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Nords: Heroes of the North

Nords: Heroes of the North is a strategy MMO that pits Northmen, Elves, Orcs and Dragons in an epic battle against the evil Ice Queen and her undead horde as she covers the entire land of Shingård of an eternal winter. Pick from three factions to determine how your stronghold and environment will look, then customize it with resource buildings, storehouses, barracks and more to defend, support and grow your army.

Publisher: Plarium
Playerbase: High
Type: MMORTS
Release Date: August 1, 2013
Pros: +Great artwork. +Mix of RPG and strategy elements. +Professionally voice acted. +High production value.
Cons: -Cash shop sells power.

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Overview

Nords: Heroes of the North Overview

Nords: Heroes of the North is a browser-based 3D strategy MMO available on Facebook that takes place in the land of Shingård, home to Northmen, Elves, Orcs, Dragons and more. Originally at war with each other, the game’s factions must work together to fight off the evil Ice Queen and her Cold Legion whose intention is to cover the land in eternal cold. Choose from one of three factions to determine your stronghold’s theme, recruiting units from all factions to take part in the game’s combat, which can be viewed in full 3D after the battle results are calculated. Build, upgrade and defend a stronghold under the tutelage of fully-voice acted characters King Björn the Awesome and Skald the Bard, whose antics and writing set them apart from the typical strategy MMO tutorial guide. Join a Clan and work towards a common goal with a team of allied players, pillaging and raiding those who stand in your way.

Nords: Heroes of the North Key Features

  • Three Factions (Northmen, Elves, Orcs) – Pick between the game’s three factions to determine your player portrait and stronghold architecture.
  • Famous Voice Talent – King Björn the Awesome is a tutorial character voiced by Patrick Warburton (voice of Joe from Family Guy).
  • Customizable Champions – Represent your stronghold with a champion, who can equip armor and skills to help boost your units in combat.
  • Watch Battles in 3D – View your units in combat and watch them pulverize enemies in 3D.
  • Player Run Clans -- Join a group of like-minded warriors in the fight against the Ice Queen, and capture strategic points as a team.

Nords: Heroes of the North Screenshots

Nords: Heroes of the North Featured Video

Full Review

Nords: Heroes of the North Review

By, Margo Sikes

Nords: Heroes of the North is a free-to-play 2D browser-based strategy MMO developed and published by Plarium, an Israeli gaming company who developed other popular strategy games such as Stormfall: Age of War and Pirates: Tides of Fortune. Players begin the game by picking their champion to represent their stronghold, falling into one of three factions that influence their architecture: Northmen, Elves, and Orcs. Players begin with a relatively empty base, filled only with key buildings, and are guided along the process of setting up buildings by the game’s voice-acted tutorial characters. Around level 10, players are introduced to raids and PvP and are encouraged to join a clan to take part in group PvP and PvE activities.

Starting Out

The game begins with a loud introduction by one of the two tutorial characters, King Björn the Awesome, voiced by the famous Patrick Warburton, who goes on to give a brief introduction to his kingdom and the situation it is in, and then pops up periodically afterwards to give rough, comedic advice on military aspects of the game, such as recruiting units with Blood Pacts or equipping armor. The other, more practical tutorial character goes by the name of Skald the Bard, who gives tips to help new players survive the game, such as how to build and upgrade structures, use the interface, and join a clan. Players are also shown how to kill monsters, send their troops in the Catacombs for safety, use the game’s Cash Shop and its premium currency, Emeralds, and finally how to scout and attack enemy players to nab their resources.

Stronghold Construction

At the center of Nords: Heroes of the North is the Stronghold; every player has one, serving as a base of operations for all game mechanics and activities, producing resources for units, allowing communication with the outside world and offering defenses to keep your possessions safe. Most of the time spent in the game has to do with constructing and maintaining their base, since every building relies upon the others, making it important to continually upgrade and balance resource consumption. Structures fall into multiple categories: resource-generating, resource storage, administrative, and military; all of which are used in combination to unlock new features, units, game modes, and more. Unlocking new buildings is possible through the games’ Blood Pacts feature, which allows players to sign contracts with neighboring lands to share in the knowledge of different tribes. Building or upgrading structures takes time, which increases higher and higher as players move up in level, making it prudent to choose their buildings carefully, as multiple builders and time boosts cost real money.

Feeding Your Expansion with Resources

Integral to any strategy MMO is the management of resources; any thriving city requires food, shelter, and water. In Nords: Heroes of the North players generate Mushrooms, Fish, and Fire Ale by the Mushroom Patches, Fisherman’s Huts, and Fire Ale Breweries respectively, all of which are used as currency to perform most actions, including training new units, signing blood pacts, and building/upgrading structures. The Mushrooms and Fish are stored in Storehouses, and the Fire Ale in the Alehouses, and can also be placed in the player’s Catacombs to keep them safe from enemy attack. Fire Ale also has an added importance of keeping units happy—if Fire Ale consumption outnumbers the production, the player’s units will automatically be dismissed.

Some secondary resources are also offered from special events within the game, which are used to purchase special, premium items or unique units and buildings. Emeralds are the game’s premium currency and are offered from quests, and can be used to purchase a plethora of otherwise inaccessible defenses, boosts, and shields. Another secondary resource is Elixir, which is gained from Clan-initiated occupy-and-capture events that target large, difficult to defend buildings called Obelisks; Elixir can be used to infuse a unit, which reduces their Fire Ale consumption and increases their overall effectiveness in combat. Finally, Battle Marks are gained from attacking or defending Battlegrounds in Saga Quests, or by good performance in Global Tournaments, which include both PvE and PvP rewards.

Customizing Your Stronghold

Unlocking units and buildings are done with the game’s Blood Pact system, and combat buffs are received through the game’s Champion skill tree. Blood Pacts are acquired through the Hall of Records, which unlock new buildings and units, and typically come at a hefty price of resources and pre-requisites. Unlike Plarium’s other strategy MMOs, Nords does not require Blood Pacts to be individually unlocked with a daily item, making it much simpler to move down the Blood Pact tree and acquire all of the buildings needed. The Champion Skill tree, on the other hand, does not cost regular resources; it uses Skill Points, which are acquired every time a player levels up. The talents on the Champion’s skill tree are used to boost individual units, and can be extremely useful for combat in combination with the Champion’s equipment slots. Equipment typically raises the attack or defense of a particular unit type, and is usually rewarded from combat victories or quests.

Unit Diversity and Roles

Nords: Heroes of the North offers a plethora of unit types to pick and choose from, allowing players to favor certain tribes. Units from all over Shingård are available through the Blood Pacts, including: Elves, Orcs, Northmen, and Dragon units, allowing players to take advantage of their individual strengths and technologies to fight against the Ice Queen. Each unit also falls into a specific combat category: offense, defense, or scouting, which allows them to exceed greatly at different tasks. Sending an offensive unit on a defensive mission will often lead to the loss of that unit, making it important to separate units and send them on different missions to get the full benefit of their strengths. Scouting is a bit different, as it is not typically a unit for combat, and is thus at less risk of getting damaged—scouting units are used to check an opponent’s force in advance, allowing players to send the appropriate amount of firepower to ensure a victory.

Clans

Clans act as the guild system of Nords: Heroes of the North, and can be joined at Level 5. Players can create their own Clan at level 10, though it costs premium currency. Players joined together in a clan can unite with their allies to work towards common goals, such as capturing an Obelisk or killing a common enemy player or enemy Clan. Capturing an Obelisk requires a hefty amount of time and resources, as players must first remove the units currently occupying it, then defend it from enemy attack as they use it to increase their Clan ranking on the boards and acquire Elixir to power up their units. Clans can also complete achievements as a group, allowing them individual rewards that benefit their stronghold and their Clan ranking, as well as bragging rights.

PvP

On top of the game’s Clan-oriented PvP, players also have local targets—their neighbors, active or inactive—that they can scout and plunder. Players have the ability to Scout or Raid enemy players, or choose to befriend them, sending them Reinforcements, and perhaps even a Clan truce. Neighbor vs. neighbor combat is highly encouraged, as the game is considered to be very aggressive in nature, and its PvP rewards greatly outnumber the singular production of a player’s own stronghold. Players’ strongholds are also at risk after three days of playing the game, or if they initiate an attack against a high level player, due to the game’s Novice Protection shield. Players must take great care with their offensive units, as they will likely be destroyed in the event of a higher level player raid—this can be prevented by storing units in the Catacombs, which protect resources and units from getting involved in the attack.

Cash Shop

Emeralds act as the game’s premium currency, and as such, are rather hard to come by without spending money, although acquiring them is not entirely impossible. As is common in the genre, players who spend real money on the game to purchase Emeralds or use it to active the game’s elite account status, Fireborn, are at a great advantage versus non-paying players, due to the amount of quick growth that opens up. Typically very punishing gameplay can be somewhat trivialized with the use of premium currency, although it is not impossible to exceed in the game without it—patience is just required, as the game’s timers get exorbitantly high after the player reaches the upper levels of the game. The game, overall, is pay-to-win, but its advertisement for premium currency is not as over-the-top as some games.

Final Verdict – Great

Nords: Heroes of the North is yet another iteration in the long list of Plarium web strategy MMOs, and can be set apart by its modern, more cartoony aesthetic and somewhat more simplified game mechanics. Taking the formula they so often re-create, Nords feels like more of a positive effort to improve upon that formula rather than simply re-skin it, due to the simplification of the Blood Pact system (which usually requires daily items to progress in) and the inclusion of the Champions giving it a bit more individualized flair and fun RPG elements, without giving it unneeded complexity. Unfortunately the game is pay-to-win, and only being able to watch battles is disappointing as opposed to being able to control them in some way. Nords: Heroes of the North is overall a solid game, its interesting combination of Nord + fantasy elements is more unique thematically, and will appeal to fans of strategy MMOs looking for a game with nice graphics.

Screenshots

Nords: Heroes of the North Screenshots

Videos

Nords: Heroes of the North Videos

Links

Nords: Heroes of the North Links

Nords: Heroes of the North (Official Site)
Nords: Heroes of the North Facebook

System Requirements

Nords: Heroes of the North Requirements

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Equivalent
Video Card: Any Graphics Card (Integrated works well too)
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Disk Space: 100 MB (Cache)

Soldiers Inc is a browser based MMO and will run smoothly on practically any PC. The game was tested and works well on Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and Chrome. Any modern web-browser should run the game smoothly. Nords: Heroes of the North is available on Facebook.

Additional Info

Nords: Heroes of the North Additional Info

Developer: Plarium Games
Publisher: Plarium Games

Platforms: Web (browser) and Facebook
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Nords: Heroes of the North was developed and published by Plarium Games, an Israeli gaming company responsible for a plethora of other games in the same genre, including Total Domination, Pirates: Tides of Fortune, and Stormfall: Age of War. The game is available in multiple languages, and its voice acting is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, and German. It was released worldwide on May 19, 2015 on Facebook and boasts over 100 thousand monthly users.