lot like the Kixeye browser games – war commander etc. I would guess that the actual “tactical combat” is very lightweight, asynchronous, and pay to win. That being said, it will probably make boats of money.

    Man Ubisoft, you have me so conflicted, announcing this after I was so ready to be your fanboy after yesterdays Valiant Hearts and Child of Light.

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